Winter Solstice


mammoth tusk ice skate

over cloudless tundra

eating snow and reindeer piss

preying for that shaman bliss

drumming violet vision

sturdy trunk division

connecting seven worlds

Weather-beaten time


Returns through crimson spread

Towering body Makes deepest twitching night young

Sliding on whirlpool dreams

Gallops decomposing transmutations away

Dark-cloaked ignition pillars

Move each creviced moment

Through farmer’s saw-toothed snores

Around infant whimpers

As goose and gander

Stand asunder

On yelping canal banks

Pieros 017 CD r             price: € 20, including shipping

review by John Kealy on Brainwashed dot com:

The nights are getting longer and we will soon be at the shortest day of the year

so it is just the right time to crack out Petr Vastl’s Winter Solstice. Lunar,

jet black and beautiful, this is one best realized works of Vastl’s in his career.

Beginning and ending in hushed reverence, he captures the strange vibes

and ethereal magic of that one special night and turns it into some of the most

beguiling music that bears the name Aranos.

Starting from almost nothing, Winter Solstice revolves around a gentle percussion

(sounding like rattling pebbles or shells) that follows a tidal pattern

as the sound ebbs and flows from the speakers. Throughout the piece, aranos adds

and removes layers as he works through his arsenal of instruments and styles.

An ominous bass appears sporadically during the first few minutes before a stark

but complex mixture of percussion instruments take the center stage. The feeling

of a listening in to a long-forgotten ritual

runs through the early stages of Winter Solstice before light cuts through the

darkness in the form of a seriously jolly bit of organ.

Aranos slowly weaves other motifs and styles through the ever-present pebbly

percussion (and the bulk of the album also featuring a soft ambient hum

reminiscent of “Sea Armchair” by Nurse With Wound). The sound of a saw on wood

provides an earthy aspect to the work; the visions of a woodsman stockpiling

firewood for the rest of winter coming to mind. Vastl’s trademark violin makes

a welcome appearance towards the end of Winter Solstice in an exciting but brief

and distant aside.

Winter Solstice is one of those albums where I reach the conclusion that familiar

as I am with an artist like aranos, his ability to surprise me surpasses his

already impressive musical talents. The sparse, haunting, and frankly gorgeous

music takes many of Vastl’s themes and ideas as Aranos and distils them into

this intoxicating work. Winter Solstice goes beyond a seasonal novelty to be

played only once a year; this music gets deep into the psyche and has been

reverberating in my skull hours after the CD-R stops spinning.