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Rivers album cover
Retina: Bleed Like There Was No Other Flood
Retina: Tiny Holes In This World
Retina: Under Land And Over Sea
Retina: Fight For Me
Retina: Peeling Off The Layers
Iris: The Wave
Iris: The Drop
Iris: The Course
Iris: The Lake
Iris: The Well
Album Information

Total Tracks: 10   Total Length: 44:18

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Wondering Sound

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Ian Gittins


Ian Gittins is a music writer for the Guardian who has also written for Melody Maker, Q, Time Out, MTV, Daily Telegraph and New York Times. He is the co-author

Commercial success may elude them, but there's a rare, fierce beauty here
2010 | Label: The Leaf Label / state51

The Swedish husband-and-wife team of Andreas Werliin and Mariam Wallentin have long crafted a precious, precocious music that hovers on the verge of silence, but on their third album, they up the ante considerably. Originally released earlier this year as two limited-edition vinyl EPs, Retina and Iris, Rivers is a water-themed concept album, of sorts, with the baroque melodrama of the five Retina tracks contrasting starkly with the hushed introspection of their Iris counterparts.

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Love it


Just downloaded, really great stuff, this is one I won't tire of... interesting lyrics, beautiful lead vocals, great choral arrangements behind and electronics / percussion that are central to it, yup - I like it alot!...

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One of those albums...


This is one of those albums you wouldn't even give a second listen to if it wasn't for the emusic system. I'd have never found this on itunes or considerd it worth downloading if I had to get out my credit card! This does show that emusic does introduce you to new things

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Beautiful and haunting. Play Loud!


Play loud! This music needs space :) I'd listened to Rivers on headphones and wasn't quite getting into it, then I played it through speakers at home while I was trying to clean up - I ended up just sittin by the window mesmerised by the beautiful sound coming out of my computer. Download now!

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They Say All Music Guide

A study in contrasts, Rivers finds Wildbirds & Peacedrums exploring the conceptual possibilities of their approach. Once again, Mariam Wallentin and Andreas Werliin limit themselves to voice and percussion, but this album — which combines the limited-edition EPs Retina and Iris — features some of the duo’s most ambitious and fullest-sounding music. Wallentin and Werliin ventured to Iceland to record these songs, recording the expansive Retina in Guðríðarkirkja church with cellist and arranger Hildur Guðnadóttir and the Schola Cantorum Reykjavík Chamber Choir. Trading the fiery outbursts of Heartcore and The Snake for a deeper dive into Wildbirds & Peacedrums’ wintry, introspective side, Retina feels at once sacred and avant-garde. The choir underscores Wallentin’s expressive vocals, adding to her ethereality on “Bleed Like There Was No Other Flood,” shadowing her like a battle cry on “Fight for Me” and echoing her joy on “Tiny Holes in This World.” The dark, meditative feel of these songs recalls Björk’s later work — not a surprise, since the Schola Cantorum Reykjavík Chamber Choir worked with her on Medúlla. What is somewhat surprising is the amount of restraint the duo shows not just on Retina, but Iris as well. Recorded in Reykjavík’s Greenhouse Studios, Iris focuses on Wallentin’s voice and the watery tones of the steel pan. Though “The Wave” suggests that these songs will be more like the band’s previous work, a calmer, softer Wildbirds & Peacedrums presents itself on songs like “The Drop” and “The Lake.” While the duo’s more explosive side is missed — they don’t really cut loose until Iris’ final track “The Well” — a more sophisticated and soulful aspect of their music surfaces on “The Course,” where Wallentin sings, “I need a prayer to hold my course/To get a god to give me the force.” That Werliin and Wallentin recorded all of these songs within a week is impressive enough, but the new directions they hint at for Wildbirds & Peacedrums are even more exciting. Rivers isn’t as immediate as either Heartcore or The Snake, but fans should find it satisfying once they’ve had time to let it soak into their ears, brains and hearts. – Heather Phares

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