Monday, December 5, 2011

Blue Water White Death

Blue Water White Death is the brainchild of two of today's most unique songwriters-- James Stewart of the eclectic, risk-taking pop group Xiu Xiu, and Jonathan Meiburg, golden throated front man of Austin art-rock quintet, Shearwater. Having just listened to their self-titled album I can indeed vouch for the unique angle of this project. Blue Water White Death create songs that are so minimal and so fragile that it's almost like listening to bits and pieces of music as opposed to whole songs. Blue Water White Death is the very definition of haunting as the songs seem to break apart as they go along and fragment into a series of warbling disembodied spirits looking for sanctuary. While this might sound interesting on paper, I'm not really sure what to make of it in musically.

Taking ambient textures, audio samples, found sounds, guitars, synths, and the voices of the dead and then combining them into something that approaches songs is tough. I'm not really sure what Blue Water White Death have created here are really songs per-se, instead they seem like sketches and brush strokes of aural passages that seem to be wandering aimlessly in and out of my headphones. This is scary stuff that I'm not quite sure I like. The album as a whole just seems to disjointed, to disturbing, and altogether to minimal for it's own good. If you can imagine something like a less exciting This Mortal Coil (sans covers) you've kind of got an idea of what Blue Water White Death sound like.

Minimally invasive and frighteningly stirring, Blue Water White Death is a record that's barely there. Interesting yes, but exciting no, Blue Water White Death is not a record you'll be running home to listen to on repeat. Pop music this is not but sonically challenging it is. Adventurous listeners may find Blue Water White Death chilling and moving but most folks will hide under the covers upon listening to this record.

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