mercoledì 16 luglio 2014

URNA "Nemeton" review on Heathen Harvest

Rain, melts me into the ground
Dance, turn me into a bird

Wood, cover me with mosses and lichens
Wind, scatter me through the meadows and herbs

So this album begins, a short introduction from the artist to prepare the listener for what comes next.  Not so much a warning as a promise.  A promise that Urna will continue a legacy that has no less than 11 chapters spanning the last 14 years.  This particular outing is presented in similar fashion to his Sagenhaft release, A Long Forgotten Legend.  For those unfamiliar, Gianluca Martucci (Urna) released, with two collaborators, a full-length medieval-inspired neoclassical work under this name while still on the Quartier23 imprint.  It was a beautiful collection of works that had been recorded at various times throughout his career.  That said, Nemeton is both very similar, and at the same time, different than the mentioned work.
Containing only the eponymous track “Nemeton”, this work has only about 36 minutes to express itself.  Urna’s use of flutes, balalaika, saz, cumbus, cymbals, Tibetan bells, gongs, tammorra, sea drum, as well as plentiful field and forest recordings gives this work a very wide sound, as well as realistic depth and feel.  Additional voices and acoustic guitars are provided by M. Leo, and serve to round out the accompaniment quite nicely.  The sounds emitted are pleasant to the ear, with only the slightest hint of drone and excessive sustain.
Though the record shows only one long track, the work is divided into four discernible movements, with droning, melodic interludes serving as the space between them.  A moving and hypnotic work, at once both singular and multifaceted, beautiful and complex.  There is a warm ambience throughout, one that invites both introspection and meditation to be one’s guide through the process of sound and enchantment.  Speaking of meditation, it seems this very thought was foremost during the creation of this album.  The ability to simply close one’s eyes and feel the full saturation of the melodies and sounds is at high probability, and one can easily slip half an hour from the modern world into one from times long passed.
All in all, this work is well produced, certainly propagated by a talented and sincere artist who has proven his commitment to his art for over a decade and a half.  I find that the only complaint I have is the lengthy use of repetitive chords and drones, especially at the 10 minute mark, and again at the end.  Both of these sections really hurt the album, taking precious time to re-insist upon themselves when so much more could be accomplished, especially considering the vast amount of instruments and talent at his disposal.  Repetition is good in regards to the availability of meditative trance, but this is a bit too much.  The sounds used in these episodes are good by themselves, but it seems they start to drag, and go on for far too long.  I found the ending sequence to be quite frustrating, as it continued far too long to the eventual end. Other than this, the album will cater to the needs of those who seek timeless beauty, classical worth, and talent together in one (cardboard) package. The deficient parts (while not show-stopping) are still far outweighed by the good, and the work itself can live on as it was intended.

Written by Asche

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