Imagine intimate worship around the glow of embers and friendship. Imagine church as a shared celebration of our stories, struggles and lives. And imagine mission as theignition of God's people as they huddle closely around “The Consuming Fire.” With Campfire, a 12-track collection recorded live on a beach in Northern Ireland, Rend Collective Experiment dare us to re-imagine worship and community.
Known for pushing artistic boundaries, the Campfire project sees Rend Collective in their creative element, using inventive and often surprising new arrangements of material from their previous two albums, Organic Family Hymnal and Homemade Worship by Handmade People, to lead a small gathering of friends in worship around a campfire. The vocals were recorded live in the great outdoors (around the campfire) on Ballyholme beach after the invitation to participate was given via Facebook and Twitter. This is typical of the band's desire tofoster a sense of community and shared journeying as part of their worship.
As Rend’s Gareth Gilkeson states: “There are no outsiders in the Kingdom. That's part of why we chose to record around the campfire. Worship is not exclusive or confined within the walls of a church. It’s a flame for everyone to gather around.”
Sonically, Campfire is a fresh and innovative take on the new-folk and indie genres, an acoustic project by virtue of thefact that there are no electrical sockets on the beach. The album is entirely driven by classic, retro folk instruments that could be played by the fireside and by the ocean. The result is an album that captures the raw, rootsy, foot-stomping energy of the Irish worshippers, which has been infectious among audiences across the globe, as well as the vulnerability and intimacy of home group worship.
With imaginative instrumentation reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens, a kitschy charm like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and passionate song-crafting similar to Glen Hansard, Campfire is exciting as a piece of art. But it can be much more than that. Gilkeson and his Rend Collective bandmates pray that this album is the spark that ignites a whole new approach to corporate worship and community life. Their hope is that church will no longer be a place where some peoplestill feel alone and only spectators, but instead, church will be a place where each person can have a chance to share and give. To bring this vision to life, they will also be encouraging others to start their own community “campfires” and will be providing a free Campfire Resource Pack for people to download from their website, http://rendcollective.com.
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Rend Collective Experiment [Campfire]| Posted January 20, 2013 Hailing from Bangor, Northern Ireland,Rend Collective Experiment is a group of friends collectively wondering how to make sense of the conundrum of life, God and community. What Rend Collective Experiment's 15-plus members add to the conversation are melodies, harmonic progression and lyrics that are Scriptural and contemporary, fresh and ancient. Several standout songs reflect the brilliance of Campfire, my favorite live worship album since Cornerstone by Hillsong LIVE. After opening track, “Kumbaya,” “Come On My Soul” grabs listeners with the gang vocals and musical style which crescendos to a worshipful chorus and call to worship. "Desert Soul” and “Build Your Kingdom Here” compare favorably to the hit GRAMMY nominated worship song "Beautiful Things" by Gungor, including harmonious male and female vocals and incredible musicianship. “Movements” is an amazing song. I'm completely convicted by the strong lyrics and find immense comfort in this song filled with biblical truth. I am especially comforted by the truth of the lyrics of the song which comes straight from Isaiah 40:30-31.
"You Are My Vision" is a gorgeous re-write of the classic hymn, "Be Thou My Vision," and will have you singing at the top of your lungs. "You Bled" is a stunning re-write of the classic hymn, "I Stand Amazed." "Second Chance" is one of the best worship songs I've ever heard. I'm completely convicted by the strong lyrics and find immense comfort in this song filled with biblical truth. I am especially comforted by the truth of the lyrics of the song—"Oh Your Cross it changes everything, there my world begins again with You, Oh Your Cross it's where my hope re-starts, A second chance is Heaven's Heart." Amen! This album displays plenty of vertical corporate worship choruses and reflective worshipful songs similar to The City Harmonic, Hillsong UNITED and Gungor. The worship experience climaxes with gorgeous versions of “10,000 Reasons” and “Praise like Fireworks.”
"Everything we do is growing in a natural, non-manufactured environment," band leader Gareth Gilkeson shares. "Rend was a student movement representing numerous churches, and the ‘collective' grew out of that. The songs came from an organic environment, searching after the heart of God. We wanted to reflect what God was doing and teaching us, and offer that up for the rest of the world to hear." As for the group's unusual moniker, Rend Collective Experiment is a nod to the places in Scripture where it says to "rend your hearts" and not your garments," a bold call to be genuine."
CLOSING THOUGHTS Campfire is the kind of unique worship album I've only dreamed was possible and is an incredible follow-up to Rend Collective Experiment’s stellar studio albums. Themes of redemption, devotion and celebration make this a complete worship experience with musical soundscapes that span from The City Harmonic and Gungor to Mumford & Sons and Snow Patrol. There are several standout songs including "Come On,”"Desert Soul," "Build Your Kingdom Here," "Movements," "You Are My Vision," "Second Chance” and “Praise Like Fireworks." This album perfectly balances the energy of seeing this band live with a worshipful musical ambience. This is surely one of the top worship albums ever made. Campfire is truly a memorable worship experience.
Amazing beautiful album| Posted January 29, 2013
I very rarely buy albums. I'm a teenage girl with very limited money but when I previewed it on iTunes. I KNEW that I had to buy it. Just finished listening through the whole thing. The musicality is phenomenal, the talent is large, and the passion is incredible. It's authentic, techical and beautiful. I especially love Second Chances and the redo of the very famous song 10,000 reasons. I give it a definite 5 stars and applaud Rend Collective for yet another successfull work of art.