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.
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.