Release DetailsLABEL Equilibrium Music
RELEASED ON 4/2/2007
The Moon And The Nightspirit
posted on 7/2007 By:
This Hungarian duo plays what can best be described as neofolk, a somewhat modern spin on indigenous music that sounds positively medieval to these ears. Utilizing a host of native instruments (among them the kaval, tapan, jew's harp and the zither) handled in part by the talented Mihaly Szabo, and the ethereal, truly mesmerizing vocals of Agnes Toth, The Moon and the Nighspirit have crafted an album that more than lives up to the artists’ stated intentions to create a piece of work that captures the magic of dreams, ancient pagan fables, and their homeland. But for as magical and otherworldly as Regö Rejtem is, it’s not without its human imperfections.
The title track sets things off in fine form, featuring a gorgeous violin that carries the tune’s melody, and enough tempo shifts and time changes to keep things moving along interestingly. Despite a healthy amount of repetition, the song builds and I, the listener, remain engaged. I think that this ability to engage is crucial in this genre, and especially on this album, because lots of the songs are relatively simple in structure, and for them to be effective, there has to be some sort of sticking point that draws the listener in before the music stops enchanting and just makes her tired. The following track, “Orökké”, the shortest on the album, certainly continues the enchanting streak with its background rain noises and superb atmosphere, but once we hit the third song, the somber lull of the music begins to wear thin. Sure, it’s pretty, but it also feels a little aimless and when it’s over, I’m left unsatisfied.
This on-and-off pattern in TMatN’s songcrafting magic persists throughout the album, with most of the songs on the magical side of the fence, thankfully. When they get it right, they absolutely nail it, creating atmospheric soundscapes and haunting melodies that take me deep into the woods and misty forests of far-off Hungary, and make me wonder why I even bother with music any less romantic and magical. Songs like “Szarvaslélek”, with its organic drumming, airy flutes and leading violin, “Rögböl Élet”, which features a slightly faster pace than the others while maintaining the album’s dark feel, or “Holdtánc”, the closer, and my favorite track because of its restrained, building tension and amazing vocal performance, are all reasons to buy this album and/or move to Hungary.
But, like I said, not every track is a winner. “Avarálom” and “Csillagnász” stand out as particularly dull affairs, even factoring in the rich instrumentation and, in case I haven’t made it clear enough so far, the phenomenally beautiful voice of Ms. Toth. The songs aren’t bad, just not as great as their neighbors. If it weren’t for paying so close attention to them, these songs would quickly become background noise, and the problem is that they actually seem better suited for that purpose than for serious, entertaining listening.
I’m hesitant to give a final verdict on this album because I only have access to the promo version, and according to the band’s website, the lyrics (which, by the way, are all in Hungarian) are poems dealing with themes like “Mother Earth” and “ancient wisdom” that have inspired Ms. Toth to paint accompaniments to the poems and music, so maybe there’s an element of the magic that I’m missing out on. With only the music in mind, then, Regö Rejtem is a solid neofolk album worth your time and money, if only for beauty’s sake.
Register to post comments.