Zoe Keating

Zoë Keating’s album One Cello x 16: Natoma is a piece of music everyone should listen to. I’m not sure I have the musical vocabulary to place it or articulate it with any skill. But if I had to put words to it, I’d describe it as intense, deep and abstract, but still accessible string work that can transform any space you’re in while listening to it. It’s the kind of thing that’s easy to turn into an “atonal nightmare of pretension” (to quote President Bartlett of The West Wing’s assessment of modern composing), but Keating never does. I am immediately drawn into it and my emotions are wrapped into its resonant rumbling, slow majestic soaring and exotic tonal modulations. The craziest thing is that, I’m pretty sure there are no instruments but layered recordings of the cello. Additionally, I understand that she creates these loops on the fly with foot-triggered hardware in such a way that no performances are ever the same.

That description alone will probably make you want to preemptively hate it, but why don’t you just sample some of it here? Or maybe you should just buy it right now.

4 Responses to “Zoe Keating”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Lots of samples up on Amazon. I’ll give a listen.

    Note that in Google Reader, at least, the headline to this post doesn’t render the diaeresis.

  2. chris r says:

    Thanks for the tip. I’ve changed it so the HTML coding doesn’t show up, but now the diaeresis is gone as well.

    It’s a shame that the web is so unforgiving of non-English languages.

  3. neilw says:

    I’m not seeing the umlaut in the title at the top of this page, either (inside FeedDemon).

    The music and technique quite interesting, though cello is not my favorite lead instrument. I definitely appreciate the creativity and originality, and ya gotta love anyone that names a track “Tetrishead”.

    Stylistically, I could see this as having been released on the Private Music label in the 80’s or 90’s (aspects remind a bit of a Jerry Goodman disc I had from that era).

  4. Improbus says:

    If you like this sort of ambient music you should check out Phillip Glass’ Solo Piano.

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