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Winterlight – Gestural Abstractions

Post rock and shoegaze act Winterlight release their third album Gestural Abstractions for the emotive IDM label n5MD.

Tim Inghams’ Winterlight project could be described as a modernisation of dreamy, alternative 80s pop. The likes of Cocteau Twins and The Cure would be obvious pillars. Slowdive and more recently, Mogwai are other clear ancestors. What Winterlight do, not unlike contemporaries such as Manual, Ulrich Schnauss, m83, Maps, Guitar etc; is refract those luminaries of the British Independent scene through the gauze of electronica. Its a sound and approach that I’m very fond of as it recaptures that early DIY ethos of indie.

Winterlight originally began as the solo project of guitarist and pianist Tim Ingham. The debut long player, Hope Dies Last was released in 2011 garnering positive feedback within the electronica/gaze fraternity. Following Hope Dies Last Ingham subsequently struggled to finalise a follow up record. I gather that the creative process was somewhat ‘stop/start’ as The Longest Sleep Through the Darkest Days took a full seven years to complete. That title is something of a giveaway in of itself yet, happily, Ingham rediscovered his mojo with the help of his own daughter Isabel. Bel joined Winterlight, playing bass and adding the kind of encouragement only loved ones can truly offer. The results were there for anyone to hear.

Bel is instrumental on this third album as well. After returning home from University the pair collaborated to write the piece ‘In Solitude’, their first composition together. One hopes it will be the first of many because the ‘level up’ here is palpable. The usual Winterlight ‘warm and fuzzies’ are contrasted by forlorn melancholia. No exaggeration to say ‘In Solitude’ wouldn’t seem out of place on Rave Tapes or Come On Die Young. I begin to wonder whether Dad has been bringing the light to this project. He needed his daughter to provide the winter.

‘In Solitude’ is central to Gestural Abstractions, literally and metaphorically. This isn’t to say the rest is in any way lesser. The way it shifts seamlessly into ‘Harmonium Drones’, another glistening ‘gwai progeny, is as sure-footed as could be. Earlier ‘Our Bodies Motionless’ has a hymnal grandeur reminiscent of Hammock offset by an optimistic refrain. The album also has a belter of an ending with ‘Everything Had To Happen This Way’, as swooshing, swirling epic reminiscent of label mates port royal.

I can only imagine how wonderful it must be to make music with your own daughter. Or your own father for that matter. Tim and Bel should be rightfully proud of this release. Gestural Abstractions is a most welcome return from Winterlight but it is more than that. The duo have grown into their own skin here. In doing so they’ve stumbled upon something. they’ve hit a rich vein on this outing and I for one hope they mine it for all its worth.

Gestural Abstractions is out now on digital and limited blue with black splatter vinyl.

Website

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The Longest Sleep…. review

Interview

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