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Sagittarius - Songs From The Ivory Tower

Sagittarius was formed by Cornelius Waldner, a member of the black metal group Hailstorm, to provide an outlet for classical and soundscapes. Songs From The Ivory Tower is their second full-length release, following Die Große Marina a short-run vinyl LP based on Ernst Jünger´s novel "On The Marblecliffs". Songs From The Ivory Tower continues the fascination with German literature with the majority of tracks based on poems by Stefan George, Bernhard von Uxkull-Gyllenband, Gottfried Benn, Ludwig Uhland and Timo Kölling. This time, though, Cornelius Waldner has enlisted the assistance of numerous musicians including guest contributions by Marcel P. (Von Thronstahl), Herr Twiggs (Kammer Sieben), Damiano Mercuri (Rose Rovine E Amanti), Troy Southgate (H.E.R.R. / Seelenlicht) and Philipp Jonas (Secrets Of The Moon).

Songs From The Ivory Tower largely revolves around Waldner's sparse piano arrangements with their elegant melodies. It's a starkness befitting the nostalgic and melancholic atmosphere that Songs From... exudes. Aside from the opening 'Nihil Arsen' Corenlius Waldner's solo tracks are delivered in his calm, measured tones. Only on 'Der Sommer, Der Die Erntezeit Gekront' does he furnish the tracks with a more commanding, dramatic vocal performance. The deep melodic tones of Herr Twiggs that feature on 'An Des Meeres Strand' and 'Sternwandel V' cover similar territory, assisted with cello swells on the former and flute melodies on the latter. Much of Songs From... shares an affinity with Current Ninety Three's Soft Black Stars its elegant piano scores conjuring up a parlour room recital. It's largely the result of the additional contributors that flesh out the arrangements lending the music an evocative air and a folk sensibility to some of the tracks.

'Das Lied', based on the Stefan George poem, is a quaint ballad with lilting flute melody and a monotone Marcel P vocal, reprised as a bonus track under the title 'The Song' with an effective speak-song vocal from Troy Southgate. 'Der Gute Kamerad' is an elegant folk chamber track with the vocals of Troy Southgate and the pristine acoustic guitar of Damiano Mercuri. Sagittarius execute an exemplary take on the Forthcoming Fire / Von Thronstahl landmark song, 'Europa Calling', drenched in Damiano Mercuri's yearning, longing voice on this acoustic and piano based rendition.

Cornelius Waldner foregoes the bombast of death metal for a suite of songs that given their intimacy are just as powerful. Songs From... touches upon familiar aspects of the neo-folk and neo-classical scenes and it's performed consistently with musicians drawn from the close knit Cold Spring community ensuring that it arrives fully formed just waiting to reach out to those with an interest in the above. For more information go to www.coldspring.co.uk