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Album Review

Andrea Ward – ‘Ribbon of Water’ [EP] [Album Review]

Framing drums, emphasized by suspended rhythmic pulses, and the ghostlike vocals of Andrea Ward make ‘Ribbon of Water’ sui generis.

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Artwork for the EP ‘Ribbon of Water’ by Andrea Ward

Twenty years after the publication of Daniel Pinchbeck’s brilliant book, Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism, narrating his exploration of mind-expanding psychedelics, multi-instrumentalist, musician, dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker Andrea Ward recently released her EP, Ribbon of Water.

Similar to Pinchbeck, Ward probes the psychotomimetic properties of water.

Speaking about the EP, Ward shares:

“The album is influenced by water, and water is the ultimate guide for letting go, for yielding to forces beyond our control. I developed injuries this year and came to a point where my body broke down from anything, and my voice as well. Unable to do a lot of things and unable to speak, I was forced to relinquish control of life, and just flow.

“One song on the album is ‘Visiting Rooms,’ inspired by Alzheimer’s which runs in the family. It’s just about visiting the different rooms of consciousness, and of life, as if we’re all walking each other through experiences that slowly teach us to let go, which is what we’ll have to do completely in the end. And each experience leaves a mark on us, mentally, and physically, and I can look at a person and see the way that life has beaten them up, has shaped them.

“It’s made me proud of my broken-ness in a way. It makes life’s endeavors all the more meaningful when we’re dealing with limitations. When I think of life as something that’s slowly devouring me, slipping me away, it makes me want to give myself to life all the more.”

Almost impossible to pigeonhole, Ward’s sound merges elements of jazz, Icelandic pop, Norwegian rock, experimental, alt-pop, permanent wave, and avant-garde aftertastes, along with varying levels of percussive intensity, into what might be described as shamanic music. Although even that description is deficient.

Entry points on Ribbon of Water encompass “Awake at Night,” traveling on soft, chiming colors atop a drifting bassline. Sporadic percussive accents give the tune edgy, rolling, rumbling nuances as Ward’s ethereal, Medusa-like vocals imbue the lyrics with sacred savors.

Simultaneously esoteric and permeated with hints of gloom, “Everything That Moves” reveals three distinct leitmotifs: drums, bass, and Ward’s brooding, dreamy vocals. Whereas “Visiting Rooms” glides on delicate coloration infused with whispery shadows as Ward’s sighing tones reflect a rictus of desperation.

Framing drums, emphasized by suspended rhythmic pulses, and the ghostlike vocals of Andrea Ward make Ribbon of Water sui generis.

Ribbon of Water Track Listing:

1. Game
2. Awake at Night
3. Algorithm
4. Everything That Moves
5. Visiting Room
6. Get Down and Swim

Run Time: 20:50
Release Date: February 3, 2023
Record Label: Independent

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