I have a deep interest in Old Prussian culture, as a thread of my own ancestry comes from the region now known as Kaliningard, though it was once East Prussia. I’m impressed to see that some bands are trying hard to preserve the culture.
When I see music tagged with the term ‘neofolk‘, I expect to hear something like Death In June, The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud or Current 93, not this. I’m not entirely sure where jì lú hail from in China, but the label who released this disc, Raflum, hail from Sichuan, home of some seriously good food. If you remember the Japanese psychedelic band Ghost, fronted by guitarist Masaki Batoh, this might be a corollary. It’s exceptionally psychedelic, and has the feel of the Incredible String Band on even more acid, feeling more placid. This is gorgeous.
I have to admit that I’m a bit jealous that I haven’t heard anything this good in Beijing yet.
This is another weird, nearly terrifying, yet wonderful work from the nexus of musicians floating around Tel-Aviv and involving Tamar Singer.
Necromishka continue the neofolk tradition, mixing it with some of the hallucinatory vibe which gave early Current 93 its power. The vocals in Beast of Prey, for instance, are slowed down to something so eerie that they should have belonged to a character in a David Lynch movie.
Though I loathe that I can’t simply buy a download from Edward Ka-Spel (too many of his latest Bandcamp releases are truncated version so that you’re forced to buy a hard copy, be it vinyl or CD), that’s his prerogative. The music is up to the standards one expects from the Legendary Pink Dots‘ frontman.
Dutch label Seja Records graces us with a magnificent new release by Swedish neofolkers Fatal Casualties. It’s amazing to thing that Stefan Ljungdahl and Ivan Hirvonen have been performing off and on as Fatal Casualties for 30 years now, as the current release is perhaps the freshest, most vibrant music they’ve put out in more than a decade. It’s hard to even consider this neofolk, because it uses so many other genres as a touchstone. One can hear post-punk, goth, dark electronic music, a bit of a soundscape here and there. Ivan’s vocals top the aural cake off beautifully. Kudos to the engineer who managed to balance the sounds perfectly.
This album was released in 2016, but as I came around to it only recently, I’ll gladly consider this a new-ish release. Well worth your time.