Balmorhea, pronounced Bal-moor-ay, is a band from here in Austin, Tx. consisting of principle songcrafters Rob Lowe and Michael Muller. Their sophmore effort entitled All Is Wild, All Is Silent is a beautiful album that touches upon influences from Ludovico Einaudi, Six Parts Seven, Claude Debussy, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Gillian Welch, Max Richter, Arvo Part, and John Cage. The music is mostly instrumental except for wordless singing in peak areas of a song and sometimes in soft, delicate areas almost like that of gospel. Grazing with post-rock, classical, and folk music, Balmorhea reek of romantic music that can take you away to landscapes of the cold arctic to the lush forests of northern america. With this impressive imagery exhibited, it’s only a matter of time before soundtracking films is next on their resume.
Kicking off the album with “Settler,” one can see that this band will be welcomed with open arms to theaters and concert halls across the country in no time. The opening piano line repeats and nestles itself into your head, then with the cello soon chiming in, the drums begin with a nice riding tap of the cymbals and lift-off…
Though I love the arrangements of the longer epics, the shorter songs like “March 4, 1831” and “Elegy” really show off the acoustic guitar playing that digs under my skin and finds a home. These noteworthy melodies give goose-bumps and make me want to jump in the car and take Ranch Road 12 to Wimberly. Spring is on it’s way, and I’ve found my hill country, road- tripping soundtrack.
“Remembrance” is another stand-out with the haunting opening of a finger-picked guitar. A banjo lends a nice descending run which is soon accompanied by a wordless gospel-like chant and again the tension/release formula opens up when the drums begin. There’s never a dull moment, which can be found often in long instrumentals for me, but they keep it concise and to the point with evolving sections.
Balmorhea have a handful of shows for SXSW and then are off to Europe for April and May. Be sure to check-in here or their website for updates on their inevitable North American tour.