Title: Lepisma Saccharina
Label: Altered State Reflections
Catalog #: 096
Keywords: Experimental, Noise, Ritual, Dark Ambient
Hungary’s Normal Gergely is likely better known for his dark, beautiful, and macabre album cover illustrations for bands all across the global underground, but he makes music too. Reisebüro86 is Mr. Gergely’s solo audio project, and Lepisma Saccharina is its sophomore effort. Described by the artist as “very dark and deep,” the eight tracks spanning about fifty minutes on Lepisma… are a perfect accompaniment to his visual art. One could even argue that “dark” is an understatement for this material, as many of these pieces feel downright sinister and determined. Listening to the sequential “Daisies” and “Sidelong Apple,” there are remote elements that resemble horror movie music, but the main focus is on what it might sound like to be stalked by a wolf, full of inhuman growling noises and other sounds that are harder to place. Indeed, most of Lepisma Saccharina sounds like a horror movie soundtrack; not so much of the creepy scores featured in such films, but more of the odd rustling sounds filmmakers tease audiences with before the big scare.
Listening to Lepisma Saccharina all the way through reinforces the horror movie comparison, each track lending itself to an overarching imaginary story arc. As for which horror subgenre Reisebüro86 evokes, the quickest ones that come to mind are the cannibal and satanic cult fields. Taken on the whole, the first four tracks (“Still Mine” through “Canter”) feel like the group is stalking the victim. Then, across “Fried Erg,” “Ware,” and” “Demagogy,” the victim is caught, the ritual is held, and the unlucky hero of this story is sacrificed. The album closer, “Neverending Stability,” is the most structured in a musical sense, and is also the first time guitar (which was used heavily throughout the album) is easily identifiable, making the track seem like closing credit music. Perhaps it is that I watch too many horror movies, or it is Normal Gergely’s gruesome art pieces dancing in my mind as I listen, but Reisebüro86 possesses a rich visual aspect that I rarely experience in music alone and that I recommend listeners check out for themselves, but not with the lights out. However, on a down note, Altered State Reflections did not create a zip file for the entire album, so one will have to download track by track, and there is an error on the mp3 version of “Fried Erg” so that, when downloaded, it only plays four minutes and forty-seven seconds of the piece, even though it is over eight minutes long. To my knowledge, though, all of the ogg vorbis files work perfectly.