Latvia-based band ‘Lunt’ recently released ‘The Inner Border’ (Iekšējā Robeža), which is a cerebral and stunning track filled with emotional gravitas. It was written in June 2020 using soundscapes as metaphors for the travels that led frontman, Gilles Deles-Velins, to Latvia. Anna Akhmatova’s poem, ‘A land not mine,’ is read in Russian at the beginning of the track and in Latvian at the end (poem included at the end of the review).
‘This feeling of being split between two languages, two cultures is a common thing for many Latvian citizen whether because it was obliged or whether because one person can have members of these two origins in his own family. Russia is this big Other for Baltics nationals. Unfortunately, War in Ukraine confirmed my fears and assumptions about this splitting. The true border is inside each one of us, the distance we keep with ourselves despite reflection.’
The Inner Border’s runtime is 14:30. With the volume turned up an (nearly inaudible) atonal finger-tapping on what sounds like a glass windowpane invites us in. A shimmery droning of what may be singing glasses gently cuts its way above the rain-like pitter-pattering of the tapping while a wind-chime sporadically bobbles against itself to produce its organic cling-clang. Another wind-chime toned sound drones on as the first one continues its cling-clanging. Perhaps an bead-shaker that isn’t being shaken so much as very gently rotated, which achieves a subtle atmospheric effect rather than rhythmic. Jérôme Gilet comes in on saxophone and imposes a more easily grasped musicality and tenderness to the tracks organic and free-from ambience. Field recordings are littered throughout, including an airplane taking off which transitions into a minimalistic piano solo while Inese Vēliņa reads Anna Akhmatova’s poem, ‘A land not mine’. The reading ends with a brief field recording of the Stromboli Volcano erupting, followed by a moment of silence, before the piano resumes to the accompaniment of the burbling and bubbling of lava. Far away cymbals crash and clang over and over and over! All these noises combined with the eery humming sound of a somewhat muted saxophone and a low droning noise merge into a tsunami-wall of noise. Things gradually recede until its just the bass-tones of a cello-like sound droning on while a glockenspiel hammers the simple melody heard on the piano earlier. As the instruments decrescendo so does a choir’s held-note drone on and thereby the music comfortably and naturally transitions into an a cappella section.
Lunt explores electro-acoustic spaces to create an immersive sound that transcends notions of musical language, forms, ambient, electro, drone, and other categories. It’s not only about soundscapes but redolent meditations capable of disinterring a long-forgotten memory or inducing a nostalgic reverie and gravitating toward themes that contemplate the meaning of life.
Available for pre-order here: https://lunt.bandcamp.com/album/the-inner-border-iek-j-robe-a
A land not mine
“A land not mine, still
the waters of its ocean
chill and fresh.
Sand on the bottom whiter than chalk,
and the air drunk, like wine,
late sun lays bare
the rosy limbs of the pinetrees.
Sunset in the ethereal waves:
I cannot tell if the day
is ending, or the world, or if
the secret of secrets is inside me again.”
By Anna Akhmatova
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