Bleeding Heart Narrative & Gosia Winter - Wire and String

Chris Tapley 31/08/2009

Rating: 4/5

Collaborations, especially those done via the magic of new technology and without the participants ever having actually met one another have the potential of being disastrous. Thankfully the meeting of London's Bleeding Heart Narrative and Australian art pop songstress Gosia Winter manages to avoid this by some distance.

Wire and String is somewhat of a surreal album, it's simultaneously dream like and yet quite nightmarish. The majority of the tracks built over distant, sometimes swelling, drones with disparate instrumentation. These ambient bases do serve the songs with a dreamy quality, but they're often broken up only by discordant piano clunks, sparse harp and Gosia Winter's breathy vocals, which are at once gleeful and naïve as well as slightly sinister. This, when combined with the unfamiliar nature of some of the instruments used adds up to create an often unsettling atmosphere. Despite these contradicting vibes, Wire and String is an album that brings an instant smile to my face, even from the very opening notes. It's a bit of a special record really, seemingly meandering in its approach. It appears to just throw notes in wherever it fancies, mixing styles and genre with scant regard for convention and although it might not always quite come off as hoped, it's worth it just to go along for the journey

For the most part it really does work though, one particular example being Right Moon, with its delicate piano and slow staccato drums slowly building momentum whilst austere strings swell in the background. The layered witching vocals of Amen Oh My are also a treat, with a spiralling drone in the background, this is a perfect example of the haunting vibe which often emerges throughout the course of the record. This track also exhibits what I found to be one of the most endearing aspects of the album, where they seem happy to allow this feeling of dread to fester, confounding the expectation that something more ought to happen before the end of the track. The experience, the feeling that it provides is enough and there doesn't really need to be any kind of final destination for a song with such character.

The minimalism of the music gifts much of the attention to Winter's haunting falsetto, and she exhibits herself here as an excellent vocal and lyrical talent worth keeping an eye out for. The spacious production helps to achieve this, each instrument seemingly existing on its own plane, given room to breathe, still being able to intersect one another but never getting tangled inextricably. There's only really one occasion on which things go a bit wrong. Firefly sees Winter push her childlike glee to breaking point, and with her high pitched vocals screeching through the speakers it's really the only point at which you could refer to the album as perhaps being a little self indulgent. Something that in different hands, it could so easily have been throughout. It's probably the least interesting and most repetitive track on the album, musically speaking as well.

Despite this momentary lapse in quality though these two artists meld together as though they were meant for one another, creating an intriguing album of startling originality and beauty in the process. We can only hope that they decide to work together again in the future.

Bleeding Heart Narrative Myspace