Riverkeeper – Desire Paths of the Sun & Moon

riverkeeperVancouver’s Adrian Dziewanski describes his Desire Paths of the Sun & Moon as a mining exercise. We Canadians are pretty good at turning natural resources into marketable products, which is precisely what he’s done with this five-track disc. He’s taken a series of dusty old recordings and transformed them into a uniquely listenable series of noise pieces.

Here’s how the work is described in his album notes: “Every sound heard came from inside a backlog of dated and poorly recorded analog tape experiments and ambient ‘jam’ sessions. This backlog was mined for what little salvageable material was available, then minimally tweaked and recontextualized for the album.”

The pieces are numbered in Roman style. “I” opens the album with a light, airy quality that will appeal to ambient and drone music listeners. By the beginning of “II” however, it becomes clear we’re in for something grittier. Morse code beeps in the background as the tone laid down in the first piece distorts gently.

“III” features a kind of low-volume aggressiveness. A six-second segment – jarring in comparison to the two previous tracks – repeats in a loop for more than seven minutes. Startling at first, it becomes meditative over the course of the piece.

That locked groove is broken by “IV.” It is the album’s grimiest recording, and most fascinating. This is noise composition at its finest. Dziewanski maintains a gentle touch throughout the album, and yet this piece is remarkably dense.

Finally, “V” is the album’s high point. His piano is front and centre. The performance is sparse and unhurried. But like the rest of the disc, it is the degradation of the original recordings that makes the end result so compelling. This is that rarest of things – a romantic noise piece.

Kevin Press

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