Praise for A Common Truth
"With a voice equally suited to opening petals and opening wounds, Foon sings to the earth like a mother to a newborn, beaming with hope while gripped with fear. But she also offers an alternate form of resistance: transformation.” ("I Only Wish This For You" track premiere)
"Let’s get the most important part out of the way: Rebecca Foon’s second album as Saltland is a bona fide stunner. Potentially one of the most beautiful records you’ll hear this year. It makes sweet misery out of melody while articulating a forlorn yet rousing sense of hope. Yes, we’re smitten, but with good reason. There are pop songs of sorts here, notably the enthralling Under My Skin, but their obscured lyrics drift through the fog like whispered, half-heard conversations; it often feels like more of a soundscape than a collection of songs. What lies beneath…is a series of emotional, political and ecological puzzles, where optimism lies parallel to despair (and if you can find a better sonic summary of the socio-political climate in 2017, we urge you to shout about it from the rooftops). There doubtless will be more grandiose political records to come in 2017...[but] we’d bet you won’t want to live with them as long as this one: there are secrets and truths to be untapped, and the way Foon sets to her task is a genuine thrill."
– The Skinny ★★★★
"It’s in some ways surprising to learn that A Common Truth, cellist Rebecca Foon’s second album as Saltland, is about climate change. Surprising not because the album lacks anything in darkness or dread—it carries both in abundance—but because it feels so personal, its atmosphere so cloistered and internal. Foon seems to recede to a distant, unlit corner of her own psyche, allowing the music to grow unfettered in the ambiguities of the unconscious. She conceives of her subject in broader terms than your typical political discourse, and as such the material never seems to take place 'out there' somewhere but rather in an aching, frightening within. Composed of four instrumental tracks and five featuring hushed alto vocals murmuring just beneath subtle loops and the superb, sparse cello arrangements, Rebecca Foon has managed to take what could have been a narrow exercise in chamber music and crafted something with real emotional depth and scope. She takes cues from sources as diverse as drone and freak folk while hewing devotedly to her core instrument. No matter your tastes and inclinations, you may be surprised just how affecting the album proves to be.
– Popmatters 8/10
"On A Common Truth [Rebecca Foon] has filtered a cause that she cares deeply about through her considerable musical talents. The outcome is bountiful and expansive. Given the weighty issues she has tasked herself with, her approach is humble. For all the beauty on this record – and it is awash with it – this isn’t some fey attempt at political engagement. She crafts a complex and dense soundscape so rich in detail that repeated listens always reveal further treasures. The album successfully shifts between fatalistic mourning and a pragmatic resolve towards optimism, capturing all the problematic and uncomfortable truths surrounding an environment in crisis. This is a quietly powerful, and intensely beautiful, record whose contemplations will bed themselves in your mind and hopefully move you towards caring about the issues raised as deeply as she clearly does."
– MusicOhm ★★★★
"A Common Truth offers meditations on climate change, unfolding in spellbinding passages that entrance with deeply resonating, emotional dispatches… Built primarily from Foon's ethereal vocals and both acoustic and processed cello, that all manifests across the record nebulously, but there's an unmistakable gravity that insures it's all operating in the same realm…Foon's cello loops build stirring, densely populated worlds…[the album’s] greatest strength might be its steadfast, righteous patience…a spiritually holistic, potent dose of manna fit to feed a weathered movement."
– Exclaim 8/10
"Exploits the full measure of her instrument's potential by layering and processing, besides featuring it in its naked, unadulterated form. Electronic music strategies such as signal processing and re-sampling are present, too, but applied inconspicuously, their impact often subliminally felt. As this consistently satisfying follow-up to 2013's I Thought It Was Us But It Was All of Us shows, Foon's is a singular artistic voice."
"Orchestral tones, shoegaze and drone conjure up vast, lonely terrains. Mountainous and haunting. With her cello bow as her chisel, Rebecca Foon sculpts her deepest ruminations into being, daring us to look away."
– Record Collector ★★★★
"Had it been released a year ago, A Common Truth would have been a welcome voice in a virtual choir, calling attention to an essential issue; in today’s context, it’s a peaceful protest, a lament, a war cry. While Foon sings on half of the tracks, her voice is as integrated as that of Deirdre Rutkowski in This Mortal Coil; the music wraps around her words like a cocoon. The cello is such an emotive instrument that it’s hard to hear its low tones without a feeling of sadness or dread. Each emotion is pertinent here. The timbre lands between modern composition and post-rock, as might be expected from the artist’s pedigree, the music coming across as somber and cinematic. At once an elegy and a statement of injured hope, A Common Truth is a quiet yet insistent question raised by a reporter who won’t go away: how do we break this vicious cycle? "
– A Closer Listen
"Besides the first Saltland album in 2013 and her ongoing duties co-helming the consistently brilliant chamber group Esmerine, Foon has devoted much of her recent years to conservation causes and charities, notably co-founding Pathway To Paris, a concert series aimed at supporting the international climate agreement. So it’s no surprise that Foon’s second solo album as Saltland should address the complex emotions around tackling climate change. While the first was a varied mixture of lush dream pop, chamber music and spiraling post-rock littered with guests, A Common Truth is far more intimate, focusing on arrangements and whispered songs erupting around Foon’s distinctly emotive cello. Due to the shifting blend of fear, despair, togetherness, hope and anger that characterizes the battle for climate change awareness, her song cycle aptly seeps its way into all nooks and crannies of the emotional spectrum. The one major guest contribution comes from old friend and Bad Seed Warren Ellis, who fleshes out four tracks on the album with pump organ, loops and violin. “To Allow Us All To Breathe” has Foon’s wordless vocals and aching cello yearning to life over Ellis’s pump organ drones, lamenting the loss of breathable air, only to jump straight to a lullaby-esque piano ballad titled “Under My Skin”. Both the title track and lead single “I Only Wish This For You” seem to have Foon at her angriest, coaxing the cello strings into heavy distorted riffing behind a choir of multitracked Foons. A Common Truth closes with another instrumental duet with Ellis, this time blossoming with some convincing beauty and hope. Its sweetness however fails to quell the feeling of anger pervading this call to arms."
– The Wire
Praise for I Thought It Was Us But It Was All Of Us
"Crafted with immense care, Foon's recording eschews dramatic dynamic contrasts for a subtler brand of entrancement and features music of integrity refreshingly free of affectation or trendiness. The album's natural tone manages to feel both intimate and epic."
"You may hear more immediate LPs this year, but few will likely surpass the beauty Foon and friends have created here. Blending lo-fi analog intimacy and judicious electronic elements, Saltland teems with lush textures that conjure all manner of dream states in an LP made for late-night listening. Foon’s cello plays a key role throughout via its adaptable sonority, one comprised of a commanding percussive presence as well as its better-known rich and melancholic indigo tone. But it’s by no means the limelight-stealer. Thompson’s beats and percussion, and the signal processing he and co-producer Marc Lawson (Arcade Fire) apply, saturate and refract (often simultaneously) the sonic atmospheres to marvelous effect."
"An intricate, ghost-thin spider-web that fuses many different musical genres into one – the only element they share is they all fall under the dark of night. Beautifully arranging the musical strands together with caring fingertips, Saltland effectively link these many stylistic thoughts until they are left as one, dark entity living amongst the corners of thin, silver threads... I Thought It Was Us But It Was All Of Us sparkles with an amazing amount of courage."
– Fluid Radio
"Hallmarked by swirling, reverb-soaked strings, à la Set Fire To Flames, and dreamlike, filmic chamber movements reminiscent of early Silver Mt. Zion and Esmerine. Foon's voice [is] an instrument of somnolent, gossamer allure which floats gracefully amid the eddying, amniotic music."
– Mojo [4/5]
"An intricate and understated approach, blending soft, tender vocals with strings, drones and electronica...which showcase Mark Lawson’s masterful engineering. Foon’s hypnotic vocals are intoned against a backdrop of seamlessly-mixed live and electronic percussion, delayed guitars, and droning strings; the whole merges dreamily into a single horizon, recalling the lush textures of Tara Jane O’Neil."
– The Skinny [4/5]
"A really beautiful album which marks a recent high point in Constellation’s output, which is high praise indeed. It is an album that is far more than the some of it’s parts, bringing together elements of folk, jazz, chamber, and (post) rock. It is a record that will charm you, relax you, encompass you, and maybe even disturb you."
– Backseat Mafia
"The successful combination of ghostly vocals, elaborate strings, and raw percussion on I Thought It Was Us But It Was All Of Us evokes a vastly unique natural world, for which the album art is a perfect match. Undeveloped, sparse, and somehow beautifully desolate, the album’s environment is nature uninhabited, mysteriously captivating in an unnerving and exciting way."
– Redefine Magazine
"The compositional style may be classical, but the delivery is modern and mesmerizing...Foon turns out to be a surprisingly sweet singer, one whose voice itself is a lozenge. The most effective tracks offer a balance between voice and cello, with neither overshadowing the other.”
– A Closer Listen
"There's certainly a menace to I Thought It Was Us But It Was All Of Us, but it's a subtler one than anyone familiar with Foon's previous work will be used to. The shadows here are cast by way of juxtaposition, talk of things that 'echo through the darkness' as on 'ICA' made ominous only because the song it sits within is actually a rather gentle, almost catchy little number…The album's trump card is its ability to transcend folksy drone by dipping its toes in to metronomic percussion, electronic programming and signal processing."
– The Quietus
"With Foon's hushed vocal tones and the layered production, there is a dreamlike aspect to the sound and a familiar quiet melancholy, but the subtle details and breadth of instrumentation give a satisfying depth and texture, and the dynamics of tracks like 'I Thought It Was Us,' featuring the squalls of Colin Stetson's saxophone, and the rousing vocal-led 'Colour The Night Sky' lift the album to a flowing strength."
"The successful combination of ghostly vocals and elaborate evokes a vastly unique natural world. Undeveloped, sparse, and somehow beautifully desolate, the album’s environment is nature uninhabited, mysteriously captivating in an unnerving and exciting way."