Introducing a group you might perhaps not be aware of. Balmorhea are a six piece instrumental group from Texas founded by Rob Lowe and Michael Muller in 2006. Across the years they have released a diverse array of sonic experimentations which fuses an assortment of genres in a kaleidoscopic blend of style and artistic grace. Their sound is defiant of niche, space or time and could perhaps be best described as an array of textures and graceful leads.
The result of asking a band, group, duo or an individual from within to contribute to our mix series has seen interesting results across the years. Bands and musical projects tend to approach the task in a different manner to that of a dj or strictly electronic artist. Michael Muller selects tracks from Brian Eno, Grouper, Domenique Dumont and more.
Listen and read the interview below:
Please introduce yourself... Who are you, where are you, what are you?
Michael Muller. Co-founder, composer and guitarist for Balmorhea. We are from Austin, Texas — which is where I am currently. I am a human man.
Tell us about the Monday mix you’ve put together for us.
This mix was culled with the thought of a slow stirring in mind; the early morning sliding-out and into the woken world to begin the week. This idea needs a grace and tranquility to it coupled with the ushering one into an active and a positive head-space. Most of the tracks have the common thread of a pulse or hypnosis to conjure the body to align with the mind.
What does your music sound like?
Balmorhea’s music is a steady blend of post-classical and modern minimal elements with a striation of folk and americana. Found sounds and voice-as-instrument also at times meander their way into our songs. Someone recently told me that our music made him feel like the emotion of a person telling someone else about a memory or dream they once had. I like that description.
If it were to be drawn what would it look like?
A softly-morphing, benevolent cloud with strands of light coming in and out being looked up to from a seat on a moving vessel either through a desert or along the coast aside a waving body of water.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
In the above scenario via high-quality headphones.
What was the first electronic record you heard and how did it make you feel?
A copy of Kraftwerk’s ‘Computer World’ on LP from a used record shop. I imagined being in the Tron film and loving it but also having a sinking feeling like a dream you can’t wake from and wanting to return to the real world.
What were the first and last records you bought?
First: Iron Maiden - Powerslave (on cassette tape), Last: Chuck Johnson - Balsams (on lp)
What’s your favourite record of all time?
Tortoise - Tortoise (1994, Thrill Jockey)
If you were trapped on a desert island with one other person, who would you choose? How long would it be before you ate them?
My wife. I’d probably have to martyr myself for her survival.
How does your brain work when you're making music? How does it work when you aren’t?
I usually fall into the sometimes good / sometimes bad trap of too much restraint. My OCD tendencies sometimes help a composition and sometimes restrict it. Less-is-more isn’t always the right choice. I am an INFJ on the Meyers-Briggs scale and fit that description solidly.
What are you obsessed with at the moment?
Lately I’ve been learning how to get the best possible tone from a guitar/amp/pedals. It’s only just before writing and recording our newest record that I’ve really allowed myself to fully be opened to the world of all the gear that goes into recording music and why certain things cause a signal to sound better or worse.
What's your answer to everything?
Breathe more deeply and drink more water.
Anything else we need to discuss?
I’d love to discuss the meaning of episode 8 in the Twin Peaks Returns series. I’m beyond intrigued and utterly haunted by it, simultaneously.
Balmorhea's new album "Clear Language" will be available from the 22nd of September.