Thursday, August 11, 2011

The River Empires: The River Empires (Epilogue) (5/5)

Joshua's Top Ten "Not Metal" Picks for 2010
#1 of 10 (Album of the Year)

Year: 2010
Genre: Whimsical Cinematic Indie Folk Orchestration
Label: Self Released
TRT: 88:41

Jesse Ribordy and company came out of nowhere this year, and launched what could turn out to be one of the most epic series of releases of the decade, and perhaps of all time, if fully realized. I know that sounds a bit presumptuous, but after dozens and dozens of start-to-finish listens to this 88 minute masterpiece, I can come to no other conclusion.

The River Empires (Epilogue) is, as the title implies, a summary of the larger tale, which is scheduled to be released in reverse order over the next 3-5 years in the form of three more double disc sets. Additionally, these sets are meant to be soundtracks for three movies (though it now seems Ribordy is leaning toward as mini-series instead to avoid the possibility of one movie getting picked up and the others left to the wayside), telling the tale of "two children who, during one particular summer, find a glass bottle with a message in it that changes their lives forever." As a summary, the Epilogue makes little sense since we don't yet know the story, but once the narrative is complete, it's intended to be "a nostalgic look back on the beginning of a strange and terrifying idea called The River Empires."

The length of this release might seem daunting at first, but after 2 or 3 full listens, recurring themes and motifs begin to emerge, and the tantalizing lack of details will begin to take root in your mind. Ribordy and Crescenzo (The Dear Hunter) utilize a plethora of instruments, including the banjo, piano, xylophone, various strings...with the notable absence of guitar for all but a few tracks. This gives a very cinematic feel to the recording, and it's not at all hard to imagine it working as a film accompaniment. Imagine a marriage of Anathallo, Sufjan Stevens and (unsurprisingly) The Dear Hunter, and you'll have a bit of an idea of their sound, but hardly a complete picture of it.

Sometimes innocent, sometimes sinister, As dark as it is beautiful, this is the beginning (end) of something vast. A massive undertaking to say the least, but if they can pull it off i have no doubt The River Empires will go down as one of most ambitious visionaries of our generation.

Disc 1
01The River Empires Theme I
02Overture in Thales Summer

03Our Neighbor, the Earth

04The Coventry

05Galloping Through Day Blooms

06The Harbourland

07From Faye to Astral

08A Toast to the Snake King

09The First Message

10Catacombs and Orchards

11Three Tigers

12The Stag Hollow Fair

13Lull Of Celeste

14From Outside the Cellar

15Vcias in the Pines

16A Dimmer Lux


Disc 2
01Witches Blossom

02The Curse of Maybel Cains


04The Motorbike

05The Pelican

06The Backyard in Sparkles

07Land of Canoes

08Theon, the Fox

09An Elliptic Figure From Borelli

10The Marching of the Clocks

11The Woods of Northland

12The River Empires Theme II

Visit The River Empires Bandcamp Page

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