“The idea here is that Newby’s cello communicates with each composer’s voice a bit differently. And there are several additional instruments thrown into the mix for her to work with — a piano, a voice, a buzzing drum skin, a sine wave. But each of these remains secondary to the cello, and its sweet drone and surge lead the discussion quite handily.”
-- The Wire
ESR presents our first full-length physical release from Oakland-based experimental cellist Helen Newby, out on cassette April 28th. Dialogue consists of five new works for solo cello, written in collaboration with Helen by composers David Bird, Adam Hirsch, Kurt Isaacson, Haley Shaw, and Danny Clay. Newby's approach to the instrument imagines a cello liberated from its body and open to a world humming with new sonic possibilities. The works written for this collection explore the textured relationships between a cello and its imagined potential, between a performer and a hazily defined "other": an empty courtyard, a resonating piano, a disembodied voice, a subharmonic sine wave, a self-oscillating snare drum. Recorded live on 2-inch analog tape and stretching out across a patient time frame, Newby's hi-fi solo debut is by turns shimmering and dizzying, wondering out loud about how to hear things differently.