I was immediately captivated by the two songs you’ll hear next. They are quite unlike most of the music we feature on this site, and I admit that their unusual distinctiveness is itself part of their attraction. I think they’re also very, very good.
Both songs come from an album named Ad Augusta Per Angusta that will be co-released on January 30 by Symbol of Domination (Belarus) and United By Chaos (Finland). The name of the band is Aegri Somnia, and it’s a collaboration between two Spanish artists with very different backgrounds — Cristina R. Galván (aka Lady Carrot), who comes from the world of Castillian folk music, and Nightmarer, who has been a participant in the avant-garde metal bands As Light Dies and Garth Arum.
You’ll get a sense of what’s unusual about the songs by looking at the lists of instruments performed by these two:
Cristina R. Galvan: Galician and Castilian tambourine, pandero cuadrado, palo de agua, spoons, almirez, shells, and claps Nightmarer: electric and acoustic guitar, fretless bass, keyboards/synths, programming, violin, accordion, wind chimes, claps, and stomps
The ethnic folk aspects of these songs are prominent. Though I’m not well-versed enough to tell you their provenance, Aegri Somnia have explained that the songs are “a compilation of Iberian popular folk songs from the late 19th and the early 20th century”:
“A travel through the rural Spain watered by our ancestors’ sweat and blood, an approach to the magical Spain with its lights and its shadows, and a gaze into the abyss of the black and tenebrous Spain with the inner cruelty and brutality of human beings. Pieces of memory, tradition, secrets and myths transmitted over the years from generation to generation, around bonfires, while long working days under the sun or during celebrations. Small samples of popular wisdom which, unlike others already entered into the mists of time, have been rescued from our elder memory before their demise.”
The two songs below are “Ronda De Mayo” and “Señor Platero”. On both of them, Cristina Galván’s voice is a marvel, as are the exotic melodies she expresses through it, and the ingenious combination of her singing with the dark heaviness of Nightmarer’s riffing, the ethereal glow of the keyboard overlays, and the sonic textures of other acoustic and percussive instruments, is completely winning.
Of the two tracks here, there is greater intensity, hard-driving speed, and weight in the dervish-like whirl of “Señor Platero” (until you reach the final segment), while “Ronda De Mayo” is simply mesmerizing. Can’t wait to hear the rest of this.