Adam Hurst: Dwelling
Adam Hurst: Ruin
Though Adam Hurst's primary instrument is cello, his third and fourth releases show him to be an equally adept guitarist and pianist. On Dwelling and Ruin respectively, Hurst also proves himself to be a deft multi-tracker who records guitar and piano as base instruments over which his sinuous cello playing resounds. The two recordings are structurally similar with Hurst's preferred mode short, three- to four-minute classical settings of largely ruminative, sometimes ethereal character with all of the music composed by Hurst. He's no avant-garde provocateur hell-bent on extending the cello's sonic limits but instead an artist intent on bringing music of soul and romance into being.
On Dwelling's thirteen cello-and-guitar “poems,” Hurst alternates pieces pairing cello and acoustic guitar with others featuring multi-tracked guitars only. The prevailing mood is reflective and ruminative, though subtle contrasts emerge from one song to the next. “The Beyond” might be described as a dramatic Spanish guitar drone, while a faint country feel infuses the folk meditation “A Moment,” and a faint hint of Ry Cooder even seems to emerge too. The cello's singing tone comes to the fore in “Dwelling” whereas “In-Between” highlights the melismatic character of the instrument's cry.
The newer release Ruin follows Dwelling's lead with the obvious exception of the change in instrumentation. Again a melancholy spirit prevails (titles alone like “Alone” and “Face in the Rain” suggest as much, while “Death Waltz” is naturally somber) and Hurst largely opts for slow tempos throughout. The cello-piano combination is not only more contrasting than cello-guitar but the piano's cascades and arpeggios offer a richer and often lilting backdrop to the cello. Needless to say, Hurst 's cello playing on both recordings is beautiful—inflamed with emotion and passion but not overwrought (the cello melodies in “Exit” even exude a Byzantine quality that calls to mind John Tavener). Similarly, despite being melancholic in temperament, his elegant compositions are pretty but not saccharine.