Genre: Dark Folk / Neofolk
01 Luftwaffe - Bloodline
02 Awen - Helith's Hill
This anticipated split 7" featuring Luftwaffe (Chicago, Ill.) and
Awen (Dallas, Tx.) is a very exciting release those who of us have
been awaiting new material from both of the artists. The record was
released by Luftawen (a label created for this collaboration) in
commemorate of their joint show in New York City on June 20th, 2008.
The album which is very handsomely packaged includes an insert
printed on clear plastic with an attached lyric sheet featuring Erin
Powell’s artwork on the reverse side. The record itself is pressed
in two colors, “flesh pink and penitents purple”, adding an
interesting dimension to the production value of the release.
Luftwaffe’s A-side track “Bloodline” features b9 InViD and j1
StatiK with guest artists Erin Powell (samples, bodhran, bones)
Sabrina Steiner (Double Bass) and Katrin X (Singing Bowl,
Percussion). The combination of performers creates a very mature
sound for Luftwaffe, yet following well instep with their reoccurring
trend towards the aesthetic of bleak nihilism.
Coming from their 2006 release Event Nihility the listener will
instantly notice a less aggressive and less industrial (yet still
powerful) approach to the telling of their disparaging story. Even
with this less aggressive thrust, Luftwaffe has created a very
effective release blending perfectly together classical neofolk
styling with martial undertones. They have proven themselves
great songwriters and arrangers even
without the bellicose sound of their past releases. Coupled with
predominant acoustic guitars, well placed percussion accents and
haunting vocals we are brought into a dark world where we can
overlook terrible suffering.
b9 InViD lyrics paint a vivid picture of a doomed lineage at time of
the Rapture. The bloodline is put through the trials of defeat, great
loss and humiliation to which the only possible answer is self-
elimination. The final line of the track, “Save the last bullet you
have for yourself!” brings to fruition the only appropriate end for
such a tale. To balance the taste of hopelessness that Luftwaffe has left with us
in "Bloodline", we have an intense ode to a Sacred hill brought to us
by Awen on the reverse side of this split.
Awen has always been an exciting project for this reviewer, and I
believe it would be fair to say that Awen has consistently created
great music in a ritualistic fashion and the B-side to this record,
“Helith’s Hill” is no exception.
Awen for this track is Erin Powell, Eric Kristoffer, Sabrina Steiner,
Katrin X and Per Nilson. This line-up has successfully steered the
sound of the Awen towards a deeper sense of composition in contrast
with the previously minimalist approach utilized in past recordings
such as the FUThARK CDr. Following the morbid nature of Erin’s
appearance on “Bloodline” in which he is attributed to (among
other instruments) playing bones, on “Helith’s Hill” he one-ups
the stakes by playing a human skull.... which I am pretty sure is
Illegal in some States....
We are introduced to “Helith’s Hill” by eerie atmospheric
samples which lead to a traditional bodhran, smoothly bowed bass and
enchanting vocals sung by Katrin X.
Creating layer upon layer we see a new depth to Awen in this
recording. "Helith's Hill" highlights Awen's musicianship, writing
and execution of song. One of the most interesting aspects to Awen is
Erin’s minaciously deep voice, which immediately evokes a strong
interest in the subject matter and sits perfectly next to with
Kartin’s vocal melodies.
“Helith’s Hill” as noted on the insert is dedicated to the
Sacred site of Cerne Abbas, referring to the Cerne Abbas Giant. The
Giant is a large hill-figure carved near the village of which it
finds its namesake, Cerne Abbas in South West England. Lyrically,
Erin does a wonderful job in the writing of his intelligent ode to
the figure. His descriptions of setting in addition to the entrancing
ritualistic aspects of his music brings the listener to feel as
though they are gazing upon a traditional maypole fertility ceremony
in a sort of primordial trance.
Awen brilliantly uses a lock-groove at the end of the record to drive
in the feeling of ritual, giving the listener a chance to pull
themselves out of the listening experience as they see fit and do not
have to be abruptly interrupted by the end of the record, by silence.
Limited to just a pressing of 100, this is a very worthwhile and
highly recommended piece for any fan or collector of fine music.
Luftwaffe and Awen have created a release that is outside the norm as
far as neofolk 7” releases are concerned, and have put forth a work
that is highly intelligent, effective and evocative on all fronts. At
only $10, there absolutely is no reason to leave this one from your