Review ... actually this is more a "liner note" by Alan, and is included with the CD.
Anthony Paul Kerby (APK), a name by now familiar to ambient-space aficionados and Databloem adepts, here combines with Robert Davies to inaugurate the newly launched Blue Oasis label as The Winterhouse with their debut, Slow Promises. Davies’s work has, of course, received deserved patronage from APK, for whom he delivered three albums on sister label, DataObscura. His work already showed some affinities with that of APK’s The Circular Ruins and Lammergeyer projects, and their move to a joint venture seems entirely natural. On Slow Promises Davies’s honorary degree in ambient dronology shows itself to be worthy of the level of the masters like Grassow, Alio Die and Oöphoi. And APK, for his part, with the two artists operating remotely, makes a proficient Master of Ceremonies. Recipient and curator of Davies deliveries, he renders them as ground or field upon which to create larger sound tableaux, through editing, manipulating, and infusing them with own signature synth leads and pads, as well as sundry embroidery from his box of field recording tricks. His insertions are spread sparingly but purposefully over Davies’ fertile drone bed, piquing the ear’s interest with synthetic curlicues, minimal melodic motifs that rise out of the drone mulch, along with found sound embellishments. The outcome is an appreciable expansion of each artist’s palette of timbres. The Winterhouse comes to be far more than a soundspace in which a few droning loops are captured and set in motion to endlessly play out, hoping for the result to be declared a triumph of verticality and chronostasis. Previous works by these artists have been imbued with a sense of landscape, of a particular physical location, and The Winterhouse is no exception. The Winterhouse is partly visually mediated through the artwork as a desolate wintry field with a small copse. There is no house in the scene, since it is constructed through the music, becoming the location from which sometimes stark, sometimes distantly nostalgic views are offered. The environment is sonically woven into The Winterhouse’s musical fabric, its various pieces becoming depictive of a somewhat desolate, watery, and wintry topography. The music seems suggestive of a history of that place and its grounds, a place of seclusion and refuge at the same time, echoing with spectral voices from its past. It stands waiting to administer comfort and receive confidences from its visitors. There is consolation in containment in the contours of its interior, as though, through its walls and its floors, its alcoves and recesses, and their sudden shadows, it voices something heart-bound that cannot be articulated. More than just a series of space music-infused tone poems, Slow Promises strives to become a sonic envisioning of place, one that is meditative yet resonant, calm yet with traces of brooding, teeming with undercurrents beneath a surface stasis.