[I] am a man wearing a flat cap and a lavender shirt. I am a man listening to Vespers I & II by Aaron Strumpel. The attire I don is not a requirement I will impose upon you. Listening to this project—a collection of six songs written on two afternoons in early summer 2010—is most definitely required...and proves beneficial to your inner workings. After Strumpel released his critically acclaimed Elephants in the spring of ott-nine, rumors and teasers began to pop up here and there concerning a companion album entitled Birds. With that album still coming down the pipes—albeit a little slower than originally planned (it will now include a third disc tilted Bees...clever & not joking) we are given Vespers I & II to reward our patience. The double EP is Strumpel's first collection written entirely out of the Psalms since his 2006 Chair & Microphone effort. "There is no other template for prayer that seems as honest and beautiful and hard and uplifting," he writes on his blog. And so here we have what the appropriately titled Vespers project is: a chronicle of one man's evening prayers. It is an intriguing concept, but it is also lovely. It is language coming out of a heart, which gives us all access to it. Honesty and artfulness are present, though not contrived. There is no posturing for the listener so we might "go deeper." There is open invitation to listen closely or to simply enjoy or both. Sometimes people share things out of their personal journals that should not be shared and everyone in the room feels awkward. Thankfully & expectedly, that is not the case here. Vespers I & II is available through Aaron's official site (www.aaronstrumpel.com) for just five bones. Dig it.
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