Gungor : Ulster Hall
By their own confession describing the musical collective Gungor isn’t actually very easy. It’s not so much an attempt to directly defy the rules of modern music making as much as it’s simply the honest musical response of the Denver based group that sees the world as a beautifully complicated place.
Gungor is to music what CS Lewis is to books. This isn’t something I say flippantly, the more I listen to their music the more I hear and learn.
This is a group that believes listeners are intelligent enough to appreciate lyrical metaphor and allegory along with intricate time signatures and somewhat uncommonly paired instruments in pop or rock music.
Ghosts Upon the Earth paints a hauntingly beautiful soundscape that emotionally conveys both the intricacy and wonder of the universe that we live in as well as the tension and dissonance that we all experience.
From sweeping string lines and soaring, falsetto vocal melodies to distorted flute riffs and five part dissonant harmonies, this album explores quite a wide emotional and musical gamut.
And according to Michael Gungor, the namesake, producer, and leader of the collective, it’s all very purposeful and full of subtle meaning.
From fast violin arpeggios that represent vibrating “strings” in a primordial universe, to the sacred sound of the first heartbeats that Michael and his wife Lisa ever heard of their baby girl reminding us of the fragility and preciousness of life, nothing is haphazard about this album.
Above, Cara Fox gives a phenomenal performance on Cello. Also featured more prominently on this record than the last one is Michael’s wife, Lisa, a gifted musician and songwriter in her own right. Most of the songs on the album are written by Michael and Lisa together, and there are several songs that feature her as the primary vocalist.
Her voice is used as an instrument in itself, in an album that includes credits for things like a six-person string section, horns, glockenspiels, banjos, and a boys choir.
It was a phenomenal night, Gungor’s recorded work is absolutely brilliant and it is literally breathtaking live. If you get a chance to see Gungor, don’t miss it.