WL//WH Premiere: SHE OWL Reinvent Brian Eno’s “By This River” as a Modern Ethereal Duo

WL//WH Premiere   SHE OWL

Photo by @giorgioviolino

Formed in San Francisco, the currently Leipzig-based nomadic Italian duo She Owl has ceaselessly enchanted audiences throughout Europe and North America for the last five years, supporting renowned artists such as Brendan Perry and Cat Power and playing almost three hundred shows across twenty-one countries.

Throughout several albums and an EP release, the group has developed a unique and beguiling sound that melds Dream-Pop and Dark Indie stylings with soulful, haunting vocals and cinematic arrangements.

Photo by @giorgioviolino

Vocalist, pianist, and primary songwriter Jolanda Moletta is front and center in both the band’s recordings and live shows. Moletta’s striking three-octave range and vocal dexterity are matched by her skills as a multi-instrumentalist (she is also responsible for all the loops, percussion, and extra layers in the band’s sound). Alongside her, Demian Endian, besides adding backing vocals and harmonies, contributes inventive and enigmatic guitar lines that hint at psychedelic, no-wave, and experimental influences.

She Owl’s new single/video By This River is an unconventional take on Brian Eno’s classic from 1977, infused with a dreamy, romantic electronic vibe. The duo introduced subtle electronic elements, adding a modern touch to the nostalgic vibe of the original.

Photo by @giorgioviolino

Moletta’s ethereal vocals and Demian’s murmured harmonies evoke a sense of longing and enchantment, transporting listeners to a whimsical realm where the boundaries between reality and imagination blur. Their voices intertwine with a delicate grace, casting a spell that lingers long after the song has ended.

Less introspective and more ethereal than Brian Eno’s original but at the same time more unsettling, with heavier frequencies and hollow heartbeats to invoke the discomfort of the lyrical conflict. She Owl uses a combination of poignant and vibrant twinkling guitar strings along with abrasive and softly cutting orchestral swathes over subtle keyed melodies, whilst a light whispery at times granular and mournful unison male-female vocal harmony, perfectly captures the tension of a once intimate couple standing by a river, feeling lost and disconnected.

I edited some of the footage we collected over the past two years. Most of the shots were taken at the same location during a different season. My goal was to create a sense of repetition and acceleration by adding our looks in transparency and then speeding up sequences. Our eyes get stuck “by this river” of time. The video inspires a sense of impermanence, as the seasons turn endlessly, Jolanda says.
Watching the landscape change over time, Demian says, the perception of time itself changes: speed is in the eye of the beholder.

A thought-provoking video by Jolanda Moletta herself sets breathtaking aerial views of nature’s slowly shifting seasons under the deeply evocative pensive eyes of Jolanda and Demian to sync with the bittersweet sentiment of the soundtrack. Just like the Earth’s natural cycles of death and rebirth, sometimes relationships cool, offering dormant snowy introspections, then change into the warm, vibrant, and uplifting moods, typically associated with romance.

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