Music » Critics' Picks

Balmorhea

9 p.m. Saturday, September 4. The Firebird, 2706 Olive Street.

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Balmorhea succeeds where Emerson, Lake and Palmer and the Moody Blues failed. That diseased dream of fusing two antithetical genres — classical and rock — has crippled every other proggy project since "Nights in White Satin" made the London Festival Orchestra a boomer household name. Balmorhea founders Rob Lowe and Michael Muller ditch lyrics, and consequently skirt pretension, though when you're composing songs like "Bowsprit" — a pastiche of banjo, Glassian strings and chain-gang percussion — you're not going to win over the Lemmy Kilmisters of the world. If the Austinites have sometimes seemed to be cutting soundtracks for a Gus Van Sant movie about sad and lonely robots watching raindrops through a window, this year's Constellations feels more expressive and dynamic. Even its cosmological concepts expand, thanks to some gorgeous, wordless vocal effects, and stunning violin and cello climaxes.

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