New York ambient two-piece Brave the Waters will issue their debut EP, Chapter 1 – Dawn of Days, on May 12. A digital self-release, its core this-is-a-beginning thematic as indicated by the title is somewhat less apparent in the six tracks of the offering itself. No doubt for Rick Habeeb (guitar) and Tom Anderer (acoustic guitar and bass) it’s a major stylistic jump — the two are bandmates in the grinding Buckshot Facelift and progressive death metallers Grey Skies Fallen — but the fluidity of atmosphere they enact over the course of Chapter 1 – Dawn of Days could just as easily be the fifth chapter as the first, as it benefits from Habeeb and Anderer‘s knowledge of how the other plays, even if it’s doing so in a different context from how they’ve ever played before.
Much to their credit, Brave the Waters are not trying to reinvent the soundscape their first time out. Chapter 1 – Dawn of Days is an unpretentious 22 minutes that wears its exploratory feel on its sleeve. Most of the material was at least to some degree improvised, and that spirit of immediacy, of the song happening right now feeds into the immersive effect on the listener. Instrumental for its brief duration an without percussion, Chapter 1 – Dawn of Days is hardly still. Anderer and Habeeb weave guitar lines and ambient backing swirls around and through each other so that from opener “The New King” down through the passing wisps of melody in “At the Old Stone Bridge,” the progress is so smooth as to be alluring no matter how minimal it gets. And ambience is never far. Marked out by its acoustic foundation, the penultimate “Setting up Camp” reminds of Lamp of the Universe‘s cosmic meditations and Pelican‘s rural escapism (a similar idea with a different musical translation), a particularly memorable melody in “Journey through Highwood Forest” having tapped emotional and sonic resonance just one track earlier.
“Interesting Times” carries the foreboding of the proverb in its atmosphere, but the brightness of “Voice of the Ancient Oak,” with its interplay of acoustic, electric and effects-laden guitar, is enough to counteract just about any lingering worry. Composed, according to the duo, in about half an hour, and expressed completely in three minutes, it’s emblematic of the efficiency with which Chapter 1 – Dawn of Days is able to conjure its atmospheres, and still holds firm to the human sensibility at the core of the project — two friends getting together and trying something new instrumentally that’s soaked in reverb and giving a brief look at a vast sonic horizon. Their plan is for yearly releases. With the ground they establish here as a foundation, I do not imagine they’d have any trouble hitting that mark.
Please find Brave the Waters‘ “Voice of the Ancient Oak” on the player below, and enjoy:
Producing a mesmerizing, ethereal brew of beautiful, instrumental movements, far removed from the tumultuous sounds of the extreme output of their other musical creations, BRAVE THE WATERS came together when Grey Skies Fallen and Buckshot Facelift bandmates Tom Anderer (bass guitar, acoustic guitar) and Rick Habeeb (guitar) decided to write and record some instrumentals in a stripped-down fashion. Improvisation and spontaneity were important aspects going in, and while bits and pieces of music were composed prior to entering Keith Moore’s since burned-down Audio Playground Studio, the vast majority of what appears on the band’s six-song debut EP, Chapter 1 – Dawn of Days, was written and recorded on the spot.
Containing six tracks of ambient guitar and bass that you will find very different from the duo’s main bands, BRAVE THE WATERS’ Chapter 1 – Dawn of Days sees pounding drums, intense death metal vocals, and immense guitar distortion completely abandoned, and here replaced with clean guitars, melodic bass lines, and a healthy dose of Strymon’s amazing Big Sky reverberator. Just in time for the Winter’s thaw, these winding passages inspire visions of lush nature and rebirth. Reminiscent of several styles at once, yet emerging as its own being, Chapter 1 – Dawn of Days is an immediately comforting, almost familiar release.
BRAVE THE WATERS will release Chapter 1 – Dawn of Days independently through Bandcamp on May 12th, the EP bearing cover art by Travis Smith (Death, Opeth, King Diamond).