Review: The Joy of Nature - aGkaanta, asRti, Parasamgate (2008)


artist: The Joy of Nature
release: aGkaanta, asRti, Para­samg­ate
format: CD-R
year of release: 2008
label: Self-released
dur­a­tion: 73:20

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

This self-released com­pil­a­tion by Por­tuguese pro­ject The Joy of Nature comes in a beau­ti­ful hand­made pack­aging, fea­tur­ing a knit-work sleeve, fish scale flower orna­ment, and numbered and ded­ic­ated liner notes. Every one of the 100 cop­ies has a dif­fer­ent quote in the liner notes, and the thoughts of the recip­i­ents of the albums on this quote will be pub­lished on a spe­cial blog: here. The release itself con­tains a large num­ber of tracks, span­ning 10 years of com­pos­i­tion by Luís Couto. There are com­pil­a­tion tracks, side pro­ject tracks, and reworked ver­sions.

What is strik­ing about this release is that des­pite the dif­fer­ent ori­gins of the tracks, the sound and atmo­sphere on the album are quite con­sist­ent. I would typify The Joy of Nature as a kind of relaxed Medi­ter­ranean neo­folk, with an emphasis on a mys­tical and dreamy atmo­sphere. A wide vari­ety of instru­ments is used, includ­ing gui­tars, zith­ers, harps, piano and other string instru­ments, synths, per­cus­sion, field record­ings, and vari­ous types of vocals, mostly whispered and sung. The res­ult is a very clear and organic sound that should appeal both to lov­ers of more con­ven­tional neo­folk and those who prefer dreamy, wyrd or even fantasy atmo­spheres. A couple of tracks have a slightly more intense or mar­tial tinge to them, which makes this release a nice change from what I’ve heard on the two The Shepherd’s Tea releases. At times, when listen­ing closely, the album feels a bit long or mono­ton­ous, but the atmo­sphere is con­stant and quite good, and would be a per­fect soundtrack for read­ing, or a game.

I haven’t been dis­ap­poin­ted by this pro­ject yet, and I really recom­mend pick­ing this up if you are into neo­folk. This hand­made release is per­haps not the cheapest, but a lot of work has been put into it, and you get a unique pack­age that is well worth it. I’m look­ing for­ward to more mater­ial!

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. The Joy Of Nature - Introdução Aos Bosques Escuros E Aos Teatros Do Mar (2:27)
2. The Joy Of Nature - A Theatre Burn­ing In The Night Sky (5:16)
3. The Joy Of Nature - Enquanto O Rio Corre… (4:57)
4. The Joy Of Nature - The Twi­light Of The Old King (3:16)
5. The Joy Of Nature - Um Fogo Na Névoa (4:11)
6. The Joy Of Nature - Uma Noite De Chuva No Jardim Da Ilha Encantada (3:14)
7. The Joy Of Nature - Per­sona (3:58)
8. The Joy Of Nature - The Book Of The Dead (3:17)
9. Post Crash High - The Order Behind And Bey­ond All Things (5:08)
10. The Joy Of Nature - Fire Only Rests When There’s Noth­ing Left To Burn (5:28)
11. The Joy Of Nature vs Aquarelle - Fant­as­mas E Duendes Cos­tumavam Dormir No Meu Sofá, A Altas Horas Da Noite. E Vol­tarão A Fazê-lo (4:03)
12. The Joy Of Nature vs Aquarelle - O Embalo Das Sereias (1:29)
13. Post Crash High - The World Is Burn­ing, So Let Us Waltz (4:42)
14. The Joy Of Nature And Dis­cip­line - A Lament For This Cursed Age (2:51)
15. The Joy Of Nature vs Post Crash High - The ‘Glor­i­ous’ Mod­ern Civil­iz­a­tion Is Fall­ing (3:52)
16. The Joy Of Nature And Dis­cip­line - Spir­als (1:41)
17. The Joy Of Nature vs Aquarelle - Bol­i­ana (2:27)
18. The Joy Of Nature vs Aquarelle - Fechando A Caixa Das Memórias (3:01)
19. The Joy Of Nature - Ecos Que Mostram O Cír­culo (4:03)
20. The Joy Of Nature - Agora Que Sabemos O Que Faltava (2:23)
21. The Joy Of Nature - De Regresso Aos Bosques, A Out­ros Bosques (2:18)

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