Exploring the collision of old and new is nothing unusual for Johnny Hollow, whose work has always been a heavenly explosion of traditional instrumentation with darkwave electronics. Music and art working together have been their standard and they never cease to combine them effortlessly. Their latest EP, The Old Gods of New Berlin, once again mixes the music of Johnny Hollow with the art of My Pet Skeleton to create something entirely unique and stunning to behold.
Based on folklore from various cultures around the world, each tale on this 5 song EP was created simultaneously with the art. When presented together they tell visual and sonic tales of that which we love to fear. The spooks and specters of the past are woven together with modern day perspectives and problems creating a tapestry that, in the end, tells the stories of the deepest parts of the ancient humanity within us all.
This concept EP was first presented at an exhibition in Kitcheners (Berlin), Ontario, a place rich in traditions from all over the world that mixes with the modern technological advances of today. Understanding this, it is easy to see how Janine White and Vincent Marcone (the masterminds behind Johnny Hollow) were inspired to create this project and to present the music and art together to tell the stories of the people that surround them. Each piece at the exhibition was displayed with the folk tale as well as the modern-day them and a listening station, showcasing each piece as it was meant to be seen…and heard.
The first single, entitled The Wild Hunt, invokes visions of Krampus running wild in the hills while also touching on modern-day apocalyptic fears. Tribal drums and haunting strings mix together with deep electronic sounds to create a primal atmosphere in the midst of modern streets and the effect is beautifully chilling, like a glimpse of something ancient and dark in the shadows of the streetlight on your walk home.
Other tales include that of the Jinn, the shape-shifters of the Arabs, showing us that truth isn’t always what we see, but rather our perspective. Or the Goblins of Europe, destined to repeat the same tormented behaviors over and over similar to an addiction. My personal favorite comes in the form of some female empowerment set to a waltz in Nothing Can Stop Ileana, the tale of a Romanian princess who took care of things on her own terms.
The Old Gods of New Berlin is legend, brought to life through music that moves and art that inspires. It is available now for digital download.