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Go to the Blood Axis & LJDLP website  Blood Axis & LJDLP - Absinthe, La Folie Verte [Athanor - 2001]

Way too long has been the wait for new Blood Axis material. The "Blot" live album on Cold Meat Industry was released back in 1998, and the debut album "The Gospel Of Inhumanity" even six years ago. But the wait is finally over; with "Absinthe, La Folie Verte" we can once again enjoy new material of Michael Moynihan.

"Absinthe, La Folie Verte" (Absinthe, The Green Madness) is a collaboration between the U.S. based Blood Axis and the French cult-act Les Joyaux De La Princesse. As can be read in the album title, this release is a homage to the infamous liquor, which was banned in Europe for 85 years. Blood Axis already had one track dedicated to Absinthe on their debut album, and now we have a full-length album presented, although it was first planned to be a 10" release. Although Absinthe was sometimes drunk straight or in a variety of mixed drinks, the classic method of drinking it involves pouring cold water over a slotted spoon which contains sugar into a glass containing a shot of absinthe. As the water hits the absinthe, the oils precipitate out, and the drink changes from a clear emerald colour to an opaque, milky white. Absinthe became an important part of the lives of laborers, artists, painters and poets and the end of the 20th century. Especially in Paris, where the cafes were filled with absintheurs, the green fairy was very popular. It is said that Absinthe has a positive effect on one's creativity, but also causes hallucinations and other psychic side effects.

Blood Axis has been known for their supreme neo-classical and orchestral music, combined with the spoken voice of Michael Moynihan. However, Erik Konofal of Les Joyaux De La Princesse apparently had more influence on the music, since the moments of violins and bombast only happen seldom. The music is more focused on minimal ambient and a bit of industrial, which creates this mind-altering atmosphere. The melodies used contain at times outtakes from Absinthe songs of the past, takes from old cylinder recordings and other sources, and these have been placed among the soundscapes as if they were made for each other. The Blood Axis contribution can be heard of course, but mainly because the voice of Michael Moynihan is present, bringing forth old poems and texts (of course Absinthe-inspired) from Marie Corelli, Charles Cros, Ernest Dowson and anonym authors.

The artwork of the release is done in the same obsessive style as the music and lyrics. The stunning embossed digipak contains a 12 page colour booklet filled with images from the Absinthe museum in Auvers-sur-l'Oise, France. It perfectly captures the atmosphere of the album. The label that brought forth this impressionistic tour-de-force, Athanor, will release a special limited edition boxset containing a book, various printed pieces, and two 10" picture discs with remixes from "Absinthe, La Folie Verte" as well as live recordings from the debut performance of this material, presented on stage by Blood Axis and Les Joyaux De La Princesse in Portugal in October 2001. This release is planned for later in 2002, and promises to be even more impressive than the current release.

It is said that the members of the collaborating groups are heavy Absinthe drinkers, experimenting with the drink since young age already. All aspects of this album (instrumentation, spoken recitations and even the final mixing) have thus been done under influence of this drink. Although I have yet to experience the effects of Absinthe, I dare to say that Blood Axis and Les Joyaux De La Princesse have created the perfect sonic translation for the state of mind caused by drinking the green fairy. It was unfortunately too late to make my yearlist, but it would have certainly ended up at the #1 spot.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Justin Faase
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