Review Summary: A hypnotizing reimagining that tests the boundaries of the cello through an alluring conceptWorlds Within Live
is an easy and intriguing sell from the start. Described by its creator as the soundtrack to a life cycle, it’s an enthralling instrumental journey that explores nature through the harrowing depths of time. Everything has a beginning and an end – an equally terrifying and beautiful truth – which is expertly conveyed here through a balanced tug-of war of minimalistic flavor and lively soundscapes. The catch? It’s a reimagining that allows the audience to dig even deeper. Without the traditional live audience, Raphael Weinroth-Browne (Musk Ox, The Visit) had no choice but to get lost in his own world of weeping strings and magnetic ambience.
Condensing the ten movements from last year’s Worlds Within
into four seamless sections, the intoxicating experience feels like one cohesive whole. The journey begins with a wave of tranquility: the opening breaths of “Unending I” recall thriving forests and the purest rivers undisturbed by man’s influence. Raph’s intricate and affecting playing does much of the heavy lifting here, the meticulous stoke of his arm conjuring up the powerful imagery on display like second nature. To say the first stretch is one hell of a scene-setter would be an understatement; the melancholic strings prove completely hypnotic from the start.
As the album progresses, it also becomes more threatening. Many of the sprawling instrumental movements on Worlds Within Live
are inspired by metal. The urgent, unpredictable dancing of strings on “From Above” even draw some inspiration from Meshuggah as things frantically unfolds like an irregular heartbeat. On both the live reimaging and the initial journey, “Tumult I-III” make up for a particularly gripping set of movements. Some of Raph’s most imaginative cello work meshes with a mysterious and driving tribal beat. The album is also made up of looping sound effects and subtle electronic influences that give it a more complex and layered sound. There’s a undeniably wide range to Worlds Within Live
, from the peaceful, subtle crawl of “Unending I – From Within” to the more adventurous and jarring stretches.
The best part about World Within Live
is how much it challenges the listener to not only enter the realm of a mysterious and passionate world, but to analyze it as well. It’s so easy to listen to music in the background without really hearing
it. As a seasoned cellist, Raph encourages us to dig deeper by taking an already enticing record and turned it upside down to uncover new perspectives and nuances. Trying to decipher the little differences kept me feeling engaged throughout. Those unfamiliar with the original 2020 version, however, will have no problem getting sucked into this raw and gripping rendition. Though largely inspired by the ancient foundation of nature, Worlds Within Live
often feels celestial in scope. There’s something vast and elusive about it all - completely separated from human understanding. As you devote time to the concept, you’ll find yourself with more questions than answers. This is clearly the point, and Raph’s ability to manipulate his instrument of choice to tell a story is astounding. He leaves such a passionate imprint on everything he’s a part of, and Worlds Within Live
feels like one of his most mysterious and personal efforts yet.