Indie Music Reviewer
Not to sound cliché, but the Kansas City girls of the unsigned band The Wires make beautiful music together. It is exciting to entertain the idea that maybe one day we could see a collaboration between Wires members Sascha Groschang (cello) and Laurel Morgan Parks (violin) with 2Cellos’ Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser (and maybe throw in some Lindsey Stirling for good measure?) for a knock-down, drag-out, modern classical music bonanza!
But, in all seriousness, if you are a fan of classical music, or any music that willingly sacrifices a vocal track for lush instrumentals, then The Wires’ Alternative Strings (recorded at Hyde Park Studios in Kansas City and released March 9, 2013) proves itself to be a worthy adversary for your music collection. From the upbeat sounds of “Grappelli” to the eerier “Zero is the River,” The Wires touch on a host of emotions with their nontraditional collection, which could not have come at a better time. Younger generations are becoming more accepting of classical music, thanks to folks like Lindsey Stirling who add a bit of dub-step to the mix in an effort to make it sound “cooler.” Additionally, advances in technology aid in the creation of instruments that incorporate an updated crispness to an already familiar sound. This works to remove that stuffy, stale sound we have been hearing for centuries from instruments like the violin and cello.
But anyway, enough on technique. Each track on The Wires’ Alternative Strings brings with it its own personality. “Sligo” would feel right at home with the Celtic sounds of a Lord of the Rings soundtrack. And, speaking of films, “Ruska Roma” would make perfect background music to a suspenseful dramatic scene, while “Alexander’s Mill” starts off all Requiem for a Dream-y, but then picks up with a cheery lilt, as if you’re running through a field, dancing amongst the crops. It is almost like the song was sad at first because it could not get its way. And then Mom said, “Oh, alright”, and it skipped off in excitement. “Red Rock” has a western tinge of adventurousness to it, while “Snap” summons up a hint of Loreena McKennitt’s “Mummer’s Dance.” “Native” is proud to be loud. It is strong and aggressive, closer to the eclectic songs on this album.
The ladies of The Wires humbly hold quite the impressive resumes. Morgan has been playing violin for 25 years. That, in and of itself, is impressive enough. And we are not even to the good part yet. (What can any of us say we have actively pursued for a solid 25 years, besides live to 26?) Morgan has played with such musicians as Midori, Pepe Ramero, Sharon Isbin and Nadja Salerno-Sonneberg and has been a featured musician for the United States Department of Labor. She has performed with numerous ensembles, such as In the Pines (with which she has toured Germany and Austria), and the Des Moines Symphony. She has also won several Pitch music awards and has received prizes and scholarships from the Lincoln Symphony and UMKC Conservatory. Morgan is a University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music alumni.
Groschang has toured the United States and Asia as an experienced recitalist, including New York’s Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. She was a featured soloist with country musician Clay Walker, and she has performed with such artists as Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Nadia Salerno-Sonnenburg, Johnathon Biss, Robert Levin, Sharon Isben, Vladimir Feltsman, Pepe Ramero, Peter Gabriel, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Idina Menzel, the off-broadway Matthew Passion. Groschang has also participated in recording sessions with such artists as Ashanti, Joanna Newsom, Rhino Records and NBC. This is only a small sample of the extensive and impressive work that Groschang has completed in her career thus far. For more information on both of these talented ladies, please check out The Wires’ official website.