Review Summary: A talented cellist notable for working with Rasputina and Amanda Palmer.
Zoe Keating is a well known cellist that formerly played with the cello themed rock band Rasputina for several years. A talented cello player originally from Canada, Zoe moved to California to pursue her musical career, getting involved with several projects almost immediately before and after taking leave from Rasputina. Other projects have included working with film soundtracks, Mar, Tarentel, John Vanderslice, Amanda Palmer’s debut album, and other solo based projects. It’s safe to say that this woman is quite serious with her craft because not many others can display the same level of enthusiasm and proficiency as she can. I can thank my brother for this wonderful discovery because he was the one who introduced me to her music. Actually, I saw a live performance from Zoe before actually hearing an album first but nonetheless I was quite impressed with what I had just stumbled across. Her live show was incredibly powerful and addicting as Zoe and her lone cello delivered a thought provoking performance.
Upon the first time I heard the cello, I fell in love with the rich and deep tone that the instrument produced. I can thank metal for my introduction to the cello because Ulver brought it to my attention with the track “Nattleite” from their acoustic based record Kveldssanger. The layering of cello and acoustic guitar created a formidable duo of sorrow contrasting with calming attributes so it was only a matter of time before I discovered Apocalyptica and such. Back to Zoe Keating now. After watching her live performance I demanded a copy of her album from my brother, in a peaceful manner of course. A moment later I gleefully wrapped my fingers around “One Cello x16: Natoma” for the first time, itching to play it on my journey back home. As expected, this is a strictly instrumental based record focusing solely on the exploitation of the cello and electronic programming to help structure the compositions into fully breathing pieces of art. Repetition is a strong feature to Zoe’s limited arsenal and her exponential ability for layering deceives the listener into thinking that three cello players are playing together but in reality it’s only Zoe. To think she can pull this off by herself in concert is an incredible feat by itself.
The album follows similar ideas and movements throughout the fifty plus minute duration of the album, hence repetition forming the basis of the music but each track end’s up nothing short of spectacular. With this album dating back to 2005 I’d say it’s about time for Zoe to shell out some new offerings because had I been listening to her solo work since 2004’s E.P I would be quite on edge for all this time passing by without a new album. Nonetheless, Zoe Keating has turned out to be one of my new favorite discoveries in the year of 2008. I just hope some people decide to check out her stuff whether it‘s the new Amanda Palmer album or some of the previous Rasputina efforts. This is an album with a realistic shot of gathering a huge fan base online due to the appeal that Zoe carries. Whether you’re into ambient, classical, or even adventurous genre bending metal like Therion and Estatic Fear, there’s a great chance you’ll find something to love.