A Review of Riverside, Wasteland (Insideout, 2018).
At first, I was surprised that the two best (and best known, at least in American prog circles) Polish bands named their most recent albums, Wasteland. Well, ok, there’s a slight difference. Newspaperflyhunting named its album with a plural. Still, it must be more than a coincidence. Presumably, each took the name either from the Arthurian legends or from T.S. Eliot (who took his from the Arthurian legends). Regardless, the title fits for most of our world of 2018.
For the Riverside diehards among us, Burning Shed has for sale the Riverside Reality Dream Boxset, originally released in Poland in 2011, but extremely hard to find in North America. Believe me, I’ve searched high and low for a decently priced copy here in the States. Now, it’s available again. Order as soon as you can. My guess is that they will go quickly.
Burning Shed’s description:
A six cd box set collection containing Riverside’s Reality Dream studio trilogy, Out Of Myself (2003), Second Life Syndrome (2005) and Rapid Eye Movement (2007), plus the contemporaneous extras and live releases Voices In My Head (2005), Second Live Syndrome (2008) and Rapid Eye Movement II (2007).
Presented in a beautiful six panel digipak.
Pre-order for 24th March shipping.
N.B. This is the 2011 Polish release on the Mystic Production label.
Our great Polish friends, the members of Newspaperflyhunting, have just released their latest single at Bandcamp.
In continuity with their past musical approach, but armed with excellent new ideas, the band progresses properly. Be prepared for a much proggier 1985 New Order mixed with some 1990 Cranberries mixed with the genius that alone belongs to NPFH!
Riverside, EYE OF THE SOUNDSCAPE (Insideout Music, 2016). Tracks: Where the River Flows (new), Shine (new), Rapid Eye Movement, Night Sessions 1, Night Sessions 2, Sleepwalkers (new), Rainbow Trip, Heavenland, Return, Aether, Machines, Promise, Eye of the Landscape (new).
It’s truly hard to know what to label Riverside’s latest release, EYE OF THE SOUNDSCAPE. I can, however, state the following with absolute certainty: it is a truly glorious thing. A thing of intense beauty. A thing I very proudly own. Two disks, 103 minutes of music, and great packaging. What more could one want from any album, let alone from a band as exceptional as Riverside?
Yet, EYE OF THE SOUNDSCAPE is not really a proper album, or at least an album with all new tracks. Of the thirteen tracks on this album, only four are new. The other nine come from previous Riverside releases, generally from the special editions. What holds them together is the ambient and electronic quality of each song.
But, wait. . . isn’t that what Lunatic Soul is for? Duda’s more experimental side?
Gosia Sutuła-Grabowska: basses, lead and backing vocals
Krzysztof Sarna: drums
Beata Grzegorczyk-Andrejczuk: Fender Rhodes piano
There’s something just so terribly infectious about the music of Newspaperflyhunting.
Granted, the name of the band is the weirdest thing since Annie Oakley shot three playing cards (ace of hearts, of course) at 100 yards while looking at the target through a mirror. Yes, as with Oakley, Newspaperflyhunting brings a standard of excellence to every single thing it touches and produces.
The band’s latest EP, THE THREE WORDS, is a thing of wonder, beauty, and majesty.
Though the three-song EP has a familiar Newspaperflyhunting sound, THE THREE WORDS is different from their other releases and offers the long-time listener even new aural ecstasies.
As I’ve mentioned previously, the band’s music possesses much in common with the American and British neo-psychedelic wall-of-sound revival of the late 1980s which saw the rise and glory of such bands as Opal, Mazzy Star, the Cocteau Twins, and My Bloody Valentine. Whatever the similarities, however, Newspaperflyhunting (as the name would suggest) is very much—maybe even absolutely—its own band. Other than being from Poland and believing in the purity of art, Newspaperflyhunting evades any easy labeling or categorization.
At nearly 11 minutes in length, the opening track, “3 Words,” a song ostensibly about wisdom, tradition, and loss. The song builds slowly but surely in the first two minutes, exploding at the 1:56 mark. The voice drones (appropriately) as much as sings in a longing fashion, a plea for attention and contemplation. The mood of the song changes numerous times through the 11 minutes, demanding the full immersion of the listener.
At just under 10 minutes, “Past Perfect (revisited),” track two, is a remake of an older Newspaperflyhunting song. Never satisfied with the song, the band completely rebuilt it for the THREE WORDS EP. The new version of the song is nothing short of stunning. The female vocalist especially brings the song to life, drawing the listener into introspection as well as inspiration.
“Demolished Mansions” reflects the overall themes of the EP: the loss of tradition, replaced by heartless modernity. There might also—though I speculate, nothing more—be something scriptural in the title, a loss and the death of God in our insane whirligig.
The band’s description of itself: “Formed in 2006 in Białystok, Poland. Prog/post/space rock. Longing, melancholy, and rays of light scattered throughout. Introspective music, disregarding trends or expectations.” One of the most accurate self-evaluations I’ve encountered in my life.