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Various Artists - Tal Mont De Lune, Final Musik compilation

This 14-track compilation from the Italian label Final Musik teeters around the fringes of the neo-folk genre with some surprising contributions slipped between the opening cinematic ambience of The Last Fall and the martial industrial soundscapes of Manifesto. There's tranquil ethereal goth from All My Faith Lost, while US medieavalists the Soil Bleeds Black conjure up images of minstrels at a King's court with their archaic strings, and chants as hands beat out primitive rhythms. Inner Glory and Argine opt for fairly orthodox neo-folk, with Argine's twinned vocals trumping the dreary strum of Inner Glory. Camerata Mediolanense and Sally Doherty are represented by live recordings. The extended Italian formation provide an excerpt from Dante's Inferno: all orchestral music and operatic vocals, while the former Sol Invictus member offers 'Gold' with her silvery vocals backed by the elegant arrangements of the Sumacs. The work of John Murphy, the industrious percussionist who has worked with Death In June, Current 93, SPK, Associates, is heavily featured. With Marco Deplano and Ostara's Richard Leviathan as Foresta di Ferro, they've released the stunning Bury Me Standing album, and on 'La Ultime Gnot (Ave Maria)' they underpin classical piano and the subdued reading of Francis Tami with a harsh soundscape. It's a strong enough contribution to warrant further attention from the uninitiated. 'A Secret God' from his esoteric side project Shining Vril is an uneasy ride through haunting electronics, bush sounds and initiatory vocals. His main concern is KnifeLadder, a voodoo power electronic trio featuring fellow Australians Hunter Barr and Andrew Trail. Here they offer an uncluttered nascent version of 'Carousel', stroppy bass and skittering percussion providing the muscular backbone to the loose swirling electronics. The lesser known names contribute well. Crisantemo Del Carrione recall the atmosphere of Italian wine bars with their accordion soaked sound eliciting comparisons with Ianva and Ain Soph along the way. The curiously titled We Wait For The Snow offer windswept ambience and blurred experimentation derived from guitars and drones, recorded somewhere in the Cori mountains of Italy.

Tal Mont De Lune is a much delayed release and apart from the high quota of Italian artists and heavy presence of John Murphy there's little to separate this from many of the other neo-folk compilations. Still there's some unexpected contributions and some worthwhile material to be discovered here. For more information go to