V/A :: Rivers Home (Flaming Pines)

The journey over the length and breadth of Rivers Home is rewarding, enriching and mostly very smooth sailing indeed.

V/A ‘Rivers Home’

[Releases page] Rivers Home is a confluence of ideas about watercourses, a series of mini-CDs offering ten, mostly ambient perspectives and impressions of how we enjoy them, benefit from them and abuse them; the role they play in shaping our minds, the societies through which they pass and the landscapes they have literally created. Each housed in its own, tiny slipcase containing an insert with a personal statement from the respective artist, the first set featured works by Marcus Fischer, Field Rotation, Broken Chip, label curator Kate Carr and Billy Gomberg. The second and final installment presents pieces by The Boats, Seth Chrisman, Savaran, All N4tural and Dan Whiting.

The River Calder runs through Burnley in Manchester, home port of The Boats, where as a little boy, the trio’s Andrew Hargreaves was once saved from drowning by a stranger. As befits a trauma recalled through distant, unpleasant memory, the piece is vague and furrowed, and as befits The Boats’ particular ambient style, the narrative is restrained but distressed. Seth Chrisman, who debuted on Flaming Pines last year with treated field recordings from Costa Rica, tarries in Latin America, dolefully soundscaping the threat to its biodiversity posed by mismanagement of the storied, two thousand-mile Rio Grande.

Savaran follows the River Dovey in Wales as it meanders down from its mountain lake source to its estuaries emptying into the Irish Sea. His is the portrait of a beloved aspect, the most dramatic and stirring of these dispatches. Cologne’s All N4tural has concocted a fantasy tale about a ”transdimensional manifold conduit” connecting a magical, 11th-century power point located on the Rhine with the Chao Phrya in Thailand, sometime ”in the future”. Unfortunately, All N4tural’s hermetic, folded-inward sound collage is as convoluted as the artist’s way of spelling his name.

Dan Whiting chooses to tell a much more fascinating story based on the cultural history of the Georges River, which runs through densely-populated Sydney yet remains fringed with rich bushland. He is entranced by its ancient significance to the original inhabitants and contemporary role as a meeting place for the most diverse neighbourhood in Australia. Whiting communicates this story gracefully with harmonic textures, calm on the surface with a deceptively complex undercurrent.

The journey over the length and breadth of Rivers Home is rewarding, enriching and mostly very smooth sailing indeed.

Rivers Home is available on Flaming Pines. [Releases page]

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