The Moon and the Nightspirit - _Mohalepte_
(Independent, 2011)
by: Chaim Drishner (9 out of 10)
The subtitle of Chronicles of Chaos says it's an extreme music webzine; extreme, you get it?! So why even review this sublime album by the Hungarian duo The Moon and the Nightspirit? The only extreme quality I can think of in relation to this album is probably its extreme beauty, its exquisiteness. In the division bell that would be the far right portion with a low prevalence; a rare product, scarce and unique a phenomenon. That could be extreme, couldn't it?

And what about the deep emotions this music awakens? What about how it makes one feel? What about the very concept of transcendence? Could those faculties be regarded as extreme, rare, scarce, unique? I think they most certainly could.

The Moon and the Nightspirit's Agnes Toth and Mihaly Szabo play Hungarian Pagan Folk music dealing with legends, fairy tales and shamanism, and even though the liner notes within the aesthetic digipak are mostly in English (in addition to a poem right on the first folded panel) the song lyrics are predominantly in Hungarian.

The instruments of choice being utilized in this gentle, ingeniously-simple recording are mostly acoustic, both guitar and bass, a strong percussion section (not drumming though, but more of a tambourine being battered in various rhythms), a dominating violin with a strong presence and an exotic instrument called morin khuur, a traditional Mongolian bowed stringed instrument.

In addition there are the fine vocals of both members, alternating between the high pitched, angelic voice of Agnes and the sombre, deeper voice of Mihaly appearing only occasionally throughout the recording.

From repetitive, circular, hypnotic folk dirges that go on and on for minutes, generating a shamanic ritual pulse and a musical plot intensifying slowly in pace and energy, to absolutely tranquil, neoclassical moments of utter bliss and grace, to intricate parts where the instrument handling reaches the highest levels, _Mohalepte_ never ceases to surprise and reward the listener with joy and comfort with each musical breath this magnificent album breaths into our carcass, reviving and soothing with its endless love...

...For this album was made with great love, and it shows, all over the place, with every passing moment and every dark corner we turn as the music sweeps us along its serpentine path. Being melancholic in nature, _Mohalepte_ (which translated loosely to "moss covered") is not sad in essence. Its beauty drowns all sadness and ironically, paradoxically, it turns the music upside down, making it uplifting and almost cheerful, with only a streak of melancholy remaining, a fleeting sadness buried beneath waves of emotion and beauty untold.

This pagan-inclined, sylvan recording of folklore and legend, of mist and moss, of love and the highest aspects of the human condition, of moon and of night spirits -- is an album I cannot recommend enough.


(article published 1/11/2011)

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