Monday, December 12, 2011
Winter Family - Red Sugar (Altvinyl/Sub Rosa - Av032)
Winter Family is a duo made up of Ruth Rosenthal and Xavier Klaine. They have released their last 2 records via Sub Rosa which is a label that I am deeply interested in. Many of Sub Rosa releases have found their way in my collection and especially their releases of Early Electronic works are something always to look forward to.
Honestly this album was not in my priority list while I was making my last purchase from Sub Rosa, but I bought it based on the recommendation of Fred from the label. It has been much of a delight to have made this last minute addition to my order. It is quite different in many ways comparing to the Drone music that we are constantly hearing nowadays.
Drone is an alternative branch of Electronic Music which has been more or less out of the spotlights for around 8-9 years which actually started around 1960's with the magical name where you see everywhere, La Monte Young. As you can guess from the starting point, it evolved with a new stylistic exploration of minimalist music, but later developed to what it is now today. More of a gothic version of the early ones.
Today the first two names you can directly mention alongside Drone is Sunn O))) and Fennesz. However, their styles are also differentiating somewhat since one is more of a Drone Metal and the other is closer to Space Music with it's wide soundscapes. Winter Family is already really apart from them based on the fact that they created an album which involves poems in a central figure, enriching them with samples of ezan (Call for prayer for muslims), religious chants, reverend and rabbi speeches. It has a religious touch, yet even having this kind of vocals within the tracks is a keen approach. What this duo uses is actually non music material in an abstract musical environment and to say the least, they have conducted a very hard job in this sense. Of course some people might get offended these days since that is the new "thing", being a racist or a discriminator. People can't get dumber than this.
Musically Drone evidently takes up the front stage with Folk Music elements supporting. During poems, music takes a supporting role with giving enough space for the narrator to give the full emotional state. Piano is also used frequently along the narration. After the vocals come the real strength of the album which are repetitive Drone timbres which are truly effective. In "Dancing In The Sun", vocals are also used more like the early versions of Drone as another musical aspect. This is not the Monteverdian style which we are used to from Cathy Berberian, but more like Karlheinz Stockhausen's and Klaus Schulze's approach to vocals.
There are quite simplistic melodies accompanying the general flow of the album like the one we face in "Indigo Sky". The basic melody is similar to old music box melodies, but then a thunder slaps to wake the listener up and bring back to reality where Drone takes back it's position and continues advancing. This is one of the worth listening works of the year with a genuine approach to Drone and Folk Music. All we need to do is support these works and hope for more to come.
To buy this record: