The Silence Collective recently released a brand-new album, entitled RiverChants, a four-track collection of avant-garde, improvisational music.
The Silence Collective explains, “‘RiverChants’ was conceived to deepen our understanding of the plight of water as well as to celebrate the sinuous waterways that surround and shape the city of Guelph. Our hope is that the expansive soundscapes and imaginary waterscapes of ‘RiverChants’ transport you both upstream and downstream––and that you experience the deep reservoir of stories, memories, and sonances of the Speed, Eramosa, and Grand Rivers.”
RiverChants features the talents of Madhur Anand (Spoken Word/Poet), Jeff Bird (composer), Matt Brubeck (cello), Gary Diggins (cornet, Waterfall Kalimba), Christine Duncan (voice), Daniel Fischlin (guitar, monotronics, Water ImaginÆrium), Karen Houle (Spoken Word/Poet), Kathryn Ladano (bass clarinet), Lewis Melville (electric banjo, BetaBlock), and Joe Sorbara (percussion/Klepsydra).
Original Instruments built by Nik Harron, Tony Duggan-Smith, and Mark Kett.
The album begins with “Born of a Cloudburst … A Sparrow Takes a Beakful of Water,” which opens on with spoken words, followed by the entry of marine tones, almost a moaning sound, along with trickling liquid sounds. The spoken word voice vanishes, replaced by percolating layers – blatting, clicking, tapping, burping – and a low-slung shrill female voice.
At once surreal and dissonant, there’s a subtle pattern to the tune, eccentric and yet stylish.
“Alive” fuses experimental jazz flavors – cornet, cello, and a high-pitched voice – into trembling layers of harmonics. Drifting hues, percussive rumbles, and classical jazz hues intertwine and overlap each other in a quivering sonic dance.
“Its Music a Form” offers plucking strings merging with fluent watery resonances capped by an indistinct, whispering voice.
“Of Memory … A Watershed” ripples and shimmers as a fevered voice imbues the tune with penetrating tones riding bongo-like rhythmic pulses, followed by the piercing radiance of sonic tendrils reminiscent of a Ridley Scott movie, juxtaposing tones of dark and light.
Innovative and ineffable, like a watershed, the sonic segments of RiverChants move around one another, resembling the inexorable fluidity of water.