Texas-based Balmorhea visits Phoenix

For as long as music has been around, many artists have used lyrics as the perfect complement and companion to their musical endeavors. For artists such as Bob Dylan or Morrissey, lyrics are the pinnacle of songwriting. However, for Texas-based indie outfit Balmorhea, the music does all the talking.

Founded in 2006 by Rob Lowe and Michael Muller, Balmorhea (pronounced bal-moor-ay) has been described as a “minimalist instrumental ensemble” that draws inspiration from many different musicians. These musicians include film composer Ludovico Einaudi, classical piano greats Claude Debussy and Ludwig van Beethoven and minimalist religious music composer Arvo Pärt, among others.

The band's music can be described as gentle and serene, yet with an ever-present feeling of poignancy and emotional release on nearly every track. On the band's first two releases, the self-titled “Balmorhea” and “River Arms,” you can find a simple guitar or piano laden melody, extrapolated upon by various instruments until the song reaches its climax.

However, with the band's 2010 release, “Constellations,” we see a band in evolution. Whereas 2009's “All Is Wild, All Is Silent” had its grandiose, folk-laden crescendos and swells, “Constellations” instead focuses its sound and has a quiet restraint, never quite showing its full hand. It is the band's most well rounded album to date, showing just how bright the future is for this group.

In the absence of lyrics, one might ask how the band can truly connect to an audience. Much like fellow Texan instrumental indie rockers Explosions In The Sky, it is the band's attention to detail that gives the listener the desired connection.

In a September 2007 interview with Tokafi.com, multi-instrumentalist Rob Lowe described what a good show means to him.

“I think that a good live performance allows the listener to forget about his or her immediate surroundings and be taken to a new place, for us we hope that place is somewhere where change and revelation can take place,” he said.

So, when Balmorhea visits the Rhythm Room in Phoenix on March 6, we’ll have the chance to forget about the stresses of life for a little while and be taken to a new place.

Accompanying Balmorhea will be fellow Texas instrumental band Really Big Birds. Tickets are available for $10 at Zia Records, Stinkweeds, Hoodlums and myeasytix.com. Doors open at 8 p.m.

Reach the reporter at tpaxton@asu.edu

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