I was just hoping for some smeared, ambient noises, but I was instead pleasantly greeted with a journey through an extremely rich tapestry of sound.
Favorite track: The Same River Twice - Part Two.
Inspired by the surrealist drawing game 'exquisite corpse', The Same River Twice began life in early 2020 as a series of impromptu file swaps within the Vancouver electronic music community. The rules were simple: produce roughly one minute of audio using only the last thirty seconds of the previous participant's contribution as a guide, then pass it forward. Instigated by local artists Mount Maxwell and Kristen Roos as a response to Covid isolation, and utilizing Hotham Sound as an intermediary online exchange, the project circulated quickly through a music community trapped indoors, and within a few weeks was being forwarded to artists outside of British Columbia.
The project was divided into two sections, or chains, each of which circulated independently of the other. Section One made stops in Montreal (Markus Floats), Portland (Patricia Wolf, Qualchan), and Los Angeles (Nailah Hunter) before being brought to a stunning spoken word finale by the London based duo BAG. Section Two bounced between artists in Canada, Australia, the UK, and Russia (Secret Pyramid, Alexandra Spence, Hattie Cooke, Iguana Moonlight) before reaching its hypnotic conclusion in Oakland, California with Michael Henning and Sean Conrad of Skyminds. In the end, a total of 50 artists would contribute their time to the making of this 'audio quilt'; a dense, bewildering, and beautiful artifact of the year we all lived inside.
All proceeds from the sale of this release will go to the National Bailout Collective, a Black-led collective of abolitionist organizers, lawyers, and activists building a community-based movement to end systems of pretrial detention and mass incarceration in the United States.
released April 30, 2021
'The ancient art of compilation making is more or less lost nowadays and it’s rare to stumble on a well curated project with a strong, unifying concept. Conceived by Vancouver-based label Hotham Sound, 'The Same River Twice’ is that rare beast: a Various Artists album that flows effortlessly and excitingly like a regular album. Fifty artists worldwide contributed one minute of music each using the last sounds of the previous contributor as their starting point, adding up to the whole via the internet in a kind of mail-art chain, or Surrealist Exquisite Corpse. The style is experimental-ambient with a great variety of sounds, from abstract textures to real instruments like piano, harp, flute or Spanish guitar, onto electronic music through to spoken word. I suppose someone at Hotham Sound curated the whole shebang throughout in a way or another, because transitions between tracks are both seamless and pertinent, full of surprises and excitement. The LP comprises 2 side-long tracks, the A-side roughly featuring the more abstract and acoustic music, while the B-side includes more electronic sounds and occasional beats, as well as field recording and melodica. In any case, both sides hugely benefit from the Exquisite Corpse process, a brilliant idea yielding quasi magical results here.' - Laurent Fairon, CONTINUO.
All tracks recorded in order of appearance, 2020-2021.
Artwork: Mayans in Tikal, Lee Saxell, 1974.
Album download includes full artist list with times of appearance.