Jherek Bischoff is a songwriter, producer, performer, and composer from the Pacific Northwest, who has been called a “pop polymath” and a “Seattle phenom.” On November 29 and 30, full orchestral rehearsals with 35 musicians will be held at the Frye Art Museum in preparation for a final concert at the Moore Theatre on December 1. The concert will feature songs from Bischoff’s recently released album Composed, which features guest vocalists David Byrne, Caetano Veloso, Soko, Parenthetical Girls’ Zac Pennington, and a host of rising stars.
Composed was informed by Bischoff’s history of playing in indie bands, his love affair with the potential of the orchestra, and by a fervent desire to make exceptional pop music. As an example of “home” recording, Composed is quite unique. DIY in the purest sense, Bischoff first composed the album on a ukulele. Next, he arranged, produced, and engineered the backing tracks, achieving an orchestral sound without an orchestra by recording the music one musician at a time using a single microphone and a laptop.
“I recorded each individual musician of the ‘orchestra’ in their own living rooms,” says Bischoff, “and then I layered each instrument—sometimes one violinist playing one part twenty times - until it was the size of a huge orchestra. I spent the summer riding my bike from house to house recording each musician.”
This approach reflects Bischoff’s desire to shake up the business-as-usual routine of being an independent rock musician. As he notes, “I realized a few years ago that being in several touring bands at the same time could be really frustrating, because I tend to work on music at least eight hours a day at home, and on tour you only get to make music for an hour a day. I realized that by producing records and doing soundtracks, I could be creatively involved with a ton of exciting music, and let it have its own legs without having to always be on tour.”