Saturday, May 30, 2009

Paysage d'Hiver - Paysage d'Hiver

When writing reviews sometimes it feels severely limiting to use mere words to describe a profound and involving media such as music. When is comes to an album like this, words that put this music into perspective are few and far between.
When I first listened to this I was in a small village in western Ireland. I had holed myself up in a 100% pitch black bedroom when I pressed play. From the onset, the world that Wintherr has created on this album began to draw me in. In such an otherworldly manner my aural palate was filled with whirring, buzzing guitar distortion playing rather long and memorable evocative riffs. The repetition of the riffs is key to the atmosphere here. It draws you in more and more in a hypnotic whirring daze. The fidelity of the guitar recording is so misshapen and almost unfamiliar that you begin to fill in the blanks, telling yourself what you are hearing from time to time. The drums are so buried in the mix, that when audible, they are moreso an inferred afterthought. The tempo is more determined by the guitar playing than the drumming. Amidst this web of callous otherworldly hell is a painful ethereal shrieking that is only heard in black metal. The vocals are sparse, and like the drums sometimes meld in with the all involving guitar distortion so much that you cant quite be sure if you're hearing the recording or if your mind is becoming numb.
On a majority of Paysage d'Hiver's songs there is an accompanying yet subtle keyboard heard, often playing the main guitar riff. This is one element that I think draws a parallel to Wintherr's other stupendous band Darkspace. In both Darkspace and Paysage d'Hiver, minimalism is used exactly how it should only be used. Rather than taking on the form of typical music in a way that pleases listeneres with melodies, choruses, tempo changes and lyrics, a vivid atmosphere is formed from codependant and cohesive elements and textures. This I believe is a wonderful testament to the breadth of what we as humans have left to explore with music.
I am tempted to say more about this great great album but I dont want to give away all the details. If it sucks you in and you listen to this album, you are in for an infinity of distance for it to do so.

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