Review ·

I was scanning through my iTunes library a couple months ago and noticed that despite the fact I like to consider myself a music
critic, most of my collection was of the white-boys-with-guitars
variety. Sure, I have a casual knowledge of hip-hop and I own a few
jazz albums, but my musical knowledge, generally speaking, encompassed
a rather narrow scope of the medium at large. I decided to throw myself
into a music-discovery project. Part of that was deciding to review
artists and genres I wouldn't normally be exposed to. That's where
Chris Murphy and the brave new world of white-guy-with-violin (plugged into a guitar amp) comes in.



All joking aside, the artistic range Murphy exhibits throughout Noir
is surprising. With just his violin, the amp and a few effects pedals
to flesh out his sound, Murphy manages to touch upon a variety of
musical styles, from tangos and waltzes, to the blues and rag. It might
seem to lack coherence on paper, but Murphy manages to tie everything
together with the somber, forlorn aesthetic purveyed throughout the


an entire album of violin compositions sans lyrics sounds a bit stuffy,
don't worry. Murphy is skilled enough as a composer and gifted enough
as a musician to hold your attention. The amplifier and effects pedals
help in this regard. The fuller, more varied sound they provide helps
prevent things from getting stale.


more and more indie darlings featuring the violin in their repertoire -
Arcade Fire, Belle Orchestre and Final Fantasy, to name a few - it will
be interesting to see if Murphy, as well as other artists who put an
unconventional spin on this traditional instrument, can enjoy a surge
in popularity. If the violinist cum troubadour winds up being the hipster pose of 2006,

remember that you heard it here first.



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Chris Murphy Web site

Kafula Recordings Web site

"Tango" MP3

"Desert Star" MP3

"Bessie Smith" MP3

Ris Paul Ric - Purple Blaze Robert Skoro That These Things Could be Ours

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