Balmorhea

Balmorhea

Balmorhea

Constellations

Western Vinyl

We open in silence, then, hesitation. We feel the potential that anything might happen, yet the thought is a fractured crystal of time, soon broken by a gentle chord. Millions of possibilities collapse in a Heisenberg experiment, all failed in some grand scheme, yet perfect in this special particular outcome. No metal, no opera, no country western swing band, just a minimal line of notes in a nu-classical style. By the second track, a cello and guitar take over and someone, perhaps even a percussionist, occasionally stomps out time in the background. We have a melody, we have a rhythm, and we have chromatics — Houston, we have Western Music. It’s Hadacol slow, but it provides all the main elements required by a composition.

Dare we say “New Age,” or better yet “Nü Ägë”? The song titles suggest such: “Bowsprit,” “Winter Circle,” and “Constellations” suggest David Winter, but titles “Steerage and the Lamp” and “Night Squall” are more nautical in flavor yet forgo the trite creaking rigging or cry of pelagic sea birds. We do return to land in the ultimate cut, “Palestrina.” This is either a small hilltop town near Rome or an Italian Renaissance composer of sacred music. Both make a sort of sense, if music must, and here a drone pulsates and a choir defiantly lifts its voice above a whisper so loud I can nearly hear it. Balmorhea will never be accused of excess, and a flash pot would surely blind them for life. If you buy this record, please treat it gently — scare them, and they may never have the heart to tune up again.

Balmorhea: www.balmorheamusic.com • Western Vinyl: westernvinyl.com

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