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Lux Occulta - Kołysanki
13 March 2014


01. Dymy
02. Samuel Wraca Do Domu
03. Mieczów Siedem
04. Serca Tu Mają Tylko Dzwony
05. Sen Jest Lżejszy Od Powietrza
06. Karawanem Fiat
07. Bieluń I Chryzantemy
08. Bądź Miłościw


It's curious to see what long absences from the music scene can do to bands when they finally hop back into it, either resulting in them losing momentum and slowly crumbling, or, on rarer occasions, being reborn into a completely different, though just as potent entity. This year, with Kołysanki, Lux Occulta are giving us quite a stunning example of the latter case.

If someone had told you in 1996 that 18 years later Lux Occulta would be playing a surreal form of electronic Avantgarde metal, you probably would've looked at them like they were from Nibiru. Yet nonetheless, here they are after a 13 year period of silence, doing just that. A few of the ideas Lux Occulta left off with on The Mother And The Enemy are still present, but for the most part they've been thrown out the window, and what's left has been taken to an entirely different level. Right from the start with "Dymy," Kołysanki establishes ground in a heavy synth atmosphere, with very groovy beats and rhythms (accentuated by an excellent choice in percussion), and vocals (in Polish this time!) that dance between charismatic singing and interesting spoken word, utilizing both to great effect.

There's really a lot going on here musically, and even though Kołysanki more or less sits in this pseudo-techno metal core, it's still very difficult to put an exact label on it because of the large degree of sound variation both within and amongst its tracks. "Samuel Wraca Do Domu," for example, with its use of sax, double bass, and organ, sounds more like a jazz piece from the early 1900s than anything else, and when the metal elements creep into it, it becomes even more bizarre. Other tracks, such as the amazing "Karawanem Fiat," take a bit of a neoclassical approach, with acoustic guitar work that would delight even the most seasoned of flamenco listeners.

Kołysanki is definitely not easy listening, and you probably won't entirely "get it" on your first, or even your second listen. With this album, Lux Occulta have crafted something truly original and majestic: a blend of personalities, a haze of influences, where the album's eccentricity is part of what makes it so alluring, and its multi-layered atmosphere is part of what will attract listeners to wanting to understand it more. This is quite possibly my favorite release of the year thus far, for most if not all of the reasons listed above. It's structured and it's chaotic, it's jazzy and it's electronic, it's simple, but it's also complex, in a series of musical paradoxes that make it both an extremely intriguing but also an extremely challenging album to digest. And that's exactly what makes it so beautiful.

Surrender to the madness!


Band profile: Lux Occulta
Album: Kołysanki


 



Written on 30.03.2014 by
Apothecary
"Show me a sane man, and I will cure him for you"
-Carl Jung
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Hex_Omega - 30.03.2014 at 23:24  
Kołysanki = Lullabies

01. Dymy = Smokes
02. Samuel Wraca Do Domu = Samuel Is Coming Back Home
03. Mieczów Siedem = Seven Swords
04. Serca Tu Mają Tylko Dzwony = Only Bells Have Hearts Here
05. Sen Jest Lżejszy Od Powietrza = Dream Is Lighter Than Air
06. Karawanem Fiat = Fiat's Hearse
07. Bieluń I Chryzantemy = Datura And Chrysanthemums
08. Bądź Miłościw = Be Merciful
Gothmog_Motsham - 30.03.2014 at 23:35  
Man I still cannot believe they are back! Will be getting the record very soon and your review got me even more excited. Thank you!
Apothecary - 30.03.2014 at 23:41  
Written by Hex_Omega on 30.03.2014 at 23:24

Kołysanki = Lullabies

01. Dymy = Smokes
02. Samuel Wraca Do Domu = Samuel Is Coming Back Home
03. Mieczów Siedem = Seven Swords
04. Serca Tu Mają Tylko Dzwony = Only Bells Have Hearts Here
05. Sen Jest Lżejszy Od Powietrza = Dream Is Lighter Than Air
06. Karawanem Fiat = Fiat's Hearse
07. Bieluń I Chryzantemy = Datura And Chrysanthemums
08. Bądź Miłościw = Be Merciful

Nothing better than translations from a native! Thanks man, I'll try to add this as Additional Info
PocketMetal - 31.03.2014 at 00:05  
I haven't heard it and I'm already in love.
Daniell - 31.03.2014 at 00:10  
Actually

05. Sen Jest Lżejszy Od Powietrza = Sleep Is Lighter Than Air
06. Karawanem Fiat = Fiat As A Hearse
Apothecary - 31.03.2014 at 00:18  
Written by Daniell on 31.03.2014 at 00:10

Actually

05. Sen Jest Lżejszy Od Powietrza = Sleep Is Lighter Than Air
06. Karawanem Fiat = Fiat As A Hearse

Duly noted, translations now on album page
R'Vannith - 31.03.2014 at 05:59  
Agreed that it's the sort of album where pinning it down to one genre is futile really, it's a diverse listen for sure. Seems to have a much looser hold on metal than I remember from their previous material. The accordion use really makes this album for me, gives it a certain character alongside those Polish vocals and spoken word. Rhythmically speaking it's really captivating, as much as it is in the more ambient bits.
I also love that jazzy piece! My favourite is probably the longer one, "Karawanem Fiat." ^ Or "Fiat As A Hearse" as the Polish folks have been kindly translating for us.
Apothecary - 31.03.2014 at 06:11  
Written by R'Vannith on 31.03.2014 at 05:59

The accordion use really makes this album for me, gives it a certain character alongside those Polish vocals and spoken word.

Agreed, it creates this real "old European" type of feel, which I think is something along the lines of what they were going for here.
R'Vannith - 31.03.2014 at 06:19  
Written by Apothecary on 31.03.2014 at 06:11

Written by R'Vannith on 31.03.2014 at 05:59

The accordion use really makes this album for me, gives it a certain character alongside those Polish vocals and spoken word.

Agreed, it creates this real "old European" type of feel, which I think is something along the lines of what they were going for here.


I'm not sure what "Beskid borderland folklore" means, as described on the bandcamp there, but I'm guessing that has something to do with what we're talking about. I assume that there's some folk elements in here that are particular to that area of Poland or something.
Apothecary - 31.03.2014 at 06:22  
Written by R'Vannith on 31.03.2014 at 06:19

I'm not sure what "Beskid borderland folklore" means, as described on the bandcamp there, but I'm guessing that has something to do with what we're talking about. I assume that there's some folk elements in here that are particular to that area of Poland or something.

Probably, almost makes me wanna do some research into some Polish folk, if it's anything like this!
Hex_Omega - 31.03.2014 at 10:54  
Written by Daniell on 31.03.2014 at 00:10

Actually

05. Sen Jest Lżejszy Od Powietrza = Sleep Is Lighter Than Air
06. Karawanem Fiat = Fiat As A Hearse

Hm... actually it depends on what the author wanted to say. Both 'Dream' and 'Sleep' might be correct. And 'Karawanem Fiat' is quite confusing for me.
Daniell - 31.03.2014 at 11:00  
Written by Hex_Omega on 31.03.2014 at 10:54

Hm... actually it depends on what the author wanted to say. Both 'Dream' and 'Sleep' might be correct. And 'Karawanem Fiat' is quite confusing for me.


I agree, especially about the first title. But the other is quite clear to me. "Karawanem Fiat" is a fancy way to say "Fiat jest karawanem" or "Fiat służy jako karawan", so "Fiat As A Hearse" makes sense.
Hex_Omega - 31.03.2014 at 11:03  
Written by Daniell on 31.03.2014 at 11:00

"Karawanem Fiat" is a fancy way to say "Fiat jest karawanem" or "Fiat służy jako karawan", so "Fiat As A Hearse" makes sense.

Ok, clear to me now
mz - 01.04.2014 at 23:42  
Remind me to check it latter D:
Daniell - 02.04.2014 at 10:15  
Written by Hex_Omega on 30.03.2014 at 23:24

01. Dymy = Smokes


I made sure I was right before posting this, I checked with a native speaker of English. "Smoke" in plural form is unusual and sounds bad. So

01. Dymy = Smoke

In Polish "dym" is countable, hence plural in the title.
Troy Killjoy - 02.04.2014 at 15:40  
Written by Daniell on 02.04.2014 at 10:15
"Smoke" in plural form is unusual and sounds bad.

The only time I've heard smoke used in its plural form is when someone asks you for smokes (cigarettes).
Daniell - 02.04.2014 at 16:56  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 02.04.2014 at 15:40

Written by Daniell on 02.04.2014 at 10:15
"Smoke" in plural form is unusual and sounds bad.

The only time I've heard smoke used in its plural form is when someone asks you for smokes (cigarettes).

Yes, I agree, but it's a different use. Polish "dymy" means "smoke" in plural form. For some reason this obviously uncountable noun is countable in Polish
psykometal - 02.04.2014 at 17:14  
"Smokes" doesn't necessarily mean plural (countable). It could be verb usage, "the engine smokes all the time", "he smokes out back", "that car smokes all the competition".

I don't know the lyrics so I have no clue, but do they make better sense when considering the word as a verb instead of a noun? Or is "dymy" only a noun, and smokes as a verb is a different words in Polish?

Edit: Also, smoke can be counted, but in English it wouldn't be worded as "smokes", it would be worded as "types/kinds of smoke" - "there are many different types/kinds of smoke, some naturally created (wood burning), others artificially created (mixing chemicals)". English can be such a vastly more complicated language than others. *shrug*
Troy Killjoy - 02.04.2014 at 17:17  
Written by psykometal on 02.04.2014 at 17:14
"Smokes" doesn't necessarily mean plural (countable).

I think what Daniel's saying is that it's the plural version in this instance, not the verb.
psykometal - 02.04.2014 at 17:54  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 02.04.2014 at 17:17

I think what Daniel's saying is that it's the plural version in this instance, not the verb.

Yea, that dawned on me after. So I added on the edit.
Apothecary - 03.04.2014 at 00:07  
Written by psykometal on 02.04.2014 at 17:14

"Smokes" doesn't necessarily mean plural (countable). It could be verb usage, "the engine smokes all the time", "he smokes out back", "that car smokes all the competition".

I don't know the lyrics so I have no clue, but do they make better sense when considering the word as a verb instead of a noun? Or is "dymy" only a noun, and smokes as a verb is a different words in Polish?

Edit: Also, smoke can be counted, but in English it wouldn't be worded as "smokes", it would be worded as "types/kinds of smoke" - "there are many different types/kinds of smoke, some naturally created (wood burning), others artificially created (mixing chemicals)". English can be such a vastly more complicated language than others. *shrug*

I think this debate over title interpretation says a lot about the album
psykometal - 03.04.2014 at 00:12  
Written by Apothecary on 03.04.2014 at 00:07

I think this debate over title interpretation says a lot about the album

I still haven't even listened to this yet. I was already planning to, but now I'm definitely obligated.
Apothecary - 03.04.2014 at 00:44  
Written by psykometal on 03.04.2014 at 00:12

I still haven't even listened to this yet. I was already planning to, but now I'm definitely obligated.

It's..... something. I'm still not even entirely sure what, and I've already given it a solid 3 playthroughs. But I think if you liked that Dreadnought debut you'll appreciate this. Not musically alike at all, but same overall principle: lots of stuff going on on an instrumental level, and a very diverse listen.
Vombatus - 05.04.2014 at 18:09  
Messy and incoherent most of the times coz of the variations and structures, which also makes it charming. I hear very little metal in this, even at the core, but the melodies are great. The electro bits are my favorite (like second half of Dymy and middle of Karawanem Fiat).
Thanks for review that made me check this out
Apothecary - 05.04.2014 at 18:14  
Written by Vombatus on 05.04.2014 at 18:09

Messy and incoherent most of the times coz of the variations and structures, which also makes it charming.

Indeed, this album actually reminds me a lot of the recent Pensées Nocturnes album last year, which also has a big folk/neoclassical influence going on. A bit sloppy because of all the instrumentation, but somehow with an underlying unity of sound and theme that holds it all together.

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