Lingua Fungi – Melankhton

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Lingua Fungi – Melankhton CD Aural Hypnox 2014

Via this release Aural Hypnox has expanded their label roster to include the Finnish comrade Lingua Fungi, whom incidentally this reviewer has not come across before. However for contextual sake this addition makes complete sense as the individual behind the project (Jaakko Padatsu aka OAK) is an integral part of the Aural Hypnox label.  With a bit of background research it is noted that Lingua Fungi has issued some 7 releases since 2006 (including tapes and collaborations), and although ‘Melankhton’ was issued in 2014 the album was recorded, mixed and mastered in 2006.  Noting this is the first album heard by Lingua Fungi and that this material dates from the earliest days of the project, it is unclear of how this fits within the scope of other albums.

On face value this album fits within the broader ritual ambient oeuvre of the Aural Hypnox label, however what sets it apart is that it is also most musical, evidenced through the use of prominent use of acoustic guitars.  Thus the sound of Lingua Fungi is one where a backing of field recordings and abstract drones are coupled with focused melodic musical passages. Also with the project self-describe themselves as “acoustic drone and ambient”, this is quite on the mark.  As such compositions are structured around a bed of nature based field recordings (crackling fire, babbling brook etc.), over which the droning textures and more prominent musical elements are laid.  The use of clean/ acoustic guitars is also subject to studio treatments where on the opening track ‘Wavy Guests’ the acoustic guitar and percussion has been sampled and played backwards for twisted effect.  The later section then ramps up into full musical guise with mid paced prominent bass guitar and driving percussion and again coupled with looped backwards musical elements to achieve a wonky disorientating tone. Of the melodic musical passages some segments prominent acoustic guitars and hand percussion of middle-eastern melody structures are utilised, with the second track ‘Departures’ being a particularly strong example.  The title track also builds on this general format but includes woodwind instruments for added musical effect.  Yet that said not all musical passages are middle-eastern tinged, give the track ‘Detached’ has a floating, forlorn and melancholic tone to the melodic acoustic guitar.

Of the 5 album compositions all are between 10 to 12 minutes each, thus allowing a general sparseness for the overarching atmosphere to slowly evolve, noting also that each piece moves through a number of distinct drone focused and musical structured segments. Although squarely of the tribal and ritual ambient sound of Aural Hypnox, Lingua Fungi elevate it into far greater musical realms with excellent result.  A recommended surprise.

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