Ideas separate us. Dreams bring us closer. No, nightmares. (c) Film Socialisme, Jean-Luc Godard
Speaking of highly demanding, emotionally draining musical spaces and of the works that came out in 2011, I thought I’d mention a record that an old friend of mine recommended to me just a few days ago. He said I might like it. I did. I’ll just cite parts of the Pitchfork review of their album Red Sugar, as I find it particularly eloquent:
“Winter Family are a duo, and their music is as black as the cover of their self-titled 2007 debut. Even when they use humor and irony, the material shades dark. Winter Family had a track called "Auschwitz" that found singer Ruth Rosenthal describing, in a sing-song little-girl's voice, a magical snowglobe containing a tiny replica of the concentration camp, complete with starving prisoners and an iron gate saying that work is the key to liberation. The duo's songs typically combine her exceedingly strong, deep, yet wounded voice with Xavier Klaine's keyboards, which veer from the heavy drone of the harmonium to impossibly delicate piano chords. [...] Given the presence of her rich and heavily accented vocals and the harmonium, one obvious reference point is Nico, particularly the style of gothic cabaret she perfected on The Marble Index. Winter Family's songs are are "heavy" in every sense of the word, to the point where they sometimes threaten to become claustrophobic. And their second full-length, Red Sugar, is, if anything, even more bleak than its predecessor. But they also have a way of leavening the nightmare with glimmers of beauty, just enough to keep the music from getting too oppressive.
[...] As moving as I find this record, it's not an easy sell. It's such a weighty thing, exerting a constant pressure that is only occasionally relieved. But as harsh and despairing as Red Sugar can be, there's also a yearning for warmth and humanity, a desire to be lifted into the light.”
To make this music more approachable would be to trivialize its matter(s) and to insult one’s ethical sense.