This is probably the most successful album that I have heard in regard to capturing the atmosphere and ideas that are represented by the album title, song names, and the bands main theme (winter). The album is musically extremely unremarkable, sometimes even reminding of extremely simple melodies that one would play when just tinkering on a keyboard. The mastery here is in the huge flowing arrangements, the trance like repetition, and the production which makes the atmosphere feel cold, brittle, and thin. If you are familiar with black metal musicians attempts at ambient, then rest assured this is not another Daudi Baldrs, this is an amazing experience to behold.
Paysage d"Hiver is often defined as dark ambient, but the actual production is not dense or bleak, but actually quite light. It cuts out the mids very much to make the highs stand out as very crisp and pristine, which in turn helps to give the listener a way to interpret the melody in the context of a cold surrounding. The focus here is on overall sound, not on specific synth lines, and chords will often drone for very long and blend with other chords, creating a very layered wall of sound at times. At other moments chime like melodies will be repeated to allow the listener to familiarize themselves with the melody and then draw different images and interpretations out of it.
This brings me to an important point. If the individual listening to this cares little for the natural world, or for trying to achieve a higher sense of understanding, then I doubt this album will be of much use to the listener. The music ultimately serves as a way of being able to reflect on ones ideas and on our natural environment. On a more simple level, the music would only give a calming background environment for work, and it's greater potential would be overlooked.
The theme of the album is winter, and it is the usual theme with Wintherr's work. He does not however use the wind effects common on other Paysage releases to help enhance the atmosphere. There are absolutely no sound effects on this release, and the resulting atmosphere is all the more impressive since it is being solely made by the arrangements and melodies of this man. By arrangements I do not mean structures, for this music is impossible to interpret in a verse - chorus context, but rather the way that melodies transition, and melodic voices interact with one another throughout the music.
In a way this music is a form of escapism, for it enables us to create our own worlds from the music. But it is also deeply rooted in reality, for it allows the listener to reflect on themselves. All the more amazing that it asks so much of us while saying so little itself.