Review: Asaph by Loud Harp

Review: Asaph by Loud Harp

April 17, 2014

Review by Chris Hess

Movement. Over oceans and over states lines. Airplanes in the sky and hitchhikers on the shoulder. Movement in our hearts and the movement of our feet. The bus to get across town and the train to get out of it. Towards or away. The road and the path. Travel and sojourn. We've all heard there's somewhere we ought to be - on our own or with other pilgrims.

Asaphthe new album from Loud Harp (out April 8) - is born of movement, found in the space of time on the road. One band member (Dave Wilton of A Boy And His Kite) driving while the other (Asher Seevinck of Seafinch) read the psalmic poems/songs of Asaph out loud. Then they would switch. One hearing and one speaking the soundtrack of -in that space of time —the forests and coasts of the Pacific Northwest. Infinite views and roads among giants.

Asaph is a worship album, if you're looking to keep your music organized by category, though not of the anthemic ilk that seem to have come to bear the standard. For that, I say thank you. The album is the old poems of the Psalms sung over smart post-rock. The language of struggle, praise, submission, identity and longing in the midst of thankfulness, joy, months on the run, foreign occupation, and hearts full of the tension. Landscapes and textures of focused, swaying, creative, joyful composition. Movement. The beat of hearts in chests over the beat of the feet on the ground.

"(121) Ascent" is an instrumental track in the middle of the album that can be glanced over as an introduction to the next song or heard as the pulse of Asaph as a whole. The title of the piece indicates a pilgrim song is about to happen. Pure, echoing guitars refrain over straight forward drums and bass. The song builds as voices of ethereal pilgrim praise begin to leak in.

Musically, the album is mature. Secure in its restraint. Humble in its nuances (headphones recommended). Comfortable in the layers of its own skin. The composition reflects the words of the Psalms taken as lyrics.

"You hold my eyes wide open, you sing over me," Seevinck sings on "(77) You Heard Me"over a string section that brings to mind the happenings of nature if we stop and look. Asaph is an album of movement, yes, but not movement towards selfish ambition or away from the world we live in. The songs are pointedly communal, focused on traveling together in the Kingdom, aware of who we are and where we've been and where we're going. With Asaph, Loud Harp extends the invitation they found on the roads paved with old poems. It would do us well to take it and hold it for the next pilgrims who come along.

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We're doing a giveaway—a physical CD of Loud Harp's Asaph. <del>Post a comment below to be entered. We'll draw names and notify the winner on Monday, April 21st.</del> Photo Credit: Kyle Steed by Chris Hess

"SonHusbandFatherWhiskeyCoffeeMusicSweaters." A stream-of-consciousness compound word describing Chris Hess and what he enjoys and what he enjoys being. Chris also enjoys being the executive director of Everyday Joe's, a non-profit volunteer-powered coffee house, concert venue, and community gathering place that loves you to bits. He has been published very few places.

 

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