REVIEW BY GREENMAN MUSIC
Review by Dave Franklin
Having seen Ash Mandrake play as a solo act a couple of times, I was already familiar with his strange blend of story-telling meets dark age musical experimentations, but even forewarned, I still wasn’t fully prepared for what this album was all about. To start with it’s difficult to know the context of the album, is it a soundtrack, a musical play, a Cecil Sharp House type collection of the ancient roots of music – it hops easily into any of those beds but doesn’t rest peacefully in any. Actually not knowing what it is makes it all the more intriguing.
There are no straight-forward song forms on here, the idea of verses and chorus type structures have been exchanged for spoken word narratives and long stripped down musical work outs, often made up of the most basic percussion, minimal guitars or banks of choral sounds. The overall affect is an odyssey through the ancient traditions and birth places of the music of this planet, the expected Celtic and Germanic threads running alongside rhythmic tribal explorations from Africa and India and evocative banks of vocals that link the earliest religious music of western Europe with campfire chants and the dramatic renditions of the Icelandic saga.
Imagine if kraut-pop sampler and musical magpie, Enigma was not the product of the late 20th century but instead a refugee from the pre-industrial times set on recording the origins of this planets music in the ultimate cross genre, geographically lucid, sound document. If that is a concept that intrigues you, then Footprints from a Tribal Id is exactly what you need.