Rivulets is US songwriter Nathan Amundson. He has released albums on Important, Chair Kickers’ Union and O Rosa Records, as well as numerous EPs, split releases and compilations.
Since 2000 Rivulets has toured extensively across the US and Europe, gaining fervent acclaim for his achingly fragile, minimal song-craft.
This is Rivulets’ debut solo vinyl record, and the first physical release since 2011.
Trome Records has been a fan of Rivulets’ achingly fragile song-craft for years now, so we’re really pleased to be able to bring you this beautiful record. ’Stars In Aspic’ on the A side is full-band languid Americana which rocks out towards the end, augmented by Nathan’s distinctive vocals that hit you somewhere in the chest. ’It’s Here’ on Side B hails from the opposite end of the Rivulets sound palette, with a deep, brooding late-night guitar ambient drone.
As ever with Nathan’s work, both tracks on ‘Stars In Aspic’ sound bruised yet searingly honest, the effect of which seeps into the listener and stays there. Artwork is from the photographer Christy Romanick [http://christyromanick.tumblr.com] who has previously contributed sleeve art for Rivulets, Windy & Carl, thisquietarmy, Windsor For The Derby and Infinite Light Ltd among others. Limited black vinyl with thick black card inner sleeves and hand-stamped labels. Essential.
Small Town Boredom are an aptly named duo from Paisley, consisting of Fraser McGowan and Colin Morrison. Their debut album Autumn Might Have Hope was released through Trome Records in 2008, and despite arriving to it late I’ve become quite transfixed by it’s perfectly languid encapsulation of the frustrations of both small town life and small town mentality. There’s a sense of hopelessness which permeates the low key compositions, sculpted primarily through acoustic instrumentation and the odd swell of subtle electronics. The key ingredient though is the vocals, which exude the kind of lethargy of broken dreams. The songs are hushed and intimate, like whisperings of thoughts which you try not to dwell on for too long and never quite break to the forefront. The lyrics are delivered with such blunt honesty though that it’s impossible not to confront the issues dealt with, particulalrly given the relative sparsity of the production.
Artists thrive on emotional extremes, moments of unprecedented joy or crushing sadness. It is easier to transcribe these feelings into music. Middle grounds are much too complicated to address with music, the confusion, the mood swings come fast and what would seem like a perfect fit with one’s emotions at one point make no sense after a few minutes. They lack clarity. Melancholy drenched songs in particular seem to connect better with the receivers of music than their happier counterparts. Steven Wilson, mastermind behind Progressive rock group Porcupine Tree, once introduced one of their saddest songs “Stop Swimming” by saying “this next song is a very sad song, but if you’re like me, you’ll find that the saddest songs are also the most beautiful”. I find this to hold true.
Organized Pitches Occurring in Time consists of two 25 minute pieces of music, both spawned from the same conceptual composition/score by Duane Pitre, titled Ensemble Drones. With their form reminiscent of works by La Monte Young’s Theater of Eternal Music and their tonality touching on the floating works of Terry Riley, ‘The Ensemble Chord in Eb with a Minor 7th and a Pump Organ Base’ & ‘The Ensemble Chord in C with a Major 7th and a Guitar Base’ are aural tapestries based on a minimal tonal palette with their instrumentation consisting of guitars, alto saxophones, bass clarinet, violin, viola, cello, tone generator, and pump organ.