Pawn-Above The Winter Oaks

As the album’s title implies, the music conjures images of a quiet winter forest. The mallet percussion sound like delicate wind chimes; the bowed glass-harp like icy air moving between trees. The volume never rises above the hush of a quiet evening. Delicate sounds fade in and out of the textures seamlessly and imperceptibly. “Grund (Bottom Of Bottle)” floats largely on a single held note for over 7 minutes, with constantly changing (but barely noticeable) textural densities. In “Wild Owls,” a sea of static gradually overwhelms ghostly reversed tones and wind sounds until only white noise remains. As a result, the few abrupt changes that do occur over the course of the music—dissonant bell-like hits that begin ¾ through “Winter Came Again,” the crunching metallics that break the opening lull of “Snow Piles”—are particularly powerful.

Above The Winter Oaks can be a bit trying at times—particularly when taking in the album as a whole—but the longer you listen, the more nuances you discover. When you abandom preconceptions and absorb it as ambient textures/sound art, the album’s colors take you to a sedate and really beautiful corner of your head.

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