Relatively Clean Rivers - self-titled
you will ever hear." ~Clark Faville
I am so glad to finally release my restoration of this folk-psych masterpiece to the world. While most people "in the know" will agree that this is one of the finest records ever produced, its sheer rarity means that Rivers has too long awaited a proper digital transfer. Though it was made in the mid-1970s, this unique SoCal alt-rural trip has deeply-seated American '60s influences, and with closed eyes the line blurs between listening to music and journeying from the vibrant Pacific coastline to the high California desert. For such an obscurity, this album certainly has everything one could hope for (and more).
Relatively Clean Rivers is so good that I can't believe it took so long for me to hear it; I came upon this rather casually some years back, but even upon initial impressions it cut quite deep. The style has been compared to Neil Young, the Grateful Dead, and even Van Morrison, among others, but really it is because of its own original style that it leaves such a unique impression. The album was carefully assembled, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, where at one moment you'll be listening to a soft acoustic guitar prelude and the next you're thrown into the cacophonic whirlwind of distortion and backwards-recorded effects, finally erupting into a chorus of, "so where have you been today, and what have you done; have you asked for an answer anyone?" The headspace is extraordinary and its ever-changing feel is not choppy and random like some raw, mid-century musique concrète assemblage; rather it is a smoothly-flowing, social and, yes, environmental message which unfortunately resonates more than ever today.
Major thanks to our friend C.F. for his immense help and research. Without him this post certainly would not exist. Also thanks to Psych Trail Mix for his constant encouragement for me to finish this important project.
Finally, thanks to Phil Pearlman for his endorsement to share his music freely here!
|Original front cover artwork, created by famed artist Jim Evans a.k.a. T.A.Z.
|Rear cover of Relatively Clean Rivers, including a telling Pearlman poem|
|And the award for least effective advertising slogan ever goes to...|
|Replica of the "Apocalypse" sticker using the album's characteristic Windsor typeface|
|Phil Pearlman's original "no words" gatefold design with a plain photo from his garden|
|Scenery from the Phil Pearlman goat farm|
|Original Relatively Clean Rivers paper insert, with Pearlman's dark photo on the right|
|Phil Pearlman's reclusive Eden|
|The final gatefold design for Rivers, including all of the album's lyrical content|
One reason is apparently the fear that some record dealer might buy up all copies of a new reissue and bring the price from something cheap and reasonable to something equally exorbitant, which could not be prevented; this surely has occurred in the past, but if I were in the drivers' seat, I would say, "great! Sell them all, then I'll call up the pressing plant and order another run, and this time we'll sell them for one dollar cheaper than before." Clearly, the bootleggers are having no such problem.
|Philip Pearlman / Gadahn in 2007|
|Phil Pearlman / Seth Gadahn in his private backcountry oasis, circa 2007|