What does Lily Jung sound like?
Mystical and spiritual vocal performances over rustic drums and ancient instruments.
The review of Lily Jung – Les 5 Mondes
The 5 Worlds, as its English title would be called, for Lily Jung are Earth, Feminine, Masculine, Heart and Heaven. For her latest album, Lily Jung takes her expressive and emotionally charged voice and channels it front and centre into meditative and guttural art. Sometimes soft, sometimes rallying but always full of passion, this is a tricky album to pin down.
Across the five tracks that embody the five worlds Lily explores, we journey together through tracks between 8 – 11 minutes long powered by voice. We kick off with Earth, which is full of beautiful percussive pots and drums from different regions of the world. Lily keeps her voice restrained, almost like she’s humming as she moves between different calls and chants. It is rhythmic like a serpent’s dance. In a similar vein ‘Le chant du Masculin’ adds in tuned percussion and layers up Lily Jung’s voice like an entire tribe. There are calls and responses, overarching choir chords, yips and whispers. At no point does this feel like an ambient piece at all – it is more like a village trance. The third big dance piece is ‘Le chant du Coeur’ which straddles Dead Can Dance’s ‘Aion’ album and a romantic version of a Bulgarian choir. The track overflows love and joy through the voice and beat but has an edge to it.
The remaining two tracks showcase Lily Jung’s softer side. ‘Le chant du Feminin’ is a light and playful vocal piece that evokes a French female Barbershop quartet. There is a vocal bassline ‘duuuh-d-duuuh-duh’ filling the low end but the rest of the layers are cute cooing over French lyrics. It is the most mainstream track on that album but that’s not saying much. This album is like a pagan ritual – avant-garde style. The closing track ‘Le chant du Ciel’ is suitably heavenly. Opening to bells and closing to ambient cloud shrouds, there is a zen singing bowl hum running underneath the vocals through its nearly 11-minute length. Lily keeps the layering down to a minimum here and instead often leaves one vocal line naked and bare. It is a delicate piece to close out the album with peaceful reflection.
Going back to my opening paragraph, pinning this album down is a bit tricky. The vocal and frame drum constants make me feel that pagan folk and medicine music fans will love this album. As its rhythmic and repetitive layers unfold, I’d also think the ambient and drone world might enjoy what Lily Jung has to offer. Tonally there is a raw edge here hidden in Lily’s voice that I adore. She can flit from angelic to a wild and unfiltered warble with ease and she often pairs the two sides together. It’s what makes Lily Jung’s sound unique but it may mean neither the tranquil world music lovers nor the dark folk warriors get quite what they need. Fascinating to listen to, I would ask fans of all these genres to give Lily Jung a whirl. It may scratch an itch you never knew you had…
Recommended track: Le chant du Couer
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