Alternative music reviews

January 9, 2003

The Winter Hills by Daniel Patrick Quinn

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And now for something completely different. Here at ‘Alternative Rock Review’, we deal mostly with guitars and contemporary rock, so when I put on ‘The Winter Hills’ I was awash with cello, violin, trumpet and a very English sounding voice. This is ideal for lying back, relaxing and letting the music take over, entering a new world, one in which I imagine similar to Toiken’s Lord Of The Rings – folk-inspired, traditional organic music. The opening title track and ‘Pathways’ on CD1 are steeped in natural ambience that continues for the album’s whole duration.

The solo artist, Daniel Patrick Quinn, a 22 year old singer/musican/producer from Lancashire, England who states in his press release that no computers were used, with emphasis on the ambience of the music rather than the rhythm on his debut release. To illustrate this point, the album is a double release with only 9 tracks in total. It’s difficult to review the tracks separately because the album is greater than the sum of it’s parts, no track stands out from the rest, each creating a texture to the mood and dreamy state induced. If forced to pick a stand-out at gun-point, ‘Towards The Sun’ on CD2 is a rather unsettling drone with clanging percussion that creates layers of paranoia.

But what I found most intriguing was the bonus third CD ‘Jura’ containing one track of an hour-long drone that Daniel kindly included. No structure, no melody, no beat, this is pure and utter minimal ambient drone, fantastic instrumental background music.

This is as far away from pre-packaged, formulated, MTV force-fed “product” you can get, as ‘The Winter Hills’ is a rather pleasant oddity with captivating landscapes and long drones that dig into the brain. Rather soothing, but with a hint of menace within the textures.

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Review by Nick Collings

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