Berlinist
The Winter Hexagon


4.5
superb

Review

by EclipseInYourEyes USER (2 Reviews)
August 13th, 2019 | 3 replies


Release Date: 02/01/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A record too precious to be the only one in the register of a group that is sadly focussing on creating OSTs now

Every now and then you'll come across some lucky pick while surfing randomly on Youtube, getting accurate recommendations on Spotify or just by browsing and/or interacting on this wonderful site. Well, this one is an exception - at least for me.

Berlinist is a group of people from Barcelona, Spain. Before releasing this masterpiece, they uploaded a handful of songs on bandcamp from 2012 to 2015. However, after "The Winter Hexagon" they have focussed on doing soundtracks for movies and video/mobile games, which (at least as far as I know) are far from being any popular.
That was until a small Spanish video game studio created the indie game "Gris" and released it in December 2018 - a colorful and astonishing little game with wonderful art, which soon became quite popular, mostly because of the handcrafted art style and the beautiful atmosphere. That's where Berlinist come into play.
I was listening to the soundtrack of a game I was playing at that time called "Transistor", which by the way has also a really great soundtrack (made by Darren Korb). When the video finished, I wanted to browse some video game soundtracks and after some skips I saw Gris and remembered the hype that was built around it. I haven't played it yet, but - damn! - the soundtrack instantly caught me off guard. I finally discovered Berlinist and music levitated to a whole new level of beauty for me.

The Winter Hexagon consists mostly of classical instruments underlined by a standard drum set and a few electronical effects. Nothing special so far. The magic happens in the way the instruments are layered, timed and played. They know when to start, when to end and when to keep it low. On this record, nothing will be in the foreground jumping in your face - not even the vocals by both the male and the female vocalists. Every instrument is played in a rather warm, "soft and soothing" way, even the drums, and this makes you wanna spin this gem again and again just to discover another violin that has been playing so quietly, you nearly haven't noticed. This record never even comes close to being loud, pushy or obtrusive and at the same time it won't get boring either, because there is so much to discover. You can listen to it while dozing away or just sitting there with your headphones on and paying attention to every little detail, you don't even want to eat something because the noise would distract you.

As if that is not enough, Berlinist also released an instrumental version of this album. Right until this very point, I am still not sure which version of the record I love more. One big reason for this are the song structures that don't come in your standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus-orwhatever way of writing.

That being said, there are two minor "flaws" that keeps this record from a 5. The first one is that none of the songs stands out in a memorable way, like (for example) for using a instrument or a certain way of playing that all the other songs are missing. It's not like all the songs sound the same. They don't. But being a big fan of variety, I for one would appreciate little aspects of songs that make them stand out. On the other hand is the sound of "The Winter Hexagon" very organic and the individual songs blur totally smoothly into one beautiful playthrough.
The second flaw is the lack of really technical playing, which I usually dig and also need to fully appreciate a record. But then again, this record is comparably slow and relaxed and playing in a technical sophiticated way often (not always though) means playing fast - something that would totally destroy the overall mood and atmosphere of this.

In my humble opinion, this is genuinely the best record for you if you are searching for something exciting to relax to and especially if you are into neo classical stuff like Poppy Ackroyd or post rock in the likes of Behind the Shadow Drops and Low Roar . Give yourself a break, lay down, listen to this and try to fight the feeling of comfort and safety along with the urge to sleep, because you are so relaxed. I dare you.


user ratings (3)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
EclipseInYourEyes
August 13th 2019


732 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So...my first review. Never thought I would write one because I am not a native speaker but this gem clearly needs way more attention

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
August 14th 2019


9819 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice first review, glad you've decided to give it a try. This was solid overall except for a few technical things, but considering you're not a native speaker that's fine. ex: "This record comes never even close..." should be 'never even comes close.' There's also little stuff like "verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus-orwhateverIhavenoideaaboutmusic" that don't really come across as humorous, but rather a lack of confidence. It's YOUR review... own it!



In terms of content, a lot of the writing is spent on how you discovered this rather than the actual content. There's nothing wrong with some background info, and I like what you provided, but I'd recommend giving the edge to the musical side of things; describing that, as evidenced by your last paragraphs, seems to be something you're good at.



Food for thought, hope this helps.

Digging: The Offering - Home

EclipseInYourEyes
August 17th 2019


732 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

aye, thank you so much mate! I worked in your thoughts and added an additional paragraph regarding the minor downsides of this. Wrote the first version of this in 1-2 hours on an evening, uploaded it and was thinking about how to make it better since then.

Writing a review is actually pretty cool. But all the records I wanted to write about already had some nice reviews and I wanted to start with something I totally dig and isn't represented enough on this site yet. Might even considering doing one for The St. Pierre Snake Invasion next.



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