Michael A. Muller
Lower River (Beacon Sound)
Reviewed by Rick Weaver, Fri., Nov. 29, 2019
On his debut solo long-player, the co-founder of extended moodmakers Balmorhea paints an insulated picture of shadows as underlit as the mysterious album cover's midnight mountain by Awoiska van der Molen. Muller tames tapes from his recent peregrinations to trace the route of Lower River, an Ambien union of intercontinental field recordings and Austin studio comforts that ponders the internal eternal. With nothing to block the wind, goose-down synths and unidentified flying ether ribbon and wave across flat spaces. He folds in acoustics for light friction and subdued dramatic effect: Strings rattle in the choral thickets of "Glyph II," violin sawdust collects in the corners of "Seen," and pestled static hisses in the dust bowl hollow of "Glyph I." "Elyria" steals the sleepy-eyed show with its soft anxiolytic fog of airstream pitch and thermal brass.