“‘A Winter’ is the first in a two part concept collection based around a year of change in some bodies life. Much like previous releases by Good Weather For An Airstrike, A Winter’s main goal is to create a set of easy listening tracks in which to help induce sleep, the reason behind this is due to Tom suffering from tinnitus which causes a ringing sensation in the ears which can often lead to difficulties sleeping.” – From the press release by Rural Colours
Good Weather For An Airstrike is the ambient project of 23 year-old Winchester, UK based artist Tom Honey. His music, to me, seem to call upon the great minimalist composers like La Monte Young, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and so on, except that there are hardly any repetitive rhythmic figures here. Instead, the results are somewhat closer to Stars of the Lid, except that Tom’s music is even softer than their music. In other words, much like the press release up top, this is easy listening music that is actually designed to help induce sleep. What interests me more, actually, is the fact that this music was made because Tom suffers from tinnitus (the famous ringing sensation in the ears). I didn’t even know that tinnitus can lead to difficulties sleeping! Well, I guess that’s one thing I learned from this release, right?
A Winter is actually an EP of 3 tracks, all inspired by the season of winter. If you close your eyes and listen, you can imagine the sense of cold, the snow-covered trees, frozen rivers and lakes, all the things you’d expect winter to have. The music, however, sounds so abstract yet, that each person will have their own interpretations of what they imagine while listening to the music. Nevertheless, I love abstract music, and the sounds here pull it off so well.
Beginning with “Motions”, the track starts with a click of distortion that is reminiscent of the beginning of Sigur Ros’s “( )”. Except that here, the click of distortion is reverbed. I actually see this click of distortion as a signal, and the signal being the beginning of relaxation, which is exactly what happens. What sounds to be a flute slowly and softly plays a minimal melody, eventually being joined by string sections and pads. Obviously, the sounds could be compared to Stars of the Lid, but here, the sounds are nowhere as majestic as SOTL. Instead, it’s almost like taking SOTL’s sound, and stripping away most of its majesty until it becomes a more simpler form of beauty. The result is utterly breathtaking, and proves you don’t need huge orchestras to create emotionally gripping sounds. Just a few instruments will do the trick.
“Within A Dream” is a track that should have been played during Inception or one of those films concerning dreams. If everything seems slower in the realm of a dream, then this is the perfect soundtrack to it. A combination of timbres create a slowly flowing pad that is sure to induce sleep. The sounds, yet again, are beautifully arranged, slowly flowing in and out of each other to create a dynamically moving composition. Who knows what dreams will occur from this track?
The last track, “Broken”, contains more pads, which yet again slowly swell in and out, building up with more and more timbres that sound close to bells or a reverberated piano for almost 10 minutes, along with the sound effects of either rain or a running stream, before slowly fading out to leave the listener to dream on in silence.
Though I haven’t listened to the EP the way it’s truly supposed to be listened to yet, still, “A Winter” is one of the few perfect soundtracks for winter I’ve heard in my life so far. As much as I have mentioned about cold, snow, and freezing, there is most of the time a type of welcoming warmth on this EP as well, much like the inviting warm of a fireplace or campfire. This warmth blankets the listener, and if used in the right conditions, will probably put them to sleep, just as intended. Though this wasn’t a perfect EP, “A Winter” truly took my breath away, and kept me wanting more once it was over. I am looking forward to listening to it while trying to fall asleep , as it is meant to do. I will let all of you know if it works, but otherwise, if you would like to try it for yourself, I highly recommend going out and actually buying the EP. Truly, this albeit short EP has the potential to really help insomniacs to start getting some needed sleep, and if you’re not looking to buy it for therapeutic reasons, it will work for setting the mood in a room or perhaps using it in some other crazy fashion that many lovers of ambient do. A great EP, and looking forward to hearing more music from Good Weather For An Airstrike.
Album: A Winter
Artist: Good Weather For An Airstrike
Released 2011 by Rural Colours
You can buy the EP here: http://goodweatherforanairstrike.bandcamp.com/