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Werkraum - Kristalle

Werkraum's Unsere Feuer Brennen! was a beautiful marriage of acoustic folk and classical compositions. It was hardly surprising that they were garnering so much attention in the cliched neo-folk genre. Kristalle, their latest mini-album, delves deeper into traditional folk music with a stunning collection of compositions. For the most part it's far removed from the neo-folk genre and in fact draws upon traditional folk, mediaeval folk and psychedelic folk music. On Kristalle, Axel Frank is assisted by Nicholas Tesluk and R.N. Taylor of Changes, Nick Nedzynski of Lady Morphia, and Anje Hoppenrath.

The warm honeyed voice of Nicholas Tesluk's leads the ensemble like a troubadour on 'Queen Mab', as he relates this tale of fairies over intricate guitarwork. The rousing folk of 'Crystals' is augmented by glockenspiel and low whistle flourishes and the strident vocal of Lady Morphia's Nick Nedzynski it retains a nod to the neo-folk / post-industrial background that birthed Werkraum. A beautiful mediaeval atmosphere is created on the instrumental track 'Hoerne' where a flute plays a soft wilful melody over brittle guitar work. Axel and Ajne unite to sing 'Wande and Dorn', a gentle ballad sung in German over a lilting composition of ringing guitars, bodhrans and wind chimes. 'Ornament' is a yearning romantic mediaeval ballad with vocals shared between Ajne and Nick over bodhrans and tin whistles. The final track 'La Fee Verte' alludes to Absinthe, the Green Fairy, the Green Muse. R.N. Taylor relates the ritual of imbibing the intoxicant over shimmering psych folk guitars. It lingers for a while and resumes with the tinkering of a music box before seguing into a disorientating experimental piece with sampled dialogue.

This is a heartfelt release that should satsify lovers of folk music seeking something mystical and slightly out of the ordinary. Kristalle elicits comparisons with traditional folk and contemporary proponents such as In Gowan Ring. It really deserves to be heard outside of the ghetto of neo-folk. For more information go to www.werkraum-heimat.net or www.steinklang-records.at