The Silver Sea

Lewis & Clarke

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Shaking Through: Vol. 5, Episode 6
Released: November 5th, 2014
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Triumvirate (LP 2014)

Lewis & Clarke

Double LP | Companion Book | CD | Download

Triumvirate is the highly anticipated third full-legnth from Lewis & Clarke. It's an album of seasoned confidence and meditative song-craft with a vision of clarity and conviction; a seventy-five minute journey through lush and brooding passages nestled in a canopy of strings, melancholic melodies and warm, world-weary beauty. Complex, fragile arrangements mix with unexpected but natural elements to create a tapestry of intricate yet strong compositions. Lyrically rich and musically gorgeous, Triumvirate is well worth the wait.

Lewis & Clarke is the musical alias of Pennsylvania-based artist Lou Rogai, the voice and vision resonating through the long form art-pop / avant-folk compositions that have become a signature sound. For close to a decade, Lewis & Clarke has steadily and quietly built a devout following by releasing several acclaimed recordings while skirting mainstream currents. Rogai's slow-burning process is as much of a mission statement as an authentic stance in a corporate age. He makes music as an antidote, an unaffected experience. The moniker itself references the fellowship and correspondence between C. S. Lewis and Arthur C. Clarke rather than the 19th century explorers. In the same way, Lewis & Clarke songs tend to shift depth of field and mood as unexpected layers of sound and lyrics unfold.

Rogai has a strong history of collaboration; he's credited as producer / arranger / multi-instrumentalist on Leave Ruin, the debut LP by Strand of Oaks, as well as having contributed to the Two Suns album by Bat For Lashes. Most recently, Rogai scored The Wreck, the short which premiered at Cannes 2014 directed by Kevin Haus. Haus also directed A Map of A Maze, a 13 minute short film depicting the inspirations and meditations of Triumvirate.

Triumvirate takes its title from the political term for the classic power struggle between three entities as well as a cliff face of the same name in Delaware Water Gap. "If you equate the act of climbing a mountain as solving a puzzle, the album name is also a metaphor for solving a moving puzzle and moving forward". Listening to demos of the record, though, one gets the sense that the true triumvirate Rogai is exploring is one within himself; the outward-facing philosopher, the introspective songwriter, and the old soul whose oneness with the natural world can't help but permeate his work.

Recorded & Engineered by Nick Krill/The Garden Center (credits: The Spinto Band)
Mixed by Matt Boynton/Vacation Island (credits: MGMT, Kurt Vile, Beirut)
Mastered by Jason Ward & Bob Weston/Chicago Mastering (credits: Andrew Bird, Deerhunter)

RIYL: David Sylvian, Bowie, Jim O’Rourke, Bat For Lashes, Leonard Cohen

"Lewis & Clarke returns with a huge masterpiece; Triumvirate, a double LP of extreme beauty, emotion, musicality, and storytelling." - FOLKADELPHIA

"Gorgeous, slow building.....He constructs songs the way a gifted author tells stories, revealing details slowly, guiding the narrative along confidently." - WONDERING SOUND

Cover art by Erika Somogyi
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Light Time (12" EP) 2009

Lewis & Clarke

"Lewis & Clarke blew up their pastoral folk sound into long, torn-open and moody soundscapes on 2007's Blasts of Holy Birth, and they have taken that brooding tangled beauty down even darker roads....Light Time shows once again that Lewis & Clarke's quiet sound is an affecting one."

"Lewis & Clarke doesn’t play songs as much as unfurl them, slowly letting ribbons of sound billow and cascade. The power, though, is palpable, made even stronger through delicateness, a paradox that is at play not only in the music on Light Time but also in its metaphors for life, loss and renewal.

Hypnotic mountain folk, setting reedy vocals against spare and elegant guitars, gradually swooning into a near seven-minute piece full of strings and woodsy imagery...songs for getting lost into"

"A reminder that the heart, above all else, is a muscle."
-Donnybrook Writing Academy

"With lyrics that pluck at the heartstrings, and guitar that can be most simply put as solemnly subtle, there's a sense of heaviness that seems to be barely escaping itself...These are songs that embrace their own hopeful anguish, and satisfy our need to feel."

"(Light Time) doesn’t just have three noir naturalistic Rogai-penned tracks to worship and adore — he and his crew cover the Leonard Cohen masterpiece “Chelsea Hotel # 2.”
-Philadelphia City Paper

"Haunting, hushed vocals and introspective songs elegantly couched in understated arrangements"
-The Morning Call
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Blasts Of Holy Birth

Lewis & Clarke

Lewis & Clarke takes us on a "Post-Folk Neo-Baroque" journey through the intricate mysteries of creation. The experience is one of pure subtlety and mind-altering vision, focusing on "the path" rather than obvious hooks, snares and entrapments. Nylon stringed and bowed instruments are set to transcendental verse and laced with future-primitive synth melodies, transporting us from structured chamber folk into meditative passageways. Contributions from members of Man Man and Rachel's.

Selected Press:

"Its obvious that this album is a keeper...perfectly crafted, well executed, and earnest in its intent. Blasts of Holy Birth is thoroughly enjoyable, and it would rest snugly beside your copy of Pink Moon and Brightblack Morning Light. In aiming to create music that is emotionally pure, Lewis & Clarke has released one of the best of the year."

"Eight tracks of delicate beauty."

"The melodies are exquisite, as delivered by an impressive array of strings, percussion, and Rogai’s own direct, unforced vocals...This is a band that more than deserves its growing acclaim."
-Pop Matters

"Rogai has a gift for speaking plainly while tonguing poetry, and his meditations on life cycles and pastoral philosophy blossom and collapse with organic grace...Contributions from Man Man, Rachel's and Hella might draw people in to Holy Birth, but Rogai's cloudless crystalline vision will keep them."
-A.V. Club (The Onion)

"A profound work of earthy, orchestrated new-folk, Blasts Of Holy Birth raises the bar for both listeners and players...An expose of grace, beauty, peril, triumph, and the interconnectivity of all things. Meshing gorgeously hushed melodies and plucked guitars with baroque string arrangements and ethereal pulses and surges, Lewis & Clarke has crafted a transcendent work of epic proportions."
-Impose Magazine

"The eight tracks here are protracted and whisper-quiet yet engaging, with a constant tug of sorrow that satisfies..Rogai exhales poignant lyrics and juggles elegant instrumentation with a revolving cast that includes members of Man Man and Rachel's..Fans of Iron & Wine and ilk would be wise to prick up their ears."

"Blasts of Holy Birth is a much quieter affair whose beauty lies in its intricacies...a mystifying and ultimately solid and thrilling album."

"This is psychedelic in a halcyon sense, as moments expand and bring warmth to the listening experience. Rogai and company play with space here, a feat that yields results that range from warm undertones to grandiose exultation."
-Cleveland Free Times

"Full of gentle drones of bowed cello(courtesy of Rachel's member Eve Miller), ripples of plucked harp strings (by Russell Higbee of Man Man), slow-motion cascades of horns and synths, and existential rhythms of tabla and trap-kit snare, all tied together in patient, sophisticated arrangements that highlight Rogai's spiritually inquisitive lyrics and quietly demonstrative vocals."
-Athens Flagpole

"Don't expect to approach Blasts of Holy Birth as a one-hit, catch-and-release affair, as Rogai and his collaborators have culled a set of melodies that achieve a haunting is more than a collection of songs...each listen unearths a new layer...restrained aggression often apparent in classical symphonies but rarely accomplished in a pop music setting."
-Lost At Sea

"Intriguing neo-folk classics that are bundled into meditative rhythms that boast an out-of-body experience...The title track will haunt your soul for an eternity; this is an album you simply must own."

"An absolutely stunning album."

"A deeply personal record, crafted with a subtle hand that lends to multiple new awakenings with each new listen...Rogai's centerpiece, 'Before it Breaks You,' takes to task combining the many strengths and mysterious hidden mazes of Holy Birth, into a ten-minute epic capable of producing both tears of remembrance and a third-eye vision, should the listener indulge enough in it's multiple folds. "

"The mystical side of (Lewis & Clarke) is heightening...thoughtful, lightly philosophical, exploratory folk with a rustic, natural-world mood."
- Erasing Clouds

"Blasts of Holy Birth is gorgeous. It's superbly articulated and ideally presented with an appropriate production whose highlights are warmth, delicacy, and's not only the mixture of instrumentation and the aplomb with which each instrument's part is in total harmony with the rest; it's the way all these players are presented to the audience, with each sonic character being an element of delicate beauty."

"Kaleidoscopic layering over sophisticated lines, the rosy folk songs within are tasteful, only bordering on sentimental, and graciously free of pretense...reverent, almost hymnal in quality."
- The Aquarian Weekly

"A record of struggle, doubt, and eventual resolution..pretty folk melody heads off into more unusual territory... rhythmic folk guitar patterns pacing a flickering flow of images"

"This is quite clearly a thinking man’s album by a thinking man’s band, but a thinking man who figures as much with his spirit as he does with his head."
-Donnybrook Writing Academy

"The music and lyrics are gorgeously rustic, spacious, somnolently elegant and entrenched in the woodsy surroundings that inspired them."
-Philadelphia City Paper

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Live On WPRB (12" EP) 2006

Lewis & Clarke

"This live set of expansive, intricate folk is fleshed out by a variety of textures...every note is wound up with import, like the quiet minutes of the day when your mind has the chance to cut through the mundane and focus on sometimes difficult realities."
-Pop Matters

"This 12" vinyl limited edition hand screened release is a testament to the the beauty and magic of transitional metamorphosis. Recorded live for broadcast on Princeton Radio in February 2006, This offering bridges the gap between 2005's 'Bare Bones and Branches' and the 2007 release of Blasts of Holy Birth. The loose, fresh versions of past favorites blend with workings of new material, setting a striking ambience including various chimes, vocals, eastern drones, harp, guitar, banjo, piano, percussion, and other whims."

"Thirty minutes of pure magic."

"Live on WPRB" is impressive in it's ability to capture many of the wonderful things about live performance... It's recorded excellently, mastered beautifully....It feels like the calm after a great storm that has torn down everyone's walls and united everybody in their loss."
- Sound Waves Magazine

"There's something oceanic and spiritual about Lewis & Clarke. Perhaps the feeling's summoned at the start of this 12" when you hear babies murmuring before the first notes begin, and then you notice the title of the last song, "Blasts Of Holy Birth". The fact that the four songs here were recorded live brings yet another dimension to the gentle clarity and potent emotion intrinsic to their kind of folk music. Open, compelling and pure."
- Sentimentalist
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Bare Bones And Branches (10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) 2015

Lewis & Clarke

Recording 'Bare Bones and Branches' was no romantic Thoreau affair. It was necessity. I had just returned from touring solo and I was in between residences, living in my van and sometimes crashing at my friend's cabin in Northeast Pennsylvania. I had recorded some of the more minimal songs on 4-Track and Keats Rickard offered to engineer the core of the album, we just needed the space. The cabin was perfect, there was a wood stove for heat and plenty of peace and quiet. The weekend-long session felt more like a spiritual retreat from the heaviness we all were experiencing. I had a broken foot from a skateboarding injury, and I was adjusting to life back in PA after touring and ending a long relationship. One of my bandmates was suffering the loss of his father while battling a heroin addiction. We were also joined by Brother Moses Nathan, fresh out of a Russian Orthodox monastary on the west coast. He stoked both the fire and the philosophical discussions well into the night. Our workshop became a convergence of slightly misdirected emotional experiences where the songs became our therapy. It was as if completing the album would bring ultimate peace, or answers to cosmic riddles. It didn't. We all know that's only possible from the inside-out. However, it did bring us closer to something we were longing for. I dubbed more tracks at Dan's House over the next few months, adding keys, lapsteel, various textures. Those sessions were magic. The LP was released in Europe in 2003 on the Delboy imprint. Summersteps issued it in 2005 with alternate artwork, tracks and takes. Here it is, all these years later, as complete as I could imagine. It's a nice glance in the rear-view mirror, where some roads were smooth and scenic, others with burnt bridges and smoldering two-lane blacktop. Those roads got us here, and there's nowhere I'd rather be.

-Lou Rogai

2015 Deluxe Cassette Reissue on Summersteps Records contains alternate artwork, tracks, and mixes + four bonus tracks from the 2003 Delboy Records release.

"Rogai always finds a quiet place for solace, capturing the smallness of everyday despair with a laid-back balance of precision, warmth, and regret."
- Alternative Press

"Lewis & Clarke has carved out its own niche thanks to the lush arrangements of its debut, 2005's "Bare Bones and Branches."
- Billboard

"Old tricks are made new again with the delicate touch of Lou Rogai's imagination."
- Tiny Mix Tapes

"Bare Bones and Branches is moody and careful, resigned and gorgeous. It’s pop at half speed, or it’s country noir, it’s new folk, or maybe we’re calling it slo-core, I’m not sure, but it’s going to drown us in a sort of delicate, well-read, mellow flood."
-Alarm Press

"This is the sound of the leaves falling, the sight of rolling hills revealed through a lattice-work of barren branches, the scent of woodsmoke, moss on the northern side of a nearly-naked tree...a sincerely brilliant piece of work...something unique, equal parts alt-country and chamber folk, sophisticated yet rustic."
-Crown Dozen

"A heartfelt, atmospheric album packed with distinct tracks blends guitar finger-picking, soft reverb, organ, piano, and lap steel with bittersweet vocal harmonies."
- Punk Planet

"A whisper of an album, lovely without being precious, moody without being beleaguering."
- No Depression

"Bare Bones and Branches is a pure music experience that whispers half-remembered truths to the soul, as Rogai easily soars above so-called "acid folk"/"freak folk" conventions by exhibiting amazing clarity and a sense of spaciousness in his songs...striking in its authenticity and ability to convey empathy and even inspiration. It is gentle and wild, an abundant feast of simple fare that nourishes the heart."
- The Morning Call

"A shining example of the fact that there is much uncharted territory to explore in this field of music, often-decried of all sounding the same. “Bare Bones and Branches” is a blast of fresh air, just like Gastr Del Soul was when I first heard them, just like Richard Buckner was, hell, like Grateful Dead was when I dropped my pre-existing resistance and listened to American Beauty for the first time with open ears"
- Outside Left

"Lou Rogai, who records under the name Lewis & Clarke, artfully mixes his multi-layered vocal tracks with finger-picked acoustic guitar, Hammond organ, Rhodes piano, and lap steel."
- Acoustic Guitar World

"Soft guitars and infectious melodies drew me into a trance when this album was playing. It's pure, charming, heartfelt acoustic folk that is soothing from beginning to end."
- Impact Press

"Lewis & Clarke, or Lou Rogai to be more exact, treads the territory of Papa M and Iron & Wine very well, and to be on par with such talent should be a hint to the quality found on this album....It’s a well-trod genre, but with acts like Lewis & Clarke still surprising us with such simple, melodic insights, maybe we should all just make room for one more."
- Exclaim

"(Bare Bones and Branches) is time-friendly, interpretively communicative and complete. It's the little black dress of music when the Stones flash a few too many sequins. It's the violet '69 Jaguar convertible in the wheat field: honest, cute, and terribly desirable."

"(Bare Bones and Branches) shines an intelligent revelatory light into the heart of life and love."
-Detroit Metro Times

"This group is spot-on...meandering melodies on a spool of reflective vocal lines, and sometimes unorthodox song structures... like an up-tempo visit to Scarborough Fair."
- Rockpile

"The best songs on Bare Bones and Branches recall the Stones of Dead Flowers....Or maybe the fagged-out Pavement of Wowee Zowee."

"A worthy addition to the folk music map. The songs are stretched to their fullest extents, occasionally meandering through long instrumentals as if to make sure nothing was missed along the way... Bare Bones And Branches rarely strays."
- Coke Machine Glow

"Highly melodic, richly arranged, and extremely compact - an artistic statement nearly as impressive as it is cohesive."
- Delusions of Adequacy
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