They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But what if it concerns a CD, are you allowed to do it then? A quite valid question when it comes to Munin, Oliver Satyr‘s first solo album, as its cover is actually a whole book. 60 pages of memories to be precise. Each memory connected to to the eleven songs Oliver selected for this album. Each memory illustrated with period pictures and some beautiful illustrations, making this album something really personal.
But is is not only personal for Oliver Satyr. I have my own memories attached to some of the songs as well. One of the first pagan folk albums I bought was the EP Songs From Home by Folk Noir, a project Oliver formed in 2012 together with his then-partner Kati Rán. It is still one of my all time favourite folk albums.
Oliver and Kati share the same type of silky soft voice. Nourishing; caressing; poetic; warm. That fate brought those two voices together is a gift from the Norns I’m still grateful for. I am so glad one of the songs Kati and Oliver recorded together, The Road, has found its way on Munin. As did the Paris Paloma version of You Should Have Seen Me There. In my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful folk songs ever recorded. Soft, poetic and tender in every word sung, every guitar note played, it caresses my ears and calms my mind every single time I hear it. Especially the marimba rhythm flowing through the whole song, soothing me into a trance, only enhanced by Paris and Oliver’s whispered singing, their voices blending together just as well as Kati and Oliver’s did.
The Ragged Wood and She Moves Through The Fair are the two other songs from that precious Folk Noir EP that found its way onto Munin. And I’m glad they did. They showcase Oliver Satyr as the poetic minstrel he is.
In 2020 Oliver made another album born out of love, this time with his current partner Gina Wetzel.
It, too, was a combination of a book and an album. The album, called Feengold, was a limited edition hardcover fairy tale book beautifully illustrated by Gina, containing an audio CD with songs, spoken fairy tales and poems, all spoken by Oliver himself. A true collector’s item.
Four songs of Feengold were selected for Munin: Der Wettersee, Mit Uti Gröna Lunden, Knivens Polska and Näktergal. The first two songs are in the same style as Folk Noir. Oliver has that magical ability to create poetry, not only with his voice but also with the music he plays. His arrangements are both subtle and calming, but also rich, warm and full, forming a blanket of sound that give his beautiful voice all the room it needs. The subtle samples and rhythms he puts under it give it a sort of acoustic ambient folk feel. It’s a sound I find truly mesmerizing. I cannot help but sink deeper and deeper into the songs until I become one with them. That’s the magic of Oliver Satyr’s music.
Besides neofolk, Oliver also has a second love: Swedish folk. A love he explored to the fullest on long nights playing with Boris Koller, a nyckelharpa player and painter from Austria with whom he formed Kaunan.
Of course we can also find this love back on Munin. Knivens Polska, Näktergal and Polska Efter Lorn Anders are three short instrumental melodies that take us deep into the dark snow-rich Swedish forests where we can find our lone musicians around a winter’s campfire, playing to keep warm. Playing with a feeling of longing and intent that make me wonder if they aren’t half satyr, half troll themselves, forest creatures on their way to who knows where. Maybe the forest on the cover of the album? We will never know.
All in all Munin is just what Oliver promised it would be: a journey through his memories, written in music. But it also showcases the unique talents of one young musician who watched other bards play, sitting around the campfires of the German medieval markets many, many years ago. Well, he became just that. A minstrel, a poet, a fairy tale teller and an artist who embodies all that is beautiful about neofolk.
Munin is only availabe in the Faun webshop or at a Faun concert. Make sure you visit them this season to get hold of this beautiful album – it is well worth it.
Oliver Satyr can be found here: