The solo avant-garde black metal project, Murmuüre, is a sobriquet well-known in some underground circles of extreme metal. It was founded in 2006 by Felix, and in 2010, he debuted the project’s one (and supposedly only) self-titled release. This is an album I had the luck of stumbling upon whilst perusing Bandcamp in the dismal winter months of 2019 and since my discovery, Murmuüre has been in my weekly rotation ever since.
Not a whole lot is known about Felix save some morsels he divulged in an interview with Night Seminar in 2012, though I think his scantily detailed background enhances the aura permeating his self-titled work. We know in the early aughts that he played in a hardcore punk band and when he lost interest in that scene, he transitioned to producing electronic or glitch compositions. However, when he exhausted that creative outlet, he sought to tap an atavistic nerve that would convey him to his roots. Thus Murmuüre emerged.
I used the genre descriptor of black metal to illustrate, however vaguely, Murmuüre’s tone, but this album is an arguably boundless variant of it. Some could go as far as to say it doesn’t fit the archetype whatsoever, though I am not here to split hairs on the bevy of sentiments I’ve read. In its succinct thirty-minute runtime, Murmuüre journeys across arcane terrain. It’s rife with soothing ambient passages, splendid vistas of dilapidated castles nestled in between monumental crags, and radiant synthesizers that beckon the serenity of a setting sun as it gives way to the sweet breeze of dusk, all of which are blanketed in a psychedelic haze hued with royal purple and streams of marigold.
In a word, Murmuüre is cinematic. This illustrious quality is propagated by the litany of field recordings and samples enmeshed throughout its fabric. Felix describes his use of existing timeworn sounds as a form of artistic cannibalism, examples of which include the opening orchestral flourish from Carl Orff’s Carmina Bruana (“Veris Leta Facies”) or the haunting horn arrangement from Paul Giovanni’s score of “The Wicker Man” (“Sunset”). These, in addition to all other samples pocking the album’s expanse, steep its atmosphere in an elusive wash that blurs the plane splicing reality from fantasy. Furthermore, the instruments and their respective production keep this cinematic core aflame. Every guitar note heard on Murmuüre is sourced from a one-hour improvisational session Felix undertook in 2006 when his aforementioned musical frustration was blistering. Notes are cut up, rearranged, sutured together, and doused in fuzzy yet acerbic resonances so as to promulgate the incongruous nature of this amorphous realm. It’s unlike anything I’ve heard.
In this retrospective review, I am joined by Duncan Park (Return to Worm Mountain). We dive into the uncanny depths harbored within Murmuüre and endeavor to make sense of its innumerable timbres. Sound samples, riffs, and the haunting moods seeping through every mote of sound are topics covered, in addition to bundles of other insights I won’t detail here because it would be tedious to do so. We sincerely hope you enjoy our excursion into the past to make sense of this psychedelic gem. Thank you so much for tuning in.
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You can grab a digital copy of Murmuüre’s self-titled release by visiting his Bandcamp page. Physical copies will cost you a couple of limbs, but if you are privy to owning the vinyl, you can find a copy on Discogs. Posts are not made all too often on his Facebook page, but you can follow Felix there for intermittent posts.
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Our next album review is of Lemna’s Retrocausality, an ambient/electronic artist from Japan (next Monday). Thank you for your continued support.