Dec 3, 2017

Sundaze 1749

Hello, a cool oasis in the High Desert, one can dive into the crystal-clear water of the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool. More than 15 million gallons of water flow through the pool each day, gushing from the San Solomon Springs. The pool is up to 25 feet deep, covers 1.75 acres, and holds 3.5 million gallons of water. The water temperature stays at 22 to 24 celcius year-round. Swim, scuba dive, or just relax under the trees at Balmorhea state park in arid West Texas.Oh and clearly today's band spent some inspiring quality time there....

Today's Artists are a six-piece minimalist instrumental ensemble from Austin, Texas, that was formed in 2006 by Rob Lowe and Michael Muller. Their philosophy embraces natural impulses, spontaneous melodies as well as harmonies of universal relevance and recognition and can be regarded as a conscious reduction of music to its most essential parameters. Lowe and Muller dig into the magic nostalgia of dusty treasure chests, searching for that one guitar chord that will have their audience crying for joy and that short combination of piano drops that resonates deep inside........N'Joy

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

Formed in 2006 by founders Rob Lowe and Michael Muller, Balmorhea play textural post-rock with a classical influence. Joined by a revolving cast of additional musicians, the Austin, Texas-based group utilize plaintive strings as well as a host of other instruments to create a delicately layered and pastoral sound, sometimes reminiscent of a more rustic version of post-classical indie ensembles like Stars of the Lid and Rachel's. Balmorhea's eponymous debut, recorded with only Lowe and Muller, was self-released in 2007. The group subsequently signed to Western Vinyl, which released Rivers Arms in 2008. On this album, the duo was joined by violinist Aisha Burns (who would become a mainstay of the group) as well as cellist Erin Lance and guitarist/bassist Jacob Glenn-Levin. All Is Wild, All Is Silent followed in 2009, with Lowe, Muller, and Burns joined by bassist Travis Chapman, vocalist Jesy Fortino, cellist Nicole Kern, and drummer Taylor Tehan. All Is Wild, All Is Silent: Remixes was released later in the year.

After extensive touring in the United States and Europe, the band found time to get back into the studio, and issued Constellations the following year, retaining most of the previous album's lineup. Live at Sint-Elisabethkerk appeared in 2011, and Balmorhea's fifth studio album, the eclectic Stranger, was released in 2012. For this album, cellist Dylan Rieck replaced Kern, and Kendall Clark played drums and percussion. In 2014, Western Vinyl re-released Balmorhea's self-titled debut, and a 7" titled Heir was also issued. Sixth album Clear Language appeared in 2017, recorded primarily by Lowe and Muller, along with Burns. The group's six-person lineup currently tours in support of the album.

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

Listening to Balmorhea is the aural equivalent to waking to a chilly, foggy morning on Lake Superior. It's sitting on a porch, listening to dew drop from pine needles, watching a slow vortex of mist twist its way across the water. Or maybe Balmorhea is lighting the fire at the end of the day, when the temp starts to drop and you know you're back at camp for the night. It's the woods. It's the air. It feels like going to another place. This their self-titled debut, recorded in 2006 and released in 2007 best captures the duo's unique magic as it first blossomed. With no label, distributor, manager, publicist, or booking agent the duo quietly self-released their first recordings and started playing live shows.

Balmorhea - Balmorhea (flac 201mb)

01 Attesa 3:14
02 Baleen Morning 3:26
03 Dreams Of Thaw 5:03
04 In The Rowans 4:14
05 A Circumnavigation 4:15
06 En Route 5:26
07 If You Only Knew The Rain 5:03
08 And I Can Hear The Soft Rustling Of My Blood (As If Snow Were Sliding Down The Mountains)? 5:32
09 We Will Rebuild With Smooth Stones 5:12

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

There is such peacefulness, only faintly tainted by sorrow that may as well be overplayed languor, on Balmorhea's second full-length Rivers Arms. Piano and guitar (acoustic and e-bowed electric) form the core of this gentle post-rock influenced music. Rob Lowe and Michael Muller are sketching more than developing their pieces, using airs that are not quite melodies. However, it is this very starkness, this simplicity that makes the album work. The instrumental themes present themselves to the listener without forcing the issue, without imposing, without a care whether you notice them or not. Non-intrusive if you decide not to pay attention, the music becomes picture-inducing if you do. From the romantic melancholy of "Theme No. 1" to the lullaby sadness of "Lament" and the poised serenity of "The Summer," Rivers Arms gently takes the listener through a gallery of images, each one different yet all using the same monochrome scale. Throughout the album, touches of violin (Aisha Burns), cello (Erin Lance), and bass guitar (Jacob Glenn-Levin) introduce a certain degree of variety in the arrangements. On the other hand, percussion is completely bypassed. Rivers Arms is not the kind of album that leaves a lasting mark, but there is no denying the talent of the musicians, the intelligence of the music, and the pleasure of the listener. And if these guys end up doing movie soundtracks, you won't be surprised.

Balmorhea - Rivers Arms (flac  282mb)

01 San Solomon 3:43
02 Lament 3:35
03 The Summer 3:56
04 The Winter 5:51
05 Greyish Tapering Ash 3:41
06 Baleen Morning 3:44
07 Barefoot Pilgrims 4:53
08 Context 4:02
09 Process 6:20
10 Divisadero 3:09
11 Limmat 3:22
12 Theme No. 1 5:11
13 Windansea 3:56
14 San Solomon (Reprise) 3:30

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

You follow a band you like -- they're not fantastic, but they're good at what they do -- and at some point you think you know what to expect. And then they drop a bomb. That's what Balmorhea did with All Is Wild, All Is Silent. Their previous effort, Rivers Arms, was a sweet and gentle acoustic post-rock affair, with piano, guitar, the occasional violin or bass line. We are still inside the post-rock ethos with All Is Wild, All Is Silent, but suddenly the group has grown wings and balls! And members too! The once-duet of Michael Muller and Rob Lowe is now a full-fledged sextet also featuring Aisha Burns, Travis Chapman, Nicole Kern, and Taylor Tehan (not sure who does what, but Burns was already guesting on violin on the previous album, and the ear doesn't strain hard to catch banjo, double bass, and percussion). If the lineup has gained size, so has the cinematic scope of the music: Rivers Arms was all about intimacy (skeletal tunes, simple arrangements), and even the occasional field recording hinted at small spaces (a backyard, a schoolyard), but this album features expansive music evoking the Canadian Prairies, the American Midwest, or even the wild, rough-edged beauty of Sweden and Iceland (and, yes, comparisons to Sigur Rós are inevitable, welcome, and meant as a compliment). Right from the start, "Settler" sets the mood with a minor-key melody that reaches symphonic proportions and attains a great level of yearning once the rhythm section comes in. "Remembrance" has a strong Ennio Morricone flavor, while "Truth" starts like a string-led Sigur Rós piece -- however, Balmorhea's turns out to be more bucolic than that, and the group's brand of post-rock is devoid of noisy/textural electric guitar. Everything is acoustic and exquisitely arranged, the undisputed highlight of the album being the fortissimo reentry of the piano at the very end of "Truth," immediately switching to a quiet register as it segues into "November 1, 1832," a beautiful tune with wordless vocals performed by guest Jesy Fortino -- that particular passage will be giving you goosebumps for years to come. Simply put, you can't make instrumental music more beautiful than that. Highly recommended.

Balmorhea - All Is Wild, All Is Silent   (flac  225mb)

01 Settler 6:39
02 March 4, 1831 2:07
03 Harm And Boon 8:05
04 Elegy 2:20
05 Remembrance 5:49
06 Coahuila (Voc.Jesy Fortino) 3:32
07 Night In The Draw 4:09
08 Truth 7:06
09 November 1, 1832 (Voc.Jesy Fortino) 2:33


Balmorhea - All Is Wild, All Is Silent Remixes  (flac 293mb)

01 Settler / March 4, 1831 (Remix Eluvium) 17:24
02 Harm And Boon (Remix Rafael Anton Irisarri) 4:48
03 Harm And Boon (Remix Tiny Vipers) 5:46
04 Elegy (Remix Bexar Bexar) 3:01
05 Remembrance (Remix Machinefabriek) 7:25
06 Coahuila (Remix The Fun Years) 4:18
07 Coahuila (Remix Library Tapes) 3:54
08 Night In The Draw (Remix Jacaszek) 4:22
09 Truth (Remix Helios) 3:46
10 November 1, 1832 (Remix Peter Broderick) 3:22
11 November 1, 1832 (Remix Xela) 5:36

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx


Cass said...

Many thanks for 'All Is Wild, All Is Silent Remixes', Rho. Looking forward to listening.

Anonymous said...

Great shares Rho - thankyou! I can't for the life of me get past the ads for the 2nd & 3rd albums here. Really annoying! Any words of wisdom? Thanks...

Rho said...

Well Anon ive been using mirrorcreater for 3 years now, sure ads can be annoying but with some patience you can get past them (sometimes you need to search on how to click it away)you could try another browser and or addblocker. Just keep cool and don't panic and you'll get there.

Anonymous said...

OK cheers Rho I'll stick at it! Thanks for the music anyway - and have a top Christmas!!!

Anonymous said...

reup much appreciated! many thx!

Anonymous said...

hello Rho,

discovered Balmohrea with your last batch of reups and like them very much. would it be possible for you to upload the Balmohrea part above also, again?
many many thx in advance, and thx for your well curated blog!

best ragrds, Johann