Wapentake – “Murmurations” Album/Tape Review

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Murmurations – Wapentake

A welcome surprise arrived on the proverbial doormat this week.  I have been seeking some new material in the neo-folk vein.  So, today’s score arrives courtesy of Lighten Up Sounds; a small tape label in Minnesota.

Wapentake is the solo project of Hreodbeorht of the black/thrash band Cultfinder. Murmurations was released (ltd. 100 copies) on June 21 via Lighten Up Sounds.

The material on Murmurations is actually closer to the loner folk genre and less towards neo-folk.  Stark in its purity, lyric-less but projecting a reflective nature in the same breath.  Mostly, simple acoustic guitars against realistic sounding environmental/field recording sounds (wind, fire, birds etc.) evokes an image of the artist in different environments maintaining the same basic instrumental storytelling vision.  Perhaps he’s a nomad making stops reflecting upon innermost moments?  In any case, these are wordless tales creating images however bleak or uplifting they may be.

Those unfamiliar with loner-folk, do some research and look up Bob Desper.  Or for a more current example, check out Splinterskin on Cold Spring Records; one of the best example of storytelling/loner folk.

Title track, “Murmurations” has a bit of a Game of Thrones post-battle celebration feel while “The Harrowing” is similar but with a Deep Purple demo sort of vibe. A favorite track might just be “Saxon Pastoral” with the acoustic guitar/background vocal (60s acid rock esque).  I realize those are somewhat unconventional references to use with the types of music we deal with.  However, it all works very well here.

Again, a very welcome surprise from Lighten Up.  I’m looking forward to Wapentake’s next stop on the trail.

Murmurations is available as a limited edition cassette and as a digital download now.

Tracklist:

  1. Firewood
  2. Harvest
  3. The Harrowing
  4. Saxon Pastoral
  5. The Hermit
  6. Ytene
  7. Murmurations
  8. Memorial

https://lightenupsounds.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lighten-Up-Sounds/172438879493949

https://www.facebook.com/wapentakecult

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