An artist of independent mind, Chuck van Zyl has sighted common goals with industry8, which has now released The Winter Wind (41:22) - the first vinyl LP project for both artist and label. Leaning into Spacemusic's expressive potential, Chuck van Zyl directs our attention inwardly - where it expands. Across two side-long aural odes to wind, frost, snowflakes and ice he generates meaning from an array of analogue and digital studio devices and instruments. Referencing classics of the Berlin-School, sounds and energy arise, combine, change and melt away - gradually, as all things sub-zero must.
Side A's In the Dull Soft Skies of Coming Snow (20:50) conjures ice, frost and snow, as well as a sense of scale. Navigating between tundral gloom and arctic brilliance the sequencer notes tumble one over another in echoing syncopation. The motoring pulse expands and contracts beneath lilting lead lines and gelid chords. Synthesized strings freeze and thaw, while silvery strains hold fast to the heart. This lovely electronic wandering sonifies the bold proportions of the wintertime, and electrifies the listener in its chilled charm. It seems for a season yet to come - further ahead than our own, but not too far removed.
The hibernal texture of Side B's On the Swift Howlings of the Winter Wind (20:32) are bright, crisp and clear, producing the feel of the confidently cold. As crystalline tones tinkle and twinkle under hovering reverberation, a slow storm forms a quiet force. Snowflakes chase along ten banks of sequencers - returning a vision as fresh as the new fallen snow. This magical boreal region of shining auroras and starlit melodies freezes time by inundating the mind with thought. Searching and contemplative, then striding into the deep, it achieves a satisfying, consistent level of creativity beyond the cold logic of the machines used to create it.
Whether describing the bareness of a vast tundral landscape or the complexity of an individual snowflake - The Winter Wind offers unique insight into our realm through the infinite perspectives of music. Finding our way into this work should be a familiar adventure. It has been made for a particular kind of listener - determined to collect unique feelings and enjoy each span of sonic spirit while it lasts. Chuck van Zyl believes that this kind of music has the potential to contain the world, and asks only that we please listen to his album, and the world, together.
- From the Press Release 7 May 2022