New Music: Petrels - Silt

Meet Petrels. His debut album is called ’Haeligewielle’, an album title so convoluted that I have only just now become able to type it out in one go. Whatever about its tongue-twisting moniker, the album is a cracker, a mixture of post-rock, ambient and drone that never fails to put melody first. It’s this approach that makes it such a delight to listen to. Some exquisitely-packaged CDs are out Monday with digital release two weeks later - though if you want one of those as much as I do, you’ll have to be quick, there’s only 100 of them being made. To whet your appetite for the record, here’s a free taster in the form of the breathtakingly beautiful ‘Silt’ (streaming below), and if you like what you hear, the album’s available to listen to via Bandcamp. Take it from me, it’s worth your while. [GO’M]

Petrels - Silt by cerinusapodemus


Petrels - Haeligewielle - “Concrete”

You can download this song and the entire album for free right now.

(“Concrete” by Petrels, from the album Haeligewielle, 2011)

“Alone I work
 All around me darkness swirls
 Of sinking stones.
 I will not stop ‘till all these walls have found their cause
 To hold.

As I already mentioned, I found out about Petrels through the Denovali Swingfest, and now, several months later, I have to say that he was really one of the artists that stuck with me the most. So I’ve spent the last few days diving a bit deeper (a fitting choice of words as you will see later on) into his work, and it has been a very worthwhile experience. Under his Petrels moniker, Oliver Barrett releases concept-heavy Drone albums filled with a ton of references to places, events and people, both fictional and real. Not only is it fun to look into those, but they often bring a context to his songs that makes his music that more powerful to me.

Take the album Haeligewielle for example: It’s based around the diver William Walker, who strenghened the foundations of the Winchester Cathedral all by himself when the building was about to bog in peat in 1906. The awesome thing is that Petrels is able to create such a distinct mood with his music (and the carefully woven net of references that are his song titles), such a strong sense of place that you have the feeling you are there with Walker, in the absolute darkness of the cold, silty water. Petrels albums are not so much a clear statement as they are explorations, journeys, tributes to certain events, ideas or characters. But there’s always such a strong passion within his music that his fascination starts to pass on to you. It’s a very strong sort of communication.

The song that I haven’t gotten out of my head for days is “Concrete”, a fluorishing choral piece is the emotional climax of the album to me: It’s the only occasion where Petrels uses lyrics and it hits home. The way the choir sings about Walkers work is so moving, it has such a positive energy, espcially framed by the rest of the album. It’s a song of perseverance and steadiness, and that’s a form of comfort I need right now, for a lot of things are changing right now in my life. The thought that there were (and are) people out there that were that determined is inspiring and comforting to me. A breathtaking piece of music.

For further listening, I recommend you also check out Petrels’ other work: The more dynamic, almost Rock-ish Mima, which deals with the possible future mythology of space travel, and the vast, cold and almost threatening Onkalo, which is mostly about a spent nuclear fuel repository in Finland that is supposed to last 100,000 years, and, of course, the psychological implications of such a thing. It takes a while to get acclimated with his style, you need some time to wrap your mind around it (after all, this Drone-heavy neo Classical Post Rock thing isn’t a style you come across very often) but once you do, it’s honestly so rewarding. So I encourage you to try it out, maybe even twice.


After Francis Danby - Petrels

To celebrate the album release of „Mima“ and the follow up Cd/12’’ release of „The Silver Chimney Club / Wat Tyler“ (out on April 11th), we uploaded this continuous mix of PETRELS’ debut album ‘Haeligewielle’, mixed by Petrels himself!

We offer bundles of 'Haeligewielle’ and the follow-up albums 'Onkalo’ and 'Mima’ for a reduced price and a limited period at the Denovali Mailorder: [http://denovali.com/mailorder]

You can download the full album for free at Petrels’ Bandcamp page:
and at the Denovali Mp3 Store

You can also check out a special mix by Petrels here:

Petrels – Haeligewielle
Petrels – Haeligewielle (Tartaruga Records 2011/ Repressed by Denovali 2012) Genre: Ambient , Drone, Experimental Review by Truebelief  

Oliver Barrett’s (London based Musician and member of the Bleeding Heart Narrative Experimental Act) “Haeligewielle” release under his “Petrels” Moniker is an ode to tales of waters, waves, tides, stones and William Walker, a British Scuba diver famous for shoring up Winchester Cathedral, a task that involved him re-building the foundation of the cathedral while being submerged underwater in total darkness for six hours a day for five years. I mention all these information as “Haeligewielle” is an album that resonates not only aurally but with a peculiar claustrophobic sense of time and place to history and landscape, to myths and scale, to effort and accomplishment. Each track title engulfs a story that attributes a numinous tone to the album and elevates its hearing experience to truly mesmerizing standards (I urge you to try and search for more information on wikipedia about these stories). In terms of musicality, the album is a swirling cataract of haunting droning textures, enchanting ambient passages, pulsating feedback, lamenting bowed strings and electronic noises. “After Francis Danby” ominous drone devolves into church bells and water sounds while “Slit” with its layer of bowed strings and distorted drones travels you to dark and isolated places. The Climax of “Canute” starting at 3:49 is the best moment in the record and as far as I am concerned   one of the most memorable moments in music throughout 2011. Epic, triumphant and thunderous resonance. “The Statue is unveiled with the Face of Another” reminds me of Broken Consort’s rural soundscapes while “Concrete” includes the first clear use of massed chorus male vocals conjuring images of colour and feelings of warmth.”Winchester Croydon Winchester “ incorporates some playful glockenspiel-like layered keyboard sounds and “William Walker Strengthens the Foundations” encapsulates all the musical terrain covered throughout the previous six songs into a fifteen minute Ethereal –vibed track that concludes with a darkly industrial almost techno inspired refrain built around a skewed loop. In terms of creativity, Petrels have presented one of the most dense and immersive releases of the year. In terms of sound and resonance, this is by far the LOUDEST Record of the year. The  expectations are high and I am looking forward to find out how Oliver Barrett will manage to top this release in the near future. Extra praise to Denovali for Repressing this masterpiece and distributing it Worldwide. For fans of Richard Skelton, Fennesz, Stars of the Lid, Nadja, Arvo Part and Drone Lovers In General 
http://denovali.com/petrels/  TRACK LISTING 01 After Francis Danby 02 Silt 03 Canute 04 The Statue Is Unveiled With The Face Of Another 05 Concrete 06 Winchester Croydon Winchester 07 William Walker Strengthens The Foundations