Cellist Lucy Railton was in residence at Cafe Oto on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Day 1 saw her with Sharon Gal, Caroline Kraabel, Joseph Houston and Sophie Fetokaki; I attended Day 2 when she performed with Catherine Lamb, Rebecca Salvadori and in a trio with Farida Amadou and John Edwards.
The duo performance with Catherine Lamb on viola was, I believe, the first outing of a piece in development based on Lamb’s composition, The Additive Arrow. So this was a through composed piece based on the interaction between different lines played on the two string instruments, moving gently through various textures, and constantly introducing minute changes. It was a beautiful piece that created a feeling of intensity in the playing and also in the listening audience.
The work with Rebecca Salvadori was an electronic score accompanying a sequence of visuals.
The highlight of the evening for me was the final set, which was a free improvisation with Lucy on cello, John Edwards on double bass and Farida Amadou on electric bass. It was fascinating to hear an improvisation with three low string instruments, two acoustic and one electric. Apparently the word cello is short for violoncello which in Italian means small double bass, so it might be said this was a kind of bass ensemble. Certainly John Edwards seemed to take the lead throwing into the mix a series of great ideas which were picked up and developed by Lucy. Farida provided more of a groove beginning with the bass guitar on her lap and beating out a rhythm. As the improvisation developed, she introduced new patterns but always maintained the pulse. The result was an absorbing, cohesive and deeply satisfying set of improvised music.
Cafe Oto was packed with a noticeably young and enthusiastic audience.