On December 4th UK experimental alt-folk songwriter CALMING RIVER returned with the harrowing and unique ‘Boats’, the first single to be taken from forthcoming album ‘Dead Bluebottles Supine’ (expected early 2021). ‘Boats’ wonderfully captures the enigmatic songwriting style of Calming River: dextrous finger-picked guitar, shifting song structures and juxtaposed instrumentation, that all combine with significant emotional heft to shatter the often-hollow stereotype of the ‘singer-songwriter’.
The track meanders through the darker ravines of human emotion, finding unsafe ground over a constant flow of loss, anxiety and confusion. Windsor-based (UK) videographer and director Matthew Fleming captures the mood with cinematic aplomb (video link).
Prior to ‘Boats’, the artist has released a collection of singles and EPs in recent years, receiving artistic praise from numerous media outlets, especially in the Nordic region, where he lived until as recently as 2018, prior moving to London.
‘𝐵𝑜𝑎𝑡𝑠’ 𝑖𝑠 𝑝𝑜𝑖𝑔𝑛𝑎𝑛𝑡, 𝑟𝑒𝑓𝑙𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑎𝑙𝑡-𝑓𝑜𝑙𝑘 𝑎𝑡 𝑖𝑡𝑠 𝑓𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑡.
“Boats’ is a track that’s been with me for a while, having been written in Aarhus, Denmark, where I previously lived.” – says Joshua. “I wanted to write a track that traversed through different human emotions in a time of loss. I lost two friends, both young males, in a pretty short space of time and it threw me—it still throws me. I wanted to write a song for them, that had artistic merit, that channeled what I was feeling in a way that normal conversation couldn’t, without being conformist, sappy or cliché. The song meanders through some darker ravines which video director Matthew Fleming (Minus Tone), based in Windsor UK, and co-director Efrosine Kokkori have built on with their visual narrative. Together we wanted to create a non-linear flow with the storyline, underscoring a sense of ambiguity, disconnection and confusion.”
‘Boats’ is the first single from debut album ‘Dead Bluebottles Supine’, due Feb 2021.
In recent years Calming River has been based in Aarhus, Denmark and London, UK. To honor its alternative music scenes and satisfy our hunger for more music inspirations, we asked Joshua to give us a few recommended gems that deserve our attention. Here’s what he got:
Ulrika Spacek: alt-rock. One of my favourite London bands, who lived down the road from me in Hackney, but I met them in Aarhus.
Matthew One Man: a phenomenal instrumental guitarist based near London. He uses effects and loop machines in an astounding way.
Moongazing Hare: folk/drone/ambience from Malmö, Sweden. Check out Dendrons Records on Bandcamp for some of his excellent back catalogue.
Own Road: Indie folk artist based in Copenhagen, whom I had the pleasure of collaborating with on a few songs for an upcoming record.
Sarah Louise: folk/electronic/world/ I played a festival in Denmark with Sarah on the bill and she was amazing.
Jason Molina: indie/folk/rock: he passed several years ago now but I recently found out he lived less than a kilometre away from where I live now in west London, which I had no idea about until I read his biography.