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MASKS - Eisenlager & Jack Hertz

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    Eisenlager & Jack Hertz present MASKS. A journey into the mystic realms of these curious objects. Each track is dedicated to a different one. Be sure to click through to the track page to read more about each one. A mask is an object normally worn on the face, typically for protection, disguise, performance, or entertainment. Masks have been used since antiquity for both ceremonial and practical purposes. They are usually worn on the face, although they may also be positioned for effect elsewhere on the wearer's body. In parts of Australia, giant totem masks cover the body, whilst Inuit women use finger masks during storytelling and dancing. The use of masks in rituals or ceremonies is a very ancient human practice across the world, although masks can also be worn for protection, in hunting, in sports, in feasts, or in wars – or simply used as ornamentation. Some ceremonial or decorative masks were not designed to be worn. Although the religious use of masks has waned, masks are used sometimes in drama therapy or psychotherapy. Read More: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mask
    Track Listings:
    1. Zangbeto 05:02
    2. Avatar 06:42
    3. Topeng 04:34
    4. Batak 05:11
    5. Skin-Walker 04:38
    6. Death 10:48
    7. Gas 05:01
    8. Ngil 14:56
    Artist Name(s):
    Eisenlager - Devices, Sounds, Rituals.
    Jack Hertz - Devices, Sounds, Rituals, Production.
    Release Year: 2017
    Style:
    Dark, Experimental, Field Recordings, Industrial, Progressive, Space Rock, Soundtrack
    Album Type:
    Studio
    Formats:
    Compact Disc, Digital / Download
    Cover & Packge Design:
    Jack Hertz
    Liscense:
    Creative Commons
    Label / Publishing
    Label Name:
    Aural Films
    Catalog Number(s):
    AF0184, AFCD055
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA USA
    Synthesizers Used
    Kronos 61 (2011)
    Album Locator
    [+] Amazon
    [+] Amoeba
    [+] Discogs
    [+] Ebay
    [+] Google
    [+] YouTube

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Michael Hodgson

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   1 of 1 member found this review helpful 1 / 1 member

2017 sees the release of another collaboration from Jack Hertz, this time alongside German experimental sound artist Eisenlager. `Masks' offers eight interpretations for a broad range of ceremonial, religious, theatrical and ornamental masks, with the album frequently weaving ancient old-world elements with modern electronic styles, making for a varied but surprisingly coherent collection of ambient, prog-electronic, electronica and drone experimentation over field recording sound collages.

`Zangbeto', traditional voodoo guardians of the night, is a drowsy tribal chant over lurching beats, `Avatar', a graphical representation of a computer user's alter ego or character is unsurprisingly modern slinking electronica, and `Topeng', a dramatic form of Indonesian dance blends twitching looping electronics to bring a gamelan-like hypnotic quality. `Batak' grafts chilled panning beats to shivering Steve Roach-like outreaching ambient pools, the drowsy `Skin-Walker' crosses murky beats with violent electronic slivers, and `Death' is an eerie and subtly consuming machine drone that never becomes completely pitch-black. Low-key acoustic strums pervade the disorientating droning drifts of `Gas', and `Ngil' is a surreal dark ambient closer full of unease, with ebbing dozy washes lapping around pulsing beats that skitter in and out of the darkly psychedelic atmosphere.

The duo here have crafted a completely fascinating work for the Aural Films label with a cool concept that allowed them to offer a very colourful and eclectic range of interpretations of their source material. `Masks' also sees the artists at a good middle ground, with many pieces reasonably accessible without being vaguely commercial, yet always remaining intelligent and challenging, but nor is it as uncompromising or difficult to get your head around as might have been expected. Open minded electronic fans should definitely look into this diverse collection, and let's hope for more collaborations on this subject between Hertz and Eisenlager in the future, as it seems like they've just scratched the surface here!

Four stars.

(This review first appeared on the Prog Archives site on the 28th February 2017)

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