Riverrun is the ambient project of Daniel Land. Lilliput is an epically ambitious project that is 50 hours in length. Each CD contains a 60-minute snippet of the 50-hour grand project while the digital download is a 57-minute standard release that is not unique to each download. My commentary on the track references the 57-minute standard piece since that is what I currently have on hand while I wait anxiously for my CD copy to come. The scope of this project is enormous and the aural soundscape vast and spacious. The track is, of course, entitled “Lilliput”, a reference to the island nation in Gulliver’s Travels or, perhaps, a district of Poole, Dorset in the UK.
“Lilliput” is an ethereal dreamscape full of wonderful surprises that really perk up one’s attention. Birds chirp in the background at times while other, nondescript organic sounds make appearances here and there. Flittering noises, like the edges of paper being flicked or rubbing against a rough surface make appearances. There is a constant static, like the sound a needle makes on a record. Synths ring out elongated melodies as they appear floating around the long, beautiful core drone. There is weather in this dreamscape as well. Synths forge wind sounds while the sound of rain, or faux rain, it’s hard to tell, beats on a surface. As the track moves on and one becomes immersed in the sound-world, ghost begin to move about the space, flittering and floaty. For me, it becomes populated, with the ethereal personalities of those gone before. They cry out and moan and, if one’s imagination is allowed to run wild, you can hear voices in the distance.
Bass tones sometimes play deep, abiding notes amid unnerving sounds and droney moans. If there is a crescendo type moment in this track, it begins to build around 36 minutes in, as the synths swell and rise into the aural atmosphere. Of course, in such a long piece, the crescendo is hardly a period, a punctuation mark that suddenly appears. It’s a moment, a time in which the aural current rises and may, once again, fall. As this one does, it gives way to a slight rumble and the sound of whales calling in the distance. Then there is a sci-fi moment as synth tones evoke space and the ungraspable nature of time. As the piece moves towards its close, it threatens to burst into something with more form as guitar comes up in the mix, but it never fully emerges in that form. It’s a beautiful moment that, once again, moves the listener to slight attention, but never so much as to shock one out of the blissful trance Land’s magic casts.
Daniel Land, as his project Riverrun, has once again produced an ambient masterpiece. Slow and patient, “Lilliput” lulls the listener into it’s magical aural space and takes them on a decidedly fantastical journey. Hypnotic yet evocative, the soundscapes here are populated and dense, giving the listener plenty to pay attention to while also driving along the river of sound. If I could, I would order all 50 CDs and treat myself to a 50 hour listening party. Get a copy while they last. Lilliput comes out on February 16th.