“Stiff Wizard” (by Winter Drones)
Leon Dufficy is primarily known as guitarist in the hippie-jam outfit, Hush Arbors but now, he steps into his own as the driving force behind Winter Drones. Sounding like the perfect combination of fuzzed-out ambient drift, shoegaze swirl and propulsive pop sensibilities, Winter Drones have slowly gained attention in their native UK with a handful of obscure CDr/cassette releases and compilation appearances. Earlier this year, the band's debut album, BLOOD IN THE COFFIN, came out as a limited-edition tape on UK micro-label, Sexbeat Records.
While legions of artists are mining the ambient style, Dufficy stands out because of his ability to develop his soundscapes, infusing them with a touch of melody to impart a sense of emotion. Songs like the lead-off track, "Watch Your Eyes", set the mood perfectly while "Bongs Dream" shows Dufficy's intuitive understanding that the perfectly weighted note/chord can add tremendous emotional resonance to an atmospheric piece.
But Dufficy isn't some common Nu-Age denizen and the album really shines when the drums come in and the band rocks out. "Winnie Cooper's Bones" and "Two Long Weeks Part 2" find Dufficy perfectly capable of crafting memorable songs that stick with the listener. The album's centerpiece, "Stiff Wizard", serves as a thesis statement for the entire album. Over 10+ minutes, the track starts with flanged/fuzzed guitars swishing about and sounding like jet engines on a runway. As the piece builds towards take-off, a simple radar-like melody begins pinging and the song takes flight when the drums and driving guitar chords launch in -- a perfect microcosm of the whole record.
Originally released as limited edition cassette on Sexbeat Records
Re-mastered by Pete Swanson and limited to vinyl edition of 250.
Stiff Wizard by Winter Drones is licensed under a Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.