Review: The Cloisters – Little Winter (2011)


artist: The Cloisters
release: Little Winter
format: Digital
year of release: 2011
label: Self-released
duration: 19:31

Popping up during the last weeks of 2011, Little Winter has wormed its way among my favourite albums of the year in a couple of days. Behind this release are Michael Tanner and Aine O’Dwyer, who’ve played with United Bible Studies, among others, and whose collaboration in this year’s The A. Lords LP was particularly beautiful.

Aine’s beautiful harp work opens the album, while Michael provides field recordings, vocal samples, and various instruments (organ, accordion drones, strings) to create a wonderful mixture of ambient and folky melodies that go perfectly with the weather and the dark days of winter. “Hvislyse” again beings with a harp melody, a yuletide tune most likely, though I can’t for the life of me recall which. Doesn’t matter, as the duelling of low and high notes is spot-on, and builds the way for a mournful layer of string drones. “Pesta Komm” is a short coda of echoing bells, mysterious and cold.

Little Winter is aptly short, but precisely the ticket for your stay-at-home winter holidays. It might get cold outside, but stick this on and make sure it’s nice and cosy indoors, and you’ve got the perfect mood. Apparently, this EP is a precursor to a full-length next year, and I can’t wait until it’s there. Until then, make sure you pick this one up, as it’s pay-what-you-want for a high quality digital download to boot!

Reviewed by O.S.

Tracklist:

1. Sorgen (10:02)
2. Hvislyse (6:03)
3. Pesta Komm (3:22)