Tracklist: “Ein Tag im April” * “Welcome to Pripyat” * “Here We Are” * “Disappointed” * “1986” * “Wir wollen jetzt” * “2011” * “Sehnsucht” * “We Cannot…” * “Die Farbe der Saison” * “Todeszeit” * “Everybody” * “Unser Werk” * “Evakuierung”
Nova-spes is a synthiepop/futurepop/EBM group founded in 1999 in Germany. The band includes Matthias Huebner (music, words, vocals), Steffen Poehler (keys), and Peter Walter (keys). With a new release almost every year since their foundation, Nova-spes come back in 2011 with a new album entitled “pripyat – home of lilith” with Dance Macabre. The album is mastered by Das Ich’s Bruno Kramm and released today, on September 09.
Read the review and see the photos by Viva Music from Nova-spes’s date last week at NCN Festival in Deutzen bei Leipzig here.
Nova-spes – “pripyat – home of lilith”: Viva Music album review:
While we have not listened to earlier material from Nova-spes, the material they worked together with Bruno Kramm can be described in two words: intense, and invasive. The heavy intro with Russian alert messages “Ein Tag im April” is a good appetizer for what follows. The historically credible message in Russian alerting the population of today ghost town Pripyat from Kiev Oblast, from the vicinity of Chernobyl reads as follows:
“For the attention of the residents of Pripyat! The City Council informs you that due to the accident at Chernobyl Power Station in the city of Pripyat the radioactive conditions in the vicinity are deteriorating. The Communist Party, its officials and the armed forces are taking necessary steps to combat this. Nevertheless, with the view to keep people as safe and healthy as possible, the children being top priority, we need to temporarily evacuate the citizens in the nearest towns of Kiev Oblast. For these reasons, starting from April 27, 1986 2 p.m. each apartment block will be able to have a bus at its disposal, supervised by the police and the city officials. It is highly advisable to take your documents, some vital personal belongings and a certain amount of food, just in case, with you. The senior executives of public and industrial facilities of the city decided the list of employees needed to stay in Pripyat to maintain these facilities in a good working order. All the houses will be guarded by the police during the evacuation period. Comrades leaving your residences temporarily please make sure you have turned off the lights, electrical equipment and water off and shut the windows. Please keep calm and orderly in the process of this short-term evacuation.”
The ‘day in April’ from the title becomes this way not ‘just another day’, but a day when life as known by the citizens of Pripyat was simply taken from them. The notion of uncertainty and instability of life is further carried on by the message of “Welcome to Pripyat”, an intrusive track, which marks the deployment of the entire album. “Here We Are”, as well as “Disappointed” are alert pieces of music, with the same feel of witnessing a calamity, the proportions of which are capsized by incisive synth and distorted voice that reminds in a way of military messages. “1986” speaks about the same calamity of Chernobyl power plant with eloquence and musicality, interposing local and international messages, while “Wir wollen jetzt” (“We Want It Now”) gathers up force and becomes a sort of anthem which makes total sense in the narrative body of the album.
“2011” is a companion song of “1986”, showing the aftermath and the lack of vigilance and attention of authorities to ease out and lay a plan for a deserted land which, bearing the signs of its quite recent inhabitation, is forever forsaken. While listening to the song images of open windows, forsaken toys, flattened out nature and an all-encompassing desertion of the city and in a way of the world come to mind. “Sehnsucht” (“Yearning”) is probably one of the best tracks of the new album, and though its participation to the album’s story is less portentous than the previous tracks, it is clearly a good composition – one, we dare say, that shows the hand of Bruno Kramm in an almost – and already – classical manner.
“We cannot” is not only a good song, but also a very introspective piece. You can see – listen to, actually – the hard work behind it, and since it is one of the rare instrumental pieces of the album, it seems to speak out even in the absence of words. “Die Farbe der Saison” (“The Color of This Season”) is not from a fashion revue, but from the absence of color, the colorless city left behind, far from the original dream of an atomograd, basically a city meant to serve as residence for the working population of the power plant. “Todeszeit” (“Death Time”) gets the caveat of the album title “pripyat – home of lilith” closer to the demonic, hell-rising atmosphere of the city. Actually, there seems to be a total match between the description of the city and of Hell in popular culture.
“Everybody” is also a good track, with the same memorial added value, and foraying really deep into the texture of the story of the album. The same anthemic quality encountered with “Wir wollen jetzt” is present in the musical substance mixed in the magical cauldron of “Everybody”. “Unser Werk” (“Our Factory”) keeps the moral of the album close to the original line, where “factory” can be read as any action performed by humans, who are able through so-called work to endanger and prejudice the existence of their own species. “Evakuierung” (“Eviction”) marks the end of the album in the same narrative manner; it leaves no alternative but to re-live the experience of the citizens of Pripyat, whereas leaving behind one’s life from the atomic El Dorado becomes a sort of leitmotif of people’s pursuing of environmentally, and humanely unfriendly goals, to the point of being able not only to give, but to take life.
With its rich content and narrative advance, the album “pripyat – home of lilith” from Nova-spes can be listened to as you listen to a terrifying story. The fact that it is put into words and music makes the album a sort of tribute, but also a carrier of a message of its own. Pripyat has indeed a symbolic value which has previously been at stake in everything from documentaries to video games; and becomes one that needed to be explored in music as well.