It's absolutely without a doubt that Russia provides some of the greatest folk soundscapes, it has been proven time and time again with the likes of Beer Bear, Arkona, and many others. Those bands manage to harness the power of nature and center it around their modern day instruments, but Nubiferous are of a slightly different breed. They take the grandness of the elements and place them into an audio form, free of any electric instruments or modern drums and instead utilize the organic environment to create their rhythms and harmonies.
Little is known about Nubiferous, or at least not much that I could find. I'll fully admit that I am not the most fluent in drone or ambient music, and thus my knowledge and naivety on where to find such information is weak at best. To be brutally honest, I'm not even sure how to review a piece such as Mana, or how to classify it in a number range of 0-10 in terms of "is it good as far as ambient folk drone is concerned?" In truth, I don't know. So this will be one of those extremely rare reviews where I'm going to use the words "I", and "me". I am a noob to this genre, so forgive me and have a laugh at my inexperience.
I'm assuming that ambient folk drone is supposed to make you feel close to nature, and if that's the case Mana surely makes me feel at one with the earth. If I close my eyes, I can envision myself wandering through the thickly wooded Russian mountainsides, following trails littered with freshly fallen pine needles and venturing to areas that are surrounded by free running streams and small wildlife. It makes me want to set out on an adventure into the wilderness and escape this suburban habitat that I so crudely call home. I can almost feel the fresh air cleansing my lungs, spirit and mind as the scent of cedar envelopes my sense of smell. The album is almost a vacation for the mind, and is a perfect escape after a long, stressful day.
The album is filled with anything and everything that would make one believe that they were actually in nature, were their eyes closed and their mind opened; chirping birds, rushing creeks, gentle streams, light buzzing, winds and wind chimes are just the beginning of the audible experience at hand. The material also has a wide variety of medieval instruments, most of which I can't even begin to name. That little thing you put in your mouth and push the thing on it to make a twang sound? That's in here, along with rain sticks, sticks hitting sticks and stones, all kinds of flutes, horns and pipes, a bell (maybe even a triangle), and many other instruments that make hollow, tranquil drone sounds.
"Valun" is the longest song, clocking in at 18 and a half minutes, and is by far the most drone inspired of the lot. The largest portion of this track is made up of a droning sound that quickly goes back and forth between the left and right speaker, all the while a light scraping is present in the background. This is also the darkest and most doom oriented piece of material, which takes away the carefree thoughts and feelings of the earlier tracks. Just as madness begins to settle in, a dissonant stringed instrument picks notes at an infrequent rhythm and breaks up the monotony.
Needless to say, I enjoyed Mana a lot. Typically, settings and sounds that are solely focused on nature and the like are not my forte, but this album may have just changed that for me. The way that the material started off relaxed and innocent, then took an unforeseen grim, mildly chaotic twist at the end is a shock to the senses. Despite the lack of lyrical matter or modern instruments, the content manages to hold the attention of the audience. It's almost like listening to an entire day in just one hour; dawn, noon and twilight are all portrayed in an audible way that paints vivid scenery in the eye of the mind. Even though, blatantly, I suck at identifying folk instruments and I have very little knowledge of the genres at hand, I may seek more simply because of Nubiferous. So let your mind go for an hour, and just drift in the sweet sublime of Mana. http://www.volumesofsin.net/2015/02/review-nubiferous-mana.html