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Red Horses of the Snow - Red Horses of the Snow

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 28 / 11 / 2011

Red Horses of the Snow - Red Horses of the Snow
Label: Flashback Records
Format: CD


Occasionally breathtaking if repetitive New Order-influenced pop on debut album from electronic duo, Red Horses of the Sbow

Initial impressions of this, the debut album from visual artist/musician Chris Hawtin and producer/musician Mark Burgess, are of New Order playing on a cloud floating a few miles over your head and this, ‘Territories’ is the resulting sound. While there’s no doubt that Mark Kozelek (Red House Painters) is also a major influence of this duo, it’s the sound of New Order that dominates. The whole album sounds like a dream, one you probably wouldn’t want to wake up from in a hurry no doubt, and it works quite well. The lyrics, written by Chris Hawtin, are oblique at times although never less than interesting, but for those who don’t want to go reading too much into other people’s lyrics when it’s obvious you’ll never understand totally where the author is coming from, there’s still much to be enjoyed here in the sound that the duo produce. ‘Territories’ is one of those albums where even on tracks like ‘Rosemary’s Song’ where the vocals add much to the texture and atmosphere of the song, the instrumentation can transport you to another, more inviting place. It’s all about the overall sound. ‘From the Air’, one of the best songs on the album, mixes those New Order influences with the sound of Trembling Blue Stars to create a kind of shoegaze-lite. It’s not as bad as it sounds, in fact despite the dream like quality of the songs, the album, taken as a whole, is quite an uplifting experience. Some songs stand up on their own but ‘Territories’ should really be taken in one sitting to be fully appreciated. It’s very much a chill-out experience; one of those albums which you want to listen to alone on headphones and lose yourself in the music. ‘The Cyclic’, where the duo are at their dreamiest, is a modern piece of psychedelia which although far from the most immediate song on the album is one of the most rewarding. The production on this particular song (the duo produced and mixed the whole album) is outstanding,. There is this wall of sound but every instrument, even the vocals, are clear. It’s not a wall of sound where everything is mixed in together, every noise is discernable. There are moments of pure beauty scattered throughout these songs. ‘Screens’ is the best vocal performance on ‘Territories’. Sgain listening to it is like living out a dream, and the parts where the duo sing practically unaccompanied are breathtaking. It’s one of those songs that leaves you wanting more. ‘Territories’ is not for everyone. Many will find it too samey to give it the time needed to fully appreciate what the duo are doing ,but if you want to lose yourself in music that rewards with repeated listening then you could do a lot worse than give ‘Territories’ an hour of your time.

Track Listing:-
1 Airborne
2 Santa Irini
3 Siam
4 Rosemary's Song
5 From the Air
6 The Cyclic
7 Screens
8 The Privateer
9 Love Song of Howard Hughes

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