I doubt that I am alone in regarding the cello as being the most elegant of musical instruments. Its place in amongst words of social concern does not, however, seem an obvious one so would “Transfigurations” by Cellista demonstrate its value by classical precision?
As albums go, “Transfigurations” is a difficult one to classify. Over the duration of the album, there are certainly more than enough oblique touches to justify an avantgarde tag yet the reliance on looped samples pulled from sources of historical value might suggest that the approval of the intelligentsia was perhaps not Cellista’s only motivation. It cannot be denied, however, that there is much in the way of musical skills on show and it is commendable that Cellista leads her cohorts courageously along some distinctly twisted musical roads that lead the listener away from main street accessibility towards the deserted highway of arthouse soundtrack cues. “Repetitions” is a prime example of this approach.
On the other hand, her angular approach does bring benefits when you might not perhaps expect them. “Look Homeward, Angel”, for example, mixes rap, cello and the supreme elegance of Melissa Wimbish’s voice to delight of my jaded ears. In lesser hands, such a combination could have been a pretentious disaster but here it is a joy. While it is no surprise to state that “Transfigurations” is unlikely to attract the attention of the mainstream, I suspect it will bring Cellista to the ears of the attention of those who want to hear in the dark.
Best song? The hybrid enchantment that is “Look Homeward, Angel”.
The verdict? Crossing genre boundaries is not an easy task but Cellista seem to have done it.