Deep Waters, solo project of David Spalvieri-Kruse, was for me, a huge discovery of last year, with his "Never Really Alone / The Stillness" two songs release.
He is back now for a eight track debut album including the two previous songs in very close, maybe just remastered, versions.
No big change of scenario and if you draw a square with Bill Callahan (Smog), Mark Kozelek (Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon), Liz Harris (Grouper) and Duncan Sumpner (Songs of Green Pheasant) at each corner, he is moving around, not at the center but somewhere in the periphery, slowly and progressively pushing the limits.
The album opens an starts with the best track, "Season's fade" where he is exploring new territory. There is as always a strong melancholic melody with vocals at the forefront, the vintage synth is back, but all around he is using beats, reverberated electric piano, a processed electric guitar and different elements of production, giving space and a nice quiet opulence. It is really the best direction for him to explore.
Even if miles away from anything alt-country, there is something in "Dreamin'" which makes me nostalgic of the Scud Mountains Boys album "Massachusetts", a similar softness and smoothness which strangely makes you shiver when at night, a fresh breeze washes the warm summer air away, culminating with the graceful ageless crystalline synth part.
I'm less directly convinced by "In the lake" or "Pine Swayed Stories" because they tip the scales in favor of the vocals which are too prominent there for me and not enough understated.
Nothing to add on the magical pair "Never Really Alone / The Stillness". Next in line, "Sun sets low" displays a sweet laziness, welcome rest at the end of the day, the interaction between the guitar and the electric piano is particularly nice and sustains the whole song. Last track of the album, "Some snowy dream" is also the most vaporous and floating albeit maybe too short to circumvolve a promising glimpse, but such more open structures are an obvious direction to explore for Deep Waters.
This debut album is a good starting point from which to start for David Spalvieri-Kruse and considering his references there is no doubts that he will be pushing the walls instead of adopting formal or conventional songwriting, while always keeping this quietness and feeling of reverence which belongs to the very core of his expression.