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: discogs.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)