Pulse – by David Greenberger

rivulets [Chair Kickers Union, 2002]

from Pulse

These dozen songs exude calm and nervousness in equal measure. Rivulets is less a band than an embellished solo project built around the songs of Nathan Amundson. The regal quiet of his music shares a number of characteristics with the similarly understated Low. This is not altogether surprising, since it was recorded and mixed by Low’s Alan Sparhawk, who appears on the disc, as does his wife and bandmate Mimi Parker. The songs have a folkish foundation in that a softly strummed guitar is at the heart of them all. Amundson’s vocals are utilized as part of the overall tapestry. Bleak, bordering on the disturbing, the songs are like cerebral-emotional puzzles. The sheer fragility of a song like "Barreling Towards Nowhere Like There’s No Tomorrow" (which couldn’t sound less barreling) gives it a feeling like a heart-rending S.O.S. from a ship that’s already sunk. Ah, the sweet beauty of melancholy.

David Greenberger, Pulse

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