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Rend Collective Experiment “The Art of Celebration”


Rend Collective Experiment

“The Art of Celebration”

Integrity Music

13 tracks @ 61:36

Grade = A-

Rend Collective Experiment’s fourth record releases on St. Patrick’s Day.  The band says it tried to make this record “a joyful noise.”

Rend Collective band leader Gareth Gilkeson says, “This record is an attempt to reflect something of the irrepressible laughter in the heart of God.  It’s a call to the cynical to once again choose celebration over condemnation and a reminder to the broken that ‘the joy of the Lord is our strength.

“It’s no accident that the opening line of the whole record (from the appropriately titled song, ‘Joy’) is ‘We’re choosing celebration,’” Gareth says.  “Celebration, the practice of joy, is a choice. That doesn’t mean it’s always an easy choice to make. We know that we inevitably must navigate storms of sorrow and shadows, disappointment and doubt in this life.”

One of the better tracks is “My Lighthouse,” the first single.  The song is on the disk twice, with a studio and live version.  While very similar in style and structure, I also enjoyed “Create in Me.”

Gilekson says, “We would far rather be defined by joy, fun, freedom and laughter than any genre title or pop-culture label.  The biggest clue as to what The Art of Celebration sounds like is in the title. We tried to make it sound like fun. It’s what the Psalmist calls, ‘a joyful noise.’”

Sonically, many of the tracks have a familiar feel.

– Rob S.



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Rend Collective Experiment

Rend Collective Experiment

“Homemade Worship By Handmade People”


11 tracks @ 45:35

Grade = A

A excellent release of original praise and worship music that was recorded in Irish church halls and homes in the band’s organic, collective style.  What I find refreshing about this group is that they don’t believe in being in the limelight.

The following statement is taken from the credits of the band’s newest release;

We want ‘celebrity-free’ worship where the focus is on the songs and the connection to God that we can experience through them. That’s why we are simply calling ourselves Rend Collective Experiment, and not giving you our individual names.”

I really like what they’ve done with the standard “Be Thou My Vision,” giving it a modern rendition in “You Are My Vision.”  “Keep Me Near” is a sonic treat while “Build Your Kingdom” and the horn-driven “Shining Star” should see use in the church-at-large.

– Rob S.

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Rend Collective Experiment

Rend Collective Experiment

Organic Family Hymnal


Grade – B

On the surface this album is not what I had expected, with a name that includes the descriptive words “collective” and “experiment,” I was really expecting it to be an “out-there” type project with some wildly experimental sounds.  However, upon first listen I thought to myself that it was really not much different that most contemporary worship.  It was not until I read up on the group before I figured out what was behind the name.

The “collective” so to speak is a foundation of four regular members in a joint venture with a multitude of other worshipers.  They group hails from Northern Ireland and they got their start as a part of a college ministry called “Rend.”  The name Rend was taken from the scriptures that speak of rendering your heart to the Lord.  On the organic side the group is use to playing their music in places less sterile than the church – like a good ole’ Irish pub.

Thankfully I was able to put my bias’ aside and enjoy the music for what it is about – worshiping authentically and genuinely.  The songs are well written and quite original and with the variety of leads the project is ever changing from track to track.  My personal favorites are “You Bleed,” “Exalt,” and the old Hymn “Love Devine.”

For more information check out Rend Collective Experiment online at

– Ken W.