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Rivers: Where Moss Grows (Serein)

Roberts is the owner and founder of the Serein label, and his debut
solo album under the Hidden Rivers moniker fits his label’s aesthetic
well, unsurprisingly. Like many releases on Serein, there is a hushed
elegance to the way Where Moss Grows unfolds and reveals itself. Much
like the foliage suggested in its title, this music feels organic and
alive without overstating its presence. As a result, many of these
pieces feel introspective and subtly radiant, with Roberts’ often
delicate keys and pads recalling the pastoral beauty of
much of Boards of Canada’s dreamier material. However, BoC’s music
tends to have a slightly bent or sinister undertone behind it lately,
and this music feels quietly optimistic and reflective by contrast.

It’s not all beatless and serene, though; Roberts adds rhythm and
arrangements at times to flesh out tracks into head bobbers like “The
Liquid Mirror” or “Red the Sun’s Cold Disk.” It’s this pairing
of more active tracks and blissed out ambience that makes Where Moss
such an effortless and satisfying listen from start to finish.
The second half of the album feels more alive and active because of
that addition of more rhythm and supporting elements, but it all
feels cohesive and like it belongs in the same gorgeous, grassy
meadow. Highly recommended for fans of Imprints, Boards of Canada,
Ulrich Schnauss — one of the best dreamy albums my ears have heard
in ages.

Buy it: Bandcamp | Boomkat | iTunes