Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Zoe Keating - One Cello and.a Headfull of Bee's


Of things Canadian this lass, born in 1972, is one that beautiful country should be justifiably proud of. Now a resident of sunny California the funky haired musician is proving to be something rather special. She has the ability to defy convention by being unconventional and still accessible but groundbreaking too.


 Zoe Keating is a name you should store away like little-undiscovered treasure. Keep it safe, keep it secret while you can for soon she will be spoken of by everyone with awed and envious voices. Two albums and one E.P into a career that promises much, Zoe is indeed a talent on the verge of bigger things and with a new album on the horizon, sooner than you might think. 



Classically trained having attended the Sarah Lawrence College, New York she then joined a band, a rock combo as Frank Zappa used to say in tone's of playful mock derision, Rasputina where she wielded her instrument with a dexterity rarely seen and with breathtaking ingenuity. Ambition and an adventurous spirit are often odd bedfellows in Rock where testosterone amplifies sound but at the loss of invention. Being female has its advantages it would seem.



Music needs to grapple the new for if it doesn't, as with any art form, it repeats itself like an old fart in a small room. And we all know what that can mean if new ideas aren't presented...a dearth of invention and the dry rot of conservative safety and a horrid smell.
Zoe Keating does not play things safe. She has a brave heart. Sometimes such courage tends to negate melodic content for the sake of nothing other than being adventurous  In other words the avant-garde can sometimes go one step too far. With Zoe, the balance is perfect much like her music which has impulse coupled with multi-layered textured cello. 
The sound she produces will almost certainly be claimed as 'classical' by some and by others as having a 'Rock' influence for it has a drive, a thrust about it but, as I often say, labels do not always clarify. Sometimes they only cloud and besides, rock is but the child of old time R&B which in itself is the offspring of the blues and that genre also has a propulsive rhythm.
For live performances, Zoe plugs her cello into an Ableton Live with SooperLooper software with Keith McMillen instruments and a SoftStep Foot controller thingy. All of which sounds rather space-agey to me but also tremendously exciting.
Technology to one side the many layered structural sound still has a visceral quality, organic and elemental. It is very listenable, though. Do not be put off by its modernist slant. Have a listen. You may surprise yourself. You may even like it.
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Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers and adds quavers where no quaver has gone before..

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