This just in, naming yourself after a well-known local landmark may be a cheatcode for getting people to check out your experimental electronic project. You’d have to ask Buffalo-Brooklyn ambient duo, the niagara river if that’s a legit strategy. The two musicians, James Lotterer (Auxcab, Cylo) and Jesse James (Jesse & the Spirit, Dolly Sods) share the name James, as well as an aptitude for creating standout, off-beat electronic music, both in different capacities. Check out our review for Jesse & the Spirit, to get to know the related project’s sound.

The niagara river’s recent release, complain to the creators, is a two-song EP that starts with the sprawling, over 17-minute track, “did she exist?” In the first part, a chiming sound that sounds like a reversed piano note acts as the track’s foundation. A cycling key melody and contemplative bell-like synth part creep overtop. At the three-minute mark, a foggy ambient synth layer floats within the intricacies. It’s a dramatic transition point into fluidity, making it feel like the song’s stable foundation is drifting off into oblivion. Later on, a bassy synth line plucks away with a rubbery sound, taking over as the track’s foundation while airy synths continue to swirl around the listener’s head. The song excels in this constant cycle of wispy melodies, each entertaining for a portion of the track before fading into the niagara river’s musical ether. The longing nine-minute mark introduces the song’s first use of percussion, a spare boomy pixelated bass drum. In the track’s final moments the reverse piano effect brings things full circle.

It’s a transportive song that makes time fly despite its long runtime. One might find themselves emerging from the track full of emotion, both surprised it’s already over and gasping for fresh air like a new sense of reality just hit them. 

The following track, “im sure you wouldn’t” features icy synth tones, whirring distorted effects and a dark bass line that crawls in the background. The different sounds combine for an echoey ambient atmosphere. In comparison to the first track, this song’s fast-moving composition blows through its listeners like a strong wind howling through a cavern. With their second prosperous collaboration under their belt, this duo continues to make some of the best electronic music on either side of the river they’re named after.

Start and end all your days this week with this meditative release on Bandcamp (below), Spotify, or Apple Music.

Also, check out our recent interview with the niagara river in which they respond to questions about complain to the creators.

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