Serena Jost

Serena Jost

Serena Jost

Up To The Sky

Second Kiss

Places have their own spirit, their own feeling. Sometimes, it’s the acoustics of the room that make it special and sometimes it’s the history of the place. Carnegie Hall in New York has both fabulous acoustics and a storied history that makes playing there such an honor. There is something extra special about seeing Doctor John playing at Tipitina’s in New Orleans or Sonny Rollins at Birdland. Some storied venues turn out to be dives. CBGB’s was world famous, an important piece of musical history and a dump. That’s how things go sometimes.

The setting of cellist Serena Jost’s album, Up To The Sky caught my attention. Jost set up in the rafters of St. Peter’s Church in the Chelsea district of NYC. The songs were recorded live over two days using eight microphones, cello and voice only. The music is spare, leaving plenty of room for voice and cello to resonate. It’s an incredibly intimate sound with each stroke of the bow, each string pluck surrounds in hyper-fidelity. Serena’s voice rings out clear with a timeless clarity.

Jost’s original compositions have an entrancing, metaphysical quality. “Great Conclusions” uses contrasting images to suggest the development of ideas or maybe art. As the program progresses, I find myself being mesmerized. It’s odd then to be shocked back to reality by the unexpected inclusion of “Lullaby”. The song we’ve all sung to infants is out of place, yet of a piece with what went before. Another unexpected tune is “Happiness”, which was composed by Molly Drake (mother of Nick Drake).

Up To The Sky is a completely unique experience. It’s a departure from her work with her band or collaborations with poets, dancers and other musicians. Up To The Sky is a record of a time, a place and a unique experience.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Say Sue Me
    Say Sue Me

    Christmas, It’s No Biggie (Damnably Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Lucius

    Christmas Time is Here. Review by Phil Bailey.

  • Tarik Aktaş
    Tarik Aktaş

    Dead Horse Nebula director, Tarik Aktaş, speaks with Generoso Fierro about his AFI Fest 2018-selected debut feature.

  • Beth Hart
    Beth Hart

    Beth Hart – Live At The Royal Albert Hall (Mascot Label Group/Provogue). Review by Michelle Wilson.

  • Nailed It!
    Nailed It!

    Is it a cooking show, or the funniest thing on TV?

  • Split Tooth
    Split Tooth

    The natural and the supernatural dance under the Northern lights in Tanya Tagaq’s first novel, Split Tooth.

  • Thoroughbreds

    Thoroughbreds is one of the most fun and playful dark comedies in ages.

  • Dennis Quaid & the Sharks
    Dennis Quaid & the Sharks

    Out Of The Box. (Omnivore) Review by Jeremy Glazier.

  • Florida Man Music Festival
    Florida Man Music Festival

    The Florida Man Music Festival lit up the Orlando Amphitheater with a bunch of acts chosen by FM 101.9 (Orlando’s New Alternative radio station). Jen Cray approved.

  • The Unnamable
    The Unnamable

    This ’80s adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s short story The Unnamable became a video store staple and is now reissued on Blu-ray for current audiences.

From the Archives