A Name Writ In Water
by The One AM Radio
Level Plane (2004)
A Name Writ In Water, the 2004 release by Hrishikesh Hirway, written and produced under the moniker The One AM Radio, is breathtaking. Hirway’s reposeful prose poetry drifts softly over acoustic guitar and ambient electronics. Violin, singing-saw (both provided by Jane Yakowitz), upright-bass (Paul Findlen), trumpet (Joseph Grimm) and light percussion mingle, dance and swirl in the ethereal architecture as we, the listeners, fall deeper and deeper into the soundscape. Mixed with assistance from Daedelus (Ninja Tune) and mastered by John Tejada (Plug Research) the tracks flow fluidly from beginning to end like a reverie.
8 / 10
Hirway’s introspective, non-intrusive lyrics meander through memories of life, passion and passing. On “Drowsy Haze”, he sings “You raced on up ahead as your silhouette had blocked out the sun / I gave chase, though drowsy haze of those summer days was deep in my lungs.” And on “Witness”, “The city glimmers underneath the fading light / What joy to be a witness, to be alive and with this night / We breathe in the ghosts of loves / Waiting above to be one again dreamt of." Hirway’s bedroom-vocal style and airy lyrical content are a wonderful fit for the instrumentation but at times leave something to be desired, never requiring much thought on the part of the listener.
A Name Writ In Water is a lightly-formulaic, yet altogether elegant album that calls to mind The Notwist’s Neon Golden and The Postal Service’s Give Up, intermingling elements of the organic and synthetic to great success. In light of the national buzz surrounding the previously mentioned albums I’m surprised that The One AM Radio isn’t yet a household name, but then again as Hirway’s A Name Writ In Water title alludes, “Fame, and indeed life, is fleeting.”