Happy Birthday, Lux Noctis + Mona Mur & En Esch – “120 Tage: The Fine Art of Beauty and Violence” Viva Music Review

May 5, 2011 in Album Reviews

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This post is dedicated to Lux Noctis, the Romanian Gothic Community, who celebrate their 4 year anniversary today. Lux Noctis organize recurrent parties in Bucharest and nationwide, and have recently organized in April 2011 a splendid Mona Mur & En Esch concert in Control Club.

Tracklist:

Candy Cane * Die Ballade vom Ertrunkenen Madschen * 120 Tage * The Thin Red Line * Visions & Lies * Eintagsfliegen * Snake * Mon Amour * Surabaya Johnny * Der Song vom Mandelay * The Wound * Candy Cane (Acoustic version) * Candy Cane (Steve Morell Disco Death Tech Mix)

Mona Mur & En Esch’s joint project is one that should be approached both respectfully and with open arms. As reputed artists who have earned sufficient experience with their on- and off-stage activities, they come from horizons that converge and diverge. While Mona Mur’s metamorphosis from dark ambient to medieval and back to the dark vibes has also taken her to international Taekwondo international championships and to a quite academic and paramount understanding of the Weimar burlesque, ex-KMFDM En Esch’s timeline is, if not as essentially scattered with equally great projects: 10 albums alongside KMFDM, as well as one solo album and several others with Pigface and Slick Idiot. Their artistic meeting and subsequent collaboration from 2007 onward also meant the meeting of these diverse influences and their fusing into one solid streak of sound and performance: this is how the electro-industrial vein of “120 Tage – The Fine Art of Beauty and Violence” was conceived, and born.

The resulting music is powerful, and at the same time, smooth. It is compelling and has a nightmarish quality about it, the kind that instead of anguishing, leaves the listener, however captive, able to recollect and reflect on the seductive powers that are at stake the whole set. The solid interplay Mona Mur & En Esch enact on teasing and comforting is probably one of the major achievements of the album, without belittling in any way their artistry: “The Thin Red Line” and “Visions & Lies” are superb examples to this respect, while “Eintagsfliegen” and “Snake” confirm their artistic potential, and the fine exchange that surprises with their atypical mix of masculinity and femininity is always and always more evident in songs such as “Candy Cane” “120 Tage and the “Wound”. What is more, juxtaposing the two key elements of the title, namely beauty and violence, they achieve an enviable balance even for artists who have a background of working together decades.

Alongside, the homophone namesake track “Mon Amour” equally induces exuberance and brutality, a transfer that is becoming fundamental to the album also in the vintage corner: the set of songs that “Die Ballade vom Ertrunkenen Madschen”, “Surabaya Johnny”, and “Der Song vom Mandelay” brings along a avant-garde chanson and melodrama in the making of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.  While epic and dialectal theater is probably not the top choice of inspiration when it comes to industrial experiments, Mona Mur and En Esch render it delightfully and with impressive savoir-faire.

Mention should also been made of the two remixes provided on the album for the first track “Candy Cane”, which show in an overboard manner that the genre of music Mona Mur & En Esch propose is open to further collaboration and interpretation – a thing that we would want to see in further elaboration of their project.

Fundamentally, their album is clearly a well-wrought product, relevant for today’s scene from a multitude of points of view. Not only does it cast light on the creativity that can sparkle in the space created by diverse collaborations, but it also shows in an unostentatious way that the sources one can rely on when foraging for inspiration are more numerous than usually resorted to in the scene, and if the signs are right, then we shall witness more of this in further releases from Mona Mur & En Esch, as well as of other acts.

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