jherek bischoff

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Jherek Bischoff And Amanda Palmer – Strung Out In Heaven: A Bowie String Quartet Tribute

8ft. Records, 2016

Special Black Friday RSD version with cover of Prince’s Purple Rain on the B side
Limited edition of 2,500

Portraits of David Bowie and Prince by Sarah Beetson, inside art by Bill Sienkiewicz

This lovely Bowie tribute album, spearheaded by Amanda Palmer and Jherek Bischoff, just went on sale today. It’s pay-what-you like (minimum $1), and for the first month of sales (until March 5) all proceeds—minus the $0.54 to the Bowie estate for use of the songs—will be donated to the cancer research wing of Tufts Medical Center. I highly recommend it, both as a wonderful addition to anyone’s musical library and as a way to donate money to an incredibly worthy cause.

“I gave my heart back to the galaxy, so when you look above you, you’ll always know I love you.”

[Listen here]

1. Space Oddity (Cover) - Jherek Bischoff, Amanda Palmer 2. Boats and Birds - Gregory and the Hawk 3. When You Come Back Down - Nickel Creek 4. Drops of Jupiter (Acoustic Cover) - Jake Coco 5. Gastalt of Original Pain - Kyle Morton 6. Boy on the Moon - The Daylights 7. Engines - Snow Patrol 8. Telescope - Starset 9. The Fault in Our Stars - Troye Sivan 10. Our Corner of the Universe - K.S. Rhoads 11. Venus - Sleeping at Last 12. Distant Satellites - Anathema 13. Astronaut - Amanda Palmer 14. Little Lion Man (Acoustic Cover) - otroPilot 15. Come Home - Cloud Cult 16. Awake - Sucession Studios 17. Valkyrie Missile - Angels & Airwaves 18. Lionhearted - Porter Robinson, Urban Cone 19. Sun - Sleeping at Last 20. Adolescent Space Adventures Outside the Supermarket - Eluvium 21. Across the Universe (Cover) - Havaiia Family Band 22. Don’t Leave Me Hanging - Great Lake Swimmers 23. Ulysses - Josh Garrels 24. Roar (Cover) - Boyce Avenue, Bea Miller 25. The Way We Are - General Ghost 26. Insomniac - Amber Run 27. The Loneliest Star - Thirteen Senses 28. Gravity (Cover) - Embrace 29. The Meeting Place - Hem 30. Across the Universe (Piano Cover) - Music Lab Collective

More songs to be added in the future!

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Even though it’s all over the place stylistically and doesn’t really hang together as an album, as a collection of songs Privilege is one of my favorite releases this year. The sequencing can be forgiven because it’s sort of a collection of the best tracks from five EPs across more than three years (although the EPs didn’t necessarily coalesce musically either) and it’s really remarkable from beginning to end. Despite running the gamut from grimy synthpop to densely orchestrated art-pop to menacing glammy guitar jams (okay there’s only one of those but there’s also a couple tracks that sound like weirdo takes on Camera Obscura), the whole record sounds beautiful, which is absolutely crucial to its success. If this really is Jherek Bischoff’s last involvement with Parenthetical Girls, the next record is gonna suffer for it. I’ve loved the occasional Parenthetical Girls song in the past, but the constant posturing ugliness has always overwhelmed me after too many songs in a row. Here, the consistent beauty of the music takes the art-school edge off Pennington and makes the songs way way more successful and affecting. His preternatural gift for melody is still in place too - if anything it’s gotten stronger - which makes the greatest-hits feeling of Privilege that much more pronounced. 

Pennington is still writing about the same things - winking nihilistic plays on sex, family, and class - but there’s just enough grace and pathos in his words and restraint in his melodies that he no longer comes off as a Bret Easton Ellis-obsessed theater kid (well maybe a little but never to intolerable amounts). This time around there are absolutely stomach-dropping lines inside some of the songs that betray the capital-p-Provocative nature of the band’s material up to this point.

When I was writing this little screed I probably changed my mind about which youtube to pick from the record to post along with it. I kept going “no no no this song isn’t representative either! but auuughhhh it’s so GOOD!” I think that probably sums up how I feel about this record more than either of the last two paragraphs.

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If you write fiction, you may want to watch this video and listen to this song.

It’s the sort of thing that cries out for people to write stories to accompany it…

Can You Hear Me, Major Tom?

1. Space Oddity - Amanda Palmer & Jherek Bischoff 2. Boats and Birds - Gregory and the Hawk 3. When You Come Back Down - Nickel Creek 4. Drops of Jupiter (Acoustic) - Jake Coco 5. Gestalt of Original Pain - Kyle Morton (Typhoon) 6. Don’t Leave Me Hanging - Great Lake Swimmers 7. Ulysses - Josh Garrels 8. The Fault in Our Stars - Troye Sivan 9. Engines - Snow Patrol 10. Our Corner of the Universe - K.S. Rhodes 11. Venus - Sleeping at last

Listen on [8tracks] [Playmoss] | [How to bypass the 8tracks listening limit]

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Not sure how long this will be up: @amandapalmer, @annacalvi, Jherek Bischoff and the Kronos Quartet do Blackstar at the Radio City Music Hall Bowie Tribute.

That, and Michael Stipe’s Ashes to Ashes, were the most moving and remarkable moments of the gig.

Jherek Bischoff tells Terry Gross about sailing between Mexico and Hawaii:

One time, I was helping a friend sail from Mexico to Hawaii, and I was out in the middle of the ocean, and suddenly the ocean went completely still and there was no clouds in the sky — which is actually kind of rare for out in the middle of the ocean. And the wind totally stopped and the ocean was perfectly glassy and, at one point, the stars were a perfect mirror image with the sea. And all of a sudden, I completely lost my sense of direction and which way was up and which way was down, and I felt like I was floating in space because it was just stars completely surrounding me.

Image by Hengki Koentjoro

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In the Theatre Royal Hobart, as part of the Mona Foma festival.

Amanda could not be there, so Jherek Bischoff (bass player and string arranger/composer) suggested we do her song “The Bed Song”, with me reading it, and not singing. This is it.

I am so relieved that someone was filming and put it up.

Jherek Bischoff tells Terry Gross about how he created an orchestral sound without a fill orchestra for his new album Composed:

I knew that I could make a really convincing version of an orchestra by layering each musician with themselves, just recording them over and over and over again until we had the sound of a real orchestra. … I would just ride my bike over to the violin player’s house and put some sheet music in front of her and have her record each part about nine times and build the sound of a full ensemble, and when I was done with that then I would bike ride over to the oboe player’s house and have her record and then just worked my way through the entire orchestra just recording each individual in their own living rooms.

Image by Angel Ceballos

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We’re super excited to announce that composer Jherek Bischoff will be performing this Saturday at the Kickstarter Film Fest! Jherek, who did a project with the Wordless Music Orchestra, will be starting the evening with new compositions perfect for an evening of cinema. Come early, stay late, oh, and RSVP here!