This is my third encounter with Erik E and his dark, mournful neo-folk project Weh. The sound as ever is simple and beautifully plain, mostly the deep almost Cohen-esque tones of Erik E and his strummed acoustic guitar, with the occasional brief addition of keyboards. The pace is mostly a sedate, thoughtful wander through the lyrical landscape that succeeds in conjuring the feeling, the impressions of both being modern in touch yet most definitely looking looking to the lessons of the past.
It’s an intensely intimate world that Weh invites you in to: Not just quiet and reflective but almost your own journey as an unseen watcher through a cold rural landscape, one touched by winter and by war which touches everyone and yet you know only by the overheard words of others rather than by your own eyes. I think that’s the curious aspect of Weh; this notion of things relayed to you rather than being led to witness the events themselves. Perhaps though that is the true essence of folk music, that it is echoes of a world, first hand accounts passed down to you with the power to make you feel the emotions but never lose sight of the fact that this is an account, not you actually experiencing the events.
This time it seems that war is the shadow over all the album; streams that should sparkle in farmlands run red, scars lie upon the land, folk you have known all your life are simply no longer there. This is the ghost of war, the colour drained from the land by the passing of its hand, its edge always just over the next hill but its presence everywhere.
In the end this is another wonderful offering of melancholy from Erik E, enveloping, transporting and forest stream clear in its presence and touch. The production is simple, as befits the delicate music, and every touch of the strings is bright and individual. It is a lovely complete package. Not for everyone but if you have room for a little folk then this will not treat you as an interloper. For all its melancholy it is an accessible, inclusive and welcoming album.
And as an aside, the really weird thing is the opening of first song ‘Intethet’ before the vocals come in is so reminiscent of the theme to this year’s breakout story driven video game ‘Life Is Strange ‘. Which takes me to another dark, quiet place entirely.