Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Ignis Mutat Res – Lux Interna #607

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Ignis Mutat Res by Lux Interna

Since we last met Lux Interna on the music project with God is Not Dead for the Birds I have had more time on my hands to listen to their other works. During that time I’ve discovered that to enjoy today’s album you will need the following:

 

  • A basic understanding of Latin
  • A bushy hipster beard
  • Rolled up tight leg trousers
  • Braces
  • An ironic beret or bald pate or both
  • A bicycle

During the rise and wane of European neofolk groups would form, usually with a gruff-sounding male vocalist, and, mimicking Dead Can Dance et al, write songs with Latin lyrics or names.

To sound mysterious.

Without realising that Lux Interna was one such band, I had heard, and enjoyed, their track Horizon on the much fabled Looking For Europe Neofolk Compendium. And so, as with most bands that I hear and like the sound of on Various Artist compilations, I tried finding other albums by the band. In doing so I obtained this, their second album, Ignis Mutat Res (aka Fire Changes Matter).

It’s difficult to describe Lux Interna without alluding to other obscure neofolk bands. They certainly have a flavour of Love is Colder than Death and maybe a hint of Ordo Equituum Solis with notes of Changes chucked in for good measure and all wrapped up in a nice Projekt record label cling film. In fact, let’s throw in a bit of influence from Blood Axis or Of the Wand and Moon for good measure.But then I suppose that’s the whole neofolk genre in a nutshell.

Sadly the album itself suffers from a beardy bloke in black with a guitar trying to look and sound mysterious. Horizon is probably the most enjoyable track on the album, the others are a little too….comical…to be taken seriously.

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God is Not Dead for the Birds – Lux Interna [#530]

41pN1uSvmWL._AA160_Take a substantial lump of Nick Cave, add a liberal amount of gloomy acoustic guitar, mix in a teaspoon of Sandy Denny or Barbara Gaskin (what ever you have to hand). Leave to fester for a few years and you might  just be able to recreate something similar to Lux Interna.

I discovered Lux Interna through the much touted Looking For Europe neofolk compendium and was able to source a copy of this, their fourth album from 2007. Again, unfortunately due to the time of life I discovered them, I have been unable to devote as much attention to them as I had hoped. Yet every time I do listen, I’m always rewarded by a rich tapestry of sonic gloom.

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The Drift – Scott Walker [#398]

images You might remember Scott Walker as one half of the Walker Brothers. What do you mean you don’t know the Walker Brothers. Hmm. Ok…

That’s the Walker Brothers. Gary, John and Scott, brothers in music not by birth.

Ok, now I’ve established for you who the Walker Brothers are, let me tell you about Neo-folk. Neo-folk, according to Wikipedia, is:

a form of folk music-inspired experimental music that emerged from post-industrial music circles.Wikipedia

Unfortunately, Neofolk gets a teeny bit of a bad name due to its links to martial music and appropriation by a minority of Neo-nazi groups who aimed to spread their filth through the medium of good music.

I like Neofolk. I discovered it through the Looking For Europe neo-folk compendium, the first track on which is Scott Walker’s Angel of Ashes which, I’m told, is Neofolk.

Intrigued by the inclusion of one of the Walker Brothers on the album, I sought out more by the artist and found that at one point in his career, he was signed to my favourite record label…4AD.

Sadly the album The Drift, is an acquired taste. A taste, I’m afraid, my aural tastebuds finds a little too rich and unusual tasting. A little bit Anthony and the Johnsons with a pinch of  Current 93, topped with notes of Can.Still, like with Kiss, I’ll persevere. Just in case he gets better with age….

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Desire Rites – Sieben [#363]

Desire rites - Sieben [#363] We’ve met Sheffield violinist Matt Howden in his alternate guise of Sieben on the Music Project before. This was the first album I bought by Sieben having previously only heard the artist on the Looking for Europe neofolk compendium.

On this album Howden shows how his cheeky humorous side can be laced through his biting observational reflections on various aspects of life. From how the far right have propagated their disgusting agenda through some neofolk to the story of a besotted lonely projectionist, Howden uses this album to set the foundations for his later albums.

If you are new to the neofolk scene, especially the small presence within the genre of British artists, the talented Sieben/Matt Howden’s album Desire Rites is a nice intro.

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Conquest, Love and Self-Perseverance – Ordo Equilibrio [#302]

UnknownSome time back I came across an album called Looking For Europe, a compendium of neofolk music from across Europe. This led to a musically investigational journey where I explored the boundaries of dark folk, neo folk, goth and similar genres in a quest to find something to blow my mind.

I found that something in the guise of David Galas but on the journey I acquired a collection of music that haunted my soul. Now, we’ve already met one such band on the music project, Ordo Equitum Solis, a band that had long dissolved itself when I was discovering the genre for myself. But in the hunger for more OES I would grab anything that seemingly sounded similar.

Swedish group Ordo Equilibrio have been described as apocalyptic folk. They’re certainly dark wave and more definitely neofolk in many respects. But I’d say they’re more dark wave than neofolk.

Conquest, Love and Self-Perseverance is their third album on the Cold Meat Industry label, often played on the Aural Apocalypse podcast produced by DJ Merrick and in goth clubs around the world, it has been described as “Music for your satanic cult” and “Music for your S&M dungeon”.

 

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Born Again – Blood Axis [#211]

51S-P4BcnYL._SL500_AA280_Born Again – Blood Axis

We first came across Blood Axis on his collaboration with Le Joyaux de la Princesse. If you recall, he’s the guy who reads all the English translated French poetry to weird atmospheric remixes of gramophone records. Oh yeah, he gets better. Truly.

So here we are at his third studio album, Born Again. Michael Moynahan menaces his way through 12 tracks of moroseness. Great stuff. Of course you’ll only really appreciate how good when people tell you that the music you’re listening to is a racket and can you please turn it off. Which happens everytime with Born Again. I love it! Possibly not as much as his first studio effort, Gospel of Inhumanity but not that far off.

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The Blood of My Lady – Unto Ashes (#202)

The Blood of my Lady - Unto AshesThe Blood of My Lady – Unto Ashes

Having gained an interest in the neofolk genre following the acquisition of the Looking for Europe compilation I came upon Unto Ashes via the wonders of the Aural Apocalypse podcast. I miss Aural Apocalypse.

This is the band’s sixth album and was released in 2009. Unto Ashes are one of those rare bands that actually use hurdy gurdys, dulcimers and other obscure instruments. Much like a really folky version of Dead Can Dance but with less wailing and more singing. Similar also to Brillig whose Red Coats album will feature on this project in a couple of years. So it makes sense that I would like Unto Ashes too.

This is one of the reasons I love the internet. Without the internet my music collection would still have been compiled of popular generalist stuff from visits to HMV or Virgin Mega Store. The internet helped me discovered bands that I would never have heard otherwise. A goal I hope to achieve by completing this music project. If I can, by writing this project, influence just one person to become a fan of band they would never have heard without it, I will feel accomplished.

 

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Annwyn, Beneath the Waves – Faith and the Muse [Album #76]

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 13.11.55Annwyn, Beneath the Waves – Faith and the Muse

Until the last decade I had shamefully only heard of Faith and the Muse in rumours and student bedroom wall posters. Faith and the Muse have a similar style to Ordo Equitum Solis. Much like OES, Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance, Faith and the Muse are popular amongst the dark clothe wearing goth fraternity. Dark in style with mediaeval tones, Faith and the Muse mix open atmospheric chords with wailing floaty dressed female vocals and, in some tracks, militaristic drumming.

I had only listened to Annwyn once before. I’m not sure I would choose them for a car mix tape or to accompany a dinner party. Unless I was trying to be some sort of hipster goth or impress some Twiglet (sic) obsessed teenagers on their first forays into the dark.

I don’t know why I find this kind of music enjoyable. Perhaps it is the mental images of  dark and wet rainy streets that it conjures. In all, if your folk is too cheery, this is what you want. In a room. With joss sticks and pentagrams.

 

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Album #75 – Animi Aegritudo – Ordo Equitum Solis

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 12.40.53Animi Aegritudo – Ordo Equitum Solis

Neo-folk? Goth? Both? Not entirely sure.

There seems to be a lot of dark wave European bands with latin names. Ordo Equitum Solis, or Empire of the Sun are one such example . OES have a similar sound to Dead Can Dance only without the wailing Lisa Gerrard or weird avante-gard revivalist instruments. There are no sackbuts or crumbhorns here.

Animi Aegritudo (or Mind Illness) gives you that haunting mediaeval feeling, like you should be in some sort of red candle lit cellar in Italy, just before red cassocked hooded monks come into the room and sacrifice you to some dark entity.

I really like them (OES that is, not weird demon summoning monks).  I could quite happily sit in a cellar somewhere and listen to their haunting songs while supping red wine from golden jewel encrusted goblets. Of course most of their stuff was released a long time ago although they have recently had a bit of a come back.

I was really lucky to discover OES whilst on a Usenet music harvesting excersise in the early noughties. Of course, at the time, none of their stuff was available to buy legitimately in the UK. Sure you could buy imports but the last time I did that I ended up with a large credit card bill for porn and internal flights in the USA, which, of course, I have no recollection of buying. Anyway, you can buy their stuff now through Amazon and CDBaby if you’re really interested. I suggest giving them ago. They grow on you . Like moss. On a red candle lit cellar wall.

 

 

 

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