dB Magazine – by Ross Hocking

DEBRIDEMENT [Chair Kickers Union, 2003]

from dB Magazine

Hot on the heels of last year’s debut self-titled LP, Rivulets return with another album that, like its predecessor, is a fragile masterpiece carved out of porcelain.

For those unfamiliar with Rivulets, it is actually the solo project of one Nathan Amundson and on ‘Debridement’ he has hand-picked a fine selection of friends to aid him in the recording. Included in the honour roll are Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker of Low, Jon DeRosa (ex-Dead Leaves Rising, Aarktica & Pale Horse and Rider), Brian John Mitchell (Remora) and the lovely Miss Jessica Bailiff.

Setting the tone for the album is the opening track An Evil – a stark accapella that resembles a funeral processional hymn. The following ten tracks each contribute to making ‘Debridement’ one of those timeless albums that successfully combine the gentle mix of minimalist acoustic guitar with delicate vocals.

Amundson’s precise execution in holding notes, leaving silences and drawing out chords is an artform in itself and his vocals are some of the most beautiful and mesmerising to grace a record in years; it isn’t hard to draw comparisons to Red House Painter’s Mark Kozelek with tracks like Conversation With A Half-Empty Bottle, whilst The Sunsets Can Be Beautiful (Even in Chicago) is reminiscent of Art of Fighting’s Ollie Browne.

However, a review of an album such as ‘Debridement’ does it little justice: no matter how great a story-teller an artist is, you cannot possibly describe in print the beauty and barrenness that are captured in such recordings. ‘Debridement’ is already a shoe-in for best release of 2003.

Ross Hocking, dB Magazine