Haft Teppeh

Album Title: 
Release Date: 
Monday, July 4, 2022
Review Type: 

Man’s fate was sealed when he learned the art of forgetfulness. The worst thing he ever told himself is that things come to pass.

When the lying mirror is one’s best advisor, he is prone to fail.

Ungaikyō Prod is a French label that focuses on the darker edges of the musical spectrum, yet with a link to archaic / ancient Japanese tradition and culture. It gets run by a very sympathetic Monsieur, who runs this label but who is active as musician as well in different genres, such as (and I will keep it very ‘general’, without any in-depth specification) Ambient, Dungeon Synth, Black Metal, you know…

Anyway, the latest release on this label (until now) is one by the Romania-based project Haft Teppeh. The latter did release a handful of grandiose things (I deeply adore Yume or Abyzou, for example), limited in amount indeed, over an existence of a decade, but unfortunately this act by Flavius Ion (all music) and lyricist / vocalist Paradox A.L. (both of them are also active in Urban Aira, by the way, and involved with some other dark projects) did remain within the shady corners of the netherworlds. But this re-release might give this project a boost.

And purely informative, but Haft Tepe is an archeological site in Iran, at the North-Eastern shores of the Persian Sea, which could be the lost ruins of a huge city (Kabnach) by the people of Elam. The Elamite civilization was active about twenty-five centuries ago – but that’s another thing. I just wanted to explain the inspirational source for Haft Teppeh’s moniker.

Agnosia was initially self-released at the very beginning of 2022 via the project’s own digital sources. Ungaikyō Prod now gives this recording a proper re-issue. And okay, the physical ones (tape) have been sold out, of course, yet still this re-release might lead to additional attention (I hope this review will do the very same) for both this specific record as well as the project in general.

The recording consists of seven titles, having a total running time of almost thirty-five minutes. It comes with quite simplistic but truly amazing black-and-white artwork (courtesy of I. Grigorescu), which covers the unhappy, desolate and depressive package for sure. That simpleness works amazingly well! And it goes well with the title (and the aural result), for it twists with, and deceives, sensations and impressions.

The short opener Cuprinsul might give the listener a hint of why this recording made it to the Ungaikyō Prod roster. It’s based on several layers of ethereal strings especially, indeed coming with an Oriental approach. It gets accompanied by soft and slow, distant drum-patterns, dreamy synths at the background, and a tender, narrating voice. Fine is the contrast in between the enlightening string-work in contradiction to the sad, introspective voice.

Then things do focus rather on somewhat melancholic, even depressing Ambient-like melodies, created around icy keyboard-lines, and injected by field recordings. Roar Of Ages, the follow-up to the intro Cuprinsul, shows that moody, gloomy, lightless and desperate character. After a hibernal and minimal first half, the second segment adds a lackadaisical horn-like sound, like a depressed reinterpretation of some Badalamanti-like piece (may this great artist rest in peace).

And so things go on, with semi-hypnopompic sonic experiments, cinematic melodies and introspective Hauntronica. Heavy-weighted ambience (though, in general somewhat less bombastic than before) evolves and fades, in balance with luminous fragments (this album is more minimalistic than the former recordings), permanently interspersed by gently-spoken voices, crackling noises / electroacoustic additions, and bizarre concepts with synths and / or strings and / or percussions and / or piano. Also these archaic Japanese-oriented melodies (+ instruments) do reappear from time to time (cf. their signing to this specific label for this re-issue). The result, therefor, is a diverse one, with both grotesque, exalted pieces versus diminutive, introvert excerpts, with these Nippon-like excerpts, and a lot in between.

Conclusion: worth giving a try! Ungaikyō Prod does not re-release anything if it wouldn’t be worth it (and I wouldn’t be spending time to write a review under the very same circumstances, haha)…