Sedayne and Rachel in their guise as Venereum Arvum are featured on INFERNAL PROTEUS lately released by Ajna in the USA - their contribution being a ten minute sequence entitled The Heavenly Gates based on a traditional English May Carol & all in celebration of the various fragrances & significances of May Blossom.

This is a very special release - a 96 page hardback musical herbal with 4 CDs containing over 40 exclusive tracks by Ah Cama Sotz, Alio Die, Allerseelen, Alraune, Amber Asylum, Apoptose, Aube, Baradelan, Chaos As Shelter, Circe, Coleclough and Hill, Jason H Craban, Yannick Dauby, Endvra, Hekate, HU, Igor18, In Gowan Ring, Inade, Israfel In Necropolis, Kern and Van Pelt, Dave Knott, Lotus Eaters, Kawabata Makoto, Mania, Mnortham, Seth Nehil, Nerthiagh, Numinosum, Paradis, rain, The Red King, Steve Roden, Troum, Ultra, Unto Ashes, Venereum Arvum, Waldteufel, Wolfskin & David Woodard.

Reviewed as follows:-

Without doubt the most ambitious and exciting project emerging from the genre in 2002, this brilliantly crafted hardbound book-cum-four CD set arguably represents the culmination of artistic intent in the neofolk/neoclassical/experimental scene in terms of both music and conception. The most jaded listener cannot help but gape at the array of artists Ajna's Tyler Davis has managed to rope into this visual-musical catalogue of flora. With respected underground figures like Mnortham and Ultra standing alongside the usual greats like Inade, Waldteufel and Allerseelen in putting their chosen flora to music, the book's lengthy table of contents reads like a veritable who's who of the scene. Amber Asylum grace the first disc with a suitably ethereal, sub-aquatic hymn to "Kelp," while Alraune (no less than Michael Moynihan and Annabel Lee) steal the show a few tracks later with their typical flair, serenading the twisted "Mandrake" with Moynihan's martial drumming playing perfect counterpoint to Lee's violin and her dulcet tones. Waldteufel's characteristically traditional chants lead pleasantly into Venereum Arvum's brilliant interpretation of the familiar English May Carol that, listened to with closed eyes, evokes frighteningly realistic atmospheres of medieval English country life that threaten to explode into lush colour, sound and smell. As expected, In Gowan Ring deliver a soft pastoral ode to the "Dandelion," as ritualistic/ambient masters Endvra show true involvement in their tribute to "Hops" with an uncharacteristic, shockingly chirpy beer-drinking ditty. Troum and Inade both reinforce their uncontested positions as the Teutonic masters of dark ambient, with the former opting for a whispering deadliness in contrast to the latter's expansive demonic majesty. Kern and Van Pelt's stunningly evocative ode to the "Pomegranate" brims with nostalgia and longing, as soft feminine murmurs are layered over the vaguely impassioned strains of a violin (a famous aria, I forget which) played through an old gramophone, creating one of the most beautiful moments on the entire four-hour set. Trying to describe the entire experience is futile; the range of artistic styles over the four discs is mind-boggling, from the vertiginous swirls of Ah Cama-Sotz to the strange oriental-occidental mysticism of Baradelan, the organic minimalism of Steve Roden's pinecones (Jeph Jerman, anyone?), or the mind-numbing psychedelia of Lotus Eaters. True to its original intention, the book itself is a visually stunning treasure trove of pictures and writings, showcasing wildly different yet complementary modes of representation (drawing, engraving, photography), often side-by-side. Next to Blood Axis/LJDLP's costly "Absinthe" vinyl set, this gem is certainly the most exquisite (and certainly the most comprehensive) piece of art in the genre in the past year, setting an impossibly difficult standard for all future endeavours. This is art in its absolute form, and despite the cost, an essential purchase if there ever was one.

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