Thursday, 2 April 2009


Title: Hrefnesvinter
Format: Original release on cassette tape in 2001 and released by Hallucination 'Zine (Portugal), catalogue reference HZ013. The track has subsequently been re-mastered into a 36 minute version and pressed on CD on the 'best of/compilation' release "Rabentanz", Smell The Stench (Australia), 2005.
Edition: Cassette in unnumbered pressing of 1000
Track Listing:
01. Hrefnesvinter:
(i) Epilogue-Hrefnesholt Part 1 02:22
(ii) Glorie Draconis 07:12
(iii) Hrefnesvinter 14:45
(iv) Marsch Zu Neuen Zeitaltern 03:54
(v) Prologue-Hrefnesholt Part 2 01:22

Well, it's been a while since we had a Hrefnesholt item on this Blog, so how fitting that we find here the original demo from 2001 of "Hrefnesvinter". I've been listening to both the original tape version and the re-mastered track, so comments that follow apply to both versions. It must be said that the 2005 version is definitely the superior in sound quality terms, and has been expanded beyond the original in most beneficial ways. Past readers will know that I do enjoy it when Alex revisits older material and gives them a contemporary 'lift' and this particular track is no exception to that rule!

The presentation of the original tape is actually very good - a cracking black and white illustration of a dragon swooping over mountainous crags on the cover courtesy of 'Heidi', and a professional inlay from Hallucination (with a full-length rear cover, which I always think looks cool - see photo above to see what I mean) with a cool photo of the man himself suitably armed with medieval weaponry.

Happily this is still pretty available online - type the album name into Google and you'll come across a number of distros advertising both the tape and CD versions and for piffling sums, perhaps $3 or €4 for the tape - so well worth doing a bit of shopping to avail yourself of this little gem.

"The 'Hrefnesvinter' release is essentially a lengthy song in 5 'chapters', and each has its own musical nuances and flavour. One online comment called it "minimalist ambient warfare", which is rather good actually so I'm appropriating that description as my own from this point on. Another very sensible online review (step forward the Resenas site) ran this description:

"It is almost impossible to describe this, this project created by Hugin of Hrossharsgrani and Uruk Hai is very similar to that he makes in Hross'... music based on epic fantasies, using samples of movies, of battles, and ... sounds and atmospheres that recreate in your mind those visions of dead and fantastic worlds, a trip toward the magic side of the old Europe, indescribable but interesting!!!"

And there, in a nutshell, you have the essence of this ambient experience. Heavily dominated by synthesisers and keyboards, some effective wind and rain sampled interludes, the odd burst of energetic female vocals, and a genuine trip for your imagination. Again, and I've said it before, you can't really expect to listen to this sort of music and have it do all the work for you in terms of giving you a catchy chorus or a riff you can hum on the way to work, and I'm certainly not going to try and describe the entirety of the piece to you here. Folks, it's music to stimulate your own imagination, to leave you to finish the canvass that the piece starts for you. Lazy listeners need not apply....!

So, the bottom line is this. The tape version (slightly muddier in sound) is the single track 'Hrefnesvinter', the CD version (and yes, I'll be covering that in due course in another Blog) offers a superior re-mastered sound plus other tracks, and both are accessible via various distros on this wonderful Inter-web thingy that we're all connected to. So - Nazgul commands you: go forth and spend your hard-earned on these treasures.....

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