rReview by Travis Baumann
Having just found out about Estampie a short time before leaving, I only had a chance to familiarize myself with the newest album, "Ondas" and "ludus danielis" discs available. I was immediately in love with Sigrid Hausen's voice, having been familiar with her works in QNTL. I was instantly a fan of this project as well, and it was only after getting the CD that I figured out Michael Popp from Deine Lakaien was the master-mind behind this project.
Estampie utilizes Medieval style instruments and song structures, but in a way that even I (a die-hard industrial goth) can fully appreciate and love. Estampie was playing a special venue known as the Krypta. The Krypta is a crypt inside the large War Memorial Monument (Volkerschlacht Denkmal) that punctuates Leipzig's skyline. There are two levels, an upstairs "balcony" which has a large circular opening that looks down into the center of the Krypta or the bottom floor itself.
We arrived early as Rig from Janus suggested since the place is very small and can only fit a a couple hundred people at most. We went into the bottom floor area hoping to get the best view. There were columns that surrounded the circular main floor which is where Estampie was setting up. Each of the columns was in fact a large sculpture of medieval warriors, their arms crossed in protective stance of their fallen commrads that were lain in the crypt itself. Giant statues filled the four corners rising up above the balcony all the way to the ceiling hundreds of feet above our heads. Stained glass filled every window with ancient art and beauty.
In the center of the ominous but beautiful setting Estampie played their medieval instruments. Michael Popp sat with his various instruments hung behind him on a small wrack including predominantly various stringed instruments. Sigrid had her flutes and of course her unbelievable, angelic voice. In addition they had a female percussionist that had an assortment of drums that she could pick up and beat on as called for. A trombone/horn player who also sang backup vocals and an instrument that I was not familiar with which had strings and a hand crank type handle that the other gentleman would turn as he played (he also lent his voice).
In short, they were simply unbelievable. With these simple instruments from days of yesteryear and with just a simple PA (the only electronics present) they recreated their newest album in its entirety in such a way that I was speechless during and after each song.
One of the set highlights included a track where the only music was everyone clapping at different beats creating amazingly intricate poly-rhythms that I found astounding! How can such awesome sounds and rhythms be created with only the palms of their hands? It showed me that all the tech gear in the world matters not-combine ingenuity with any sound and couple it with Sigrid's voice and you have aural bliss.
A second piece worth mentioning was a song where no instruments were used at all and the three men and Sigrid sang acappella and it was pure beauty, again I was in awe - nearly a tear to my eye with this delicate but powerful piece.
Alternating between her unbelievable voice and her exceptional flute playing Sigrid was so impressive, she really is a super-talented individual and could be playing world reknowned venues all over the globe. Combine her talents with amazing minds and talents of Michael Popp and the rest of his company and you have a truly stunning creative force.
With each song they did, I was in awe and the set ended way too soon. Every song was met with roars of applause as the entire audience was as captivated by their magic as I was. When that last song came up the audience had not had enough and they cheered, clapped, and whistled until an encore came. The encore song instantly quieted everyone as it began and we were all entranced again as they did another one of my favorites from Ondas.
After the encore finished the crowd was still not sated and we cried for just one more track before we left the confines of the stone crypt. Michael and company complied and we were treated with yet another wonderous song.
When they had finished their final number we were left quiet and in awe but happily fulfilled. The Krypta lacked restrooms, beverages or any of the luxuries of modern venues so we filed out into the rain to contemplate the amazing thing we had witnessed and re-emerged into the modern world.
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