Marika Hughes has provided cello skills for Tom Waits, Mr. Bungle, Whitney Houston and a bunch of other established artists that have little in common with one another. So when she decided to strike out on her own, you can’t blame her for wanting it both ways. She’s simultaneously releasing two albums representing two different genres. Afterlife Music Radio—11 New Pieces for Solo Cello is an all-instrumental program of contemporary music, while The Simplest Thing is art-house indie with Hughes wearing her singer-songwriter hat. The former is a genuinely good-natured shot at modern forms, featuring composers who I never thought could write for cello (Jenny Scheinman, Trevor Dunn, Nasheet Waits). The latter finds Hughes more concerned with a role she feels compelled to play, resulting in her base singing voice nudging its way through a collection of songs that range from blank to awkward. Here’s hoping that she’ll give Erik Friedlander a run for his money someday.
Afterlife Music Radio: 11 New Pieces for Solo Cello
The Simplest Thing