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Kentin Jivek – Ode to Marmæle

Kentin Jivek – Ode to Marmæle

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Written by: Sage

Artist Link
Country:
Self-released
Genre: Dark Folk/Psych Folk/Neofolk

Tracklisting:

01 Arsgang
02 Et Vogue la Verve
03 Le Moine
04 Fortune Teller
05 A Mermaid Called Euri
06 El Estupendo
07 Le Diable Armoureux
08 Fur eine Bessere Zukunft
09 From Here
10 L’Effet Pandemonium
11 Elegidos por Dios
12 En Vise a Vie
13 Pink Clouds
14 Ode to Marmæle
 

Kentin Jivek is an artist from Paris France, and Ode to Marmæle is his 2010 follow-up to 2009’s wonderfully received Eight New Prophecies, where he managed to really begin to make a name for himself. His breakthrough didn’t come until the release of Ode to Marmæle though, receiving very positive attention from magazines like Judas Kiss and Ikonen, as well as one Mr. David Tibet himself. With Ode, he returns to his trademark tri-lingual style in French, English, and Spanish, going one more step this time by adding German to his repertoire, but only as a title for an intrumental track. Along with his lingual abilities, he also showcases an array of vocal styles ranging from the melancholic styles of Current 93 to the straight up southern rock style of Days of the New (in the opening track and moments of “From Here”). He is also back as a solo artist, showcasing his own skills in multi-instrumentality through guitar, piano, organ, percussion (including vibraphone/marimba), and experimental sounds. Needless to say, this guy has a serious amount of talent from just about every dark corner you could find as a solo songwriter.

There is an absurd quality about the music on Ode. While few tracks come and go without anything new to say — though they are still thoughtfully composed — there are flashes of brilliance throughout the album that will knock unsuspecting listeners on their backs. Fortune Teller has the unique guitar-vocal duel emotion that many folk artists today attempt but few succeed in creating, while El Estupendo has the epic psych-freak-out moment in the middle of a mischievously eerie track that rivals the most intense track of 2007, Six Organs of Admittance’ “Shelter from the Ash”, though on a different level with Dead Can Dance-esque percussive elements underneath as many tracks on the album share. Many of his French tracks are more straight to the point with his trademark folklore lyrics and background elements in the music. While the lyrics seem to deal with basic world folklore and mythology, the lyrics are at times abstract and personal. The album title, Ode to Marmæle, speaks of the Scandinavian/Icelandic version of a merman, a powerful creature in mythology capable of seeing the future.

It has been noted in the past that Kentin Jivek himself cites David Tibet and Tony Wakeford as important figures in his development as a musician, or as he himself puts them, ‘mentors’. Thus his connections to the early world of Neofolk are self-professed, yet he exists on a plane all his own. These influences merely work to tinge his sound in a direction, not to define it, even amongst the second and third generations of neofolk artists. So if you feel yourself coming out of this review knowing what to expect with his work in any other aspect than great musicianship, then you should drop your expectations. If Ode is any hint at the rest of his discography, this man is everywhere on the map of psych folk music all at once. But it should certainly be said that the sound he carries through parts of this album are incredibly spot-on with certain aspects of other projects. As mentioned previously in the review, percussive elements can come so close to Dead Can Dance that it is unreal, and his strong multi-tracked vocals in the English language on some tracks sound so much like Travis Meeks of Days of the New that I would swear they were the same person if someone made me listen to them side by side and I wasn’t focusing on the pronunciation of words.

Speaking of pronunciation, that is the only real complaint that I have about the music on Ode. While I’m sure the French is fine and I can’t comment on the Spanish, the English tracks clearly need some lingual work. Normally it wouldn’t be an issue, but as the music is being built around the artist’s lingual abilities vocally, pronunciation is suddenly given a higher importance. However, such a small detail wanes in comparison to the uncompromising attention to production quality and song-writing that Jivek has offered with Ode to Marmæle.

Rating: 4/5