On Winter Pilgrim Arriving, Martin Archer uses a similar technique to what had been at work on Ghost Lily Cascade and Pure Water Construction: he records improvisers, then combines these solos with electro-acoustics treatments and electronics add-ons. The difference here is that, this time, the "soloists" were instructed on the context of their playing and they could hear the tracks already recorded. Participating musicians on this album are from Archer's usual roaster: Benjamin Bartholomew (electric and acoustic guitar), Derek Saw (cornet), Simon H. Fell (double bass), Tim Cole (acoustic guitar), Charlie Collins (flute, sampling), and Gino Robair (percussion). Martin Archer, apart from his electronics, comes back to the soprano saxophone (it had been a while) and touches the clarinet. The album opens with an electrical discharge, "Angel Words," a short piece with savage electric guitar. This number is followed by "The Eclipse Farm Heresies," a pensive landscape and something Archer paints like no other. From one track to the next the listener is lead through landscapes where the guitar takes center stage (a rarity in Archer's works), where the musical background comes from psychedelic, electronic free jazz and artistic inspiration. There is a rendition of Nick Drake's "Horn" and another track is dedicated to him. Also worth a mention is "Chemistry Lock," subtitled "Mike, Elton, Hugh, Robert," the first names of all four members of Soft Machine during their Third and Fourth period. Winter Pilgrim Arriving might be Archer's most accessible record, with moments of great simplicity ("Beautiful City on the Hill"), but also daring passages, resulting in something both demanding and highly rewarding.
AllMusic Review by François Couture