Beacon Sound presents Lower River, the debut solo album by Michael A. Muller. Conceptually, the album explores the place where time, space, and self are occluded — a field of pure energy and creation similar to ‘the flow’ or zen state where ideas stream without impediment. Inspired by Muller’s own remote travels throughout the US and Europe and the personal exploration of a meditative practice, it’s a sonic exploration of what it means to deeply listen versus to merely HEAR, to immerse oneself in navigating the subconscious plane of pure energy and deep, immersive creativity.
In 2006, multi-instrumentalist Muller co-founded the Austin-based ensemble Balmorhea; over the last 13 years he has co-led the group through six full-length records, numerous EPs, global tours, and original scores and worldwide track placements.
Lower River began as a sound experiment in 2018 spanning from the isolated Oregon coast to rural Southern Italy and remote fishing villages in the South of France. With a tape recorder in hand, Muller chronicled his journeys through sound, contemplating along the way what it means to deeply listen amid a modern narrative underwritten by distraction. Merging his field recordings with original compositions recorded in his home studio in Austin, Lower River is a sonic venture into other worlds and into the depths of one’s own mind; a study in engaging with sounds that don’t easily slot into pre-existing notions of what a album ‘ought’ to be.
The final composition includes works by avant bass clarinetist Jonathan Sielaff (Golden Retriever), vocals by Heather Woods Broderick (known for work with Sharon Van Etten & Efterklang), and abstract double bass and cello by Balmorhea’s Sam Pankey and Elan Green, respectively. The album cover art was made by renowned Dutch photographer Awoiska Van Der Molen.