A short review: both albums are worthwhile, but the second album is better music than the first. Although the first, “One Cello x 16: Natoma,” has some standout pieces on it, there are more than a few pieces that strike me as if Keating were sort of frobbing the dials on this new way of recording and making music and finding out what she could accomplish with it, very avant-garde and more interesting in an “under the hood” sense. The second, “Into the Trees,” sounds as if she had sort of settled out her toolbox and found things to say.
For anyone curious about Keating’s methods and stories, I’d recommend buying both albums. For anyone who simply wants nice music to listen to, get “Into the Trees” and leave “Natoma” for later.
Personally, I do like both, but “Natoma” is a bit more like whiskey, more interesting than tasty. “Trees” is both.