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Today we have a guest recommendation from Fog Chaser, a Pacific Northwest-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, and writer of a free newsletter of new instrumental compositions, photos, and inspirations once every month.
I first came across Balmorhea (pronounced bal-mə-ray) when I stumbled upon one of their performances in an old, cavernous, low-lit church while living in the band's hometown of Austin, Texas. Discovering this six-piece minimalist instrumental ensemble felt like a gift — a band that at once encapsulated the lush, dreamy neo-classical instrumentation I love, along with a healthy dusting of the expansive and beautiful landscape of West Texas and the Texas Hill Country.
Formed in 2006 by Rob Lowe and Michael Muller, Balmorhea makes a wonderful mix of the cinematic and the minimal — a sort of push-and-pull between the entrancing elements of Philip Glass and the epic moments of Explosions in the Sky. The band uses compelling textural sounds and tactile instrumentation, including keys, strings, bass, and guitar, to create richly-attired songs with sweeping arrangements that are so easy to get lost in. I consider Balmorhea one of my biggest inspirations for my own instrumental compositions as Fog Chaser. I particularly love their 2007 eponymous debut album which showcases all of the band's best qualities. The 2014 re-release of this record includes a stunning reworking of their song "Attesa" from Nils Frahm.