White Hinterland: One Last Winter Chill

White Hinterland i i

In "Icarus," White Hinterland's Casey Dienel makes beautiful music that's both somber and warm. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist
White Hinterland

In "Icarus," White Hinterland's Casey Dienel makes beautiful music that's both somber and warm.

courtesy of the artist

"Why must I always see the ending at the beginning?" Casey Dienel asks in "Icarus," a standout track from Kairos, the singer-songwriter's second album as leader of White Hinterland. It's a hook somber enough to match the deserted landscape she crafts throughout the piece, but it doesn't exactly qualify as pessimistic. Dienel, rather, seems more interested in evoking a space full of contrasts: Sharp gusts of wind cut across her canvas of deep bass drum hits and reverberant cross-sticking, only to be countered by the warmth of the organ and her own seraphic coos. It sounds like winter, sure enough, but the kind you might find on the edge of tundra, where the chills become a function of taking in the world rather than just a reflexive response to it.

Elsewhere on Kairos, Dienel's stylistic touchstones feel a bit more present (Broadcast, High Places, Dirty Projectors, et al), but "Icarus" serves as one of her purer expressions: The production feels spacious yet simple, with a set of samples embedded organically amongst the tune's main ingredients. (How many listens does it take to become conscious of the extra textures in the chorus, or even the little piano riff?) It's hypnagogic, certainly, but also transformative — these are the sort of reveries that can feed an appetite for wanderlust or make listeners ache for home, depending on the context.

Listen to yesterday's Song of the Day, and subscribe to the Song of the Day newsletter.

Purchase Featured Music

Kairos

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Kairos
Artist
White Hinterland
Label
Dead Oceans Records
Released
2010

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.