Sunwar the Dead (2004)
Founded in 1993 by composers and multi-instrumentalists Iskandar Hasnawi (France) and Renaud Tschirner (Austria), ELEND was joined by new members in the course of its existence: the sopranos Eve-Gabrielle Siskind (1994-1995), Nathalie Barbary (1995-present) and Esteri Rémond (2003-present); keyboard player, programmer and engineer Sébastien Roland (1997-present) and violinist David Kempf (2000-present).
The completion of the "Officium Tenebrarum" (or "Office des Ténèbres", 1993-1998), ELEND's highly acclaimed, very dark and violent trilogy, was followed by a hiatus of several years, where the composers turned to other, non-public musical projects. 2003 saw ELEND's resurgence with Winds Devouring Men, an album that saw them take a quieter turn, with soft and delicate string orchestrations combined with exotic tones and harsh metallic textures and sounds inspired by French musique concrète.
Their new album Sunwar the Dead is the second part of the 5-album cycle started with Winds Devouring Men. Lyrically, it continues the long epic prose poem begun on the first part of the cycle, combining personal themes with references to ancient Greek authors.
Whereas Winds Devouring Men was a slow, relatively calm and intimist album, Sunwar the Dead is a furious, dark and fast effort where the two composers combine their talent for large and dense orchestration with the most extreme experiments of XXth century serious music, thus drawing inspiration on techniques invented by Krzysztof Penderecki (sonorism), Karlheinz Stockhausen and Iannis Xenakis (serious electronic music), Pierre Henry (musique concrète), Peter Eötvös (impressionism and percussive tones work).
Sunwar the Dead sees the core trio recording with a complete classical ensemble and female choir of 50 musicians for the first time, taking the much admired production of Winds Devouring Men to a further accomplishment and bringing the sound of the ensemble to a new dimension in terms of liveliness, clarity, complexity and power.