Nimh & Rapoon – Post-Folk Lore vol. 1

[Reviewed by stark]

Such a collaboration was to be expected, but at the same time it wasn’t. It may sound strange, but what I mean is that Rapoon and Nimh are basically similar projects, yet so different at the same time. Okay, I start talking riddles, so let me clear out what’s on my mind.

Rapoon, has been present on the ambient/experimental scene for many years. The project is often referring to folk music somewhere between drones, obviously not in a direct way, but smuggling the rhythms or sounds of native instruments in into purely ambient structures. Also, Robin Storey’s work often applies to the places that can be found on the map, usually somewhere in the Middle East, therefore I like to think of Rapoon as the other side of the coin, where Muslimgauze is on the first one. Anyway, I have shared my opinion on Rapoon many times, because it seems to be the most described artist in Santa Sangre. That also means something.

On the other hand, Nimh is perhaps a slightly less experienced project, but also for about two decades is charming the fans of electronic landscapes with his arcane sounds. However, Giuseppe Verticchio’s work is characterized by a larger stylistic and atmospheric dispersion. One time the Italian makes albums directly referring to the exotic places where he was residing in the past (like Thailand on “Krungthep Archives” or “The Missing Tapes”), while on other occasions he is taking his listeners on a journey to the lands that were born in his mind. And I’m not thinking about some imaginary kingdoms straight from a fantasy novel, but rather the places you see in your dream, the ones that seem real to you, but after waking up you can’t place them anywhere on the map. Or you can notice from the corner of your eye that something is looming on the horizon, but when you turn your head in a given direction, the outlines of this place blur your point of view. When I think about it, I always recall one of my favorite albums of all time, the collaboration of Nimh and Maurizio Bianchi, “Secluded Truths”. A masterpiece of oneiric, often surreal ambient. It is also worth mentioning that Giuseppe – more often than Robin – tries a purely dark ambient approach, whether alone or with other artists (Amon, Antikatechon). Also under the banner of Hall Of Mirrors.

That being said, we get the joint work of the British and Italian, with an ingenious title which can be understood in two ways, i.e. as a modern (post- as it is often described in relation to contemporary avant-garde music) approach to folk sound traditions, but also as something like secret knowledge about the source of this tradition, both now and today. An attempt to reach its core and extract the essence.

Anticipating the facts, “Post-Folk Lore vol. 1” is a great album, yet it sounds exactly like I would imagine the musical collaboration between these two specific artists. Although they worked remotely, the whole thing is very natural. It is obvious that a thread of agreement was established and the album is of a truly organic nature, though I cannot deny that the individual chic of the musicians is easily noticeable. The elements distinguishing both musicians are easy to perceive, but subordinated to the final structure. No one is dominating no one. The album doesn’t take us to any particular location, but rather treats the issue of this titular “folk” comprehensively. They make use of a whole lot of instruments here, obviously most of them can be associated with a specific region of the globe, but the whole thing is immersed in a deep ambient textures and only once in a while the instrument has the opportunity to come to the forefront. Like in “Melancholy’s Bow”: I think (although I may be wrong) they used Japanese ones, straight from the bunraku theater (shimasen and shakuhachi). However, most of the time we deal with beautifully interpenetrating landscapes, tribal rhythms straight from the best Rapoon records and the aural oneirism eliminating any sharp edges. Observe how many overlapping layers there are, even in the first composition, “Compensating Contemplation”. It all sticks together, and when these blurry guitar soundscapes fall in, oh my…

And this is such a collaboration, seemingly you know where you are, but in fact you don’t. It seems to you that you control your consciousness, but in a split second you drift somewhere in space. The title suggests that we can expect more installments of “Post-Folk Lore”. I wonder if it will be an exclusive series for Rapoon and Nimh, or if other musicians will also get involved. Either way, the expectations are huge. Rapoon / Nimh, Atomine Elektrine, Robert Rich have released new great albums, the latest S.E.T.I. it’s fantastic, it’s a great year for deep ambient yet.

Nimh & RapoonPost-Folk Lore vol. 1
Winter-Light, WIN 029
CD/Digital 2020

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