Boomkat Product Review:
The age of the great Christmas album seems as if it's been long since snuffed out: classics like Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift For You, or even A Charlie Brown Christmas just don't get made anymore. Nowadays Christmas records tend to repackage and rehash old songs in ever more cynical releases, with only a few exceptions to that rule. Sufjan Stevens' annual festive releases could be regarded as modern classics in the genre, and Low's Christmas album is always a welcome listen - even lower profile outings like the Mobile label's Seasonal Greetings compilation featured a few vital contributions (Erland Oye's version of Wham's 'Last Christmas' in particular), but broadly speaking, contemporary Christmas compilations tend to fall into a cycle of repackaging the same-old same-old, year after year. This album has been curated by the folks at the Loaf label (a subsidiary of Lo Recordings) in conjunction with contemporary/classical collective The Arctic Circle, and is clearly of a very different order to the usual festive fodder. There's been a great deal of love poured into the making of this release with a line-up of artists that's far more credible than you might reasonably have hoped for. Contributions come from Sean O' Hagan, Rothko & The Sleeping Years, Ellis Island Sound, Isan, Peter Broderick and Gavouna to name but a few key players. Predominantly this music tends towards electronica and contemporary classical, but fear not traditionalists, there's plenty of wintry cheer in these recordings for them to be firmly in the Yuletide spirit. Take for example the delightful prepared piano and string composition by Hauschka & Andy Nice, or the glitch ambience of Si-cut.db's 'Winter Cabin' - it's auditory mulled wine. Type's Peter Broderick does the right things and gets those sleigh bells rattling during 'Family, Giving', and he's not the only one. Vincent Oliver's collaboration with Isan is all analogue electronics and chilly Donna and Blitzen vibes, whilst the North Sea Radio Orchestra reinterpret 'O Come O Come Emmanuel'. An absolute delight to the ears, That Fuzzy Feeling is several cuts above the usual Christmas cash-in. Lovely.