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Emma Myldenberger - Emmaz Live! CD (album) cover


Emma Myldenberger



3.98 | 13 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars It would seem to me this band’s music would be more appropriately characterized as pagan folk rather than Krautrock. I’ve never really understood exactly what ‘Krautrock’ is supposed to mean anyway – most of the bands I’ve heard classified as such sound more like heavy progressive rock or sometimes avant-garde. These guys are a little of both but the medieval (and earlier) influences abound in their instrumentation and arrangements, if not their lyrics.

This is a live album from nearly thirty years ago, but despite that the sound quality is quite good and for the most part these tracks could have been passed off as conventional studio works. The CD reissue is clearly derived from an earlier cassette release (or at least some of the artwork and liner notes are), but other than that I know very little about these guys. If you’ve ever listened to groups like Samla Mammas Manna or Nya Ljudbolaget and then imagined them with more acoustic instrumentation and an even more primitive sound you’ll have a grasp of what these guys sound like. There seem to be some jazz leanings at times (check out “Lenyas Fantasie” or “Raa”), but just as often the mood is closer to pagan folk (“Ferngespräch - Vorwahl 030/RAA”, “Opus 4”). Speaking of the former (and elsewhere on the album), Anne Goßlau’s violin work is raw and quite mesmerizing. Biber Gullatz delivers a very energetic flute passage on the same track and injects solemn oboe snippets from time to time throughout the album as well.

This is a pretty long album, clocking in at just over eighty minutes so there’s an awful lot of music to take in. Don’t try it in one setting or you’ll miss quite a bit. I’ve played this thing about a dozen times over the past year and am still discovering nuances every time. Such is the nature of complex and well-crafted music.

The highlight is the lengthy and almost neurotic “Regenreigen Suite” which bounces all over the place musically before slowly drawing to a close amidst flute, oboe and murmured vocals that are otherwise fairly sparse on the album. The very next piece “Ala Dalona” is highly rhythmic and intoxicating, offering an intriguing contrast to the more sedate suite. “Narrentantz” again shows another side to the band, with a lively and toe-tapping extended flute passage and dueling mandolins that in itself should surely be enough to convince most people this is more of a folk band than a Kraut one, despite the nationality of its members.

“Alina” again offers magical and seductive violin work for a brief but altogether charming closing to an ambitious album that manages to deliver to all expectations.

Four stars for a truly excellent addition to any music fan’s collection, and highly recommended to almost any sub-genre fan of prog music.


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


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