Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review: Allerseelen - Sonne Golthi-Ade


I am not going to lie, that Porta Vittoria review was quite the task. I am really proud of the review, I think it was personal to me because I hold it in high regards and get stuff of my chest, but I also think I did a fairly objective job talking about the release. But the word count on that almost rivaled the word count on the chapter I am writing for an upcoming book on James Bond and popular culture. In fact, my draft for that chapter is due November 1st, and I am around the 75% mark in completion.  So that means for the rest of this month, no more complex and monumental essays or reviews like that until I get my draft done.

However I cannot be lazy with this blog either. So the compromise is easy: quick reviews on releases without many tracks!

So for this (really short) review, we will be looking at the (equally short) Allerseelen single for Sonne Golthi-Ade. Let us bask in its one track glory!

Biasness

None – Allerseelen is a good project and a flagship band for the neofolk genre. Marcel P. and Dimo Dimov from Miel Noir appear on this release, but this review coming shortly on the coattails of the Miel Noir review is coincidental due to the necessity of having a short review and this is one of the shortest releases in my private collection.

General Overview and Packaging

This single of Sonne Golthi-Ade was released in 2009 on the Beverina & W.A.R. Productions label.

Sonne Golthi-Ade (form my personal collection)

 The release was limited to 99 hand numbered copies in an intriguing packaging. The CD itself is a CDr in the rounded business card design, so it’s not conducive to load into a vertical CD bay. The layout was done by Alex Wieser, one of the halves of the Beverina & W.A.R. collaboration label, but also the mainstay behind the ur-folk band Hrefnesholt. The stone ruins in the artwork recall imagery of other Allerseelen albums, such as Pedra, Stirb Und Werde, and Abenteuerliches Herz. The sunflowers are a nice touch, with the floral motif echoing the edelweiss flower on the Allerseelen album of the same name. Gerhard himself looks to have done the photography proper for this release, which he has done for other of his releases.

The packing itself is of the folding variety, with the printed lyrics in both German as well as in English, so kudos are given here. Aside from the CDr, various interesting postcards and a thin magnet that denotes what number your release is are stuffed inside the packaging. This is all housed in a thin plastic sleeve to keep everything together. It’s not particularly sturdy however, so it definitely needs to be treated like the collector’s item that it is. 

Track Analysis

Sonne Golthi-Ade

Like many Allerseelen songs, “Sonne Golthi-Ade” has many other incarnations and versions. “Sonne Golthi-Ade” first appeared on the 2003/2004 release of Flamme with 3 different versions: a short version with someone by the name of Eltho on vocals, a second version with Josef Klumb from Von Thronstahl on vocals, and a final version with Gerhard of Allerseelen doing vocal duty himself. Another, but shorter, Josef K. version appears on the Edelweiss compilation album in 2005. The fifth version is this particular version, with Marcel P. on vocals. Various covers of the song by different artists also appear on the Mit Fester Hand tribute compilation.

The five versions of this song raises some interesting questions in regards to the concept of “original version”, which may be an important concept to keep in mind when looking or analyzing at songs in future articles. Many neofolk and military pop artists re-imagine their songs in different versions. Does this mean both versions are considered original? Or is it based on chronology; that the first song released is original and subsequent versions are therefore successors? What about future versions becoming the de facto or preferred version, sending the “original” out of canon? What of the case of the Flamme album where 3 versions of the song appear on the same release, which throws the chronological stance awry?

Examples of other bands that perform such revising and re-imagining of their songs include Kirlian Camera (“Coroner’s Sun”, “Eclipse”, and “Edges”) and Von Thronstahl (“Hail! You Captain and Thy Guard” and “Wider die Masse”). Death in June is fairly notorious for performing many songs, particularly “Runes and Men”, with completely different sounds and with lyrical substitution (German wine becomes California wine).

So with this in mind, I can see how doing some critical analysis on the source material (the songs) may become troublesome down the road. It’s like watching a movie – what is the correct version that one performs scholarship on? The theatrical cut? The director’s cut? The extended cut? Or all three have to be taken in tandem with each other? These are choices that have a huge impact on the questions to ask and the outcome of them.

For this version of “Sonne Golthi-Ade”, whatever it is, it is not an “original” version in regards to chronology of being released. It is however “original” unto itself in that it is performed differently and has different personal, but still canon to the Allerseelen library. Unfortunately, I lack the Flamme release (for now), so I can only compare this version of the Josef K. vocal version that appears on Edelweiss.

(side note – maybe this entire concept of versions and originality can be explored in a future essay wherein I look at all the versions of a particular song, compare and contrast?)


Video from the Miel Noir official YouTube profile


Compared to the Edelweiss version, this version of “Sonne Golthi-Ade” feels stripped down. While Josef K.’s vocals were front and center, along with a hint of echo-ey effects, Marcel P.’s vocals seem distant and take a backseat to the music. This version also lacks the psychedelic intro and some stringed instruments that the Edelweiss version has. However this version does have some programming that sounds like a hint of an emulated oboe.

Both songs carry the same beat and rhythm and at this level sound really close to each other. The biggest, most overt difference is the vocals, with Josef actually doing his “good” singing (no “Mars Macht Mobil II” nonsense here!).

The guitar and base work for this version of “Sonne Golthi-Ade” are top notch, but I can’t help but feel the over all production is a little less inferior than the Edelweiss version. Regardless, the song is extremely catchy and rhythmic, and could border on a neofolk-pop song, sort of the grounds that Naevus were flirting with when they were active.

The lyrics themselves are an homage to Bernhard Marby, an occultist, astrologer, and rune master in Germany in the early 1900s. In traditional neofolk fashion, the lyrics recall flames, the sun, runes, and some existentialism.

Song Verdict – Good Song

Final Thoughts

The single of Sonne Golthi-Ade is an interesting release and this particular version is executed pretty well. The problem is that its now rarity and with so many other versions of the song already existing, I feel this version has issues of standing out on its own right. It’s not that it is inferior or better than the Edelweiss version, it’s just a different version but with enough common elements that it doesn’t vary too drastically. In all truthfulness, if you have another version, you’re probably not missing out on this version. What this version does need is perhaps a second life on a compilation CD.

Cultural References

Flames, Friedrich Bernhard Marby, Runes, Sun,

Official Links

https://myspace.com/tonkunstschmiede  - Official MySpace page for the label

Other Resources

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