Marc Gartman / Rivulets

Rivulets/Marc Gartman

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This Tract Records split is pretty typical of both artists' work, with Rivulets mastermind Nathan Amundson focusing on his stark, evocative thoughtscapes ("I was thinking of you in Painted Canyon...") and Gartman using his piano as a backdrop for warmer yet no less personal storytelling. Fans of Rivulets' Debridement will recognize "Cutter," which appears here in two new versions. "II" features ex-Swans vocalist Jarboe, while "IiI" is a gently echoing remix via Aarktica, aka Jon DeRosa and Aaron Spectre. "Keep You from Harm" is a gorgeous, placid acoustic ballad with comforting backing vocals from frequent Rivulets guest Jessica Bailiff, while "Wind Is Howling" goes darker, employing a subtle spaghetti Western guitar figure, the faraway trickle of water, and the rising and falling drone of a traditional instrument. You can just make out the buzzards circling on the horizon. Gartman's portion of this self-titled split release never gets that chilly. His voice is different, for one thing. Whereas Rivulets can shift the mood from comfy melancholy to murderous gloom with a simple change of inflection, Gartman's tone is more direct, with forlornness as a constant. "Hats and Wools" -- as in "box of" -- finds him musing over an old flame's mixtapes and love letters, still buried in a closet at his parents' house. "I wish I was home/Or right near a phone/I'd have my mom read me one now." "Roswell" is a swaying instrumental led by Gartman's piano and lap steel and featuring the understated drumming of Mike Pride, while a tribute to a certain mournful Canadian warns about love breaking hearts. Overall, it's a strong split release, of particular interest to Red House Painters and Palace fans.

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