We’re always excited to find new artists in town making new music, and one group that has recently caught our attention is The Visit. This duo consists of an incredibly proficient cellist, Raphael Weinroth-Browne, and a skilled vocalist, Heather Sita Black. The pairing use a self-described “musical dialogue that transcends genres and idioms, reconciling soulful lamentations with aggressive, complex rhythms, and maintaining a balance between improvisation and structure.”
Their new track called “Between Worlds” is a fourteen and a half-minute long epic journey. The journey begins softly and with grace, as Raphael’s cello bellows long and restrained notes. However, before the two-minute mark, he proceeds to dominate the fingerboard much more vigorously and demonstrates why The Visit are a force to be reckoned with. Once Heather’s haunting and disarming vocals start, the rest of the song is a back and forth battle between the two. There are moments of intensity and grandiosity that would stir any listener. There are also moments of calm and sorrow. But the alluring quest from beginning to end ultimately seduces us and leaves us wanting. This push-and-pull dynamic is tumultuous, to say the least.
The Visit describe their music as “a convergence of visceral and intellectual forms of musical expression. Progressive metal, middle eastern music, and dark contemporary classical music are among the varied and seemingly disparate roots of our sound.“
I spoke to Raphael and Heather about their roles as artists in The Visit, and how their music draws meaning from certain real-world inspirations.
The cello has definitely become a point of great interest for me; I see that it has many sonic and technical possibilities that are not usually exploited. There are so many emotional landscapes that can be produced by the instrument without the use of external effects. I have found a great wealth of new ideas by returning the cello in very unusual ways and seeing it as an instrument capable of playing numerous lines simultaneously, or even occasionally sounding orchestral. I particularly enjoy using it to replicate the complex rhythms and aggression of modern metal that are such an important part of my musical personality. A large part of what we are doing in The Visit is redefining expectations of what heavy music should be. I believe that heaviness is not defined by instrumentation or context as much as energy and composition. Overall, my style as a creator of music combines emotional weight and inner darkness as well as cinematic depictions of landscapes and epochs.
With The Visit, I am able to draw upon a deeper artistic voice, one that calls upon my own personal journey in life as well as from what I see happening in the outer world. Despair, sorrow, suffering, pain, anger, rage, insecurity and shame. Connection, strength, power, aliveness, fertility, creativity, passion, compassion, love… life and death, it all comes together here. Inspired by Raphael’s compositions, I am free to express anything that arises, the urge to merge with the music, to become the music, the desire to share these experiences and emotions and to (hopefully) have others uncover emotional landscapes within themselves.
Be sure to catch The Visit alongside DVP, V, and Benoit Christie January 25 at Pressed Cafe. Doors at 7PM, tickets are $10 or PWYC.