Boomkat Product Review:
Teresa Winter heralds the coming of spring and the start of new cycles with a divine reflection on pagan and Christian rites set to her most elusive, quizzical arrangements - RIYL the films of Peter Greenaway, Cosey, Michelle Bokanowski, Delia Derbyshire, Cucina Povera.
Also marking the threshold of The Death of Rave’s 10th or “tin” anniversary year, ‘Drowning By Numbers’ is Teresa's follow-up the uneasy summery smudge of ‘Motto Of The Wheel’ and the dubwize dreampop of ‘Love Crime’. The 6-part, 30min work swaps out dance-pop tropes for a rich but sparing palette of concrète field recordings, Mozart, and tintinnabulous electronics, woven with a vocal narration deployed in a soft East Yorkshire cadence that's also morphed into much stranger reflections. It’s the quietest LP in Teresa’s oeuvre since her lush label debut ‘Untitled Death’ and perhaps the purest, too, bringing together myriad strands of her practice; from references to the films of Peter Greenaway, to research into the occult and the way it informs everyday life, to the ongoing refinement/intimacy within her intuitive DIY composition system, for a definitively lowkey and holistic highlight of her between-worlds style.
Themed around the traditional Gaelic festival of Imbolc on 1st February, which denotes the mid-way point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, and also shares its date with candlemas - the purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Christian calendar; ‘Drowning By Numbers’ takes its elusive shape as an absorbing ebb and flow of hypnagogic stream-of-consciousness. It finds Teresa’s ability to probe odder, hard-to-explain emotional integers lucidly heightened and calmly centred, emphasised by an embrace of negative space and sublime tension in her gently delirious and quizzically optimistic way.
Setting the scene with reference to the magickal mise-en-scène of Peter Greenaway in both the cover artwork and her use of highly visual concrète signifiers, Teresa enacts a sort of synaesthetic narrative alchemy that brings her subject to life with animistic tekkerz while leaving lots to the imagination. Mozart samples give way to Delian modes of concrète electronics and shimmering timbral sensitivities, steepled choral vocals collapsing to slurred gynoid speech and unheimlich nature sounds, all occurring with a slanted rhyme and reason that makes itself clearer and yet more confounding on return visits.
For our money the best thing Teresa Winter has released, colour us completely spellbound.