Review at Heathen Harvest :
Kim Larsen returns once again this time not as his favourite incarnation -Of the wand and the moon-,
but as a very particular sideline project retired from the doctrinal appearance that corroborated his fame.
He dedicates this time to approximate the medieval edge without getting completely cut into it,
Solanaceae counts with the adherence of a graceful touch of opaqued ether that varies the folkloric resonance
in a distinctive pale psychedelic overtone and a fragile cadence of exposed fragility.
Additionally it does presents a very fresh form syncretism also,
joined by the delicate subtlety of a hyper-sensible naturalness manifested in the typical proximity of the pagan wisdom and an apparently induced visionary like state focused on the movements and symbols within natural manifestations.
Substantially it is a musical journey of incredible lucidity and redeemed purity motivated by a strange rite within woods and magical substances that opens the doors to superior understanding, after all,
Solanaceae is in itself a very famous plant that was used in middle ages to create potent beverages that induced mystic states and expanded states of the mind.
Larsen's music is now a lot more contemplative with moments reminiscent of a trance,
often surreal but merged with sweetness, inducing a daydream like state
and at the same time leaving a languid melancholy behind.
And amidst its beauty lies the indication of a prophecy and a warning present
in the restless sentimental observations from the lyrics,
or the eloquence that comes from certain musical passages, yes,
this is also apocalyptic music in a very subliminal way.
On top of it there is phenomenal amount of invited guests to the practice: Michael Laird (Unto Ashes),
Fenella Overgaard (:Of the Wand and the Moon:), John van der Lieth (Sonne Hagal), Vincent Farrow (Solblót),
Chelsea Robb (Arrowwood), Anne Eltard, Louise Nipper, and Pythagumus Olaf Marshall (Novemthree).
A psychedelic witches’ Sabbath has commenced and we are invited!
The form of medieval harmony is very well depicted and permanently inscribed on the album spirit,
the beautiful guitar arrangements displayed brings images of bucolic landscapes long time gone
and the feel of a time where time apparently ran softer. Nevertheless,
there is an indefinable and uncertain presence within the music that grants it a strange atmosphere
that is distant from the solid unfold that proper medieval folk will bring.
A foggy texture and a soft windy mood accompanies the tracks almost like ghost in the day light,
an atmosphere of surrealism and magic where woods and natural landscapes
are seeing with another perspective and singular form.
The harmony varies from very simple and delicate guitar strolls to more complex arpeggiated passages
always sweetly accompanied by fragile glockenspiel notes,
magical dulcimer cadences, melancholic violins or tranquil accordion introits aided
with additional ghostly percussions and other subtle acoustic effects.
Certain tracks present instead a more solid medieval folk influx, with minor atmospheric contours.
A good example on this will be “Fenella” an acoustic track beautifully constructed on an early Baroque form,
which its main accompaniment will be a flute while intimately centred on the filigree dexterity of the guitar,
it does presents a pastoral like mood, full of delicate grace and natural fragility.
“Samorost” steps in similar dimension but its guitar ornamentation is more complex
and accompanied by more percussion, more vivant and mettlesome though preserving the tranquillity
that characterizes the main transit. “Nakkiel II” falls also on this category.
Its rather evident that the album shows ethereal ambiences through but these are not associated with the term as it is usually perceived.
This ethereal form from Solanaceae is rather alien and absent minded,
even distant and uninterested, exactly as a daydream or a trip with some magic substance.
Meanwhile these three tracks displays the more “orthodox” appeal
(although cleverly imbued into the eerie spirit from the album) they present not the assented ethereal feel
that is often norm on other tracks from this particular album,
these tracks probably being the more attractive as product of this uncommon figment.
To illustrate the case its the visionary opener-also epilogue for the album “I saw them through the pines”
that transmits this absent calmness as if one would be lying in the middle of woods
contemplating how the sunlight filtrates its rays amidst the dimness and the forest transcends its common aspect, bringing a whole new perspective of its mysterious content.
Introspective and visionary the guitar depicts a dynamic narrative of rather fixed arrangement
that results hypnotic and eerie, condescending with a contemplative mood on the listener
while the atmosphere is predominantly constructed by acoustic ornaments coming from glockenspiel,
subtle keyboard background and the sweet dulcimer apparition.
Important to highlight is the fact that choruses were cleverly conceived as whispers,
expanding the intimate momentum and atmospheric quality of the track.
The live recording of moving trees and forest creatures are other elements present,
adding extra context to the general sonority.
All this magic beauty transforms this track practically in the theme from the album.
Next to this will be “O deep woods” that introduces a fairy voice,
so vaporous and fragile that seems almost inhumane,
but exalts a tranquil like mood full of purity and melancholic beauty.
This female voice reminds me for moments the quality of Rose McDowall
in her coldest performances with Death in June.
This track is really permeated by a strange spell, illuminated by the guitar dynamic
yet maintaining an ethereal quality as product from the delicacy from the aerial acoustic ambience.
Another stunning track is “The blood of my lady” presenting in a clear allegory on the destruction of environment
and natural values, the distance taken from spirituality and the abandon of tradition
all elegantly written in polished poetical lyricism.
It’s almost like a medieval ballad infused by extremely crafted vocals
with very gentle arrangements and able to really captivate with its melody and chorus line.
The rest of the album present this hybrid form, middle way between folk passages
crafted in beautiful and well detailed melodies and sophisticated adorns
and that set of strange surreal etherized atmospherics that subtly shelter the arrangements with its eerie form. “Midnight garden” with a more troubadoresque quality, yet utterly melancholic or the fast stylized in psych folk “Hemlock And Mandrake Fields” are good examples on the additional variety that will be found.
In general the whole album transpires an unique magic that results incredible attractive and mysterious,
reaching the portions of the heart and the spirit from the listener where a particular melancholy for special longings reside and unwordly promise of demise awaits,
secretly veiled under the cloaks of flowers, muss and holy ground.
It has been an honour for me to review this album, and I really feel that this is a really special item,
in a way superior to everything what Kim Larsen has made before and truly in league with his own,
different from the rest of Neofolk formations, original, solid, simply spectacular.
Not one but multiple recommendations for this one.
Indispensable album and surely the best so far from 2009!