Douglas P's Death In June has had a long old stretch of a career, from early flirtations with post-punk, industrial and ambient flavoured folk music on releases such as Burial
alongside contemporaries Current 93 and Sol Invictus (frontman Tony Wakeford was an early member of Death in June) he was one of the driving figures in helping carve out what would become the modern neofolk scene.
In the late 80's Death In June's songwriting started to gel into its modern incarnation with the seminal Brown Book
, and lasting up from a period until about the mid 90's the group would release a string of great albums with some hit or miss experimentation such as The Wall of Sacrifice
, But, What Ends When the Symbols Shatter?
(with French industrial group Les Joyaux De La Princesse) and Rose Clouds of Holocaust
. Death In June didn't hit their true stride however until a strange little LP titled Occidental Martyr
was released in 1995, featuring actor Max Wearing reciting Death In June lyrics whilst the sound of haunting ambient folk the group would expand upon on their next release shines with true potential.
Death In June Presents: KAPO!
is the perfection of that sound, and alongside the Scorpion Wind
LP with Boyd Rice recorded around the same time showcases some of the finest arrangements Death In June would offer in their entire career. This is pure atmospheric folk music, dabbling in the neo-classical and from start to finish is sonically flawless. The strings and keys used throughout are nothing short of haunting, acoustic guitars providing a wonderful rhythmic flavour to this luscious backdrop as KAPO!
's gorgeous percussive elements ring out amongst ambient noises. Douglas P's voice is restrained and low key as always, tracks such as Wolf Wind
and Lullaby to A Ghetto
showcasing some moody lyrics set to his deep, British voice which may be an acquired taste but fits the morose nature of the music well.
Whilst each track is similar and has a uniform timbral feel which makes picking apart individual moments pointless, KAPO!
never gets boring and there is enough variation within its distinct patterns to keep the listener entertained for its entire duration. The quality of arrangements and its production are some of the best neofolk has to offer, and Death In June Presents: KAPO!
may very well be the finest hour Death In June will ever enjoy.