Well, I do recommend this LP, it's a must-have for the artwork alone; but only play it if you're feeling sinister.
Nosfell - Kälin Bla Lemsnit Dünfel Labyanit / Lizün Collection
Sometimes you get an LP that deserves a review simply on the strength of the artwork alone. When someone decides to package their wares so beautifully, it would be a shame to ignore them. The artwork on Nosfell's Kälin Bla Lemsnit Dünfel Labyanit is simply stunning, containing as it does a weird Arthur Rackham-style drawing (designed by Israeli artist Michal Zori) and a booklet that on first glance contains runic script. Oh, it's also a double LP, containing as it does a CD of pulsating live out-takes.
I know very little about Labyala Nosfell, presumably (due to investigations on record sleeve and website) an artist based in France, though there are a lot of languages used in naming the songs, some French, German, Norwegian, some English, and some I am ashamed not to recognise. I did find out something on his myspace site though; here is a sort of answer to the conundrum...
"Labyala Nosfell da jawid fel comes from a place you may have never heard of: Klokochazia. He speaks klokobetz and by melting this language with English, he'll tell you what has happened in Klokochazia. Doing his job of jawid fel, that is to say of storyteller, he'll use his chameleon voice, his guitar and thanks to his music partner Pierre le Bourgeois, he'll take you into his own unique world. The album's klokobetz title is Kälin bla lemsnit dünfel labyanit which means "Le chien mord mais pas le renard" in French or "The dog bites but the fox does not" in English".
Let's stick to listening to the songs... The music is sinister in the extreme; decadent and intense, and at times very similar to the works of the Doctors of Madness, though that may be down to the predominance of violin on the record. Good examples of this are the tracks Your Elegant Hat and Hope Ripped the Night.
Now and again the music is surprisingly straight-forward - opener Blowtilan is a seedy rocker – but on the whole a very sombre, reflective air pervades this record. It's Gothic in the way Tom Waits is Gothic or Jeff Buckley was Gothic. There are moments in tracks such as Ta Main, Leurs Dents that Jeff Buckley's ghost is invoked, but this record is much stranger than anything Buckley attempted.
The bonus CD is actually the more rewarding, played on your PC, you get a bonus video where you see (amongst the dreadful studio goofing) this strange, slightly camp and very French artist at work. The music is a compilation of live outtakes. The first track, Flow, could be a Tom Waits song. The musical arrangements are more Spartan than on the studio LP and the tracks gain as a result; it's incredibly committed and sinister music. Once again, the Doctors of Madness feel is ever present.
Well, I do recommend this LP, it's a must-have for the artwork alone; but only play if you're feeling sinister.
Words: Richard Foster