Released: January 20, 2023
- Mariusz Duda: vocals, basses, electric and acoustic guitars
- Piotr Kozieradzki: drums
- Michał Łapaj: keyboards and synthesizers, Rhodes piano and Hammond organ
- Maciej Meller: electric guitars
- Friend or Foe?
- Landmine Blast
- Big Tech Brother
- The Place Where I Belong
- I’m Done With You
- Age of Anger
- Together Again
- Friend or Foe? (single edit)
- Self-Aware (single edit)
Algorithms. Influencers and Curated Lives. How to Change Your Life in Ten Words or Less. Memes. Monetization. Tracking. Filters and Avatars. Targeted Ads. Conspiracies. Expectations versus reality. Who is real and who is not? How much control over our lives do we really have?
With ID.Entity, Riverside’s 8th album, Mariusz Duda and his bandmates explore these themes: negotiating virtual realities, hanging on to one’s identity and self, fighting the ubiquitous and implacable presence of the data collectors and algorithms that tell us what we should want, trying to deal with the polarization and angry echo chambers of the online world.
We get some hints from the outset that things are different: the cover is by Polish artist Jarek Kubicki and it thrums with life. This is not the dark, sombre palette of the covers of most of the previous albums. Bright, fragmented shards of colour fly out against a stark white background; we can glimpse shadowy figures in the background. Does this new vision reflect what is inside? Continue reading Riverside: ID.Entity →
I discussed in Part 1 why I didn’t get to a lot of music this year; no point in going over it all again. My head was just not in a listening (as opposed to hearing) space for most of 2020. At any rate, my album list is very short, eight albums in total, and one of those isn’t even from 2020 (despite the title). Of course I heard way more than these albums, but they didn’t make enough of an impact to get included here. Might have been different, in a different year.
Except for the first one, the Album of the Year (because it is such a clear winner), I haven’t ranked/rated the rest except in terms of repeat plays, but they are all albums I play relatively frequently.
Continue reading The Albums of 2020 →
Released September 28, 2018
- Mariusz Duda: vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, piccolo bass, banjo, guitar solo on “Lament” and “Wasteland”
- Piotr Kozieradzki: drums
- Michał Łapaj: keyboards and synthesizers, rhodes piano and hammond organ, theremin on “Wasteland”
- Maciej Meller: guitar solo on “Acid Rain – Part 2: Dancing Ghosts”, “Guardian Angel”, “The Struggle for Survival Part II – Battle Royale’” and “River Down Below”
- Michał Jelonek – violin on “The Day After”, “Lament” and “Wasteland”
- Mateusz Owczarek – guitar solo on “Vale of Tears”
- The Day After
- Acid Rain: Part I – Where are we now?; Part II – Dancing Ghosts
- Vale of Tears
- Guardian Angel
- Struggle for Survival: Part I – Dystopia; Part II – Battle Royale
- River Down Below
- The Night Before
If you have been reading reviews for Wasteland, you already know how they tend to start, so I will not repeat all that. In summary: Wasteland is probably the most fraught album in Riverside’s career, awaited with enormous anticipation, apprehension, trepidation…and so on. As fans, we all know why.
The big question is: Did the decision to continue as a trio, with no permanent replacement for the beloved Piotr Grudziński, actually work? Did they pull it off? The responses have ranged from enthusiastic “absolutely!”s to carefully worded versions of “nope”, and everything in between. The only thing we knew for sure about Wasteland was that it wasn’t going to be the same as the previous albums, but Mariusz Duda always says that. I did have a hint of the sound to come, hearing something early in the spring albeit in an unfinished form, and I liked it very much; but auditory memory being what it is (bad), I wasn’t willing to bet the farm on that few minutes of a demo heard once.
Three singles were released in the weeks before the album hit. Promotion, marketing – it is an understandable practice, but it is fair to say that for the most part, these songs caused more consternation than relief among the fanbase. I was certainly among those consternated. The first, “Vale of Tears”, despite some interesting moments, came across as a rather cliché poppy mashup of … well, everything. What on earth was that all about? There was a gradual improvement with the next two such that by the time “Lament” appeared, folks had gotten their hopes up again…but still, doubt had been sown.
Then Wasteland arrived. And all my doubts were vaporized. Well, after about the third listen…but gone. Continue reading Riverside: Wasteland →