LustWonderNachtzeit, the man behind Lustre, clearly has plenty to say. Since 2008, he has expressed his nature-inspired visions through four albums and four EPs. The fourth album “Wonder” and EP “A Spark of Times of Old” share similar ambient qualities. Nachtzeit may be prolific but it is evidence from his music that he is not one to be rushed.

From the outset of “Wonder” [5] we are taken deep into a dark forest. The heartbeat is electronic and patient. Dark and disturbing sounds, as if of winds or of breathing, generate a form of life in the background. And it is the background which defines this world, which evokes sadness and a place beyond the normal parameters of human existence. I find I have to be in the right place and state of mind to listen to this. On the one hand, I admired the dark ambiance of this music, which is akin to the atmospheric black metal symphonies of Burzum’s instrumental works. Yet such is the monotony that I was indifferent to what could be seen as a spiritual experience. The distant crescendo of horror-ridden cries sweep through the melancholic waves on “A Summer Night” and are followed by a lighter electronic sound, proving a mixture between gentle turbulence and delicate beauty. It’s important not to see this creation in conventional terms but I still could not immerse myself in it. The final of the quartet of ten-minute ambient pieces is “Perichor”, on which harsh threats juxtapose the constant, nullifying and unopposable constant synthesised melody. There is a welcome orchestral intrusion, which reinforces the indefatigable sadness of the scene which Nachtzeit has created.

LustreSparkIt was on the EP “A Spark of Times of Old” [8] that I experienced the power which for me, “Perichor” apart, was missing on “Wonder”. There is initially the sound of a burning fire, and the synthesised melody rises majestically but as a constant wave. The constancy of nature is very important. Harsh and hostile sounds sweep through the background. There is more to play with our mind here. The melody is like a hymn. It’s as if we are in a church but of a pagan, natural variety. Melancholy mixes with black atmospheric darkness. Where “Wonder” did not get into my veins, “A Spark of Times of Old” did. Its musical progress creates a sense of time. The music moves on in its dark and magnificent way without losing the atmosphere.  I puffed out my cheeks. Ever developing mists were coming and surrounding me.

Undoubtedly the work of Lustre is intense and ambient, but I confess that I did not find “Wonder” overwhelming. I have no hesitation however in singing the praises of “A Spark of Times of Old”, which moves away from the minimalism of “Wonder” and captures a magnificently melancholic and despairing scene.

(Andrew Doherty)