Rachel's Systems/Layers

Orchestral experimental group Rachel’s returns with their fifth album, Systems/Layers, the result of two years of collaboration with New York dance/theatre troupe Siti. Composed as a score to accompany a theatrical presentation, Systems/Layers uses strings and voice accented by found sounds to explore the clash and confluence of human experience with modern technology and urban environments. Kin at times with the scores of Philip Glass, at others with the Rheostatics’ Group of Seven or similar work by David Byrne, Systems/Layers is at once touching and haunted, intimate and disturbingly uncomfortable. Singer/songwriter Shannon Wright contributes close vocals on a couple of tracks, but the background noise of subways and other urban effluvium provides even more of the atmosphere. Apparently a full-scale theatrical production is still a possibility, but Systems/Layers offers up more than enough evocative minor chord melancholy to drift along to at home. (Quarterstick)