“Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Mark Twain’s statement is true in one sense, but false in another. We may not be able to change the weather, but we can change our reactions, something Grzegorz Bojanek accomplishes on Warm Winter Music. The album was written as a response to an extremely unusual winter, which covered most of North America in snow while leaving Europe relatively warm and dry. (And who can forget the springlike temperatures at the Winter Olympics?) In New York, 2014 was the year that cancelled out another famous saying, “in like a lion, out like a lamb”, as five inches of snow fell on the last day of March. But composing in Poland, all Bojanek could do was imagine a winter that never seemed to arrive. “In order to remember this warm winter,” he writes, “I felt like recording some warm sounds.” The tape fits snugly in the pocket like an extra pair of mittens or sunglasses.
Side A, “Sometimes It’s Sunny In Winter”, is the colder side, despite the artist’s intention. Beginning with a static wind and the crunch of boots on snow (and where did he get the snow?), the track adds a sound like chalk or the rubbing together of hands before a slow drone begins to rise. The electronics kick in, dancing around the field recordings like snowflakes around dust modes. When the guitar enters, it sparkles on the sonic ripples like the sun upon a lake. The electronics pile up in stutters like snowdrifts, lending the track a sense of accumulation. As our friends at Headphone Commute would say, this is “Music for Watching the Snow Fall Slowly in the Moonlight”: pure, clean, evocative. In terms of timbre, the track seems like the direct follow-up to 2012’s Remaining Sounds, although 2013’s Constraints was released in between.
“Why Is It So Warm?” is the amusing title for the B-side. (We all know the answer, but admire the wide-eyed question.) Of course, certain parties in the States insist that their cold weather stands as sound evidence against global warming, since the weather in the United States is obviously the final argument. Bojanek breaks out the instrument box, making good use of the flute in the second half. The track is a friendly ode to a forgotten season, a painted winter that looks different from the real thing. The implication is that Bojanek misses the classic winter, despite its potential to wreak havoc. Meanwhile, back in the States, The Weather Channel is rethinking its choice to start naming winter storms, having pushed up against the final letter of the alphabet. The season may mean different things to different people, but winter lovers will likely agree on one thing: this intercontinental, seasonal meditation is worth having in any collection. (Richard Allen)