Cold is one of those impossible to achieve ambient classics, built from Mike VanPortfleet’s frightening vision of endless desperation and loneliness, made all the more chilling by Tara Vanflower’s lingering, ghost-like voice, and David Galas’ precision bass-work, drum, and synth contributions. With a landscape of endless snow and ice, banshee-wailing winds, and a jolt of perpetual fear, Cold is a walk into someone’s unending nightmare.
Originally released in 1996 on Projekt Records, this haunting soundtrack has set a standard for ambient music that proves that created sounds can explore the depth and expanse of human emotion, in this case, totally abject fear. One of the more superior tracks, “Baltica” is beyond description. When Vanflower begins her eerie vocals, the song takes on a new life and personifies the album. Cold, simply, has to be heard to be experienced and appreciated.
Cold is largely for ambient fans, although many have professed a love for this work. Cold has even been used in film because it lends itself so well to an atmospheric storyline. I’m surprised that VanPortfleet hasn’t an established career in film soundtrack.
However, I do have an issue with this release, and that is the absence of a detailed booklet. The original digipak released by Projekt was devoid of words, letting the music do the work. In this reissue, there should be some historical data, some written words on the creation of this album. I think that this work demands that kind of immortalizing at this point, 11 years later. I have hope that the next time Cold is revisited, it gets the complete treatment is deserves.
Timeless works are defined by their ability to be revisited over time. Lycia’s Cold is absolutely one of these classics.