ALBUM REVIEW: LO RECORDINGS COMPILATION – WINTER BLANKET (VARIOUS ARTISTS)

Winter Blanket is a gentle and reflective compilation drawn from the archives of the Lo Recording label, put together by the multifaceted Ben Eshmade. Ben is the organiser and driving force behind the Daylight Music series of concerts at the Union Chapel in London and is also a journalist, podcaster, producer, French horn player and self-confessed seller of tea towels who also has his own show on Mixcloud. Ben says:

As 2020 neared its end I was kindly given the key to the Lo music archive. Walking down its long dusty digital corridors I started to pull out and examine those tracks which connected with me. I used this as an excuse to pick out perhaps some of the lesser-known moments or choose older music which deserved to be re-examined and admired afresh – old music made new” and “I have a real soft spot for the soulful, the spiritual, the dark and the transformative and also for the twinkle of bells ushering us from one year to another.

The tracks Ben has selected are perfect for keeping the twinkle of Christmas alive long after the last pine needle has dropped. This is music to slow time. Some of my highlights were the ethereal combination of bass and voice on ‘An Open Breath’ by Rothko and Caroline Ross, the susurration of looped bells on India Jordan’s ‘Rest’, the cavernous feel of time-stretched Christmas from Peter Broderick on ‘Family, Giving’, an old trip-hop favourite of mine: Red Snapper and the DJ Food remix of ‘Mambetty’ and the evocative Adrian Crowley mix of Grasscut’s ‘Snowdown’ which would easily grace the opening titles of any dark Scandinavian crime drama.

Winter Blanket could be the perfect accompaniment to a quiet Sunday morning of coffee and papers, or background music to help you focus when working from home or you could simply pop headphones on and bliss out lying on the sofa and after the bank account stretching month of December 17 tracks for £7 is a bargain that even pre-ghost Scrooge wouldn’t balk at.

Winter Blanket is available to buy on the Lo Recordings Bandcamp page

The latest show from Ben Eshmade’s Arctic Circle is available on Mixcloud here

A huge selection of archive performances from Daylight Music shows can be found on YouTube here (including acts Piney Gir, Kathryn Williams, North Sea Radio Orchestra and Deerful)  

See also Joyzine’s review of the 10th Anniversary of Daylight Music

Review by Paul F Cook

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