Lux Interna- there is light in the body, there is blood in the sun

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Thursday, August 8, 2013

There is light in the body, there is blood in the sun is my first exposure to Lux Interna, and it has left me with a very positive first impression. The group has been around since 1999 and I’ve seen the neofolk tag thrown around to describe their music, but this album touches upon so many different styles that it is hard to throw into one particular category. Each track is a journey that heads in a slightly different direction while maintaining a spiritual, introspective feel, and while it took me a couple of listens to completely wrap my head around I felt the effort was well worth it as each time seemed to bring new elements into focus.

While the instrumentals pull from many different influences, there is a consistently darker feel to the arrangements. But despite the drearier tone and darker vibes, this isn’t a record that gives off a completely hopeless feel either. Lux Interna uses these darker textures to create melodies that gave off more of a spiritual feel, recalling old spirits and traditions while still maintaining some hope and deep reflection. It’s an interesting approach, and the instrumentals seem to be channeling just about every element of the historical American songbook to do so. Rather than falling squarely into neofolk, there is light in the body, there is blood in the sun seems to be pulling more from traditional folk and older country, with some droning ritualistic layers and other influences added in to provide depth. Each piece feels different from the last, and what really made this disc stand out in my mind was the way I was able to really hone in on individual elements with each listen. The first time through my focus was on the guitar and other string instruments, as I was sucked in to the waves of sound that washed over me. But the next time around I was more focused on the percussion which seemed to be constantly changing and providing much more to the material than I had first noticed. Each listen brought different elements out, and even after a full day of listening to this album I’ve still been finding new things to appreciate. Some of the tracks do have repetitive structures, but there was something about the way the instrumentals were able to wash over me that prevented the material from feeling like it had stretched on for too long.

Lux Interna’s creators Joshua Levi Ian and Kathryn Mary both contribute vocals, and the pitches complement each other perfectly. Ian’s voice is lower pitched and has a gravelly feel to it, and there were moments where his performance reminded me of David Eugene Edwards from Wovenhand (which is interesting, as Wovenhand member Jeff Linsenmaier also contributed to this release). Mary’s vocals head in the opposite direction, heading towards much lighter ranges that have an ethereal feel and drift in and out of the layers of sound. The vocals enhance the ritualistic feel of the instrumentals, sometimes coming through as ghostly chants. It’s a style that’s truly enticing, and compared to some of the other acts that have neofolk origins I was impressed by how dynamic the vocal arrangements were as a number of the groups that play the style have a tendency to stick with the same pitch for an entire album.

This is a truly stunning effort, and it manages to touch upon a wide range of styles while maintaining a cohesive feel. Lux Interna has gone in a very dark, ritualistic direction yet there are also reflective, tranquil moments present on there is light in the body, there is blood in the sun. It’s the type of album I’ve enjoyed putting on and losing myself in, exploring its textures and seeking out different nuances each time. Give this one the time it deserves and you will be rewarded for it, and if this is the path the band will continue to go down I look forward to seeing where they end up.

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