"The Joy Of Nature {formerly known as: The Joy Of Nature And Discipline} is the project of Luis Couto. Having previously released the incredible debut full length: "The Fog That Life Is Haunted By": originally in 2003 and re-released 2006 {with bonus material}.
Luis has been involved in creating some of the astonishing sounds emanating from Portugal: Along with The Joy Of Nature, he has also released a cd for his post-rock project ; Post Crash High -"The Apocalypse Came Yesterday And No One Noticed" . He as well has contributed instrumentation and lyrics to Urdraum- featuring other notable musicians: Stephen Flaunder from Once A Barge, and Nerunbrir and Johann from Karrnos. Johann: who is also the genius behind Wolfskin has also contributed to the first Joy Of Nature And Disicipline cd.
Some time has passed since the "The Fog That Life Is Haunted By", and Luis has created another amazing release again away from the mainland of Portugal: on the island of Azores. One can wonder at the quiet and the powerfull magic of being surrounded by the ocean and it's effects on this fine piece of instrumental work which this time finds Luis working alone.
This 45 rpm ep contains two touching neoclassical pieces: one song for each side of the vinyl: side 7AM - The sheperd and the lake-maiden and side 7PM - A slumber hangs upon these walls.
The first of these tracks; that being the one of the matutinal side: begins with the strange shimmering of singing bowls and the resonating ringing of bells followed by acoustic guitar and flute that create a very pleasing effect. The piece then continues with appropriate hesitations in a structure which shows Luis to be very adept at composition which captures imagination and transports one as with the ebbing of the tides and imagery one would associate with this tale involving an aqueous body.
The second composition: of the side associated with the vespertinum; calls one to the arms of rest and dreams. Somewhat darkened sounds begin the piece, but are soon given over to a sort of twilight through Luis's use of bowed psaltery and accoustic guitar. The piece yawns with the lengthened notes of the bowed strings and glimmers with the use of bells and creates those lapsing states where one is unassured as to whether thoughts are those of wakened time or have been given over to somnolence.
This ep has been released on Little Somebody Records from Tacoma, Washington: a label who have also released fine folk projects Novembthree and Arrowwood in unique hand made packages. Those fortunate to get one of the first thirty of these releases receive as well a homemade bag of tea from Luis's garden. "

The Joy of Nature is a project by Luís Couto, who hails from Portugal, and the Antlantic islands of the Azores, to be precise. The project started out as The Joy of Nature and Discipline some years earlier, but a slight change in name and musical direction have led to the state of the project today. This 7" on Little Somebody records is a great testament to the atmospheric music that The Joy of Nature now makes.
The two tracks on this single are both instrumental, but very rich in instrumentation and variation. Luís plays guitar, flute, psaltery, bells, percussion, and more, weaving different melodies through out these short songs. The music is not very easy to describe or pigeonhole, but it is safe to say that it is mainly acoustic, and that it evokes a mystical, dreamy atmosphere. The thematic choices of titles and liner notes only confirm this general image, which ranges from mysterious and longing, to dark and brooding. If I were to make a comparison, I'd say this lies somewhere between the acoustic side of Northaunt and the atmospheric melodies of Nest, though with slightly more emphasis on a broad instrumentation than either of these projects.
In any case, this is a very well done 7", with interesting artwork, and a nice gift for the early-ordering birds. Included with the single, to supplement this releases' theme, is a bag of tea from Luís' own garden, with a nice subtle smell. Recommended to everyone into atmospheric acoustics.

"Autumn has come. In a waft of condimental flavours, nature asks for completing the undone, for preparing new cycles and daring the path into introspective chambers. Moreover it is in time to listen to the music of Luís Couto. Through the young Little Somebody label he recently published a 7-inch with two new songs, recorded in spring, that adopt a fairly different course than the interesting debut of THE JOY OF NATURE AND DISCIPLINE, which was released by the KARNNOS surroundings of Reaping Horde. "The Fog That Life Is Haunted By" has been put out two times in small issue, lately by the Polish Bunkier Productions, who added two bonus tracks. Meanwhile the name has been reduced to THE JOY OF NATURE, certainly hinting at a recommencement, that also reaches into the music itself.
From the atmospheric, sometimes a trifle hazy ambientfolk compositions of the first album, Luís Couto extracted so to say only the folk passages, dug up their traditional roots, refined and sublimed them to a much clearer vision. Reduction here is only taking place in the sense of material austerity, so that at no time the music could seem surfeited or congested. Both songs on this record were rendered in utter handicraft, put into effect by several acoustic instruments (bells, guitars, whistle, dulcimer, some slight percussion etc.), thus in their glint of nuances and equilibrium they appear richer than the synthetic pads of the predecessor. Shepherd songs they are, instrumental, of plain beauty and mystical ornamentation. Songs for accompanying the matutinal and evening tea ritual, that determines the cadence of day with serene severity.
This contemplative habit is also reminiscent a lot of the notional sources and influences of ALLERSEELEN, even though both projects can hardly be compared in a musical way. Calm and agog with expectation begins the early-hours-side "The Shepherd and the lake-maiden", the strings strip the dew from fresh foliage, the flute winds its way around wistful stirs, sleazy and playful an almost rustic, traditional rhythm springs up. Life and sun are glowing here, the senses are edged to dance their sweet prayer. The flip side unfolds analogously more pensive, darker and stronger immersed. Here it is the bright contrast of the guitar that sketches a roundel of presumably bitter memories into the deep drone meanders. Then everything sinks into a dream sequence, autumnally defoliated, softly enticing, like a magic sleep "The Shepherd's Tea At 7" is a small record of grand symbolism, hermetic, intimate, minted by the transcendent knowledge of nature's cycles.
Similarities to SANGRE CAVALLUM are coming closer to the core than anything else. Yet, THE JOY OF NATURE are more introverted, more ascetic, even though their fire crackles as enchanting as the one of their compatriots.
In a lovely design this record is furnished with suitable illustrations by the Portuguese artist Susana Mota. In addition, the first 50 copies come with a tea bag from own plantation. A peculiar publication that will give us some edifying teatime until winter solstice."
Roy Liebscher

Un 45 tours vinyl en 2006, limité à quelques exemplaires, une face aurore et une face crépuscule, "La joie de la nature"... le thé du berger à 7 heures... avec l'objet nous est offert un petit sachet de plantes séchées... encore une personne seule au milieu de sa folk atmosphérique et étrange : pas de doute, nous avons affaire à un "petit quelqu'un". Pas de voix au pays de Luis C. "The shepherd and the lake-maiden" pour le matin et "A slumber..." pour le soir ne sont pas deux chansons, mais deux petits tableaux, peints avec des guitares, des flûtes, des percussions de trouvère et quelques sons étranges, dronesques. Atmosphère irréelle de rêve qui nous échappe, harmonies mélancoliques et impressionnistes, une impossible rencontre de minimalisme et de raffinement. C'est infime, deux toutes petites pièces, 5 minutes de musique. Techniquement plus mature qu'Arrowwood, The Joy of Nature est tout aussi fantasque et mystérieux que le bois magique de Chelsea Robb, sans doute moins inquiétant, mais plus profondément crépusculaire. Tout le charme authentique de l'artisanat mais aussi l'alchimie fascinante de l'orfèvrerie; trop court, trop entravé par le changement de face, "The shepherd's tea" pourrait pourtant emmener loin... très loin. On y sent réellement le vent du soir, l'odeur de l'herbe, on y voit l'ombre de la nuit s'y étendre peu à peu, comme sur le pré d'en face. On y devine les esprits insaisissables qui attendent les étoiles pour sortir de leurs caches, petites pierres ou troncs d'arbre, et s'en aller danser, virvolter et hanter la campagne endormie. Trop court, trop entravé par le changement de face, "The shepherd's tea at 7" se tient juste au bord du miraculeux, et crée l'attente avide, le besoin d'y retourner.

Um 7” que inclui dois dos temas do EP acima descrito e, por coincidência, os temas que eu destaquei. A descrição dos temas está na crítica anterior logo, não há muito mais a referir deste item, a não ser que é bom ver que ainda se aposta no vinil, como suporte físico para a música. Além disso, é um formato que eu venero, o disco de 7 polegadas. Não consigo descrever a adoração que tenho por estas “pequenas” peças de arte, e de coleccionador. No geral, a pontuação deste tem que ser mais alta, isto porque não é uma gravação em CD-R, é um 7”, e porque contém dois temas fantásticos.

Nuevo proyecto que nos llega desde el país vecino. Portugal no para de alegrarnos con la gran cantidad de bandas y eventos que se realizan por tu territorio, dentro de los estilos más minoritarios y sobre todo la línea Dark Folk y todas sus ramificaciones.
Detrás de TJON se esconde Luís Couto, y con este single, ha alcanzado una mezcla muy equilibrada entre la música ambiental y el dark folk de corte más pagano. En los dos temas que posee el disco, ambos instrumentales, nos encontramos con una banda muy espiritual, con una rica orquestación y con un manejo de los ambientes tranquilos y sosegados bastante bueno. Dos temas son muy poco para juzgar una banda, pero si dejan claro cual es su propuesta. Mientras escribo este comentario ya está confirmado la realización de un larga duración con el sello Ahnstern, quizás el ideal para este tipo de música, con lo que pronto sabremos más sobre esta banda, que salvo sorpresa mayúscula habrá que tener muy en cuenta.
“The shepherd and the lake-maiden” y “A slumber hangs upon these walls”, son los temas que componen este trabajo editado por el sello americano Little Somebody Records, que ya se ha convertido en pieza de coleccionista, solo nos queda esperar su próximo larga duración.
Jose Socorro