Majdanek Waltz and Sal Solaris – Tenebrae

Majdanek Waltz and Sal Solaris – Tenebrae

Dark ambient, post industrial

Zhelezobeton Records

01 Cloudburst
02 Fields
03 The Time’s Eye 

04 I Heard That An Axe Had Bloomed Suddenly 

05 Death Fugue
(Originally in Russian)

Zhelezobeton records bring an interesting joint effort by Majdanek Waltz and Sal Solaris, in a very good looking album. The first thing I realize upon listening to this album is that “Tenebrae” is distinctive and cannot be completely identified with the music of either project. This fortunate situation creates a genuine work that speaks for itself rather than for its creators. The second thing I notice is that I need to give it at least couple more plays before finally being able to understand it completely, like many other amorphous music albums.

Unfortunately, mankind has a huge, ever growing bloody library of historical atrocities to think about, and many of these atrocities are piled up in the World War II era. “Tenebrae” is an album about post WWII poet Paul Celan, who had his Jewish family taken to die in Nazi camps, while he himself was serving as labor force for the Germans until 44. Those unfamiliar with his post war works can easily imagine their nature, and, Centered on this story, Tenebrae does hold within itself the shattered, confused and torn apart agony that followed the devastating aftermath of the Great War.

Although I cannot understand a word from what is being read throughout the album, the presence of these words is powerful and total, and it pierces the music with a cut of solemn certainty throughout the bleak atmospheric sounds. When we are left without the spoken words to guide us through the album, the music is far from being unsatisfying by itself. The atmosphere is heavy, almost too heavy, with outbreaks of distant pianos or obscure clarinet sounds. Although at certain times on the album you can hear the music being developed, as the musicians of both projects seem to explore their surroundings and bring life to the depressing darkness that dominates the tracks, the overall notion of the album is that of despair and loneliness, making every such encounter with a new instrument (like a violin on track 4) an exciting event, like a sudden meeting of another human being in the dark, deserted and forlorn streets.

With or without the historic and cultural context, Tenebrae offers a lot for the ears and for the mind, stirring up emotions with dark sounds and challenging the listener with the conceptual ideas behind it.

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