Rising is a wonderful album in every sense of the word, a unique and jovial experience that is elegantly engaging and thoughtfully unobtrusive.
House of Waters shelters many unique sounds inside its four opulent walls, well adorned, and yet, as unceremonious as a subtle reprieve. The ebb and flow of Rising ushers a melodious undercurrent of six-string bass that pins the listener while the gentle dulcimer laps the soundstage. Thoughtful percussion patterns that wax and wane from light prog to full on jazz supplement the harmony produced in this triad of aural offerings.
It’s a lot to take in, while rarely feeling as such. There is an open air to the sound design that flirts with embellishments that are vibrantly full of life. It feels beautifully unobtrusive without being rendered disengaging. Founder Max ZT describes the approach as ‘the ides of many different streams coming together in one place’, and this is wholly apparent within the lead track, “Kites”.
At a lengthy eight minutes, it’s able to illustrate many of the ideals the band encompasses, and does a fantastic job of exploring the possibilities that the instrument line up can offer. The exotic, folky lead melodies; the variable momentum driving the low end; and the enigmatic signature that flows through each movement – it’s a wonder to behold, grasping at awe effortlessly. The vibrancy of each element cascades into the deep well of notes produced, tenderly tugging at the listeners attention just enough for a playful consideration.
There is an amiable attitude the musicians display that permeates the music in an equally earnest way. The group plays off each other lightly, and each have their shining moments devoid of ostentation. Much of this, and the aforementioned open-air presence, come from the spectacularly wide soundstage. The hammered dulcimer offers a plethora of room for the bass to simply breathe, and both are able to push the melodic lines forward in a complementary way.
What’s most impressive, is that this bottled magic is used as a foundation, rather than the main showstopper. The trio does an incredible job at consistently introducing new ideas and playing with this combination in exciting, enjoyable ways. From the jovial bounce of “When I Play”, to the near humorous spooky edge of “Midnight”, and the endearing “Together” that begs you to grasp for your partner’s hand beyond that, each song is memorable without leaning too hard on a trope or theme.
Music that is as wonderfully engaging and notably unique as this only surfaces once in a long while, even in a musical landscape where there are arguably dozens of smaller acts picking away at these pre-established boundaries. House of Waters have something special in their chemistry and overall direction, a spark that paints the corners of each track on Rising. I was never bored during my time with the record, and look back fondly at every distinct moment during my time with it. What more could you ask for from your music?