Whenever watching horrors I cannot help but feel more anxious of what could possibly happen, rather than of what’s actually on the screen. If the dense atmosphere were to be the canvas, the imagination surely can paint a masterpiece on it. With Hither my first thought was that it would make an amazing soundtrack. Not for a fairy tale, though, as it’s the second release from TAUUSK, a solo project of Răzvan Lazea-Postelnicu from Romania, exploring genres such as drone, ambient or doom.
RELEASE DATE: 06 December 2014 LABEL: Self-released
The origin of TAUUSK can be traced all the way to a rehearsal room where Răzvan started experimenting. Waiting for his band mates, he would become interested in the various sounds that can be produced using pedals and effects. As the collection grew, the experiments started to sound more and more like tracks. But it wasn’t until spring of 2013 that he realized the birth of his solo project and started recording. The first album, Refuge, was released in March of 2014 and not long after, in December 2014, Hermit saw the light of day. As Răzvan says himself:
“Hermit is a spiritual successor to Refuge, though quite different in sound and structure. For both albums I tried to take key moments of my life and siphon out my general state of being from them, pursuing to recreate it in the form of a soundscape. While Refuge is more static, contemplative, in Hermit I strived to convey a much stronger sense of spaciousness and movement. I also focused a lot more on the album as a whole rather than tracks individually – though maybe not that obvious, the album has a cyclic structure (sort of, not really a circle, more of an irregular ellipse, or a coffee stain) but also struggled with the need to fit the record in the limits of its format, audio cassette – I had to be careful to keep some songs short (relatively speaking, of course) and maybe, in the end, it’s for the best.”
The first track on Hermit, Hither, starts with an atmospheric ambient intro. After a minute or two of listening to it with closed eyes I could quite easily see myself in an abandoned dungeon or rather a dark forest. There’s very little light, perhaps a flickering torch or maybe just a few rays coming from the Moon, as the music does a very good job of inducing the feeling of uneasiness. Halfway into the song there’s an insane roar of an overdriven guitar, marking the start of an echoing riff. All of this is far more than just cascades of noises attempting to pierce your skull – the tracks are very structural and neatly composed. Towards the end, the riff turns into a torrent of sounds, a black and sludgy waterfall, followed by Vision – a dark wave, relentlessly crashing against the shore in a slowly fading assault. The third track is far more serene, contemplative, yet a little hypnotizing due to the repetitive elements. Perhaps an opportunity to rest before the events in Forest, which starts with a simple guitar passage, hanging in the air, slowly evolving, minute by minute introducing new, ominous sounds. It’s a fantastic example of progressive music, true to the core idea of the track, but amazingly evolving and shifting around it all the time, growing until it spirals into a torrent of noise, drowning in its madness. In the last song, Ritual, after a series of powerful riffs soaking with overdrive I could hear the crackling of burning wood accompanied by crickets and soon joined by an acoustic guitar playing a rather light melody only to fade out and leave us with the painted picture of a campfire in the middle of a dark forest.
Hermit is a fantastic example of mixing genres. It would be very hard to associate it with a single one, but showing numerous parts related to ambient, drone, subgenres of metal and others is quite an easy task. The result is a perfect blend of music atmospheric enough to fit as a ‘background’ or soundtrack perhaps- the artist himself said that he would be interested in adding visual to his works. At the same time the album has enough substance to exist on its own, allowing the listener to focus on the music itself and experience the powerful feeling woven into Hermit. I strongly suggest trying to imagine landscapes matching particular songs and thus ‘living’ this album.
As for influences, there are some great artists that helped shape what TAUUSK became. These are, among many, Earth, Sunn O))), Nadja, Om, Aidan Baker and Barn Owl. Additionally, the painting created by my imagination seems to be quite consistent with the inspirations that Răzvan Lazea-Postelnicu quotes for his project:
“For inspiration, though you can’t really feel it more than just a few minutes on the record, I would say seeing a live video of Drcarlsonalbion playing on a small amp in a even smaller club definitely played a part in shifting my direction a bit. But, the same as on Refuge, most inspiration was drawn from soundtrack of various movies I’ve seen, old and new alike (mostly horror but some sci-fi also). One could also say I derive some inspiration from nature, hills and mountains, forests and moving waters, as I always try to picture myself in more serene surroundings when ‘composing’.”
TAUUSK’s second release Hermit is a great example of dark and atmospheric music. It has all the means to appeal to fans of various genres, as it merges the best elements of quite a few. I hope that one day someone will incorporate some of TAUUSK’s music into an audio-visual project. On the Bandcamp page you can find not only the digital copy of the album, but also a few limited edition cassettes left. Additionally, on February 27, an edition of 100 CDs will be released featuring the same artwork as the cassettes (courtesy of Alexandru Daș of Valerinne). If you like the thrill of watching horror movies, do yourself a favour and listen to this album with lights out and your headphones on. And even if not, I most certainly recommend checking this album out.