Rufus Isabel Elliot

A white person with long brown hair. It is looking at the camera and standing in front of a dark metal shutter and brick wall.

Rufus Isabel Elliot is a composer and musician originally from Tower Hamlets, living now in Skye. Rufus has written funerary music for doomed spaceships and orchestral music about rotting seaweed. It cares about honesty and openness. Its work is concerned with testimony, the conditions in which one speaks out, and how those stories are passed on. Its music is ‘fluid and ambitious’ (The Wire) and ‘stunningly intimate’ (The Quietus). Rufus’ first album A/am/ams (come ashore, turn over), was released in 2021 in collaboration with Glasgow tape label GLARC, documenting its one-act chamber piece commissioned by OVER / AT. Its second album, Three sexual pieces for solo violin (this and this and this) was released in 2022.

Content warning: please be aware that the writing that accompanies this music contains mentions of death and sexual violence.

About ‘An Consolation’

Around ten miles south-west from here the village of Caradal lies deserted. Around ten miles north-west from here lies the gateway to the other world.

Seals bask on dark skerries as the tide comes and goes from an empty beach.

A character – Maiden, maiden – lives here. This piece was a story about staying and going.

The words and the music grew together and sit side by side. Come and go freely from either or both. Listen under the covers, with headphones, during a long winter’s night.

Music and words by Rufus Isabel Elliot
Clarinet portrayed by Alex South
String Trio portrayed by Katherine Wren, Kieran Carter, and Seth Bennett

Recorded and mixed by Ronán David Fay at the Green Door Studio.
Audio Description by Michael Achtman
Subtitles by Stagetext

I saw ea, laird. walking down the roughening road. and stepping up, laird. to the village / from the stream. I saw how. they laid ea. down / low. sleeping / dead. deeper, and. dreaming still / imprisoned. they want ea to understand. free / hostage / lief / lothe / strange / belonging. that they will not let ea go.That’s alright, maiden. he loves ea too. And that was how they brought ea back, laird. freed / a hostage / low / down / raped / dead / aye. he loves ea too. don’t cry. It’s loner, loner. and my laird here. lay ea. down / low / empty / whole / in the hall / on the rough ground. and my laird: will you sing us the story. sing me the whole story. holding. his big hands / ea little hands / the winter sun / the blue. my laird: you’re strong, i know, i know, but you don’t understand. you don’t have to lay down. lie low. and you don’t understand. it’s love / it’s love / it’s love. you don’t have to give it to me i’m telling you – and laird / laird / laird. he walks away.It’s when he is gone they take ea to the cave. below ea feet the water roars. as ea lift ea heels. as ea step down, step ea down. lightly / darkly. ea shall be grasped forever. and ever / and ever. amongst these black mountains, and. they want to make ea understand. free / hostage / lief / lothe / strange / belonging. they will not let ea go. It’s when he is gone ea take to ea heels. Loner, loner, listening to ea own footfalls: light and soft crossing green old pasture; dissipating at once, never to return. Listening still, broken and scuffling as ea crosses the rocks on the shore, heavy and slow over the marsh, bright and light as feet cross streams. From outside eaself, loner, loner, ea feel ea feet touching the deer path through the rushes. They clack and rustle amongst themselves as loner, loner, as ea pass. There is a confluence of streams here. Or a division. Ea can hear it. The water makes its way around pillars of rock – this way, the other way, flowing uphill, downhill, carving ripples into the rock. The cold, crystal water pools here, then flows away, flows down, where ea cannot follow. Feel every ripple of rock – shadowed and lighted. Hear the low voices of this cavern, shouting words incomprehensible as you listen to the water be torn apart, then come together again. Ea live ea itinerant life here in the cave. When ea turn, the rock reverses itself. Every curve of the passage turns backwards, and the walls reach for ea, push ea back, lead ea on. Through the gate, into another world, into a world of blue sky and green fields and sweet woodlands and light. Into a world of shadows and spirits, into a world of great desert sands, a world of high mountains reaching into oblivion and days following a river to the source, to the sea. This side of the pillar, ea take to ea heels, cross great open expanses on foot, the wind in ea hair. The other side, and under the archway, ea walk to the underworld. It’s when they lay out ea body. those faces in their coloured clothes / the grey and black hills above. the pass. will stand silent / will say nothing. they will be angry, laird. they will be sad / they will feel nothing. they will. turn their eyes away / watch ea. laid / down / low / raped / aye / dead / alive / freed / hostage / forever A hand-drawn quadrilateral image made up of tiny oval shapes, net-like in quality.