Review Summary: Black metal influenced electronic music that is utterly ambient that drifts from dreamy and relaxing into passages of complete nightmare.
Very little is known about Paysage d'Hiver, mainly due to the fact that there is no Wikipedia article, or other informative sites on the band that I was able to find. Otherwise the only hint on the background and nature of the band is by their picture. Since a picture represents a thousand words, focusing on it would give us a good idea on the character of the band and the music. Quite honestly this band’s picture is the best I’ve ever seen. It’s a normal winter’s day, the weather is grim and in the hill side a thing cloaked in black with a traditional cult posture posses in the distance. Awe-inspiring and rather creepy seems to be my initial impressions; obviously this one man project (I guess) is all about grim and macabre music, influenced by black metal no doubt.
The ultimate expression of dark or outer-space ambiance, however this can also be perceived as a painfully long snorfest. It all depends on one's state of mind. Ambient soundscapes, would be the rough description of this album, evoking majestic yet foreboding landscapes or taking you upon a journey to the far reaches of space. Initial listens might give the impression that absolutely nothing is going on, keyboards mimicking different instruments (horns) droning endlessly caught in an never-ending loop; musically there’s not a lot to work on, it’s the effect the music has that really brings the extra punch. Unfortunately for me and I’m probably not alone but this album takes more patience than I possess to sit through in its entirety, and even only one of the songs having a length of round about fifteen minutes is a high demand on my attention.
The album is a fine example of electronic and keyboard textures put in the sphere of black metal to date. The album is composed of three long tracks, both of which are utterly fascinating from start to finish. Einkehr begins with dirty industrial noises, then moves on with the sound of distant and sinister trumpets and horns, repeating the variations of a 2 bar phrase; the vastness of the song, as well as a feeling of your complete loneliness and sense of vulnerability, are but some of the feelings that make this album so intriguing. The second song Inneres Licht features space-like and ethereal, keys (I guess), repeating itself, creating this an immense atmosphere, that exudes from beginning to end, marinated this emotion. Kraft, the last song starts, similarly to the others with industrial drone with rhythmic electronic noises in the background. The dreary beat of drums becomes apparent as well as hauntingly dream-like keys accompanied by high-pitched bursts of sound, not too dissonant as to break the trance cast on you by the music, but dissonant and cringy nonetheless. This elevates into a soft form of distortion spattered with the fuzz of radios. The music then repeats with variation, and builds up to a climax.
And what's the result? A feeling of loneliness or disturbance, maybe a feeling of pity at having wasted two thirds of an hour of one's precious time. At the end of the day the verdict is still positive; this album when I’m in the mood of some atmosphere satisfies my drowsy state of mind. The only flaws have to be the length and the repetitiveness, which doesn’t really pose a problem as it would if this were a different type of music. Otherwise a rare type of album in the musical panorama that is worthy of much praise.