JR Robinson
Esther Shaw

Wrekmeister Harmonies have had quite the life of its own since JR Robinson created the moniker as a means of performing his pieces of jazzy, ambient prog in public spaces – which leads the recordings of those performances to have a wonderfully, dynamic quality with noises and sounds from the surroundings seeping in and combining with the music in unforeseen ways.

J.R. Robinson & Esther Shaw of Wrekmeister Harmonies: The Sound and The Story

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The Sound And The Story – interview by Fret 12

And unforeseen is probably a very good word to keep in mind when delving into Wrekmeister Harmonies, as it would have been very hard to foretell the different ways this project has evolved since then.

Going on through a series of more or less ”solo albums with friends” through a more band-like setup to now where Wrekmeister Harmonies seems more of a core-duo (Robinson and pianist/vocalist Esther Shaw) drawing on various guests. But also going through several changes in musical focus.

The music can often feel trance-inducing on par with something like Brian Eno‘s ambient soundscapes, but at the same time it’s expansive and thought-provoking in the same way as say the softer parts of Neurosis or Tribes Of Neurot.

Wrekmeister Harmonies – You’ve Always Meant So Much to Me (Official Music Video)

Official video for You’ve Always Meant So Much To Me by Wrekmeister Harmonies from the album You’ve Always Meant So Much to Me, Out now on Thrill Jockey Records.

You Always Meant So Much To Me – Official video

And unlike a lot of other ambient soundscapes, this more feels like a journey, with subtle changes throughout the compositions… and there is much more dynamics involved, with more dramatic shifts and passages. Leading to comparisons to postmetal on top of the droney-ambients.

And with time the music have become more intent, more willing to challenge, harsher even. And the latest album Light Falls (2016) is as beautiful as it is frigthening and profound.

“I think you could say there’s a certain inherent power of seeing one hundred musicians all striking a C major chord at the same time, that’s going to have an impact. I’ve also had one person just devastate me with their emotional output, so it’s all about personal feelings, do you have an idea, do you have a feeling and an emotion that you’re trying to communicate. Are you experiencing something inside that you’re trying to express, that you’re trying to get from here to the outside world. You can use thirty people, you could use a hundred people, you could use one person, you could use two people, as long as you have a true emotion, a true feeling that you’re trying to communicate, then I think that’s a good thing.

And it can’t be denied–if somebody is actually truly trying to communicate an emotional state to you, and they’re doing their best to do it, it’s hard to ignore. Conversely, if somebody is going through the motions, if you’ve got a group of people, one or two individuals, or a hundred people, they’re just kind going through the motions–‘I got stuff to do, I gotta get up and do my thing tomorrow, I’m hungry, I’m bored–‘ that is just as easily observable, right?”

JR Robinson, interviewed by KZSC, May 2017

New album The Alone Rush will be out just before Roadburn, on April 13th through Thrill Jockey Records.

Wrekmeister Harmonies will be captivating hearts and minds on Sunday, 22 April at the 013 venue at Roadburn 2018.

WREKMEISTER HARMONIES live at Saint Vitus Bar, Feb. 23, 2016 (FULL SET)

Contact: pitfullofshit@gmail.com Pit Full of Shit http://pitfullofshit.blogspot.com/

Liveset, St. Vitus Bar, February 2016

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Recordings Made In Public Spaces Volume OneAlbum (2009)spotify
Live In NYCAlbum (2009)BandCamp
You've Always Meant So Much To MeAlbum (2013)spotifyBandCamp
Then It All Came DownAlbum (2014)spotifyBandCamp
Night Of Your AscensionAlbum (2015)spotifyBandCamp
Light FallsAlbum (2016)spotifyBandCamp