Balmorhea

Rivers Arms (Western Vinyl)

SXSW Platters

Balmorhea

Rivers Arms (Western Vinyl)

Not all instrumental music is cinematic in scope, but Austin's Balmorhea has mastered the art of scenic, neoclassical compositions on its second LP, Rivers Arms, and does so without relying on post-rock dynamics to convey emotional significance. Essentially a recording project between pianist Rob Lowe and multi-instrumentalist Michael Muller, the duo expands on its debut through intricate layers of violin and cello that thicken the plot, most evident on the group's revision of "Baleen Morning." Balmorhea's linear arrangements work best led by Lowe's piano, such as on the fleeting "Barefoot Pilgrims." The intertwining acoustic guitars of "The Summer" recall M. Ward's Duet for Guitars #2, while the smoldering "Greyish Tapering Ash" reveals an Eastern influence more closely aligned with Six Organs of Admittance. Opener "San Solomon" and its closing reprise employ sparse banjo and voice-as-instrument wordless verses. Graceful and refined, Balmorhea's ready for the big screen. (Wednesday, March 12, St. David's Church, 12:20am.)

***.5

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