Night Blooming Flowers

Nice hour-long dark ambient drone CD called Najas Flexilis Exequiae (ZOHARUM ZOHAR 082-2) from ForrestDrones, who is Robert Skrzynski, who also records as Micromelancolie, no_signal and Yellow Belly, and may sign himself “Cough Serenade” in correspondence, said correspondence taking place by candlelight and through hand-written letters using a quill pen. Actually that last part is wishful thinking on my part as Robert probably has email like everyone else. But I bet he has a supernatural leaning too. The forest has, after all, been a powerful and deep archetype in world-wide culture for about as long as anyone can remember, particularly in Germany, infamous as a location for unknown terrors and inexplicable events…off the top of my head I would cite Grimm’s Fairy Tales and German Romantic painters, and the archetype was even misappropriated by the National Socialists, in “Volk” propaganda films such as 1936’s Ewiger Wald. We could probably trace a line from this that leads directly to the enormous number of Black Metal albums that feature forests, now so significant that I gather there’s even a sub-genre explicitly called “Forest Metal”.

This may all be a red herring when dealing with the work of Robert Skrzynski however, as he’s Polish and an experimental film-maker. His interest in forest lore takes the form of using botanical etchings taken from old books as visual decoration for his music, especially when publishing his tracks on the internet. And of course in creating this eerie CD, itself a very elusive and fleeting aural experience…without doubt a “nocturne”, the whole suite seems to be taking place on a dark moonlit night, unless that’s simply the pre-emptive influence of the dark moonlit cover art taking over my keyboard as I write. Some over-familiar ambient tones at the start soon give way to the body of the work, which is extremely understated with its light crackling sounds and barely-perceptible half-musical episodes, which feel more like light organic stains on a canvas rather than brushstrokes applied by an artist’s hand. Indeed if he was a painter I suppose Skrzynski would feel more at home burying his canvasses in a dank secret place underground and letting nature (mould, decay, algae, insects) do most of the work. A strangely compelling listen. The lovely cover art by Mateusz Wysocki features phases of the moon, a blurred out-of-focus owl peering at you with empty black eyes, and simple brushstrokes suggesting trunks of trees…an affair in black, white and grey…arrived 24 November 2014, November being an ideal month for listening to such a dark droner…