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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Review: Songs Of Water - Songs Of Water

Songs Of Water - Songs Of Water
2004, Stephen Roach

From the woods of North Carolina comes Songs Of Water, a 6-piece experimental folk band that is based half in impressionism and half in realism. Mining sounds and structures not often heard in the popular music realm, Songs Of Water carve a niche for themselves like a river burrowing into a wall of sandstone. Their debut CD, Songs Of Water, is a shimmering musical experience with all the depth and power of an ocean-bound stream.

Songs Of Water may be one of the most sonically entrancing instrumental albums of the year. Opening with hammered dulcimer and violin on Long Journey Home, Songs Of Water sets the table for a collection of twelve gorgeous instrumental vignettes. Long Journey Home is aptly named for the images it conjures, and I can easily see this song in a travel sequence of a motion picture. While Long Journey Home dances on the age of Celtic and Folk, Come To The Well is clearly in the Celtic tradition. The simple and straight forward arrangement is stark and fitting as a complement to some of the acoustic guitar work it entails.

Up From The Depths is wonderfully moody and dark, muted in shadows and neon. The song has a palpable personality that broods in its silent heart. You'll definitely want to check out Tempest, perhaps the loveliest song on the album. The sonic imagery here is too rich to be explained in a sentence or two, you'll just have to listen. Other highlights include sorrowful Travail, To Leave The Ground Behind and Reverence.

Songs Of Water's musical impressionism is as gorgeous as it is detailed. The juxtaposition of musical light and shadow informs the larger compositions here while drawing clearly from folk and Celtic traditions. Songs Of Water is an album that you will cherish for relaxation, meditation or active listening. You musicians out there will love the texture and layers built by Songs Of Water. Definitely a keeper.
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Songs Of Water at or You can purchase a copy of Songs Of Water at www.cdbaby,com/cd/sroach2.

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