Echoes June CD of the Month: A Perfect CD of Melancholy Electronica by Winterlight
Winterlight interviewed tonight, 7-18-11 on Echoes
The name is decidedly out of season but the music of Winterlight will soothe a sun-seared mind on the hottest summer day, so maybe it is an appropriate selection for the June Echoes CD of the Month. Winterlight is the recording persona of Tim Ingham from England. He’s also recorded as Lightsway. With his American debut, Hope Dies Last, he has created an album of electronic melancholy, a sound that echoes back a decade to Ulrich Schnauss’s Far Away Trains Passing By with its mix of major key melodicism, minor key moods and propulsive rhythms. They also share a penchant for shoegaze guitar textures, albeit, often rendered via computer modeling.
Winterlight takes you on a trip that begins on “A Sky Full of Clouds” with a triumphal heaven-sent array of descending synth melodies and ascending choral voices swirled in psychedelic colors. Like most of the other tracks on Hope Dies Last, Winterlight manages to be moody and exultant at the same time. It’s music that begins in quiet and isolation and maybe even a little pain and somehow rises above it all to joy. Perhaps that’s where “Between Joy” derives its title.
But then, Ingham finds joy and triumph even in “Plattenbauten Palast,” named for the pre-fabricated block construction of Berlin Wall-era East Germany. You’d think that would inspire mechanistic music, but Winterlight’s sound evokes vegetation breaking through the concrete cracks, subsuming the ugly architecture into its own, organic world.
Ingham took the name Winterlight from the Ingmar Bergman film, Winter Light, a story about loss of faith. But again, where others might find doom and desolation, Ingham seems to find affirmation and redemption – except the last track. “I Still Hope” may have a positive message, but this drone-zone excursion sounds like a slow motion fugue, trawling the depths of despair like Gollum wandering the wasteland of Mordor, or Bukowski in an alcoholic fog.
Tim Ingham has described Winterlight’s music as “a warm light in the darkness and the cold.” It’s that mixture of shadow beneath the surface, a kind of serrated joy, that makes Hope Dies Last an album that can follow you into the bleakest or the brightest days. It’s the Echoes CD of the Month for June.
John Diliberto ((( echoes)))