Raflum Forest Passage

Having been a month since our last episode we get caught up on what we’ve been up to since then. Your hosts have a few drinks while talking about experiences with the US jury system, getting over kicking boxing injuries, and discuss recently published reviews on Heathen Harvest, Black Ivory Tower, and Nine Circles. We discuss Chinese folk band Raflum, the challenge of meaningful power electronics, Batushka’s orthodox troubles in Russia and what that means to black metal as adversarial music, and more.

From Heathen Harvest’s review of Raflum:

It is therefore frustrating to witness folk artists clinging to Germanic or Nordic stereotypes when their own culture is so far removed from the glaciers, gods, and battles alluded to in such music. Similar to Greek black metal artists delivering homages to Vikings, there is just something insincere about such cultural tourism, especially when many more authentic reference points lie readily at hand.

Said perspective is the reason why Raflum‘s 2014 album, Returning Boat (original title: Guī zhào) brought me such joy. On what is supposed to be its last record, this solo project from Sichuan, China offers listeners across the globe a pathway to its home soil.  The album’s six compositions are mainly centred around the acoustic guitar, which reduces the cultural shock that might have emerged had a more traditional instrument—say, the guqin—stood in the limelight. The use of some familiar Western folk tropes (such as choral singing akin to that of Ulver‘s Kveldssanger or Lönndom‘s Viddernas tolv kapitel) further contribute towards bridging the gap with the Western listener.

Listen to the podcast at Heathen Harvest.