SEEN AND HEARD ON A SATURDAY: ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF, INFERA BRUO, KALT VINDUR, HAD, BASTURMA
All Thoughts Fly
Another week is nearly over in which I had very little time to listen to new music apart from what I agreed to premiere, and only did a scattered job of trying to add to my list of things to check out eventually. I’m not optimistic this state of affairs is going to change any time soon. I did take advantage of this Saturday morning to jump around randomly in my list. I tried to balance bands whose names I knew with unfamiliar names, and from what I heard I picked these songs and videos — four that surfaced during the past week and then an older EP I just discovered.
ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF
When I first thought about how to order these selections I was going to end the round-up with the following video, as sort of a palate cleanser and mood-changer. But upon slight further reflection I realized that would have been tremendously unfair, because I can’t remember another video I’ve seen this year that’s such an extraordinary match of sights and sounds. So, we begin here…
photo by Gianluca Grasselli
Watching and listening is like being transported to a dead world populated by nothing more than the degraded remnants of past glories — and one ephemeral spirit. It might be a conception of our world in a distant future, but, accompanied by the transportive music, it’s more like a haunting dream of sadness and celestial wonder.
Those were my impressions before reading the press materials about the song and video. And what I learned then is that what we’re seeing is an imaginary twist on a real place that exists in our world, a place that was the central inspiration for Anna von Hausswolff’s new album, All Thoughts Fly, on which she is the solo performer and the pipe organ is the sole instrument. I’ll share these excerpts, but you might want to do what I did and watch and listen to the video before reading:
“Sacro Bosco (“Sacred Grove”) is a garden, based in Bomarzo in the center of Italy, containing grotesque mythological sculptures and buildings overgrown with vegetation, situated in a wooded valley beneath the castle of Orsini. Created during the 16th Century, Sacro Bosco was commissioned by Pier Francesco Orsini, some say to try and cope with his grief following the death of his wife Guilia Farnese, others speculate the purpose was to create art.
“ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF explains, ‘There’s a sadness and wilderness that inspired me to write this album, also a timelessness. I believe that this park has survived not only due to its beauty but also because of the iconography, it has been liberated from predictable ideas and ideals. The people who built this park truly set their minds and imagination free. All thoughts fly is a homage to this creation, and an effort to articulate the atmosphere and the feelings that this place evokes inside of me. It’s a very personal interpretation of a place that I lack the words to describe. I’d like to believe Orsini built this monumental park out of grief for his dead wife, and in my ‘Sacro Bosco’ I used this story as a core for my own inspiration: love as a foundation for creation.'”
The magnificent video was made by Gustaf and Ludvig Holtenäs. All Thoughts Fly will be released by Southern Lord on September 25th.
If you fell into a reverie during the first item in today’s collection, it will be blown away like mist in a gale by this next item, the first advance track from Boston-based Infera Bruo‘s new album, Rites of the Nameless.
“Mining Shadows for Unlight” is a stormer, but one in which the riffing stands out clearly, and rivets attention, rather than becoming engulfed by the hurricane speed and intensity. The screaming solo stands out too — and the vocal screaming also incinerates. The band pull back a few times, pulling out the strands of gloom in the music and showing them more clearly, accompanied by somber singing. The combination of vocals in the final rush makes the experience even more exhilarating.
This particular track is more straight-forward than is typical for the band, whose progressive inclinations are usually pronounced and whose sonic and instrumental textures are often more elaborate. But hey, it’s just the first offering — and a welcome pulse-pounder it is. If history is a reliable guide, I suspect most of the remaining tracks will be more multi-faceted.
Rites of the Nameless will be released by Prosthetic Records on October 16th.
I decided to stay within blackened realms and follow Infera Bruo‘s track with a video for a song recently revealed from the Polish band Kalt Vindur‘s second album, …And Nothing is Endless.
The slow, sad acoustic instrumental that begins “Eyes Ov Gods” is entrancing, but doesn’t last long. However, the main body of the song has its own entrancing aspects. Even when the band are driving hard, the melodic riffs make an immediate impression and are quite memorable, and when the intensity briefly relents the music becomes beguiling in a different way, with a warmth and day-dreaming brightness in the sound.
The song does a fine job of braiding changing sensations together, in addition to moving between loud and soft parts. Accompanied by face-melting vocal intensity and an attention-grabbing drum performance, the music is fierce, tragic, defiant, and (to use an over-used word) epic.
You can check out a second track from the album (“The Blind Sin Hunter“) via the Bandcamp player that follows the video below. …And Nothing is Endless will be released by Witching Hour Productions on August 7th.
The name of Had’s debut EP leaves no doubt about what it is. The title is Debut EP — or at least that’s the name that appears on the Bandcamp pages of two of the labels that will release it on September 4th (Dark Descent [CD], Me Saco Un Ojo [vinyl] and Extremely Rotten Productions [tape]). As a clue to the music, Had is a Danish band and their name translates to “Hate”.
A debut it may be, but it’s not a halting first step, thanks in part to the fact that its members come from such bands as Sulphurous and Deiquisitor. The song below proves that.
“Skingrer de døendes pinefulde skrig” is the name of the track. Google Translate renders that as “Dispels the tormenting cries of the dying”. And you might want to take a few depths before you dive into it, because it is absolutely ferocious. It moves like a rocket, propelled by thunderous double-kicks, maniacally vicious riffing, fleet-fingered bass lunacy, and demented, shrieking leads and soloing. The vocals are hollow-hearted guttural horrors that betray not an ounce of human kindness.
But wait, there’s more! As electrifying as those afore-mentioned qualities are, the song also soars in displays of frightening grandeur and ravishing anguish, and it periodically jackhammers the spine with no mercy. As icing on the cake, the production allows all the rocket-fast instrumental parts (which turn out to be quite intricate) to stand out within the maelstrom. This one is a stunner that demands repeat plays, just to try to get your head around everything that’s happening.
I was lured into the following EP (which was released six years ago) by this teaser from starkweather‘s Rennie, who linked me to it: “Run the lyrics through a translator after listening to it and I’ll give you the info. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Maybe moreso than another band based around cuisine.” Let me come back to that. But first, here’s some of the info on the Bandcamp page for this EP:
“Seghanin Tegh Chka”
Cookbook, conflict breakdown & 7″ available in the near future.
Levan Sluƶitov – Chef de Cuisine, Bass & Guitar, Artwork
Doğu Tornikios Murat – Expediter, Vocals
Tigran Ortis – Sommelier, Drums
Ioana Çoiradze – Pastry Chef, Violin
Davo Aleksandarian – Maitre D’, Production
This is an Armenian band, and their name (according to The Font of All Human Knowledge) is the word for “a highly seasoned, air-dried cured beef that is part of the cuisines of Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece, Azerbaijan and Armenia”. The EP’s name is Kerakur, which seems to be the Armenian word for a meal or a dish. All three song titles are the names of traditional Armenian dishes (as for the first and third of these musical servings, the names Dolma and Baklava might be more familiar). And that phrase “Seghanin Tegh Chka”, according to this source, means “There is no empty place on the table”, the ultimate compliment to an Armenian host.
As for the lyrics, I don’t have them, but Rennie does, and he reports that they are recipes, presumably for each of the dishes named in the song titles.
Well, as you can see, I went deep down a rabbit hole — but I haven’t forgotten about the music itself, which turns out to be a form of experimental death metal, complete with alluring violin accents.
“Tolma” does a fine job jackhammering the skull and heaving like a behemoth, but the lead guitar also darts like a bird, and the song further includes slowly slithering and brilliantly glittering bits of melodic sorcery. The screaming dissonance and mountainous undercurrents in “Keshkek” are nightmarish, and the song is even more frightening when the pacing kicks into rampaging gear. And to conclude, “Pakhlava” is a dessert made of poltergeist violin wailing, earth-quaking stomps, bursts of percussive mania, and an amalgam of blizzard-like riffing, leaping angularity, and waves of queasy, quivering melody.
Believe me, all I’ve done is to touch on the high points, because there’s even more going on in the songs than what I’ve touched upon. And did I mention the vocals? Damn me, I didn’t. They’re almost as wide-ranging as the instrumental adventures, cavorting with livid fervor in a range between monster growls and hair-on-fire screams. The music itself is pretty damned sinister and menacing, but the vocals give it an extra element of bestial ferocity and hair-raising intensity.
As I listened, the visions of food I had were not the mouth-watering dishes referenced in the song titles. I thought instead of human organs and body parts generously arrayed on gore-stained platters upon filthy linens, preceded by cocktails of hallucinogens. Yum!
P.S. I found more of Basturma‘s music HERE.