Review by Timothy Cahill
“Avant-cellist” and composer Zoë Keating does not perform in the normal sense of the term, playing a single score through from start to end. Rather, she collaborates with the limitless voices she creates on her instrument, inventing textured scrims and bursts of sound which are recorded and looped through a computer, layer on layer in harmony and accompaniment. On the stage of the Swyer Theatre at The Egg, she did this in real time, an Apple laptop and foot-controlled multi-track switchboard her ensemble, multiplying and replicating herself in music dense with complex dialogues, echoes, shouts and replies…
Keating performed a dozen pieces, drawn mostly from her 2005 debut album One cello x 16: Natoma and that work’s beguiling 2010 follow-up, Into the Trees. The concert also featured unrecorded compositions from an album in the works, as well as “scraps,” as Keating called them, and a bit of Beethoven.
Keating’s art draws equally from the patterned language of classical music and the free-range exuberance of pop songs. Her aesthetic is one of spectacle and ceremony, of aspiration, verge, turbulence, transcendence. A passage or figure was recorded in performance, then instantly played back through the computer as beat, root, feedback, pattern, continuo, counterpoint, polyphony, discord.