Music Review: Rachel Grimes crafts her finest post-Rachel’s work yet

As part of the indie chamber ensemble Rachel’s, pianist-composer Rachel Grimes helped popularize orchestral instruments in the world of rock. Her band paved the way for such groups as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, who brought thundering compositions to kids raised thinking that orchestral music belonged in symphony halls, attended by their parents. But whereas later groups tended to incorporate classical instruments into the noise, Rachel’s always kept the arrangements of a more traditional ensemble, even as later albums broadened the band’s scope far beyond the neo-modernist compositions of the early albums.

The Clearing expands on Grimes’ previous solo work, adding artists and instruments that push her austere compositions in bold new directions. Far more meandering and experimental than previous work, the album feels like a talented neo-classical composer setting out for new vistas, only to find a similarly melancholic and elegiac tone in most of the places …

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