Arcana Publicata Vilescunt

Ambient Space Earth Music – that’s probably a pretty good description of Arcana Publicata Vilescunt, the first release to come out under the moniker Nostalgia. For those who are looking only for metal, you can easily skip this review since the album doesn’t include any distorted guitars or any bombastic drumming at all. The closest comparisons I can think of are Jean Michelle Jarre, Vangelis and a bunch of anonymous artists that get radio play only during the last few hours before night finally shifts into a Monday morning. And, of course, more familiar to the heavy metal people, Ulver.

However, Nostalgia and Ulver are as far a way from each other as Slayer‘s Reign in Blood is from Metallica‘s Black album. Distantly, they might seem to be the same, but once you listen to it more than just for a few seconds, you realize that there’s a big difference. Where Ulver concentrates more on small impulses and complex but minimalistic details, Nostalgia is much more down to earth (or up in space), where lines and shapes are more loosely painted and more mellow in nature. Just visualize the casual sci-fi movie opening scene where the sun slowly comes into view behind Earth. The reference is then brought back down to solid ground and moved in different continents, creating that certain ‘travel magazine/history documentary’ feeling around the whole soundscape. It takes the listener to places from hot to cold, from drought to flourishing and basically anywhere where we can go in the limits of our own sphere.

For example, one of the most memorable tracks, “Faustus Spiritus”, opens with beautiful female chanting that soon gets accompanied by growing (but still gentle) beats and dolphin sounds. While the elements are there to be heard by all, the listener gets to add their own layers on top of it and perhaps even find more deeper meanings. In other words, chanting in Latin combined with dolphins, that are considered to be fairly intelligent species, easily creates arcane images of forgotten knowledge and long gone mythical cultures. The next track “Renovatio” then takes you from the depths of your mind into Middle-Eastern styled paradises. However, it’s not all just gracious moments after another. There are moments when the music can get slightly more pressurizing and threatening, but it always stays within the limits so that the almost dream-like atmosphere doesn’t shatter into a million pieces.

“Solanum Nigrum” could be the long lost brother of Vangelis‘ “Theme of Blade Runner.” It starts fairly strongly in echoing piano notes and sounds of water but soon brings a more tensed atmosphere. The ending track, conveniently named “Katharsis”, purges all the experiences of the previous tracks and thus it to appear a bit cacophonous than the rest. In a way, the heated beats prepare the listener for the journey that’ll eventually lead back to reality.

Nostalgia‘s 61 minute long album doesn’t work in all situations. I am sure you’d be better off listening to something more metal and aggressive when you’re full of burning rage, but if you want to calm down before sleep or perhaps even shut yourself away from reality for a while at the office, Arcana Publicata Vilescunt should work perfectly. However, it requires the listener to repeat that certain New Age “open your mind”-mantra a few times in order to avoid possible boredom. Arcana Publicata Vilescunt gives you back as much as you give to it; much of the appealing factor depends and relies on one’s imagination. Nostalgia‘s Arcana Publicata Vilescunt is a recommended acquaintanceship. Just approach with reservation and headphones.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
September 2nd, 2002


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