Sailor Winters - Blue Lines
Released: January 26
Following a long hiatus, Georgia-based experimental musician Sailor Winters returns with a new album that is complex and varied throughout its full runtime. The range of moods is quite impressive as each of the thirteen tracks on the album delve into different sonic territory with some being barely perceptible ambient drones that soothe the mind only to shift into fuzzed up noisescapes that grind the senses into a an uncomfortable state. Then, seemingly without warning, the listener is taken back into into tranquilizing tones. The back and forth dynamic is slightly disorienting but makes for a rather interesting bit of pacing of the course of the full-length listen.
Playing into this dynamic, the opening track, "Deluxe Girl and Her Cloves" is a metallic-percussion tinged ambient track soaking in haunting reverberation that drifts ever so slowly into the distance at the end, only to take us into "Tug Champion." This track is also something of a drone track that tacks on the distortion to a heavy degree, giving us our first taste of the lush noise that peppers the album. Then there are tracks such as "Byron" which gives us deep distorted bass drones that thunder along under industrialized synth tones that saw along in mechanically grated fashion. Shortly after, we get a suspiciously quiet moment with "Doll House," a track that is genuinely soft and subtle, but carries an uneasy air around it. It almost feels as though it is deceiving the listener into a false sense of security and the following track "Jardious" continues this deception with its soft trills and atmospherics. Then Winters hits us with the heavy distortion and doom aesthetics of "Portal of Ran," to bring that unease to fruition.
The entire album is full of these moments - moments of uneasy calm followed by harsh and chaotic scenes. It really is the strong suit of this album, but it is only made possible by the depth of variation in sound design at play. All the trills, ambiances, subtle reverberations, and powered manglings pull together to create an experience that keeps you wondering what is next.