The latest episode of Q2 Spaces takes us to Washington state's Puget Sound and the small sailboat where musician, composer and producer Jherek Bischoff was raised — and to his Seattle apartment, where he surrounds himself with instruments and not much else.
"I've always worked with very little, but didn't let that stop me from trying to make big things. A lot of that has to do with just not having the opportunity to have much stuff," says Bischoff, who lived with his parents and older brother on a sailboat just 12 feet at its widest and 37 feet from bow to stern.
There is a delightful juxtaposition between Bischoff's minimalist upbringing and home life and his lush, orchestrated music, which he builds one voice at a time. For his most recent album Composed, Bischoff traveled to each musician's home, recorded each individually and then put all the pieces together on his laptop.
"That's about as minimal as you can go," Bischoff says with a laugh.
Bischoff has worked with a wide range of musicians and bands, including experimental pop group The Dead Science, the dark rock project Xiu Xiu, Talking Heads frontman David Byrne and singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer. In 2012, he and the Wordless Music Orchestra performed a sold-out concert to open the Ecstatic Music Festival; this coming weekend, he'll perform at the Pacific Northwest's Sasquatch! Music Festival at the Gorge Amphitheater.
"To get the chance to play chamber music in this environment is really exciting," says Bischoff, who'll perform along with a string quartet, clarinet, bass and two percussionists (one is his older brother, Korum Bischoff). "We will be playing a mixture of stuff from Composed and some newer work, some of which I debuted at Lincoln Center with yMusic Ensemble late last year. One of my goals is to keep bringing chamber music to different venues. Coming from a rock background, I often forget that playing this kind of music in a rock club or rock festival is strange. I just feel like I am playing in a band, whether I am with an orchestra or a rock band."
- Video: Kim Nowacki
- Music: Tracks from Jherek Bischoff's Scores: Composed Instrumentals appear courtesy of Brassland
- Special Thanks: Erica Farnsworth, Matt Beyer