Into the Trees by Zoe Keating

zoe_keating_2This is rapidly becoming a late night favourite at Readings Carlton, but where do you file it?

Classically trained cellist and northern California resident Zoe Keating toured here very recently and, if these two CDs are anything to go by, must have delivered some amazing performances.

Keating has suffered chronic stage fright and worked in the software industry. Somewhere along the way she has created a living for herself with skilful use of the internet and YouTube and bypassed the music business.

With the use of an acoustic cello, foot pedals and a laptop, and an incredibly fertile imagination, Keating has produced these sonic wonders. Through her considerable traditional and unorthodox cello technique and looping abilities, Keating provides percussive and rhythmic effects and melodies that fade in and out and build layer upon layers of sound that never descend into noise or chaos.

Musical reference points, although useless here, would be some of the more out there cello-driven pieces from The Penguin Cafe Orchestra and the menacing opening bars from the theme from Jaws but remember here there is just one cello playing the part of rhythm section and string section combined.

When listened through headphones this music is incredibly powerful and equal parts beautiful and disturbing but utterly compelling and will generate strong emotions.

Not recommended for background listening.

Paul Barr is a bookseller and music specialist at Readings Carlton.