2020 was the year everything stopped. Tours cancelled, plans halted, venues left empty. For fans it has, on the whole, been devastating. Recording and touring artists have been forced to adapt to this sudden change, with many choosing to turn to live streaming, others releasing new music regardless. One such artist is Elder frontman Nick DiSalvo, who has used the time to put together his first solo album, Hirschbrunnen, under the guise of Delving. Composed of both newly written material and songs that haven’t found their way onto a release before, Hirschbrunnen is a treasure trove of wonders, impressively covering ambient, electronic, prog and psychedelic rock.
Much like his work with Elder, the songs DiSalvo’s written here reveal themselves gradually, taking the listener on six uniquely stimulating instrumental journeys. Comparisons to his band are bound to be made, and perhaps Hirschbrunnen’s nearest relative would be The Gold And Silver Sessions EP from 2019, which saw the four-piece embrace a more ambient, prog-influenced sound. Picking favourite tracks becomes a problem at first, as there’s simply so many beautiful, nuanced passages littered throughout, that it often feels like one continuous flowing piece of music rather than several individual pieces. However, the plaintive piano refrains that can be found in opener ‘Ultramarine’, the proggy, 70s sci-fi sounding keyboards midway through the dreamy ‘The Reflecting Pool’ and the emotive, weaving guitar and piano work of the title track are certainly amongst the album’s most striking moments. Similarly, the driving ‘Wait And See’ is filled with starry wonder, as moving synths and lyrical bass lines are adorned with stirring strings to captivating effect before the track culminates with a rousing guitar solo.
DiSalvo has described himself as a compulsive songwriter, with Hirschbrunnen being the result of his need to continue creating as the Covid pandemic forced his day job with Elder to grind to a halt. For this we can be thankful. In a year that has brought us much sadness, the bands and artists we love continue to deliver music which moves, stirs and inspires us: Hirschbrunnen is one such example.
Words: Adam Pegg