Friday, May 27, 2011

Sturmpercht/Awilde Zeit/Percht/2009 CD Review

Sturmpercht are a band from Switzerland that plays a style that I would describe as being Alpine Folk and this is a review of their compilation album "A Wilde Zeit" which was released by Percht during the year of 2009.

Percussion's are mostly slow beats that have a medieval folk music feel with some tribal beats, while the acoustic guitars are very primal sounding neo-folk music riffs with a small amount of classical guitar being used at times, as for the accordions they have a very medieval feeling sound to them.

Vocals are all clean singing vocals with some whispers and a good amount of aggression with some spoken word parts, while the synths have a very tragic sound to them, as for the the lyrics are written in German and are about Alpine tales and legends from long forgotten times with some songs about creatures and others being about beer drinking, while the production it has a very powerful sound that brings the medieval music to the modern days.

In my opinion Sturmpercht are a very talented neo-folk band that should appeal to all fans of this genre. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Wir Rufen Deine Wolfe" "Ewige Geganwart" "Der Marsch Der Wampelerreiter" and "Schnaderhupfiska". RECOMMENDED BUY.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Jahrtal Interview

1. Can you update us with what is going on with Jahrtal these days?

Jahrtal recently is working on some musical themes.

Some days ago we also did an English version (using the original Blake poem “Night”) of the song “Nacht” for a sampler with psychedelic music and folk music, that should be released in 2011.

2. How would you describe the musical style that you are working on?

If you call our music psychedelic folk that would be quite ok.

3. The recent album was based on the writings of William Blake, what made you decide to recite these poems in a different language, and do you plan on working on other poets during future releases?

I wanted to record some of the poems of William Blake and set them to music back in the 1970s. I also like and mainly agree with the messages of these poems; messages of a free, critical but always loving mind.

I first came in contact with the poetry of William Blake through Allen Ginsberg's LP "Songs of Innocence and Experience" that I heard on the radio when I was a teenager. I was very fascinated by this music and tried to find this LP for many years in vain. Not having been able to find this record I finally decided to create my own versions of some of the songs. This was the beginning of "Lieder von Unschuld und Widerfahren". To translate the poems into German was a challenge for me. I wanted to find the right words in my native language. This was a very beautiful and interesting work, bringing me very close to the poems.

I have not yet thought about working on more Blake writings or working on other poets, although it could be an incitement to continue with William Blake songs, another challenge...

For many years I have been thinking about setting to music songs and poems by the wonderful Tibetan poet and saint Milarepa.

We will see if Jahrtal will be able to do that.

4. What are some of the other music styles that you have experimented with besides folk?

In the 1980s I was primarily engaged in sound works and acoustic collages and in combination with this in art installations and radio works. You can find some sound samples of these works on my homepage or here

5. How would you describe your musical progress over the years and what direction do you see the music heading into on future releases?

Besides making music I also was engaged in drawing and painting and will try to keep this up.

My wife Christine and myself we love music and try to give our best although I do not consider myself to be a great musician and live performer. I am more like a drawer and painter working in the studio or in the field solely without an audience.

There is an idea to set into music a Buddhist fairy tale. Another long time idea is to pay homage to my teachers - this could become a crossover project between Jahrtal and the sound works I did in the 1980s.

Yes, there are some ideas for the future - but there is no hurry - we will see, what time will bring about.

6. How has your music been received so far by neo-folk and regular folk music fans worldwide?

Jahrtal has received some friendly reviews. I think Jahrtal is not so popular, but this does not matter, since our music reaches the people, who like it.

7. What are some other poets that you find interesting besides William Blake?

I very much like Romantic Poets like Novalis, Tieck and Eichendorff but also the writings of Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder.

8. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Long time favorite bands are The Incredible String Band, Dr. Strangely Strange, Fairport Convention... I also like so called World-Jazz, especially with Indian or oriental influences. One good example is Don Cherry’s “Relativity Suite”. There is a lot of interesting music in all styles of music.

At the moment I have rediscovered for me Baroque music like that of Corelli and Marais – wonderful music for theorbe and viola da gamba.

9. Outside of music what are some of your interests?

My family, the teachings of Buddha, art, nature, taking long walks in forests and mountains together with Christine and our small black dog…

10. Any final words or thoughts before we close this interview?

Thank you very much for your interest!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Aerial Ruin Interview

1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with this project these days?

The Aerial Ruin full-length album "valleys of the earth" just came out on Vendlus Records. I am performing live regularly and writing and demoing new material. In March of this year I was thrilled to play a few east coast shows with Agalloch and Worm Ouroboros.

2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album?

melodic, moody, psychedelic, ritualistic, dark, partially but not entirely acoustic.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the new release explores?

Mostly a spiritual perspective I gained when I had experiences that felt a lot like ego-death. I felt more in touch with the harsh spiritual energy of the universe. Aerial Ruin is both a lament for this and a humbled tribute to it.

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?

It's a demonic reference I suppose, ruin from the winged air...

5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?

The four shows I played with Agalloch and were a thrill, both to play and to be part of such great musical events which also at different times featured Worm Ouroboros, Allerseelen, Vindensang and Daniel Menche. Aerial Ruin also opened for Earth and Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter at my favorite San Francisco venue Great American Music Hall. It is an amazingly beautiful venue with incredible sound and the show was one of the few non metal shows I've played as Aerial Ruin, a great night of music. The small shows can be fun too, playing in a Seattle basement with my friends Grey or at SF's Rite Spot with Amber Asylum or the weirdness of playing a sportsbar in Vancouver with my friends The Atomic Bomb Audition and Ninja.
These days my stage performance is just me singing and playing acoustic guitar but in the past I have at times had the pleasure of being accompanied by Eric Peterson from Lost Goat and other occasional contributors.

6. What are the touring plans for the future?

In the next two months I'm playing shows in San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Eugene. I'm hoping to return to the east coast by the end of the year and would certainly love to tour extensively if the opportunity were to arise, however immediate plans are only for more mini-tours, I certainly hope to make it to Europe eventually though.

7. You have a history playing in extreme metal bands and now you are playing folk with the new project, how would you compare the 2 styles and which one do you enjoy playing the most?

They are so different I cant say I prefer one over the other. Some of the inspiration writing wise is the same but some is totally opposite. My old bands Epidemic and Old Grandad were much of the time very extrovert, in a live setting you feed of the loud energy and chaos of the audience where as with Aerial Ruin the best audience is a completely silent and contemplative one. I'm not done with playing extreme metal, at some point I may start a new metal band but will always continue Aerial Ruin as well.

8. On a worldwide level, how has your music been received by music fans?

Very well, although it is only very recently that Aerial Ruin has had any exposure on a worldwide level. I'm impressed that some people feel moved by such personal music. It's not for everyone but the people who like it seem to really seem to love it. It's not a casual listen.

9. What direction do you see the music heading into on future releases?

Some of the newer songs are stretching what I can do as a guitarist and vocalist, I sometimes write stuff that I have to learn how to play but other songs are quite simple. I feel no need to deliberately do something different, the music progresses and evolves naturally but the ritualistic inspiration always remains the same.

10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to noways?

influences would be Syd Barrett, Mark Lanegan, 60's and 70's Pink Floyd.

lately I've been listening to Samothrace, Katatonia's "brave murder day", Lesbian, The Atomic Bomb Audition, Agalloch, Evoken, Walken(SF), Grayceon, Danava, Alcest, Opeth, Zoe Keating, Old Light, Boduf Songs, Elliott Smith, The Flaming Lips, the list goes on...

11. Outside of music what are some of your interests?

not much really, I'm a tunnel visioned human for sure. I am however interested in religion, spirituality and certain aspects of science, especially astronomy. I'm a complete escapist for the most part. The aspects of the physical universe that I find the most interesting is the stuff that defies human intuition and is as far away from the doldrums of day to day human survival as possible.
The massiveness of the universe, the mystery of its origin, the strangeness of the quantum world and its implications. Evolution also fascinates me, the fact we can trace our roots back around 7 million years and find our common ancestor with chimpanzees but if we go back 90 million years we can find our common ancestor with the rat.

12. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?

Thanks for the interview and interest, Cheers.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Phase II/Afterglow/Ahnstern/2010 CD Review

  Phase II is a band from New Mexico that plays a Progressive Psychedelic brand that mixes elements of neo-folk to the music to bring it up to the modern days and this is a review of their 2010 album "Afterglow" which was released by Ahnstern.

Drums are mostly slow beats, while the synths and pianos have a 70's progressive music feel to it with a dose of dark ambient, as for the flute  it brings out the folk music edge in the music.

Acoustic guitars are mostly folk rock riffs that have elements of neo-folk mixed in with powerful bass playing, while the lead guitars are kind of bluesy sounding guitar solos that also use some electric guitars, as for the vocals they are all clean singing vocals.

Lyrics cover love, romance and everyday type situations with a metaphysical feel, while the production sounds very  professional and you can hear all of the instruments that are present on this recording.

In my opinion Phase II are a very good Progressive Psychedelic band that should appeal to all fans of this genre as well as neo-folk. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Sweet Lady Fair" "Introture/Goddess Of Dreams" Just For You" and "Rest". RECOMMENDED BUY.

Pagan Folk And Apocalyptic Psychedelia Kapitel I/Steinklang/2009 CD Review

This is a review of the compilation album "Pagan Folk and Apocalyptic Psychedelia Kapitel II" which was released by Steinklang and we are going to review the songs one by one.

Stormfagel upon up the disc with their song "Hall-lagan-klar!" which is a very dark sounding ambient song that has a very heavy industrial feel to it but retaining the neo-folk elements to create a truly original song with some tribal sounding drums and clean singing pagan vocals.

Frakmundt brings us "Wormer" which is a very great neo-folk song that has a very soft and relaxing feel to it and some very ancient sounding accordions.

Sturmpercht brings us "Die Teufelsieger" which is a very mid paced sounding neo-folk pagan song that really brings the fun to a party.

Allerseelen brings a heavier vibe to the compilation with their song "Wo ist das Leben" which has a heavy industrial edge to the guitar mixed in with a lot of dark sounds and some folk elements to the music.

Wappenbund brings us "Licht ist Leben II" a song that mixes martial industrial/dark ambient and neo-classical to create a very epic sounding song with some clean singing male and female choir singing.

Vinterriket brings us "Swwlenleere" which is a great mixture of dark ambient and neo-folk that has a heavy psychedelic feel to it.

Birch Book brings us "Feet Of Clay" which was a classic folk music feel to it with some harmonica playing.

Dannagischd bring's us Waldffuir" a neo-folk song that beings out the feel of the Dark Ages.

Larrnakh brings us "Delictum" which is a very great neo-folk song with alot of sorrowful melodies that are very ancient sounding.

Moon Far Away brings us "Deus amet puellam" a very good gothic/neo-folk song that has the feel of the Dark Ages.

Uruk-Hai brings us "does not glitter" which is a very epic and medieval sounding neo-classical song mixed with neo-folk with a lot of darkness to it.

Atomtrakt brings us "Blut und Erde" which is a great martial/neo-classical song that has a very dark sound to it.

Hrefnesholt brings the compilation back to neo-folk with their song "Hexnfeia" and then after the neo-folk part it turns into a heavy dark industrial song that has a very heavy black metal feel to it and then goes back to being Apocalyptic Folk.

Irij backs back the music to soft folk with her song "Vasilisa" which brings back memories of SlavicGods and Goddesses.

Jannerwein brings us "Jede Stunde" which is a very great sounding medieval folk song.

Phase II brings us Sweet Lady Fair' that has a very classic progressive folk rock  feel to it.

Miel Noir brings us "Honiggottin" which is a very  dark gothic/martial industrial song.

Le Testament De La Lumiere brings us "Retaliation" a very great and evil sounding Dark Ambient track.

Dead Man's Hill closes the compilation with "The Curse" which is a very great and ritualistic Dark Ambient/Death Industrial track.

In my opinion this is another great compilation that is darker than the first one and a RECOMMENDED BUY.

Pagan Folk And Apocalyptic Psychedelia/Steinklang/2009 CD Compilation Review

This is a review of the Pagan Folk and Apocalyptic Psychedelia compilation released by Steinklang in 2009 and we are going to review the songs one by one.

Tethrippon start of the compilation with their song "Andreios" which mixes neo-folk with neoclassical and neo-folk and this song is very epic and atmospheric sounding with the lyrics being about Greek Gods and mythology.

Vinterriket brings us "Bergtal" which is a good mixture of psychedelic neo-folk and dark ambient being combined in this song to create a relaxing atmosphere and a very good song.

Sturmpercht brings us "Das letzte Zapfenmanderi" which is a very good European sounding Pagan Neo-Folk song that brings you back to the Pre Christian days.

Arnica brings us "Tu miedo" which is a very good dark ambient/neo-folk song that calls up the Basque Gods.

Falkenstein brings us "Kraftort" which is a great Pagan Neo-Folk song that brings back the medievel times that calls up the Norse and Germanic Gods and Goddesses.

Allerseelen changes the pace of this compilation with their song "Sturmlied" which is a great excercise of an experimental/dark industrial song.

A Challenge Of Honour brings back the folk music on this album, with the song "Angkor" which is a very Apocalyptic neo-Folk song with a great sense of songwriting about an ancient city.

Sangre Cavallum brings us "chin glin din" which is a great European sounding folk song that brings up memories of a dark and distance past.

Werkraum brings us "La marmotte' which is a great folk song with beautiful female vocals that sound like a Goddess with some powerful flutes and accordions.

Defile Des Ames brings us a different sound with their song "trivial" which has a very heavy dark industrial tone and vocals that are almost black metal influenced but keeping the neo-folk element in their song.

The Joy of Nature brings the music back to a lighter dimension with their song "Trivial" which is a great psychedelic neo-folk song with some female vocals that are very New Age orientated.

Jahrtal brings us "Kieines verlorenes Kind" which is a very good nature orientated sounding neo-folk song that features a great combination of male and female clean singing vocals.

Nebelkorona brings us "Baumgespenster" which is a very great psychedelic neo-folk song with a tragic sounding piano and a feel ff mid 60's to early 70's progressive added to this song.

Hrossharsgrani brings the compilation to a more darker feel with their song "Countess Bathory" which is a very dark sounding song with a neo-classical feel.

Svarrogh brings us "Life water Krynista" which is a great dark pagan/neo-folk song that calls us the ancient Balkan Gods and there is a slight black metal influence in this song.

Once A Barge brings us "Kristall" which mixes neo-classical with neo-folk and the song is very powerful sounding.

Jannerwein brings us "Klage" which is a great sounding nature orientated neo-folk song.

Klammheim closes the compilation with their song "Schwarzweisse Welt" which is a very great pagan sounding neo-folk song with a great amount of clean singing female vocals.

In my opinion this is a great compilation with a lot of diversity and belongs in any fans neo-folk/dark ambient collection. RECOMMENDED BUY.

Nebelkorona/tannenhochforst/Heimatfolk/2009 CD Review

Nebelkorona are a band from Switzerland that is another side project of cz best known for his stuff with Vinterriket, Atomtrakt, and Frakmudt and with this project he plays a brand of psychedelic neo-folk and this is a review of their 2009 album "tannenhochforst" which was released by Heimatfolk.

Drum programming is slow beats, while the synths have an ambient feel that also has a dose of mid 60's to early 70's progressive rock, as for the pianos they bring a very tragic sound to the music.

Acoustic guitars are mostly neo-folk riffs that are very soft and relaxing sounding, while the vocals are mostly clean singing with some spoken word passages and whispers, as for the lyrics they are written in German and have visions of dark forests, with a strong and dark production beneath the music.

In my opinion Nebelkorona are a very good psychedelic neo-folk project that should appeal to all fans of this style of music as well as fans of all of cz's projects. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Windstille" and "Baumgespensier Waldzauber". RECOMMENDED BUY.