If you are still one of those people who sees classical and contemporary music as being two mutually exclusive camps, that the former is just the stuff of formality and tradition and that it is only in the latter that true creativity is allowed room to breath then Cellista is exactly the artist to change your mind. Although she arrives welding a Cello, an instrument more closely associated with the symphonic world that anything else, her album Transformation is a meeting of musical worlds like none you have experienced before.
Taking in everything from conventional musical styles, operatic vocal deliveries, poetry, original classical compositions, noise, musical exploration, genre-hopping sonic clashes and sound textures, it is a reflection of and response to the modern world and a call to resist the deadening of that world by institutions and false power, and the violence of gentrification and displacement. And if that sounds a serious and seriously dry subject, the skill at the heart of what this multi-disciplinary artist creates is that, for all its poignancy, it is beguiling and accessible, refreshingly original and hypnotic.
Although most of the songs are inspired by considerations and events around the Bay area of San Francisco, the broader themes and clever use of interwoven political speech shows this to be the perfect microcosm in which to explore broader, global concerns. Confessions is a slow and emotive trip-hop journey feeling like a dark fairytale, Look Homeward, Angel can only be described as Hip-Hopera and When The War Began is a shifting suite of music contrasting discordant strings, industrial grind and an anagram of classical music.
Transfigurations is a unique album, one that is musically wide ranging, emotionally shifting, brooding and soaring as the urge takes it, and the perfect counterpoint between classical and contemporary music, between tradition and avant-garde expression, and a reminder that art in general, and music in particular, is the perfect medium to talk about society, politics, power, people and everything in between.