Yellow6: When The Leaves Fall Like Snow (Make Mine Music, 2008)

by Brent

Yellow6 When The Leaves Fall Like SnowJon Attwood is one of the most prolific ambient artists on the scene. Hailing from the U.K., and recording under the familiar moniker of Yellow6, Attwood has tirelessly released seemingly dozens of CD’s, EP’s, and digital downloads over the last few years. More amazingly, each of his releases is high quality music, featuring layers of echoing guitar gliding gracefully over somber electronic beats. And, through the years, listeners have been able to chart Attwood’s growth as an artist, witnessing him experiment with new sounds, song structures, and other variations on his already well-defined dark, pensive sound.

Yet, despite his already brilliant canon of music, Attwood outdoes himself on his latest double CD release, When The Leaves Fall Like Snow. Inspired by and recorded during an extended visit during  the cool autumn and harsh winter of Stolkholm, Sweden, When The Leaves Fall Like Snow is Yellow6’s most focused, minimalist, and perhaps even most gorgeous release yet. The electronic percussion prevalent on other Yellow6 releases is mostly gone, leaving only thin layers of pristine guitar atmospherics to guide the listener through the darkest and coldest months of Scandinavia. Disc One (“Fall”) of the release especially captures this mood, as long, wispy guitar lines hover just within the consciousness of the listener. The elongated tracks, like the opener “Still Water”, draw the listener to a relaxed, if not slightly unnerving state, as Attwood deftly combines dissonant sounds with more the immaculate faint guitars lines. The title track combines a Windy & Carlesque approach to chiming and echoed guitar lines, while incorporating washes of dark drones and light electronics, to create an otherworldly listening experience. Meanwhile, “Street Writing” is a track with less movement, as it features delicately-crafted droning guitars that give the effect of a wintry landscape settled under layers of muffling snow.

Disc Two (“Further”) features more of the same kind of approach to music as the first disc, but the tracks a little shorter, a little more involved, and a little more hopeful. “Everything Changes” displays a warmth in the guitars sounds chosen that create the sense of a glimmer of light peaking through the clouds in late winter. “Norwest Passage” features a subtle but engaging melody dancing over a masterful done base. Meanwhile, “Magasin2”, with yet another subtle, warm melody that slowly envelops the listener.

Indeed, as with all other Yellow6 releases I’ve heard, it’s not fair to pick out certain tracks to review, because each and every track is special on When The Leaves Fall Like Snow. Whether the track features a gorgeous guitar line under a distant drone, or whether a track yields a shimmer of hope through a distinct and fluid melody, each track reveals the beauty and attention to detail that Yellow6 has consistently delivered throughout his career. And, by focusing in on the ever-fascinating notion of winter, seasonal change, and melancholy, Yellow6 has scored with When The Leaves Fall Like Snow the first great ambient release of 2008, and possibly the most sublimely enjoyable CD of his career. Highly recommended!

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