Various Artists ~ Camp Blue Pines

cbpTake a walk with Sparkwood Records into Camp Blue Pines. You’ll soon find yourselves entranced by this frosty realm, where the white snow covers the ground and the leafy canopies are lit up in a series of strange, beautiful colours. This is a misty, majestic place with plenty of secrets.

Flocks of birds echo through the sky, and a low mist mysteriously drapes the woods in its grey cloak of secrecy. Hidden coves wait to be discovered, and strange scratches appear, engraved on bark; there’s something otherworldly about this place.

The hulking trees are like guardians, giving rise to equally elongated and slightly warped shadows, and they bend in the wintry wind. “We Died That Night” sets an eerie tone, and that comes to define the rest of the compilation. Stories that were once buried in myth morph into historic fact. A cello springs out of the soil, growing like a wildflower, and the shrieks of strange birds sit “Between the Peaks”. The high trees of “Nevergreen” make room for a quiet and eerie clearing populated by icy apparitions. The slow, wintry music is on its own in an isolated world, its lonely footsteps plodding through clumps of deep snow.

An eerie vibe permeates “Owls at My Window”. Outside, the ruffling feathers are a hypnotic, startling rhythm. An owl sits in the tree, staring into the cabin…or is this just a mask, a disguise? The wide, unseeing eyes are as black as deepest space, not so much tweeting the answer but telepathically whispering its silent secrets. Over the decades, owl appearances have been linked with UFO sightings and other close encounters, and strange things are happening here. Like the American election, truth is a stanger imagining than fiction. Synth-washed melodies lead into “Fire Watch With Me”; the light brushes and the trickling piano are lost in the warped town of Twin Peaks. A trickling melody mirrors Angelo Badalamenti‘s original theme, the light brushes puffing out a smoky type of jazz.

A subdued guitar plays through the apt “We Survived The Winter”, knowing in its heart that the world has reached a tipping point where it might not even make it to next Monday. The atmosphere is best represented by the final track, “Among Soil and Stumps at Midnight”. Sometimes, shelter is the best course of action. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to wait for the end. Camp Blue Pines provides you with that retreat, but the strange lights continue to shine into the forest, glowing like midnight torches. The new visitors are arriving. (James Catchpole)

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