Tucker Winstanley has a good amount of experience with sound design and that certainly seems apparent on his recent release Woolgathering. The music to me fits into the contemporary classical and ambient category. It’s often beautiful, haunting and is all about the nuance and detail. It felt like music that needs to be listened to with a set of headphones to fully feel what it’s trying to do.
The first track is entitled “being above and at some distance” and I would like to start with an analogy. Our universe when you look at it on its smallest scale is made of atoms, electrons, quarks and more. We can’t observe them with the naked eye but using the scientific method we have confirmed their existence with an extremely high probability. That’s what “being above and at some distance” sounded like to me. Tiny fluctuations of sound that dance in patterns of chaos and order.
“Molt” is another song that feels like we are hearing sound at a more fundamental level. It’s somewhat spiritual hearing music like this because of the sense of stillness it creates. At times “Molt” sounds like what Sigur Rós might sound like if they took away the guitars, vocals and bass.
“Ebb” is another track that brings about this quality. It does ebb and flow. The sounds are again meditative and feel cosmic. “Woolgathering” is the centerpiece at ten-plus-minutes long and also the first time you get a sense there is a human creating these sounds with a microphone. The track begins with lightly picked guitar but morphs a number of times. The song turns into something epic and becomes a beautiful mass of distortion, dissonance and swells. In my mind's eye the imagery was something akin to a new dawn. Last up is “Recital” which is warm and brings with it a sense of solace. It’s brief and fades away.
Artists similar to this such as Fennesz, Tiim Hecker and Ben Luckas Boysen have the ability to almost completely remove ego. Winstanley has that same ability. Music like this isn’t about an image or brand or even about a person. It goes deeper. All of us are trying to find ways to transcend if only for a minute before we go about our busy lives. Music like this can assist with that but you really have to listen to find the treasure.
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