Following their debut, Hold this Ghost, whose immediate melodies and lush orchestration garnered significant press and a devoted listenership worldwide, Musée Mécanique returns with the ambitious From Shores of Sleep (out August 26th on Tender Loving Empire), a through-composed musical voyage that finds its lineage as much in the song-cycles of Robert Schumann as in its Portland, Oregon folk-rock contemporaries. Using water as a central image, Musée Mécanique has crafted a story both surreal and insightful, meticulous and moving, a record about travels and transitions, of restlessness and longing, and the grief that comes from leaving things behind.
From Shores of Sleep is a statement twenty years in the making. Songwriters Micah Rabwin and Sean Ogilvie met in their 9th grade English class and have been making music together ever since. Rabwin reflects “We’ve known each other for 20 years, through burgeoning adolescence, making bad decisions, having children and getting married. We were coming to terms with what it means to grow up.” Over the course of two years, they labored over lyrics both together and separately, referencing Homer’s Odyssey, Dante’s Inferno, Jacques Cousteau, old sailors legends, as well as their own interactions with the ocean and the rivers near Portland. As Ogilvie notes, “There were so many personal struggles and observations from our combined lives that we wanted to fuse into this one small forty-five minute piece of material.” Rich with wordplay, lyrics with double and triple meanings, and references to earlier songs in later songs, the musical journey ultimately parallels the time and emotional toll of making the record; reconciling the writer’s identities as artists with the responsibilities and expectations of adulthood and forming a dialogue between the dreamer and the realist.
Ogilvie’s background in classical composition is apparent throughout From Shores Of Sleep, as is his tenure with respected post-rock instrumental band Tristeza. From the upbeat opener “O Astoria” to the arresting choral harmonies of “Castle Walls”, arrangements mirror and interact with the lyrics. Strings, woodwinds and synthesizer sounds appear and re-appear, often playing characters, not unlike Tchaikovsky’s instrumentation in “Peter and The Wolf”. Sirens enter, sung beautifully by Johanna Kunin and Alela Diane. Layered percussion at times resembles the complex rigging of a ship, and elsewhere invokes the steady pulse of ocean waves. The album ends with a quiet meditation on mortality “The Shaker’s Cask,”: a pump organ dissolves into a string quintet then makes way for a regal section of woodwind and brass, each change emphasizing the song’s message: all things will pass.
Boise, Idaho based composer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Thomas Paul is adept in a diverse range of genres including swing, funk, country, indie, bluegrass, lounge jazz, blues, psychedelia, bedroom folk and Latin music. Thomas joined his first band at age fourteen and since then has lent his talents to over three-dozen bands and music projects, including Bill Coffey Big Band, Mystery Date and Clock. Cellar Notes recently dubbed him to be “one of the premier performers in the Northwest.”
2006 to 2010 has found Thomas performing extensively, both locally and countrywide, as well as writing and rehearsing new material. In spring and fall of 2010, Thomas participated in two U.S. coast-to-coast tours with Nick Jaina. These were completed in-between his own regional tours promoting House of Fire: a ten-song, 42-minute tour-de-force released in March 2009 and while recording Paul’s second full-length album, Goodbye, Waterloo….
Paul has shared the stage with notables John Hammond, Curtis Stigers, Ned Evett and several other heavyweight luminaries. Though he enjoys the role of sideman, he is moreover an independent artist. In September 2007, he began performing weekly at Boise’s Red Feather Lounge, an invaluable opportunity to consistently refine his craft. Numerous full band and solo sets also pack his schedule at music hot spots throughout the Boise region and beyond.
His primary band consists of Bob Nagel (stand-up bass), Louis McFarland (drums) and includes other collaborators who frequently step in and out. Thanks in part to Paul’s immense range, he has played with a wide variety of bands like Red Jacket Mine, New Transit, J.D. Kindle and the East Oregon Playboys, Gizzard Stone, Me + My Ego, Mayer Force One, Hillfolk Noir and eL Dopamine. He mixes and matches his instruments in these projects from guitar, bass, keyboard, mandolin, accordion to vocals and has played everything from garage rock to lounge blues to folk.
Too old to grow, too young to know…
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