“… a sound that evokes imagery of brilliant landscapes and quiet pastoral scenes. Their sweeping instrumentals and sporadic yet haunting vocals draw influence from both classical music and experimental acoustic folk.”
Berlin, November 2020. Building on its commitment to new repertoire created by contemporary composers and musicians with distinctive original voices, Deutsche Grammophon is delighted to announce the signing of an exclusive agreement with Texas-based duo Balmorhea (pronounced “Bal-more-ray”). With a gift for interweaving different styles and ideas to produce mellifluous, eloquent soundscapes, multi-instrumentalists Rob Lowe and Michael A. Muller have been hailed by The New Yorker for their “slow-burning ambient Americana” and by The Atlantic for their “stunningly gorgeous music”.
Balmorhea began life in 2006 when Lowe and Muller met and made music at a summer camp in the remote Texas Hill Country. The two friends continued experimenting and exploring after they returned to Austin, where they combined complex layers of guitar and piano sounds in ways that appeared to mirror the majestic mountains and rugged landscapes of their home state.
Since then, six studio albums, various EPs, four singles, remixes, a live album and more than a decade on the road have helped secure cult status for Balmorhea. Lowe and Muller have performed both as a duo and as the core of variously expanded Balmorhea ensembles to audiences around the world, everywhere from cathedrals to rock clubs, art galleries to Berlin’s Funkhaus and Bozar Brussels.
Open to a striking range of genres and cultural influences, their distinctive form of minimalism, spacious and sublime, embraces everything from the classical tradition and experimental acoustic folk to post-rock experimentalism. While often evoking the sights and sounds of nature and the changing seasons, their music has a depth that also leaves it open to the listener’s own interpretation.
Signing with the Yellow Label marks both a new beginning for the duo and a return to the origins of their partnership. Both musicians are looking forward to working with the DG team: “Neither of us, as young boys growing up in Texas, would have dreamed that we might create music for the same label that produced so many records which left such a profound impact on us. We couldn’t be more elated with this new adventure.”
Christian Badzura, Vice President A&R New Repertoire at Deutsche Grammophon, welcomed Balmorhea to the Yellow Label. “I am truly happy that they have joined the Deutsche Grammophon artist roster,” he said. “After expanding to an ensemble Rob and Michael have now returned to their roots as a duo, opening a new chapter in their lives as composers and performers while recalling the way they started, scoring and playing hauntingly beautiful compositions and arrangements.”
Balmorhea’s Deutsche Grammophon debut album will be released in spring of next year. Written in remote locations around their home state, the new tracks were refined and recorded in the iconic Saal 3 at Berlin’s Funkhaus. Having first visited the studio in 2018, the duo were determined to come back and record in a space Lowe describes as “made to capture acoustic instruments beautifully”. Again inspired by the vast landscapes of Texas, their latest works also address the threat posed to the natural world by climate change and the limits of the human imagination, their restraint and simplicity speaking volumes.