Deeply icy, floating music from Swedish band Vinterhjärta. Playing like a soundtrack to a particularly windswept, frozen tundra Vinterhjärta’s (which translates to winter heart) sole, self-titled affair, binds all sorts of experimental Swedish conceits — space prog, New Age, and ambient jazz— into one work (released on cassette) that looks for no quarter in the emotional department. Vinterhjärta is distant. Vinterhjärta is glacial-sounding. Yet Vinterhjärta has a deep heart.
Vinterhjärta was the brainchild of Triangulus members Peter Bryngelsson, Lars Liljegren, Dan Johnsson. Seemingly taking the complete opposite track from their fascinating Scandinavian Balearic masterwork with Björn J:Son Lindh, on this release, the same post-Frippertronic guitar and Eno-like tropical ambience of that album transport itself to something out of Eno’s “Ambient 4: On Land”. Much like Robert Rich’s pseudo-environmental New Age music (one also released on the same Swedish label Multimood Records) Vinterhjärta makes the effort to capture musically the otherworldliness experienced in our world’s less trafficked places.
Subterraneous drones, of synthetic nature, provide a surface from where repetitive guitar arpeggios meet e-bowed guitar. Taking full advantage of its cassette length, Vinterhjärta splits the album in two. The first section is dominated by the mammoth, nearly-40 minute self-titled track that takes ambient minimalism on that icy walk I spoke about just a moment ago. Just gliding above the frost, “Vinterhjärta” is both meditative and quite heavy (in its own way). The second side of the album, largely led by Peter Bryngelsson, features Peter taking command of the piano to create quite impressionistic, short songs that go for gentle moods far more than dissonance. Special highlights like “Tårar på Väggen” and “Lättnad…” really working their frost into something quite beautiful. It’s an album that’s hard to describe, but one that fits perfectly with our chilly season.