Music > Album Reviews

Bill Vine - Northsong

by Jon Seymour


Bill Vine - Northsong



I wasn’t too sure as to what to expect when this fell in my lap, and on first listen I found it somewhat of a challenge. Conventional it most certainly is not. The tracks are put together using samples of sounds taken from the green spaces in and around the NR3 postcode. The aim is to provide some serenity for the listener.

The album is available on CD and digitally, but I feel that the best listening experience will come from the wav or FLAC formats, at least for an audiophile such as I, but of course that’s down to personal choice. The tracks are binaural, and as such are best listened to using headphones, as you get a sense of being surrounded. It does sound good using standard stereo speakers though, but I also listened to it using a 5.1 sound setup too, which was almost as effective as using my headphones. You can’t say I wasn’t thorough by any means, and for reference, I listened to them using the wav format versions.

As there are no musical instruments involved at all, it’s cleverly put together, and it does provide some solace to the listener, giving a sense of isolation. Put this on and just lose yourself in your imagination, switching the world off for a while and having some “me time.”

Experimental music can be divisive as it’s a Marmite type of thing, but even if you’re not a fan you can get something from this if you persevere. As I said, I found it challenging to start with, but you need to switch your music brain off before you can fully experience Bill’s intentions. That said, once I’dlistened a few times, I did find myself transported off to some far-away place, escaping from the real world for just a little while, and honestly, we could all benefit from doing that occasionally.

There are just three tracks, lasting twenty minutes or so, but that twenty minutes could provide something positive for anyone. It gives respite from the crazy world we’re living in right now, and the opportunity to just take some time out for yourself. Now, if I’d seen this on Bandcamp (where you can buy it by the way), I would have dismissed it without a second glance and that would have been a tragedy, because I would have missed out on something rather special. Give this a listen and expand your horizons. It might take you out of your comfort zone, but if you put the effort in to REALLY listen to it, you’ll be handsomely rewarded.