I have been fascinated by Ygg Huur by Krallice ever since the band sneakily released the album without pomp or circumstance on July 30th. It has lingered in my mind like some ignis fatuus drawing me ever closer to some unseen fate. The vague allusions to Giacinto Scelsi. The obtuse cover art. The spectral, mystifying music itself. All of these things have left me utterly spellbound, leading me to christen the album my number 1 release of 2015. There is still much mystery surrounding Ygg Huur, but on December 5th, the band pealed back one of the layers of intrigue, revealing to us the source of the puzzling album cover.
The piece, shown below, is entitled Archangel Gabriel; The Virgin Annunciate. The two panels adorn the exterior of a triptych created by Dutch painter Gerard David circa 1510 in Bruges.
Astute readers will note that a triptych is supposed to adjoin three panels rather than two. The Metropolitan Museum of Art provides an answer to this conundrum.
By the late nineteenth century, the fronts and backs of the wings had been sawn apart in a vertical slice, separating each panel in two, and dislodging the wings from the central panel.
The painting of Gabriel, done in oil on oak panel, was created by using a rich grisaille technique of overlapping greys to give the appearance of being sculpted from stone. The techniques is extremely effective in this piece. In fact, I first thought the cover to Ygg Huur depicted a statue rather than a painting. It’s an interesting case of art imitating art. Whether the band intentionally wielded that imitation is unknown, but the fact that Barr and his bandmates appear to be emulating Scelsi’s Ygghuur in more than just name adds credence to the idea.
Every time I dig deeper into this album, I feel that I encounter another puzzle to captivate me and a new riddle to solve. Ygg Huur is the kind of album that will command my attention for years to come, and I look forward to unveiling its many wonders as time unfolds. If you still haven’t heard the album, stream it below.
If you want to know more about the work of Gerard David, you can read about the triptych and more here.