Oberlin – Writing on Water


[Reviewed by Peter Marks]

Tranquility can sometimes be hard to find in this world of ours, the need to stay connected tends to undo even the most valiant of us. So often I get irritated by the mundanity I encounter with the public; in many jobs I’ve worked there’s a definite rote feel to things, a routine which does not seem to change much as the years pass. Even though repetition tries to drag the best of our species down, the truly inspired can look at it and brilliantly turn that ceaseless state of affair on it’s head.

The title of this album was not chosen out of fancy or contrivance.

Perhaps you’ve tried writing on water yourself, I know I certainly have throughout my life and the result never changes: one’s text only lasts as long as the stroke of the brush or finger. After that it is as though what you put down never existed, if anyone around was even attuned enough to notice what you’d done they forgot it just as quickly. In short, this private activity has been chronicled by Oberlin. His gentle drones wash across the mind’s eye and then disappear leaving behind only scant recollections of their existence. When the day has ended and you find the skies beginning to turn you will hear his music again, gently pulling on your hand to lead you back into mystery.

Many are the thoughts I have when I’m listening to such beautiful compositions; blades of grass shimmering in the early morning mist, wind whispering through the stripped and shorn branches of trees and rain washed streets gritting their teeth under the unremitting cavalcade of commuters.

‘Writing on Water’ is a celebration of quiet times, it has no agenda to push nor does what it contains seem to want anything more than to be left alone. Pursuits of vanity, flights of fancy, that ephemeral praise from faceless names… these are not what matter in life. Wealth, power and privilege cannot subvert what’s being put on offer with a record such as this. For a lot of us, the attachment to those trappings has just become a trap; a cycle which is perpetuated further and further not by need or necessity but out of envy and greed.

In a world where so much is controlled by so few tracks like these demonstrate the resiliency of imagination. The longest piece on here is entitled “Paperback” whilst the CD version contains an extra entry named “A New Scarf”. Time to unplug.

OberlinWriting on Water
Thirsty Leaves Music, TLM008
CD/Digital 2016

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