This edition of Edges of Dreaming celebrates the Winter Solstice. It is the darkest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Some of us look inward (those that are not caught up in the holiday shopping frenzy), sip soup and warm drinks, delight in home arts and each other’s company, and other such winter activities. For some, it is a dark night of the soul as well, being afflicted by the missing sun, affected by loneliness, reminded of friends and family who have crossed the rainbow bridge…

And yet.

And yet, starting tomorrow, the sun begins to return to us, so it is also a time of hope and looking forward.

The first part of the program brings us tracks that were suggested or offered by artists as being relevant to the topic, from previous releases.

Most of this episode is devoted to the most recent challenge, where artists were to create tracks that felt to them like darkest winter. There were no other constraints. The results, as usual, are both varied and beautiful. Enjoy!

As usual, the challenge tracks are offered as an album on our Bandcamp shop: http://radiospiral.shop.

The winter tracks

The idea of this piece is the Changing of the Seasons (thus, the title of the whole). Each season has a transition into and out of its characteristics, so each piece is composed of three separate ideas/themes that move from one to the other. Each season can be played separately, or if all together in any order consistent with the moving of the seasons. 

George L Smyth

The challenge tracks – Edges of Solstice

“Create a track that sounds like the deepest part of winter and that also welcomes the return of the light”

As another year draws to a close, I sit and watch the fading light as a gale blows outside and the rain lashes against the window pane. Exactly what winter is like here.

Actually, apart from the rain and wind, winter for me has always been the sound of rooks and crows. There’s something quite atmospheric about their calls and remind me of misty winter mornings looking across fields to the woodlands.

Then one rainy morning, a robin sat on our garden fence and sang with all his might. Through the grey downpour, a little spark of red in full throttle glory was a joy to hear and a sonic light in the darkness.

Crows gather, thunder rumbles, and the synth patterns combine to not only represent raindrops but also the passing of time in a repetitive motion. Amongst this, electronic birds sing out, after all, birds are also the harbingers of a future spring. Finally, shafts of light break through the sound.

“Rainbirds” is for me a representation of a very English winter.

Odette Johnson
Museleon http://www.museleon.com

The story behind this track is of a spaceman left on the moon, whose oxygen is running out. He wants to see his home world one last time. The drum part begins slowly at first and then speeds up as the astronaut’s air is depleted.

Playman54 (Colin Blake)

For me, the solstice (summer or winter) is a slow time where little as changing. I’ve tried to capture that feeling with this music.

The piano heard here is an ancient upright Steinway piano in the Adirondacks in New York. It hasn’t been played in a while so has a unique character, soft, warm but a little rough and out of tune.

I’m planning to create an entire album around the Adirondack piano.

Bing Satellites (Brin Coleman)

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