Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Western Vinyl

So, start with a guitar. That sounds pretty nice. Layer on a violin, and that sounds a little nicer. Oh, is that a banjo? Double bass? Percussion? Now that just sounds swell, and as smooth as butter. That's how you can describe Balmorhea's (pronounced bal-more-ay) new album "Constellations." It's a strictly instrumental, minimalistic, acoustic experience taking you through an array of moods and emotions. Each song is like a musical parfait. As you listen to each layer, delicious music is unveiled until it culminates into this moving, tasty movement of acoustic music tinged with classical and bluegrass stylings.

The album takes on a darker mood compared to Balmorhea's previous albums, but the charm remains. It starts off with "To the Order of the Night," a haunting piano solo with delicately dark emotional phrasing, leading to the gem of the album, "Bowspirit" which layers it on best, leaving you with a message so clear yet unable to be put into words, like a hug when there are no words to say. The rest of the album follows a deliciously dark and melancholy tone right through "Palestrina," which wraps up the album. You'll find yourself searching for a faint melody through the audio textures backed by a faint chorale of voices, which may not be voicing anything audible, but seem to be saying, "thank you for listening, and I hope the introspection involved in listening to this album has made you a better person."

To that, I would say "No 'Constellations,' thank you."

- Frederick J. Pecor / MOVEMENT Jax

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