ROSIN’s breaking the rules, and they don’t care who knows; just call them the bad boys (and girls) of classical music. Made up of primary composer, Jake Armerding, on violin, mandolin and guitar, Annie Bartlett on violin and viola, Mina Kim on cello and Zachariah Hickman on double bass, the Americana-influenced string quartet flies in the face of the staid conventions of classical music. In their experimentation and push towards fusion of genres, they want to take their craft out of the gilded concert hall and into the streets of the city and the ears of a new generation of listeners, who may be all too quick to dismiss instrumental, string-based music.
Their forthcoming full-length album, due this January, is based on the electric dynamic the group found in 2011 with the launch of a live music series, the Sheffield Sessions. What started out as a one-off house show led to a monthly series, and eventually to the formation of this tight-knit foursome.
Today, Elmore is sharing the band’s latest single, “Downpour on Skyline Trail.” Jake Armeding shares his making-of story; “I had just gotten a new instrument, an octave violin, and it had these great electronics in it. I started messing around with a delay pedal and got so hypnotized by the sound that I banged out this tune in about fifteen minutes. Sometimes when you are excited enough, like a little kid, the internal editor checks out and the music just flows through you.” The song, he adds, is “named for one of the trails in the Middlesex Fells Reservation, north of Boston.”
It’s a buoyant, cheerful track pulsing with energy and life. The mandolin leads the piece, setting the tone and pace at the track’s open, as the rest of the players layer their sound atop, from the pulse of drums to the steady hum of bass. The wail of a fiddle lends an old-timey roots feel that will leave you toe-tapping in time.