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act 240 · tzolk'in · tonatiuh · cd

tracklist:
01 tonatiuh
02 quetzacoatl
03 mictlantecuhtli
04 tezcatlipoca
05 tlazolteotl
06 xipe totec
07 nanahuatzin

"in aztec mythology, tonatiuh (nahuatl language: ollin tonatiuh "movement of the sun") was the sun god. the aztec people considered him the leader of tollan, heaven. he was also known as the fifth sun, because the aztecs believed that he was the sun that took over when the fourth sun was expelled from the sky. according to their cosmology, each sun was a god with its own cosmic era. according to the aztecs, they were still in tonatiuh's era. according to the aztec creation myth, the god demanded human sacrifice as tribute and without it would refuse to move through the sky. it is said that 20,000 people were sacrificed each year to tonatiuh and other gods, though this number is thought to be inflated either by the aztecs, who wanted to inspire fear in their enemies, or the spaniards, who wanted to vilify the aztecs. the aztecs were fascinated by the sun and carefully observed it, and had a solar calendar second in accuracy only to the mayans'. many of today's remaining aztec monuments have structures aligned with the sun. in the aztec calendar, tonatiuh is the lord of the thirteen days from 1 death to 13 flint. the preceding thirteen days are ruled over by chalchiuhtlicue, and the following thirteen by tlaloc."
(reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/tonatiuh)

tzolk'ins third album's concept is the aural implementation of aztec mythology's deities. besides tonatiuh as the title, the gods chosen by the flint glass / empusae collaboration are: quetzalcoatl (the god of arts, crafts and knowledge, mictlantecuhtli (god of the dead and the king of the lowest and northernmost section of the underworld), tezcatlipoca (a central deity, associated with a wide range of concepts including the night sky, hurricanes, obsidian, enmity, discord, governance, divination, temptation, sorcery, beauty, war and strife), tlazolteotl (a goddess of filth, sin, vice, and sexual misdeeds), xipe totec ('our lord the flayed one', a life-death-rebirth deity), nanahuatzin ('the sun god', represented as a man emerging from a fire, originally interpreted as an illustration of cannibalism). the idea that people were servants of the gods was a theme that ran through aztec mythology. humans had the responsibility of keeping the gods fed - otherwise, disaster could strike at any time. the food of the gods was a precious substance found in human blood. the need to satisfy the gods, especially the sun god, gave rise to a related theme: human sacrifice.

from the onset, the listener is immersed into an inner vision of beauty, atrocity. darkness, emotional soundscapes, ambient spheres and pounding rhythmic patterns. overall the effect is that of fusing meditative tribal atmospheres with dark voids. ceremonial deep tones merge with dark ambient industrial music - which is all kept together by tribalistic electronic grooves and acoustic percussion.

once again tzolk'in achieves musical, technical and spiritual success without sacrificing critical artistic engagement with apocalyptic motifs. tonatiuh is an idiosyncratic, ritualistic vision of post-industrial divination. translating the atmosphere of an ancient mythic age for the listener of today - while perfectly using today's technology.

also available:


tzolk'in. double headed snake. t-shirt. ant-zen ikon93
black shirt w/ frontprint in silver & black ink.
available sizes: s, m, l, xl and one-sized girlie-shirt

discography 09.2k10:
tzolk'in. cd. divine comedy records dc033. 2004
haab'. cd. ant-zen act210. 2008
tonatiuh. cd. ant-zen act240. 2010

tzolk'in on the internet:
www.tzolk-in.com
www.myspace.com/tzolkinmusic

reviews:

chroniques électriques
le projet tzolk'in naquit en 2004 sur le label marseillais divine comedy. unis par leur goût pour le dark-ambient, l'industriel et l'idm, le belge empusae (nicolas van meirhaeghe) et le français flint glass (gwenn trémorin) décident de tenter de retranscrire en musique leur intérêt mutuel pour les cultures mésoaméricaines et tous les fantasmes qui les entourent. le premier album éponyme et haab' (paru chez ant-zen en 2008) s'intéressaient plus particulièrement à la civilisation maya et à son mystérieux calendrier. les deux acolytes remettent le couvert ces jours-ci, toujours sur ant-zen, avec ce tonatiuh, nous immergeant cette fois-ci en plein coeur de la civilisation aztèque. le modus operandi reste le même, empusae se concentrant toujours sur la démarche de "soundscaping" tandis que flint glass s'affaire à composer les rythmiques. avec deux pareilles pointures, on a pas de mal à se laisser envelopper pleinement par le projet. les visions chimériques sont légions : temple en pleine jungle, cérémonial de solstice, sacrifice en l'honneur du dieu soleil... même si certains historiens contestent le goût de quetzacoatl pour les sacrifices humains et l'anthropophagie, on a sévèrement tendance à y croire à l'écoute des sublimes et terrifiants mictlantecuhtli et tezcatlipoca. on est presque tentés d'oublier tout ce que l'on pensait savoir à propos des musiques électroniques tribales et industrielles tant les deux compères parviennent à donner une vision terriblement réaliste à l'ensemble de l'oeuvre. l'union entre les rythmes compressés et des percussions martiales aux sonorités bien plus naturelles est plus que bluffant. on a presque envie de refaire l'histoire, imaginant hernan cortès se faire rôtir le cul par moctezuma et ses troupes tandis que le dieu quetzacoatl se fend la poire sur son radeau de serpents en pensant à comment se venger de tezcatlipoca, qui est censé l'avoir contraint à l'exil. bref, je vais tenter d'éviter de me prendre pour le eric zemmour de la civilisation aztèque en revenant à la musique... magnifique et terrifiante. malgré la puissance et la charge monolithique de l'album, le duo ne perd jamais la maîtrise du sujet. on est donc jamais laissé sur le bord de la route par quelques sursauts inégaux. leur complémentarité est aussi désarmante que le contenu, comme en atteste le merveilleux, subtilement dérangeant et onirique nanahuatzin de fin. seul bémol néanmoins, une immersion trop volontaire dans cette oeuvre peut vous amener à sacrifier de petits animaux innocents sur l'autel voué aux dieux des musiques électroniques underground. projet passionnant, ambitieux mais terriblement dangereux, tzolk'in est une oeuvre dense et mystique dans sa globalité. au delà de la démarche noble et alternative, le résultat musical est une réussite absolue dont nul ne ressortira indemne. une vraie tuerie. (ed loxapac)

alternativmusik.de
azteken-thematik kann etwas sehr faszinierendes sein, wie tzolk'in bereits auf drei alben bewiesen haben. mit tonatiuh kehrt man auch zurück zu der thematik und beschäftigt sich mit der faszination der azteken für die sonne. tonatiuh war der sonnengott der azteken, der verlangte, dass 20000 menschen jedes jahr für ihn geopfert werden. andernfalls würde er sich verweigern, weiterhin über den himmel zu wandern, sodass alles in finsternis gehüllt bleiben würde. so taten es die azteken dann auch, was dazu führte, dass sie von den spaniern als wilde bezeichnet wurden und ihre feinde furcht und schrecken lehrten, waren es häufig diese, die den blutigen ritualen zum opfer fielen. als hörer sieht man sich dabei umgeben vom knistern von wind in blättern, vögelgezwitscher, unheimlichem gerassel, flöten von eingeborenen und düsteren oder auch mal treibenden soundscapes sowie rituellem getrommel, das von derart unheimlichen ritualen zu erzählen vermag. zwischendrin gibt es noch chöre, die das gesamte klangkostüm noch intensivieren und einem wirklich das gefühl geben, man wäre im tiefen urwald und würde diesen ritualen zusehen, stets mit der gefahr, entdeckt und selber für eine der opfer-zeremonien verwendet zu werden - oder gerade auf der flucht vor denen, die einen opfern wollen zu sein, während man sich im dickicht versteckt hält. wer den film apocalypto gesehen hat wird ahnen wie bedrohlich dieses album auf den hörer wirkt. tonatiuh entpuppt sich somit als faszinierendes ritual industrial-album, das eine bedrohliche und gleichzeitig faszinierende atmosphäre aufbaut. wer mal wieder nach einem intensiven hörerlebnis sucht, sollte dem album mal sein gehör leihen und wird es auch garantiert nicht bereuen. (tristan osterfeld)

enochian apocalypse
for a bit of background information, tonatiuh was revered by the aztec society as the leader of what they called heaven, a sun god that demanded human sacrifice with a greed that along with his fellow sun god chums could only be satiated with approximately 20,000 deaths a year; no wonder they died out. what this is however is an excellently executed ambient and beat driven jaunt that's less tribal than expected with more attention played to soundscapes from the collective mind of 'empusae' and 'flint glass'. i was never a great fan of the works of the former, but deeply appreciate the latter and together they work very well indeed. the beats are warm and rich, utilising just the right amount of distortion where appropriate and the harmonics really are engaging from start to finish with rolling rhythmical pace to keep your head nodding in a hypnotic trance like state from track to track. in part heavily organic, rich in ambience and perfectly mastered, this is modern post-industrial that utilises and toys with an age-old ritualism with an almost tantric like feel but at the same time is very progressive; an almost ancient like sound brought forth into this century. (tony young)

igloo
nicolas van meirhaeghe and gwenn trémorin are the collaborative duo of tzolk'in; tonatiuh being their third proper full-length and the second for ant-zen. a logical progression from 2008's haab', tzolk'in have fast become a household name for their industrially rugged, organic and tribal infested rhythms. tonatiuh may have somehow slipped under the radar in 2010, and we're not quite sure why. could it be that an album of this magnitude would quietly retreat from media press mayhem when in fact it deserves more of an audience? let it be known that igloo magazine readers should, at the very least, have a listen to the title track (audio stream below) to capture a glimpse of what tonatiuh has to offer. you may be surprised, with qualified listening, to find that tzolk'in (meaning division of days, as coined by yukatek maya) unveils a plethora of heavily drenched electronic distortion, all of which is blended with a smorgasbord of symphonic harmony. rumbling bass falls from the edges as every piece featured on tonatiuh grows from a mere glimmer of subtle rhythmic noise to a full fledged soundtrack epic; this pattern is carefully developed with track lengths spanning from 5 to almost 9 minutes. one can't help but wonder how this duo creates such a vivid audio assault for mind and body; could it be that their alter ego's (flint glass, empusae and sal-ocin) have given them the experience and know-how to create fluid audio abstractions that surpass time and space? this just might be the case. tzolk'in's trademark tribal grove of electronic manipulation spans from arctic, burnt and rustic beauty on this 7-track opus. buried deep inside the chaos of fluctuation lies a truly remarkable release that requires attentive and full listening to appreciate its depth and range.

connexion bizarre
it's more than likely that most free-thinking people have, at some point, entered one of those new-age, crystal healing type of shops. it's also quite possible that they've been confronted, amidst all the patchouli-scented headscarves and wind chimes, with cd compilations of ancient central american civilisation-inspired meditative music, composed with the express purpose of stilling the mind and preparing the soul for the shifts in consciousness various 2012 doomsday prophecies espouse. it is, however, an absolute certainty that not a single one of these recordings are the work of tzolk'in, the antithesis of all these so-called musicians and purveyors of all things unsettling. that said, "tonatiuh", the newest album from this collaborative project between empusae and flint glass, does have one thing in common with mantra music of this sort: atmosphere. of course, the oppressive humidity of untamed jungles is hardly the same as the glittering, rainbow-spattered waterfalls and soft bird calls that the weak of purpose pursue so wholeheartedly, and it is that unbridled ferocity that lurks within the sweeping vistas painted by this pair, peppered with neo-primitive rhythms that excite the soul and unleash adrenal secretions in the listener. mood music? definitely. just not the mediocre, safe moods society would have us celebrate. this album activates a hidden aspect of the subconscious, a primitive memory-form that recalls the bloody daily struggle between man and nature - not for supremacy, but simply for survival. powerful, stirring stuff, indeed. the aztec imagery in the track listing (from "mictlantecuhtli" through to "quetzalcoatl", an entire pantheon of mesoamerican gods are present) and the album artwork, not to mention the very name tzolk'in being lifted from the very calendar that predicts the end of the world in just under two years, remains perfectly valid, however. as the press release so cheerfully points out, it is estimated that approximately 20,000 human sacrifices were performed by this enigmatic civilisation annually at its peak, and the blood fever associated with this is an undeniable presence looming behind the creeping advance of tzolk'in's music. the broad spectrum of sounds created by tzolk'in on "tonatiuh" will appeal to followers of industrial, ambient and even some psytrance; it's a wonderful illustration of tribal sensibilities, executed in a contemporary, cutting-edge electronic medium. that said, wearers of tie-dyed shirts, salon-matted dreadlocks and other alien abductees may not have the stomach for this beautifully chilling record... (david van der merwe)

santa sangre
under this moniker you can find two artists from projects appreciated in the underground scene: flint glass and empusae; gwenn trémorin and nicolas van meirhaeghe assumed the roles of musical archeologist with the mission to explore south american pre-colombian traditions. this record, released by ant-zen in 2010, is made up of 7 portraits of the most important aztec deities. tzolk'in slowly built a name in the scene by composing relaxing and epic electronic songs. the elegance and perfectibility in manipulating electronics and playing on distortion effects should be remarked from the first track tonatiuh (the sun god). the two artists excel in finding the most appropriate sound effect and rhythm in connection with the content of the track. i would imagine a severe and solemn image for quetzacoatl, a sort of mesoamerican messiah, an image that the epic electronics seemed to fail in representing. and so the skill of the composers is all the more significant as they are able to vivify through a couple of bass tones and superbly moving distortions the figure of the 'feathered serpent'. with the song dedicated to the god of mictlan (aztec underworld), the music is reminiscent of the two-record collaboration project, camanecroszcope, even if here the melody is much brighter and organic. it precedes a depiction of tezcatilpoca, on the same pattern of evanescent rhythmic electronics, nuanced by key effects and a male chorus. tlazolteotl evolves from a bizarre evocation to a tribal beat made from slow-dancing percussions. it easily evokes a lascivious aspect because of the body movement force of the music in connection to the character of this deity (goddess of sin and purification). amongst the terrible gods, from a ceremonial aspect, xipe totec is being offered a composition very similar to tribal praise-dances. it seems that the musicians intended here to put into music the peaceful side of the aztec deity (as god of agriculture), leaving perhaps the portraying of xipe totec as god of war to extreme metal bands. the record ends with the figure of nanahuatzin, which is verily a sublime legend in aztec mythology. the god would sacrifice himself in fire in order to shine forever on the sky as the sun. the music, in terms of progression, follows this moment of passing from self-sacrifice to golden resurrection, and you can hear from meditative ambient up to more and more rapidly paced trip-electronics, the whole ending in an aura of ethereal stillness. "tonatiuh" proves to be an original illustration of the most important deities from the aztec pantheon. tzolk'in's intention is not to offer some cheap and shallow meditative support, such as can be found in tourist souvenir music, nor to shock the audience by visualizing terrific aspects of this mythology, altered by old christian misinformation. the music's force of suggestion relies on an accurate and personal intuition combined with an exceptional mastery of melody.

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