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Robert Jürjendal — Vesi Leiab Tee / Water Finds a Way
(Bandcamp New Dog ND12, 2021, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2022-12-03

Vesi Leiab Tee / Water Finds a Way Cover art

On Water Finds a Way, Estonian guitarist and composer Robert Jürjendal presents 14 relatively concise tracks of delicate music arranged for various guitars, piano, cello, vocals, and sparse percussion. The composer himself contributes electric guitar, U8 touch guitar, 12-string guitar, and guitar synth, and he’s joined by Signe Jürjendal (vocals), Anti Jürjendal (cello), and Miguel Noya (piano). The vocals are wordless and so integrated into the overall sound that they’re hardly recognizable as such. One description that would be appropriate, if perhaps dated enough to be unhelpful, is to say that the music is a modern extrapolation of the classic Windham Hill sound of the 80s — gentle, beautiful music more oriented towards atmosphere than energy. It’s got more movement than ambient music, but is not the kind of thing to grab attention. You’ll occasionally hear an almost Frippian lead line on the electric guitar (or touch guitar), but it’s low enough in the mix that it’s not in your face or aggressive at all. The gauzy mood fuels contemplative reverie, and the denseness of the backing atmosphere prevents the beauty from being overly precious or simplistic. A few tracks, like “Come Back Free” and “Before and Now,” feature a little more movement, inviting a touch of polyphonic interplay. In spite of the modern technological nature of the music, there is an underlying love of European Classical music (say Bach through Beethoven) that shines through, tinged with a bit of Satie’s knack for evocative simplicity. With this release, Jürjendal shows us a side of his artistry that is more laid-back and less rock-oriented than we’ve heard before, but it’s no less worthy of attention.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Robert Jürjendal

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