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Herbst9 – “Usumgal Kalamma” – [Loki Foundation]

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Herbst9 is the dark ambient project of Henry Emich and Frank Merten from Leipzig (they also work under the name Land:Fire). This 2011 release from Loki Foundation is a 2X CD concept album inspired by the Sumer and Akkad, the world’s first civilizations – from the cuneiform symbols and mythological imagery that make up the cover art, to the vocals in the ancient Akkadian language, to the ceremonial rhythms and instrumentation. The first disc opens with “She Filled the Wells of the Land With Blood” (T1), with ringing gongs and the chants of a vengeful female spirit (Andrea Sinclair provides vocals in Akkadian, also on T7). “Napissunu Mutumma” (T2, “Their Breath is Death”) is a 15-minute epic with a dramatic battle scene bookended by beautiful, mysterious passages with harps and chimes. “Ludlul Bel Nemeqi” (T3, “I Will Praise the Lord of Wisdom”, the title of a poem that reads like a Babylonian version of the Book of Job) is a fitting soundtrack to your upcoming solar eclipse sacrifice. “The Sage Lord Asimbabbar” (T11) is another highlight, with violin, lute, and chimes. Along with the dark ambient shadows and the acoustic instruments, loops of spoken word are used – some times well, but other times to confusing and even annoying effect (like the guided meditation spoken word on T2, for example). But that aside, there’s hours of excellent dark, mystical atmosphere on this release.

  • Reviewed by lexi glass on August 6, 2017 at 3:44 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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