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Jherek Bischoff - Composed

Jherek Bischoff - Composed

by , 30 May 2012

"So who do we have next?"
"Well, there's this Jherek Bischoff guy."
"Who?"
"Jherek Bischoff?"
"Well, I don't think I've heard of him..."
"He doesn't have much experience working by himself, so far, but he's got a glowing set of references."
"He does?"
"Yeah, see?"
"Hmmm....Parenthetical Girls, Xiu Xiu...The Dead Science, Amanda Palmer..."
"And Deerhoof and Perfume Genius."
"Impressive. So is he anything like those people? Cos that's not really what we're looking for..."
"Not really. Well, that's a pretty disparate bunch, so he's got some similarities."
"Okay, so tell me about what this guy does."


"His new album's called Composed."
"And what's it like?"
"Well, he originally wrote all the songs on ukulele, then arranged for an orchestra."
"Oh, so Composed..."So, it's an Owen Pallett sort of thing?"
"Far more collaborative than that. It feels more I guess, an orchestra."
"So. What about the music?"


"It depends. Some bits are almost like, film scores with singing over the top."
"A bit like that XTC album, what was it...Apple Venus, that was it. Nice album."
"I don't know what you're talking about. Some of it's like film scores, parts of it are like tunes from Hollywood musicals..."
"Like Rock of Ages?"
"Like Singing in the Rain. And he's got something of an all-star cast..."
"You didn't mention this before?"
"It's Jherek's show, still. The first track has David Byrne, a song called 'Eyes' with Bischoff. It's a really fun little song, feels like something Danny Elfman would write in a lighter Tim Burton film."


"Has he got any old friends on it?"
"Well, the best song he's got on here is 'Young and Lovely', with Zac Pennington from Parenthetical Girls. It's a duet with this French popstar, SoKo. It's a nice, propulsive bit of chamber pop. Strings and horns and everything. If Belle & Sebastian pushed towards being the new Beach Boys, it might sound a little like 'Young and Lovely'."
"High praise. Sounds like it's a bit poppy."
"In a way. This song 'Counting' is sung by Carla Bozulich, who sounds a little like her out of Portishead. It's like something from an opera. Very "swooping" and, well, operatic."
"Okay, so does Bischoff...does he have a background in opera, or orchestras, or...?"
"Nope. He's seen two symphonies in his life, and only went to the opera for the first time last year."
"So why and how is he making this music?"


"Well...here's the thing. Composed sounds like nothing I've heard before. Obviously, explaining it to you, I've mentioned things - like film scores, or musicals, or the Beach Boys - which are close. It sounds like music made by someone who has absorbed all these myriad influences over his life and is spitting them back out in the way that comes naturally. It just so happens that happens to be through orchestral pop music not, y'know, performing in a garage rock band. It's really polished, incredibly well put together. It's...exciting! It's something different. It's refreshing, in a way, to have someone who is willing to be big and exciting and theatrical and operatic in his music, on both literal and metaphorical levels."
"And I really like that 'Young and Lovely' song."
"It's catchy, right?"
"I didn't know orchestras could be, honestly. They're difficult to whistle along to."


"That's all I can really say without you hearing the record. It's really very good. Very different.  "Do you think he's our guy? Is Bischoff the New Brian Wilson? Is he the New Sufjan Stevens? Hell, is he the New Owen Pallett?"
"I'm not sure he really fits into any of those positions completely..."
"Well then what? It's not like we can invent a whole new category for him..."
"I think he already has."

Rating: 8/10

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