On Stranger Balmorhea continues the cosmic dialog they began with their eponymous debut in 2007. Though the spirit of Texas' early inhabitants and the weight of the night sky inspired previous albums All is Wild, All is Silent (2009) and Constellations (2010), Stranger shifts the focus from the celestial to the terrestrial, or more accurately, it begins to explore the celestial resonance in all things terrestrial.
Balmorhea's music has always been guided by the experience of living in Texas, but with Stranger the band moves beyond contemplative reverence for the land and the history of their home state. The most forward-leaning of their catalog, Stranger presents worlds of tenderness, aggression, estrangement, and freedom using an expanded sonic palette including guitar loops, vibes, synthesizers, ukulele, and steel pan drums. In addition to these new sounds, electric guitars and percussion take the stage once occupied by piano and acoustic guitars.
Opening with the electric guitar loops, synths, and steel drums of "Days", the band invites us to move forward with them as they explore without pretense or expectation. "Pilgrim" provides the perfect ending, blurring alpha and omega...a concluding gesture taking us back to our beginnings.
Balmorhea: Rivers Arms
In 2008 we had the honor of releasing our first Balmorhea record Rivers Arms. Though the band?s sound and size has grown, the soulful collection of songs on Rivers Arms continues to resonate with listeners. From the contented isolation of "The Winter" to the hazy heat and hopeful longing of "San Solomon," their music captures the indescribable feelings of living and growing in Texas. Now, 4 years later, we?re excited to make this limited edition vinyl version of Rivers Arms available with 4 bonus tracks and updated artwork. Still wearing their bathing suits, Rob Lowe and Michael Muller recorded the first two bonus tracks as children jumped and splashed in San Solomon Springs (Balmorhea State Park) in the background. These two sunny guitar pieces are followed by a powerful live version of ?Theme? recorded in Vienna, Austria. The final track is a version of ?San Solomon? featuring live drums, recorded in 2008 for their very limited tour E.P.
Balmorhea: Live at Sint-Elisabethkerk
Though Balmorhea's studio recordings never fail to impress, their songs have always been most powerful and affecting when performed live. The group's intense soulfulness during a live set is consistently remarkable and this special recording from Ghent, Belgium is no exception. The opening track alone is goosebump-inducing, and perfectly sets the tone for this intimate recording.
Throughout the evening the band played with so much energy and emotion that's hard to believe they had just arrived at the venue after a long sleepless drive from Spain. With massive stone walls and floors, the Saint Elisabeth Church (built in 1873) colored each song with a natural reverb and delay, while amplifying the tiniest incidental sounds from the crowd. Despite the intense cold of the unheated church, the band's fingers remained nimble, warmed only by the glow of the candles used to light the stage and the center aisle. As the candles burn out the show comes to an end with the crowd-pleaser "Untitled" followed by a solo piano encore performance of "Constellations." We hope you enjoy this recording as much as we do, and if you haven't experienced a Balmorhea show, we hope this album inspires you to check them out next time they're in your town.
Balmorhea's previous album All is Wild, All is Silent explored the freedom and isolation of settlers learning to live on an untamed frontier. It was an intensely physical album, dealing with the struggles of man on earth. By contrast, their new album Constellations shifts our focus to the cosmos and beyond, meditating solemnly on the mystical and metaphysical. For centuries humans have distilled order from the chaos of the night sky, turning a collection of bright dots into the framework for giants of myth and legend. Similarly, the tracks on Constellations serve as framework for our individual mediations on the wonders of time and space.
Balmorhea: All Is Wild, All Is Silent Remixes
The idea to release the All is Wild, All is Silent Remixes evolved organically as the band asked a few of their closest friends if they'd like to remix a track. To their surprise 11 of their friends jumped at the opportunity to create remixes of these wordless narratives that have become so meaningful to them. The resulting album is distinctly more experimental than the original album, but no less joyous and haunting. Many of the tracks retain Balmorhea's uniquely American optimism, though some hardly leave a trace of the original's simplicity and restraint. Highlights include remixes by Eluvium, Peter Broderick, Tiny Vipers, Bexar Bexar, and Helios.
Balmorhea: All Is Wild, All Is Silent
Austin's Balmorhea has always made beautiful music, but that pulchritude has often belied the underlying sensuality that makes their music so inviting. The band takes a giant leap forward, embracing that sensuality, on their bold and variegated new album All is Wild, All is Silent. Now a six piece with drums and upright bass, the band known for their understated simplicity and restraint has produced an album joyous, haunting, and even a little sexy.