Helium Vola
Helium Vola


Ernst Horn is for me one of the most talented local musicians. What really sets him apart is the unbelievable stark diversity of his various projects and work.

On the occasion of the release of the Maxi-CD Omnis Mundi Creatura this summer, we already introduced you to the man and his project – after Deine Lakaien and Qntal – named HELIUM VOLA. And we referred to his solo works The Skies Over Baghdad and Johnny Bumm’s Wake, which I highly recommend once again. Ernst Horn can look back on a very long musical career, or rather he could – if he just took the time…

He had his first public appearances as a pianist at the tender age of ten, and he also won a piano competition as a very young man in the framework of “Jugend Musiziert”. He completed his studies in percussion, piano, and conducting, which took him to the conservatories in Munich, Hamburg and Freiburg, with a diploma. And incidentally, he always played in various rock bands, experimental ensembles and orchestras, often as a pianist, but also gladly as a drummer.

He became – a decent job is a must – a conductor for opera at the public theaters in Oldenburg and in Karlsruhe, produced with Alexander Veljanov a number of Deine Lakaien albums, pushed the project Qntal specialized the fusion of sounds, worked own productions just by himself (see above), and he worked as a theater composer and pianist, among others at the Bavarian State Theatre Munich. He also wrote for radio, creating a series of very interesting productions on Johann Gottfried Seume and Velimir Chelbnikov initializing also cooperation with people such as Holger Czukay.

With the above-mentioned single Omnis Mundi Creatura, HELIUM VOLA introduced themselves to the press and to the fans right away with sustainability. And after listening attentively to the upcoming release, one can only say that the expectations are even exceeded. We get confronted with a multi-layered album, which - in contrast to some other medieval productions at the time - takes the subject very thoughtfully putting it in context with classical patterns, but also with modern electronics. The band around Ernst Horn and Sabine Lutzenberger (Ensamble for early music, Augsburg; Huelgas Ensamble, Belgium; Mala Punica, Italy) picks up on topical issues here as well and sets them up in strong contrast world but also with balance against the mediaeval world. With this, HELIUM VOLA never turns to be esoteric-uptight or even pleasing-superficial.

The results are always amazingly danceable, but then we hear also oppressive experimental-futuristic sound spectacles, quiet ballads, sinister incantations, captivating minnesongs and more. The essence of the lyrics is based on Middle High German, French and Latin, and the conceptual “framework” is a poem by Michel Houllebecq (freely translated as: “The inhabitants of the sun cast an indifferent look on us / We definitely belong on the earth) / And there we rot, my unfulfillable love / Never will our crushed bodies become light “), as well as two short collages on the Kursk tragedy: At the beginning, samples from the memorial service for the relatives of the victims, along with President Putin from the Crimean holiday (“We have everything under control!”), and later the mother of a victim Military accused of abusing the youth as cannon fodder. This passage serves as a transition to the May song Selig, which aims at the youth and the joie de vivre…

Ernst Horn manages to plasticize the Middle Ages to his singers and musicians (including harp, hurdy-gurdy, fiddle, shawm … and turntables), to short-circuit it to the present, and to create a strange kind of ongoing relevance reaching far beyond our usual horizons.

Art? Yes.

But a truly exciting story!

Wk - Notes 11/12 2001

(English translation by Carola Meyer)