Woodwork by WintherStormer

WintherStormer

Woodwork

4 tracks

Running time: 1:16:15
Released: 06/2007

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  01   pure analogue forever - 15:51
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  02   musical equitation extracted from firelogs - 17:09


  03   engraved - 8:02


  04   monochrome - 35:13
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More Info

WintherStormer went into studio in January 2007 to record their first CD after many festival appearances, including the Oslo Synth festival and the Oslo Prog festival, as well as the major synth festival «E-live» in Holland October 2006. Positive reviews from press in Norway, Holland, Spain, England and America as well as a solid request from the fans contributed to the band´s desire to release a studio CD.
The music is totally improvised, both musically and electronically. Everything is laid open, with no pre-programmed sounds (no MIDI involved) or pre-arranged musical structures. The music is in all senses of the word - live. WintherStormer performs music on analogue modular synthesizers, electronic guitar and metal and wood percussion. The music is inspired by the music of the 1970s, when bands and musicians searched the corners of rock music, making improvised music in the cross-section between strange electronic sounds and the minimalistic drive of rock.
WintherStormer is pulsing electronics, rock improvisation, contemporary improvisation, both familiar and strange sounds, but most of all musical communication with an unknown factor.

Four musicians make up this Norwegian band Terje Winther (synths and electronics), Erik Stormer (synths and electronics), Atle Pakusch Gundersen (guitars and electronics) and Geir Marthin Helland (drums and percussion). Their profile is live performance on analog equipment only, completely without computers, but some live, manual programming of sequencers. They have been performing as a band since 2002 (though they are all experienced musicians since the 70s) and Woodwork is their debut album as Wintherstormer. It features 4 long tracks where the shortest is just over 8 minutes.

The album opens with Pure Analog Forever, a title which describes not only the album but also Wintherstormer as a band. Electronic swooshes, bleeps and plops and gentle percussion form the intro, before a calm and warm bass sequencer slowly fades in to form the structure of the track. Space chords and live improvised leads fill in, and the track ends with the sequencer, percussion and lead going haywire until they all end abruptly, like a controlled improvised session.
The second track Musical Equitation Extracted From Firelogs, is more of an ambient sound-sculpture track with only a slow-ish 4-step sequencer coming in halfway as the typical Berlin School element. Not a sequencer fest by any means, but in stead a mysterious and fantasy movie soundtrack-like "dream painting" of vocoder voices, broad space chords, and abstract percussion.
The shortest track, Engraved, starts with a delicate and bubbly sequencer, but only for a few moments before some jazzy rock percussion takes over, supported by a screaming fuzzy sequencer pattern and electric guitar that compliments the live rock drumming. The track continues in this fashion, alternating between calm, soothing electronic sequencer landscapes and aggressive energy bursts. Quite a departure from the two previous tracks, but the drumming and guitar elements of Wintherstormer is unique in a perfectly integrated way, where the percussion and drums are as sculpted and sound-designed as the electronic elements. Almost a conversation between contradictory persons, this track.
Monochrome clocks in at over 35 minutes and starts out as a classic Berlin School track with a multi-layer 8-step running sequencer pattern that is manipulated and added to, and supported by electric guitar, bass and spacious percussion. The tracks grows fatter and more inhabited as it runs along, including some improvised lead playing, until about halfway through where more jazzy drums and fuzzy guitar jump in and gives the track a more progressive attitude (not necessarily prog-rock though).

The band shows on this album and during live performances that their basic frame is Berlin School music, but they have taken this style one level further by doing it all completely live, like it should be and like it once was. Perhaps I should say they have taken it back to basics. There are many glossy and well produced Berlin School albums out there that perhaps better resembles the icons of the genre, but Wintherstormer manages to get a lot of energy from their playing and it's all very organic and vibrant, even if the production is not as perfect as some studio competitors.
But on Woodwork, technical perfection would take away, not add. Wether recorded in one take or not (it certainly could be), Woodwork is probably the best album of it's genre to come out of Norway ever, if not the only one, and a very promising first release from a band you definitely need to follow in the coming years.
Rating: 8 of 10

2007. Glenn Folkvord


A duo of Terje Winther and Erik Stormer. Woodwork has also participations from Pakusch Gundersen and Geir Marthin Helland. The album contains four long tracks of the darker variety.

"Pure Analogue Forever" starts with massive bass and wind effects. This is some dark and abstract EM with acoustic cymbals and other subtle percussion sounds. A bass sequence can be heard underneath, while the sounds constantly morph and change. It is useless to describe every change in sound really, as it would take too much space, and even then it would not make the music justice. As is the case with any good EM, only a listen with own ears is advisable. The sequences get bolder, while warm analogue pads add that extra "classic EM" feeling. This is terrific stuff and should go down in history as one of the staples of Neo-Prog EM. Later we hear mournful solos, distorted guitar and crazy synth effects. The sound then breaks up and goes totally berserk, with lots of harsh sounds, noise and distorted sequences. This is the end of it.
"Musical Equitation Extracted From Firelogs" continues with subtle chimes and siren-like sounds. A broken vocoded speech can be heard. Fascinating stuff. So EM and so experimental! Just the way I like it! Throughout the track various spooky effects and siren-like sounds (and, yes, a Mellotron choir!) come and go. This is utterly atmospheric and totally out-there stuff. A bleeping sequence-like structure accompanies the flow of what seems to be a very experimental and unusual track. It finishes with growling bass synth, for the last minute replaced by the same bleeping "pseudo-sequence".
"Engraved", the shortest track of the album (even this one lasts for 8+ minutes), starts with an upbeat sequence, before going for the massed rock guitars and heavy drums. The transition was so abrupt, it made me startle. The rock elements then depart to give us one more glimpse of the sequencer beauty. However, the rock guitars do return after a few seconds, this time accompanied by an aggressive synth solo. Tangerine Dream doing the Heavy Metal thing anyone? We are then treated to several more contrasting sections of subtle sequencers and full-on electronic rock.
"Monochrome", the last (and longest) track begins with low Mellotron flute, before a calimba-like sequence is introduced. More sequences are added, now galloping at quite a pace, although remaining rather sparse. It's built basically on multiple sequences and acoustic cymbal backing. But where would we be without Terje's wonderful solos? Right, he serves one right in the middle of the track. Guitar is also quite prominent, mostly providing low, growling basslines. That's how a Progrock act would sound like, if they decided to go electronic, hired an additional synthesist (named Klaus Schulze of course!), but kept their rock instrumentation intact. I especially liked the final part where the drums become more prominent and a synth solo cries on top. After a while guitar comes into prominence, as the track gradually comes to a close, ending with beautiful synthesizer strings.

"Woodwork" is a strong work that represents a fusion of Electronic Music and some aspects of Rock.

Artemi Pugachov