The seasons are changing, the days are getting shorter, and the cold air is starting to bite. Yes, it's winter — which means that sun-soaked music festivals are long behind us, and the radios will soon be playing Christmas classics.
Fortunately, these frostier months are also highly conducive for re-engaging with those records that just don’t hit quite right on summer days. So what constitutes good winter music, exactly? We’ve assembled a new mix with some fresh ideas — a soundtrack fitting for the arctic chill ahead.
Amongst the highlights on our winter playlist is a Yoshio Ojima track from the Grammy-nominated 2019 compilation ‘Kankyō Ongaku’ (Japanese for “environmental music”). On the aptly-titled ‘Glass Chattering’ a blend of glacial synth tones and echoes evoke images of icy plains, much as Oval does on the ambient piece ‘Do While’. The latter track, created in 1996, was created by physically damaging a CD and playing back the glitched audio — with the unedited version running for a transcendent 24 minutes.
Bit-crushed beats recall the sounds of trampled snow alongside chiming percussion on Bjork’s ‘Aurora’, a track taken from the Icelandic musician’s enduringly frosty fourth album, ‘Vespertine’. The rapid, percussive arp sequencing on Anz’s ‘Quest Select’, on the other hand, creates a shivering sensation, while Scott Walker’s vibrato vocal quivers over gusty strings on ‘It’s Raining Today'.
Short, sharp high-hats on tracks like Aphex Twin’s classic ambient work ‘Xtal’ conjure a sense of briskness, while the gentle cymbal rush and reverb effects on Ekko’s ‘Rehearsal’ creates an expansive atmosphere behind arpeggiated piano chords. Finally, Little Simz’s flourishing strings and choral voices on ‘Gems’ form a dusky soundscape — before the synths of Suicide’s twinkling love song ‘Surrender’ waltz gently.
We hope you enjoy the tunes! Because when it comes to seasonal soundtracks, winter’s really not so bleak.