CDR: Abgurd Subdivision AB-21 [2006]
Ltd x 132

Indigenous I
Iset In Mist
Autumn Tale, Part I
Muskarine Haze
Autumn Tale, Part II
To The Grieving One...
Indigenous II

Just when you think you’ve got a record label in suss sods law states they will release something out of the blue that completely dumbfounds and leaves you scratching your head in bewilderment. Cheers Abgurd. This debut release by Ad Lux Tenebrae has totally thrown me. I never in a million years expected to listen to such a recording from their stable of artists. Drones… yes. Fierce electronics… but of course. Some Death Industrial… naturally. But… free form improvisations with hand made instruments (and melodic at that) was not something I saw coming. Obviously my physic powers aren’t what they used to be.

Describing "Sketches from that Autumn" isn’t going to be easy but here goes nothing. There’s eleven tracks on this limited to 132 copies CDR. The group uses acoustic and bass guitars, harp, violin, vocals / voices with additional field recordings from different regions and old folk songs. There’s more but that will suffice for now. Some of the tracks were recorded ad hoc in a hut in the Ural forest whilst others were made in swamps and villages. How much of the recording was done in a one take I couldn’t say nor which parts were improvised on the spot. What is clear is how eccentric this project is. I mean, think about it. Who in their right minds would go to a hut in a forest to lay down tracks if they weren’t a bit ‘out there’ in the first place. This eccentricity is played out through their music. One the one hand you have this gently strummed guitar tune repeated three times on the release, titled 'Etude' on tracks 3,5 and 8, sounding slightly different on each occasion and the next you’re hearing an experimental piece played out on, what sounds like, the banks of a river. Strange noises and voices all akimbo. Then you have another musical interlude before foraying into ritual styled drone atmospheres… and it’s very confusing yet comforting at the same time. The record moves that way constantly. Let’s pay our respects to nature seems to be the overall tone of the pieces and I picture them buck naked playing their instruments as the wind blows leafs from the trees. Or maybe that’s just the pervert in me thinking that way. Peace and love and at one with the smell of earth covering the flesh. That is the only way I can describe this CDR. Which of course will confuse you the reader because you want reviews to be in black and white.

You want music to fit into their little boxes so you know which one to go to when picking your music. Well that isn’t going to happen here with "Sketches from that Autumn" because I honestly don’t know where to place it. Part ambient, part drone, part experimental, part metal thrash, part neo-folk (ish), part ??? Of all the Abgurd releases I have reviewed / collected "Sketches from that Autumn" is the one that is most indefinable / indescribable. It takes music into the wildest stratosphere in places then lays in the wet grass to chill out. I double dare you to listen to this and not come away with absolute respect for the act for trying something full of outrageous bravado / gusto and for bringing a small piece of mother Russia into your living room.

"Sketches from that Autumn" is a giant test. A leap of faith in the part of the listener who will get their just rewards for staying the course and is suitable for the more adventurous spirits, or wood elves, amongst you.


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