When I was getting my masters degree in London, I wrote a paper exploring the architectural dimensions of silence, which was partially spurred by parents separating at the time. The essay covered lots of different topics including the contrasting nature of noise. One framework the essay suggested is that a large city, beyond just making a lot of noise, creates within us a desire to make more noise; noise as a kind of defensive space of protection. In contrast the open desert's fundamental sonic character is silence and as such it has a historical connotation to 'truth' or 'god.'
As the temperature drops and the leaves slowly change I've somewhat similarly been thinking about the sonic character of the different seasons. While such a thing is thoroughly subjective I can't help think we have legitimate collective pyscho-sonic impressions of the seasons. There are cliches of courses; bells, carols, etc. But there is something more elusive that a season produces spatially and sonically.
For the better part of the summer for instance, my ipod was exclusively full of chopped and screwed music, the slowed pace being a perfect match for the heat. In no way is it surprising that the hot, muggy, and insufferably humid city of Houston gave birth to such music. While DJ Screw sounds excellent to my ears anywhere, it's geographical or at least season specific music.
I don't have any definitive theories to posit regarding the relationship between sound and winter, but I put together a mix that begins to approach winter's sonic nature, even if I don't really know what that is. It's definitely a moody, slow, greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts mix so perhaps wait till your in such a state to fully appreciate it. It does seem that rather than a shared energy or melody, each song has a specific sonic tonality; each crisp note seems to rest in a space of thick ether.
1. jim o'rourke fall breaks and back to winter
2. sam prekop the company
3. nino rota rugiada sui ranocchi
4. the united states of america cloud song
5. broadcast valerie
6. alice coltrane my favorite things
7. thomas felmann radeln
8. makoto kawabata & richard youngs blue
9. jeff alexander & bonnie beecher come wander with me*
10. francoise hardy la maison
11. jonas bering wissant
12. johnny smith yesterdays
13. catherine howe up north
*This song is actually from The Twilight Zone episode #154 Come Wander with Me. Air put it on their Late Night Tales mix. I still remember the first time I heard it; it absolutely made the rest of the world fade into the background. You may also recognize it from some d-bag's movie.