Reviews

Calming River


Calming River debut album
‘Dead Bluebottles Supine’
lead track ‘Dover’

June 4th saw UK alt-folk fingerstyle guitarist & songwriter Calming River (Joshua Malcolm) release his debut album ‘Dead Bluebottles Supine’, a record that blends fingerstyle folk with atmospheric instrumentals. Over recent years, Malcolm has slowly been turning ears, with comparisons drawn to the likes of Nick Drake, Mark Kozelek and Jose Gonzalez. His debut album builds on such influences, whilst driving into a more dystopian soundscape:
LISTEN TO THE ALBUM HERE (SOUNDCLOUD)

Thematically, the core of the album addresses many familiar feelings: isolation, confinement, loss and fortitude. However, there is barely a chorus on the whole album and no clear verse-chorus-verse to any track. Instead, Malcolm deliberately constrains the quantity of lyrics — a reflection that in the world of 2021, free speech is constrained to the privileged.
Fittingly the album title is taken from George Orwell’s ’Road to Wigan Pier’. ’Dead Bluebottles Supine’ is an alt-folk record that comprises delicate, melancholic tracks that together wear away the rock; the paradox of what is soft is strong (Lao Tzu). ’For Edward’ and ‘Dover’ feature Danish songwriter Own Road, while jazz pianist Tom Neill plays on ‘Jejune’ and instrumental ‘Ivory’. Maris Peterlevics (Calling Blue Jay) plays on ‘For Edward’ and ’Hawthorn’. The album was recorded in Denmark and the UK. Malcolm lived in Denmark prior to relocating back to his native UK (Brighton & Hove).

Prior to Covid-19, Malcolm was touring and playing many shows in the London area, in addition to folk/indie festivals.
A winter 2021 tour is currently being finalised.

Produced by: Matthew Fleming &Rasmus Nielsen; Mastered by: Saff Mastering Dendron Records

The artist had this to say about the track…

Dover — the search for foreign land. The search for a better life for one’s family. 

In October 2019, the bodies of 39 Vietnamese men, women and children were found inside an articulated lorry in Essex, UK. ‘Dover’, the third release from Calming River’s debut album ‘Dead Bluebottles Supine’, was written shortly after. The track is deliberately kept short, reflective of the lives cut short in the human tragedy and flows between states of hope and despair: “ Shoreline, headlights to you. / When we breathed for two” . Danish songsmith Own Road features on vocals. The track was recorded in Copenhagen. 

FATEA review of ‘Dead Bluebottles Supine’: “…wonderful intricate guitar playing which is utterly entrancing throughout. Dead Bluebottles Supine is full of rich and inventive soundscapes which makes this a fascinating debut, and Calming River one to watch”

Calming River – Boats

Calming River – Anniversary

Calming River links:
Band/Artist location – Denmark & UK
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