On record: BE – One (Rivertone)


Ben Hogwood writes about the first release from an environmentally conscious label.

The first long playing release on Caught By The River’s Rivertones imprint, Be is the simply-titled moniker used by a group of musicians assembled to highlight the importance of the honeybee, their aim to provide a soundtrack for the UK pavilion at Expo 2015. The musicians, headed by Wolfgang Buttress, include the Sigur Rós string section Amiina, Jason Pierce of Spiritualized, Youth and cellist Deirdre Bencsik.

What’s the music like?

Extremely restful. The musicians of Be make their points with great subtlety, using field recordings to aid the imagination of natural sounds as they might be heard by the honey bees themselves.

The Journey, the first extended piece of nearly twenty minutes, begins with the clicking sound of the wren, the chirp of a singing robin and the buzz of the bees. Gradually shimmering strings come into view and a pure chord of C major is established, and then sits suspended in mid-air. The music is deceptive, for although it moves very slowly closer inspection reveals a lot of activity – rather like a beehive.

Bencsik’s cello comes into its own on the following piece Into, given expansive freedom over a soft, consoling piano phrase. Each piece of music is lovingly prepared, but given all the room it needs.

Does it all work?

Yes – this is music for the hazy atmosphere of a sunny early morning, requiring absolutely no effort to enjoy. For background listener it provides an ideal and lasting ambience, while closer inspection reveals the detail of the honeycomb in lovely technicolour. As you might expect from anything headed by Caught By The River, there are some beautiful images in the accompanying booklet, given the love and attention the music deserves.

Is it recommended?

Yes. A set of music that will calm even the most anxious of minds!

Listen on Spotify

You can judge for yourself by hearing the album on Spotify here: