Nuria Rial sings as smooth as angel tit skin. This Catalan soprano could seduce a fucking eunuch with that tone of hers. But that’s not what makes this recording so fucking good. Sure, she navigates through an army of cellos (eight to be exact) with the subtle playfulness of a butterfly drunkenly twirling its way toward a summer’s sun (particularly on “Vocal Ice”). But it’s the arrangements on this album that are boss as all fuck.
First off, why eight fucking cellos?
Back in the day, legend composer Hector Berlioz wrote a super book called Grand traité d’instrumentation et d’orchestration modernes (aka Treatise on Instrumentation) which works like a mini bible instructing orchestras on how to do their shit. In this book the motherfucker says, “The cello, in a section of eight or ten players, is essentially a melodic instrument” and “nothing has such voluptuous sadness as a mass of cellos playing in unison”. All I can say, dude knew his fucking shit. When these eight cellists from Sinfonieorchester Basel breakdown into those minor notes, the sadness is as voluptuous as Dolly Parton and as rich, thick, and gorgeous as Oprah fucking Winfrey. Mass cello warfare is the shit.
This album is mostly made up of compositions by Astor Piazzolla and Heitor Villa-Lobos. I didn’t grow up in a house of classical music, so I was introduced to Piazzolla back in ’95 through the movie 12 Monkeys. You won’t hear him on the movie soundtrack, but his licks are peppered throughout the entire film. These strange and hypnotic tango-like cuts help create that dark humour that Terry Gilliam is known for. Both Piazzolla and Heitor have that similar childish darkness. Taking this element and blasting it through an octet of cellos is truly fucking mesmerizing.
This daringness to experiment, this dedication to not giving a fuck, breathes life into art. It’s that drive behind Piazzolla learning the bandoneon as he limped through the gang-filled streets of his childhood. It’s Heitor learning music by secretly watching a band play from the top of the stairs. It’s Carlin fighting the courts so he could continue his act, “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” back in the ’70s. It’s taking chances and being daring. It’s dedicating your time to bringing joy into this world and making people laugh. It’s throwing every ounce of fucking pain and passion into every plucked string. And for all the others that may think otherwise, I say to you: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.