New Left/Folk, A Blaze Ansuz Neofolk Compilation “Haunting Ground” Released

We are excited to release our latest joint compilation project that was a collaboration between A Blaze Ansuz and the left/folk project. This seventeen track neofolk compilation is a fundraiser to support the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, which supports First Nations people affected by the violence of the Canadian residential school system and the after effects of colonialism.

Click Here to Purchase the Compilation

The Playlist for this new compilation, called “Haunting Ground,” is:

1.Partum Nihil – At Daggers Drawn 03:42info
2.Autumn Brigade – The Gates Of Heaven 02:03
3.BloccoNero – Ninna Nanna Del Rivoluzionario 03:14
4.Ulvesang – The Truth 03:56
5.All In Vain – Palantir 07:34
6.River – Whispering Blossoms 05:57
7.Voyvoda – Karandjule 04:27
8.Peace Through Decay – Atonement 04:32
9.Shattered Hand – Forms Of Sacrifice And Concentration (Radial) 04:51
10.Nøkken + The Grim – Nøkkens Sang Om Elven 04:28
11.Haunter Of The Woods – I 04:12
12.Weather Veins – Life Runs Undefied 03:49
13.Spectral Sister – Trail Of Dead Moths 02:04
14.A Great Hand From Heaven – I See You 02:35
15.Without History – He Comes To See Sally 05:14
16.Blood And Dust – Burn It Down 03:56
17.DEAES – Burnt Offerings (Daggers High!) 04:21

Click Here to Purchase the Compilation

Statement on Compilation from left/folk:

We meet again, somewhere between resignation and revolution, with aural gifts to pass the time. Today’s offering is a collection of songs that reflect on themes of justice and vengeance, their interwoven narratives, and the aftermath of retribution. We hope you enjoy. This compilation would not be possible without the efforts of many individuals across the planet, so we would like to give thanks.

First, we would like to thank A Blaze Ansuz for their efforts in curating this compilation, their persistent dedication to building a new musical path, and their endless support. We would like to thank the artists who contributed to this work, especially those who reached out to us of their own volition, who have taken the initiative to build and express their art and share it with this growing community. We would like to thank everyone who has donated to, purchased, and shared our material, allowing us to continue to merge creativity and service in this ongoing project to cultivate alternate cultural spaces in the present and future.

We would like to thank all political activists across occupied territories who are fighting for the dignity and sovereignty of their people, in opposition to colonial and imperialist forces who seek to blend us all into a capitalist hegemon by erasure of our indigenous cultures and histories. We thank everyone fighting against state repression, and everyone fighting to push against tyrants of all stripes.

As usual, we are living in tumultuous times, walking slowly towards inevitable ecological, social, and economic collapse. It is our imperative to forge bonds grounded in solidarity and cooperation amongst various communities across the planet. We must think locally as well, building community, preparing for the possibility/probability of very horrible things happening within our lifetime. Part of building communities is reconciling and healing the wounds of past atrocity by any means possible, which is why all donations from this compilation will be directed towards the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.

The IRSSS is a provincial organization with a twenty-year history of providing services to Indian Residential School Survivors. Founded in 1994, they actively provide essential services to Residential School Survivors, their families, and those dealing with Intergenerational traumas.

It truly is up to us to defend, heal, and uplift one another. We cannot survive or evolve as a society, as a people, without cooperation and solidarity. LEFT/FOLK is here to help provide the soundtrack to this directive, music that is energetically and spiritually aligned to this desire for great liberation of all peoples.

We are all we have. Let us reap vengeance and justice together!
-L/F 161 

Click Here to Purchase the Compilation

Also make sure to add the Antifascist Neofolk Playlist on Spotify, which includes many of the artists that are on this compilation.

Civilization and Its Contradictions: An Interview with River

In this interview with the band River, we talk about inspiration, soundscapes, and the contradictions of civilization.

By Ryan Smith

It would be an understatement to say the past few years have been a rough ride across the board.  Between COVID, climate crisis, and creeping fascism it would be safe to say that escape and relief from the endless churn of life in 2022.  For many, including myself, music can sometimes offer such comfort and I’m always game for artists trying something very different from the usual.  When I had the band River sent over my way, I quickly found myself lost in the majestic atmosphere of haunting, melancholic melodies.  In days when time is either running too fast or grinding to a crawl, River’s music brings a sense of healing timelessness that feels mostly absent from our mad, mad world.  I got in touch with the artists behind River to find out what makes them tick and here is what they had to say.

Your music paints some very haunting, almost Pagan, soundscapes.  What do you feel you are showing with your songs?

Nate:
In 2008, I was recording an EP for my solo black metal band Mania called Endless Hunger. In the first song you can hear a long droning acoustic guitar section. River started as a way to explore this type of soundscape further without being constrained by the metal genre. Soon after, the other two current members of the band joined with a similar vision from their respective bands (Huldrekall and Alda). Mania is a musical exploration into the horrors of the modern world, so I wanted River to be the opposite – evocations of pre-civilization life. Watching the river flow across the rocks and pondering how many millions of years it has been doing just that, or the stars slowly drift atop a mountain, listening to the cold wind through the pine trees with no other sounds in the air. Ravens cawing in old growth forests. You get the idea. There is no ideology or religious belief portrayed, simply an atmosphere.

Dylan:
There isn’t a particular Pagan connection with our music however we all have had strong connections to the forests and mountains throughout our lives and that connection comes out a lot in our music. I try to use riffs to tell a story without words. Every part of every song that we write tells about a place, a sound, a time, a smell, a feeling, just something in our lives and the hope is that when other people listen to our music they can be transported to places or have experiences of their own. I believe that music itself is magic.



If there was one person, alive or dead, who you would want to hear this album who would it be?

Nate:
Sharing music is a special thing. It transcends the spoken language and can convey deep primal emotion in such a way that the listeners understand, even having their own interpretation and feelings to reflect back. That being said, I really make this sort of music for myself, creating the songs that I wish I could hear. I can’t really say I would hope any one person hears the album. It has already been 8 years since we began writing and recording it. All of the songs sat on my hard drive that whole time until we could find the time to complete the job. When it was complete, I felt a huge relief that I could listen to it without considering the technical aspects or what needs to change. That alone makes me content.

Dylan: 

Agreed, I can’t think of any particular person I would want to hear this new album, however I’m very happy to share our music with people and hope that it can resonate far beyond the spaces it was written in.


What would you say to any musician who is starting out?

Nate:

Don’t. Haha, just kidding. Go listen to AC/DC “It’s a long way to the top”. That will explain it all. Except in rare circumstances, you will lose countless sleep, money and hours that will never turn into something profitable. For me, it’s about the social connections and events. Different genres of music bring specific types of people to events and I love the aspect of curating a social environment. If I could go back and tell my younger self anything about my future in music, I would try to explain that the details of song arrangement and riffs are important, but so is physical presentation. Stage props, looking presentable, art, lights, etc. People in the audience want to be captivated and immersed in the experience and not everyone wants to hear a “musician’s band”. Make it digestable. That doesn’t mean dumb it down – it means you need to dissolve the barrier in the listener’s mind and put them in your environment so they can properly absorb the music.

Dylan:

I would say to have fun and practice. The more comfortable and natural it feels to play your instrument, the less thought you’ll have to use and the more the music will just naturally come out. I’ve never wanted to be a rockstar or be uber famous for playing in cool bands and I still feel that way.  Write music because it feels good or terrible or cathartic or whatever. Play music because it makes you feel something. Whilst i do agree with Nate that its very important to dissolve the barrier between musician and listener, ive been to way too many shows where lackluster bands did their best to have all the cool skills/techniques/riffs, candlesticks, skulls, branches, sigils etc.. and they didnt manage to inspire any feeling in me other then boredom or contempt. Atmosphere is absolutely crucial, but it’s far from everything.



What are your biggest musical influences?

Nate:
Ulver – Kveldssanger/Bergtatt. Novemthree. Vali – Forlatt. Lonndom – Fälen från norr. Tenhi – Kertomuksia. Huun Huur Tu. Garmarna – S/T. Waldteufel. Fauna, Echtra, Vines.

Dylan:
Kvelldssanger has definitely been a huge influence of ours, especially on our first album. It’s hard to not be inspired by the black metal we’ve been immersed in for so long. Folk music from all over the world, lots of dungeon synth too. I feel like our music is a melting pot of the wide variety of music that we all listen to and we’ve taken bits and pieces from all of our preceding projects and added them in as well.


What would you say are the main themes at the heart of your work?

Nate:
There are themes of nature. Seasons changing. The processes of a more simple natural world happening over long periods of time.

Dylan:
Nature for sure. I feel like escapism is a huge aspect within that. While our other music projects might focus on the struggle of the tree trunk against the chainsaw, this project would envision a time or place without the saw altogether. It’s hard to not be crushed by nihilism when looking to our future here in 2021, but it’s important to find places of solace, if even only inside ourselves.




What do you hope for in the future for River?

Nate: 

We hope to release this album on a proper format over the next year. Our plans for a vinyl release were cancelled amidst the covid pandemic so we are attempting to re-group and seek other channels. Other than that, there are no plans. We hope you enjoy the album and thanks for spending this time on us.

Dylan: 

We’ve been collaborating on this project for over 10 years now and a lot of that time has been spent fairly dormant. It’s certainly possible that more music could emerge with time but for now it’s hard to say. Many thanks to the people who have shared their homes, music and friendship with us over the years!

River’s full album “Regeneration”, released in 2020 by Eternal Warfare Records, is currently available for purchase with Bandcamp. Make sure to add the Antifascist Neofolk Playlist on Spotify, which we will add River to once they are on Spotify.