Music Reviews

The purpose of this page is to provide added exposure to musicians I respect. The bar is set high. To pass Landschaft quality control, the music must be of a quality that meets or surpasses the standard that would secure them a commercial recording release, and/or that I feel an itch to do a Landschaft mix of. I do not review everything they produce - see the band's own websites for complete chronologies - what I review is what I encounter, when I encounter it.

Nagual Art

website: Nagual Art homepage

website: Nagual Art at Virb

website: Nagual Art at MySpace

website: This Plague of Dreaming Label

website: Nagual Art Cover artist website

website: Countertennor Hermann Voges homepage

Metadata: Nagual Art is run by [name withheld out of respect for the artist] under the personna Volador. Dark ambient, neo-classical if one wishes to pin a genre on this very special artist.

Recording review 20 December 2007, "Adoria": This is not a minimal album in the generally accepted sense. It is a dense monolithic work with no gaps; but minimal inasmuch as the themes unfold VERY slowly. Nagual Art deploys his material sparingly, building tension, suggesting via enigmatic titles first a sense of loss and regret, then wonder. Paradoxically - it resolves itself via deeply mournful tones and texture slowly uplifting, reconciling; it's questions answered in a deeply intelligent, patient exposition. A work of brave beautiful humility. Nagual Art is in the same primal forest as Landschaft, but hunting closer to the ground among the roots and moss. A stedicam nap-of-the-land ride across the ghost-scape of a winter wilderness. The cover art in deepest sepia, more towards burnt umber, and supporting website graphics precisely complement the sound works: a tree hung with lamps against a heavy sky. Emptiness, bleak, but hinting at the proximity of humanity - who lit the lamps - and why? Explore the links on the above websites for more wonderful treasures.

Track 1, "Fragments": Billowing clouds of sound clear and in the first piece "Fragments" takes us into the world of Nagual Art's "Adoria". A promise or a threat. A single held violin note builds the tension.

Track 2, "Enter Adoria (I & II)": A submerged Russian Choir, a memory, waves along fronds of dark waterweeds. Made majestic in it's understatement.

Track 3, "Leviath": A simple melody joins, drifts apart and rejoins. An enigma of found sounds, distant. Eno in Music for Films II used this technique and Nagual Art re-interprets it in darker colours. A question or an accusation. Never and answer.

Track 4, "Lisea": A beast metaphorical or literal stirs in it's liar. Breath and eye; an unfolding. Across the grey marsh the beast in smoke uncurls.

Track 5, "Mondwinter": In the driving snow, the castle, rising from the plain, distant. A call or a cry blown on the wind from the barbican. "Winter Landscape" by Caspar David Friedrich rendered in sound.

Track 6, "Traumkristalle": Shimmers, a broken chandelier hanging by a thread above a table of Great Expectations wreathed in cobwebs and dust. A ponderous piano melody underpinned by a bass choir steps out a slow-march over the marshes to the prison ships.

Track 7, "Der Freundliche Kleine": Night creatures, eyes glistening from the thicket. The woodsman's axe as it falls. Or the wolf bark cracks and echos among the pines.

Track 8, "Schneezauber": Counter-tenor voice rises above a sub-bass rumble, almost-not-there glitch beats lift into a break in the clouds of Nagual Art's winter before they close together, darkest red in the moments before sunset.

Track 9, "Fatima" inspired me to write a poem: Mother England who's rarest gift, before the altar of worship is praised. In our god we entrust the breath of the hundreds in darkest fear. a cry, for St George, pierces the night sword and dagger drawn before the fray, and the spike upon which our enemies will impale, we anticipate our guilt in victory.

Track 10, "Theory of the deep": A spiralling ascent to the rafters of some timeless Cathedral, that has it's roots thrust into the earth like some giant immovable molar, we are led to the conclusion of the journey that is "Adoria".

Footnotes: translations: "Mondwinter": moon winter; "Traumkristalle: dream crystal; "Der Freundliche Kleine": the small friend; "Schneezauber" snow magic - carries a weight of subtle meaning lost in translation.