There is something to be said for that music that manages to embody a contradiction.
Not that music that tries to be multiple things at once by juxtaposing wildly different tiles or merely representing a contradiction in the text, but that kind of music that without even trying goes in two opposite directions at the same moment, a sharp compositional oxymoron.
Winter’s first outing with Bar/None certainly is one such record.
The core opposition is, in this case, a sensory one: how can an album so ethereal and vapory be so eminently material, tactile and grainy, at the same time? This strong sensory nature is enhanced by the work done with the music videos: “Here I Am Existing” and “Endless Space (Between You & I)” very rapidly establish both visually and sonically the work’s dreamy and glittery feel, slightly flickering like 16mm film.
Sonically speaking, the album is textured and timbre-focused the way one would expect from a shoegaze record, although it avoids uselessly dripping effects. “Endless Space (Between You & I)” is a good example of such a balance, with an airy, glimmering guitar sound that doesn’t drown out the expressive qualities of the player’s touch. The production is thoughtful, full of subtle sound effects and a deep understanding of the relationship between texture and pacing.
Certain tracks (“Bem No Fundo” and “Pure Magician“ among others) introduce slightly more electronic sensibilities around Winter’s trademark dream-pop. This helps cue us in to the album’s very particular brand of blissful nostalgia, somewhat reminiscent of James Ferraro’s Far Side Virtual; but where Ferraro’s soundscapes suggest a yearning for the idealized futures we never got to live, Winter’s music longs not for an idealized version of the past as much as the idea of an idealized past itself, a representation in the representation, a dream in the daydream.
You can stream the album on Spotify or buy a physical copy from Bar/None.
Below, the official video for the title track.