Friday, 21 January 2011

WURZLMANN

Band: HREFNESHOLT
Title: Wurzlmann
Format: Cassette release with the now 'traditional' black and white photocopied inlay from Wulfrune Worxx (France), cat ref WW150, released in 2010. The inlay credits the cover photos to Gerhard Hallstatt and the release bears the dedication "to my true friend Gerhard". This recording was completed in the Linz 'Fluesterwald Studio' in 2009 and 2010. Hugin is referred to by his initials AHW on this release.
Edition: Only 66 hand-numbered copies

Track Listing:

01. Wurzlmann (Eini In Woid) 2.55
02. Wurzlmann (Uraungst version) 11.37
03. Wurzlmann (Wurzelweit version) 14.21

Today's interesting fact concerns the humble mangelwurzel. The mangelwurzel, or mangold wurzel, is a cultivated root vegetable derived from Beta Vulgaris. Its large white, yellow or orange-yellow swollen roots were developed in the 18th century as a fodder crop for feeding livestock. The name Mangelwurzel comes from the German 'mangel'/'mangold', meaning 'chard', and "wurzel" - 'root'.

The relevance of this, of course, comes in interpreting the title of this curious little Hrefnesholt EP, which literally translates as "Root Man". And what is a root-man you might reasonably wonder? Well, Nazgul believes that in essence it refers to the image of a man found in the twisted roots and proud trunks of trees, bushes and the like. Not entirely dissimilar therefore to the English concept of the Green Man, and a latent spirit within nature found in the darkest woods.

The Hrefnesholt MySpace site has a few such illustrations courtesy of Hugin's camera, which Nazgul has shamelessly pinched to decorate this post from henceforth. A quick search online will also locate a few other examples for you were you of a mind to go looking for them, but to keep the theme of things Hugin we'll stick to his images. The carvings have been enhanced in places to emphasise the humanity, but pure natural examples will also be out there so eyes peeled next time you're out on a ramble...

Wurzlmann, Osttirol, September 2009, c Alexander Wieser

'Wurzlmann' originally came to the attention of Honour and Darkness in the review of the split tape between Hrefnesholt and Firing Human, on 2 December 2010. In that version the song was just over eleven and a half minutes long, thus making it the same as the second track on this particular cassette. In turn, this version is noted to be the 'Uraungst' version, in as far as the same song appears as track 5 on the recently released Hrefnesholt digipak album by the same name. 'Wurzlmann' is not to be found, however, on the advance tape of the 'Uraungst' recordings, covered in the Blog on 3 August 2010.

Wurzlmann, Osttirol, September 2009, c Alexander Wieser

All three variants of the song here - from the short, mystically-tinged opener to the longer, decidedly more psychedelic 'Wurzelweit version' - carry an all pervasive odour of the backwoods, the dark clearings of the narrow paths where ancient traditions live on and where sunlight rarely penetrates.

The Blog post for the Hrefnesholt/Firing Human split concluded that the track "...falls into the recent Hrefnesholt style of having the sense of being taken into the deepest forests to embark on a meditative and almost ritualistic journey into the early origins of the wood spirits and legends of yore. The mixing of the sounds of nature with sometimes almost tribal percussion and that captivating vocal style really does make you feel that you're in the position of a novice receiving education from a wise elder. You can smell the leaves, inhale the smoke and trip on the roots (in all senses) if you put your mind to it..." and - frankly - that really still says all you need to know.

Wurzlmann, Gallneukirchen, Mühlviertel - c Alexander Wieser Oktober 2009

It is unusual for this sort of cassette EP to be released in the Hrefnesholt camp - normally such things are more normally flying the pennants of Uruk Hai or Hrossharsgrani. Being something of a soft-touch for Hrefnesholt product this is a rare treat for Nazgul, although the issue volume of only 66 copies (Nazgul's being a mid-table #37, for the record) rather than the 100+ normally seen from this label suggests that perhaps the general feeling was that as a niche product this might not exactly fly out of the door on the day of its release?

It's the commitment of this label to putting exactly these type of releases out there - from Hugin's projects and other bands -that has led to Nazgul having such a tremendous amount of respect for Wulfrune Worxx. It's the unusual nature of the recordings on this release that has led to Nazgul having a tremendous amount of respect for Hugin's music too, and long may all of these factors continue to align!

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