I love exploring the side projects and discographies of artists I may have heard through another avenue. Raphael Weinroth-Browne offered his cello services for both Leprous and Lux Terminus, even touring with the former. Raphael has quite a few of his own solo albums, however, and his latest one releases on January 24th. “Worlds Within” is a measured, meticulous, moody experience that I am really enjoying.
Raphael hails from Toronto, Ontario. Aside from offering his services to other bands, he is part of other projects, such as The Visit, Musk Ox, and Kamancello. He is known for powerful, introspective, fiery cello. I remember seeing him play with Leprous a couple years back. The stage was dark and mysterious until a blue light suddenly appeared, back-lighting Raphael sitting with his cello. His silhouette proceeded to set the poetic tone for the whole set, and also created one of the most memorable openings for a band I’ve seen personally. The air was still, and the crowd completely and utterly silent. That is the magic that Raphael can create.
On his solo albums, Raphael utilizes an acoustic cello with amplifiers and loop pedals. That’s it. The entire album feels much more diverse and alive than you might expect, though. Unlike Finnish cello metallers Apocalyptica, Raphael does not try to create rock or metal music with the cello. He embraces his classical roots fully, though you will hear plenty of plucking and beats that can set a pace that classical music often lacks. What Raphael does offer, though, is gravity. His music is weighty, thoughtful, and multi-layered. His gravitas is seen in his focused face, and heard in the burgeoning, fiery explosions of climactic power that he does so very well.
“Worlds Within” is titled appropriately. The album burrows its way inside your soul, and revels in the emotion and even chaos within you. This is a record that oozes richness and subtlety. It might not be the record you want to blast in your car, and it might be too immersive to hear casually. But that is its greatest strength: “Worlds Within” creates magic and dark feelings like few other albums I’ve heard.
This album is one to experience from beginning to end. Most of the tracks are part of various suites, and so shouldn’t be singled out unless necessary. For my mind, “From Within, Parts I and II”, “From Above”, and the glorious four-part suite “Tumult” are the high points of the album. Looking at the track list, the album starts with subtlety and beauty, but rises to something far more enigmatic and frenzied in the middle, before gently and spaciously finishing its course again the way it began.
I can hear the low, escalating rhythms of the middle of the album in my sleep. They whirl and seem ever so fleeting, as if you are trying to catch them, but simply cannot. Raphael masterfully weaves these rhythms into grand tapestries that climax with true command. His hand is certainly not one for filler or frivolity.
Raphael Weinroth-Browne deserves more attention for what he is bringing to the table. “Worlds Within” truly does feel like an entire universe of deep personal inquiry and emotional turmoil. He has many obstacles to overcome, such as people who just want rock/metal, or those who want vocals and do not appreciate instrumental albums. But Raphael continues to create what he loves, and I think anyone who will give him the time of day will find this album mesmerizing.
Find Raphael Weinroth-Browne online: