‘Fragmente II’ by Sagittarius [No label]

Available from www.myspace.com/marblecliff

Reviewed by Troy Southgate

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DON’T spend too long trying to track down this ultra-rare gem. Released as a CD-R, it’s limited to just 50 copies and is both signed and hand-numbered. The affable chap behind this recording, Cornelius Waldner, handed me a copy when I met him in London for his guest appearance with the Italian group Rose Rovine e Amanti. Previously, Cornelius had played flute on HERR’s ‘Vondel’s Lucifer’ album and released ‘Im Zeichen der Sonne’ (1999) and ‘Die Grosse Marina’ (2006); the last of which is based on the Ernst Junger novel, ‘On The Marble Cliffs’. Sagittarius have also worked on a soundtrack for the film ‘Gelegenheit Leben’ and a future project, ‘Songs from the Ivory Tower’ is due to appear on Cold Spring. ‘Fragmente II’, on the other hand, was recorded in Germany during a brace of recording sessions and contains six new and semi-new tracks. ‘Erio (Version 2006)’ has been re-recorded after a previous outing on ‘Die Grosse Marina’ and is a fantastic rendition of the tune made notorious by Current 93 on ‘In the Heart of the Wood and What I Found There’, albeit without David Tibet’s lyrics. Piano and flute are combined beautifully in a sweet and haunting melody. ‘Sternwandel (Instrumentale Fassung)’ is a lively rendition of C93’s ‘Soft Black Stars’, but the more complex keyboards and addition of the flute is truly astounding. ‘Menuet aus den “Sechs Musicalischen Partien” (fur H.E.R.R.)’ is, as the title suggests, dedicated to my own group, and is a Johann Krieger piece from 1697. Again, the music is a combination of flute and piano and offers a distinctly Baroque atmosphere that is both gentle and lilting. ‘Nova Apocalypsis’ is another piece that could have come straight from the ‘Soft Black Stars’ album, but this time the frivolous piano is joined by a more menacing undercurrent as provided by the accompanying low notes. This is a really superb piece of music and reminds me somewhat of the Swiss neo-classical project, Ozymandias. The song ‘Little Black Angel’ should be more than familiar to fans of Death In June and its inclusion here almost heals the bitter rift between DIJ and Current 93. Well, perhaps temporarily. This time, Cornelius and Dea perform a great vocal duet above the busy, strumming guitar of Alexander M with the fretless bass of Stefan Leopold bringing up the rear. Finally, ‘Nihil Arisen’ returns to the softer melodies of previous tracks, but the sound becomes fuller with the eventual inclusion of Philipp Jonas on guitar and Imke F’s gothic harmonies. To conclude, then, there is a real cohesiveness about Sagittarius’ music and this special release really whets the appetite and leaves you hungry for more.