Balmorhea Constellations

Balmorhea Constellations
On Rivers Arms and All is Wild, All is Free, the first two releases by this Austin, TX outfit, the SW geography helped define and focus their instrumental themes. And while wide-open spaces are implicit in the seafaring subtext of Constellations, there is as much interior exploration as there is stargazing. Pared down in many places to either just piano or guitar, compositions like "Herons" and "Constellations" have spontaneity and intimacy that draw us close to the instruments, as both notes and noises emerge. The classical elements are more rigorously tended to and as a result, there is energy and tension, on "Steerage and the Lamp," for example, that sustain themselves across even the quieter passages. When "On the Weight of Night" loosens the ropes, the slow drum swing and organ drone recalls Bohren and der Club of Gore. And since you can't have sea themes without sirens, there are a few tasteful choral moments that lend vocal presence. Constellations adds a new dimension to an already intriguing ensemble. (Western Vinyl)