Tuesday, 16 June 2009


Title: Quenta Silmarillion
Format: CDr released on the A.M.F. Productions label (Bulgaria) in 2004. Originally recorded between 21st and 27th September 1999, re-mastered for this release in July 2004.
Edition: No edition number on CDr but believed to be a limited edition release.

Track Listing:

01. Quenta Silmarillion 78.39

A piece of history here - the first ever recorded Uruk Hai rehearsal session from 1999. Back in the annals of history you may recall Nazgul told the tale of when Hugin recorded a demo under the Hrossharsgrani project that proved to be so ambient and 'different' from that band's output that he decided not to release it formally as a Hross demo (under it's original title of 'Uruk Hai') but to create an entirely new project called Uruk Hai to showcase the sound.

Interestingly, therefore, that the first released Uruk Hai demo was in fact "In Durin's Halls" rather than this monstrous single track effort. 'Quenta Silmarillion' only received a full release some 5 years later courtesy of AMF Productions (hails Alexander!) but the inlays certainly do the item justice, with a nice quotation from Tolkien on the rear cover.

With such a sprawling piece of music it's a virtually senseless task to attempt to dissect it piece by piece here, as it's a massive work of much depth and substance. Suffice to say that it contains pretty much all of the elements you might imagine that a fledgling ambient piece might do (samples of wind and natural sound, plenty of long keyboard passages to build context and mood, spoken narrative, and plenty of variety) without sounding remotely cheesy or generic.

In one sense the problem with this demo is its sheer length - you'll need plenty of free time to be able to sit and digest the full 78 minutes plus in one sitting - and unlike cassettes which start again from where you stop them, you will need a CD player that will allow you to take this in chunks rather than perpetually kicking you back to the start of track one when you press the 'off' switch!

As a historical artifact of where the basic Uruk Hai sound came from it's a good addition to any fan, and as a stand-alone ambient experience it isn't too shabby for a first stab at an 'epic' track by any means. There are elements and passages within this demo that recur on later releases (as is to be expected - that's the point of demos and rehearsals really, to get the ideas down and use the better ones after more development) and it can be fun just to listen along and 'spot the music' - "hark, surely that's a melody from the 'Gondolin Falls' track?"

Availability is the issue once again, however, dear readers - there are precious few of these beauties around to buy now. I can't recall seeing one for sale for absolutely ages, and this one I bought directly from Alexander at A.M.F. when he was still operating his distro.

Just as well the HonourAndDarkness online 'museum' pounced when it did....

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