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Sturmpercht - A Wilde Zeit

Sturmpercht the Alpine folk outfit return with A Wilde Zeit, an anthology release containing long out-of-print vinyl releases, their contributions to various compilations and one previously unreleased track. Those familiar with Sturmpercht will be aware of their unique sound, an audacious blend of heavily accented voices, accordion, guitars and much percussion. A Wilde Zeit, like their previous full length album Geister Im Waldgebirg, draws upon their Alpine homeland and its myths and landscapes. Recorded between 2003 and 2005 A Wilde Zeit offers a look at the roots of this unique musical outfit.

A Wilde Zeit continues with their folk ballads and their spirited drinking songs for wild hunters. It is these jaunty pumping accordion driven tracks with voices deep and often grouped, and with percussion alternating between rolling timpani or taut snare drum rolls that are the most distinctive tracks of the unique Sturmpercht sound. There's a real communal warmth to these tracks, and the rawness of the playing only adds to the enchanting spirit of tracks such as 'Die Wilde Jagd Vom Untersberg' and 'Schnaderhüpflska'. Once again everything is sung or spoken in thick German accents and even though I can't comprehend the lyrics there's a passion and joyousness that's infectious and inviting.

The landscape becomes a little more familiar on the folk ballads. The ringing strum of 'Ewige Gegenwart' with the voice drenched in breathy male harmonies or the light finger picked stylings of 'Das Geschenk der Wildfrau' and 'Viel Volle Becher Klangen', an ensemble piece akin to a traditional folk song with its rhythmic vocal delivery and the mediaeval flute melody. The original version of 'Wir Rufen Deine Wölfe' is included too. 'Von Den Untersberger Holz und Moosleuten' is much more filmic drawn as it is from classical guitar playing and solemn orchestral strings overlayen with a dreamy narrative.

Besides the raucous folk songs and the playful and uplifting drinking songs a number of tracks display a slight experimental edge, carrying elements of early German industrial music. 'Am Fuße des Untersberges' is stripped to bass and timpani with slight guitar touches. 'Wilde Gesellen' fuses loose low-end bass notes to timpani and snare drums rolls that form a rhythmic backbone to the male harmonies and spoken voice. With its psychedelic synth sounds 'Der Wilde Jäger vom Untersberg' is the wild card in the pack, with 'Die Habergoaß' coming a close second: a repetitive whispered chant over warmed fuzzed up guitar chords and swirling organ.

A Wilde Zeit, due to its varied sources, is much broader in scope than Geister Im Waldgebirg. There remains a solid kinship with Markus Wolff's Waldteufel project and the synthetic-loops of Allerseelen but, there are moments here where I can hear faint traces of Neubaten. With A Wilde Zeit Sturmpercht remain somewhere completely off-centre but nonetheless enchanting. For pure unadulterated Sturmpercht sound I'd go for Geister Im Waldgebirg but this expanded reissue of the limited CD-R that came in a wooden box is more than welcome. For more information go to www.steinklang-records.at