Chris Murphy

    Noir

    7
    Kufala - May 1, 2005

    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.

    [more:]

     

    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
    album.

     

    If
    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.

     

    With
    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.

     

     

    Discuss this review at The Prefix Message Board

     

    Chris Murphy Web site

    Kafula Recordings Web site

    “Tango” MP3

    “Desert Star” MP3

    “Bessie Smith” MP3

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