Review

The Habitat Ensemble

The Habitat Ensemble

Music From Memory • 2023

The Habitat Ensemble is an intercultural music project founded in the summer of 2022 under the direction of musician and artist Marius Houschyar. It brings together the members of the Leštnice collective, which was founded in the 1990s in the South Bohemian region around Maříž and Slavonice in the Czech Republic. Leštnice is made up of artists and cultural workers who are committed to reinterpreting the local cultural heritage of the region, strengthening cultural exchange and exploring the environment in ecological, cultural and socio-historical terms.

The Habitat Ensemble was originally formed to explore the connections and emotions within the community musically through multi-disciplinary workshops. The début album, carefully curated by Houschyar, was released in early November 2023 on the Dutch label Music From Memory. It represents a unique conglomerate of ten individual pieces created in Maříž during a series of experimental recording sessions in a small barn. The group’s overall style manifests in an interplay of psychedelic rock, ambient, downtempo and esoteric folklore, characterised by poetry, vocals, electro-acoustic guitar sounds and meditative sound painting, including the gentle lapping of water on »Die vergessenen Orte«. Wonderfully sincere, it blends the spiritual, harmonic and genuine energy of the community into an inspiring overall work of art that deals authentically with nature, existence and destiny.