The Widest Smiling Faces – Rituals

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Track List

1 - Green (For Piet)
2 - When We Were Perfect
3 - Beach
4 - Water Underneath
5 - Strange Animals
6 - Sponge

The Widest Smiling Faces - Rituals

Rituals sees a shift to electric guitars and perhaps more solid colors. Less imagery wrapped around the brown and gold of acoustic and more pictures coming from within the strings. Because acoustics so often seem to sound like just acoustics (not always, I do use an acoustic on this EP and I think it works quite well, you can really smell it), while electrics can sound more like pure colors and images. Also, indie electrics can sound so soft, while acoustics tend towards hardness, and I greatly enjoy eating soft foods, and for the same reason enjoy soft music (not soft as in "light" or" "weak", but soft as in the texture).

The recording is a little bit different perhaps, somewhat clearer? It's really not about the melodies, it's about the images (sometimes smells), "I suppose if you can't see or feel the images or smells you can hopefully enjoy the melodies." says Aviv.

The album starts on land, moves to the sky, down to the beach, into the sewers and bedrooms and bathroom floors and back to the ocean.

"I seem to write about the water a lot but it's not my fault, I was born near there. Just to sit like a sponge in my room at the bottom. This is also my first release composed as a unit, rather than being a collection of recordings from various periods as my debut album was. I hope you like it."

REVIEWS

Gezeitenstrom / André

Wonderful Sounds invite you to dream

As the temperature outside slowly drops it's not wrong to dream about the summer again. From these dreams come wonderful sounds from the band The Widest Smiling Faces and Aviv Cohn, a young and talented musician from NY.

Aviv Cohn invites all of us for daydreaming about dancing butterflies under drifting clouds in the style of the British July Skies with his new EP "Rituals". In 2009, Aviv published his debut album, which was actually a compilation of all of his singles published up to that point.

With nods to shoegaze and distinctive arrangements in lo-fi, "Rituals" is a real pleasure to listen to. The gently tinged singing is seamlessly integrated for absolutely first-class imagery. It is different from the previous album which had more acoustic songs and the New Yorker has preferred now to use more electronic sounds. The song "Sponge" has particularly impressed me with its strong feelings and emotions. Aviv marked the EP with his own words: "The recording is a little bit different perhaps, somewhat clearer? It's really not about the melodies, it's about the images” I entirely agree with this statement. "Rituals" is showcase piece from a young and talented musician. For anyone who likes daydreaming and needs a soundtrack to accompany it , "Rituals" is highly recommended. It's got some good warmth for those who need it these days.

Sirens Sound

The Widest Smiling Faces is one artist that truly baffles me to bits, it’s more of a mind boggling listen that keeps you wondering how on earth did lo-fi tunes end up so beautiful and charming. And by charming sound I mean so inspiring that you can’t even concentrate on the sound as your mind ponders in all directions. What’s even trickier is that you’ll find yourself one step closer to the sound on each and every listen.

Rituals is an EP I’ve heard over 15 times since the release date and every time I played Rituals, let it be lonely during dark hours through a big headphone or channeled via a complete stereo sound system with a few of my friends, either way I’m tending to grasp the entire concept of lo-fi deeply as the excessively tender or overindulgent tunes express beauty through ambiguity.

This six track EP holds an absolute vagueness cherished with strong words and unreasoning feeling that nourishes and conveys an array of emotions from its root. In the end you’ll come to understand that [ Rituals EP ] is “not an attempt to capture” but it’s literally capturing visuals through sound and seizing emotions that can take you back to your childhood memories.

The best way to listen to Rituals is laying down at night on top of a roof while gazing at the starry skies and allowing the subtle sound to slowly invoke the tiniest beauty that hide beneath the surface of the bigger picture. PHENOMENAL."

Beach Sloth

If vulnerability ever needs a soundtrack, The Widest Smiling Faces should suffice. ‘Rituals’ is a whispered from far away. Aviv never raises his voice, not once. This works to his benefit. By keeping the whole thing at a hushed whisper, he’s able to basically tug at the heartstrings. The Widest Smiling Faces is a tender, touching work, dealing with the morbid curiosity of childhood.

Maybe it is Aviv’s voice, but the vocal style is reminiscent of a morbid child. It is hard to completely explain. Even the instrumentation behind these songs is sparse. Nothing is particularly ornate. Yes, the work is informed heavily by post-rock (you can hear Explosions in the Sky influencing the opener ‘Green (for Piet)’ and the dreamy, mellow closer ‘Sponge’.

Benoit Pioulard would be another close comparison. Unlike Benoit’s work though, The Widest Smiling Faces isn’t particularly experimental. Instead, the music benefits from Aviv’s straightforward approach to songwriting. The best two songs are the simplest in execution: ‘Water Underneath’ which is tragically beautiful and ‘Strange Animals’. ‘Strange Animals’ is as low-key as a song can possibly get. This is probably what so many Emo artists tried doing years ago and failed. Everything is so simple and low-volume’ the vocals whisper and mumble, the guitar goes at the pace of molasses. It is the most touching piece on the whole EP.

‘Rituals’ is a delightfully low-key affair. The Widest Smiling Faces seems to be a strange name for the group, especially with the tragic mood going on in most of the pieces. This reflects the hope after sadness, the release after crying.

Caleidoscoop / Jan Willem Broek

I have already written about American label Fluttery Receords and their post-rock catalog with the artists all over the world while I was reviewing Mooncake. In addition, they often release different kinds of music, mostly from experimental. And sometimes it is a mix of everything. An entirely unique way, that is the case with the New York, The Widest Smiling Faces, the solo project of Aviv Cohn. At its eponymous debut in 2009, he still brings an extrovert combination of shoegaze, noise, experimental music and post-rock. Now there is the mini CD Rituals , which he strikes a very different way. You can still hear the patchy aforementioned genres back in six tracks, but the pace is down, the intensity is gone, and the vocals are intimate. The music leaves more to the imagination of the listener. But the overall sound tends more towards cross-fertilization of an introverted singer-songwriter music, lo-fi, folk, rustic post-rock, dub and ambient guitar. This is also great. He overwhelms this not by volume but by energetic, attractive and mostly melancholic songs with fragile vocals. It is a kind of subtle emotion bombs, deep under the skin crawls. To get an idea listen to it, this also falls somewhere between The Declining Winter, Jessica Bailiff, Yonlu, His Name Is Alive and Mazzy Star. Big by staying small and therefore very pleasing gem.

FLTTRY024
Release Date:  September 20, 2011
© Fluttery Records

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