Top Bar
Musique Machine Logo Home ButtonReviews ButtonArticles ButtonBand Specials ButtonAbout Us Button
SearchGo Down
Search for  
With search mode in section(s)
And sort the results by
show articles written by  
 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Various Artists - Last Winter We Didn’t Sing [Thor’s Rubber Hammer Productions - 2009]

Last Winter We Didn’t Sing presents eight takes on the winter months, most choosing the guitar to distil an ambient Americana with hints of folk and country established by labels like Chicago’s Kranky and Thrill Jockey. Here, it is stripped down to the barest essentials leaving a sombre, resonant soundtrack that could be employed to accompany sympathetic scenes of rural traditions threatened by industrialisation or harsh weather.

Indeed, many of the tracks feature little else than a lone guitar, bravely facing winter with a mere six strings for warmth. Scott Tuma’s opener, ‘Mr Beautiful Head’ is a rich, languorous piece whose strings pluck a loose and lazy lullaby, letting the slow notes overlap in an faintly optimistic melody that swims across the stereo field. Similarly, Chartreuse patiently release single notes in succession that hint at traditional song yet hide behind reverberations and mild distortion to create an indifferent turbulence. And not for the first time Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks soundtrack is recalled by Nicholas Szczepanik’s closer (It’s Been So Cold Since You’ve Gone) whose guitar rings out what could be the same two notes and tempo as the programme’s theme, tenderly trembling against the wind and rain of the great outdoors.

All this much of a muchness is offset by three pieces: Susan Alcorn’s overly long ‘Tale of Late December’ sticks with a lone guitar but seems to follow what could be a serialist score from a Twentieth Century avant-garde composer where a succession of atonal chords, modulated by her guitars volume control, are curiously tense, taking successive steps up a creaky staircase in a haunted house. Meanwhile, Greg Davis follows Simon & Garfunkel’s take on ‘Silent Night’ but deliberately drowns it in recordings of news broadcasts, contrasting his solemn hymn with the hyped barking of the media – a simple statement that gets increasingly unpleasant. Preceding this intrusion is a gorgeous, understated interplay of French horn and cello on The Instruments ‘Last Holiday’ that shuffles along without guitar at its centre to provide the wholesome feeling of a fresh morning in the countryside.

The compilation’s main focus on slow, guitar-driven ambience makes it a relatively cohesive document that immediately casts the rare divergence in tone into stark contrast. In successfully creating a sense of an old fashioned winter with little warmth and rudimentary means, it risks leaving some audiences both cold and undernourished, hungry for deviation and drama

Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5

Russell Cuzner
Latest Reviews

Various Artists - Last Winter We ...
Last Winter We Didn’t Sing presents eight takes on the winter months, most choosing the guitar to distil an ambient Americana with hints of folk and country ...
211019   Toys Are Not for Children - T...
191019   3 From Hell - 3 From Hell(Blu...
181019   Frode Haltli - Border Woods
181019   Patronymicon - Ushered Fort...
181019   They Made Me a Fugitive - The...
181019   90° In The Shade - 90° In The...
171019   VA - Brutal Africa - The Heav...
161019   Merzbow - Metalvelodrome
141019   Allerseelen - Frühgeschichte ...
141019   Étant Donnés - L'Opposition...
Latest Articles

Vomir - Completely ‘Walled-In’
HNW( Harsh noise Wall) is the most intense, and at times hypnotic of sound genres- and one of the most influential, prolific and unflinching brutal projects ...
250919   Vomir - Completely ‘Walled-In’
160919   Kat Ellinger - The Many Colou...
040919   The Early Years Of Allerseele...
240819   Leyland James Kirby (The Care...
060819   Stevan Mena - A Cut Above The...
280619   Michael Ridge - From Tools O...
250619   Merzbow/ Merzbow & Balazs Pan...
110619   Elsewhere Music label intervi...
170419   Damien De Coene - Pedal Chai...
120419   Raison D'Etre, Desiderii Marg...
Go Up
(c) Musique Machine 2001 -2017. Celebrating 16 years of true independence!! Mail Us at questions=at=musiquemachine=dot=comBottom