Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Winterblood - Waldeinkamseit I - III

Artist:  Winterblood
Label: Self-released
Catalogue no: N/A


     1.      Waldeinkamseit I – Chapter 1
     2.      Waldeinkamseit I – Chapter 2
     3.      Waldeinkamseit II
     4.      Waldeinkamseit III

This is the album that introduced me to the Winterblood project, aka Italian musician Stefano Senesi. Although this particular release is now just over eighteen months old, its relevance here is that it is justly being re-released on vinyl – the original 2xC60 cassette in shell box has long sold out (although it is also available as a digital download). And what I can categorically say is that every damn second of this masterpiece deserves to receive the vinyl treatment.

What Winterblood gives us here is four side-long tracks of gentle, lush, slowly-evolving looping polar ambience. From the first few seconds of ‘Waldeinkamseit I – Chapter 1’ (and its continuation in ‘Chapter 2’) we know we’re in for a deeply affecting experience, the swelling drone resonances reminding me of an auroral display, the sifting curtains of light dancing sedately in time to a rhythm of its own. Melodic accents blink in and out, just like glimmering stars peering out from behind the undulating veils of greens and reds wafting across the heavens. Even now, its soothingly soft, lilting tones are helping me relax after a trying day.

This is the language of snowbound landscapes, frosted trees, frozen lakes, sharp, crisply clear air, and raging blizzards. Just like those in real life, these ambient dreamscapes portray a cleaner, purer vision, one where the only footsteps in otherwise virgin snow are one’s own, and that the only witness to the majesty surrounding you is one’s self. But make no mistake, that beauty can be deadly – the howling winds and blizzards of ‘‘Waldeinkamseit II’ are testament to how dangerous things can turn, yet even here there is promise of glittering secrets being uncovered in its aftermath. Through breaks in the obscuring sheets of snow falling we see hints of twinkling brightness, like shy eyes being seen briefly from behind the tree trunks of a wood at night. We know they’re there, but it’ll take a little patience on our part before their brilliance will be revealed.

And just as predicted, ‘Waldeinkamseit III’ heralds the new dawn: the blizzards have petered out, to be replaced by a renewed land, the snow having reshaped the topography overnight, and the light bounces off random snow crystals and icicles. A pale sun shines in a bleached blue sky and throughout the day shadows cast strange shapes, seemingly alive, and which flit from shade to shadowed depression in order to hide from the luminous orb that’s revealed their existences. There they’ll wait, brooding and cursing, until the sun disappears once more and night reigns.

For audiophiles, the vinyl iteration of this opus promises even more, with a depth of sound and layering that will be all the more apparent. Listening to this on headphones will be an experience in itself, and will surely reveal even more richness. From my perspective, you owe it to yourself to purchase this in whichever format you favour – this is a little treasure.

(Also, just take a look at that wonderful illustration on the album’s front cover. Just like the cover to Winterblood’s Finsternis which I reviewed recently, this is also by Walford Graham Robertson, and is entitled ‘The Coming of the Faerie Lady’)

Psymon Marshall 2019.

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