Daily Dose: ‘Exurgency’ by Zoë Keating

Yup, about time for this week’s cello piece. Nope, this won’t become a regular thing, mainly because I’m so uncultured that a part of my brain still views the cello as a violin that grew up and decided to stop mucking about. Zoe Keating is Canadian, has pretty amazing hair (at least on the photos I saw of her), and has released two and half albums as solo musician, on top of the host of other brilliant work she has done, including playing as second cello for last week’s foray into the uppity violin, Rasputina. She’s got a fantastic technique of sampling and layering her own cello, both on recordings and apparently live (which I bet is a sight to see), to fashion these wonderfully dense creations that sweep and flow with the grace that one would expect with music played entirely on a cello, but with the added intensity provided by the knowledge that one person is effectively playing sixteen flipping cellos at once. Contemporary classical music can be a hard thing to talk about, but this track has a lot of similarities to a modern rock song, with its insistent “beat”, delineated patterns, and something close to a melody, but there’s so much going on here that it really requires multiple listens to even have a chance of understanding it properly. It’s complicated, beautiful, very melancholy, and does a fantastic job of keeping the listener at a distance whilst still taking them on a journey. It doesn’t tie me to any particular place or story when I listen to it, but my goodness if it doesn’t do a good job of making me feel. If you don’t like cellos, avoid. Otherwise, give it a shot and see where it takes you.

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