Gorgeous new album from Teresa Winter, an uncanny collection of ambient / dream pop / entheogenic reveries that comes highly recommended if you're into anything from Grouper to F Ingers to Leyland Kirby to Delia Derbyshire to early AFX.
Teresa Winter’s LP debut Untitled Death is a hallucinogenic wormhole of sensuously ambiguous pop and electronic experiments primed for the after-after party and altered states of reception. Realised thru a mesh of strategies from live, lo-fi tape recordings of synths, samplers and vocals to nascent experiments with algorithmic software, it's both a divine revelation of new aspects to Teresa’s sound and and expansion of The Death of Rave’s as-yet-unidentified aesthetic, which should come as a very welcome surprise to anyone who fell for her remarkable post-rave reverie, Oh Tina, No Tina, released on tape by Reckno in early 2015 to cult acclaim.
Where the artwork and collaged sound of Oh Tina, No Tina signified a serotonin-soaked pastoralism and MDMA thizziness, Teresa’s zoomed photos of magic mushrooms spattered in popping fluorescent oils which adorn the cover hint at her change of focus to a more personalised, entheogenic insight and psychoactivity, or basically a proper, lush trippiness. And just like the putative psilocybic experience, Untitled Death naturally comes on in waves of synaesthically-heightened sensuality, from strangely libidinous stirrings to utter, eat-your-heart-out euphoria with a spectrum of hard-to-explain and unexpected sensations in between.
We can hardly recall a more seductive album opener than oh, which blossoms from plaintive drum machine and chiming pads to a half- or mis-heard beckon “I really like it / when you let yourself go / I really want you inside me / I want to make you my own”, before curdling into bittersweet partials and deliquescent hooks as earworming as anything from AFX’s SAW 85-92 classic. It’s devastating in its simplicity and almost blush-worthy in effect, and is soon enough lopped curtly into the soundtrack-like enchantment of Untitled Death, which could almost be a cue from some '60 Polish or Czech art-house film, serving to neatly set up the prickling, windswept scene of romantic introspection and dereliction in Pain Of Outside - perhaps Teresa’s most accomplished and affective pop turn to date; think Maria Minerva awkwardly blissing out at 9am in the corner of a successful sesh/campsite/free party.
From that perfectly damaged side closer, the instrumental นรก and earth opens the B-side to a different sort of spine-freezing beauty and sense of abandonment with plangent, dissonant harmonics describing rugged Yorkshire wolds and coast as much as a radiant lightshow on the back of flickering eyelids. She then calmly follows the lie of the land into the uncanny valley of anatomie de l’enfer, where her signature coos and French whispers are swept in updrafts of distant, processed orchestral strings that come alive with staggering effect in her parting missive, สวรรค์ and earth, whose scale and impact appears like a vertiginous but digitally crumbling sky city fata morgana over the North Sea, possibly projected by some mad Dutch pharmacist-cum-holography genius, or just her own imagination.
In fidelity and emotive pull, Untitled Death is a properly amazing, ambiguous and spirit-beguiling record; one which treads the finest line between anxiety-inducing tristesse, lushly uncomfortable introspection, and life-affirming oddness. Play it to a garden of turnt gurners or a bedroom of quiet souls and its effects will only become magnified, more wondrous.