riverrun "Romer Shoal" CDr
UK's Daniel Land might be better known for his shoegaze/dream-pop recordings released as solo or under the name Daniel Land & The Modern Painters or as a member of Engineers band, but he is also the sole creator behind riverrun side-project focusing on exquisitely immersing introspective soundscaping. "Romer Shoal" album was released at the end of November 2016 through Hinney Beast Records as 4th album by riverrun. The CDr, packaged in a standard jewel case with transparent tray with stunningly vague cover images (4-panel front insert), comes in a limited edition of 50 copies and it's inspired by the memorable times Daniel Land with his partner spent in New York City between September 2014 and May 2015, with resurrected longing memories while hanging mainly around New York harbor and along the Atlantic Coast. The album's title is taken from Romer Shoal Light, it's a sparkplug lighthouse in Lower New York Bay, in the entrance to New York Harbor.
The opening piece "Conover Beacon", entitled after a lighthouse in Leonardo, New Jersey, immediately transports the listener into utterly evocative landscapes, where soothingly sweeping drifts persistently juxtapose with poignantly expressive subtleties of electric strings and some auxiliary ephemeral tiny buzzing field recordings. Pure beauty!!! The following piece "Twin Lights", with 2:24 the shortest cut on "Romer Shoal", incorporates intangibly rattling on site sounds reinforced by remote coastal symphonies and driven by weeping nuanced texture. Seamless transition into another brief composition "Weehawken" (a township in Hudson County, New Jersey) is carried by intangible tinkles, distant winds, guarding curtains of drone hums and exquisitely touching piano quietudes. What a beauty meticulously painted by hauntingly blurred sceneries!!! The title track "Romer Shoal" is propelled by continually emerging eerie wavers and meridians, transcendentally titillating, while solitarily murmuring blankets are riding atop along with gauzily rumbling shimmers. Again shorter, yet efficiently distinguishing soundscape!!! The next track "Jersey Narrows" keeps tightly on the misty path, where bulkier drone persistently commingle with windy bleak vastness and evanescent coastal glimpses. "Island Channel" immediately engross the listener with its thick, bittersweetly cascading stringed tapestries, strikingly bewitching. Choir-like drone reverberations relentlessly glide above as well with diminutive faunal calls. A devastatingly epic composition!!! While all previous compositions were rather fleeting, clocking between 4:39 and 2:24, and I could easily imagine them in longer versions as they pass quite quickly, the closing "Dubos Point" covers almost 26 minutes. Named after Dubos Point Wildlife Sanctuary, a short distance from New York city, it's a saltwater marsh protecting Jamaica Bay and a home of large number of different wildlife species. Monochromatic drone is delicately wrapped by hazy images, forlorn breaths, wetland's echoed consonances and transitory rustling traceries. Warmly nuanced motifs with ear-bending resonations join the stage and delightfully amalgamate with mesmerizingly quiescent, yet voluminously graceful celestial expansions and glancing piano reveries. A magnum opus!!!
Once again, I feel the first six songs could be longer, however "Romer Shoal" is undoubtedly a truly brilliant recording by riverrun, offering to each devoted aficionado of intensely engulfing textural drone ambient introspections 46 minutes of drifting poignancy at its most ambrosial!!! A true masterwork by incredibly crafted artist, bravo, Daniel Land!!! Regarding the available physical editions by riverrun, definitely don't miss also a 71-minute "La Mer" CDr reissue of the original double album released in 2011. But of course it's highly recommended to explore also additional two albums, "Pentimento" (2010) and "New Cartographies" (2013), which are available now in digital formats only as the CDr versions are sold out.
Richard Gürtler (Sep 23, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)
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