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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Christian Fiesel Hagen's Delight (2017)

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

“Here's a wonderful surprise in the vein of vintage Berlin School loaded of bizarre rhythmic patterns and great ambiences from a magical Mellotron”

CD 1 (73:29)

1 Bell's Call 4:13

2 Darkness Rising 7:30

3 Nightprogram 12:05

4 Out of the Spheres 6:01

5 Rusty Nail 5:18

6 Say Goodbye to Yesterday 9:56

7 Don't Surrender to Hate 3:02

8 The Long Cure 25:07

CD 2 (75:59)

1 Downwards we Go 17:36

2 Desert Trail 3:57

3 After Dallas 18:15

4 Shielded Transformer 4:57

5 Wisdom 22:27

6 Glass Cabinett 4:21

7 A Summer's Funeral 4:07

(2CD 149:28) (V.F.)

(Berlin School and cinematographic music)

Christian Fiesel is not a new name in the field of EM. Inspired by the retro Berlin School, and these atmospheres which passed in transit between our ears with vapors of ether, as well as Krautrock in a more experimental way, he has released nearly 20 albums where the noise and the dissonance of the sounds went hand in hand. His approach of composition changed radically when he bought a Mellotron in 2015. From strange and bizarre, his music became more accessible for the kind of horror and science fiction movies. This is how he joined the label Aural Films and has co-signed works of obscures and tenebrous film or ambient music with the famous Wolfgang Alien Nature Barkowski and 3 others for movies purposes with the very famous Jack Hertz, a well-known composer of theme music in the states. A contact from Hagen von Bergen, owner of the German Bi-Za Records label, opened the doors for the making of HAGEN'S DELIGHT, an album name which depicts all the affection of Hagen von Bergen for the music of Christian Fiesel. I was knocked down by this album of which the music was written between 2014 and 2016. Autopsy of an album where the Mellotron carries us into a magical universe of fright!

The first thing which seduces me with Bell's Call is this odd sensation to penetrate into the lugubrious ambience of The Keep with a dense and a very dark ambiospherical veil where luciferian voices hum. These ambiences are weaved from mist oozing of a brownish drizzle and from lamentations of a guitar loaded of vampiric harmonies. The keys which ring in this glaucous decoration add a well felt touch of nostalgia. Christian Fiesel uses no sequencer and that's why his patterns of rhythms are surprisingly mesmerizing, as in Darkness Rising and its multiple oscillating loops which rise and fall with very nice nuance in the tone and in the pace. The whole thing is carefully wrapped of chthonian voices and with a paranormal atmosphere. I have the impression to hear Tomita in a Japanese horror drama. It's very good and that starts HAGEN'S DELIGHT on the right foot! Nightprogram carries well enough its naming! A strange and enchanting beating creates a felted rhythmic but all the same rather hypnotic. Clouds move with bits of chant in the drizzle and are fill of a murky mood. This fusion of synths and Mellotron is a formidable weapon in this album. And it gives a so sibylline effect as our senses remain nailed to this fascinating occult air which espouses an amplified tangent in the middle with effects of distortions and chants of ectoplasms eager to invade us. Keen oscillatory movements establish a rhythmic cacophonous which does very experimental years of EM for a seducing 3 minutes' time. And there, it's getting so obvious, I have this feeling that Kraftwerk and its Radioland invades the soundscapes. Up to here, I am totally under the charm. Out of the Spheres propose a structure of rhythm in the shape of Spirograph race among which the tones and the cracklings form a circular sound web, while the remote structures of rhythm in Rusty Nail gets out of breath in a dense magma of sounds and of sepulchral effects. Say Goodbye to Yesterday proposes a very beautiful introduction cut out in the charms of the Mellotron. Layers of old organ, murmurs of chthonian incantation and fluty harmonies float like funeral clouds up to the doors of the fifth minute. Heavy percussions hammer a slow rhythm which progresses with difficulty through those many sound effects. Christian Fiesel imagines in music the difficult procession of a caravan and it’s quite a success. An explosive and creative title? Don't Surrender to Hate will seduce the fans of ['ramp] with a splendid rhythmic pattern built in Dance Music mode played with a small delay in the echo. Inserted here makes this short title simply magical. The Long Cure is a long and very ambiospherical title with some tumults which shake by moments its peace of mind. The ambiences are more translucent than totally dark with hollow breezes, chthonian choir and a long passage, as well as the final, more ethereal.

Downwards we Go reflects quite well Christian Fiesel's gloomy cinematographic vision which feeds the 2nd CD of HAGEN'S DELIGHT. The synthesist from Hamburg plays brilliantly well inside his ambient phases by crumbling a rambling structure of rhythm which disintegrates its fragments in a rather psychotronic 1st part, while the last 9 minutes of Downwards we Go get evaporate in a good moment of contemplative sweetness. Desert Trail stands out with its acoustic guitar which tries to scratch a melody in sound effects and in synth layers with flavors of trumpets which do very Tangerine Dream that we were able to notice the influences also in Downwards we Go. After Dallas does very Steve Roach, while the short Shielded Transformer does very atmospheres of horror movie where the end of the world gets in with its troop of starving evil spirits. Wisdom presents a violent storm of winds as dark as shrill and among which both tones are in confrontation in a hullabaloo duel. Are those the warning trumpets of the angels of apocalypse? The fact remains that we have the feeling to fall in the hollow of the Earth with noises of a sonic marginality as disturbing as attractive. Wisdom goes by in several phases. So, if the impression to emerge from the darkness in order to be caressed by warm harmonious winds calms down our feelings, it's to dive back again into a spiral, as a purgatory, where the din gets alive again and lead us even farther in the blackness. Two short titles separate our ears of this first listening of HAGEN'S DELIGHT. Glass Cabinett is a very disturbing title perfect for a horror movie with grueling images It's sordid to the bone! A Summer's Funeral is a wonderful track. A lot of delicacy in spite of its mortuary envelope, the title offers a suite of arpeggios which skip with a melodious approach which melts into an embalmers' choir. It's very good and rather incentive to put back CD 1 in the CD player. Here's a great surprise! A surprising album which will undoubtedly please to the fans of a Berlin School of the unimaginable years.

Sylvain Lupari (April 29th, 2017) *****

Available at BI-ZA records

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