Review: Sagittarius - Songs from the Ivory Tower (2008)


sagittarius_sftitartist: Sagit­tarius
release: Songs from the Ivory Tower
format: CD
year of release: 2008
label: Cold Spring
dur­a­tion: 46:44

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com.

Sagit­tarius is a Ger­man pro­ject headed by Cor­nelius Wald­ner, and it’s been around for a couple of years, with a few lim­ited releases. This album, how­ever, is their first on a big­ger label like Cold Spring. What we get is about three quar­ters of an hour worth of calm neo­clas­sical and neo­folk, with piano as the dom­in­ant instru­ment. Most of the tracks are based on Ger­man poems, but with a bit of Eng­lish and instru­mental work thrown in as well.

The poems cover a range of top­ics, ran­ging from tra­di­tional roman­ti­cism, mel­an­cho­lia, and mod­ern cul­tural cri­ti­cism. This unites dif­fer­ent areas from con­cep­tual spec­trum of neo­folk, which is nice to see. The album cer­tainly isn’t hung up on a single theme. The vari­ation in terms of music isn’t very great, being based as said on piano, with the occa­sional addi­tion of flute, cello, and gui­tar, some­times provided by guest artists like Mar­cel P. (Allerseelen) and Dami­ano Mer­curi (Rose Rov­ine E Amanti). How­ever, in this case I don’t think it is a neg­at­ive point for the album, which has a focused flow, some­what com­par­able to that of Cur­rent 93’s Soft Black Stars. The vocals are also var­ied, with guest sing­ers like Troy Southg­ate (HERR) and Herr Twiggs (Kam­mer Sieben). I must say the per­form­ance of each of these guest per­form­ances var­ies in qual­ity, but it never detracts from the over­all atmo­sphere of the album.

I can be fairly brief about this one: it’s simply a very decent album. Cer­tainly recom­men­ded for neo­folk lov­ers, espe­cially if you enjoy a calmer and per­haps dis­tinctly Ger­man style, com­par­able to Orplid or For­seti. How­ever, if you’re not par­tic­u­larly fond of neo­folk or neo­clas­sical, this album most likely won’t change your mind.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Nihil Arisen (3:43)
2. Du Stehst Am Alten Gartentor Und Sch­weigst (3:48)
3. Der Som­mer, Den Die Erntezeit Gekrönt (2:27)
4. Die Nächt­lichen Geschicke (1:39)
5. An Des Meeres Strand (4:01)
6. Trunkene Flut (3:14)
7. Das Lied (2:47)
8. Der Gute Kam­erad (2:24)
9. Menuet Von Johann Krieger (Für H.E.R.R.) (1:24)
10. Cupio Dis­solvi (4:48)
11. Stern­wan­del V (2:15)
12. Nova Apo­ca­lypsis (4:04)
13. Europa Call­ing (3:51)
14. In Signo Solis (3:33)

15. The Song (2:46)

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