Riverrun Tomorrow Island

Riverrun Tomorrow Island
8
One of Canada's most adventurous and challenging improvisation-based groups, Riverrun's sound is unique and hauntingly expressive. Composer/keyboardist Tom Richards fashions hypnotic dreamscapes; his keyboard is gritty, processing producing wavelike panning and strange fade-in/fade-out oscillations. Unlike most improv groups, Riverrun processes all of instruments, including the drums, giving the quartet outer spacey sonorities; reed virtuoso Peter Lutek is listed as playing "space clarinet."

"Fimitas, Utilitas, Venustas" opens like a sci-fi soundtrack, tempo rubato, gradually moving into a strongly classical-style clarinet/keyboard antiphonal melody. "Settlement" has a similar, slow tempo melody, with Jake Oelrichs' brush work drumming providing sensitive impetus and bassist Scott Peterson bringing some evocative pizzicato and arco bass-ifying into the mix. Things become more intense as the bowed bass gets eerily modulated and the tune moves into a repetitive, pulsing rhythmic chant.

Sometimes the sound processing muddies instrument clarity a bit too much, as on "Kui," but where Riverrun is operating sonically is terra incognita, so it can be expected that not every moment is sonically golden. Tomorrow Island's four tunes' mid- to slow tempos and lyricism make for meditative listening. (InSound)