O U T S I D E L E F T   stay i n d e p e n d e n t

Mariel Roberts, Nonextraneous Sounds

To say Mariel Roberts is a good cello player is like saying your smartphone makes good calls; the statement is true but ignores the capabilities and implications of what's before you.

get the weekly Outsideleft newsletter
by Alex V. Cook, Music Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: September, 2012
Should we really be listening on a moment so intimate?

Mariel Roberts, 
Nonextraneous Sounds 
(Innova)

To say Mariel Roberts is a good cello player is like saying your smartphone makes good calls; the statement is true but ignores the capabilities and implications of what's before you. Plus, smartphones don't make good calls. Anyway.

The cello 'n' 'lectrontics pieces (Andy Akiho's Three Shades, Foreshadows) are on equal footing with extended technique pieces (the way the hand brushes the strings, rubbing out Alex Mineck's Flutter involves a level of voyeurism that borders on the suspect. Should we really be listening on a moment so intimate?) as they are with the dramatic let's-play-this-thing, big bow-work numbers (like Daniel Wohl's visceral Saint Arc) .


Here is an excerpt of Roberts laying into Sean Friar's neo-Romantic fever-dream Teaser, a selection on the disc.

Tristan Perich's Formations is where the whole thing opens like a thousand flowers blooming. The cello meets an Einstein at the Beach grade swarm of electronic harpsichord bleeps. The composer programs his own microchips to make these pieces; perhaps the most artisan way to do electroacoustic music. One is led to say this hand-wiring gives what could be a minimalist migraine inducer its warmth, its Mesmer gaze, but Roberts is also tending the hearth with her bow, her cello a rider on the subway, a voice in a crowd, a gear in the clockwork of the world.

Mariel Roberts' site.

see more stories from outsideleft's Music archive »»

Alex V. Cook
Music Editor

Alex V. Cook listens to everything and writes about most of it. His latest book, the snappily titled Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky-Tonks, and Dance Halls is an odyssey from the backwoods bars and small-town dives to the swampside dance halls and converted clapboard barns of a Louisiana Saturday Night. Don't leave Heathrow without it. His first book Darkness Racket and Twang is available from SideCartel. The full effect can be had at alex v cook.com

years end

more stories you really could read...


thumb through the ancient archives:

search for something you might like...


sign up for the outsideleft weekly. a selection of new and archived stories every week. Or less.

View previous campaigns.

One Night in the Life of Bryan
Bryan Corbett's Blue Note Quartet at the Silvershine Jazz Club
Evel Dead
Daredevil Motorcycle Stunt Superstar Evel Knievel? Well now he's gone
The Late and Finally Great Elliott Smith
Claremont Road
For a lot of Londoners, famous, infamous or those just passing through, squatting in the 80s and 90s was the right way to save rent money you didn't have. Paul H recalls a well known East London squat.
Kamasi Washington Hits the Top
Jason Lewis says that the best record of 2017, Kamasi Washington's Harmony of Difference is the music that can elevate you, that can reach inside you, change you and fill you with hope
It is a Sad and Beautiful World
Three recent releases coax a mix of rock and European folk out of the bottomless pit of the World Music bin and into my headphones
Some of our favorite things...