RFG Inventions for Cello and Computer does, more-or-less what it says on the tin. The interesting thing here is, however, that it’s not the kind of thing you see written on ‘the tin’ very often, if ever. Peter Zinoffieff is an inventor and computer enthusiast who has created an orchestrated piece with a computer using fragments of cello improvisations by Lucy Railton. Lucy added more cello over the top.
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With the utmost respect to Peter Zinovieff and Lucy Railton, their latest album is just Kane Software with a cello. Released towards the end of 2018, the Leeds based duo’s album ‘dda666’ was a startling meeting of saxophone and electronics, a sinful marriage between the breath in one man’s lungs and the RAM in another’s laptop.
‘RFG Inventions for Cello and Computer’ pulls the same trick. Railton is a wonderful cellist, willing to play with the instrument to create or sorts of horrid and beguiling sounds. Three minutes in she draws out long drones from the instrument. 15 minutes in she dances lithely and lightly on the top string. 29 minutes in she bows back in forth quickly enough to shatter the fabric of time. A friend of mine once told me that he believed if God had a voice it would sound like a cello. Railton’s is a cunning, vengeful God.
She is accompanied by Peter Zinovieff, who in a previous life co-founded a synth manufacturer whose products ended up in the hands of David Bowie and Pink Floyd. He created a version of Railton’s vast palette with a computer programme of his own design, and put it in conversation with Railton herself. The resulting sounds are not unfamiliar, a mixture of growls, shrieks, and stomps, but put in conversation with the cello that spawned it, it forms a musical Voight-Kampff test.
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