Rivener

Fires in Repose

Fires in Repose was captured during Rivener's second jam-session as a new band. Caught right in that sweet spot between figuring each other out and exploring sonic space (each other's and conquering sonic territory together) and still having the brass-tacks laid down, Fires in Repose has all the magic and fireworks of a relationship in the very early stages replete with all the exciting, exploratory sex, acceptance of personality quirks and flaws, a generous take on sordid history (wow! what character!) before dysfunctional family dynamics and maladaptive coping strategies stop being quirks and start becoming hints of pathology. Luckily, recorded outputs, unlike relationships, can be frozen in time. Built on the telekinetic relationship between Connecticut experimental vets Michael Kiefer and Paul Belbusti on drums and guitar, Fires in Repose takes on multiple shapes throughout the three wholly improvised longform tracks. These range from bombastic clashes of no-wave skronk imploding into jazz-influenced breakdowns of polyrhythmic fury underscored by waves and waves of amplifier feedback, to straight cheesegrater shredding in long, distinct movements.

Belbusti's guitar work conjures rhythmic clashes of atonal blasts of noise comprised of sheer kinetic energy countered with long passages of hushed, improvised guitar lines that hang like low cloud cover over unsettling seas. The feeling is that winds could whip up in any moment. Ostensibly, those moments, those start-stop dives into controlled chaos are the driving factors here. The immediate, grin-inducing moments that are more than worth the price of admission. But then, often dictated by Kiefer's command over timing and pace these are strung together by passages of roiling, stormy calm before the next break. Kiefer is excellent at keeping the timing and tension just at breaking point before ramping into mutual instrument destruction.

One of the best examples of the level and true potential of the coalescence of this group is about 6:30 into "An Uneventful First Quarter" where an abstract, calmer passage - instead of breaking into a fully-formed freakout - begins to gradually nudge up the BPM and intensity until it reaches a natural crescendo full of minimal (but HEAVY) riffing and huge, 3-D symbol splashes followed by a frantic tour of the drum-kit before falling right into time. 

This album is heavier than most things this year. Perhaps listening to this while processing Baltimore leads this to be more emotionally relevant and necessary than ever before. In light of how much of a mess people are, this sounds straight-up easy to decode.

Purchase on Bandcamp

April 28th, 2015