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Boomkat Product Review:
Another thoroughly beautiful suite of instrumentals from Western Vinyl quintet Balmorhea, who for Constellations exercise the kind of restraint and economy a good many other neo-classically inclined ensembles would do well to observe. This third album finds the band stripping away so much of the baggage associated with music of this ilk - no grand ascents towards crescendo here, nor the overused integration of classical instrumentation with post-rock tropes - the band instead strip their sound to its key constituents, largely forsaking full drum kits and linear build-ups in favour of woody folksiness and chamber elegance, intertwining strings with pianos and acoustic guitars to great effect, simultaneously tugging at those heart strings and giving you something to think about. While peers such as labelmates Slow Six pile on the instruments in a more maximalist, rock-leaning fashion, Balmorhea play down the influence of pop music, delivering wonderful tracks such as the A-side-closing title cut, whose focus is happy to rest on a sparse, yet meticulously constructed piano piece, while 'Steerage And The Lamp' adds little more to that formula other than a thread of haunting solo strings. Of all the music to come out of this Rachel's influenced school of contemporary classical crossover, Balmorhea's latest collection is surely among the most intelligent and discerningly sparing. Highly recommended.