LEWIS & CLARKE
Lewis & Clarke is the musical alias/nom-de-plume of Lou Rogai, his voice and vision resonating within folds of guitar, strings, bells, keys, bows, drones and rhythms. For close to a decade, Lewis & Clarke has steadily and quietly built a devout following among certain circles, releasing several "acclaimed" recordings while skirting mainstream currents. Rogai's process is as much of a mission statement as an authentic stance in a corporate age; an antidote for listeners who view music as an experience and seek unaffected depth and breadth. The name references the fellowship and correspondence between C. S. Lewis and Arthur C. Clarke (not the 19th century explorers). Rogai has also worked with other artists as producer and musician, composed film music, and is founder of La Société Expéditionnaire, the record label dedicated to exposing the wild and/or fragile music of colleagues. He lives and works in Pennsylvania, near a river between two mountains.
SELECTED PRESS FOR LIGHT TIME:
"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."
"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."
"These songs do more than tell stories: they create moods and inspire thought...what sets Lewis & Clarke apart is their ability to flawlessley execute changes in dynamics, adding a new dimension to the narratives of their songs."
"(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."
"Haunting, hushed vocals and introspective songs elegantly couched in understated arrangements"
SELECTED PRESS FOR BLASTS OF HOLY BIRTH:
"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."
"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 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."
"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."
"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."
"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 beauty...it 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."
"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."
"Blasts of Holy Birth is gorgeous. It's superbly articulated and ideally presented with an appropriate production whose highlights are warmth, delicacy, and prettiness...it'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."
"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."
"The music and lyrics are gorgeously rustic, spacious, somnolently elegant and entrenched in the woodsy surroundings that inspired them."