Rob Winstone
sifting through heaven
Mappa Editions
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1in spite of it all... 1:47
2hospital corridor 5:32
3into the light (of the darkest night) 0:52
4sifting through heaven 5:30
5untitled piano II 3:19
6I understand it now but it's hard to feel different about it 2:59
7soft glow 2:44
8held 1:59
9postcards and loose tea 2:46
10care 3:39
11the angel falls 5:08 finds a way 2:52

Accepting the darkness can be a liberating experience. Realising, and struggling with just who we are and what world we live in requires it. By further complicating the fractured sense of beauty found on his droning 2022 release, ‘I dreamt we found a way’, Bristol-based composer, Rob Winstone creates a language that encapsulates the lifelong reach for our own personal heavens, along with the darkness and fear on which those foundations are built.

Winstone’s instrumental palette continues to reach out far from behind his keyboards, however the sound of ‘sifting through heaven’ is stripped back and pared down, putting melody front and centre. 'postcards and loose tea', a love song written for Winstone’s partner during a period coming to terms with health difficulties had previously self-released with heavy spectral and granular manipulation from the artist. Here Winstone re-presents the original: “the stripped back recording I made in my old damp and cold studio that was in a building that has since been demolished”. It reflects the composer’s own journey, doing away with veils and histrionics, and embracing emotional bliss wherever it can be found, warts and all. Even the rumbling dark ambience of ’hospital corridor’ - where distant chimings, groans, and droplets synthesized from field recordings made nervously in a hospital waiting for test results coalesce - harbours a sacred-seeming beauty and aseptic warmth within its very bleak sense of dread.

There’s no better way to describe Winstone’s method than ‘sifting through heaven’. The hymnal organ chords, sketched out acoustic guitar phrases, scattering drum thuds, and meditative field recordings may flit between tenebrous to incandescent, but his focus is always on the embrace of love; “a view of life that embraces positive growth, yet doesn't deny immense suffering,” as he puts it. The album is bookended by two of Winstone’s most outright peaceful moments, summarising his core message: 'in spite of it all...' ' finds a way'.