Winter Songs comprises fourteen short songs composed by Fred Frith around texts by Chris Cutler that were based on carvings on the dado of the west facade of Amiens Cathedral in France. The whole album was recorded and mixed simultaneously, taking 14 days from start to finish. The group adopted an approach of creating the sound first and committing it to tape immediately, instead of leaving the sound detail to post-production mixing. This method used the studio as a compositional instrument, and Etienne Conod, the studio engineer at Sunrise Studio, played an important part in this process, becoming an indispensable member of the group.
In their review of the album Ground and Sky wrote: "Winter Songs often seems like the third wheel in Art Bears' trilogy of full-length releases; it is neither as overtly political nor as musically diverse as either of the albums that bookend it."