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Rena Jones - Driftwood


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Rena Jones

Driftwood

September 2006

Ambient

Fantastic

 

Tracklist

 

1 From Star To Seed (3:15)

2 Photosynthesis (5:17)

3 Driftwood (7:20)

4 Open Me Slowly (5:41)

5 Undercurrent (4:42)

6 Sea Of Bubbles (4:43)

7 Cypress And Evergreen (4:55)

8 Seedling (2:48)

9 The Passing Storm (5:20)

10 Aurora Borealis (4:53)

11 Firefly (4:04)

12 Photosynthesis (Slidecamp Remix) (5:05)

13 By The Morning Sun (Bonus Track) (5:01)

 

Well, I managed to score this album for free. It was a freebie attached to a large order from Ultimae Records & I think this has to be the best free album I've ever heard. Hell it's probably one of the best albums I've ever heard.

 

I didn't get it at first. I couldn't even here the cello or violin & I though it was a boring typical psychill album. Oh how wrong I was. On repeated listens I found that the beauty of this really unfolded. The cello & violin came to life & really breathed life into this album. The mix of acoustic & electronic really makes this album something different from everything else out there (well everything I've heard so far, if you know o similar albums please tell).

 

I thought, a few weeks ago, that the perfect place to listen to this album would be by the ocean at sunset so today I got on the train & headed for Enoshima beach & walked onto the island, all the way to the back where there is a little bar with a terrace with a fantastic view of the sun setting behind the mountains and the ocean. Also in the distance you can see the Mt Fuji the Mountain of Forgotten Dreams

Perfect is indeed the word I would use to describe that experience. I thought this album was good before but then I was just blown away!

 

1. From Star to Seed

A dreamy, floating, summer intro. An ambient drone & lots of little sunny electronic noises. What could be a flute threatens but never materialises. It slowly builds energy like an intro to a track but it is a full track unto itself. You can barely hear a woman moan, great start.

 

2. Photosynthesis

Starts off as electronic glitch but this is shortly followed by the plucking of a cello that morphs into a slow irregular beat to which a string melody plays over. There is also a complimentary electronic melody that plays alternatively to the violin. This hints at sadness but in a warm way. Like lost potential for fun on a summer day but at the end of the day it's still summer & it's warm & relaxing.

 

3. Driftwood

Starts with high pitched sounds which more slowly change into low bass sounds and back again. The beat & the strings come in together shortly followed by a lovely melody which twists & turns with the other sounds. A very warm lovely track which has an edge of sadness given by the slow lonely strings. It all fits together to give you a sense of warm melancholy heightened by the baseline & the trippiest little synth sounds I've ever heard. They are so noticeable but they don't detract from anything else on display. It's like they don't fit perfectly but without them the track wouldn't be complete. They drift through the track seamlessly like the rest of this perfect music.

 

4. Open Me Slowly

A dreamy dose of the cello starts us off, nice little psychedelic sounds float hither & thither until the melodious strings cover the base. Once again it's a warm summer sadness. The feeling of unrealistic futures teases throughout. Hope & sadness in one.

 

5. Undercurrent

The sounds here seem more in your face & the strings are higher & more prominent. The bubbly electronic melody is very nice & stops & starts again with perfect timing.

The long sad strings come in half way through & are the focal point for the remainder of the track. As everything else leaves you, the sadness is still there.

 

6. Sea of Bubbles

Less bubbly than I'd expect from the track name, but what's in a name? The sounds are again warm & soft, melodious & light. The sadness that hung over the previous tracks is cast aside with this new vision of the future. The lack of sadness corresponds with the lack of strings. It's a nice uplifting interlude to the melancholic summer of Rena Jones - Driftwood.

 

7. Cypress & Evergreen

The strings are back and while they themselves are touch on the side of melancholy the rest of the sounds push the feeling into a lighter, more fun summer. Almost everything here seems more energetic & positive but underneath all this positive energy is and underlying confused melancholic edge, which of course wins out in the end.

 

8. Seedling

A wee track, consisting mainly of strings, brings us right down into evening's twilight. Dark yet bright. Light from an invisible source but getting darker & darker.

 

9. The Passing Storm

If the sun set in the last track then it holds still here in permanent twilight yet moving quickly through the sky. The melody oozes positive energy yet the strings ooze positive sadness. A strange feeling, positive sadness, but it fits me perfectly being a lover of weather. I embrace the storm & I'm always sad when it7s over but knowing the clarity of the day that will follow always makes me feel more positive.

 

10. Aurora Borealis

Lights in the sky anyone? Beautiful, the wonder of nature but a beauty that you can only see in depressingly dark, cold climes! That's the Northern Lights. Beauty tinged with dark coldness. If you ever have the chance to see the Aurora Borealis then I suggest you take it. If, like me, you enjoy melancholy and I guess that if you are human then you enjoy beauty then the lights in the northern sky will blow your mind. Amazingly, even before I knew the title of this track I was put in mind of the Aurora Borealis. An amazingly descriptive, colourful but overall cold track.

 

11. Firefly

Starts of breathing like a nymph in the forest as night has fallen. I feel like I'm rushing through this atmosphere looking for the source, but it keeps changing & I can't find it.

This is the most abstract track on the album. Being a short 4 minute track, it seems like a transition to the end of the album but right at the end the most beautifully haunting melody teases in the background making this so much more.

12. Photosynthesis (Sidecamp Mix)

Glitchier than the original & very hard to get my head around. Just around the 2 minute mark, strings hint at entering but never actually make it. Synthetic strings try to compensate but end up twisted & IDMish. All through the track it feels like the strings want to come in but don't dare. You can hear them trying but they never materialise & the glitch easily wins out. A randomly unexpected end......

 

....for a while. After nearly 11 minutes of silence on the MP3 or until you realise the CD has stopped & cued itself at track 13.

13. By the Morning Sun (Bonus Track)

A Beautiful life is breathed back in to us right at the death. It's fun & random glitchy energy is mixed with a soul sapping melody.

This sounds like the proper end to this album. I guess that this was originally the 12th & last track but Rena lost a bet & had to put that random out of place remix ahead of this which is more in between track 12 & the rest of the album.

 

 

So, swap track 12 & 13 & you have yourself a nearly perfect album The only thing I don't like much is the disappointment of the Sidecamp remix of Photosynthesis. There is really no need for it after such soulful beauty that precedes it.

 

If you can, then get this album. If you have it, if you can get yourself down to the shore around sunset, do & the real beauty of this album viewed in that light will seem even greater!

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Nice review, and nice pics too :)

I agree with you, this is an exceptionally great piece of art

I havn't heard it by the ocean or at sunset but I love to put it on before I go to sleep

It's really cold here atm but I hope I'll remember it some time in the summer!

 

btw have you heard String Theories (rena jones and bluetech)? I havn't.. yet,

Should be interesting since I like them both alot, they only seem to have done one track together though

http://www.discogs.com/release/632703

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I've not heard String Theories yet but based on the strength of this album & Bluetech's work I'd love to hear some music from them both.

That CD is on my ever growing wantlist!

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  • 1 year later...

so emotional and beautiful. this is a great album and very underrated...

 

can't wait for the new album, it should be out in few days :rolleyes:

I never knew she was putting out a new album but based on Driftwood it'll be an essential purchase for me. One of my favourite releases to really space out to after a long days work. Absolutely breathtaking.

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  • 2 years later...

Posted Image

 

Artist: Rena Jones

Title: Driftwood

Label: Native State Records

Date: April, 2006

 

1 From Star To Seed (3:15)

2 Photosynthesis (5:17)

3 Driftwood (7:20)

4 Open Me Slowly (5:41)

5 Undercurrent (4:42)

6 Sea Of Bubbles (4:43)

7 Cypress And Evergreen (4:55)

8 Seedling (2:48)

9 The Passing Storm (5:20)

10 Aurora Borealis (4:53)

11 Firefly (4:04)

12 Photosynthesis (Slidecamp Remix) (5:05)

13 By The Morning Sun (Bonus Track) (5:01)

 

Rena Jones is a remarkable and very versatile musician. I was first acquainted with her music on her last album (you can find the review here). Her ability to combine electronic glitch with serene and melancholic cello makes for a truly deep listening experience. I hadn't heard this album but based on the strength of Indra's Web this was a must have for me.

 

From Star To Seed- Just a warm and welcoming piece that drips of morning sunshine from an exotic tropical location. It's bubbly and soothing sound is a great way to begin an album.

 

Photosynthesis- Slow tactile bass along with her telltale cello and strings float above the glitchy electronics. It's mournful and beautiful at the same time keeping things at a very relaxing pace.

 

Driftwood- I love the clarity of the sounds. You can hear every touch of the hi-hat while the bass drum is never intrusive. The tempo is slightly quicker but no less relaxed. The tone clicks along with the consistency of a metronome as electric piano keys echo longingly. Of course her cello meanders its sad path but is never overwhelming. Sublime.

 

Open Me Slowly- More beach lounging music with a plucked bass and a wavering synth. I can feel the wind blowing across the sand as the waves crash into the shore. To get to this level of chill without drugs is unheard of.

 

Undercurrant- This one is more electronic in nature and it really didn't move me. I felt it didn't fit well with the other tracks with its sparkly synth quality. It's still good, but not my favorite.

 

Sea of Bubbles- With soft bass booming in dub fashion there are synths that make you feel like you are underwater. More electric piano and flute sounds create a delicate ecosystem. A tad empty, but still nice work.

 

Cypress & Evergreen- Man, her cello is better than a massage. Well, not really, but talk about being totally relaxed! Smooth with a nice breakbeat and synthy goings on make this like a warm caress.

 

Seedling- Slow persistent tempo like the emerging of a flower at dawn. A short ambient treat.

 

The Passing Storm- More glitchy percussion and at this point it's all so relaxing that the songs are beginning to blend into one another. Good or bad, I dunno, but it's getting hard to tell the tracks apart.

 

Aurora Borealis- This one always sticks out because it begins with an heir of sadness but then the electronics come in and it feels like the mood shifts. Not in a bad way, because it still brims with emotion. It meanders without much direction but don't take that as a criticism. It's not; this has a very ethereal, ghostlike vibe.

 

Firefly- Without much percussion she still manages to get a little funky with the beat. It's breathy with scambling synths but fairly thin. Relaxing as hell though.

 

Photosynthesis(Slidecamp mix)- More electronic in a Depeche Mode sort of way. Very glitchy with a futuristic slant as the strings wail a lament in the background. Can someone say The Matrix? And...then we get rudely unplugged at around 5'15". With silence the rest of the way. I hate that sh*t. Why? What purpose does it serve? If I wanted to listen to 10 minutes of silence I would shut the f*cking thing off.

 

By The Morning Sun- This is the hidden track. It's not hidden, it's right there on the listing. See it? Pure electronic wanderings with no real connection to the other tracks on the album.

 

Well, she has talent no question. Most of the time she does a wonderful job combining real world instruments with soft electronica to create a very lush and moving trip. Aside from that 10 minute debacle I would recommend this to anyone that likes their music to move them...while they are standing still. Beautiful stuff.

 

Psyshop

 

Beatspace

 

SaikoSounds

 

Mdk

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  • 3 weeks later...

I love this subtle combination of acoustic instruments with electronic music Posted Image

 

What other artists are on this same vain? The only one I can recall is Field Rotation. Acoustic Tales has been one of the most played albums on my music player lately Posted Image

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