alternative Avant Garde choir Experimental jazz rock Modern Jazz percussion review singer songwriter synth

Charlotte Greve, Wood River and Cantus Domus – Sediments We Move Review

One of the most daring and expressive albums of 2021.

Sounds like…

Watching Planet Earth from the view of a tiny speck of sand and being totally wowed at every movement.

The review

‘Sediments We Move’ is unlike any other album I’ve come across in years. It is wildly expressive, turbulent and tidal as surge after surge of jazzy ambience, cinematic singer-songwriter rock and a bombastic choir all collide. Charlotte Greve, the mad genius behind the album has created one of the most enigmatic albums of 2021. I’m not sure I can quite capture it in words but here goes!

Charlotte Greve (who also works with her folk band Wood River too) created the album to run in seven parts. Six of those are named purely in numerical form with an ‘Interlude’ halfway through. This is largely because the album is designed like a symphonic suite but instead of an orchestra, its drums, guitars, brass and Cantus Domus – a very dramatic choir! What follows is 52 minutes of increasingly chaotic purging of tides of music pouring in and out.

‘Part I’ brings in a lot of the album’s elements as a ceremonial entrance. Cantus Domus purr and coo over organs and bubbling synths and effects as the scene is set. It isn’t until ‘Part II’ kicks off with big drums and Charlotte Greve singing and they start to interplay with the choir and electric guitar and saxophone solos that you get the scale of the music. There isn’t a verse/chorus song structure anywhere in the album. Instead, motifs, vocal callbacks and the intricacy of each instrument intensify and diminish over time. Then you’ll have an explosion of handclaps and choral cries before drums smash in and suave electric guitars break out. ‘Part III’ moves the kaleidoscope towards something more hypnotic with synths cascading down like a river over the bombastic percussion and mazes of guitar picks. Everything else joins in only to climax in a two-minute frenzied whisper swarm.

Elsewhere the ‘Interlude’ is actually a six-minute mushroom trip dream sequence of 70’s high octave guitars and saxophones over dreamy synths. Of course, there’s a giant power rock moment before you get there because Charlotte Greve cannot sit still for 30 seconds and I’m here for it.

photo of Charlotte Greve
Charlotte Greve

Post interlude, the final three tracks kick off with the Cantus Domus led ‘Part IV’ that shifts from serene beauty to something quite ominous that gains malevolence. This is amplified by the drummer having a massive seizure on all the drums in the background really, really quietly and some white noise vocals. This pent up drama explodes in the cathartic release of ‘Part V’. It is seven minutes of ascending up the jazz ladder into hedonism. The way the track shifts momentum between the band and the choir and then joins forces for a royal rumble is inspired and oddly moving. It feels so big and overwhelming as the chord progression (throughout the album) has a curiosity to it. You never fully land on a ta-daaaa finale – it feels like you’re going to be spat through a warp hole of sound at a moments notice and it gives you a background unease. ‘Part VI’ does shift the tone to something more steadfast for the albums’ finale. Here the power of Charlotte Greve, Wood River and Cantus Domus switch to moments of pure clarity. Then just like that, the track disperses into a sumptuous relaxing outro. I’m left knackered but totally satisfied.

‘Sediments We Move’ is not an album for the faint hearted. It is a truly uncompromising work of art. That is also why it deserves total praise and applause for creating a unique, bombastic vision and sticking with it. Emotive, affecting and a truly unique way to rock your world, it wasn’t just sediment that was moved – I was too.

Recommended track: Part V

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Charlotte Greve, Wood River and Cantus Domus - Sediments We Move



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