A day spent meandering along the banks of a quiet river in the company of only one’s own thoughts and the sounds of gently lapping water, rustling leaves, or a crackling fire. It is a respite and a renewal our modern life rarely affords, but for about 40 minutes, one can travel to such a state of mind with By the River by Valotihkuu, an ambient project from Russian musician Denis Davydov.
“During the album recording sessions I limited myself to a certain setup: electric guitar, looper, delay/reverb pedal and a 4-track portable tape recorder. This helped me to concentrate on expressing the moods instead of being distracted by the necessity of choosing the instrument and timbre. Each track was a result of a single recording session. By means of sound I tried to express some sort of a “stream” feeling; that’s why it was important to me to stay in this state myself, not to ruin the general picture and make the album as solid as possible.”- Valotihkuu
While you don’t have to look far to find ambient recordings on such themes, there is a gossamer beauty to his diaphanous webs of guitar, an immaculate shimmer and a rare quality of stillness that really captures the essence of retreating into nature and solitude, perhaps something akin to an audio version of forest bathing. For a dose of grace and tranquility or a much needed mental reset, look no further than this lovely record.
By the River is now available from Hidden Vibes in two CD limited editions, the regular in an azure paper sleeve with silver lettering (100 copies) or the deluxe in an artificial leather case with a metal shield.