Rachel’s – Music for Egon Schiele

rachel's

Lots of motherfuckers look back at ’95 and ’96 and think of Gangsta’s Paradise, Jordan going back to the NBA, Seal kissing up roses, Mariah having sweet-sweet fantasies, the .com boom, Wonderwall, The Oklahoma bombing, the Macarena, and terrible fucking dance music (like, goddamn, that shit was really fucking bad). Most people won’t think of post-rock. You know, that Sigur Rós, Explosions in the Sky, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor shit? There it was, hidden in the corners and awaiting its turn. It has since splintered into hundreds of styles and influenced basically everything. But, back in the day, at its core were the Rachel’s.

Sure, the Rachel’s made shit in the late 80s. Ya, there’s lots of other albums to choose from. And ya, you’re totally right, their 2003 release Systems/Layers did encourage and influence dudes like Jóhann Jóhannsson and Max Richter. But I’m not reviewing those albums because I really like this one. So, fuck off.

Jason Noble (guitarist) met Christian Frederickson (viola) on a Baltimore trolley. A little while later, they started a band named after Nobel’s Toyota Corolla (named Rachel) and the group’s third member and piano player Rachel Grimes (also named Rachel). The music they made was completely against the zeitgeist. Years ago, I kept putting it on repeat even though I wasn’t crazy happy about it at first. Motherfucker gave me feely feels. Originally, this album was created for a theatrical dance production based upon that super awesome painter dude Egon Schiele. The music on this album is simple, elegant, and beautiful. It’s perfect music to read a book to on a rainy day. It’s melancholic, emotional, and inspiring at the same fucking time. And, major bonus, it sounds like it was made yesterday. It’s aged with the grace of wine, whisky, and Samuel L. bad-ass-motha-fucking Jackson. 

The album is not edgy anymore. Like, at all. Way back when, fucks thought this album was pretentious uppity bluestocking bullshit all adorned with baubles, bells, and balloons. They feared it like the ’00s feared cellphones, the ’90s feared computers, and cavemen feared thunder. It’s comforting, simple, and easy to react to the strange and the new with anger, dismissal, and superiority. It makes us feel safe, warm, and in control. Why the fuck else would we do it? Looking back, it’s easy to feel superior to this kind of thinking, that is, until someone brings up Blockchain, living on mars, and self-driving cars. In the end, it’s all thunder to cavemen. 

 

The Rachel’s broke up in 2012 after their founding member, Jason Noble, passed away following a three-year battle with synovial sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Edward (drums, vibes and sampler) passed away in 2017. They left behind a fantastic and ageless discography. Shit is truly legit. You can check out what the rest of the members are up to by clicking on the links down below. 

Christian Frederickson – viola and laptop

Rachel Grimes – piano and organ

Greg King – films, vibes and keyboards

Eve Miller – cello

Bob Weston – engineer, trumpet and bass

Dominic Johnson – viola

Kyle Crabtree – drums

3 thoughts

  1. What the fuck are the chances? I was trying to find a high-res copy of Schiele’s ‘Death and the Maiden’ painting the other day to use as a desktop pic (I couldn’t find one, so instead I went with a pic of Sleater-Kinney, but that’s besides the point), after listening to The Verlaines’ ‘Death and the Maiden’ (a forgotten classic, link below – if you’re interested, Bird Dog is probably their best and easiest-to-find album).

    As for post-rock, I never really got into the genre, Disco Inferno aside. I saw the ultra-hipster crowd drooling over GY!BE, and noone else really, so I was dubious. That said, I’ve been orbiting closer and closer towards it lately – getting into Boris, Broken Social Scene’s instrumental stuff, coming across Talk Talk and Hex while searching for bands like Can, and of course, dipping a couple toes into classical. So with all that in mind, I reckon it’s time to shed my prejudice – and this may be (one of) the album(s) to do so.

    P.S. – Though realistically, I’ll probably just focus on classical for now, but it’s the thought that counts.

    P.P.S. – “…and terrible fucking dance music (like, goddamn, that shit was really fucking bad).” I’ll refrain, not knowing who/what *exactly* you’re referring to (I never got to live through the era and hear the worst of the worst), but I am primed to take offence.

    The Verlaines – Death and The Maiden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P96cFKd4irY

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What are the chances indeed! Check the album out for sure. It’s a lot closer to classical than you think … Thanks for the rec! For sure I’ll listen. When it comes to any genre, as you know, there are buckets of garbage out there. The Rachel’s is something special from that world. Truly unique.

      Like

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