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BRUTAL RESONANCE

MAJDANEK WALTZ / SAL SOLARIS Tenebrae

   There are few pages in the worlds history that everyone would like to forget , but which is needed to be in the memory of each and every person. One of them is World War 2, one of the greatest wars in the history of mankind. Millions of souls were eliminated, millions of destinies mixed into one huge cocktail. Those that survived those crazy times always keep in their mind the vision that stays with them for the rest of their lives.
The expressions of this brutal and ugly war can be seen in different projections of human creations, and poetry was not left behind of course . One of the best lyrical poets of post-war Europe is the offspring of a German speaking Jewish family, Paul Celan. That man, whose best years were spent under the shadow of Nazi excruciation, survived the holocaust and after the war ended, tried to put his thoughts into words which could open up the world, at least a little bit, to all the suffering and pain from the darkest years of mankind.

The words of Paul were taken as the concept for the mutual project of two Russian based collectives, Sal Solaris and Majdanek Walz. The poetry on this album is a solid statement of existence and the will for life. The music is thoroughly crafted by the partnership and is the background guide for the souls scream.

Five tracks that can upend the inner world, deeply touching the strings of emotions. The drones pulsate, verifying each word and explodes the night with the sparks of piano and violin. The endless ruins covered with dust and ashes, rise as the eyewitnesses of the misplaced epoch. This is not the album for a background listening during the everyday life. It demands the full concentration in order to absorb all the messages. Every sound, every sample, every melody has its own meaning and to express poetry as much as possible. Full of deprivation and melancholy .

I'm not the biggest fan of neo-folk albums, but here it is totally harmonic with the music. Two musical formations show the highest level of cooperation, during which they supplement each other in order to achieve their common goal, and to try not stand in the way of the overall feeling. Great work, worthy of the words that they try to immortalize. Pity, that those of you that don't understand Russian will not be able to perceive by listening all the depth of this piece of art, as all the lyrics are translated into Russian.

Definitely a must for everyone in search for intellectual music.

Review by
Andrew
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Culture is not your friend!

MAJDANEK WALTZ / SAL SOLARIS Tenebrae

   Zhelezobeton records bring an interesting joint effort by Majdanek Waltz and Sal Solaris, in a very good looking album. The first thing I realize upon listening to this album is that Tenebrae is distinctive and cannot be completely identified with the music of either project. This fortunate situation creates a genuine work that speaks for itself rather than for its creators. The second thing I notice is that I need to give it at least couple more plays before finally being able to understand it completely, like many other amorphous music albums.

Unfortunately, mankind has a huge, ever growing bloody library of historical atrocities to think about, and many of these atrocities are piled up in the World War II era. Tenebrae is an album about post WWII poet Paul Celan, who had his Jewish family taken to die in Nazi camps, while he himself was serving as labor force for the Germans until 44. Those unfamiliar with his post war works can easily imagine their nature, and, Centered on this story, Tenebrae does hold within itself the shattered, confused and torn apart agony that followed the devastating aftermath of the Great War.

Although I cannot understand a word from what is being read throughout the album, the presence of these words is powerful and total, and it pierces the music with a cut of solemn certainty throughout the bleak atmospheric sounds. When we are left without the spoken words to guide us through the album, the music is far from being unsatisfying by itself. The atmosphere is heavy, almost too heavy, with outbreaks of distant pianos or obscure clarinet sounds. Although at certain times on the album you can hear the music being developed, as the musicians of both projects seem to explore their surroundings and bring life to the depressing darkness that dominates the tracks, the overall notion of the album is that of despair and loneliness, making every such encounter with a new instrument (like a violin on track 4) an exciting event, like a sudden meeting of another human being in the dark, deserted and forlorn streets.

With or without the historic and cultural context, Tenebrae offers a lot for the ears and for the mind, stirring up emotions with dark sounds and challenging the listener with the conceptual ideas behind it.

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Kuolleen musiikin yhdistys

MAJDANEK WALTZ / SAL SOLARIS Tenebrae

   On Tenebrae, Majdanek Waltz and Sal Solaris, who have already worked together before, finally redeem the promises made by their earlier material. It is drone ambient decorated with separate organic instruments, such as piano and strings, and with poetry-like speech segments. Style-wise, excluding a couple of moments, it comes very close to Donis divine Alexandreia (2007), even as it does not reach that level of perfection. Tenebrae is beautiful in a cold kind of way, and at least for a listener who does not understand Russian, it has something distancingly powerful. It is af if one would observe sacred ritual from afar, seeing just its beautiful structure, but without understanding its meaning or true content. At least as such, it works really well, particularly whenever either the piano or the violin is in a prominent position. The German-spoken parts of the ending track do work, too, and it has a nice melody in it, but it does not reach the intensity of the Russian-language parts,

Fine, emotional music where organic instruments, restrained use of machines and good vocals join together into a beautiful whole. This is the best Ive heard from either of the bands, together or separate.

Review by Jiituomas

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VITAL WEEKLY

MAJDANEK WALTZ / SAL SOLARIS Tenebrae

   With my mobile phone I can make phone calls and send and receive text messages. The world of 'apps' hasn't reached yet here, but I was thinking, and perhaps it already exists, it would be nice to have an app when, if you play music it would translate the lyrics from say Russian to Dutch (or, if that's far fetched, English). That way I could understand what the lyrics/poetry of the release 'Tenebrae' is about. Or, perhaps, I could question why most of the text on the cover is in Russian anyway. The project is by Majdanek Waltz and Sal Solaris. According to the (English) press text the texts are by Paul Celan. The music is curious mixture of dark electronics, bit of field recordings and drones, all courtesy of Solaris and Waltz provides with cello, violin, clarinet and piano. A somewhat uneasy marriage of two ends with makes 'neither nor' music. Neither neo-folk, nor ambient, but a curious blending of both ends. I am not a particular lover of neo-folk-noir, and this music is quite bleak at times, I thought it was also quite a nice release. The reciting of the texts set against the highly atmospheric, yet sometimes atonal drones and the melodic interjections of the instruments. Not entirely my cup of tea, this dark mass of music, but surely I can appreciate the excellent production of the music; very well made.
Review by FdW

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HEATHEN HARVEST

This is a split release between Majdanek Waltz and Sal Solaris.

Inside a very well designed Digipack comes a nice split from Majdanek waltz and Sal Solaris. I like the duality that can be found in certain split albums and that's not as obvious as it sounds. We have here two acts that give this album two directions instead of just one, but at the same time these directions should not be too far away from each other. On " Himmel des Reichs / Der Himmel uber Berlin", this sort of relationship is achieved and the final result shows a continuity between the two sides of the sky (Himmel).

Majdanek Waltz begins this album with four tracks that first appear very much in the neo-folk/Revival of post WWII Romanticism tradition, with Russian speech that opens "Demokratie" to the low sounds of dawning music. Martial drums and trumpets with a surprising breakthrough add up to the nostalgic atmosphere. But there are more elements in there that reminds of spiritual front's "In.Will" for instance, as melodic and relatively simple (not a bad thing at all!) music goes with a straight monotonous singing. That is why "Wir" is a great song by Majdanek waltz. "Die stadt" Begins with the same singing, almost on the verge of speech, with a low hiss of lo tech and distorted ambiance, which grows to massive proportions later on the track and end the first half of the album with a sick, distorted blast. Great ending to a very good split part, which was actually released as a separate E.P back in 2006.

Sal Solaris begins a different phase of the album that continues from where Majdanek waltz had left. A mix of nostalgic samples, reversed and/or distorted loops and background noises open and let in a rather beautiful Opera or at least Opera-esque male singing. This melody, dissected to hundreds of pieces and then re-assembled, reminds of what Matt Elliot, A.K.A Third eye foundation is doing to some tracks, especially ian tiersen's music. Another phase in this track begins and Russian speech bids us farewell over the remains of the music heard earlier. Sal Solaris adds a more sinister approach to their music later on and with twisted loops that shriek in pain, reminds parts of Lustmord or Teatro Satanico. Things get more and more abstract and destructive with the progress of Sal solaris towards the end of the album Until the last track appropriately named "Start", going on with crawling dark ambient and sinister metallic whispers, fading to silence at the end of the album.

Beginning with Russian militant folk and ending with a blast and a hiss, " Himmel des Reichs / Der Himmel uber berlin" offers a wide array of music with a close up look on two interesting bands. An interesting and rewarding album.
Review by Oren ben Yosef
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HEATHEN HARVEST

Black Sun (translated from Russian) is the first official full-length album by industrial/neofolk apocalyptic poets Majdanek Waltz, originally available on CD-R, and now released on CD by Strely Peruna productions in a special limited edition including their first ever promotional video, directed by friend and collaborator, Wolfsblood.
With regular live shows, these guys have been making quite a name for themselves in the eastern dark music scene, and its a damn shame they arent more widely known in the west due to language barriers. Its too bad, because this wonderfully talented and unique band deserve much more recognition outside their home front.
One contrast you may notice between this one and their other output, specifically their Hamlets Childhood album, is that this ones much less folk-driven, and while that album was an exercise in beautifully sad ballads casting a regretful glance at a lost childhood, this one is a demonstration in darkness. Quite so, the later releases drew on a lot of the best of Current 93, folk and industrial eras, for inspiration, while lacking the same amount of anarchic madness, over-the-top theatrics, or cryptic Biblical/Crowleyan references.
Quite the contrary, as far as influences go, this one draws power straight from the Blood Axis/Laibach school of thought, as a disciple of a doomsday cult draws strength from his mentors chosen ideology. This is definitely an industrial album, but one that takes on a shape of its own. It borrows from folk and dark ambient as it pleases, uses some martial rhythms if it suits the purpose, but keeps on its own path, as it forges its own niche in the mind of the civilian listener, as a stage for them to present mankinds epitaph, the final achievement of our modern age.
In fact, this release just OOZES that Russian sound. Its a dark, tragic, and utterly oppressive atmosphere I rarely find in bands from regions outside eastern Europe. Its a sound, difficult to describe, that reflects the utter tragedy of mankinds failures and catastrophes, while at the heart of it all is an ever-continuing struggle for survival, and all the ugliness of human conflict that comes with it. You can hear it across the whole spectrum of Russian/Slavic music, be it the volk metal of Temnozor or Arkona, the heartbreakingly twisted dark ambient of Bardoseneticcube or Lucisferrato, the darkwave of Altera Forma, Russian folk music, Russian composers, or the martial execution music of this band.
Living in a country with a history always shadowed by constant struggle and conflict such as Rus, its no wonder that spirit of bitterness wouldnt leave its mark on your artwork, and produce some beautiful results in the process.
On to the music, theres generally two kinds of songs, one being the melodic, vocal driven pieces, which include instruments such as acoustic guitar, violin, cello, and piano, and these are separated by tracks of chaos which could be described as dark ambient, like someone narrating events as they happen.
I should say this music would be more appealing to those who speak Russian, but even if not, the mystique behind this unit makes their grim aesthetic all the more pleasing. He really does have an excellent grim voice, with his stern rolling tones, commanding us to stand and fight in this age of decadence.
I dont generally do track by track reviews, so Ill summarize the first half of the CD: The first song begins in such a manner, a sad, weepy violin backed by folk instruments and backing ambience, with some reverse effects, while the vocalist recites his grim tale. The second track is one more step into darkness, being slower and sadder, and more driven by acoustic guitar, and a dark ambience that never completely leaves, as it ends with only the violin and the haunting voices of ghosts leading us into track three, a building ambient piece of tension and despair, beginning with the sound of ghostly wind and building on a slow deep cello melody before being interrupted by a sudden piano line which comes in to lend its antiquarian accent of loneliness.
The third song is an apocalyptic martial industrial piece of funeral poetry in the vein of Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, the verses being driven by a death march and repeated orchestral sample, while the bridge is joined in by cinematic violins and a broken robotic voice. The next song is a dive back into dark ambience, building fear, reverse crashes and almost vocal noises, a definite representation of the destruction and death that serves as this CDs grim undertone, here crashing through to the surface.
The rest of the CD, I wont give away, but it never lets up in its transitions between textures and shades, going from the powerful, to the melancholic, to the epic, and back to the eruptions of dark tense horror. A sample of Modest Mussorgsky makes an appearance as well!
This CD is like reading a cynical poets epitaph to our modern age. Some sensitive folk may not like the references to the Swastika that crop up in one track, but what better symbol to describe the turning of the age? The age of the Black Sun coming to devour us all? Sensitive folk put off by something as small as symbolic references are depriving themselves of loads of great music! The bonus music video is an interesting montage of slightly off-focus imagery, including life footage, and various shots of children, forests, and underwater organisms, which is done with some interesting camera techniques. Not essential, but nice to see this band does do videos from time to time.
This CD has its obvious influences, but retains Majdanek Waltz distinctive oppressive quality and atmosphere, while there is plenty of diversity to keep the listener on their toes as well.
Recommended for all fans of industrial music, dark folk, or dark/gothic music in general. Oppressive and overshadowing as a Black Sun in a white world.
Review by Loki Helvete
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GOTHRONIC

   Although I have never heard of Majdanek Waltz before you might say that they make intriguing music. Majdanek Waltz is a Russian neo-folk project in which they lyrically use the poetry of the poets Boris Poplavsky, Maximilian Voloshin and the German poet Georg Heym. Despite the fact that all lyrics are in the Russian tongue, which I do not understand, I can sense the deeper atmosphere within. This means gloomy/melancholy neo-folk rooted in classical European and musical traditions. Majdanek Waltz uses acoustic guitars, violins, spoken word, piano and accordion in order to make beautiful and slow passages. The contributions of the accordion and piano especially see to it that the songs have a more traditional flavour and enhance the melancholy on this album.The spoken word on this album can be a little redundant but nevertheless sees to it fits in the general atmosphere of this album. Hamlets Childhood has become an interesting album which should appeal to traditional neo-folk fans around the globe.
Review by Erik
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CHRONICLES OF CHAOS

   Majdanek Waltz performs ethereal neofolk, akin to similar artists such as Poets to Their Beloved and Medusa's Spell. Unfortunately, they sing in their native Russian, which is a pity as the lyrics are impenetrable to Anglophiles such as yours truly, a definite liability when a band presumably has something to say.

 The music is soft, feeling as substantial as the filaments of a spider's web, weaving together strands from voice (near spoken male and female) and an assortment of folk instruments to create an enchanting album. They are assisted by a variety of guests, including ritual folksters Wolfsblood. One can hardly hold it against them for singing in their native language, but it does affect my enjoyment. A more significant issue is that Majdanek Waltz is as ephemeral as they are ethereal, and no single song manages to catch my attention, unlike say, on, where each understated note is memorable. This is not to say that this is an unpleasant listen -- quite the contrary; it just lacks that special something that allows it to be something more than just another autumn leaf in the stream of ethereal folk.
Review by Quentin Kalis
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HEATHEN HARVEST

   A band Ive never heard of who sing in Russian with song titles in a Cyrillic format that my computer has difficulty understanding? Thanks, guys. Really

And yet first impressions can be so very misleading. (About Worlds Birth, the labels translation helpfully points out) starts with mesmeric, electrified strings reminiscent of The Kronos Quartet or Icelandic project Lost In Hilldurness. It generates a shifting air of mystery thats only amplified by the lack of available information on the band (their website is, perhaps inevitably, in Russian). A stern voice proclaims over the music and this is an addition that, I feel, detracts from the beautiful, layered simplicity of the strings; its too high in the mix and has that brittle sound that comes from being too poorly recorded.

From this delicate, magical start we move into a period of heavy drone and near-MZ412 clattering industrial. The stentorian vocals appear again but here, in this angular and menacing passage, they seem to fit. Theres a frantic, ferocious sense that reminds of military transmissions or the paranoia-laced films of Tarkovsky.

These early tracks are superb and genuinely atmospheric which is why the eventual involvement of a tired, slow-strum neo-folk guitar is all the more grating. Im getting genuinely fed up of bands who think that playing two chords one after the other in that same damn rhythm invokes some sense of martial asceticism. Weve been flogging this particular equine corpse for years now, can we please move on! Its my particular bugbear, I accept, and some may find this traditionalism to be immensely appealing.

Strangely, once weve got over this burst of backsliding, we then head back into organic drones and delicate, pizzicato strings which is far closer to simple folk than the be-uniformed neo variety. The melodies are ones that couldve been heard around campfires for centuries with the timeless violin/guitar duo holding forth until they break down into a ticking, clockwork rhythm.

Theres so much in this record that, even though I find some parts of it to not be to my taste, it really drags you in. There are eastern European folk melodies, the deconstructed strings of Shinjuku Thief, Werkraums manipulation of genre and Ordo Rosarius Equilibrios ice-cold atmospheres. Perhaps a bit more time spent on the production some of the elements feel too separate and the songs really benefit when the vocals are layered into the sound, rather than sitting on top of it would only improve majdanek Waltz releases but theres enough inventiveness and variation to set them on a fine path. Lose the adherence to neo-folk doctrine and I think well be on to a winner.

, as they may well say
Review by Gaendaal
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MUSIQUE MACHINE/MULTI-GENRE MUSIC MAGAZINE

   Majdanek Waltz are a Russian language mix of beautiful/chilling dark folk, bleak sawing and  lush classical air, gloomy drone tendency, ragged industrial noise elements and the odd hints at more rocking moments. O proishozhdenii mira (About World's Birth)is their 4th full length album and is quite satisfying mix of sounds.

 I think their most impressive feat is to go from deeply grey and ugly moments to sawing lush and melodic beauty and back again. Take Znak Votana (The Sign of Wotan) that slips out of the grey concert and bent back industrial noise churn of the previous track Svitok voiny (The Scroll of War), into this wonderfully clean melodic acoustic guitar work that's hovered and soothed on its jouney by beautiful expressive viola playing. Before droping into cold post-rock guitar folds and grim distortion, before once more slide back to the enchanted acoustic guitar and viola mix. Though out theres surprising and inventive musically turn of events like this, showing the band really know how to paint very different emotional soundscapes. The great barren and often emtion-less vocal tone of Wolfsblood and MRZ really adding extra depth of atmosphere to the material, but they are used sparingly letting the other range of grim to beautiful tones to shine in there own right.

 A rewarding and varied album that takes the listener through many emotions, barren and beautiful musical colours, but never sounds contrived or forced. To find out more and to buy direct go to here.
Review by Roger Batty
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BROKENDOLLS.ORG

   Majdanek Waltz est un groupe russe qui existe depuis 2002 et qui a déjà à son actif une dizaine de CD et EPs sortis sur divers labels russes. Ils évoluent dans une folk calme et mélodique, teintée de temps à autre d'expérimentations plus ambient. Le site étant uniquement en cyrillique, il est difficile de se procurer des infos détaillées sur leur parcours.

   Pour Hamlet's Childhood tous les morceaux sont construits autour de la guitare et de la basse, d'une manière épurée, mais très efficace. Ces deux instruments forment le corps de chaque titre, les harmonies et les mélodies de base, sur lesquelles viennent se greffer un violon poignant et un accordéon traditionel russe émouvant. L'album est totalement dépourvu d'instrumentation rythmique, et son besoin ne se fait ressentir à aucun moment. L'atmoshère est nostalgique et désabusée, les voix masculine et féminine sont narratives et en russe ce qui donne un certain charme aux morceaux, une solennellité particulière bien typée. Les musiciens nous proposent dix titres élégants et d'une grande finesse, sur des textes de poètes symbolistes russes, Boris Polakski, Maximilian Voloshin, et d'un poète allemand expressionniste, Georg Heym. "As Dark Blue Ice My Day Is" est une magnifique ballade folk délicate au leitmotiv saisissant, ainsi que "Rose Of Death" où le violon et l'accordéon sont captivants. "Cold" est le meilleur titre du CD, imposant et déchirant, d'une rare intensité, "Down To Underground" un charmant et délicat interlude au piano. Majdanek Waltz vous entraîne rapidement dans son univers, par la simplicité de sa musique, et l'émotion qu'elle dégage. Un univers mélancolique où l'on se plaît à rêvasser paisiblement, dans la tristesse et la béatitude. Hamlet's Childhood est le CD idéal pour cette fin d'automne et les matinées hivernales à venir.

  Majdanek Waltz nous délivre un album très abouti, où le travail studio a été minutieux, et nous rappelle de grands noms tel que Sol Invictus ou Forseti. Le cd se présente sous forme de tryptique, illustré par des photos noir et blanc de villas en ruines, et pour donner un cachet authentique à l'objet, toutes les informations, les crédits et les titres sont en cyrillique.
Review by svet_9
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ALTERNATIVMUSIK.ORG

   Blick über den Tellerrand ist eine sicherlich überstrapazierte Metapher, die universell einsetzbar ist. Und da sie so universell einsetzbar ist, muss sie auch an dieser Stelle herhalten trotz aller Überstrapazierung. Denn was diese russische Formation auf ihrem Album Äåòñòâî Ãàìëåòà bietet, eignet sich bestens für einen Blick über den geographischen Tellerrand der Regionen, in denen man Neofolk sonst vermutet. Andächtige Momente, akustische Schönheit, kein übertriebener Pathos, sondern einfach nur streicher- und akustikgitarrendominierte (neo)folkloristische Musik.

" , " beispielsweise zeigt gut, was Madjanek Waltz können: Dezente Akustikgitarren spielen gezupfte Melodieverläufe, die eine recht minimale, aber dafür umso wirkungsvollere Basis für den eher gesprochenen (hier männlichen) Gesang. Unterstützend kommen vor allem Streicher hinzu, die mit ihren Harmonien die Schönheit untermauern. Trotz aller Ruhe kommt auch Dynamik nicht zu kurz so ist auch ein Tempowechsel im Kleinen in diesem Stück auszumachen, der nicht abrupt, sondern gut abgepasst wirkt.

Was im vergangenen Absatz am Titel " , " exemplifiziert wurde, lässt sich von der Grundlage her gut auf das Album übertragen, so dass es eigentlich nicht nötig ist, weitere Beispiele herauszupicken. Die Musik wird stringent verfolgt, ohne Langeweile zu produzieren. Beim Gesang fällt auf, dass dieser mal männlich und mal weiblich ist. Beide Stimmen neigen eher zum Sprechen. Die Art und Weise, wie der Gesang gesetzt ist, erinnert stark an Scivias (nicht zuletzt wohl auch aufgrund der für die meisten wohl unverständlichen Sprache). Scivias ist auch einer der zwei Namen, die gut dazu dienlich sind, die Musik für Hörer unserer Breitengrade greifbarer zu machen. Die Gesangsart von Scivias trifft auf instrumentale Referenzen (die aber vermutlich eher unintendiert sind) so einiger Darkwood-Alben.

Majdanek Waltz ist somit ein Album geglückt, das auf gelungene Weise dem gerecht wird, was viele mit dem Begriff Neofolk assoziieren. Diesen bestreiten sie in Reinform und sehr gekonnt. Instrumentale Schönheit trifft auf trotz der Tatsache des Gesprochenseins eingängigen Gesang. So etwas gibt es also auch noch sehr schön!
Review by Marius Meyer
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GUTS OF DARKNESS

   Majdanek Waltz officie dans de la neo-folk traditionaliste russe, nhésitant pas à puiser chez des poètes ma foi peu connus et dont le contenu méchappera sans doute à jamais. Il reste donc deux timbres, un masculin et un féminin, récitant les textes sur des instrumentations soignées et dépouillées. La voix masculine est malheureusement le point faible de lalbum, la faute à un mixage franchement rêche (voix trop en avant et une récitation dun profond ennui), contrastant avec la douceur du chant féminin ; tout comme les instruments dont les pistes sont trop distinctes (cest encore plus flagrant au casque). Evidemment, je soulève ici linépuisable débat son/musique ; inhérent au processus créatif depuis lavènement de lenregistrement sur support. La musique aurait gagnée à être plus fluide (voire un peu moins hi-fi ; pour un genre qui aime à jouer les nostalgiques). Du reste, on a tout de même droit à un orchestre de chambre très intimiste (violon, basse, piano, et très belle utilisation de l'accordéon) ; aucun instrument synthétique ; et des harmonies simples mais toujours raffinées. On pense au calme dAll My Faith Lost (en moins langoureux toutefois), Sol Invictus ou In Gowan Ring et sans atteindre des sommets démotions, lhumeur est à la quiétude et aux relectures poétiques, près du feu.
Review by Wotzenknecht
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FEINDESLAND.DE

   Provokationen stehen im Genre Neofolk mit Sicherheit auf der Tagesordnung ganz oben, die grundsätzlich zwischen totaler Geschmacklosigkeit und mentaler Horizonterweiterung schwanken. Die Protagonisten Majdanek Waltz aus Russland treten mit ihrer Projektbetitelung den Beweis an, das Außenstehende nicht zu Unrecht der Vermutung erliegen könnten, dass im Neofolk eine Horde "braunes Pack" haust.

Majdanek, ein Name, der geschichtsinteressierten Lesern des Feindesland.de einen eiskalten Schauer über den Rücken jagen dürfte. Im dunkelsten Kapitel der deutschen Geschichte kamen im Konzentrationslager Majdanek (KZ Lublin) im besetzten Polen in der Zeit von Oktober 1941 bis Juli 1944 geschätzt 1.500.000 Menschen um. Des Weiteren war Majdanek am 3./4. November 1943 Mitschauplatz des Massakers "Erntefest", wo über 43.000 (genaue Zahl nie geklärt) Juden ihr Leben verloren. Weiterführende Informationen finden Sie unter folgendem Link: http://www.majdanek.pl.Waltz, das englische Wort für Walzer bringt den zweiten Teil des Namen ans Tageslicht und ergibt in der Summe "Majdanek Waltz" keine Provokation sondern eine abscheuliche Geschmacklosigkeit, die auch mit ganz viel Toleranz bzw. Akzeptanz Künstlern und ihren Arbeiten gegenüber, einen unerklärlichen Phopa auf ganzer Linie offenbart. Sie denken wir haben mit diesem Punkt die Spitze des Eisberges erklommen, oder? Nein, zum Erstauen (auch meiner Person) erscheint "Hamlet's Childhood" auf dem israelischen Untergrundlabel The Eastern Front, die uns in regelmäßigen Abständen mit hervorragenden Publikationen beehren. Diese spektakuläre Kombination liefert die Sicherheit für alle so genannten "Gutmenschen", dass Majdanek Waltz zwar den Bogen der Provokation völlig überspannt haben, aber keine faschistoiden bzw. nazistischen Tendenzen in sonstiger Hinsicht aufweisen.

Die Formation Majdanek Waltz entstammt der Stadt Rjasan in Zentralrussland, 200 Kilometer südöstlich von Moskau entfernt. Die Herren Pavel Blyumkin (Gesang), Ilya Matzevich (Akustikgitarre), Daniil Vinogradov (Viola), Alexei Epishin (Bayan (Akkordeon)), Petr Starov (Bass) und Ivan Mitrofanov (Piano) musizieren seit 2002 und publizierten einige Releases, die überwiegend auf russischen Labels das Licht der Welt erblickten und uns in Westeuropa verwehrt blieben. Liebhaberinnen und Liebhaber des Subgenres Darkfolk dürften dadurch ein paar echte Leckerbissen entgangen sein. Auf "Hamlet's Childhood" spielen Majdanek Waltz fast ausschließlich (99%) die akustische Variante des Neofolk bzw. Dark Folk. Alle Stücke auf der CD muten durch die Bank sehr getragen bis melancholisch an und versprühen einen besonderen Charme durch den Einsatz von Streichern. Diejenigen unter Ihnen, die bisher rein akustischen Veröffentlichungen nicht mochten, können Majdanek Waltz sofort von ihrer Bestellliste streichen. Hingegen die Fans des deutschen "Darkfolkvorzeigeprojektes" Darkwood sollten Majdanek Waltz testen, wenn Sie die letzteren Werke faszinierten. Majdanek Waltz präsentieren Ihnen ausfeilte Arrangements, die keine Langeweile aufkommen lassen und über eine saubere Instrumentierung verfügen. Hervorzuheben seien noch die schönen Stimmlagen von Pavel Blyumkin und seiner mir nicht namentlich bekannten Partnerin, die sich harmonisch ins Gesamtkonzept einfügen.

Inhaltlich verarbeiten Majdanek Waltz auf ihrem Opus "Hamlet's Childhood" lyrische Auszüge der Poeten Boris Poplavsky (1903-1935, Russland), Maximilian Voloshin (1877-1932, Russland) und Georg Heym (1887-1912, Deutschland). Bestimmt eine ansprechende Vorgehensweise, aber aufgrund der Sprachbarriere (nicht jeder ist der russischen Sprache mächtig) ein Manko für Individuen, die mehr eine englischsprachige Prägung genossen. Leider eröffnet sich Ihnen dieselbe Problematik bei der aufwendig gestalteten Verpackung, die zwar mit schönem Bildmaterial glänzt, aber komplett in Kyrillisch daherkommt.

Eine Anmerkung für die Fraktion der "Sammler und Jäger" unter Ihnen - "Hamlet"s Childhood" können Sie über The Eastern Front (Israel) und über Kultfront (Russland) beziehen. Die israelische Ausgabe erscheint in einer limitierten Auflage von 500 Stück.

Aus handwerklicher Sicht ein Highlight, welches Sie mit "Hamlets Childhood" von Majdanek Waltz erwartet. Die Personen, die Russisch in der Schule hatten und beherrschen, erhalten die Chance sich einem interessanten Oeuvre zu nähern, welches den Rest nur durch die Musik überzeugen kann. Wer genauso wie meine Wenigkeit dem Chanson erliegt, findet auf "Hamlet's Childhood" am Ende ein verstecktes Tondokument vor, dass das Herz höher schlagen lässt.
Review by Raphael
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DARKROOM

   Questo gruppo russo, che ha iniziato la carriera nel 2002, è uno dei tanti segni tangibili di un'unità artistica completatasi anche nel settore underground all'interno di un'Europa che, fino a qualche decennio fa, era spaccata in due non solo per quanto concerne l'ambito musicale, e non è quindi un caso che i Majdanek Waltz raccolgano i princìpi e lo stile di tanto neofolk accostandoli in parte a temi e testi russi. "Hamlet's Childhood" è stato prodotto quasi in contemporanea sia dall'etichetta russa Kult Front che dalla israeliana Eastern Front: quest'ultima ne garantisce la distribuzione nel settore occidentale, dotando l'album di un artwork e di una confezione differenti (copertina cartonata in tre pannelli in luogo del digipak). Il classicismo stilistico di questa formazione non lascia adito a dubbi riguardo alle proprie fonti di ispirazione: le basi sono strutturate su giri non complessi di chitarra classica arpeggiata, a cui si aggiungono assolo di strumenti da camera tipo il violino e il piano o motivi legati al settore popolar-tradizionale, resi ottimamente tramite il Bayan (una sorta di fisarmonica russa). La voce maschile ricorre spesso alla funzione recitativa dello spoken-word, ispirato probabilmente da esempi topici come Tony Wakeford, ma con il limite di non fondersi alla perfezione con l'impianto acustico sotteso, mentre va meglio nei rari casi in cui interviene la vocalist femminile. Ciò che distacca un minimo i Majdanek Waltz dal resto del 'mucchio' neofolk è il proprio retroterra culturale, che si fa sentire (ma non comprendere, purtroppo!) nelle liriche provenienti da poeti russi non molto noti in occidente come Boris Poplavsky e Maximilian Voloshin, oltre ad un testo, interpretato in traduzione, del tedesco Georg Heym. Tutte le indicazioni che l'apparato grafico ci può fornire sono stampate in cirillico, rispettando così in pieno le direttive di quello stile neofolk che, oltre a far riferimento alle radici, a volte (come in questo caso) ci nasconde notizie che potrebbero essere utili. In chiusura del CD non poteva mancare un buon brano tradizionale, estratto da qualche registrazione d'epoca. Unico limite di questo progetto è di rimanere troppo ancorato ad un genere che sta tramontando, e che forse con qualche accortezza potrebbe ancora avere qualcosa da dire; certo è che, se si percorrono in modo insistente le vie del passato e di alcuni mostri sacri, si finisce col non esprimere in pieno il proprio punto di vista: risulta infatti evidente la matrice Sol Invictus (si pensi ad esempio all'album "In The Rain") nell'accostare minimalismo realizzativo e strumentazione classica. Devo comunque dire con piacere che i suoni sono affascinanti e non annoiano, anche se magari un pizzico di personalità in più darebbe ai Majdanek Waltz quella vitalità che li farebbe uscire dal guscio.
Review by Michele Viali
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