Premiere: Rubrik by Blurstem + Brique A Braq


Minneapolis composer Chris Bartels has been writing ambient music under the name Elskavon for a decade and this past year was arguably one of his most productive with the release of Skylight and numerous collaborations and work supporting the burgeoning indie classical scene in the area along with artists like Jacob Pavek, Philip Daniel, and John Hayes. Not only that, but the Bora York indie pop project fronted by Bartels and wife Rebekah are in the process of developing a new album as well.  Sounds like more than enough to keep even the most restlessly creative musician busy, does it not? Yet, somehow Bartels has found the time & energy to put yet one more iron in the fire with Blurstem.

The project was born as a piano-centric offshoot of Elskavon. Chris and Rebekah were gifted an old spinet piano when they bought a house in 2015. Always slightly out of tune, a little dusty sounding, and very much imperfect, the instrument had a character that Chris wanted to explore. He cut up an old sweater and taped it to the strings, so as to avoid waking up their children at night and ended up writing so many new songs on this spinet that he felt the need to start a whole new project.  Fittingly, the first single from the album that resulted is premiered here on Piano Day.

The song highlights the collaborative nature of the record.  Bartels took his late night improvisations and turned them over to a hand-picked team of talented artists to embellish. “Rubrik” features the work of Brique a Braq, a compositional project by songwriter/producer/composer/instrumentalist Derek Mount (Former Family Force 5/Club Danger/Vyceroy/Juno Kids) who applies a sublime touch to the piece.

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Additional artists who will appear on the record when it arrives in September include some perennial favorites we always enjoy hearing from such as Lowercase Noises, Hotel Neon, and Kyle McEvoy. It is hard to imagine a more welcoming start to what looks to be a very special project.