Balmorhea: Stranger | Sound Stories & Interviews | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
The Source Weekly’s reporting is made possible by the power of your support. Be a part of it!
Search
Settings
Pin It
Favorite

Balmorhea: Stranger 

Label: Western Vinyl

 

Sure a track list exists for Austin, Texas, avant-garde jazz group Balmorhea’s latest album, Stranger, but it probably doesn’t need one. From start to finish the album truly is a singular adventure where songs transition into one another with rest periods rather than true breaks in the music.

Listening to Balmorhea’s string-heavy minimalist jazz is like ascending and descending a mountain trail. Piano and violin recreate the climb and electric guitar and thundering drums represent the crest. At times every instrument drops out but one and you find yourself descending into a lush valley of flowing acoustic guitar, piano or cello.

The voices of the six-member ensemble usually function more as instruments than conveyors of words. Simple one-note harmonies are sung as parallels to the cello and violin. The result is a blank canvas of feeling upon which listeners can paint their own life experiences.

While elements of traditional jazz can be found on tracks like “Pyrakantha,” Stranger goes out there leaving behind the conventional understanding of the genre. Those familiar with The Rippingtons or George Benson will likely find their influences deep within the underlying jazz beats used by Balmorhea.

They make it different by taking hold of the fundamentals of a jazz sound and getting aggressive. For instance, with the distortion guitar on “Artifact” Balmorhea creates something distinctive. It should be a lightning rod for lovers of instrumental music—especially those who think a lot.

Dig Deeper:

All Is Wild, All Is Silent (2009): Just the first two tracks of this album could have been enough to put this record amongst the best of that year. Luckily, Balmorhea didn’t stop there and the result is a transcendent jazz-infused soundtrack for any day of any season filled with any emotion.

Live at Sint-Eisabethkerk (2011): Balmorhea doesn’t tour much, but their shows are epic. That makes this rare glimpse into a live performance truly special
Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Triple Whammy

    Triple Whammy

    Eric Leadbetter helps bring joy to the music scene, food industry and hospital workers with the St. Charles Meal Mission
    • Jun 1, 2020
  • Life in the 'Badlands' ▶ [with video]

    Life in the 'Badlands' ▶ [with video]

    Casey Parnell's debut solo album is set to the background of nature
    • Jul 29, 2020
Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Comedy at Craft: Amanda Lynn Deal

Comedy at Craft: Amanda Lynn Deal - Craft Kitchen and Brewery

Sat., Oct. 23, 8-10 p.m.
Submitting an event is free and easy.

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

Get Social

Latest in Sound Stories & Interviews

More by The Source Staff

Want to advertise with us?

For info on print and digital advertising, >> Click Here

© 2021 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation