It’s been a busy year! Our audience has increased hugely – the YouTube channel now has over 12,000 Subscribers and total video views currently stands at 1.5 million! Amongst the growth though with some help from friends and family I’ve been in touch with more artists to bring you another free summer mixtape and here it is.
It’s not as long as last years, at just 11 tracks but I’d rather deliver a shorter mixtape of top quality music than fill it with anything I could get permission for!
Like last years mixtape I hope you are introduced to new artists through this compilation. I’ve come to know some of these artists really well whilst putting this together and by speaking to them throughout the year and I can honestly say there are some great people featured on this album who truly worship Christ with everything that they have to give. So, check out the poster that’s included and get in touch with the artists’ through Facebook and Twitter etc. and tell them how much you appreciate their music, knowing these guys most of them will probably even find the time to reply to you! (Then go download the rest of their work!)
Be encouraged by their music, share it with friends not just because you secretly hope they’ll become Christians through it but because it’s simply a collection of great music! Enjoy the diverse mix of genres, the different ways that people praise God and the different stories people have to tell.
My prayer this year is for this mixtape to spread further than before, to reach Christians throughout the world who need encouraging, Christians who wish there was great music for a great God, Christians who need a new song to sing and soundtrack to dance to.
A huge thanks to all the artists involved, for supporting the blog and the work I do and wanting to be part of this small but influential mixtape.
And finally thanks to you the listener for the continued support to both the blog and the artists we feature, whether it’s simply by liking a link on Facebook, sharing the blog with friends or donating money so that we can give more copies of the mixtape away. Thank you for making this possible.
Having started as a solo project by Manchester native Jonathan Ogden (lead vocals and keyboard), Rivers & Robots has since gained three more members, David Hailes (guitar and ukelele), Nathan Stirling (bass, guitar and percussion) and Kelani Koyejo (drums) as of 2012 and are now releasing their first album as a four-piece group.
With a firm foundation of two strong solo albums – The Great Light (2011) and Take Everything (2012) – the expectations were high with their latest release All Things New and I can confidently say that they have met all of them and even exceeded these expectations in many places. When I first heard Rivers & Robots two years ago, what drew me to Jonathan’s music was the originality in the style and specifically the way he structured his songs. Regardless of what the rest of the worship scene was doing he always produced what he felt God had put on his heart and it always paid off. Pleasantly, with this album that remains just as true, and as a group they haven’t bowed to the pressure of writing simple songs that churches can sing all around the world but sing their own song, in their own style and it sits in stark contrast to the sound of contemporary worship music.
Starting as they mean to go on, the album opens with the chilled anthem ‘We Have Overcome’, beginning with just claps and acoustic guitar it screams organic indie worship without ever feeling forced or copied. Although it doesn’t give much description, the best adjective seems to be that it simple sounds very British – influences of bands such as Bombay Bicycle Club, Coldplay and Bloc Party reach you much quicker than any Christian music influence does and it’s incredibly refreshing!
Jumping in to the upbeat ‘Perfect Love’ followed by the charming ‘White As Snow’, it’s clear that one of Rivers & Robots values is quality, thoughtful lyrical content which firmly sticks to a specific theme.With each track they uniquely hold on to their indie roots whilst fully embracing the heart of worship music. Comparing the album to their past work, the production has also stepped up a notch, they may not be professionals but the quality of their music could stand alongside any major worship group and still shine.
On the topic of production the particular stand out track is the electronic/sample based ‘Fall Down’. Luscious ambient vibes are littered with interesting sounds like guitar harmonics to create a unique interlude from the rest of the album which works beautifully. Another album highlight is the song ‘You Hear Me’, a chilled acoustic track about prayer and how even though God knows our thoughts before we bring them to Him, He still wants us to come and speak to Him. Also, in a similar vein is ‘Keep My Fire Burning’ a gentle, intimate piece of worship that wouldn’t be out of place if sung beside a campfire. It’s in the songs like this as well as ‘Light Will Dawn’, and ‘Voice That Stills The Raging Sea’ where Rivers & Robots are really at their best. Although there are moments in the album where the tempo is upped, on the more upbeat tracks the climax can sometimes fall slightly flat, the songs may build and build but it never fully feels like it reaches where it’s heading. It’s not a huge criticism as the album works well as a calm, chilled, folky worship record but the change of pace would work nicely if the upbeat tracks delivered a little more.
Overall, this album really sets the bar high, and as a band they have produced a brilliant record. All Things New is coherent in style and the input and musicianship of the the new band members really comes through in many beautiful and subtle moments of the album (such as the slide guitar on the final track) and they haven’t made the usual mistake of favouring a pop influenced overproduced sound. Already leading worship at a few events and playing more and more live shows these guys are sure to have bigger things in store and if they continue to stay true to their organic, indie, British sound they’ll definitely be turning heads as they go – this truly is must have music.
Originally starting as a solo project by Jonathan Ogden (also the creator of Typographicverses.com), Rivers & Robots are now a four-piece indie worship band based in Manchester, UK. Sounding like Bon Iver and Bombay Bicycle Club joined forces to make a worship song, this track is written from the perspective of Jesus (the Bridegroom) singing to his church (the Bride), on the day they meet face to face. The lyrics on this are so beautifully written and the musicianship so close to perfect, that it is hard not to feel Christ’s love flow out of this piece of music.
Lyrics: “Until the day breaks and shadows flee Turn my beloved, and come to me I’ve made a place for you
I have come to the garden To find you here So let me see your face Let me hear your voice For your voice is sweet to me
Do you know that You have ravished my heart? Do you know that You have ravished my heart? Yes, you have ravished my heart With one glance of your eye
Now, the winter has passed The rain has been and gone I come over the hills to say ‘come away with me my dear, away, come away’
We will be, we will be, we will be together We will be, we will be, we will be forever
Would you lift up your eyes to see I am calling you now, to me I have so much more to tell you
All that you really believe inside What you see when you close your eyes I have so much more to show you”