La Mer

The second riverrun album was called La Mer, and it was released in the spring of 2011. Like Pentimento, the record was made by layering new experimental pieces with a range of old four-track tape recordings that I had in my archive. And to that end I spent most of Christmas 2010, back home in Devon, looking through boxes of my old tapes. In the process I discovered a recording of the sea at the North Somerset coast, from the mid 1990s, when I was a teenager, and when my family had a holiday place at Doniford Bay (a piece also referred to in one of the better pieces from Pentimento). I used this tape and a some other old recordings to piece together a series of tracks that referred to Doniford, and to various other seaside places I'd known in my life.

The initial intention was for the first six tracks to be released as a mini-album/EP, but when the label which was going to co-release it with me folded, I continued to work on the record and ended up with a double album, largely due to the fact that the last track is over half an hour long.

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La Mer

riverrun

riverrun's second album 'La Mer' was recommended by legendary graphic novelist Warren Ellis and contains the fan favourite tracks 'Jared By The Sea' and 'Five Mile Beach'. It was originally released in the spring of 2011.

Like 'Pentimento', the record was made by layering new experimental pieces with a range of old four-track tape recordings that I had in my archive. And to that end I spent most of Christmas 2010, back home in Devon, looking through boxes of my old tapes.

In the process I discovered a recording of the sea at the North Somerset coast, from the mid 1990s, when I was a teenager, and when my family had a holiday place at Doniford Bay (a piece also referred to in one of the better pieces from 'Pentimento'). I used this tape and a some other old recordings to piece together a series of tracks that referred to Doniford, and to various other seaside places I'd known in my life.

The initial intention was for the first six tracks to be released as a mini-album/EP, but when the label which was going to co-release it with me folded, I continued to work on the record and ended up with a double album, largely due to the fact that the last track is over half an hour long.

Find out more about this album at https://danielland.co.uk/la-mer
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  1. 1 Crosswinds 02:14 Info Buy
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  2. 2 Dunkery Beacon 04:31 Info Buy
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  3. 3 La Corbière 09:22 Info Buy
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  4. 4 Jared By The Sea 06:14 Info Buy
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  5. 5 Five Mile Beach (for Elly Webb) 04:22 Info Buy
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  6. 6 Hollow Ponds 03:55 Info Buy
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  7. 7 Doniford Bay Revisited 10:30 Info Buy
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  8. 8 Atlantic Beach 07:38 Info Buy
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  9. 9 The Old Light 14:02 Info Buy
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  10. 10 Val De La Mare 07:11 Info Buy
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  11. 11 Dancing Ledge (part one) 21:22 Info Buy
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  12. 12 Dancing Ledge (part two) 13:33 Info Buy
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Psychogeography

Dunkery Beacon, at the summit of Dunkery Hill is the highest point on Exmoor and in Somerset, England. It is also the highest point in southern England outside of Dartmoor. John Fry, a character in R. D. Blackmore's 1869 novel Lorna Doone, calls it the "haighest place of Hexmoor". Dunkery lies four miles from the Bristol Channel at Porlock, and there are extensive views from the summit, from the Bristol and English Channel coasts, to the Brecon Beacons including Pen Y Fan, Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor, the Severn Bridges and Cleeve Hill.

La Corbière (Jèrriais: La Corbiéthe) is the extreme south-western point of Jersey, in the Channel Islands. The name means "a place where crows gather", deriving from the word corbîn meaning crow. It is also the name of a lighthouse situated on a tidal island. A causeway links the lighthouse to shore at low tide, and there is an alarm to warn visitors to clear the causeway as the tide rises. La Corbière has been the scene of many shipwrecks, including that of the mail packet "Express" on 20 September 1859.

Five Mile Beach is a colloquial name for St Ouen's Bay in Jersey, known for its' stretch of unspoiled golden sands. The west-facing beach is a year-round mecca for watersports fans, especially surfers reveling in the rolling Atlantic breakers.

The Old Light is a disused granite lighthouse built on Lundy Island in 1819. Lundy is a large island in the Bristol Channel, lying 12 miles off the coast of Devon, about a third of the distance across the channel from Devon to south Wales. Lundy gives its name to a British sea area, familiar to listeners of the shipping forecast, and has a resident population of 28 people, including volunteers. I spent a week there in 1993, when I was twelve.

Dancing Ledge is part of the Jurassic Coast in Dorset. It is a large, flat area of rock at the base of a small cliff. Dancing Ledge is a former quarry, last used in the 1930s for stone shipped to Kent. Since falling into disuse, a tide-filled swimming pool has been carved into the ledge. At certain stages of the tide when the waves wash over the horizontal surface, the surface undulations cause the water to bob about making the ledge appear to dance.

Making The Album

In the same way that the first riverrun album Pentimento was the flip-side to the Daniel Land & The Modern Painters album Love Songs For The Chemical Generation, this album came out of the same time period as The Space Between Us

The tracks "Doniford Bay Revisited", "Val De La Mare", and parts of "Jared By The Sea" actually came from improvisations I had with Graeme Meikle when we were writing material for The Space Between Us. That often happened; we'd be trying to write songs and would eventually veer off into some kind of ambient jam., which - since I always had the 'record' button on, I would later recall and use in various ways. 

Similarly, the track "Dancing Ledge" is actually the Daniel Land & The Modern Painters song, "The Nights Are Falling", remixed and mutated. I really didn't add much to it, just made a series of loops, and processed and reprocessed things ad infinitum. Listening to the two tracks together you can get an idea of the range of possibilities for shaping and manipulating sound:

Interview with Elizabeth Klisiewicz

The title of your latest release means, The Sea. Can you tell us why water is featured so heavily as a theme in your work?

I grew up in the south west of England, which is a kind of peninsula surrounded by the Bristol Channel and the Atlantic Ocean. I didn’t exactly grow up on the beach, but going to the sea was a kind of a regular occurrence, and the occasion of many trips and outings. I mean, there’s not a lot to do in the south west of England, especially as a child, so a lot of your “entertainment” consists of driving in the car to go and look at the moors and the scenery and the seaside and so on – in the depths of winter. I think a lot of kids would find that really boring but I later came to appreciate the sense of wonder that that instilled in me… on these trips I’d have my little walkman with me, and because of this I made a strong mental connection early on between landscapes, seascapes, and certain types of music. 

These tracks are named after favourite places of mine; places that I like or consider to have an atmosphere. The first album was more land-oriented, and this one, I suppose, is a bit more “by the sea”. It’s a bit of a naff concept really, it’s just the way it worked out.

Tell us about Elly Webb and Five Mile Beach.

Elly is my dearest friend – we have been best friends since we were sixteen or something, we studied together, and we lived together in Devon during our college years and shortly after. She’s originally from Jersey, and I went to stay with her there one summer, after she’d moved back home for a year. This was in 2003. It was a very memorable time and our walk along Five Mile Beach was a particularly evocative memory that was in my mind whilst writing that track.

Jersey is situated between the coasts of England and France; in fact it’s actually much closer to France, so although it’s mainly English-speaking, there’s a massive French influence there as well. The French influence can also be seen in the album’s title and the other track titles like “LaCorbière” and “Val De La Mare”.

Was your production and composition technique any different from Pentimento? What instruments and methods were employed?

I broadly followed the approach I used on Pentimento, which basically consisted of working with layering various old tape recordings and old experimental pieces, and slowing things down on tape to get some more grainy, warped sounds. And when I was back in Devon at Christmas time I found a mini disc of some old recordings I’d made years ago – recordings of the sea, environmental sounds, things like that – and decided to throw those in as well. I guess I became interested in pushing the environmental-sounds aspect of Pentimento a bit further – normally the only kind of music you hear that has the sound of the sea in the background is terrible, terrible New Age crap, so I had an idea that it would be nice to do something a little bit more credible with real environmental sounds.

I’d say the compositional process was broadly similar to the first record, although unlike the first record, there was a lot of rather underhand sampling that went into this one – processing and reprocessing things and slowing things down to such extents that the original source is totally lost and degraded. They’ve been messed around with so much that, in one case, even the person who played on the original record couldn’t tell even when I pointed it out. 

There are so many places touched on: La Corbiere, Donford Bay, and Hollow Ponds. Can you describe their impact on you?

I think it goes back to the thing that I touched on earlier – these locations are places that I mentally escape to during the writing process, in a funny way. They’re touchstones of a sort, in the sense that I’m trying to capture something of the ambience of the place by writing a piece of music about it.

I suppose an important point to add is that there’s a certain amount of nostalgia involved – these are all places associated with my childhood or adolescence, places that I haven’t been able to visit much, if at all, since I moved away to the city ten years or so ago. It’s nice to visit these places again, if only mentally – and in fact, these places and the memories associated with them are slightly changed, improved and made more poignant by the fact that I don’t have daily experience of them.

You are incredibly prolific. Have you already started work on your third riverrun project, or will you focus on the Modern Painters in the second half of 2011?

Well, the good thing about the riverrun stuff is that’s is pretty easy to make – you know, compared to making a “band” album with drums and string sections and backing vocal choirs and so on! – so it’s something I can make at home, privately, whenever I have a moment or a laptop or whatever. And it’s good crop rotation for me – whenever I get bored or run out of ideas with one type of music, there’s something totally different I can immediately turn my attention to and get results pretty quickly. So there’ll definitely be a new riverrun album at some point next year.

Excerpted from the original interview originally featured on Headphone Commute.