Rawness finds perfect balance with serenity on Woman, which sees Rhye express emotion with a touch as delicate and smooth as sea glass.
Few albums can capture the ears of a room in such a bashful way as Rhye’s Woman. Its unassuming beauty mirrors the mindset of its creators at the time, each caught in the whirlwind of love and marriage that was carefully reflected in their music.
This produced one of the most intimate albums of recent memory, although classifying it simply as bedroom music is likened to categorizing love as purely physical. Instead it embodies romance in so many complex ways: ethereal, sensual, supernatural, cathartic.
This album floats above the heads of listeners while remaining comfortably close by. The minimalism in the instrumentation allows the vocals to steal the show, but the subtle backdrop gives them a richness that prevents the music from ever being hollow. You have to really focus to notice the strings or horns sections as they hazily linger in the shadows behind the vocals.
Very few albums can create a sense of delicate beauty like Woman, and it does so seemingly without even trying.
Sesame Seared Tuna
Your first bite into a lightly crusted tuna filet is a near unmatched sensation. The initial bitter crunch of nutty sesame quickly gives way to the delicate pureness of the raw tuna. The tuna itself is slightly salty and rich enough to stand on its own despite the lack of a show-stopping flavour.
The texture is what sets good tuna apart. Bites are as smooth as velvet. The fish puts on a tough, firm façade but flakes apart at the slightest sign of pressure. It is gone as soon as it is sliced into, with little energy put into chewing and no sign of fibrous resistance.
For a bite with more power behind it, wasabi adds a momentary singeing sharpness. A savoury sweetness from hoisin compliments the tuna quite well too.
A dry white wine is up to the challenge to compliment this meal, with a rounded and subtle finish to support and not overwhelm the delicate fish. I chose a sauvignon blanc.
Listening to Woman is like watching a snowflake drift down from the clouds ever so slowly and delicately, then disappearing on your tongue like it was never there at all. The seared tuna has a similar effect: short lived, but elegant and captivating while it lasted.
Each component of the experience plays to one of our simplest needs: desire. The album stirs emotions through its suggestive and passively erotic melodies gasping with emotion. The tuna is a powerful aphrodisiac both due to its makeup (mood-elevating Omega-3 fatty acids) and its allure (tender and satin touch to the tongue).
The experience is powerful enough to be intoxicating even before your first sip of wine. Delicate vocals pluck at your emotions like a harp and luscious flavours intoxicate the tongue and disarm your senses. This pairing has the power of finding your innermost urges and loosening your shackles on them, letting them escape in the brief period of an album. Be careful, as it is easy to lose control during the catharsis this paring summons.
But sometimes losing control to your feelings and emotions is exactly what you need, and if it is, look no further than this experience.
Recipe: Sesame Seared Tuna
Let tuna sit until room temperature. Cover a plate with sesame seeds. Press tuna in sesame, flip and repeat. Salt and pepper liberally.
Head oil over high heat. Place steaks on the pan and let sit for 30 seconds, then flip. Heat for 30 seconds, remove from heat, and serve immediately.
Place on bed of enoki mushrooms. Serve with wasabi and hoisin sauce.