KALTBLUT Presents: Emma Ruth Rundle at Passionskirche

A gentle, melancholic piano melody introduces the evening, and when Emma Ruth Rundle finally starts to sing, the full emotional impact of every single word hits the audience. This is the sound of ‘Return’, the album opener of Engine of Hell, which was released in November 2021. Sonically Emma captures the imperfection and the vulnerability of humanity. “Here are some very personal songs; here are my memories; here is me teetering on the very edge of sanity dipping my toe into the outer reaches of space and I’m taking you with me and it’s very f****d up and imperfect.” Catch her performing at Passionkirche on July 17th, 2022 by entering our competition through win@kaltblut-magazine.com.

Emma Ruth 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 (exemplified by Some Heavy Ocean). But 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 on Engine of Hell creates a kind of intimacy, as if we’re sitting beside Rundle on the bench, or perhaps even playing the songs ourselves.

The instrument of Rundle’s childhood is the perfect vehicle for an album that is essentially a collection of memories from her youth, though one doesn’t need to dig too deep to realize Engine of Hell isn’t some saccharine nostalgia trip. As the album progresses, it becomes apparent that Engine of Hell is more memoir than pure poetry.

“For me, this album is the end of an era to the end of a decade of making records. Things DO have to change and have changed for me since I finished recording it.” In essence, Engine of Hell signifies a major turning point for Rundle as both an artist and as a person. The catharsis of this type of songwriting has effectively served its purpose, and to continue ruminating on the past going forward is less of a healing process and more like picking at a scab and refusing to let it heal. This may help explain why Rundle is less than enthusiastic about divulging the details about her muses, but it doesn’t alter the fact that these songs served a purpose in their creation, and that they may continue to bring comfort to others.

What? Emma Ruth Rundle live
Where? Passionskirche, Berlin
When? 17.07.22
Event info & tickets: here
Follow: @emmaruthrundle