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The Last Songs of a Dying Tribe by Jack Hertz

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    It is sad there are less than 150 Million people from indigenous tribes, left on Earth. Considered to be uncivilized. They are the people who led humanity out of the forest. Into the governments, religions and corporations. That now threaten our true ancestors’ existence. This album is dedicated to the last tribes, past and present (listed below), who's cultures have been lost to the ignorance of progress. 

    Aboriginal - Australia 
    Andamanese - India 
    Asaro - Indonesia 
    Assyrian - Iraq 
    Banna - Ethiopia 
    Batak - Philippines 
    Cherokee - North America 
    Chukchi - Russia 
    Dani - Indonesia 
    Dassanech - Ethiopia 
    Drokpa - India 
    Dukha - Mongolia 
    El Molo - Kenya 
    Gauchos - Argentina 
    Goroka - Papua New Guinea 
    Himba - Namibia 
    Huli Wigmen - Papua New Guinea 
    Inuit - Canada 
    Kalash - Pakistan 
    Karo - Ethiopia 
    Kayapo - Brazil 
    Ladakhi - India 
    Maori - New Zealand 
    Maasai - Tanzania 
    Mursi - Ethiopia 
    Navajo - North America 
    Nenets - Russia 
    Piraha - Brazil 
    Quechua - Peru 
    Samburu - Kenya 
    San - Botswana 
    Shuar - Ecuador 
    Rabari - India 
    Tsaatan - Mongolia 
    Vanuatu - Vanuatu Islands

    Track Listings:
    1. Fragrant Perfume of Pleasant Memories 05:34
    2. Nyami Nyami Swells the Zambezi 05:13
    3. As if There is No Afterlife 04:15
    4. On Being Ancient, a Faculty for Surviving Disorder 10:44
    5. Blame it on Tomorrow 04:06
    6. Arabesque Forms in Pale Blue and Browns 04:30
    7. Lost to the Ignorance of Progress 08:46
    8. History, a Computer Stored in Tomorrow 14:16
    9. Charred n' Pulsed 06:32
    10. The Last Song of a Dying Tribe 05:35
    Artist Name(s):
    Jack Hertz - Programming, composition and production.
    Release Year: 2018
    Dark, Electroacoustic, Jazz, Progressive, Ritual, Soundtrack
    Album Type:
    Compact Disc, Digital / Download
    Cover & Packge Design:
    Treiops Treyfid
    Label / Publishing
    Label Name:
    Aural FIlms
    Catalog Number(s):
    San Francisco, CA
    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

If 2018 is anything like the previous twelve months, it means a steady stream of solo works and collaborations ahead for sound experimentalist Jack Hertz, and `The Last Songs of a Dying Tribe' sees the man going it alone for an diverse series of pieces reflecting on ancient indigenous tribes and rapidly vanishing ancient cultures. Sure, Hertz could deliver a series of predictable tribal-flecked ambient tracks, but instead he offers fluctuating experimental electronic fragments, hypnotic prog-electronic journeys and intangible freeform sound collages that make up a very immersive and enticing near-seventy minute exploration.

Looking at some of the highlights, opener `Fragrant Perfume of Pleasant Memories' is a subtle collage of treated percussion, hazy acoustic guitars, drowsy electronic washes and slinking bass, with traces of unease creeping around the edges of an otherwise heady chill-out. Restless and glitching electronics seep over raga-like dustiness throughout `Nyami Nyami Swells the Zambezi', `As if There is No Afterlife' is frequently a sauntering psychedelic bass rumination, and the ten-plus minute `On Being Ancient, a Faculty for Surviving Disorder' is a dreamlike ambient drift of ebbing synth drones.

`Arabesque Forms in Pale Blue and Browns' almost lurches with restrained trip-hop grooves, and `Lost to the Ignorance of Progress' embraces those unhurried and carefully unfurling electronic atmospheres of the early Klaus Schulze albums like `Picture Music' and twists it with a languid jazzy waft. The fifteen minute `History, a Computer Stored in Tomorrow' starts as a surreal Steve Roach-like ambient drone of ringing crystalline slivers that turns enveloping and oddly embracing as fizzing synth caresses and lightly pattering percussive tribal beats circle the piece, but ultimately it distorts into schizophrenic twitching oblivion in the climax. Bleeding electronic pools permeate the hallucinogenic `Charred n' Pulsed', and the closing title track `The Last Song of a Dying Tribe' is skittering and frantic.

Listeners unfamiliar with Jack's work should probably investigate something like his more obviously melodic space music/Berlin School-modelled double `Planet Red' from 2016 first, or his gentler collaborations with the recently late Wolfgang Gsell from last year such as `Sleeping Trees on Earth' and `Blue'. But `The Last Songs of a Dying Tribe' is a challenging, varied (maybe even a little maddening!) and eclectic set that is frequently, seductively disorientating and endlessly fascinating.

Four stars.

(this review first appeared on the Prog Archives website on the 2nd of March 2018)

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