Whitewater - Universal Medium,
Whitewater was formed in 2013 by Stuart Stephens and Paul Powell. Stuart is singer, guitarist and keyboards player, while Paul handles a complex range of percussion as well as drum programming. Stuart has been an avid progressive rock fan for as long as he can remember, and states that he formed Whitewater to combine the sounds of classic prog bands like Pink Floyd and Supertramp with a more contemporary ambient aesthetic more akin to Orbital or The Future Sound of London. They aim to combine traditional prog influences and the ambient sensibilities of more modern acts, a spirit of experimentation with a distinctive signature musical landscape. This is their third album, where they collaborate with fellow BEM alumnus Mike Kershaw who co-wrote and sang on two songs.
Overall the album is more relaxed and quiet than what I would normally listen to, but there is a definite feeling of direction, and that there is far more substance than just some ambient meanderings. There were times when I found myself thinking more of Tangerine Dream than a modern outfit, but with keyboard sounds that far more up to date, often with a tripping sensibility that can be best described as being a very laid-back Ozric Tentacles. The production is very strong indeed, and there is a real sense of space and silence being used as an additional instrument. There is so many gaps between the layers of the arrangements that one could almost walk straight through the cords binding it all together without touching a thread.
It feels quite simplistic and repetitive at times, but that is just part of the overall plan to drag the listener in, with stark electronic keyboards against a very warm bass. In many ways, this is the perfect end to a long day with a glass of your favourite spirit close to hand.