If you don't live along the east coast of the United States, then maybe you're having a chest-beating trad metal day, or a beat-on-your-desk black/thrash day, or even a middle-finger-hoisting death metal day. But if you were in the path of the snow storm that dumped a few lead-heavy white blankets up and down the Eastern Seaboard, then you probably spent a couple days this weekend tunneling out of ice, snow and all manner of slushy and slippery in-betweens. In that case, Germany's Nebelung might be exactly what your body needs right now. The "dark folk" trio is about to see the release of their newest mournful effort on the Temple of Torturous label. Entitled Palingenesis, the album does its own tunneling, though without exerting huge amounts of back-annihilating energy. Quiet, mostly instrumental and undeniably gorgeous, Palingenesis is a perfect downer for an exhausted evening. The album will officially be released on Tuesday, February 18th, but you can hear the whole thing now on the Deciblog. 'Cuz that's how we roll. Also check out multi-instrumentalist Stefan Otto's thoughts about the album's origins and the way that Nebelung exists within the current musical climate. Douse the electric lights, burn a candle or two, and zone out to Palingenesis.
Did you start working on Palingenesis with conceptual ideas in place, or did they arise during the writing process?
The first ideas to Palingenesis came up more than four years ago, and arose from a spontaneous improvisation on acoustic guitar. At some point I took up the loose ends from the session and wove them into a more or less elaborate basis to what would later become Palingenesis. At this time though they were pretty different both in mood and sound from the finished album, and it was all but clear in which setting they would once be used. The final conceptual ideas behind the album arose during the recording process, some of them not before the very last recording sessions.
What musical, emotional or narrative ideas drive the creation of Nebelung's music?
The main inspirational moments for Nebelung have always been those rare moments in nature, where the interior monologue suddenly falls silent, and you find yourself in speechless awe before natures' beauty. Always in search for these rare moments, Nebelung songs circle around the attempt to name the unnameable, and put into music what words can't express.
Do the songs tend to naturally call for certain instrumentation, or do you make choices ahead of time about which instruments you'd like to create with?
Nebelung started out as a guitar duo ten years ago, and took a big influence from melancholic and nature-related poems, literature and music, which somehow helped to build the self-conception of Nebelung as a project purely based on acoustic instrumentation. Up to now we have never brought this self-constraint into question, for it has always felt true for the music we create. Thus, before we were joined by our cellist, the fundamental instrumental basis for Nebelung has always been acoustic guitars. Which other instruments are then used in the recording process is a question we like to handle spontaneously, as we only try to reproduce what the songs are naturally calling for, and thus only use the instrumentation really needed.
Do you feel that Nebelung's music has any particular kinship with other artists' work? Does it follow in the path of a certain tradition?
Owing to the fact that our first label Eislicht was one of the initial birthplaces of neofolk, it has [never been questioned] that Nebelung create neofolk, though we ourselves don't feel this connection obligatory. We always felt our influences to be quite open, though it may be stated, we haven't given them enough space to unfold up to our current release. The philosophy behind Nebelung is of a spiritual kind, which makes us feel connected to bands like Tenhi, Arktau Eos and Wardruna, though the musical approach might be a different one.