Sunday, February 17, 2008

David Ruis and Indigika: "risk with perfection" and a bit of Pink Floyd

Most folk dangerous to be around these parts of the internet would be familiar with David Ruis (his website here) perhaps most famous for classic songs as "You Are Worthy of My Praise" and "Every Move I Make." A worship leader in the Vineyard stream, he is a prophetic pusher of norms and forms. Most have never heard his amazing solo album, "Sweet Mercies,"
his haunting and daunting"Fragrant Oil",
or the pioneering "Mystery,"

let alone his new work with Indgika. He is now a church planter in Hollywood, and

his bandmates are tribesters in this new venture.

Previews of all songs on the new CD are here,

Two reviews it below:

In recent years, musical styles represented on worship projects have coalesced into a "one-size-fits-all" acoustic/easy-listening/pop experience. While songwriting has continued to mature in the lyrical content of

seasoned worship writers, the same cannot be said of engaging musical flavors in our worship environments. Proof of this is easily found- step into any local church today using a worship band format. What do you hear? Most often, it is the imitation of the sound of the local church's favorite worship writer/artist. Alternatively, it is the sound of the current popular singles playing on Christian radio.

What is missing? Local church voice, unique community expression, or local music culture flavor. These are issues too deep for be handled in an album review, but they come up here because of the encouraging life that springs up from David Ruis new worship collection "When Justice Shines". This project is a brilliant example of local church worship engaging its community with the real sound of its local musicians. It's refreshing. It contains the one element missing in 95% of the worship CD's produced today- risk!

If you have ever had the opportunity to meet David Ruis, you would not be surprised to hear that his music is full of risk with perfection. David and his band "Indigika" are the four members appearing on this 13 track collection of rhythm, sounds and melodies. Fusing and sounds styles ranging from electronica, world, rock, piano ballad, and dance, David and Indigika make no apologies for the journey they take. From the surrendering "Fragrant Oil", the declarative groove of "By Your Blood", the encouraging "Spirit Is On Me", and the proclamation of "Amen" the CD explodes with its signature sound of electronic loops mixed with crunch and whine electric guitar. Add to that the prophetic voice of David's lyrics and prayers interlaced in the songs and you are welcomed to a CD unlike any other worship CD you may have heard. David and Indigika rush unashamed towards the God's heart and His kingdom through the hopeful "Arise and Shine", into the lamenting "Justice", coming to a musical pause appropriately at "Rest In His Promise". The CD wraps up with some of its best material, my favorites being "Hold Me" and the title track "When Justice Shines".

All at once you hear excellent production and musicianship layered with beautiful times of intercession and heartfelt prayer. It's not likely that many local bands can match the prowess of Indigika, but that is just the point. David isn't concerned if you sound like him or his band. He isn't worried if Nashville is listening or if any of these songs will be top radio hits. He simply abandons himself to Christ, expressed in a flavor of music that God has gifted his local church with.

I think it's a lesson we should all learn. Not to pick up this CD and try to imitate it, but to try to emulate rather the principle its built on- that we are all on a journey. Those journeys have common touch points, for sure. But each local church has a unique journey, and a unique voice to express its worship back to God. David Ruis has been a pioneer as a songwriter and worship leader for many years having written such songs as "You Are Worthy of My Praise" and "Every Move I Make". In this CD "When Justice Shines", he leads the way again- this time encouraging churches around the world to find their voice in Christ and sing their song while bringing God's mercy and justice to their local communities.

I am pleased to give "When Justice Shines" our Editor's Choice award. I strongly encourage you to consider getting this project- it will inspire and encourage you with its prophetic call, its amazing live musicianship and its unashamed message of abandon to Christ as we look for justice to the broken here on earth.

Review by Kim Gentes, link

Allan Clare, CrossRhythms:

Let me say it straightaway: this album is STUNNING. David Ruis has always been one of the Vineyard churches most talented worship leaders and he is, as he comments in the sleevenotes, "in a band. . .finally". The results are amazing. The band is Indigika - Bob Hartry on guitars, Jonathan Ahrens on bass and Doug Mathews on drums, and the 13 tracks were recorded live over three days last May at The Loft in California. This means the inherent rawness of Ruis's rock sound has been left alone (unlike, say, the clean and polished electronic guitar sound of 'Sweet Mercies', his 1997 studio produced solo album). The cover blurb talks of how Indigika is "the fusion of acoustic and indigenous with the loops and swirls of the electronic age. . ." but apart from a couple of house music 4/4 rhythms and the odd burbling acid bass on a couple of tracks, what we have is an excellent rock album, in the vein of U2 or Coldplay, which showcases quality musicianship, songwriting and anointing. Most of the tracks have been penned specifically for this project (and they've all been penned by Ruis) but the first track, "Fragrant Oil", is from 1998. It's a classic opener - an ethereal, repetitive melody in the background while a ballad of entreaty builds, as in the best U2 ballads, to a guitar-driven climax as Ruis sings "Over You" - "It's spilling over me/Let Your fragrance fill this house." Many of the tracks move into a spontaneous time of praying, praising or declaring truths about God (much like 'Sweet Mercies' did) and most tracks are between five and eight minutes long, with "By Your Blood" clocking in at nine and half minutes. There is some wonderful guitar work on this track, with an electric guitar refrain of only four chords that is simply striking and Ruis proclaiming that there is "a blood that is stronger than the blood soaked on Iraqi soil today." The nine minutes of "Amen" have the lines, "He took on flesh/To bear our sin/Embraced the cross/And he rose again" - and these words (which we often think of as the most basic of worship song lyrics,) are, in this haunting and other worldly ballad, invested with the power of truth they contain. Ruis's vocals have never sounded better than on this track. The album is a wonderful combination of rock music, worship, spontaneous praise and prophesying - Kevin Prosch meets Pink Floyd. Other highlights on a consistently excellent set of tracks are "Rest In His Promise", similar in sentiment to Matt Redman's "Blessed Be Your Name", where Ruis sings "I will lift up my eyes/And give glory to Your name. . . When the sun's brightly shining. . .When the sunlight has faded." A masterpiece of modern rock worship and an album I'll be replaying for a long, long time. link

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