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)

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