NEBELHEXË (meaning fog-witch) is the solo-project of Andrea Haugen. Her name should ring a bell for anyone with a more in-depth knowledge about the modern Folk music and especially fans of HAGALAZ’ RUNEDANCE, whom by the way should already be flocking to the nearest record store to get this release. As for why NEBELHEXË was created Andrea tells that after seven years with RUNEDANCE she felt the urge to move on and explore different possibilities of creating music. “NEBELHEXË can be seen as an expression of her inside, her true self without any limitations to a specific genre.” And it’s pretty evident that she indeed hasn’t stayed in one genre for the music ventures in and around Folk, Ambient, Electronic and even Goth (the classic 80’s Goth music, not the modern style Gothic music) for good measure.
“Laguz – Within The Lake” starts off with the brilliant “Totems”, which retains a lot of the HAGALAZ’ RUNEDANCE sound and should make fans of the band jump in joy. The second song “Laguz” combines traditional Folk instruments and singing with Ambient background to great results and there’s an almost Metal-like guitar in the background. “Celtic Crows” really took me by surprise. Here Andrea’s more Goth-style vocal delivery is accompanied by what sounds like a heavy ocean of Industrial drums (think of something like NINE INCH NAILS) along with Folk and a few Symphonic elements. Trust me, you really have to hear it for yourself to believe how oddly enchanting it is. After that the songs continue more Goth styled but remain just as brilliant. “Reverse” in particular sounds like the perfect combination of Folk, Ambient and Goth. “Bird Song” was originally performed by Lene Lovich but Andrea’s version is nothing less than breathtakingly beautiful. Andrea stays true to the Goth atmosphere but adds her own touch. “Raven Night – Nightflight Mix” is, as the title indicates, a remix of “Raven Night” which can be found on HAGALAZ’ RUNEDANCE’s 2002 release “Frigga’s Web”. The song is another fine amalgamation of Ambient/Folk. As a small tidbit it’s interesting to hear some bagpipes in there (giving off a similar sound as the German CORVUX CORAX). “Touch Of Morpheus” ends the album in style although the preceding “Sleeping Beauty” would’ve made a better ending track with its calm, dreamlike drift.
The booklet compliments the music and is filled with photos of Andrea as well as Andrea’s paintings and a few drawings (made by Erik Roraas and Valerie Black). Although some of the pictures doesn’t seem that good the rest certainly are great. My personal favourite is the painting of three crows on the snow (yes, the lyrics for “Celtic Crows” is on the same page).
With “Laguz – Within The Lake” NEBELHEXË has not only created a worthy successor to her works with HAGALAZ’ RUNEDANCE but taken a step forward musically. Andrea has managed to incorporate 80’s Goth of the likes of DEAD CAN DANCE with the Ambient/Industrial sound of NINE INCH NAILS while still retaining a lot of the RUNEDANCE sound in her music. Even though there’s a lot of electronics involved NEBELHEXË still sounds natural, modern and traditional elements dance hand in hand as if it was always meant to be like this. “Laguz” is a bold and shining statement that musicians should always try to move forward, evolve and most of all try to find their musical borders. After all, there’s nothing wrong in experimenting. I’m pretty positive the mixed music of NEBELHEXË isn’t for everyone’s liking but fans of said bands shouldn’t miss this one and every open-minded music fan should check this one out (especially if you have even a passing interest in Folk or 80’s Goth). I for going to give this one another spin and anticipate what she can come up with on her next album… (Online September 8, 2004)