Title: Dark Yule
Artist: Ian Haygreen
Release Date: 2014 Dec 01
Genre: Christmas Ambient
License: CC BY-ND
Label:Self Release / BandCamp
Ian Haygreen’s Dark Yule is the first of two holiday themed releases from the ambient musician from Ridgewell, UK. We’ll talk about the second release in a separate review, as the two releases couldn’t be more different from each other.
Ian Haygreen’s Dark Yule
On this release, Ian has gathered a set of European Christmas Carols from the 12th to the 18th century and given them very moody and sparse settings that seem to reflect the reduced lighting of he season.
Many of these pieces are likely to be unfamiliar to the casual listener. There are not the “Hark The Herald Angels” or “Jingle Bells” types of pieces that many of us are familiar with. And that’s a good thing. Listening to a piece like “A la Nanita Nana” is a like attending a church service in the middle of the storm of the century.
it’s this kind of thinking that attracts me to this release. I am amongst those people that are not very traditional when it comes to the holidays. Especially Christmas, since as an atheist it holds little meaning to me. So, taking the idea of what could be a traditional setting (like performing these pieces on a pipe organ), and changing them up by modifying the surrounding, or tinkering with the organ stops is an interesting way to link traditional and non-traditional concepts.
Another thing about this release is that the majority of these works are not in traditional arrangements. Most Carols are typically just a couple of minutes long. On Dark Yule, the shortest is four minutes, while several pieces wander into the eight to ten minute range.
So, with all of this modification of the settings, arrangements, and textural elements of these works where would they fit in during this holiday season? It’s obvious that this isn’t going to be part of the soundtrack for the office holiday party. No, I think this would fit in well if you were putting together something more along the lines of a Goth-styled celebration. One in which the darkness would be a welcome and celebrated element.
As I have stated above: this isn’t your standard Christmas music. The arrangements, textures, styles, and settings are very different from what you would normally expect. These are your jazz or pop music that you would have on as background music at your next holiday party. This is more like a Goth’s interpretation of what Christmas music should be like. Of course, most of the Goths I know would probably like to have more of a beat to their music, but still as background music mixed into a playlist, this would probably work very well.
Bravo for thinking outside of the traditional Christmas music box!