Underground alt-folk songwriter Joshua Malcolm, aka calming river, has been losing a war against mainstream appeal for several years—occasionally a battle is won and someone recognizes the depth of the murky undercurrent—but typically Malcolm’s work is tossed in the ‘abstract’ category for a rainy day. Intricate fingerstyle guitar, often disconsolate lyrics, constant guitar re-turnings between songs and an unwillingness to engage with the audience don’t generally cut through the shadows in 2019. Or do they? Malcolm spent several years in Scandinavia prior to uprooting to the UK in 2018. His travels developed his style and enabled valued collaborations: time in Denmark saw productive partnership with Aarhus-based musician Rasmus Nielsen and Copenhagen-based Spanish DJ Alvaro Suarez, whose juxtaposed blend of distorted guitar and sorrowing violin flow with Malcolm’s classically-tinged folk guitar style. Recent singles, festival performances (e.g., Denmark’s Fanø Folk Festival) and press (e.g., Unsigned Guide, numerous Nordic blogs) have evidenced a growing appreciation for the songwriter.