I wrote "Towards the Blue Horizon" in honour of one of my best friends, who died in his sleep at the age of 44 shortly after Easter Monday in 2014. I couldn't even go to his funeral because I was on tour with Riverside at that time. I wasn't there to say goodbye to him, which made it all twice as hard for me. With his death, something died inside of me too. And I guess I finally realised more than I ever had before that life is more fragile than we think, that it ends just like that, in one brief moment. Time slows down and you stop running because everything that had been important loses its meaning in that one second.
I realised that it was time to re-evaluate priorities in my life, to let go, start to breathe and enjoy life, enjoy however much of it I have left. I realised that it was time to open the cage, free myself from darkness, at least from the overwhelming amount of it, and try to find myself somewhere in the light. "Love, Fear and the Time Machine" was supposed to be like that, an album to help fight sadness, let go of fear and find fulfilment in something good. It was written as an antidote for pain and something to help you get out of bad situations, in which you feel completely lost at the beginning, but you know you have to go on, fight, persevere and, at some point, find your way again.
The darkness has returned. The sadness has returned. It looks like I'm doomed to feel sad... I have to remember what it was all about with the fighting and persevering. I have to find myself on the other side, listen to and understand that album myself, just like I wanted it to be heard and understood by others.
I had a feeling that the sixth Riverside album might be the last chapter of a story. That the future releases might have a different sound, a different character... Unofficially, I called our latest three albums "the crowd trilogy". Each subsequent title was longer by one word – four, five, six. Six words was long enough as a title and I thought that was the one to finish it off with...
Before we started a new chapter, perhaps a "new trilogy", I had an idea to release a complementary album. An album in between. An album we had always wanted to record. It wouldn't be just new music but in our case and in such configuration it would definitely be a new quality because we hadn't released such an album before.
For years, we have accumulated a lot of material, a part of which was released on bonus discs. I know that some of our listeners still haven't heard those pieces and do not realise that Riverside, basically right from the start, have been experimenting with ambient and progressive electronic music. And that's always been a part of our music DNA.
So I presented the idea to the rest of the band and the decision was unanimous.
We decided to make a compilation of all our instrumental and ambient pieces, and release it this year as an independent album. Some of the songs would be re-mixed to make them sound better, but most of all, we'd add new compositions.
At the beginning of the year, we locked ourselves in the studio and we started to compose. We even published a picture on our facebook page, in which Grudzień is holding a small keyboard as a joke. That was that recording session. We were working with smiles on our faces, genuinely excited, knowing that this time it wasn't just a bonus disc or an addition to something "bigger" but a fully fledged, independent release with that kind of music, full of space, trance, melodies and electronics. The day before I got a text message from Grudzień, "I really can't wait for this release, I have always had a dream for Riverside to release such an album."
I still don't know when I will recover. I know that this year I will spend a lot of time in the studio and there will be a lot of new music. Difficult music. First, I want to finish what we started with Riverside. I have to finish these recordings. Piotr's birthday is in a few days. He'll be 41 on March 15th. I want to pay him a visit on that day and tell him that his dream has come true, that we have finally recorded his favourite album.
Perhaps it would be easier to cover the world with a blanket, lock everything up and take a break from sounds, stop modifying them, let them fade and then drown in silence. Perhaps. But let me recall the words I keep hearing in my head. I don't remember who said them but they seem to be perfect for this occasion.
"I am afraid only of silence because that's when the heart dies."
I cannot drown in silence. That would be the worst thing to do now. It's not what I was made for, it's not my calling.
We have come back to the studio. On the first day we only talked. On day two we held our breaths and opened all the tracks. What we're doing now is like an open heart surgery. We keep thinking that Grudzień will enter the door at any moment. He'll say he's sorry he's late but he had something important to do. We're talking about him. We're talking to him. We're telling him off for not having finished all his parts and he's laughing and apologising that something got in the way.
We'll finish this album, Piotruś. I will have the burnt disc ready on your birthday. The light in your eyes and the smile on your face when we talked about it, I had not seen you like that for a long time. So please, don't hold it against me, but I've decided that we will dedicate it to you.