Twinsistermoon Then Fell The Ashes…

[Primary Numbers; 2011]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: post-goth folk, [more than just] film music [or film drone]
Others: Natural Snow Buildings, Isengrind

It’s comforting to know that, after copious amounts of time devoted to intense music listening, one is still able to experience sounds that inspire and evoke genuine excitement, interest, and at least a curiously amusing inability to describe or account for what has just been heard. Then Fell The Ashes…, the new album by Twinsistermoon, manages to do all of these things, which is particularly interesting since it’s actually a reworked reissue of an original version that’s been around for about a year or so.

Twinsistermoon, a.k.a. Mehdi Ameziane, is one half of French act Natural Snow Buildings, and while both acts certainly share a similar aesthetic, they are distinct enough to arouse frustration when attempting to figure out where one ends and the other begins. Both acts specialize in rich, atmospheric drone with a distinct cinematic quality. Both also stubbornly alternate almost exclusively between short, sung acoustic folk songs and long, exaggerated instrumentals, the latter variety being where a pronounced horror film influence can be more immediately heard.

Interestingly enough, Ameziane’s compositions on Ashes, as on past albums, straddle the line between aesthetic oppositions, namely the aforementioned horror element and seemingly whatever that can be assembled in contrast to it. But while horror may be one of the more obvious aesthetic and thematic links between Twinsistermoon’s albums — Ameziane has made no secret of the influence horror films have had on his music and that of Natural Snow Buildings — Then Fell The Ashes never becomes a full-on horror movie, so to speak. All the explicit fright on this album is tempered by warmth, tenderness, and wonder.

“1976,” for example, features some eerie noises that are led by an almost motherly hum (or was that some kind of instrument?), sounding equally melancholic, tender, and unsettling. On “Ghost That Was Your Life,” the third track off the album, Ameziane sings and plays a beautiful melody that’s subverted by a lo-fi texture on his voice that adds a decidedly disconcerting element. “The Big Sand” starts off with haunting voices and drone, shifts in tone to a brighter note, and then leaves abruptly, only to return with the sound of waves and a mysteriousness that ultimately gives way to a beautiful, reassuring strum of the guitar. “Trailer” picks up from where “1976” and “Ghost That Was Your Life” left off, guitar and melody hiding, a hint of the spectral in Ameziane’s unbelievably ghostlike singing.

Sure, Then Fell The Ashes doesn’t veer all that far from the sound of Twinsistermoon’s past recordings. It doesn’t even stray far in sound from the past recordings of Natural Snow Buildings. Ashes simply continues Ameziane’s forays into atmospheric ambient horror film drone folk music (!), as expected. But as has been pointed out before, this is certainly not a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all.

Links: Twinsistermoon - Primary Numbers

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