The Splendor Solis is a richly illuminated alchemical manuscript dating from around 1532. Seven treatises and twenty-two colourful illustrations replete with symbolism depicting the alchemical death and rebirth of the king, which incorporates a series of seven flasks, each depicting an operation in the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone.
”The Splendor Solis sets forth the philosophy of alchemy, a world view according to which the human being (the alchemist) exists and acts in harmony with nature, respecting divine creation and at the same time intervening in the processes underlying that creation, all the while supporting its growth with the help of alchemy.” Jörg Völlnagel
Deriving inspiration from ‘Medieval European theology, apocalyptic symbolism, Theosophical doctrines and mystical branches of Buddhism‘, Letum…Non Omnia Finit (Death is Not the End of All Things) is a welcome departure from the standard tried-and-true, albeit derivative approach that has been prevalent in neofolk or dark folk, and to a lesser degree, neoclassical for the past twenty-two years.
Given the inspiring subject matter, this release could have proceeded in an entirely different direction; a heady melange of Eastern-influenced drones accented by chants with a reading from Isis Unveiled over the top of an quasi-ecclesiastical mess. Fortunately we have been spared that experience, and the creative path taken has not been approached literally. Alternatively, they have struck a balance between the above referenced genres and produced a release without incorporating any unnecessary fanfare or bombastic flourishes.
The bulk of the music is produced by a well-assembled mixture of finely played acoustic guitar more in line stylistically with Riccardo Prencipe of Corde Oblique than Kim Larsen from :Of the Wand and the Moon:. A distinct fluidity plays out rather timely over the seven compositions; although the musical language employed is minimal, a reliance on a sparse usage of vocals and carefully timed percussive elements is a common theme throughout this release. Transmitting an ephemeral quality is the buoyant airiness of the flute which takes centre stage on the majority of the tracks; it is precisely this subtle interplay of tone and organic texture that is particularly engaging
The acoustic effects are few and reside purely on the periphery; while never taking over, they serve their purpose well as unobtrusive embellishments that enhance the listening experience as a whole rather than detract. My only issue with this release is its brevity; at just over twenty minutes, Letum…Non Omnia Finit is far too short for music of this calibre.
02) Lux et Tenebrae
05) Laudate Eum
07) Spes (et Gaudium)