Home Read Classic Album Review: Nostalgia | Arcana Publicata Vilescunt

Classic Album Review: Nostalgia | Arcana Publicata Vilescunt

The German duo's soundscapes blend traditional instruments & electronic gadgetry.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


The impressive mouthful of an album title. The angelic, stylish cover painting. Song titles like Solanium Nigrum, Resurco and Silens Maria. If you didn’t know, you might take this debut disc by Nostalgia for some sort of Gregorian chant collection or Mediæval Bæbes knockoff.

But Nostalgia are anything but nostalgic. They’re a contemporary German duo whose members — Mathias Grassow and Rüdiger Gleisberg — combine traditional instruments with electronic gadgetry to craft lushly textured soundscapes with subliminal melodies and soothing low-impact grooves. Some incorporate East Indian flourishes and other exotic touches; others rely on synth-based sequences reminiscent of a Tangerine Dream soundtrack from the ’70s. Collectively, they position Nostalgia somewhere between ambient dub, ethnotronica and intelligent New Age. Which could make Arcana Puglicata Vilescunt something of a classic album in its own right, if not necessarily a classical one.