Saturday, 11 October 2014

HANDS FROM SHADOWS [V/A]


Band: URUK HAI
Title: Hands From Shadows [Various Artists]
Format: Online compilation released on 30 June 2014 on the Bandcamp website with a purchase cost of £6.66.  The aim of the compilation is to raise money to help victims of the recent flooding in Serbia: "all income from the compilation will be used to buy supplies directly for people and families affected by the flood."  Tracks were compiled by Timur Iskandarov, and the artwork designed by Marc Hoyland.
Edition: Unlimited

Track Listing:
01. Akoustik Timbre Frekuency - Processed Cello & Chimes Improv 06:40  
02. Caroline Jago - Renaissance 04:28  
03. Cecilia Bjargo - The Second Attempt - part II-II 05:31
04. Crows In The Garden - Height (Edit) 05:23    
05. Cyborgs On Crack - Butcher Is A Good Talker 03:47
06. dead.circuit - Requiem et Lux Aeterna 04:01  
07. Desolation - The Light is Gone.... 10:48
08. Din Brad - Amar 05:20    
09. Druhá Smrt - Earth Water Soul 07:30  
10. Echo Grid - Isolated 05:16  
11. Elsewhere Shine - Downpour 02:24  
12. Embrace Our Nature - Vocalise 05:26  
13. Equal Stones - Breathe 07:35  
14. Faerydae - Ajde Jano 05:46  
15. Front Sonore - The Fall 03:30  
16. Gold and Water - Sequence of Pictures Taken At The Moment When The Mothership Flew Right Above Us Pt. 1 09:10  
17. Howling Larsons - Midnight Folk 03:52    
18. Hoyland - Empyreal Pagan Kingdom 16:28  
19. Immundus - A Distant Call 04:11
20. In Slaughter Natives - Definition of NOT Being Alive (Trip Wire Mix) 05:22  
21. Jiibay Shadow Dancer - Upon Lost Waves 07:55    
22. Kold - Frost Byte 04:06  
23. Last Winter I Died - Summer Reveries 03:50  
24. Loell Duinn - Ples Života 04:47
25. L'Oiseau Du Paradis - Odin's Eye 04:02  
26. Lost Kadath - Presence of Pain (Mutilation of the Soul) 03:03  
27. Lucid Static - Stillness 05:52    
28. Meho - Poplava 15:00  
29. Melankolia - Obrenovac (Requiem in A Minor) 11:33  
30. Milena Tomic - G Prelude 01:58  
31. Mind Divided - Safe Spot 07:22  
32. Miss Kitty - To The Ocean 03:39    
33. Mors Omnibus - I Offer You 06:31  
34. MRT - Pogubljeni Raj (Unspoken) 03:20  
35. My Own Cubic Stone - Ithaqua 09:24  
36. My Silent Wake - My Sorrow Is Yours 03:51  
37. Mystified - Tread Sprint 03:50  
38. Nam-khar - Sekhet Aahru 07:55
39. Nevhar Anhar - Raiding Islands 05:33
40. Ov Mhurn - The Long Walk to Solitude 14:33
41. Pineal Vertigo - Floating Souls 04:05  
42. Plaguewielder - Putrescent 08:40
43. Pylae - Est 03:38  
44. Retro Grad - Final Days 01:55  
45. Schattenspiel - Todesahnung 04:12  
46. Shadow Biosphere - Bylakupee 03:59
47. Snowfade - Ridden signals 08:41
48. Svart1 - U Strahu Su Velike Oci 07:24  
49. Tamerlan - Like Gods At Dawn (Live) 03:43    
50. Tearpalm - Biće Dobro (Hands from the Shadows Exclusive Mix) 08:52  
51. The Grave Dominion - Rabbit Trance 11:44    
52. The Hare And The Moon - The Rolling Of The Stones 04:36    
53. TLGBP - Le Couloir Luna 02:10    
54. Tokee - Genesis (2014 Version) 04:00    
55. Tony Wakeford - Lucy Flower 03:20    
56. Tribes Of Medusa - Solar Cross 04:15    
57. Turnavel - Dejection 01:55    
58. Uruk Hai - The Sea Bell 07:43  
59. Valerio Orlandini - Camera Di Compensazione Postuma 06:07    
60. Vedan Kolod - Grey Bird 04:51  
61. Viginti Tres Saecula presents Weltensprung b. Kaiserwetter - Untitled 03:14  
62. Walden - Wanderung Im Moor 03:03    
63. Youth A.D. - Swarm 03:46  
64. Zoran Peternelj - Don't Ask Me Why. I Don't Know 08:20  
65. Crows In The Garden & Nam-khar - Dark Sea 04:47

This mighty compilation weighs in with a whopping 65 songs, and has been issued to raise funds for flood relief work in Serbia by Sombre Sonics Studios.  Their Bandcamp pages notes that they "specialis[e] in Projekts of a Ritual and Ethnomuzikogikal nature" - they also apparently specialise in the unorthodox use of the letters 'k' and 'z'.

However, this is a worthy cause so let not Nazgul's grammatical musings get in the way of a noble fund raising effort.  The 'Hands From Shadows' page details the story:

"The second half of May has brought the worst floods in the known history of Serbia. Several towns and cities were almost completely submerged, many lives lost, and the amount of people forced to flee their homes (and lose everything in process) is measured in thousands.

Even though I haven't lived in that country for some time, Serbia is a place where I grew up and spend the biggest part of my life in. I know how wonderful people there are (the fact that has usually been missed in the rest of the world). For these reasons, I have started this charity compilation, in order to provide at least some help to those who suffered through the floods.

For the last few years I have been in touch with some of the most amazing artists worldwide, and calling upon them to support this cause brought the results I could have never expected. Their desire to help, to donate a song and support this cause in any possible way was in one word: epic! This shows the fact that we already know. Even in the shadows where this kind of art is placed, there are those willing to give their helping hand. Always sincere!

What we ended up with is a massive size compilation, with 65 songs and over 6 hours of music that you have in front of you right now. Whole income from this compilation is going to be used for helping the victims of a flood, and by buying this compilation, you too have shown the support for them. Thank you!"


For more details about the Sombre Soniks Studios click on the link.

Within the monstrous compilation of music the intrepid listener will uncover - at #58 (handily alphabetised!) - the song 'The Sea Bell' from Hugin's incomparable Uruk Hai.  Now, it won't come as a surprise to learn that this title has Tolkien connections, but you have to admire Hugin's ingenuity in combine a fittingly water-based song title with a Middle-earth twist!  For you see "The Sea Bell" (or "Frodos Dreme") was a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien that was included in his 1962 collection of verse "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil."  The poem is in the form of a first person narrative by a speaker who is never identified in the main body of the poem.

"The Sea-Bell" opens with the speaker coming across a white shell "like a sea-bell" as he walks by the shore. He hears the sound of distant harbours and seas as he holds the shell in his hand. Suddenly a boat appears and he is borne away "to a forgotten strand in a strange land./ In the twilight beyond the deep". The land he arrives in is glittering, beautiful and mysterious. He hears the sound of distant music, voices and footfalls, but when he seeks the source of the sound the mysterious inhabitants of the land flee from him. Climbing onto a mound he presumptuously names himself king of the land, and challenges its people to come forth. Darkness descends upon him and he falls to the ground, blinded and bent. For a year and a day afterwards he dwells in the wood "wandering in wit" and growing grey and old.

Eventually, broken and weary, he seeks out the sea and boards a ship that will take him back to his own land. However, when he arrives home the sea-bell no longer carries sounds from over the sea to him. The poem ends on a note of anguish as the speaker finds himself alienated from his own world, misunderstood and forsaken by those he once knew. The final image is of the narrator walking along a dark, rainy street talking to himself "for still they speak not, men that I meet".

The work is based on an earlier poem entitled "Looney", which Tolkien had published in The Oxford Magazine in 1934.  The later 1962 version of the poem is considerably darker than, and twice as long as, the earlier version. Although "Looney" was composed long before Tolkien began work on The Lord of the Rings, the 1962 version is subtitled "Frodos Dreme". Tolkien's mock-academic introduction to the collection suggests that, although the poem may not have been composed by Frodo Baggins, it was associated with him by its readers and reflects the dark dreams that plagued him in his final days in the Shire.  No less an authority than W. H. Auden considered it Tolkien's best poetic work.

So does no less an authority than Nazgul *cough* consider this amongst Hugin's best compositions?  Well I tell you what, it's pretty tasty!

Starting with a rumble of thunder and a crash of waves, there's a simple repeating keyboard riff overlaying some sampled effects of the sea to lull you into a maritime frame of mind.  A bit of funky synthesizer joins the party before Hugin treats us to a more forceful melody of guitar, percussion and synth combined.  Add a little sea-salt and repeat until full baked.  

Sprinkle a few cascading guitar solos in the brine a little later on, and what you have is a blend of old-school Uruk Hai with Hugin's wider influences as evidenced on more recent releases.

Good stuff indeed, with the main repeating riff being both catchy and strangely relaxing at one and the same time.  A successful instrumental composition then, and contributed in support of a worthy cause.

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