Sean Kratz and his collaborator, who goes by Kakophonix and contributes the duo’s cello work, have crafted a marvelously immersive sonic experience on Osi and the Jupiter’s new album Nordlige Rúnaskog, which releases in full on November 29 via the Germany-based Eisenwald label. Osi and the Jupiter is based in Ohio, where Kratz and Kakophonix have cultivated a primally resonant connection to underappreciated nature. Their music has been described as pagan folk, and that gets at its breadth — the mostly wordless compositions on their new album include carefully grown but energy-filled folk music with a deeply set strain of atmosphere that whisks listeners away into the project’s apparent vision of a great, ominous forest. The music’s energetic components don’t just hang flippantly; they’re embedded into a grippingly foreboding sonic atmosphere.
“Nordlige Rúnaskog is a spiritual journey and connection to nature. My music is definitely my spiritual journey, with hopes of it inspiring others’ journey,” Kratz explains. “The album is also about how life comes in cycles with death and rebirth — the cosmic lifetime journey of one’s pathway and being in connection with one’s deities through nature. They whisper in the trees; they howl through the mountains; they give insight on your journey if treated with respect.”
Kratz’s sincerity shines through his music. Beyond the confines of familiarity in music or otherwise, underappreciated and too often untapped forces lurk, like the crushing, both life-giving and life-taking forces of nature at large. “Since I was a child I spent a lot of time in forests and neighboring woods,” Kratz explains. “I’ve always felt some sort of connection spiritually. Also, I always read different mythology growing up, mainly Celtic, Roman. and Icelandic/Norse. I’ve been getting into reading some Slavic mythology recently.”
Nordlige Rúnaskog taps into these ideas of existential forces, and the sheer passion inherent in the performances ensures that the music extends well beyond the mere surface level.
“Kakophonix and I mesh very well together, with his cello work and my ritualistic soundscapes. This album is just an even more mature Uthuling Hyl in my sense, as it has similar feelings,” Kratz explains, referring to Osi and the Jupiter’s 2017 full-length album.
Osi and the Jupiter’s new album brings these lofty forces of life and death that ultimately, we can not escape, down into a more personal context, even via the name of the project itself.
“This project out of all the others I am a part of is the most meaningful and spiritual to me,” Kratz explains. “I named it after both of my German shepherds, Osiris and Jupiter, so they live on in my music forever — that’s how much my family means to me. I could have named it something ritualistic or more mythic sounding, but that’s not what I wanted for this, being that special to me. This project is the embodiment of my spiritual journey.”
The energy of that journey is available for others as well. Kratz notes that he hopes his music proves “inspiring to go out and get more connected with nature, go hike more, do more activities — not glued to technology,” and he adds that he hopes the album will “inspire others’ art as well, like different things inspire my art.”
It’s no understatement to call the music a powerful journey — Kratz and Kakophonix build their soundscapes with ever-growing, rumbling intensity, and the result flourishes.
Check some of the music out below. You don’t want to miss this journey.