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Declining Winter - Belmont Slope

  by Keith How

published: 14 / 1 / 2019

Declining Winter - Belmont Slope
Label: Home Assembly
Format: CD


Captivating and haunting ambience on latest album fom the Declining Winter, the project of former Hood member Richard Adams

In a moment of sublime synchronicity my first listen to the Declining Winter is on an atmospheric December afternoon with the late afternoon sunlight slowly fading into the oncoming evening. From the opening notes of 'My Divided World' I was captivated by the sheer beauty of this album. The first three tracks are ghostly sepia-tinged tone poems. Gently played guitars, hazy vocals and melodic basslines form compositions that are totally hypnotic. A ghostly brass section inhabits 'Break The Elder' like some forgotten West Yorkshire brass band providing an unexpected warmth to the lo-fi pastoralism. 'Near Garden' completes the opening trilogy of tunes and keeps the same vibe . The title track 'Belmont Slope' changes the mood in so much as you find yourself in a gorgeous ambient atmosphere complete with angelic choir and a looped descending chord sequence. Another shift in atmosphere follows with 'Twilight Rating' containing all the hallmarks of a chill out classic. An insistent beat throbs underneath swirling atmospherics and minimal vocals. I am reminded of Berlin-based Wolfgang Voight’s ambient techno 'GAS' project. 'Wincing Quietly' is mesmeric and pulsating while 'Later and Later' returns to the recurring melancholic post-folk vibe before another switch of mood of the atmospheric 'Still Harbour Hope', an eight minute ethereal journey of epic ambient mastery. A little research into the origins of the Declining Winter reveals that the band are the brainchild of Richard Adams, formerly of post rock outfit Hood, and is based in West Yorkshire. This is an album of such magnitude I am left scratching my head as to how earlier works have passed me by unnoticed. Top quality work.

Track Listing:-
1 My Divided World
2 Break The Elder
3 Near Garden
4 Belmont Slope
5 Twilight Rating
6 Wincing Quietly
7 Later and Later Indeed
8 Still Harbour Hope
9 I Will Never Lose Your Heart

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Haunt the Upper Hallways (2009)
Familiar-sounding, but also fresh and inventive second album from the Declining Winter, the side project of Hood member Richard Adams

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