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Hagen's Delight - Christian Fiesel

   (1 review)

Hagen’s Delight is a lot and yet one thing: Electronic experimental music as a double album.

Dark sounds, little rhythm, the soundtrack for a gloomy apocalyptic or a creepy film.

But Hagen's Delight is also an album of its time, influenced by the (not only) musical tides at the time of the creation in 2015/2016. It is full of Mellotron choirs, full of stumbling sequences, guitar playing and extremely challenging structures.

Each song of this album carries a message and every song should be heard a s whole. This music does not work as a 30 second snippet. Technically, this release differs from many others.

This is a “real” (i.e. industrially manufactured) CD. No download, no CDr - unique music also needs a corresponding framework.

An acoustic journey through the darkness of a long night into which the world has moved. The album is also a statement, is also a bit far political.

Track Listings:
    CD 1

    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

    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)
Artist Name(s):
Christian Fiesel - compoed, played and arranged.
Release Year: 2017
Ambient, Dark, Space Rock, Symphonic
Album Type:
Compact Disc
Cover & Packge Design:
Hagen von Bergen, Amy Fiesel
Studio Name:
Mastering: Hagen von Bergen
Label / Publishing
Label Name:
BI-ZA records
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German electronic music artist Christian Fiesel's new album "Hagen's Delight" is two CD collection of tracks that feature a variety of compositions ranging from dark ambient to majestic near-symphonic works. 

Whoever Hagen is, their delights seem to focus on shaded themes that are often mysterious and contemplative. As a whole, the music here would be right at home in a film noir suspense, and at times even a slow moving horror movie. The tracks have a story like quality that open with an introduction, then build into new ideas that frequently explore more than one mood in a composition.

The first CD that opens with the track, Bells Call. Is an introduction to the albums' overall sound. Bringing to mind a castle on a hill wrapped in dark clouds. As a guitar starts to play as the clouds break to light its majestic architecture. Darkness Rising follows with rolling sequencers that evoke a feeling of driving on rolling hills. The march is on with the track Night Programming. Opening with a royal sounding mix of beats and strings that transforms into an ominous parade of the robots. Next, light sequences build into a quartet contemplative Mellotron voices on Out of the Spheres. The track, Rusty Nail, burps and bloops warnings of an pending storm, that develops into a scene of harsh winds and flapping iron gates. Moving through the dark forest of Say Goodbye to Yesterday, that ends with reverb soaked drums and vibrato guitar. Christian picks up the pace on Don't Surrender to Hate. Forged of drum and synth sequences that move along with determination. The clouds part for the final cut on the first CD as the Long Cure feels like the warmth of the sun in a gentle, yet invigorating way.

The second disc opens with Downwards We Go, a bubbling synth track with riffs of distorted organs interrupting the flow. Soon followed by a gentle phasing sound of synthesized string ensemble before it all peels away into a contemplative ambient drone that ends in a serene chorus of synths. As the name suggests, Desert Trail is dusty and dry sounding with guitar over grainy synth washes. After Dallas is another contemplative sort of piece, low and brooding looking for the light that it never seems to find as it ends on gentle vocal notes. Christian returns to a more mechanized sound on Shielded Transformer, rumbling and buzzing a radiant hum. Wisdom as second of the longest tracks on Hagen's delight. Is dark with periods of heavy chorusing and distorted guitar, to end with a solemn drone all the wiser. We return to distant drums and some foreboding on Glass Cabinet. The final track, A Summer's Funeral. Seems to  summarize Hagen's Delight just right. It is slow tempo composition that incorporates subtle Berlin flavored sequencers with thick string arrangements that move between apprehensive and enlightening visions of a better tomorrow.

Overall, Hagen's Delight feels like a long dark journey into the a Europe long forgotten. There is a majesty to these recordings that conjure visions of dense forests, castles enshrined in the mists and the occasional ghoulish figure moving in the shadows. Intentional or not, the somewhat ambient approach leaves the listener wanting a bit more conclusion and contrast between tracks over the two compact discs they fill. Which, as mentioned, makes one curious who is Hagen and what is meant by "delight", as the mood can be heavy and brooding but also introspective, perhaps the feelings of a King isolated in his castle? 

I gave the album a 3.5 star rating, which would have been a 4 were it not for the length of the release. It was challenging to get through the second disk, that I felt covered much of the same ground at the first. Still, this is a captivating release that has an old world sound that feels organic, yet displays the work of a fine German electronic composer. Christian is very good at working with dark themes without sounding fatalistic or demonic, as a lot of dark ambient music tends to fall into.

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