Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Valor - La Lune Noire (1996)


There is a desolate temple sitting on a hill.  It has been abandoned for centuries, its furnishings untouched by man, but ravaged by time and nature.  It is the deepest hour of night, and the moon is so bright that it burns the skin.  One can sense that ghosts wage constant silent warfare on the grounds outside.  But within the temple even the silence is silent.  The shadows rot the floorboards.

This album never seems to lose my interest, and I’ve been listening to it for a number of years now.  It sounds both ahead of its time but also like an impossible-to-replicate snapshot of the past.  It has a sophisticated sort of minimalism, in a way that seems clear about its intention to be simplistic in pursuit of its atmospheric goals, and yet it does this without ever seeming self-indulgent.  There's nothing flashy about it, and I think that's one of the things I really like about it, nothing really stood out at first but for some reason it stuck in my mind and grew on me more with every listen.  It feels like a healthy meditative experience to me. 

This structure is very minimal and repetitive.  I never find myself bored however.  The sound is comforting.  The album doesn’t attempt to directly challenge the listener but rather just provides a sort of nourishing fertile ground on which the listener’s thoughts and ideas can grow.  It reminds me a lot of Hate Forest – Temple Forest/Arthur – Blackstarblood, in that it is largely static, by the time each trance breaks you usually find yourself in the same place that you started.  There are things changing over the course of the track, but they are so subtle as to almost go unnoticed as one simply gets lost in the drift.

I love the sound of the machine the artist is using here.  It sounds like an old-school sampler, or maybe primitive computer software of some sort.  The samples are harsh, lots of pops and clicks, which add greatly to the atmosphere of the sound.  I think it would be hard to reproduce this sort of timbre today.  It could be done, but it would be hard to make the choices that give that same synthetic grit, which produces such a powerful sense of otherworldly nostalgia. 

This is one of those special albums that really makes the pursuit of esoteric music seem worthwhile.  This is a Dark Age Productions release, a label which has actually returned to activity in recent years.  I originally discovered this (as well as many other essentials) from the great Asmodian Coven blog.

2 comments:

  1. I wish there was a way to reproduce these digitally for purchase. I love playing them during D&D sessions and it'd be nice to have a playlist set up.

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  2. Nice to see the blog is back again

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