Record Reviews
The Seasons (2010)

“The music is delicate, nuanced, and effective in invoking different moods and images for different seasons, resulting in a lush, beautiful release that is decidedly aiming more for “music as an art form” than “music as a cash cow.” Very nice work.


“[The Seasons] is a testament to how music can wordlessly conjure up images and ideas; each song captures a natural essence that gives it color and emotion… “Summer Song” is fittingly light and mellow with the melody mostly controlled by a warm-sounding guitar, and it’s structured in a waltz-like manner. “Fall Song” is harsher and hurried, more drawn out and foreboding with a heart-breaking melody. As “Fall” comes to a close, “Winter Song” slides in. The melody is controlled by the violin, now, with a cello heartbeat and guitar-string shivers. The climax of the album, the fifteen-minute closer “Spring Song”, storms in like a march—huge toms pounding, guitar cutting though the winter gloom with the violin giving it voice. The song builds to an electric guitar and flute melody with dramatic cymbal crashes on a repeating leitmotif, cascading down to the sounds of chirping bugs and birds reminiscent of a Midwestern spring evening. This soundtrack doesn’t need a nonexistent movie, because it makes its own. Even if orchestrated music isn’t something you find yourself interested in, The Terminal Orchestra may strike certain nostalgic chords for you, and is definitely worth a look.”


“It’s not classical music in the strictest sense nor is it post-rock, but it has cross-over appeal to open-minded classical, experimental, and indie rock fans.”


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“The debut album [The Seasons] from The Terminal Orchestra is a warm, organic blend of ambient folk music that would serve as the perfect soundtrack for a drive through the chilly and barren hinterlands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that the group calls home. During its best moments, The Seasons has a haunting quality that recalls Sufjan Stevens’ own musical exploration of northern Midwest on Greetings From Michigan and Illinois.”

“...even as DeCaire and the Orchestra use the traditional trappings of Classical music to impart both message and emotion on The Seasons there is also an undercurrent of insistent power. Metaphorically, it’s the vast and immeasurable strength of the glaciers that left their marks on the Great Lakes area, but in a purely musical sense, the TO delivers the same kind of sensitive heart punch that Nick Cave and Warren Ellis have inflicted with their keening and shiveringly effective score work, a glorious mash-up of Folk balladry, Classical precision and Punk ethos. There is a song for each climate shift on The Seasons, but “Winter Song” is not unrelentingly bleak, nor is “Spring Song” unrealistically warm because, as any Michigan resident will tell you, there can be melancholy in the time of renewal just as there sometimes is indescribable joy in the harshest, deepest freeze. The Terminal Orchestra translates it all to a beautiful and majestic turn.”


“Contemporary classical” is a foreign phrase to most indie rock listeners, but “acoustic post-rock” means pretty much the same thing, but with some context. A telling fact: this sextet lists one person Anna Ebydedicated solely to “bells.” Other credited instruments include violins, bowed stand-up bass, and classical guitar. This is not your normal band, and the music they release is not your average sound. Fans of Balmorhea, first-album Bon Iver and orchestration will find much to love in Terminal Orchestra’s The Seasons.”


Live Reviews

Debut Album and Performance by The Terminal Orchestra
by Christopher LaRose / October 9, 2010

“The Terminal Orchestra (conducted by Jesse DeCaire) delicately captures and composes the essence of music. The live performance on Oct. 8th 2010, as well as the CD, encompasses the listener with stories whose grand ideas, interesting people, sweeping landscapes and thunderous storms are woven throughout the music. Experiencing The Terminal Orchestra brought forth the tingling and magical sensations reminiscent of falling in love or the excitement of something new. The music is a terminal emotion that starts in the ears, arrives in the stomach, works its way through the blood, and settles warmly in the face.

About 70 people filled the [Northern Michigan University’s Devos Art Musem] for the performance and The Terminal Orchestra was well respected and wonderfully applauded. I didn’t hear a single cell-phone ring and the typical banter that usually occurs during a concert was non-existent. Everyone was attentive and I felt guilty for even interrupting the meditative hold by moving to take a few pictures. After the show there were CDs for sale for five dollars and plenty of people were buying them—something I rarely see people do after a show. I bought my copy too and have been listening to it throughout the length of this blog.

Its unfair, but often necessary to compare music to other music. The Terminal Orchestra is uniquely its own breed of Indy soundtrack music reminiscent of: Kaada’s “Music for Movie-bikers”; Nick Cave and Warren Ellis Soundtracks; Explosions in the Sky; Their live cover of a Metallica song brought to mind Ennio Morricone; perhaps Sigur Ros and moments of Pelican; classic rock elements with some punk rock elements.”



The Terminal Orchestra makes movie-free movie music

Standalone soundtracks
by Jessica Steinhoff / September 1, 2011

North of four Great Lakes and the Michigan mitten lives a man who loves movies and the dramatic scenery of the Upper Peninsula. Instead of becoming a filmmaker, this man—guitarist and percussionist Jesse DeCaire—turned to music, forming the Terminal Orchestra to create movie-less soundtracks. (follow link below for full interview)