Vinterriket / Northaunt - _Split 2005_
(Flood the Earth, 2005)
by: T. DePalma (8 out of 10)
The process of interpretation, of listening and identifying sound, remains a curious phenomenon in auditory study and psychology. For we listen with intent to see; extended to music: we animate in our consciousness transforming notes into color; measures into graphics moved toward emotion. From where and how? We act intuitively, our perception inherited through memory and experience, super-conducting pitch and rhythm into incidentals (what's been termed "sound as event") and through media we dream perennially in ideal suggestions. Our reference is the multitude and our recognition worked at, inferred or assumed, with no proofs possible; otherwise more swiftly absorbed through visual aid and lyrics. It's somewhere in between these impressionist modes that national cousins Vinterriket (Ger) and Northaunt (Nor) come together to exhibit this collection of instrumental pieces, teasing the senses and inviting a meditation through the contours of winter.

Divided up as every other track, the symphonic preludes of Vinterriket's organic repetition prove the perfect foil for Northaunt's telluric ambience. The two perspectives flow in and out of one another, contrasting a biomorphic flight in the former's aerial keys with the latter's more extensive sound mapping by undefined voice / motion samples. As in "Until Dawn Do Us Part" and "Shadows Over a Barren Land" (identical to the mix on the _Barren Land_ full-length), Northaunt broods over melancholy patterns with guitars crackling underneath circumambulate synth melodies, anchored by drones that occur within storms punctuated by what one gathers are rain, crumbling ice, the wind and possibly snow, the creak of wood and a woman crying. By these landmarks the music builds a reception to an invisible play, creating a fog between the exterior / interior worlds and listening like a dream: there is travel in stasis. A competent projection of the disc's interior photograph depicting a solitary moment on the shore, a moment shared by no one yet something we are eventually transformed into to complete the dimensions of this sound by our own explanation.

To a similar end, Christoph Ziegler offers more tracks from his "Landschaften Ewiger Einsamkeit" series, which de-emphasizes "real world" interaction and non-synthesized instrumentation. The pearly drifts of Vinterriket's four piece contribution creates a mythology of facsimile-movement as the music soars and dances enchantedly ("Am Brennenden Noerdlichen Firmament", retrieved from 2002's _Finsternis_) with the weight of mountains forming. A fantasia constructed of slow tempo over meticulous design -- symbolic of a tension exercised in approaching nature's mysterious fathom. One stands in silence cautiously observing the imagination.


(article published 2/12/2005)

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