Martin Tillman

Eastern Twin

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The cello is a beautiful instrument, full of rich, aching tones that bring longing to the heart who listens. In the hands of Martin Tillman the cello is that and much, much more. Having played with artists such as Vonda Shepard, Wild Colonials, Better Than Ezra, and Beck, Tillman has built an impeccable resumé and reputation as a top-notch side musician. With Eastern Twin, he steps into the limelight and claims his 15 minutes of fame, and rightfully so. Alternating between or combining acoustic and electric cello, he evokes unimaginable sounds and haunting melodies derived from his worldbeat sensibilities. Co-writer/producer Tom Vedvik helps build the foundation with keyboards, sampling, and drum loops. The next layer comes through the percussive grooves of Luis Conte, Thomas Schobel, and Abhiman Kaushal. Tillman floats and soars above all of that, occasionally assisted by vocalist Lisbeth Scott. On the title track, the cello plays off of Kaushal's tablas. They dance together, then he glides off on a different melodic line to swirl with the keyboards. You can actually feel the gorgeous melody of "Odessa" in your chest as it lingers, climbs high then swoops down again -- the plaintive acoustic cello made even more potent by the contrasting undercurrent of guitars and ambient rhythms. The solo closing track, "Rue Sibelius," evokes a feeling of melancholy, a view of rainy shadows finally lightened by a sense of wonder and light breaking through from the heavens. Inspiring and imaginative, Eastern Twin's easy combination of classical, pop, worldbeat, and trip-hop deserves a listen.

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