thank you reykjavik [Bluesanct, 2002]
I lost my first copy of Rivulet’s self-titled debut, and Nathan Amundson was gracious enough to send me another copy to review. And thankfully, he was gracious enough to send me a copy of “Thank You Reykjavik”, a 4-song EP of material from the self-titled album recorded for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.
It’s hard to really call the material on here “stripped down”, seeing as how Rivulets’ core already sounds pretty sparse, even when embellished with percussion, organ, and additional vocals, among other things. But on “Thank You Reykjavik”, it’s just Amundson and his guitar, and his songs are just as strong and beautiful. However, the music is such that you find yourself filling in certain details, especially if you’ve heard the full-length (for example, I found those little bell chimes from “Four Weeks” running through my head).
If nothing else, “Thank You Reykjavik” reveals that Amundson’s songs can be just as arresting in a live, solo setting as on his studio effort. What’s more, the little “imperfections” that creep in, like Amundson’s soft breathing or the squeak of his fingers along the guitar’s neck, add warmth and intimacy to music that already posesses such qualities in spades.
While much of the fame in the indie singer / songwriter circles might go to the Conor Obersts and Jason Molinas of the world, Amundson has quietly established himself as a singer / songwriter to watch. It may (unfortunately) fly under most people’s radars, but the good things are always worth seeking out.
Jason Morehead, opuszine.com