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Lingua Fungi - Melankhton [Aural Hypnox - 2014]

Lingua Fungi's "Melankhton" is an album of contemplative and serene soundscapes that retains the usual Aural Hypnox air of mystery, but manages to be the most emotionally open, melodic and diverse output I have heard from the label.

In collage like structure, the musicians bring you through fleeting glimpses of understated worlds, using field recordings and instrumental improvisations with impressively rich and vibrant tone/texture.

Musical activity is seated within a thick silence, and from an atmosphere of reverent but perhaps dangerously deep solitude; each idea presents itself for 2 minutes or so, then quietely recedes.  In this way, the sound is closer to that of Lingua Fungi's previous collaborator Alio Die than to labelmates Aeoga and Halo Manash, or any dark ambient artist, for that matter.  The closest we get to usual 'dark ambience' are the haunting atonal blasts of primitive sounding horns, arranged into trance inducing loops, which wouldn't be out of place on Lustmord's "Heresy" or a great number other albums.

Clearly an audiophile concerned with a pleasant listening experience, the production on this album is remarkable in the sense of space and balance it accomplishes.  The reverberation of the space, if not natural, certainly feels as if it could be natural, with the hushed, dusty quietude of a cave or cathedral.  Though many sounds on the album are subtlely or strangely electronically treated, the use of effects is subtle, and most of the sounds are acoustic in origin.  Many primitive instruments are used, donating their odd earthy dissonances and evocative magick.  Plucked strings with unfamiliar exotic twang and shrill flutes that seem to play two simulataneous notes are abundant.

Lingua Fungi tends to dwell upon unsettled melancholic tonalities, and "Melankhton" is quite the haunted journey, but never abrasive or harsh.  I am reminded at times of Coil and Current 93, and the vertigo of feeling the entire history of civilization is flashing before your eyes.  In the spaces between the more noticable sections, there are strange forboding whispers, and all tracable human presence seems to vanish.

Cheesy as it may sound by now, the decomposing molecules of our ancestors and everything that made up the past are strewn about us still, often unconsidered.  Dwelling on this thought becomes nearly unavoidable whilst listening to a recording like this, which seems to highlight the wildly unknown qualities in man's animal nature and the environment surrounding.

All in all, one of the most intensely immersive and convincing 'ritual ambient' recordings I have heard, highly recommended to fans of Coil, Arktau Eos' "MIrrorion", or the more recent work of Herbst9, or anyone open to potentially frightening but intensely evocative soundscaping.  This is a magnificent album, and his 2012 collaboration with Alio Die "Otter Songs" was great as well; I'll certainly have to investigate the rest of the back catalogue.

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

Josh Landry
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