Review: Christian Frederickson – “Islands of Light”

There’s this piece of ephemera from the days of the Rachel’s ensemble that sticks to the attic of my mind like so much setting rubber cement – let’s call them the scrolls. Far from biblical or Talmudic or scriptural (in a sense of religiosity, at least), they were large sheets of paper on which members…

Review: Randall Holt – “Inside The Kingdom of Splendor and Madness”

The cello weeps and sows and soars, and so it goes with Randall Holt and his Inside The Kingdom of Splendor and Madness, which gets the CD/cassette re-release treatment April 20 from Self Sabotage Records. Holt, an accomplished cellist, traffics in the kind of moody, cinematic, classical soundscapes that oft define Godspeed You! Black Emperor, which…

Review: Big Weather – “The Lightest Darkness”

Well, turns out climate change – for those rational people who agree with the science behind it – might not be all bad, after all. Big Weather, the latest effort from musician/composer/drummer Ryan Rumery, posits itself as an experiental response to “ever-intensifying natural phenomena.” The Colorado-based outfit’s new record, The Lightest Darkness, is an interesting point…

Review: Rachel Grimes – “Eights”

Composer/pianist Rachel Grimes orchestrates a soundscape of wonder on “Eights,” a digital one-off also available on the compilation accompanying Oxford American’s new edition on Kentucky music. The song was released, alongside sheet music, earlier today on Bandcamp. The premise for the piano etude is simple and one does not have to wonder long if the…

REVIEW: astrid & Rachel Grimes – “Through The Sparkle”

Man, that’s devastating! If the reverb-drenched guitar on this record’s second track doesn’t move you to tremble with tears, then the soaring strings on “M1” surely will. Pianist/composer Rachel Grimes follows up her best-of-2015 The Clearing solo outing with the magnificent Through The Sparkle, a seven-song collaboration with the French chamber ensemble astrid, out today…

PROFILE: Rachel Grimes

Rachel Grimes knew how to play the piano before she learned to walk. “My dad and grandmother played, so I was always sitting beside them following along, watching and listening in wonder at how they could make that magic,” the composer/pianist told me recently from the home she and her husband, educator Alec Johnson, share…