Proserpine Teresa Winter

Limited to 300 Black VInyl

£18.00

Circular patterns morphing through time, loop and ritual form the fabric of Proserpine, the latest work by Leeds-based musician, Teresa Winter. Recorded from a summer to a winter through 2021 and 2022, Proserpine is Winter’s most cohesive, focused music to date: confidently revelling in space, fixating on isolated sounds and giving way to satisfying, swirling waves of vocal and electronic buzz. Proserpine is Teresa Winter’s debut recording for Glasgow-based label, Night School.

On Proserpine, musical patterns revolve and intersect with each other, transmogrifying the music’s narrative. Over-arching themes emerge: continual change, elusiveness. Insubstantiality emerges into concrete reality in the form of recognisable field recordings: the purring of a pet cat, the hum of a live cable. The loops and patterns are sometimes just out of sight, the click and whirl on Child Of Nature is the backdrop to hymnal vocalisations by Winter, who intones spell-like text in conversation with herself. On opener Circles, Winter’s vocal is pre-linguistic, detached syllables falling into flowing streams, before Plume’s field recordings seem to juxtapose nocturnal and diurnal wildlife. “You said I was a Flower Of The Mountain” sings Winter, as James Joyce’s Molly Bloom does but the carpe diem desire in Ulysses is dissipated here, spread out by gauzy, droning organs. Here desire is blown up and out, changed into something undefinable but no less powerful.

Change is at the heart of the album. The Roman goddess Proserpine, herself a reimagined version of the earlier Greek goddess Persephone, is always between: between summer and winter, the land of the living and the underworld, constantly emerging into new states of being. It’s a fitting metaphor for Winter’s work. Like an Apple feels like it soundtracks this in-between state, long, trailing reverb smudging synth keys and Winter’s achingly beautiful vocal performance. The effect is stirring but flitting in and out of perception, sometimes Winter’s presence feels of this world, of musical instruments and practises and at others it feels like the music is about to phase into a different plane, a different universe.

While Proserpine references the myths and cults of the classical, pre-Christian era, Winter’s restless preoccupation with the mechanics of religion informs the album in other ways. Ritual is present through out, either in the mantra-like vocalisations or even the private rituals we are invited to witness: on Fireworks the listener eave drops into the protagonist’s private bonfire. On the stunning Lamento, layers of Choral vocal interlock in celestial patterns that recall catholic mass: it’s an overt effect that simulates the ecstasy of religious fervour and also reminds the listener of the use of vocal that runs through Proserpine. Winter’s vocals often echo with the euphoria of obliteration, of disintegrating in an awful bliss. It’s an effect achieved with finality by the closer New Water as the piece begins with voice before burning up in the atmosphere of elegiac violins and enveloping undertows of whirring synth patterns and ghostly pads. Proserpine is forever turning, changing, always elusive and quietly revelatory.

Released 17 November 2023