Artist: Winter North Atlantic
BOLTLP008: A Memento for Dr Mori
Release date: 29th October 2009
Format: CD + Digital
Price: £11.99 GBP (+ FREE postage)
"..literally brilliant" - Chroniques Electroniques
"this is a smart, unusual album which takes an interesting concept and applies it with deft skill." - Bleep43
All tracks © Winter North Atlantic
Boltfish Recordings 2009
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Winter North Atlantic's debut Boltfish release A Memento for Dr Mori is a stylish fusion of electronic and acoustic instruments.
It’s title is both a play on the Latin term ‘memento mori’, meaning ‘remember you shall die’, and a dedication to Japanese robotics theorist Dr Masahiro Mori, who posited the theory of The Uncanny Valley – a hypothesis on the emotional response of humans to non-human entities, which observed that human-like appearance in robotics is only appealing unto a certain point, at which it becomes eerie and disturbing.
Indeed there is a sense of disquiet underscoring the album, through a collision of the natural and the synthetic. Acoustic and instrumental sound sources include electric and acoustic guitars, accordion, melodica, harp, recorder, violin, thumb piano, ukulele, vocals, and recordings of old super 8 projectors and other random noises. These are combined with vintage analogue keyboards, electronic textures and treatments, understated glitchy edits and downbeat broken beats inspired by IDM and abstract hip hop.
This album is presented in a Digipak.
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Translated from original Flemish review
"Some album covers stand quietly amongst the noise and that's the case with this one, because here you see a wooden man sitting in a chair with an amputated leg and an infinite stare, whilst on the back of the sleeve you see that he 's had to add his wooden leg to the fire to save the flames from dying.
There are indeed more pleasant things to fantasise about than the title which is a pun on the Latin expression 'memento mori' which means that we must always remember we will die one day.
Nothing so pessimistic though in this (mainly) instrumental cd which has a highly cinematographic character, and which indeed shows melancholy, but also hope.
Most openly The Maid blends well-thought-out minimal electro with shoegaze whereas on tracks such as Cuts and Tears there's a strange Asian consonance that because of its repetitive character results in your brain being under its spell.
But it's especially film type tracks that Ed Carter, the man behind winter North Atlantic, has produced which stand out - from the melodramatical Ennio Morricone-like Occam's Razor to the exciting John Barry-influenced Bokor.
A Memento for Dr. Mori is an electronic cd with a lot going on without becoming really difficult or experimental because it's music which knows how to play on inner feelings, sometimes nicely blood-curdling or simply moving.
As a matter of fact if a cd ends with a track called 'Barrel Organ' then we can only conclude that it's a good thing."
"Ed Carter takes organic instrumentation and underscores them with electronic editing and treatment, producing a somewhat ambiguous 35 minute album that weaves in and out of emotions, touching on a few genres along the way. Like Mori’s theory, subtle twists and inflections with edits make for a slightly unsettling listening experience at times. I’m always hesitant to apply common epithets to music that makes a real effort to sound unique, but fans of Thrill Jockey material and the more pastoral aspects of UK folktronica (a truly ghastly term) will find much to savour here on an album that displays much sophistication.
The 11 songs all have a lilting, shifting ambience to them, and Carter seems to revel in trying to find that narrow path between disquiet and genuine elation, his production skills finding little tweaks in the sound field that often makes for somewhat hallucinatory listening. At times, like on "Fall of Stone", ukelele and very subtle accordion compete for space with a shifting drumbeat, with matters verging on becoming pyschedelic before coming to an abrupt end. None of the songs on here venture longer than 4 minutes or so, and if there is a little criticism, it’s that sometimes they finish without developing an extra layer of emotional richness. Tracks like "Cuts and Tears" don’t develop a great deal beyond the initial concept, but when put together, they help to build a listening experience that is both unsettling and fascinating.
Carter’s choice of instrumentation and production skills have created a glistening sound world that grabs your attention; the sharp, gallic turns of "Bokor" contrasting with the Rhodes-inspired groove of "Kinay 816". It’s a shame that we don’t hear vocals until the final track on "Barrel Organ", which closes the album on a high note, but this again is but a minor complaint.
...this is a smart, unusual album which takes a interesting concept and applies it with deft skill."
"A splendid new release from the Boltfish crew here and definitely something a little bit different. I’ve only come across one other release from Winter North Atlantic and that was a fair while ago so it’s great to hear something new as the other one was a nicely low key slice of post-rock orientated goodness. Here we have a full album of lovely tracks that use a classic, almost Thrill Jockey-esque style of arrangement and production. Pianos, guitars, live drums and electronics all combine to make an easy listening, relaxed and friendly selection that I can see being a particular favourite at home. It’s a little like Tortoise if they were having one of their really chilled out days but with the occasional motif that fits right in with the classic Boltfish sound of pure electronica. There are hints of some of the more melodic Type releases – Peter Broderick for example – but when all’s said and done this tends to have a slightly quirkier feel that will appeal to fans of Gavouna, possibly Psapp and certainly labels like Static Caravan. Light, airy music that acts as a real winter warmer as we get deeper into the cold season. I’m recommending this as I think it’s got some real longevity and just generally is a really nice listening album with varied tracks. Great stuff and a solid end to 2009 for label and artist."
"Winter North Atlantic (great name) is actually Ed Carter (great name) and he has constructed an album of many moods by way of bizarro instrumentation. Melding old bit of synths onto a gloriously grab-bag collection of accordions, acoustic guitars, harps, ukuleles, vocal refrains and God knows what else, he’s managed to somehow keep the whole enterprise pleasingly melodic and never anything less than utterly captivating. It sounds simultaneously modern and yet old-fashioned; music which Oliver "Clangers" Postgate might come up with if asked to soundtrack a David Lynch film."
"Winter North Atlantic present pastoral melodies and loosely ambient musings on new album 'A memento for Dr.Mori'. W.N.A manage to drift effortlessly between folk and electronica creating an emotive and uplifting sound as they go. They embrace acoustic guitars, analogue keyboards, violins, accordions to great effect crafting a sound that sits somewhere between the Bracken/Hood/Declining winter school of thought and Four Tet as well as having a little in common with groups like Town and Country and Pullman. He is obviously a fine craftsman and the compositional work is confidently executed. Coupled with excellent production and some tasteful digital editing 'A memento for Dr. Mori' is a total treat that will no doubt appeal to fans of the aforementioned groups as well as stuff like Manyfingers and the like. "
Translated from original French Review
"A Memento for Dr. Mori is an album with an undeniable charm. Ideal for the autumn evenings to come, agreeable as a good open fire. Without any pretention, Ed Carter succeeds in producing an album which is accessible even to those who are not used to electronic music. Lying between pastoral pop, tasteful IDM and wandering folktronica, this disc is more than interesting. You could imagine yourself right out in the country with its snatches of pure nature which appear from time to time. Despite the slightly aged analogue material used, this album is perfectly of its time with clear sounds and production.
The adventurous glitched melodies sometimes drift towards a very tasteful hip-hop. Bokor reminds a little of RJD2 or Blockhead with its mariachi guitars set in a sleazy Culiacan bar. This approach seems to be even more successful on the excellent Kinay 816. So here is another excellent album to Boltfish's credit. Full of deceptively naive soothing virtues, this work is literally brilliant and can only convince lovers of high quality downtempo electro-acoustic fusions."
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