romantic, moody . . . music

Music for Egon Schiele (Quarterstick)

By Bob Bahr

An album like this is further proof that sorting music into genres is a conceptual process of the lowest order. Created by classically trained musicians who, before the advent of Rachel's, were best known as players in the indie rock scene, the loose collaborative ensemble plays romantic, moody music in a way reminiscent of chamber music groups. (Oops, there goes the categorization process again.)

This, their second album, features piano, viola and cello. The album was recorded at UofL's North Recital Hall without undue fuss or overdubs. Classically minded listeners have heard echoes of Ravel, Debussey and Satie in the Rachel's sound, although the members of Rachel's will just look at you non-plussed when any such comparisons are suggested. Perhaps the only thing one can salvage from these comparisons is the idea that the music is not particularly aggressive or avant garde. It is not a rehashing of the past, but it is not the predictable embrace of disconcerting dissonance that much of contemporary classical music slides into. Music for Egon Schiele is pretty, well-structured music.

At times, the stateliness of the Rachel Grimes' piano can be construed as melancholia, but there ample moments of joy to prevent the band from being another variation of the angst-venting. The music is impressionistic and touching in a gentle way, without being New Age wispy. In fact, as the accompanying cover story shows, the members of Rachel's are appalled by the idea that the serious musicianship displayed here could be intrepreted as stuffed-shirtedness. Light and darkness both reside in Music for Egon Schiele.