Zoe Keating: A Symphony Unto Herself
Zoe Keating’s latest album is titled Into the Trees, and that’s exactly where I have to go to meet her. She lives in the middle of a redwood forest, an hour and a half north of San Francisco. As Keating walks me around, we listen for her neighbors, the woodpeckers, who she says are extra-noisy in the evening.
It’s fitting to find Keating in the middle of all this natural noise. In her studio, she creates a similar symphony of sounds, except she does it with just one instrument: her cello.
Her secret lies in the way she constructs her songs. Keating uses computer software to record sounds and musical phrases as she plays them. When she plays something she wants to keep, she taps on pedals at her feet, which tell the computer program to save and loop what she just played. That frees her up to play a new musical phrase along with what she just recorded. The process repeats until she’s created layers upon layers of sounds, all from her one cello.
Listen to the full story by Martina Castro from NPR member station KALW.
Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.