I downloaded Chair and Microphone, Vol 1 from emusic.com about a week ago and, gosh, the more I listen to Robin and Ben Pasley just...do what they do... the more I like them.
The first time I was mesmerized by their style of music and worship was through the songs "save me" and "improv" from their collaboration with Waterdeep on the first "Enter the Worship Circle" album. The improv song left a big impression on me- especially when I learned that its title says it all; it's literally an improvised song that wanders through some of the best bits of Song of Songs, Isaiah, and Hosea. Then it weaves that with personal responses to the promises offered in those places, really poignant and more beautiful for its spontaneity.
So, back to the project at hand (it's not newly released or anything, just new to me, I've been eyeing it for a while now) the song that stands out the most is the first one, "Pieces." The imagery is wonderful, it immediately caught my attention with the first line I swallowed the key/to the door painted red/that leads to the big room filled with regrets. I just love how concrete it is, and poetic.
I suppose that highlights one of the Pasleys talents which is managing to make really strong emotional connections with really specific images while at the same time constructing choruses that are accessible but not trite.
My other favorite tracks are probably "Rescue Me Deep", "Wedding Days" (I like the straightforward simile running through the song), and "Answer Me." I also really love the whole construction of "Crown Him."
But in the vein I've come to expect from these projects almost all the songs speak to me in different ways, at different levels as they play through.
They really have managed to continuously capture the spirit of the psalms. I say that in the sense of containing pieces of your personal journey even if it's not where you are at the moment. The Catholic Church participates in the ancient Christian tradition of praying the psalms everyday and we all pray the same psalms. Obviously the millions of people praying the same psalms are not all in the same place in their emotional and spiritual lives and yet these words resonate with all of us somehow. So to say that Ben and Robin have managed to create pieces of art that can have that effect is high praise.