White Willow – Animal Magnetism (digital single)

20 02 2015

Animal Magnetism is the firswhite-willowt new music from Norway’s prog heavyweights White Willow since the wonderful Terminal Twilight album in 2011. The single is a cover of a song from German heavy rock band, The Scorpions.

Jacob Holm-Lupo and co have replaced the rock guitar of the original song with pulsating hard synthesizer sequences for the most part. The synths remind me a little of Tangerine Dream and the song serves as a fine tribute to Tangerine Dream’s founding member, Edgar Froese, who passed away in January.

Norwegian singer Venke Knutson makes her White Willow debut on this track, and has slotted in seamlessly straight away. The vocals in White Willow songs are usually very much to the forefront, but for this song, they are heavily treated and sit much deeper in the mix than is usual, which suits the claustrophobic, M83 on acid feel.

Don’t think for a moment that White Willow have watered down the song, it’s still very powerful, and the lyrics are very direct. Sirens and deep bass notes give a feeling of alarm, and the middle section of the song has a wild clarinet solo from David Krakauer.

This feels like a real departure from White Willow – and I can’t wait to hear the new album that’s due later in 2015. The album will apparently be part 1 of a 2 part concept album – so don’t be surprised if the prog returns with a vengeance. Welcome back White Willow.

Listen to a stream of the song below – and if you like it, buy the single on one of the links.

Buy Future Hopes – the new White Willow album, that includes Animal Magnetism  on Amazon.

Read the full review for Future Hopes





White Willow – Terminal Twilight

28 10 2011

White Willow - "Terminal Twilight"I must admit, I’d not heard any of this Norwegian band’s music before, though I did buy the Night Blooms album by The Opium Cartel (another project from White Willow’s Jacob Holm-Lupo) but I was keen to hear the album due to the involvement of no-man’s Tim Bowness on the track Kansas Regrets.

The album appears to be based on an end-of-the world concept (a progressive concept album, oh no I hear you cry!), but it works well. Yes, it’s a very progressive album, awash with retro synths, mellotrons and shifting time signatures, all trademark progressive tools, but it’s also made up of some very strong songs and one of the best productions I’ve heard so far this year.

The albums second track Snowswept is driven by a powerful drum track and a crystal-clear vocal from the bands singer, Sylvia Erichsen.  The third track is co-written by Tim Bowness, who takes over lead vocal duties on Kansas Regrets.  The most acoustic, and at the same time probably the least progressive sounding track on the album, Kansas Regrets is a highlight nonetheless.

“Those country boys just left you cold
The local girls they acted old.”

The track features some gorgeous vocal harmonies and lovely harmonics scattered amongst the guitar playing.  Have a listen to the full song in the video below, which was  filmed, edited and directed by Dion Johnson.

If you are a fan of Bowness or no-man, Kansas Regrets will probably be the track that appeals to you straight away.  If you have any appreciation of progressive music, and the wide, colourful musical palette used in this genre, Terminal Twilight will quickly become one of your most cherished albums.

Red Leaves is streamed in full on the White Willow website – I’ve added a link below.

Red leaves by White Willow

There are times (especially on this track) when I’m reminded of Jeff Wayne’s War of The Worlds album from 1978, though the story on the White Willow album is told through the lyrics and the music only, no need for narration and so thankfully no appearances from David Essex required!  Some wonderful Gilmouresque guitar solos round off Red Leaves.

Floor 67 is fast becoming my favourite track on the album.  The lyrics really set the mood on this track, and capture the feeling of isolation and despair, as the apocalyptic weather destroys all in its wake, whilst the subjects of the song try to ride out the storm living in their own world, stocked up with alcohol in a high-rise building.

“But we stayed on through the winter
As the empire crashed and burned
And we heard the world grow quiet
And the voice on the radio said its goodbye.”

The chorus is very moving and I love the way the song ends, with snatches of ghostlike voices, almost like lost radio transmissions.

The mostly instrumental Natasha of the Burning Woods leads into the longest track on Terminal Twilight, the 13 minute Searise, the heaviest track on the album, which lyrically hints at the outcome of the song subjects quest for survival. Terminal Twilight closes with A Rumour of Twilight, a drone / acoustic guitar led instrumental piece.

So a new group for me to investigate, and a surprising contender to become one of my favourite albums of 2011.

Tracklisting:

Hawks Circle the Mountain
Snowswept
Kansas Regrets
Red Leaves
Floor 67
Natasha of the Burning Woods
Searise
A Rumour of Twilight

Buy Terminal Twilight at Amazon UK
Buy Terminal Twilight at Amazon US
Buy Terminal Twilight from The Burning Shed

http://www.whitewillow.info/








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