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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

JACK HERTZ: The Last Songs of a Dying Tribe (2018)

“In the field of ambient, tribal and progressive as neo-psychedelic; The Last Songs of a Dying Tribe is not for all ears but it's worth an ear”

1 Fragrant Perfume of Pleasant Memories 5:34 2 Nyami Nyami Swells the Zambezi 5:13 3 As if There is No Afterlife 4:15 4 On Being Ancient, a Faculty for Surviving Disorder 10:44 5 Blame it on Tomorrow 4:06 6 Arabesque Forms in Pale Blue and Browns 4:30 7 Lost to the Ignorance of Progress 8:46 8 History, a Computer Stored in Tomorrow 14:16 9 Charred n'Pulsed 6:32 10 The Last Song of a Dying Tribe 5:35

(CD/DD: 69:38) (V.F.) (Tribal ambient, prog & neo-psychedelic)

Welcome in the universe of boldness and sound explorations of the most avant-gardist, if not of the most audacious, of Jack Hertz. This musician of San Francisco, with a name too much predestined for the genre, is to the sound experiments what Steve Roach is for the big landscapes of atmospheres, as meditative than ethnic, in this universe where the borders between EM and abstract music meet without completed each other nonetheless. The one who is behind the Aural Film label is also this kind of artist who lays down all of his inspirations on a big sonic painting with tone colors in movement. To give you an idea, his name appears to the credits of a dozen albums in 2016 and near about ten the next year. THE LAST SONGS OF A DYING TRIBE is his first album in 2018. As its title indicates it, it's about an incursion in the clanic music. In the World music with a strong scent of psybient and where, as its reputation precedes him straightaway, Jack Hertz fills up our ears to the top. And no, this isn't for all ears!

Let's describe the little Fragrant Perfume of Pleasant Memories. This title, nevertheless very attractive by the name, loosens the thoughts box of the American musician with nice perfumes of Ishtar. Chords of sitars and of other guitars of the Middle East dance such as acrobats under THC effects on a plethora of percussions of which the tom-toms resound with an elastic shape as the various bass lines. We float as much as in the Bayous as in the dunes with a shape of rhythm as soft as a Groove without spirit while the harmonies flog the vibes with gaps not very too subtle between the watch towers. In a collage of effects and various chords in ambiences always a little plasticized in some rubbery plastic, Nyami Nyami Swells the Zambezi is closer to anti-music zones whereas As if There is No Afterlife makes adjustment with a fascinating bucolic ballad always sat on a roaring bass, which stretches its thoughts, and nice Islands percussions. There are many organic elements on this music slightly tinted with a Jazz without borders. On Being Ancient, a Faculty for Surviving Disorder is a rather interesting title with its slow aboriginal structure which derives between layers of drones and of guttural effects, cementing an alliance between onirism and esotericism. One has to be responsible for his eardrums and to listen to the music at low volume in a headset or in high volume in the desert, because your neighbors risk to get you out of your house, in front of a good campfire in the desert if you want to be able to communicate with the ancestors. Blame it on Tomorrow proposes another sampling of percussive effects and of muddy noises which slumber in a Mexican savanna. You see the kind? Everything is possible for the imagination in the universe Jack Hertz, suffice to jump in his artistic path which is far from being commonplace in the end.

In this ocean of improbabilities are also hiding some pretty nice pearls of creativity as that of Arabesque Forms in Pale Blue and Browns which reminds me, and it's a rather distant souvenir, of the Tom Newman's serenades of folk in the Bayous. A pinch of blues and vapors of Jazz and we ask for more of it! And as if by magic, I notice that my ear gets used to the music of Jack Hertz which becomes strangely more ear catchy once the volume of the sound is well adjusted. Lost to the Ignorance of Progress proposes again these organic atmospheres with an even stranger touch, probably because of the synth layers loaded by savors of ether. The structure is halfway between Jazz and the rhythms of the World with a zest of Krautrock. History, a Computer Stored in Tomorrow is the most ambient piece of music in the genre of EM in this album. Morphic synth layers try to put to sleep the numerous stars and their stellar ariettas whereas the percussions put easily to sleep our senses with a soft hypnotic progression. This is good Berlin School of the Klaus Schulze era which ends in an electronic confusion, like in the good contemporary Schulze. Charred n' Pulsed brings us back to this elastic-plastic prose of the first titles in THE LAST SONGS OF A DYING TRIBE with a little prehistoric mordant, kind of Zero Ohms or yet Chronotope Project, while the title-track tests again the tolerance of my eardrums. Yes, I had to work hardly in this first ear meeting with the music of Jack Hertz. But that been worth it because I discovered some very interesting things and especially an innate sense to well embellish in sounds and in colors of tones all the images of his visions. It's in the field of ambient, tribal and progressive as neo-psychedelic EM. Rare fact, I appreciated better the music of THE LAST SONGS OF A DYING TRIBE with my Totems loudspeakers instead of my Focal earphones.

Sylvain Lupari (April 11th, 2018)

Available at Aura Films Bandcamp

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