Exploring the deep bond between man and nature. That has been a main lead motive throughout all Sean Kratz’s works, explicitly mentioned or not, on Osi and the Jupiter. In his earlier records, he took a lot of inspiration from Nordic folklore, but on his more recent outings like last year’s trek across his native land of ‘Appalachia’ or the Songs of Origin and Spirit four way collaboration, he looked a bit closer to home. While still keeping an absolute minimalist approach, he infused his compositions with an deeply rooted sense of American folk.
Besides Kratz’s acoustic guitar and melancholic musings, the other defining aspect of this project has been Kakophonix’s contributions on cello that lay a mournful veil on Kratz’s bleak strumming, like morning dew on grass.
This interplay between the two continues on his newest full length, called ‘Stave’, which is probably his most accomplished recording so far. It also sees him collaborating with a few other artists like the Canadian Anilah or Michal Krawczuk from the By The Spirits with whom he already shared a slot on the four way split I mentioned earlier.
Starting off with ‘To Reap What Has Sown’ , this tune wouldn’t actually be out of place as the intro to a new Western series. Followed up by the title track it continues its Americana tinged path, but with a stronger rhythmic element and Kakophonix‘s cello taking a leading role.
While the title ‘Cosmic Creation through Primordial Void’ sounds like it would be more comfortable on an Emperor record, it quietly leads the way for ‘Folk of the Woods’, the first song on this record to feature Kratz‘s trademark contemplative musings. It is a homage to people living close to and in respect of the forests. It also elaborates on the record’s title as the binding will of nature surrounding you, another recurring theme within his music.
‘Wights’ has a shamanic edge to it, not in the least due to the Dead Can Dance like chants of Dréa Drury, a Canadian artist who is making some very interesting, ritualistic music under the moniker of Anilah and has worked with other like-minded musicians like Wardruna‘s Einar Selvik. Definitely worth checking out.
After the gently acoustic ‘Old Ways’, ‘Inner Flame’ sneaks in as an internally brooding, short ambient piece, preparing you to scale the summit of ‘Mountain Magick’. For ‘In Death (Carry Me Home)’ he has called in Michal Krawczuk from By the Spirits, whose weighty voice adds gravitas to this love song to the home you grew up in. ‘Eihwaz (the beating heart of Yew)’, by far the longest song on this album, recalls across its soothing eight plus minutes the Nordic heritage from his earliest writings. The next song is a retake from last year’s ‘Appalachia’ EP.
Quite remarkable , but oddly enough not so out of place as you might fear is the cover of The Moody Blues’ ‘Nights in White Satin’. Strictly instrumental with an emphasis on Kakophonix‘s cello, it brings a tearful closure to this evocation of our lost connection to nature.
Release Date: August 27 2021
- To Reap What Has Sown
- Cosmic Creation Through Primordial Void
- Folks of the Woods
- Wights -featuring Anilah
- Old Ways
- Inner Flame
- Mountain Shamanism
- In Death (Carry Me Home) featuring Michal Krawczuk/By The Spirits
- Eihwaz (the Beating Heart of Yew)
- Nights in White Satin (Cover)