Jherek Bischoff is a songwriter, producer, performer and composer from the Pacific Northwest who has been called a "pop polymath" (The New York Times) and a "Seattle phenom" (The New Yorker). We're trying not to get too braggy over here, but we are proud to be releasing this music!
Composed is a meticulously arranged, multi-tracked orchestral pop album featuring a host of famous guests, many of whom appeared at the sold-out Ecstatic Music Festival performance in New York that launched the project earlier in 2012. David Byrne collaborates on "Eyes," a piece of meta-pop as great as anything he's produced in the past decade. Brazilian Tropicalismo legend Caetano Veloso guests on "The Secret Of The Machines" with an avant-percussion solo by Deerhoof's Greg Saunier. Parenthetical Girls' Zac Pennington and French singer/actor Soko duet on "Young & Lovely." Et. cetera. Despite the impressive cast of characters, Jherek manages to make the album his own, without ever falling into the trap of self-indulgence that often besets multi-vocalist projects. The album is a consistently rewarding and uplifting body of work -- a testament to his clarity of vision.
The project's creation was informed by Jherek?s history of playing in indie bands, a fervent desire to make great pop music and a love affair with the potential of the orchestra. Just as an example of "home" recording Composed is quite unique. DIY in the purest sense, Jherek first composed the album on a ukulele. Next he arranged, produced and engineered the backing tracks, achieving an orchestral sound without the orchestral cost by recording the music one instrument at a time using a single microphone and a laptop. Yet sonically, the final product is consistently rewarding, following the composer's quirky vision while showing a deep familiarity with a catalog of compositional ideas & technique.
"I recorded each individual musician of the 'orchestra' in their own living rooms," says Bischoff, "and then I layered each instrument -- sometimes one violinist playing one part twenty times - until it was the size of a huge orchestra. I spent the summer riding my bike from house to house recording each musician. I finished the album by taking a road trip to record all the singers in person, except for Caetano Veloso and David Byrne, who recorded their own parts at home."
This approach reflected Jherek's desire to shake up the business-as-usual routine of being an independent rock musician. As he notes: "I realized a few years ago that being in several serious touring bands at the same time could be really frustrating, because I tend to work on music at least eight hours a day at home, and on tour you only get to make music for an hour a day. I realized that by producing records, doing soundtracks and collaborating on music for dance, I could be creatively involved with a ton of exciting music, and let it have its own legs without having to always be on tour."
This approach reflected Jherek's desire to shake up the business-as-usual routine of being an independent rock musician. A veteran of several music scenes, he has performed in numerous musical configurations over his 30-odd years, collaborating with Parenthetical Girls, Xiu Xiu, The Degenerate Art Ensemble, The Dead Science, Amanda "F**king" Palmer and The Wordless Music Orchestra. We think you'll agree Composed is a startling solo debut.