All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

233

Wildbirds and Peacedrums: Rivers

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Rivers is beautiful; haunting, evocative, dreamlike, sad, confusing, scary and bewildering, it's a truly original work.

Wildbirds and Peacedrums is a Swedish husband and wife team: percussionist Andreas Werliin and singer and composer Mariam Wallentin. Werliin is also the drummer with Dan Berglund's Tonbruket, while Wallentin has been compared to Nina Simone, although on this album she more closely resembles European singers such as Paula Rae Gibson or Propaganda's Claudia Brücken.

Rivers, the band's third album, was recorded over four days in January 2010 in Reykjavik, Iceland. The two CDs were originally released as two separate vinyl EPs—Retina and Iris (Leaf, 2010). Although both were recorded within this short time period, each has its own distinct sound and feel.

The Retina tunes are characterized by the magnificent sound of the Schola Cantorum Reykjavik Chamber Choir, which has an ethereal, other-worldly sound, acting as a perfect complement to Wallentin's vocal. "Bleed Like There Was No Other Flood" exemplifies the sound: Wallentin's voice is pure and intensely emotional, while Werliin's percussion punctuates the tune, giving it a rhythmic centre while ensuring that his playing doesn't detract from the wordless choral vocal that is so crucial to the song's atmosphere.

"Under Land and Over Sea" is another song with a standout vocal performance from Wallentin, underpinned by the Chamber Choir without Werliin's percussion. The emotional intensity of the performance is immediately affecting—each word is sung as if Wallentin's life depended on it. On "Fight For Me," Werliin returns, his percussion to the fore, while both Wallentin and the choir deliver a strangely threatening and disturbing lyric.

On the Iris tracks, the sound is stripped back and percussion—including the rich sound of the steel pan—dominates. Wallentin's voice becomes more soulful and less tormented, while the songs themselves are more straightforward in construction. Less innovative than Retina, Iris is more readily accessible. All five songs have a lightness to their musical structure, while "The Drop" and "The Lake" are both lyrically intriguing.

This is one of the most original, affecting and intense albums to emerge from the contemporary European music scene. At times disquieting and complex, at others sweet and simple, the songs have a timeless quality and, in Wallentin, the band has one of the most distinctive singers around. Rivers is beautiful.

Track Listing: CD1(Retina): Bleed Like There Was No Other Flood; Tiny Holes in this World; Under Land and Over Sea; Fight For Me; Peeling Off the Layers. CD2 (Iris): The Wave; The Drop; The Course; The Lake; The Well.

Personnel: Andreas Werliin: drums, percussion; Mariam Wallentin: vocals, steelpan, organ bass pedal; Schola Cantorum Reykjavik Chamber Choir: vocals (CD1).

Title: Rivers | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: The Leaf Label

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Rhythm

Rhythm

The Leaf Label
2014

buy
Rivers

Rivers

The Leaf Label
2010

buy
Heartcore

Heartcore

The Leaf Label
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Subtle Disguise CD/LP/Track Review
Subtle Disguise
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Introverted Cultures CD/LP/Track Review
Introverted Cultures
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Flyway CD/LP/Track Review
Flyway
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Crime Zone CD/LP/Track Review
Crime Zone
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Begin the Agora CD/LP/Track Review
Begin the Agora
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 17, 2018
Read Time Like This CD/LP/Track Review
Time Like This
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 17, 2018
Read "Please Advise" CD/LP/Track Review Please Advise
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 5, 2018
Read "Windows and lights" CD/LP/Track Review Windows and lights
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: June 15, 2018
Read "Rhapsody" CD/LP/Track Review Rhapsody
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2018
Read "Automatic For The People - 25th Anniversary Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Automatic For The People - 25th Anniversary Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: November 12, 2017
Read "Attitude Manouche" CD/LP/Track Review Attitude Manouche
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 16, 2018
Read "Blow" CD/LP/Track Review Blow
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 11, 2018