Download: The Balustrade Ensemble -- "Incarnadine"
The Balustrade Ensemble is like the aural background to a Victorian science fiction film, a group has developed their own musical style of some type of steampunk-ambient. Capsules, out on Dynamophone Records, is an otherworldy collection of adroitly-crafted pieces of rich acoustic guitar pickings, mellotron, orchestron, claviola, cello, piano, pedal steel, and voice. Delicate and sometimes spooky, Capsules is like the lost soundtrack to a Brothers Quay film, a collection of lovely, brittle compositions viewed through a hazy, antique looking-glass.
The group is made up of guitarist and composer Grant Miller (Mandible Chatter), arranger and engineer Scott Solter (Mountain Goats, Boxharp, John Vanderslice, Pattern is Movement), and vocals by Wendy Allen (Boxharp), assisted by select players (including Liam Singer and Matt Henry Cunitz) contributing to the blend of vintage keyboards, cello, piano, and pedal steel. The group's music embraces the textures and invention of the modern era in conjunction with a more formal –even at times, antiquarian– sensibility. Still, on the whole, it is more progressive than regressive, moving the listener forward toward new promises.