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  • Nathan Yoder

Recommended Listening: Carmen Villain - Sketch for Winter IX - Perlita

Geographic North, the Atlanta-based tape label, has a real affinity for seasonal series. Last October we wrote a piece detailing their latest Halloween-themed release, and here they have returned with their ninth "Sketch for Winter" installment. For this edition, GN invited Carmen Villain, the Norwegian-Mexican musician and producer, to paint winter scenes via sonic textures, and the result is exquisite. Across six tracks, Villain not only captures the desolation of these dark months, but also reemergence, thaw, and very welcome spring light.

Carmen Villain, courtesy of Geographic North.

Perlita is named after the artist's grandmother residing in temperate Puebla, but it opens with a chill. Through the first two tracks, you can imagine a bundled-up traveler's slow trudge across a frozen landscape as their shivering breath freezes upon exhale. But then, Light in Phases (a favorite track), begins to cracks the ice. Sparkling zither melodies and rushing water sounds both serve as harbingers of warmer days ahead.

These themes continue on side B, as recorded conversations, street noise, and birdsong begin to emerge. On another standout track, Molina, Villain introduces piano for the first time, continuing to welcome the living, organic evolution of Perlita. Finally, Agua Azul folds in flute and hand percussion, leaving the listener fully released from winter's cold grip. Spring has arrived, and we could not be more grateful.

Though Perlita was just released today (still in the dead of winter), it will undoubtedly serve as an invaluable companion through February and into March. You can find it for streaming and purchase on Geographic North's Bandcamp page, and check out a sample song below.


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