Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Balmorhea - Rivers Arms (Western Vinyl) [+2.5]

Balmorhea (pronounced bal-mor-ay) is a duo from Texas, Rob Lowe and Michael Muller, creating simple and enchanting music with ambient spaces, relaxing places, acoustic guitar, and a piano. For their second album they have expanded the group to a quartet, adding a cello and a violin. The style floats among folk, modern classical, and acoustic ambient. The production incorporates sensitive microphones recording live instrumentation, and the effect is immediate - the barely audible rustling and shuffling sounds teleport the listener into the studio, placing the ear near the frets, the keys and the bow. Unlike the duo’s first self titled album, Rivers Arms is more mature in quality of production, and the vastness of field recordings used to offset intertwining melodies with a string accompaniment. It is especially a great headphone treat, as the sound is crystal clear and perfectly balanced within the stereo field. I recommend to grab their two albums together and play alongside Library Tapes, Eluvium and Goldmund. Favorite tracks: The Winter and Barefoot Pilgrims.

Two and a Half Questions with Balmorhea

What prompted the decision to incorporate strings?
there is a beautiful sullenness about strings that enrich music like nothing. t think we just started hearing string parts in our songs as we wrote and rehearsed them, so we added them as soon as we could thereafter.

Describe your use of a typewriter as a percussive instrument.
communication is brilliantly achieved through music and more literally through type. the dynamic strikes of the letters coupled nicely with the music we thought. the familiarity and nostalgia of a typewriter connected deeply with us.

Why not Pecos?
rob grew up going to balmorhea on vacation with his family growing up. so it was a special place for him. over the past two summers, we have visited, played and even written songs there while visiting. though, pecos has some of the best cantaloupes you will ever taste. | |

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