Talvihorros - And It Was So

7 songs
47:18 minutes
***** ****


Even though talvihorris is the Finnish word for hibernation, Ben Chatwin doesn’t come from that cold part of Europe. Instead he is an artist from Edinburgh who currently resides in London and who has been very productive in the last couple of years. Since 2008 he released four EPs and six longplayers!

According to his label, And It Was So is his finest effort to date, and as I am unfamiliar with his past efforts, I have no way to disagree. But I am more than willing to believe this bold statement, as the seven tracks on his newest album show this experimental musician from his finest side. The record starts with Let There Be Light, whose eleven and a half minutes also make it the longest piece on the album. The first half takes its time to build suspense and momentum, and it is clear already right here that Chatwin’s instrument of choice is the electric guitar, even though he uses a lot of effects and vintage synth sounds to alienate the overall sound. The second half suddenly surprises with rhythm, and we get a wonderful piece of post rock not unlike A Silver Mount Zion and Godspeed You Black Emperor. The following In The Midst Of The Waters has also a generous length of nearly eight minutes and displays the darker side of Talvihorros. Moody synthesizers lay down a backdrop for the hesitant guitar which coaxes the subtlest yet enchanting notes. The Two Great Lights ends what it the A-side of the vinyl edition, and here we get some nice vintage sequencer parts that make no doubt of the artist’s love for the more experimental music of the Seventies.

This trend is reinforced on the B-side, beginning with the nine and a half minutes long Swarms Of Living Souls, another sprawling epic which once again successfully bridges the gap between ambient music and post rock. The latter is highlighted by the highly distorted guitar, while the former is due to the lack of any drums. The rhythm instead spontaneously emerges from the music itself. Creeping Things is a shorter piece, not even four minutes long, and reminds very strongly of very early Pink Floyd. This may not be overly original, but the way Ben Chatwin recreates the original feeling of these ancient times definitely deserves respect. The seven minute long Great Sea Monsters continues in that vein, combining effortlessly elements of drone, post rock and psychedelia into something utterly delightful. And then the album ends of the short ambient track A Mist Went Up which recalls memories of the collaborative work of Robert Fripp and Brian Eno.

Talvihorros does not necessarily invent anything new, but it borders on genius how he mixes together elements of the deep past with more contemporary sounds without ever sounding strained in the least. I am normally not that much into experimental music, but Ben Chatwin has found the rare recipe where experimental music, spiced up with post rock and psychedelia, is able to live to its fullest potential. This should be a genre classic one day soon!

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