SotD - Important Songs: Balmorhea

David Ames shares some of the songs that have played an important part in his own personal soundtrack. Today he pushes the boat out for Bowsprit...

Song: “Bowsprit”
Artist: Balmorhea
Album: Constellations (2010)

Occasionally you stumble across music in your life which has an immediate effect on you, body and soul. Balmorhea was one of those groups that, from the first instant I heard a note, I knew I would be a lifelong fan. The band is an instrumental group, occasionally using certain vocals for instrumental or ambient purposes. Their music is a combination of guitar, banjo, bass, percussion, violin, and cello. They have a very understated quality which seems to resonate with me. I am not sure exactly why but from the moment I heard the first notes of this song, the initial song I heard from them, I wanted to hear everything.

“Bowsprit” is an amazing piece of art, beginning quite slowly and quietly with just a strummed a syncopated acoustic guitar. From there, the song slowly builds over the course of five minutes while incrementally adding in one instrument at a time. The percussion is simple and yet so powerful and the music has an insanely cinematic quality. This tune especially would find itself inside a serious drama, while the character comes to some deep understanding of the universe and their place in it. In a vein similar to the Kronos Quartet, the strings are wonderfully simple yet unspeakably powerful, and the addition of the banjo articulating the chords of the acoustic meld perfectly. If you just need something quiet and interesting, Balmorhea can be that for you, and if you want something moving and powerful, “Bowsprit” should be your first stop.

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