Balmorhea (pronounced bal-more-ray) was founded in 2006 by Rob Lowe and Michael A. Muller, friends who met at a summer camp in the Texas Hill Country. They began creating music together: informal yet intentional layerings of guitar and piano that found poignancy in restraint, “evoking imagery of brilliant landscapes and quiet pastoral scenes” (NPR). In the 14 years since, new voices have entered in and out of Balmorhea’s narrative with Lowe and Muller remaining at the group’s core. Through six studio albums and various EPs they’ve woven in string ensembles, percussive detail, ambient vocals, field recordings, and experimental sounds. Their distinctly spacious minimalism has remained a through line, drawing comparisons to classical tradition, experimental acoustic folk, and the feeling of wide-open, “slow-burning ambient Americana that manages to captivate while avoiding the histrionics of its post-rock forebears” (The New Yorker).
Balmorhea defies easy compartmentalization, spanning genres while resonating with a vast worldwide listenership. Lowe and Muller have performed (both as a duo and full ensemble) to audiences from Mexico City to China, Istanbul to Italy; they’ve played everywhere from gothic cathedrals to rock clubs, renowned art museums to respected European venues like Berlin’s Funkhaus and Brussels’ Bozar. They have shared the stage with neoclassical pianists Nils Frahm and Dustin O’Halloran, experimental artists Oneohtrix Point Never and Grouper, and rock acts like Efterklang and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore. Their diverse audience and malleable range — “both restorative and disquieting, depending where one lands in its deep catalog” (The Atlantic) — has led to collaborations and original compositions for feature films, television, high-end fashion houses, and dance performances.
In recent years, Lowe and Muller have in many ways returned to their roots — retreating to remote corners of Texas to write new music as a duo. It’s a circling back to their origin story while embarking on a new chapter with the history-seeped Deutsche Grammophon label; a collective soundtrack for life’s swells, silences, and anchoring in the present.