The cello is an instrument steeped in the classical tradition, but I’m still always surprised by what brand-new things an old instrument can accomplish. And one of the most stunning videos I’ve seen lately is “From Above” by Ottawa-based cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne.
Weinroth-Browne is an inventive neo-classical musician pushing the cello in new directions. Best known for his work with local post-classical groups The Visit and Musk Ox, he released the solo cello album Worlds Within in 202.
But if you think that means mellow chamber music, you’d be wrong. In his live video for “From Above,” Weinroth-Browne shows us what happens when you combine innovative cello playing—drawn-out notes, finger plucking, tapping the bridge, bouncing the bow on the strings—with a loop pedal. He loops parts over each other, eventually creating a clubby, danceable beat mixed with the more somber notes we might expect from a cello and a tinge of something heavier, almost metal. You could listen to this at a club or at Ottawa Chamberfest.
Weinroth-Browne said that he plans on releasing live versions of each track on the Worlds Within album in lieu of a tour, given COVID-19 restrictions. Here, he peels back the creative process, demonstrating the breadth of possibility with a cello and a loop pedal.
The live video was recorded at The Workshop studio in Luskville, QC.