25 Nov 2017

Outside the Quiet IV - borderland peregrinations through folklore and etherland mirrors

OtQIV begins in the improv/freak folk netherworld of Nu and Apa Neagra, a Hungarian ensemble who released the awesome Black Water Incantation back in 2011. The song, Another Pilgrim is an apt entry point for our meandering through Europe, continuing through various ether worlds and closing in Borneo. Towards the end of this track, a lament, Alas, alas for me, a grieved mother! wends its way through the mix. This song is taken from the iconic Hungarian Folk Music compilation released through Qualiton/Hungaroton Records in 1964 titled - Hungarian Folk Music.

Lovász Irén and László Hortobágyi released an album dedicated to and commemorating the 1000th anniversary of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin back in1995. Titled Világfa it melded an array of Hungarian ethnographic source recordings with electronica and additional composition into a giddying mix of tradition and futurist dreamscape. The song, Dehóremeróma features source material of a chant intoned by a male choir.

This is a suitable segue for our first ambient excursion via Gamargah Fungus' Mysterious Carpathians released on Flaming Pines records. A limited edition 3" cd, its part of the sprawling eclecticism of the Tiny Portraits series of eps where artists immortalize a location, in this case over the border in Ukraine. We'll revisit Gamardah Fungus in a couple of songs.

Earthward, looking inward to the heavens, and we listen to the richly symbolic, Gnostic inspired music and song of Adam Cole, aka Trappist Afterland. Lifted from the 2015 Afterlander album the song, Jessie's Root (Isaiah 11:1-10), opens with a languid tanpura like drone as Adam's world weary ululations introduce the text inspired narrative. We then segue into a goat herd scaling a wall as they make their way down to their shepherd pouring their food below in a ravine. This location recording inspired Ros Bandt who improvises on her Tarhu and habiouli - a shepherds flute - on the track Tragoudia 2 lifted from the enchanting Fractions of Illumination: Cross-Cultural Music by Australian Women Composers.

We return to the Ukranian ensemble Gamardah Fungus for  a track from their celebration and cautionary dedication to herbal folklore, Herbs and Potions. I use these opposite terms because the five botanicals featured on Herbs and Potions are both beneficial and toxic, depending on which part of the plant is used and how. I have chosen Beladonna,  a plant with a diverse folkloric history throughout Europe. Gamardah Fungus' latest album, Herbs and Potions is released on the Flaming Pines label.

Within such deadly and dreamlike realms as these I thought it a good place to explore a track of the latest Isnaj Dui ( Katie English ) album, Poiesis. Agnosia indicates an inability to process sensory information and while not identified with Beladonna consumption, I feel its at least related insofar as compromised and/or enhanced perceptive states are concerned. The track features a meld of seemingly arcane, re-created flute melodies and futurist realms so particular to Isnaj Dui.  From poiesis to Dioptrics, we stay with Isnaj Dui and the track Hoop Diving a weave of vocal clicks, cisterned pops, deep bathymetric synth sonorities, and Katie's esoteric flute melody. Towards its end, it is punctuated by the location recording of a group of journeying Temiar boys, from Kelantan, Malaysia - lifted from the always intriguing and fascinating ethnographical library of Smithsonian Folkways. The album it is taken from is Dream Songs and Healing Sounds In the Rainforests of Malaysia.

From imaginary realms through rainforest we edge towards the end of ItQIV once more through Isnaj Dui, and her 2014 release Euplexia. Fjoeg has traces of Katies' exploration of gamelan in its truncated metallic strike, which have a mystifyingly whistle like quality to them. A languid low flute song uncurls alongside a meandering flute melody. Key swell fold in and under the mix creating a serene and tantalising track.

To close, a simple melody played on the sapeh lute which is most often used to accompany Kelabit women's nocturnal dances from the island of Sarawak.

Cheers hey, I hope you enjoy it.

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