Knyazhaya Pustyn – The Seasons

[Reviewed by: stark]

On “Врѣмена” (“The Seasons”) you`ll find a set of really nice neofolk tunes occasionally weaved in with black metal or even ambient atmospheres. There are seventeen songs here, twelve of them are named with the names of months followed by the “regular” title, like for example “March. In the Hoarse Cries of the Hungry Crows”. All titles and lyrics are in Russian and unlike the recently reviewed “Dikie Kvety” by Lyudi Na Holme, here I really feel the Russian spirit here. I mean I feel this is a truly sincere tribute to the old pagan times, the bow over the majesty of Nature. The album characterized by the nostalgy and a serene reverie even though some fragments, especially the black metal ones sound quite raw.

This is exactly what I expect from a folk project from this part of Europe. It immediately brings me to the scenes in the paintings by Ivan Shishkin or Mikhail Nesterov. I think all the Slavic nations have had the tendencies for romantic idealization of Nature back in the days, but I feel at some point it has vanished somewhere. Therefore I’m always more than happy when I find things in the underground that are spiritually connected with the works of XIXth century poets or painters.

Apart all that they simply know how to compose catchy melodies, they know how to handle their instruments (acoustic guitars, flutes, and other native instruments, like balalaika, domra or kalimba). So the folk aspect is quite refined on “Seasons” and all of that results in some truly ravishing songs (I think my favourite is “August. The Reaper”). This mentioned link with Nature is intensified by the fact that all the songs’ have field recordings as the background, the sounds of chirping birds, blowing wind etc. All of them accurate for the month/season the particular song is about.

Fragile music made by some romantic souls. It may be nothing new under the sun, but it makes me want to teleport to there, to the world they glorify. Even for a day. Or at least see Княжая Пустынь live, preferably on a small open-air gig, far removed from civilization.

Knyazhaya PustynThe Seasons
Der Schwarze Tod, tod59; COD noizes, SHUM26
CD/Digital 2018

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