If you think of hippy drum circles and acoustic guitar when you think of Enter the Worship Circle, you’ll be surprised with their Village Thrift side of things.
Village Thrift is Ben and Robin Pasley, Todd Berger, and Ryan Lott taking songs that Enter the Worship Circle could easily have done, but stripping them of all that makes you think ETWC and filling them in with techno samples, DJ mixes, and funky electronic sounds.
It’s not the best electronic / techno I’ve heard, but it’s some of the most original and most anointed for worship.
One of the coolest things with Village Thrift is that the final songs are collaborations of many different artists. The original vocals and instrument tracks were given out for free download, so that anyone with a computer and some creativity could mix and re-create and add to them in any way they saw fit. The best ones were chosen for the final album. It really is a “village” thing.
About the music, their website says they are “excavating ancient poetry from it’s cultural context and reassembling it using the musical context of today to preserve it’s truths for posterity.”
In less mysterious language, their MySpace says:
Village Thrift is what happens when you revisit the foundation of the original Enter the Worship Circle series, but foster collaboration with artists who speak the musical languages of cultures outside the spectrum of tribal drums and acoustic guitars. Take a little pop melody work from Moby, a little ambient rhythm from the Telefon Tel Aviv, add some offbeat elements like symphonic rock from the Art of Noise, and finish it off with the voices of Ben and Robin Pasley and newcomers Todd Berger and Ryan Lott and you are starting to feel the vibe of Village Thrift.
About the first album in the series, Circa 2005, they write that it is
a wide-eyed journey that explores themes of doubt in our failure-prone humanity, and our absolute dependence on God’s sufficiency in times when we find our faith to be thin. In the book of Psalms, King David has left a trail for us of abolute honesty and vulnerability in approaching the Holy One – evidence of God’s ability to receive all who will come as they are. These songs are inspired directly from those Psalms.
Some of the songs are truly amazing. Great lyrics, really good electronic vibe, solid stuff. Others are dissapointing, with corny lyrics, vocals that don’t match the music, or other things that seem a little “off.” I guess, since it’s a collaborative effort, and the first in the series, you’ll get a few times when the collaboration just doesn’t work out for whatever reason. About half the songs on the album are simply mind-blowingly good, and the other half range from OK to “off.”
The guys at ETWC are working on another Village Thrift offering, and I can only assume it’s gonna be even better than the first round. I’m sure they’ll have worked a lot of the kinks out and the sound is gonna be really solid. Anyway, I’m excited to hear the new stuff when it comes out, and if any of you out there do mixing, collaborating on the album would be a great way to get your name out there.
These are two of their best songs that I think you’ll enjoy:
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