Long before self icelation (see what I've done there...?) became popular, Jon Buckland and I formed a support bubble and headed off to a remote cabin somewhere near Kuusamo, Finland, during December 2014. The reason for such a seemingly obscure trip was to record some music in-situ, the follow up to 'Winter's City', inspired by a visit to Helsinki a few years before. The place was truly a winter wonderland; snowbound, very little daylight, and with a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis.
The experience was enjoyable, and I don't recall any overt attempts to kill or maime one another. However we both felt the impact of the remoteness, cold, and dark. A serious vodka miscalculation did not help matters—one instance where less definitely did not turn out to be more, or barely even 'enough'.
The music we made surprised us. Although we did not have any intentions as to the sound, or form it should take, we both felt that what emerged was an expression of connecting with the spirit of place, and accurately evokes our experience. Any descriptions of the sound itself would be much better left to Jon (wordsmith extraordinaire, with particular focus on music, and film). Within only very minor edits and additions once back in the U.K, it was mastered by the living legend that is James Plotkin. "Arriving without any set intentions as to style, form or theme, what emerged was a naturally unfolding response to the landscape, and subsequent experience of remoteness. At times the music dwells in an interior space, comforting respite from the unforgiving temperatures, yet confining. On other occasions the sound is more reflective of an unfamiliar vastness, which was found to be both wondrous and disconcerting at once. The landscape liminal, and with defining features nulled by snow." (2015).
We have often threatened to return to Finland, it seems that a trilogy of Finnish recordings is what needs to be done. Six years have elapsed and we did not manage to form any plans during this time, but who knows, perhaps a sense of post-pandemic urgency will shuffle this higher in our priorities.
You can listen and download here. . . https://andrewvphillips.bandcamp.com/album/pale-ground