My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #32

Number 32

If I was forced to make a decision on what my favorite “type” of music was, then I suppose I would lean most towards the instrumental, thought-provoking, string and piano-infused recordings of such groups as Eluvium, Rachel’s, and Balmorhea; the latter of which are next on the list, with a remarkable second album, Rivers Arms. Sounds of what seems to be a pleasant public gathering around a swimming pool fade in, and soon after the piano, violin, and acoustic guitar follow; and from that point on, Rivers Arms is as much a must-hear-straight-through record as Girl Talk’s Feed the Animals, even if they are extremely different albums. I’ve been listening to this record on and off since it’s release in the spring, and each time I find myself entranced and cannot even think about letting go until it plays through, from “San Solmon” all the way to its reprise nearly an hour later. It’s hard to describe the way it makes me feel, listening to this group…I can only say that it’s best heard for yourself. I hear it differently every time I put Rivers Arms into my ears, and it’s especially powerful at a time like this – year’s end – because it can easily spark a recollection of the decisions, instances, mistakes, etc., of the months that have recently passed. “Lament” has got to be one of the most captivating single tracks of 2008, standing out on a record that is essentially one big, wonderful, singular song in its own right. If you find this group at the right time, you will be hit on a profound level. Seek them out. I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.

1.San Solomon
2.Lament
3.The Summer
4.The Winter
5.Greyish Tapering Ash
6.Baleen Morning
7.Barefoot Pilgrims
8.Context
9.Process
10.Divisadero
11.Limmat
12.Theme No. 1
13.Windan Sea
14.San Solomon (reprise)

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