Zoe Keating: One Woman Cello

Zoe Keating
January 19, 2011
The Independent
San Francisco, CA

Zoe Keating: One Woman Cello

Zoe Keating has made a previous cameo on MV&R when she opened for Imogen Heap and stole the show. In the battle of the loopers, there was no question which was the true artist. Imogen Heap's songs may be more accessible, but Zoe is able to bridge the technological and the classical in an idiosyncratic way to create really amazing music. I have hope for IH, but ZK is already there.

To review, ZK is a celloist and in her solo performances, she uses foot pedals to electronically record and play back short loops, layering motifs, one on top of the next, until she is playing over an ensemble of, as many as, 15 or 16 different cello lines that she has created live. The cello is a beautiful instrument of great pathos and the music Zoe creates can be mesmerizing as she slowly builds up each song. You could hear a pin drop during the quieter moments at the sold-out Independent show. There were a few moments during her performance where I felt that she got a little Windham Hill but there is no doubt that she is creating art.

Zoe is also one of those rare artists whose live performance outdistances her recordings by some measure. Listening to her live performance is an enriching experience that isn't quite matched by her CDs. Seeing ZK perform at The Independent is a reminder of why I love going to live shows. If you get the chance, go see her.

One bit of criticism: She does need to work on her stage banter a little bit. It's never a good idea to tell the audience that they are missing out on a special guest that couldn't make it. Still, ZK is an unknown that needs to be more known.

A couple vids to check out: Tetrishead, Optimist

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