Boomkat Product Review:
Czech artist Tomáš Niesner shifts over to Warm Winters for "Bečvou", a frosty and cinematic meditation on localized climate collapse that combines Takoma-style guitar and zither shimmers with gorgeous modular textures.
'Bečvou' was inspired by Werner Herzog's 'Of Walking in Ice', a diary the German director wrote in the winter of 1974 when he walked from Munich to Paris with only a jacket, a compass, and a backpack. Herzog was motivated by the news that Lotte H. Eisner, a film historian and close friend, was dying - he convinced himself that taking this journey would stave off Eisner's illness. Niesner took a similar journey, walking 100km down Bečva, a river in Czechia that was poisoned by chemical leaks in 2020. The artist had grown up next to the river and felt personally affected by the environmental disaster, so this journey was an attempt to connect with Bečva - and maybe to aid its survival.
The diaristic quality is represented by Niesner's swelling field recordings that capture the river's rushing intensity, and over this the instrumentalist plays windswept fingerpicked guitar, developing a widescreeen grandeur that sounds like James Blackshaw jamming with Caterina Barbieri. On 'Chladná Voda' Niesner's orchestral synthesizer drones almost drown out the guitar completely, frothing into near power ambience. But Niesner pares it back again on 'Pod Lipami', reverberating his gentle plucks to offer us the feeling of what it might be like traversing an empty landscape, considering a tragic catastrophe.
It's pensive music for deep consideration and deeper reflection; there are no shortage of albums relating to climate disaster right now but the Czech composer has used a vivid, personal story to illustrate an emotional response to a world that's changing in front of us.