V/A – Eisiges Licht 2

For the second time Eis & Licht has compiled an album which gives a representative overview of their productions. The cd in an elegant ‘digifile’ contains 14 bands active in the field of ‘dark pop and folk’. It forms a very suitable introduction to the label, not only in terms of the music, but also because it’s friendly priced: just a few euros, or even as a free bonus when ordering something directly from the label (for instance through the new online shop neofolk.de).

Just as the previous edition of Eisiges Licht, the album contains both highlights of the existing catalogue of the label, as well as previews of forthcoming releases. There are already known quality songs by Ostara, Scivias, Leges des Heils, Voxus Imp, Darkwood and Sonne Hagal, of which the songs by the latter two were only available on vinyl before. People who have followed the label a bit will be curious about the new material, and they are served well.

The cd directly starts with five tracks from upcoming releases. I think many people will look a bit suprised (or scared) when hearing the punky first piece, “Dark angel (fire mix II)’ by Alex Fergusson, who is mostly famous as co-founder of Psychic TV. It sounds like trashy underground garage rock. Quite tasty, but a bit strange in combination with the other contributions. In January, Fergusson’s solo cd “The Castle” will be available on Eis & Licht.
Next is Lux Interna, with a song from their forthcoming third album. A solid dark folk piece in line with their previous work, a bit more ‘conventional’ than their other new material, so I’m told.
The Russian romantics of Neutral offer a nice new demo, slow, melancholic and atmospheric as always.

Then a completely new name follows: Primus inter apres, behind which name Frank Machau hides, better known for his involvement in Orplid. Don’t expect typical dark folk though. The instrumental song offers a melodic mixture of acoustic and electronic sounds and choral elements and builds up quit some atmosphere. An album is coming next month, it’s hard to tell how that will sound.
Next is the biggest surprise of the album: Kammer 7, a new act from Bremen. ‘Dismembered memories’ is an epic piece with subtle neo-classical instrumentation, carried by the fabulous male dramatic vocals. Acts like Tuxedomoon or Coil (‘Ostia’) come to mind. A pity we have to wait till summer for an album by this act.

A new Russian act is Waldsonne, who already left a good impression on me with a demo mcd. They contribute a nice song with passionate female vocals and subtle instrumentation.
While Angels Watch contributes a dark and dramatic folk tale, with the rather raw vocals by Dev and the typical percussive and violin sound of Matt Howden in the climaxes.
The final new track is ‘Sturm’ by Nebelung, a young German act who previously had a mini cd on Eis & Licht. Like before they offer a melodic acoustic folk song with flowing violin lines, only the vocals could be a bit more refined for my taste, though they sound not unlike other dark folk vocalists.

This album maintains a high level and forms a varied introduction to the label and deserves a wide listening audience. It also satisfies my curiosity for what Eis & Licht is up to next year.

label: Eis & Licht
details: 14 tracks, 2005 [Eis046]