Mariel Roberts - Armament

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Armament was created as a series of unedited improvised pieces for cello and pedals, reflecting not only Mariel Roberts’ extraordinary abilities as a cellist, but also a profoundly unique creative voice responding to a deeply troubled environment. “The tone of the material, and the title, reflect what was going on both globally and personally for me at the time,” Mariel writes. “The idea of an "armament" is a collection of weapons, and when I chose that title I was thinking about how nearly everything feels weaponized right now- things that should not be weapons are being used as such.”

Harshness and fragility are key elements to Roberts’ music. While Armament represents a dark, intense experience, its extended-technique cello performances sounding alien, thunderous, disturbing and often like anything but cello, beneath the controlled, distressed, nihilistic miasma lies a very human heart. Foggy, gloomy passages roll by with gaseous coldness, sometimes pricking the ear with minute insect chirrups, sometimes gathering into powerful, momentous tidal waves of sound. But thematic throughout the album are moments that reveal a longing for peace amidst the chaos, rewarding a deep and close listen. Contrasting elements are set against each other to push and explore, resulting in minimal, spare near-silence swallowed into overwhelming black holes of noise (such as in “Hoard”), and explosive, painful ferocity suddenly yielding to plaintive, elegiac melancholy (such as in “Interlude”). “Armament can be perceived as both static and full of motion,” Mariel offers.