Jherek Bischoff & Perhaps Contraption / Köln 2013 (Ricoh AF-55)
Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra / Köln 2013 (Ricoh AF-55)
Stream Jherek’s Mountain Oasis set through NPR music here!
Jherek Bischoff “and a rug of people hair.”
and another really bad jherek picture because goddamnit he’s awesome
Jherek Bischoff’s set at Diana Wortham Theatre was the first Mountain Oasis performance I saw. But it was so surprising and moving and joyful that had it been the only Mountain Oasis performance I caught, it would have been enough.
Bischoff, in a skinny suit, white patent leather shoes and Don Draper hair, fronted a four-piece string section. Which he led with a ukulele. And though his music contained hints of retro jazz and Hawaiian lilt, the overall effect was of neither nostalgia nor camp.
Dreamy, cinematic orchestral-pop goes part of the way to describing Bischoff’s sound. But while he played off of the sweeping strings and the vocals of Jen Goma from People Get Ready (that band’s percussionist Ian Chang also sat in), he also steered the fresh-yet-relatable songs in unexpected directions. Bischoff’s own vocals are warm and engaging, though he sometimes stepped away from the mic to conduct his strings section.
The set included new piece, “Sad Major,” from a forthcoming ambient album. “This is literally a C-major scale descending for four minutes,” Bischoff’s explained. And it was. And it was brilliant. So, not only is Bischoff (who plays a mean guitar, by the way, and could certainly front yet another dude rock band) reinventing indie pop, but he’s also a formidable contemporary classical composer.
At an electronic music festival.
And that pretty much rules.
Jherek Bischoff on Flickr.
Jherek Bischoff, Amanda Palmer and Missy Higgins covering Before too long by Paul Kelly.
I saw this live and it was amazing.