RUNAH is a Manchester artist creating sound with a boundary-breaking quality as she uncovers contemporary themes and proves that both reflection and resonance can be conveyed in a single song. ‘This Silence’ is her latest, focusing on society’s need to sufficiently consider mental health – exploring the themes of self-control and struggle in an impressive piece coming in at just over 4 minutes.
It melts minimalistic musical aspects with an ever-advancing female vocal. Starting a track titled ‘This Silence’ may seem contradictory, but RUNAH co-ordinates the interior musical content as if to convey the weight of turbulence, the wondering hours we may associate with absolute quiet.
‘This Silence’ opens with an echoing synthy soundscape before a dwelling bass delves in, allowing the glitchy electronic textures to grow lower in the mix. It is great, gradual pacing which gives gravitas to declarative lyrics dealt out with real vocal deftness: “This silence has taken its toll on you.”
This is a track which shows the impact of one’s own isolation and how it can accentuate other emotional reactions like self-doubt. A mellow melody underpins throughout, followed by layering of echoey percussion, a hi-hat intensity and even mare harmonies.
An attention to detail also elevates this track, as the chorus line changes slightly to take on the first person, “This silence has taken its toll on me” – making more evocative the subject matter of mental pain and highlighting how it affects the relationships between people when unaddressed, turning the track into a type of exchange.
Also of note are RUNAH’s vocals, which give this oft-dark subject matter an engaging quality, inviting the audience to think rather than feel threatened, which is a key skill.
The line, “Darling won’t you breathe” doesn’t seem lyrically complex when written down but somehow she manages to shift her expression of the vowel into a voluminous extended syllable. It packs real power and also provides a kind of creative statement in itself – proving that extensive heavy instrumentation isn’t necessary to convey a weighty and emotive theme. RUNAH manages it with real flair and allows room for thought. One to wonder over, that’s for sure.
The new single ‘This Silence’ is available now on all streaming and retail platforms.