Redhooker – Vespers
[tags: chamber music, neo-classical, minimalism, 2010]
Listen while reading:
Standing Still (from Vespers)
Maybe this whole winter mood puts me into some sort of melancholy feeling for I feel great pleasures lo listen to warm, dark chamber music right now. You already know, that I liked the combination of folk and classic influences beforehand, especially the pairing of acoustic guitar and cello or violin – and now the time seems to be right to have a deeper look on the classical side. As for now my meanderings brought me from early Brown Bird releases over South China to Nils Frahm and thence to more open minded projects like Slow Six, back to Bird and now directly to Redhooker. I know, this is just an early and tiny first step into this genre of contemporary classical music or chamber music or however one calls it, but I know that more steps will follow and therefore I hope for two things in the future: that folk and neo-classical music will find even more to one another and that I succeed in bringing some of this music home to all of you dear CFM readers. But don’t be afraid, if you are not into this classical music thing, CFM will stay CFM with all its folk stuff and alt country stuff and sparsely posted dream pop stuff – this classical thing is an addition and no supression. Enough small talk.
Redhooker is Stephen Griesgraber (Slow Six, formerly Anthony And The Johnsons) on electric guitar, as well as Andie Springer, Maxim Moston, Ben Lively on violin and Peter Hess on bass clarinet. The album at hand – Vespers – is the debut record after the The Future According To Yesterday EP from 2007. It was released at the end of January 2010. The first thing you will realize is the beautiful cover artwork with its incredible comforting but lonely mood, the play of shadow and light falling through deep red curtains. A perfect image to represent the music that lies under those colorful surfaces of ink and paper. Speaking of music, Vespers is very rich of varied material even though the single tracks show strong influencec from classical minimalism. And, as far as I can judge, this isn’t a negative thing, that makes the tracks boring or lengthy, but instead allows them to breath deeply – and you have all the time to concentrate on those breaths and the progress that lies in them. This is what makes the music organic and Beside and Trip And Fall are maybe the best examples for this. But, like in real life, there is more than just the organic movement, there’s more than just untouched nature and we, as human beings must interact with what we created.
Why am I saying this? Clearly not because I want to make any statement on culture or politics or whatever. I say this because it is essential for us to interact with our creations most of the time, because we like to and want to (come on, you’re useing the internet right now…) And for many of us this became normality and daily routine. So, why should the music focus just on the organic and natural side of life when there is so much more, that has to be mentioned? Right, and here Redhooker came up with a fantastic concept, I haven’t heard of yet. All begins with a small ensemble, that knows which way the track will go in the end, but starts playing all by their own; it improvises, every member of it acts and reacts. Over the time a structure is formed, alive, breathing, the impovisation goes on, and now comes the great idea. Over the time the ensemble played, a special software recorded the session and now starts to throw random pieces of it, underlaid with different effects, into this living organism. The ensemble now must interact with the actual track they are about to create, but also have to react to what they created so far. They have to face what they have done and they have to integrate it, to form a complex, living masterpiece. The aforementioned method was applied at Presence And Reflection (what a suitable title) and the dark and mysterious Black Light Poster Child (a silent favorite of the author).
For I’m not really common to describing such music, I only can describe my feelings and my reflections about it, but I hope, you got a nice picture of this wonderful record and you will spend some time with it – this much is promised: it will keep you warm in the cold, so get muffled.
Buy the album over at cdbaby and visit Redhooker’s MySpace and personal homepage for further details. (p.s. If you want to check out a song by song guide, directly provided by Griesgraber himself, visit the good folks over at earz-mag.com)