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Jherek Bischoff – Cistern

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Jherek Bischoff - CisternJherek Bischoff‘s new record Cistern is beautiful. I was already expecting this, knowing as I do that he is the master of melody and a conjurer of clever arrangements that can tug the heart and ensnare the senses. I loved his first record, Composed, and so I was ready to be beguiled by Cistern. It is a very different record, entirely instrumental and beautifully orchestrated: it has an intimacy; it is very personal.

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Thee Silver Mt Zion/Jherek Bischoff (live at Mississippi Studios)

Portland, OR 30 April 2014

Seeing Thee Silver Mt. Zion, the most famous off-shoot of post-apocalyptic prophets Godspeed You! Black Emperor, on the eve of both May Day, the most famous of socialist holidays, and Beltane, a Celtic pagan festival halfway between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice, often associated with “popular and often raucous celebrations.” Note that I said EVE, as in the night before the big festivities. The air seemed infused with the riotous energy, but minus the pomp and ceremony, without the parades and the buttons and the banners and the labels. One often wonders, is the anarchy that can be spoken the real anarchy? Instead, 4.30.14, an almost already sweltering night in Portland, and it seemed like the REAL celebration. Like we were getting away with something, when no one was looking.

Gary Oaks, my lovely companion for the evening, wandered off, sitting on a

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Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra (live at Koko)

Koko, London 23 October 2012

When I said I’d review this gig, even though I have seen Amanda Palmer several times before, I really didn’t think through what I was letting myself in for.

Let me explain. I pre-ordered the tickets for this show on the first day they were available. I like music, a lot. I like going to gigs. But this was different. I am a big fan of Amanda Palmer. I really wanted to be at this gig. I backed the kickstarter. I’d been at Heaven In September 2011 when the proto-Grand Theft Orchestra had made their first stage appearance in London. I was psyched to be doing this.

And of course this was not just a gig. Amanda Palmer is a true curator of her shows. I’m not trying to use that hipster-faux term in either a derogatory or flippant way. This is art. This is

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Jherek Bischoff – Composed/Scores: Composed Instrumentals

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I am very sorry to say that I had not heard of Jherek Bischoff until quite recently, when he joined the marvellous musical collaboration that is Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra. And, to be honest, I hadn’t really registered until I got hold of Amanda Palmer’s Theatre is Evil just what an accomplished and multi-talented musician he is.

So I did some digging (and by digging, I’m talking Wikipedia and the outer limits of internet search engines). Now I’m aware that Jherek Bischoff has been in numerous bands in the experimental pop through to the avant-garde genres (The Dead Science; Parenthetical Girls…) and that he was “Raised on a sailboat and traveled the world…” I’m also going to have to come clean

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