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Christopher Bell, the mohawk-sporting cellist, has always kept his feet planted in two separate worlds, straddling classical and contemporary genres. On his new album, Sirens, he widens his stance.
While his last three efforts have dabbled in folk and rock music, Sirens changes the format. Building songs on vocal loops gives the album a dark, otherworldly quality. With songs stripped down to their essential parts, the album's sound is cold and stark, like wind whipping through a sparse landscape. Drums have been replaced by glitchy pops and cracks and beatboxing. Strings weave around each other.
Live, Bell seems to capture the album perfectly, and this tour he adds trumpet and clarinet to his setup. Dense layers of sound collide and bounce off each other, creating an atmosphere of unpredictability, sometimes reminiscent of Gregorian chant, sometimes of hip-hop samples.
Prior to releasing Sirens, Christopher Bell gained national acclaim for utilizing unique modes of transportation to tour, including canoeing the Erie Canal, biking from upstate New York to Chicago, and walking across Massachusetts. The prolific young artist currently resides in DeKalb, Illinois, where he actively pursues a number of musical endeavors.