Emma Ruth Rundle’s forthcoming album, Engine of Hell, out November 5 through Sargent House, captures a moment where a masterful songwriter strips away all flourishes and embellishments in order to make every note and word hit with maximum impact, leaving little to hide behind.
Rundle’s latest single, the soft-spoken guitar ballad “Blooms of Oblivion,” intimately reflects on an experience that was too big for her as a child. She sings:
“Down at the methadone clinic we waited/ Hoping to take home your cure/ The curdling cowards, the crackle of china/ You say that it’s making you pure.”
Watch the video for “Blooms of Oblivion” below:
For anyone that’s endured trauma and grief, there’s a beautiful solace in hearing Rundle articulate and humanize that particular type of pain not only with her words but with her unique mysterious language of melody and timbre.
Rundle’s latest single follows the release of “Return” and comes alongside a vivid and compelling new video which she co-directed with John Bradburn. She explains:
“In the video, I use an oversized coat to represent an oversized and burdening experience for the little girl. The feeling of being free falling in chaos. Having no control over your circumstances. The song and video describe the feelings I had as a little girl and how that’s shaped who I have become – negotiating with my past and waking to the woman I strive to become through self-love, self-parenting and forgiveness and the transformation that it can bring.”
Rundle has always been a multifaceted musician, equally capable of dreamy abstraction (as heard on her debut album, Electric Guitar: One), maximalist textural explorations (see her work in Marriages, Red Sparowes, Nocturnes or collaborations with Chelsea Wolfe and Thou), and the classic acoustic guitar singer-songwriter tradition.
On Engine of Hell, Rundle focuses on an instrument that she left behind in her early twenties when she began playing in bands: the piano. In combination with her voice, the piano playing creates a kind of intimacy, as if we’re sitting beside Rundle on the bench, or perhaps even playing the songs ourselves.
Rundle has announced her first performance since 2019 at Substance LA taking place on November 26 at The Belasco Theater along with an EU/UK Spring 2022 run.
Pre-order Engine of Hell here.