Jahrtal - Lichtbuch 2 [Self Release - 2020]Lichtbuch 2 is the very welcome return of Austrian husband & wife folk duo Jahrtal- who in the late 2000s put out two great albums on the now sadly defunct Ahnstern label. This late 2020 release sees the band still showing their original mellow-yet spirit leanings, but with occasional more off-kilter-to- waveringly grand touches in places.
The album is self-released by Ewald Spiss, who handles all of the instruments, the writing of the largely instrumental tracks, and the male vocals. The eleven-track album comes in the form of CD, or digital download- this rolls in at spot on the forty two minute mark, with each track hitting between one & seven minutes apiece.
The CD is presented a six-panel matt digitpak, which features a blue-washed colour scheme we also get Austrian texts, and full credits also in Austrian too- it’s a simple, yet effective bit of package that fits in with the look of projects previously releases
The album opens up in a decidedly glum-if- slightly off-kilter fashion with the just under one and a half minutes of “Den Meistern”- which brings together a descending & wavering gloom pipe organ with rich buzzing & twanging ethnic string tones. By track four “Migtsema” and it's nearing five-minute flow- we find a blend of twanging banjo, warbling pipe, and lightly baying electronic guitar tones- coming off like a wailing, slightly off-colour & vocal-less Neil Young folk rock work-out. Later on, we come to the jaunting male & female sing-song & bounding acoustic bass strum of “ Schaeferlied”. With the album playing out with the rousing-if-off-kilter “Migtsema RYDG”- which finds like joint-yet wavering male & female choral chants, over a low key organ simmer.
In finishing Lichtbuch 2 is another charming, if at points wonky & wavering slice of Germanic folk, I’d had thought like a lot of their labels mates on Ahnstern that Jahrtal was no more- so it’s certainly great to see they are still carving out their distinctive sound. To find out more & pick up a copy of Lichtbuch 2 for yourself, head hereRoger Batty