Boomkat Product Review:
Utterly gorgeous entry to the seasonally-themed series from underground ambient charmers Aria Rostami and Daniel Blomquist for Geographic North, neatly contrasting with Louise Bock’s recent, stark ‘Winter VII’ volume for the same label.
Nesting a wholly immersive mix of textures and tones to evoke a subtle but broad range of emotions, Rostami & Blomquist’s ‘Sketch For Winter VIII’ is the sort of album that should be recommended as sonic therapy by the NHS. It’s another glowing example of the empathetic intuition that made the pair’s preceding trio of collaborations since 2016 so prized. And as their first album written separately - Blomquist remaining in San Francisco while Rostami has moved to Brooklyn - its layered intricacy speaks to the fact that distance has arguably only enhanced their enigmatic magick.
Working in respective, splendid isolation, passing files back and forth, they arrive at range of ambiguously forlorn and introspective conclusions across the album’s six parts. They’re the sort of feelings and notions that might be clearly recognised by anyone who spends a lot of time indoors during the colder months, playing out a flux of comforting and reflective sounds that draw the listener into a sort of energy-preserving stasis appropriate for absorbing their humble subtleties.
Setting the scene with the crunch of footsteps in snow mixed with powdery pads and choral pangs that evoke xmas choirs in ‘The Sloping Tower’, the minor key melancholy of ‘The Sleeping Floor’ follows with a bleaker sort of tristesse like an elegy for the homeless, and crackling ambient jazz feel of ‘The Guessing Hand’ recalls the liminal ambi-guity of Felicia Atkinson.
The scudding chords of ‘The Running Glass’ then offers the most divine centrepiece one could hope for, and we’ll allow the slightly over sentimental feel of ‘The Sinking Tone’ as ‘The Floating Table’ appears to thaw the cold and usher in the first signs of spring with its gauze of fragrant field recordings and glinting keys.