The Winterhouse: Gathering Autumn
Congratulations to The Winterhouse. Each disc in their two CD set Gathering Autumn tracks like a well-executed deep dark hour of STAR’S END Ambient Radio. Combining Robert Davies‘ penchant for sustaining environmental atmospheres and Anthony Paul Kerby‘s high-concept soundcraft the 13 sonic scenarios found on their 5th collaboration bend, expand and recede along an arc carfeully conceived for the sleeping listener. Accompanied by the beautiful sounds of the wild outdoors the minimal realizations rise and sustain with slowly shifting synth beds and deliberately paced melodies, eventually falling back into the monumental simplicity of field recordings – sometimes standing alone without musical accompaniment. Gathering Autumn progresses gradually through its moods, climates and phases much like the earthly season its title is drawn from. A forest nightwalk, a twilit beach or dawn in a meadow – the darker chords provide a sense of the ominous while the brighter ones renewal and hope. To the inattentive Gathering Autumn will seem like just another album full of drones and chirping birds – something for their background ambience. But through more sensitive listening we will find well recorded sounds of nature, interestingly imagined and created tonal elements and well constructed arrangements. Bells? Piano? Strings? Flute? Guitar? Exploring both consonance and dissonance the sounds used within this work only hint at real-world instruments. Some motion results from building chord progressions or echoing muted keyboard play, but it is hard to map this work as it continually slips into and out of the focus of our attention. Gathering Autumn is quite diverse, but can our over-stimulated senses perceive its many colors and textures? This is music from a separate place. Islands of melancholy calm, graceful and dignified – leading to deep thoughts and dreams.