dreamSTATE vs Heiki :: The North Shore (Paper+Sound)

There is great beauty in the fact that though evoking such a variety of winter conditions, there is never a sharp edge or crusty ridge. Permafrost is the permaculture of the Canadian mind and The North Shore captures its essence.

In her book Survival, Margaret Atwood popularized the notion of the “garrison mentality,” the effect the vast northern wilderness had on the Canadian psyche and its creative writers. The unimaginable expanse makes us nervous, which is why most of us hunker down close to the American border. Which of course engenders a whole other kind of discomfort.

Gazing north from Toronto, dreamSTATE (Scott M2 and Jamie Todd) and Heiki Sillaste (last heard from about four hours’ drive north of the city on his bubbly, summery Sauna Porch Recordings Co.) got together in January of 2012 to share deep winter thoughts in preparation for two separate projects. Listening to what they had jammed together, Sillaste felt they had the makings of a coherent, thematic album. Scott M2 mixed down three tracks, while Sillaste and collaborator Kris Hellstrom mixed the epic, forty-minute centerpiece, “Ice Flow.”

The resulting suite is giddily, irresistibly, classic ambient space music. “Snow Drifter” sets a graceful, snowflake tone while “Expedition,” though buffeted by gusting winds, stands firm in frozen wonder. Patiently rolling, “Ice Flow” describes the vast wilderness beyond and the incomprehensible firmament above, both twinkling unanswerably at each other. Warmly analogue even as it chills, every nuance bouncing off the white is captured. Every now and again, a flying saucer passes through the rustling curtain of northern lights. Pale “Winter Light” shines just above the horizon until The North Shore recedes into darkness.

There is great beauty in the fact that though evoking such a variety of winter conditions, there is never a sharp edge or crusty ridge. Permafrost is the permaculture of the Canadian mind and The North Shore captures its essence.

The North Shore is available on Paper+Sound. [Release page]

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