Helium Vola “In lichter Farbe steht der Wald”
Feature in Zillo Music Magazine 2004

Automatic translation: www.deepl.com/translate

Between danceability and contemplation

Ernst Horn as a personality is modesty in person. He has made the wave-pop formation Deine Lakaien, which has existed for almost twenty years, one of the most important acts of the genre and an impressive chart theme. But just how multi-layered his musical genius is, he has impressively documented not only with his experimental, politically influenced solo albums, but above all with the real crossover projects Qntal and Helium Vola. That the Middle Ages can be a wonderful dancefloor theme is proven once again by the current Helium-Vola single “In lichter Farbe steht der Wald” (The forest stands in light colour).

After his earlier project Qntal, founded in 1991, had already produced two successful club hits with “Ad mortem festinamus” and the “Palästinalied” before Ernst separated from Michael Popp and Sigrid Hausen after the second Qntal album, the similar smybiose of medieval lyrics/vocals and modern electronics was initially successful on the dark dancefloors of Helium Vola.

The debut single “Omnis Mundi Creatura”, released in June 2001, stormed the alternative charts and laid the foundation for the debut album that followed in October. Veni Veni”, the advance single for the current second album “Liod”, also became a respectable club hit. With the release of the optimistic final song of “Liod”, “In lichter Farbe steht der Wald”, as a single one might almost assume that Helium Vola wants to establish medieval sounds on the dance floors.

“It’s true that at the beginning of’Omnis Mundi Creatura’ I had the idea of whether or not I was going down with the project,” laughs Ernst. “Meanwhile I have noticed that there are also requests for Helium Vola from abroad, also from South America, which surprised me a bit, but I have noticed that it is the clubs. What we can’t do about the trade and the radiopromo like the big bands, we can do about the clubs. So it can’t hurt to have a club hit.”

It would be wrong anyway to reduce Helium Vola to a medieval electro-dance act because of the single. With Sabine Lutzenberger, a renowned singer of medieval music, Ernst Horn indulges more in his passion for medieval texts, which he wraps up in modern electronic garb, but not always in danceable ones. Contemplative compositions have always made up the majority of the songs on the two Helium-Vola albums.

“Basically, the melancholy, slow things are easier for me. That’s just more my style. Especially with Helium Vola it is not so difficult to do dancefloor-suitable things. From the stylistic point of view, it’s a little obvious to do rhythmic things with the polyphonic things, although I have to be careful not to fall too much into a cliché, especially with the chorus”.

The conceptual framework given by Michel Houllebecq’s poem “Helium Vola” and the medieval woman’s view of themes such as love and death in “Liod” is missing in the current 6-track single, on which the title track is available in a dance version suitable for clubs and in a song version with rhythm. He offered room for four new tracks, including the unusual cover version of “Hold On”, a piece originally sung by Sharon Tandy in 1967 and quite rocking.

“It was already clear to me that I wanted to add as much guitar noise as possible to this piece. I’ve always liked guitar music, especially noise bands. I’m a very old admirer of My Bloody Valentine,” says Ernst, who gave the early Qntal piece “Por mau tens” a similar touch.

“We don’t necessarily see ourselves as a medieval band. We use medieval texts and interpret texts, but this also means that we can take modern poems or English texts or even go musically in a different direction at any time. This is a relatively open matter. “We have nothing to do with historical medieval music.”

Dirk Hoffmann