Accession Records Volume One, with its unassuming cover art, could easily be dismissed or ignored because of the lack of “eye candy” with the packaging. Word to the wise, DON’T dismiss it. The CD contains 17 exclusive tracks or remixes with 77:33 minutes of pure musical brilliance, all digitally recorded and mastered for the discerning audiophile. If you purchase it because one or two of your favorite artists are on it, there is a very high prevalence that many more will also become part of your musical diet.
Angels of Venice lead the way with Luna Mystica, an amalgamation of enchanting orchestral arrangements with flute, harp and cello. This is the type of music that one would want to bask in the candlelit glow with. Much of the music is in fact recorded by candlelight, as many fans of the artist already know.
Diary Of Dreams flows from the preceding track with a morose and dramatic intro which veers into a massive attack of dance electronic music. Bladerunner 2001 is like Robert Miles meets Paul Oakenfold. The style maintains a sense of synthpop/EBM intensity with enough of a dark layering underneath to not only make this a goth club favorite, but also a track that is capable of crossing the genre lines into most clubs.
Assemblage23 “I think I have spent enough time in the company of death,” thus beings the track Anthem. This track utilizes white noise like effects in a rather unique percussion. The deep vocals pay homage to the dreamy song styling one recalls from the gothic past. By now, this band’s ever-growing fan base is legion.
Cut.Rate.Box are forging ahead with an intense blend of electronic effects and EBM, as showcased by the included track Zionsank. Their diligence to quality and intensity remains evident on every track I have heard from them thus far on other compilations as well. Zionsank combines up to the minute industrial dance music with space age electronics from our apocalyptic future. Definitely a track to keep on the DJ watch list!
Diorama is a new band to this reviewer, but this track does make one want to seek out any other work that they may currently have available. Advance is an edited version, thus there must be another version and full work available elsewhere. These are beautifully harmonized male vocals over catchy pulse beats, creating a guaranteed dance floor filler in less than a quarter beat.
Haujobb and Daniel Myer are two names that are synonymous. It is impossible to have heard of one and just not know the other. The track begins with rather cinematic and morbid strains that gradually introduce a trip hop beat. It marries electronics and Goth sensibilities to provide a unique blend of haunting sound with a steady rhythm. The song structure is very much in keeping with the way early Switchblade Symphony layered everything around a trip hop beat. There dance element is much more subtle, giving way to the more unique styling of electronic blends.
Claire Voyant’s lead singer Victoria Lloyd continues to delight fans with her smooth as silk vocals. Cleaner remixed this version of Blinking Tears which updates and highlights the versatility of this band. All three of the band members work so well and cohesively together that is impossible not to feel it as it is delivered through their music. This particular track is given an updated trip hop beat, but it is the voice of an angel named Victoria, that captures the attention.
Psyche enters with Unbreakable which also utilizes the morose and morbid intro, but then slams home with a dark synthpop that is a nod towards the retro New Wave era when songs held a bit of darker mystery.
Cleaner is given the opportunity to strut their stuff with Fun To Be Head (Dub Mix) which is designed for the dance floor without a question. The unique element is that the song can cross into so many genres flawlessly. The vocals are understated and somewhat elicited in an electronically compressed whisper. The synth’s maintain a steady beat with a funereal style underscoring.
GASR give this track an ominous intro that seems to be a replication of an airplane in distress with the song Conspiracy. Like the other bands before them, the song just slams home with up to the minute dance industrial eats. This track is very much in keeping with the popularized sound of VNV Nation and Covenant.
Megadump squeezes out unique electronic sounds and whips them in a froth that percolates from the second the song starts. Der Kreis (Hot Shower Mix) is meant to burn the club to the ground with sweating dance floor revelers. This is more in keeping with the current electro-industrial trend, with vocals like Rammstein and music similar to VNV Nation once again. The lyrics are in German, but don’t let that detract you from enjoying a chorus that you will undoubtedly sing along to once you get the hand of it a few listens through. It is quite addicting.
Aesma Daeva brings the beats down a bit with Introit (Remind). The intro plays with macabre sounds and vocals samples in a surrealistic nightmare. Underscored are operatic vocals singing through blips, beeps and otherwise percussive electronic sounds. This is very much in the style of Die Form and Attrition in its execution and should be quite popular as well.
Cut.Rate.Box starts off the bonus section of the disc with In Your Eyes, featuring Stefan Netschio of Beborn Beton. This is a mid tempo song that could be summed up as electro-goth. This is a slower transition of the CD, going full circle, which works well if the CD is on repeat play. Despite the semi-sedate tone, by the time you get to the chorus, the foot is tapping away at the song. Lyrically there are some rather intriguing relational points brought out, that one may find themselves putting the track on repeat play just to get all the words. This is a perfect song for anyone with a relationship in trouble. NOTE: This track may not play on broadcast radio for some of the whispered expletives which, though common usage when we are pissed off, may not sit well with the more mentally constipated FCC who are in charge of the airwaves.
The Azoic have gone from spooky darkwave to literally progressing Forward, as their new CD name asserts. The style has become more EBM/darkwave dance music, as opposed to their earlier unnerving and darkly brilliant work. This version of Progression is more reflective of their earlier darkwave period, which begins with a dirge as the remix name implies. Assemblage 23 contributed the remix to this track, which includes delivering the voice through a vocoder, giving lead singer Kristy an electro-Goddess type of sound that makes an already popular dance floor track unique and yet different from other versions one may have heard previously. While most industrial/electronic/EBM bands are mostly male vocals, The Azoic broke new ground again by being among the first in the genre to feature female vocals for this style of work.
Diary Of Dreams also have an added track in this bonus section with Forestown. The track itself seems to plod a bit, but is not bad overall. The baritone vocals harmonize over the electro/medieval sounds and would work well at a loud volume.
Diorama slow the beat down further with You And Ice featuring Katrin, which is an ethereal piece reflective of Dead Can Dance. There is a steady drumbeat mixed with minimal instrumentation and reflections of harpsichords. Vocally this is a lush song where one just wants to drift on the musical cloud for a bit of time while the beautiful tenor vocals coalesce around your psyche.
Claire Voyant is featured again with the original version of Blinking Tears that was showcased above. This track is featured on their CD Time And The Maiden and the liner notes dedicate this simply “for Adrian.” The original version is stripped of the percussive additives and features the track simply in a dark ballad fashion.
Accession Records Volume One managed to cut to the chase by providing tracks that weren’t rehashed a million times on other compilations. They strove to give the consumer new mixes and exclusive tracks and then went the extra mile to be sure it is a DDD recording rather than AAD as some other’s have done. Quality and Quantity were kept in mind during its creation and that dedication clearly shows. It honors the dark music tradition while investigating various ways with which this style and sound can be made more updated and palatable to a multitude of music fans from all various backgrounds.
Tonally, the CD can play on repeat simply because it begins relatively mellow and then suffuses into more up to the minute dance rhythms and then back again to a sense of dreaminess. Overkill is not something to fear with this CD.
All aspects of the dark underground have been covered from ethereal, ambient, dark pop, industrial and EBM, all darkly showcased and beautifully sequenced to make a great addition to the collection of music fans longing for something new and different. The other advantage is that this CD plays well with non-dark music fans as well simply judging from the reactions from folks at work who have made many positive comments about it while playing in the office.
Do seek this compilation out as it is worth the money and sure to be something played quite a bit in your home, car, boom box or personal stereo.