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the Worship Circle—Chair and Microphone, vol. 2
Artist: Aaron Strumpel
Label: Worship Circle Records
Length: 16 tracks / 50:02
According to the back of the disc, Enter the Worship Circle—Chair and Microphone, Vol. 2 “bleeds out the heart of Aaron Strumpel in conversation with God…recorded simply, in real time, one time.” What results from this naked recording approach is an astounding album filled with truth and life, worship and worry, praise and prayers that speaks from the epicenter of human frailty and man’s overwhelming desire for the divine.
As in true conversation, Strumpel bluntly shares with his friend (read: God) concerns (My life so far has been touched by your grace, but there’s still things that shake me / I grow nearly faint when I see all the pain, there’s times I wish I wasn’t so tender—“Pain”), desires (With the force of a Coltrane I am waiting for You to come to me…and I’m sore from the waiting…I’ m at the end—“Coltrane”) and compliments (What a beauty You are / O Risen One…What a treasure You are / O Victorious One—“Beauty”). Strumpel’s passionate, percussive playing, slam-poet phrasing, and raspy, unrestrained delivery add an edge that nudges the conversation from merely interesting to incredibly engaging.
This collection of sixteen intense, arresting songs continues the unwavering tradition of superb songwriting, authentic worship, and quality recordings produced by Ben Pasley’s Worship Circle series. Unlike the initial three “unplugged” Worship Circle albums, which swell with sweet harmonies, smooth guitars and exotic percussion, the Chair and Microphone discs (Pasley himself recorded vol. 1 in 2004) are minimalistic in scope: one voice, one guitar. These brave, bare efforts could easily fail due to all that’s missing; however, Strumpel follows Pasley’s outstanding lead and delivers in the most magnificent way.
Recommended if you like the Enter the Worship Circle discs, Bright Eyes, Jeff Buckley, 100 Portraits.
Greg Adams 9/20/06