Published May 12, 2015As a member of groundbreaking band Rachel's, pianist Rachel Grimes helped founder Jason Noble transform his robust post-rock sensibilities into something more classically qualified and experimentally informed. After releasing Book of Leaves: For Solo Piano, her 2010 solo debut that teetered on the brink of new age, Grimes has decided to revisit her roots, bringing in a slew of collaborators for her ambitiously minimal follow-up, The Clearing.
Many of the 11 compositions found on The Clearing are well articulated, dynamic pieces, as Grimes' piano ebbs and flows through the mix, completely driving songs (as on the choral/drone-y "In the Vapor with the Air Underneath") or acting as simple accents (as on the dramatic viola-drenched title track). Bringing in Canadian experimentalist Loscil, former Rachel's bandmate Christian Frederickson and percussionist Kyle Crabtree (the Shipping News), among others, to contribute, The Clearing is brimming with enough brave ideas and buoyant instrumentation that only someone as tenured and inspired as Grimes would be comfortable trying to pull off. (Temporary Residence)