It is hard to ignore the heartbreak surrounding this release with regard to the death of guitarist Piotr Grudziński earlier this year, but Grudziński’s life and music career can be celebrated with Eye of the Soundscape, the compilation album of RIVERSIDE’s instrumental and ambient tracks. This two-disc album offers four new tracks as well as featuring rare cuts and songs previously heard as extras on earlier albums.
New song Where the River Flows dramatically starts proceedings, with a tense atmosphere akin to a storm brewing. Electronic elements accompany the rich guitar tone throughout, but when the song clears to piano and improvised vocals, it’s the equivalent of the sun emerging after the rain.
Second Shine is also new and it kicks off with a post-rock feel, the solid mix definitely having a MOGWAI tinge which borders on the ZOMBI-esque. The guitar melody almost acts like the vocal line and it is these little touches and details which make the album sparkle. Night Session One and Two also feature on the first disc, which brings a fluid, laidback, sax-infused affair.
Disc two begins with the new groove Sleepwalkers, which will soon get your foot tapping with the funky beat. Each song has something new to offer, with Aether featuring some delicious bass playing, before thumper of a track Machines delivers some infectious grooves. The album mellows out to the acoustic Promise and the closer, Eye of the Soundscape which is also the last of the new songs.
It is this last track which will slow burn its way into fans’ hearts. Its calmness sounds out of this world which conjures a cosmic landscape for the listener. This ambient composition is a fitting tribute to the lasting legacy of Grudziński and RIVERSIDE. The band have decided to continue their musical journey as a trio, only time will tell what their next chapter has in store.