Crate-Digging Quick Takes: Ruhe – Patriarchs


(Eilean Records, 2015)

I’ve never felt so much like I was at church as when I listened to Ruhe’s Patriarchs. I was really sitting at my desk, doing this like I normally do, writing and listening. I had to stop, though, for Ruhe. I couldn’t do this without further reflection.

Imagine an old, European church, maybe a cathedral, but it doesn’t have to be that big. You’re the only one there. The sun drifts in through the windows, motes sparkling through its beams, and there’s no sound except that of your footsteps, and then, when you stop, your breathing. You run a hand over the old mahogany pews, and inhale the gentle aroma of old incense and ancient prayer books. You slide into the pew and kneel on the faded red cushion at your feet. You are struck by a deep sense of awe.

Patriarchs reaches through time and indeed surrounds you with your ancestors as you listen – with your history, your family’s history, human history. It is painful, and life springs as you listen, then withers in death, then springs forth again. There is a great cycle at work.  There is spirit and matter. There is love and loss. There is grief and redemption. And all the while, you exist at a moment in time where time itself flows through you.

During the time you listen to Patriarchs, while you’re in this church, the world outside ceases, and you are the only one who exists. Close your eyes, and you can see the deepness of creation, the vastness of the universe, and planets and stars and galaxies form at your touch. Open your eyes. Smell the grass outside the church, the flowers in the meadow, the stones in the dirt. You are there, with everyone you ever loved, and with all those who came before you and will come again. This is the magic of Patriarchs.

Bryan Ruhe is the man who makes these sounds, mainly with piano and found sound. As usual, Eilean Records has packaged this release superbly, with great care. If you ignore this release, you will miss the opportunity for deep introspection and awakening.

RIYL: Danny Clay, Masaya Ozaki, Lee Chapman


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