Richard Reed Perry may be best known as a core member of stadium-filling Canadian art-rockers Arcade Fire, but he's had his multi-instrumentalist fingers in a lot of pies outside of the group, including Bell Orchestre and New International Standards, as well as collaborations with the National, Barr Brothers, the Unicorns, and Islands. His first solo outing, 2014's Music for Heart and Breath, was a collection of classical compositions recorded with yMusic, Kronos Quartet, Nico Muhly, Nadia Sirota, and Bryce and Aaron Dessner. His sophomore effort, Quiet River of Dust, Vol. 1, takes cues from both the latter LP and his work with Arcade Fire, delivering a wildly inventive seven-song set that marries the bucolic Albion folk-rock of Incredible String Band with swirling, worldbeat-infused psych-pop inspired by Japanese folk mythology. It might sound like a lot on paper, but Perry's meandering melodies and mercurial sonic vistas are as compelling as they are progressive, invoking everyone from Peter Gabriel and Yes ("Gentle Pulsing Dust") to Jim O'Rourke and the Flaming Lips ("On the Ground") -- like any good aural smorgasbord, there's a little something for everyone here. Peppered with field recordings of cicadas and driftwood percussion, "Song of the Wood," inspired by a 2008 visit to the forests of Japan while on tour with Arcade Fire, delivers pastoral ambient pop in the vein of Fleet Foxes. "I Was in the World (Was the World in Me)" begins in the same vein but traffics in waves of seismic crescendo that spill over the breakwall into the city streets, evoking Perry's meal ticket band. Released on the Autumn equinox (part two will arrive the following spring), Quiet River of Dust feels like its own celestial event, emitting frequencies both familiar and alien; Eastern philosophy-tinged pagan space folk devoted to gods both old and new.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger