The essence of Fado, Portugal's native folk music, is summed up in the word saudade. This term defies easy translation, but has been described by Rodney Gallop as a " ... yearning for something so indefinite as to be indefinable; an unrestrained indulgence in yearning. It couples the vague longings of the Celt for the unattainable with a Latin sense of reality which induces realisation that it is unattainable, and with the resultant discouragement and resignation." Most fado songs reflect on nostalgia, strife of life, lost love, tragedy, missed opportunity and dark destiny. The female vocalist always wears black and she sings in a throaty, passionate, emotional manner that evokes anguish and despair from deep within her soul.
Is that Goth enough for ya, or what?
You can see why I awaited the arrival of Aenima's Revolutions with keen anticipation. This Portugese darkwave/ethereal group has been garnering critical praise throughout Europe, particularly after their recent appearance at Germany's M'era Luna festival. My anticipation was richly rewarded, as Aenima's 1999 debut Revolutions proved to be one of the most polished and tuneful platters to hit my CD player this year.
The production quality of this CD is uniformly outstanding: Paulo Carmona and Rune create a smooth, clean sound worthy of Alan Parsons or Brian Eno. The mix shows their obvious technical skill, but never becomes too slick or cold. Most important, it never detracts from Carmen's considerable vocal talents.
Those talents are showcased in the beautiful multitrack counterpoint of "Haven for the Forsaken," and the high Diamanada Galas-like trills which provide an opening backdrop for "Earthlore." The instrumental tracks "Deep Blue Larvae," "Ae" and "Frail October Sun" give the other band members a chance at the spotlight, and prove that Rune's skills with a synthesizer are at least as impressive as his talent behind a mixing board. The surface influences are easy enough to spot: Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, Sisters of Mercy, and other pop-Gothic bands. The sensibility, however, is pure saudade.
According to Aenima's official website, the band's lineup underwent some changes in 2000. I look forward to listening to the creations of Aenima 2000 and Aenima 2001, and to seeing more studio work from Rune and Carmona.
Vocals, Bass, Keyboards
Rune: Guitars, Bass, Programming, SoundTreatments
Miguel Do Vale: Piano, Synthesizers
Mario Nunes: Classical Guitar
Vasco Vaz: Guitar
Engineered and Mixed by Paulo Carmona and Rune.
Mastered at Sons de Mar by Paulo Carmona.
Carmen: Lead Vocals
this CD and ship worldwide:
ARTEMIEV & PHILLIP B. KLINGLER
Dreams In Moving Space
~reviewed by Michael J.
Ambient music is magical due to the fact that it can create any mood or feeling and transport the mind to any location within the imagination. With Dreams in Moving Space, I expected to find myself within the limitless area dreamy space but instead had my subconscious picked clean of twisted thoughts and childhood nightmares.
One of the first tests I give to ambient music is the “sleep test”. I put it in, drift off to sleep, and see where the music guides my dreams and thoughts. At first, everything was okay. The sleepy winds of “Dreams In Moving Space Part I” floated from my speakers and placed me adrift on the ocean. Just as I began to enter my dream state, the music took a slight twist and I began to hear small shots of static and other weird noises placed sporadically within the music. My dreams quickly twisted and became bizarre and I forced myself to wake up and turn it off. That was a world I did not wish to enter because I needed a good nights rest.
Dreams In Moving Space is an album filled with this type of music. It is the soundtrack to your nightmares. With only five songs, it clocks in at an amazing 74:32 so you definitely get your money’s worth. It is dreamy music, but it has been tainted and tortured with static, running water, human cries and voices, and many other sound effects. These effects give the impression that they are all under some sort of stress and cause the listener to become anxious, nervous, and finally downright frightened.
Artemiy and Phillip have done a wonderful job of giving dreamy ambient music a set of claws. This is not a CD to be left alone with while locked in a pitch-black room. If you are a fan of ambient music or a writer trying to pry creepy and bizarre ideas from your brain, this is a must have. It’s too easy to loop a sample over and over and call it music to sleep by but to find the right atmosphere for turning a dream into a nightmare takes true insight and talent.
All music composed, arranged, performed, recorded, engineered, and mixed by Artemiy Artemiev and Phillip B. Klingler.
~reviewed by Matthew
Subtitled ‘an album made of water and stone,’ this thought-provoking and meditative concept release is centered around the myth and legend of the Lost City of Atlantis. Brought to us by none other than the prolific Italian trio Ataraxia, three years of research, investigation, and studies of ancient texts and mythologies were put into this release. Like other releases in Ataraxia’s vast discography, “Lost Atlantis” is a beautiful and subtle brand of ethereal/mediaeval music, with lush finger picked acoustics, well-done synthetic adaptations of period instruments, and dramatic female operatic vocals that very few vocalists outside of the classical music world could even hope to hold a candle to.
Compared to other Ataraxia releases, this album seems more soothing, with less percussion to make way for more vocals and acoustic guitars. As similar to Love Is Colder Than Death as to the King’s Noyse, this release is something that would appeal to ethereal fans as well as period music enthusiasts and film score buffs. With Lisa Gerard recently earning a Golden Globe for her contributions to “Gladiator” perhaps more people will be taking an interest in ancient musics? We can only hope...
ideal for background music, this is not the kind of CD that is useful only
to dispel silence. There are a lot of interesting arrangements and
emotive passages, both triumphant to mark remembrance for the legendary
sunken city, it’s treasures, and gifted inhabitants. But also a greater
portion of the disc is melancholic, serving as a pensive testament to the
mysterious loss and tragedy of Atlantis’ disappearance and its population’s
demise. Overall, this is a great release and a worthwhile addition
to your dark ambient collections; its intellectual, well-arranged, and
an enthralling listen. Check this out!
1.) The Early Days
9.) Lost Atlantis
10.) The Land Of Sand Of Gold Of Ruin
Francesca Nicoli: vocals, flute, drum programming
Vittorio Vandelli: acoustic/electric guitars, drum programming
Giovanni Pagliari: keyboards, drum programming
– Official Website:
Moon Int’l / Cold Meat Industry:
Awake Inside A Dream
~reviewed by The Rev. A. Strangerz
In November I had my own new artist night, and I asked my fellow staff about new music available on Mp3 format. One of the first things sent to me was this link to Carol Tatum/Angels of Venice
I was immediately in love with the look feel, and energy of the presented artist. I felt that this was something I should have already known about. It is a large world though, and this Woman who rocks, is rocking from the more ethereal side of the bend than featured artist NANO. I played a Carol Tatum track at my show, and I also played Lionheart, the opening track form this CD. both were received greatly, and had people asking me about the artist. Always a good sign with new music. So to meet Carol at Communion, and to also receive this CD to review, was very surprising. Carol also promises to have some time for an interview, now that the Christmas season is over (she gets in high demand with her skills at the Harp. )
Awake Inside a Dream is the second release by Angles of Venice, her is my account of it.
2) A CHANTAR MER
4) THE SINS OF SALOME
1) Lionheart is more Celtic, and upbeat in nature, a great selection for various uses. 2) A Chanter Mer, is calm and soothing, with an undercurrent of foreboding horizons, similar to the feel in the movie 'The Last Temptation of Christ' (Peter Gabriel), the song even dips into some Tabalas, and builds up a bit of Gaelic rhythm towards the end. I am hooked, and I have this in my 5 disk random play often for the contrast these types of songs make to the more electronica/gothrock types of music I generally enjoy. 3) NANA; What do moaning females , wolves, and church bells tolling in the windy night all have in common. They all build the opening of this classic like no other opening. I am amazed at the lengths that have been taken to represent the various moods of this song. NANA, is to me as a hard to explain without playing it, as is Sex is to a virgin, or LSD to a person who has never even been drunk in their life. 40 The Sins of Salome; We find the gentle play of Spanish guitar guiding us throughout he ethereal presentation of a Gypsy in love. Or a drunken night by the Bazaar, in a world across the dessert. The elements are tribal, yet not contrived. The song is great for Ethereal dance floors, and maybe even for the soundtrack to some wonderful movie with lots of veiled women, or passionate dancers of either gender. This is my pick from this CD. I find the Exotic to be more my flavor. The Poetic is a bit slower, well worth the time though. ( I am a dance DJ, I get addicted to that 120 bpm arrangements. Yet this is really good use of instruments. I once knew how to read music myself, before I picked up samplers and CD players as a way of expression. )
II: The Poetic
5) Scarborough Faire
6) Three Nightingales
7) the World Beyond The Woods
8) China Moon
9) Light At The Edge of the World
10) Awake Inside A Dream
5) Scarborough Faire; I am honest to a fault at times. The flute arrangement, and familiar feel to this tune, had me thinking they has slipped in a Christmas tune. What a brave and uncommon move I thought. I was corrected quickly, and now I hang my head in shame. It must have been the Flute, very overpowering, and great delivery, at least it is an older tune. made before many Christmas classics. 6) Three Nightingales, is a quicker song in a similar key, and arrangement. An original though, and not reminiscent of anything played during the holiday season. Well, except maybe by Projekt records. (Will I ever live it down.) 7) The World Beyond the Woods; I seven slower and calmer, and a great use of ambient woodland noises. Ethereal to the extreme. Great owl sample at the end of this short piece. By now the Poetry seems made of the different pieces, almost as stanza's in the same verse. What a trick to pull off. I am glad I decide to 'pay attention' to the details. Great very loud. 8) China Moon, Wakes you up with a great chime and some gongs. Take a trip through the Orient, on the full moon, and fall in love with a China girl (no bowie reference here, sorry) Once again, creative , and descriptive musical elements. No vocals, but great pan flutes. 9) Light At The Edge of the World, OK honesty time again. I love those who can play real instruments, and make them sing, or come alive with the spirit of the animal that makes the instruments body or strings. it is eerie, creepy, and satisfies my need for irony of life. yet I have trouble these days with down tempo songs. If your an industrial fan and you red this far, you must just love my reviews. So after a quick up tempo break, I return. This is cool. played loud you can really here the hits on the harp, you can hear breath drawn to play the strange Oboe sound instrument. I would like to hear these artist arranged with an electronica artist, Think of the oboes in Coil's famed album "Loves Secret Domain". maybe we can get Carol to lend her talented artist here to a project like that!!! I know, not as traditional, yet I can feel the potential in these songs. The poetry is very alive! 10) Awake Inside a Dream; More bells, pan flutes, and a moaning string Vs choral type ambiance. A nice way to say good-bye. Come back and play us again, maybe while flirting with a beautiful girl, or coming down of an LSD trip. We are here for you,. not to overpowering, not to subdued. I shall return , don't worry. I just need a regular fix of Techno/Industrial, and non-real instruments in my current incarnation. Yet in a past life I am sure I was like a Gypsy , who danced to music very much like this.
of Venice are:
Carol Tatum - Harp
Peggy Baldwin - Cello
Suzanne Teng - Flute
Angels of Venice - http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/90/angels_of_venicecarol_tatu.html
the credits many other musicians, and instruments are listed. My
apologies to Suzanne for mistaking the Alto flute for a Pan flute in this
review. I let it stand as my impression of what I heard, and not
a comment on instrumentation. In this day and age, for a more traditional
arrangement, be it folk, rock, or even pop, to have caught my attention
with such authority is rare. Thanks again. Keep up the hard
~Rev. Alexavier S. Strangerz 23.3
~reviewed by Michael J.
The whole reason for me doing this classic metal album of the month is to spotlight some of the albums that have acted as a catalyst in the development of my musical tastes. These albums nurtured me and weaned me on their succulent teats of uniqueness and the ability to send my mindset into the very world the music was portraying. Bathory’s Hammerheart easily goes down on my list as one of the top five albums ever recorded.
In my earlier years, comics and magazines such as The Savage Sword of Conan and the Marvel Comics version of Conan and Thor as well as books like Beowulf and J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings sparked my imagination. I was intrigued by the simplicity of life portrayed in them. Live by the sword, die by the sword, and in the meantime, raise your family from the land and pass on your legacy.
Hammerheart was recorded in the now legendary Heavenshore Studio. To those that have never heard this recording before, it may sound quite primitive for a 1990 release but the conditions that Quorthon had to record in and hated now have added elements no studio trick could ever provide. Heavenshore Studio was little more than an auto repair shop whenever Bathory was not recording there. There was only room to do one instrument at a time in many cases. At times there were car parts and hubcaps littering the place and it was so full, vocals had to be recorded while hanging on to broomsticks in the cleaning closet or in the bathroom. Even a neighbor mowing his lawn would ruin the recording, as the studio was far from soundproof. Back then, recording under such harsh circumstances would have broken many a band but Quorthon fought through it and, little did he know, this unique sound would add the missing piece of atmosphere his music needed to becoming as close to Viking metal as anyone has ever been.
Quorthon’s lyrics focus mainly on the thoughts and prayers before riding into battle or the inflection on oneself after battle. Little is ever said of the actions of the actual battle. The lyrics are scorched with legend and the rite of a child to receive the knowledge of his father. The sampling is magnificent and actually places you in a small village on the coast. You can hear the dogs barking and women tinkering about the village during their daily labors. The choir parts blend in perfectly to suggest the warriors praying together. Even Quorthon’s semi off-key vocals help out because it gives it a more realistic feel. Cleaner vocals would have certainly ruined this recording.
me my son before my corpse is turning pale,
to grab my sword, hold it to the sky, and call out my Hail”
For those of you that have a taste for majestic and epic recordings, this is a must. It will hook you on the first listen and never let you go. Any of Bathory’s Viking-era recordings are highly recommended and possess traits unlike any of the other recordings If I had a hundred more albums like this one, it still would not be enough. This album is ageless and limitless in what it can do with your imagination. If you do not own this, do the right thing and secure your place in Valhalla by purchasing this immediately.
1. Shores In Flames
3. Baptised In Fire and Ice
4. Father to Son
5. Song To Hall Up High
6. Home of Once Brave
7. One Rode to Asa Bay
Quorthon – Vocals, electric & acoustic guitar, backing
vocals, and effects
Vvornth – Drums and percussion
Kothaar – Electric bass guitar
~reviewed by Wolf
Thankfully not the only female-fronted industrial act, but definitely the most succesful and prolific one, Battery has been a favorite in goth/industrial circles for years, as well as one of Cop International's earliest and most popular signings. Maria Azevedo's passionate and intense vocals combined with the powerful compositions of Shawn Brice and Evan Sornstein has always resulted in a highly distinct sound, filled with layered synths and fragile emotions. A precious gem of a sideproject, focusing on a more minimal ethereal sound, was released in 1997. This concept album titled Frozen, released under the name Ivoux, showcased the band's ability to excel in more than one genre of music, which was last year reinforced by the release of yet another sideproject, Dia. (See my review of this disc elsewhere in this month's issue.) The last full-length Battery release, Aftermath, came out about 2 years ago and the project has recently been cancelled, due to the band members going their separate ways... But, as a kind gesture to the fans, a new EP is now available for download, straight through Battery's official site. (I'm not sure if it's still available for purchase, since that option has disappeared after I ordered my copy.)
Debris features half remixes and half unreleased material. After the 11-second-long intro "Destruction" the first remix is presented in the form of Slave Unit's rendition of "Aftermath". Starting out with acoustic guitar accompanying Maria's vocals, the song eventually steers towards an aggro-industrial sound. A good remix, but Deepfatfried's version of "Strike" is more convincing and gives the original a firm drum&bass treatment. The third remix on Debris is also of "Strike", this time by Negative Impact (120 remix).
The true strength of this EP, however, are the 3 unreleased songs by Battery themselves. First off there is "Dream3", an absolutely gorgeous track of a more quiet nature. It perfectly embodies the fragile emotions which are always prominent in Maria's vocals and this track does actually sound a lot like something that could've appeared on Frozen. The slow, heavily echoing composition is the perfect compliment to Maria's warm voice and at the end of last year this was one of my favorite songs for several months. You know those goosebumps and chills down your spine? Just listen to this song.
A remixed classic off the Momentum EP, "Doppleganger [3.0]" is more in the style of Battery's dancefloor-oriented work (i.e. "Betrayal", "Pax Neurotica", etc.), complete with those trademark jumpy beats that make sitting still virtually impossible. Combined with more strong vocals and good lyrics, this one will hopefully find its way onto the dancefloors.
The cd ends with its titletrack, an experimental sidetrip with quirky beats and ambient soundscapes. Even though 3 songs seem rather insufficient when covering the scope of Battery's sound, the band's main strengths are all present. There's the irresistable dance appeal, the inventive experimenting and the emotional ethereal qualities; all facets of a band that has always been unique and made music with a mind of their own. Thankfully the band members are all still musically active, but Battery will be missed nontheless.
Thank you, Maria, Shawn and Evan, for many years of great music, and for making a difference.
02. Aftermath [remix] by Slave Unit
03. Strike [remix] by Deepfatfried
05. Doppleganger [3.0]
06. Strike [120 remix] by Negative Impact
Official site: http://www.batteryinflux.com
Former label: http://www.copint.com
of the Psychic Fetus
~reviewed by Kimberly
I don't really know what to say about Cult of the Psychic Fetus' "She Devil" (put out by Raven Music Group). I want ot like the band, really I do. They're making it really hard, though. I first saw them play at the club night here, Long Black Veil, and I was enchanted. I then saw them at the gothabilly show at CB's where they, quite frankly, fell flat. Now this album.
"She Devil" is far short of CPF's potential. There's a theme (or joke) that runs through the album in which the basslines are heavily borrowed "The Munsters" theme. I know that the band claims that they're only a goofy horror rock band, but it gets old quickly. The album is also produced poorly. The levels are wildly offand at different points, the effects are louder than the music or vocals. I'm not going to go through each song and talk about why it's lacking. That would just be too mean. All I can hope is that the band finds a better producer, and a bit more energy to put into the next album.
Cult of the Psychic Fetus' website can be found at: www.ravenworldwide.com/cultof.htm
Rev. Doom- Vocals and Preaching
Ghastly- Phantom Guitar
Lord Erik- Funeral Bass
Markus Dark- Voodoo Drums
1. When the Blood is Ripe
2. She Devil
4. Don't Look in the Basement
5. Dream Speed
7. Long Black Hearse
8. Cannibal Girl
9. In the Shadows
11. Devil Woman on the 199
12. Cult of the Psychic Fetus
13. Zombie Waltz
~reviewed by Wolf
Few true legends are left in our subculture, new talent forming the majority now and most of the time succumbing to unjustified hype. Among these remaining legends even fewer are still active today, with only a scarce percentage constantly reinventing themselves instead of milking their own legacy to exhaustion. Die Form is the prime example of such a legend and each new release by them is always a special event; something to look forward to with great anticipation. It's been over 3 years since their last release, the magnificent Duality (aside from several singles and a 2 disc "best of" titled Histories), and a new offering of their dark and sensual electronics arrived a few months ago in the form of Extremum. I had to wait for quite some time to receive the elegant box set version of this release, but it was well worth the wait.
Die Form has been a unique presence within the darker music genres for almost 23 years now. Comprised of eccentric modern-day homo universalis Philippe Fichot (music, production, vocals and artwork) and the trademark voice of the band Eliane P., Die Form has a vast back catalogue of releases in its name. Much of their work is long out of print and collectors pay significant amounts to obtain Die Form's older material (of which I've been guilty myself). Then there's a wealth of side-projects to hunt for, such as D.F. Sadist School, Societe Anonyme, Elektrode and Ukiyo. Add to this videos, print material and limited edition box sets and vinyl, and it becomes quite clear that a die-hard follower of Mr. Fichot's work is never done collecting. Speaking of "die", Die Form is often pronounced and interpreted with "Die" as in "dying", which is incorrect. Their name is of German origin and simply means "the form". More specifically, Fichot named his band after a German journal from the 1920's, focusing on the Bauhaus art and architecture movement.
music of Die Form goes hand in hand with its themes. Inventive electronics,
ranging from soothing ethereal to infectiously danceable material, support
words and imagery of dark sensuality. Die Form once described their sound
as "music to scene to", which is very appropriate considering the many
bdsm and fetish topics they address within their work. The tasteful fetish
photography of Fichot and Die Form's infamous bdsm-spiked live performances
(which have decreased in quantity over the years) only add to the eccentric
nature of their art, but the downside to this is that they have ignorantly
been dubbed nothing more than "sex industrial" by many. Die Form is much
more than this, not just giving detailed descriptions of certain fetishes
and the finer subtleties of bdsm
practices, but also delving into other topics, ranging from historical material to the exploration of sound itself. The song "Martyrium" (off the album L'ame Electrique, which has been one of my favorite Die Form albums to date), for instance, was composed as a tribute to the victims of Hiroshima. Quite frequently the subject of transformation returns as well. What is always present, however, is a dark beauty and the fascination with a wealth of topics that are often kept behind closed doors in our society.
And now there's Extremum, Die Form's latest offering and certainly no exception to the high level of quality and artistry we've come to expect from them. As the title suggests, this album focuses on the extremes of human nature/behavior and this makes for an exquisite collection of songs. The cd could be analyzed to no end, in regard to its music, song titles and lyrical content, therefore I will stick to highlighting some of my favorite compositions on this disc.
Opening up with "Resonant Magnetic Source" was a rather strategic move, since it's by far the catchiest and most dancefloor appropriate song on the cd. Die Form have delivered their share of club material over the years and "RMS" follows in a long line of floorfillers such as "Savage Logic", "Automatic Love" and "Doctor X", to name but a few. An atmospheric intro filled with Eliane's operatic vocals leads into a bouncing mixture of a bass melody, ghostly sound effects and straightfoward beats. It is followed by Deep Inside, the single that served as the teaser for this cd. Danceable as well, but more experimental and with Fichot's own manipulated voice describing mental state altering technical procedures.
"Glassphyxie" takes a slower, hypnotizing approach, also found on the beautiful "Operating Theatre". The latter is of an lush elegance, underlined with cryptic lyrics and Eliane's recognizable vocals surfacing throughout the song. One of Die Form's main musical strengths has always been the ability to maintain their unique sound while at the same time producing different styles of music. There's the dancefloor material, experimental weirdness, ethereal/almost classical pieces and even fairly harsh industrial tracks such as "Animal Magnetism" and both versions of "Radio Morphism".
My personal favorite on the cd is the serene yet brooding beauty of "Itopsia Atropos", in which the lyrics describe the offering of a body to the Itopsia moth. For all of you mythology fanatics, Atropos was one of the three Moirae (Fates) in Greek mythology. They observed (rather than interfered with) the lives of humans, each in charge of one aspect of the symbolic thread of life. Atropos was the one responsible for cutting the thread. The song has the same haunting beauty as two of my favorite songs off Duality; "Transvisions" and "The Missing Beauty".
"O.T.E.D." is more electro-ebm oriented, although it is, as always, first and foremost a Die Form composition. Fichot has never been one to follow popular music trends, let alone copy the sound of others. The only copying comes in the form of reusing elements of their older songs, such as the placement of Eliane's vocals throughout most compositions or yet the rhythm of the bassdrum on "Neurolepsia, which is very close to the one used on "Doctor X". However, Die Form never bluntly repeat themselves, but simply cherish what has proven to work and enhancing it with new explorations in sound, rhythm and song structure.
For someone who is just being introduced to the world of Die Form the music and visuals might seem perverse and unpleasantly disturbing. A closer look and listen will reveal that none are more skilled at portraying dark sensuality with elegance and beauty than this remarkable couple. "There is beauty in darkness" has never been more appropriate and Die Form's art can be extremely alluring to one with an open mind. Extremum isn't any less alluring than Die Form's older work and perhaps even one step closer to the perfect artistic achievement. It is definitely the band's most complete album to date, filled with amazing electronic compositions and the tasteful exploration of forbidden phenomena. Fichot reinvents himself once again, still managing to mesmerize like no other with both his music as well as his unique photography and artwork (which always deserves to be mentioned and is simply mindblowing this time around).
Incomparable, untouchable and unrivaled...that's Die Form.
01. Resonant Magnetic Source
02. Deep Inside
04. Radiomorphism 1+
05. Animal Magnetism
06. Operating Theater
07. Electronic Brainpan
08. Itopsia Atropos
10. Transgressions 1
11. O.T.E.D. [Oral Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction]
12. Transvocal Mutations
14. Radiomorphism 2
is available through Metropolis Records in the US, as a regular cd
edition. Die Form's European label Trisol offers, aside from the regular
jewel case, a larger "cd box" version limited to 3000 copies.
European label: http://www.trisol.de
US label: http://www.metropolis-records.com
~reviewed by Wolf
Now that Battery (and apparently Ivoux as well) are no longer, the former band members are all focusing on their own projects. While Evan Sornstein is working on Curium, Maria Azevedo and Shawn Brice have been focusing on Dia. In its sound Dia is closer to Ivoux than to Battery, but there's more percussion present than on Frozen and the overall feel is less desolate and sad. Integration seems to mainly deal with relationships and the different types of emotions they can invoke. The Dia site describes it as follows: "Emotional, sincere and full of life, the six songs on Integration bring the listener through a wide range of intense human expression." And judging from the lyrics this is also a very personal collection of songs, which only adds to their beauty.
The cd opens with "Core", a calm and serene composition of dreamy melodies and slow, rhythmic percussion. Maria's voice is stronger and more compassionate than ever before, singing about the doubts and fears that come with loving someone. "Home is where you belong" continues in the same beautiful vein, with percussion slowly increasing in volume and eventually exploding with some of the most touching words:
"here are my arms"Heat", however, is a dark, lurking composition, filled with anger and the complexities of control. Could have been a Battery song, but I think it fits better within the concept of this cd. Another ode to love comes in the form of "Stealing the cold from your mouth", a simple yet surprisingly effective composition of uplifting beauty. "Elan" has the musical feel of Ivoux, although it's more positive and the lyrical content focuses on the amazement of having found that someone you've been waiting for.
here is my heart
thank you for falling into them both
here is my soul
here are my dreams
thank you for always staying so close
here are my tears
here are all of my fears
thank you for keeping me safe
here is my voice
everything that I am
I love you with my life"
"Lullaby" brings a quiet and peaceful end to the cd, guided by gentle melodies in the style of a true lullaby and Maria's beautiful voice singing her loved one to sleep. The perfect ending to an intimate account from these two talented musicians.
Even though Battery is gone, as long as Maria and Shawn continue to produce beautiful music such as Dia I'll never lose my faith in music. I would, however, really like to see that follow-up to Frozen some day. (hint hint)
(Integration is a self-released cd and can be ordered directly through Dia's website for only $13.00 .)
02. Home is where you belong
04. Stealing the cold from your mouth
Official site: http://www.diamusic.com/
A Mix CD for Promotional use by DJ Nacht
~reviewed by The Rev. A. Strangerz
Taken straight from the board of a set at Communion. DJ Nacht sometimes gives this compilation to enthusiast or patrons of the Gothic/Industrial clubs in LA. This track list shows the creative manner in which DJ Nacht mixes classics with some newer songs. Look here for an interview with DJ Nacht soon.
(Club Communion Promo)
- DJ Nacht
2)Heart of Darkness - Wench
3)Sadness (Violent Mix) - Enigma
4) Miss Pr o Defunctis -Industrial Monk
5) Ad Mortem Festinamus -Qntal
6) Fairytales -Alice DeeJay
7)Stern -L'âme Immortelle
8)Whispering Trees -Soil & Eclipse
9)Drool (Mother ) -Switchblade Symphony
10)Blacklist -Legendary Pink Dots
11)Deception -The Crüxshadows
12)Christian Says -Tones On Tail
13)Marilyn, My Bitterness (V.2) -The Crüxshadows
14)Everyday is Halloween -Ministry
15) Oh My Goth -Razed In Black
16) BONUS TRACK
My copy has When Bad People Kiss, I don't remember the artist, but it is a take off of Lounge style vocal Jazz. Very funny. "When Bad people kiss, I am kissing you still..."
O.K. so there are a few songs here I sometimes never want to ever hear again , (that happens when you have been involved with a scene for too long though. ) Still when I throw in this mix C.D. I find the arrangement refreshing enough to just bop along even through "Everyday is Halloween". A song I try to trick other DJ's into playing so I never have to put it on my setlist. (Whatever, I'll play any request, but you get the idea. ) My complete and utter respect goes out to Nacht for this compilation, and his setlist.
more information contact him at email@example.com
Cavin Bablin (Mother)
2) Opium (NANO)
3) Dry Rice (Mother)
4) Interrogated (NANO)
5) I an your garden (NANO)
6) Le Secret Dolorous (Music; Mother, Vocals; NANO)
7) Oblivion ( NANO)
8) Temptress (music NANO, Rx by Mother)
There are two versions of the first CD demo out from NANO. She may differ, but I think she should use this one as oft as possible. It shows a good contrast between her direction, and the direction of DJ Uneasy of MOTHER.
The opening track , 1) Cabin Bablin, is a great piece of Trancey Techno. No vocals, but a nice dark mood.
The accompanied song by NANO is 2) Opium, and it works so well in contrast, that you can almost see her taking the direction from Mother, and then adding the subtle voices, the violas, and the calmer arrangement. This makes the techno element more palpable for many gothic, industrial, and ethereal music fans. The classical training, mixed with the Techno training is awesome.
3) 'Dry Rice' is a bit more standard as far as Techno songs go, yet very intense as well. The answer from NANO is the completely complimentary 'Interrogated' A dryer deliver of the vocals , spaced out, like a female Trent Reznor. " Scru- tin - ized , demoralized , immortalized, immobilized..." . Combined with classical vocals you'd expect more form the likes of 'Attrition'.
4) 'Interrogated' is my favorite, and the ending is the same type of over driven Techno., but in this composition, it serves a more sever purpose, and rips up the dance floor, as the emotions from the vocals drift in and out.
5) 'I Am Your Garden', another song from NANO, starts off with he same tabla beat, that you get form the works of TEST DEPT. or Larry Thrasher, who works with Psychic T.V. and others. Once again, the opera voice of Regan, is intention you listening to the story. This is a story worth following. This DEMO, or self release, had better be reproduced someday. you know, after NANO hits it big.
6) 'le Secret Dolorous'; A melodramatic opening, in the vein of 'Portishead' or some various 'Wumpscut' tracks. breaks into a kick back beat. Here is the Trip-Hop that Regan speaks of in her interview (click here for that )
7) 'Oblivion', another NANO only release. I have inside info that Regan is in the studio making more songs. I don't expect to get a recreation of a classic like this. luckily this rare demo can be experienced in part via mp3.com http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/142/nanobeat.html . It runs so smoothly into the next song
8) 'Temptress' (Rx by Mother) , that you are tranced out , until you realized the pace has picked up, The vocals are more present, an your being tempted by miss Regan of NANO. Temptation so sweet, you wonder why it is called that. Like there is some doubt that you are going to dive in? If you can? Well this is a good start. Until the next album, and the possible tour.
~reviewed by Steph
I'm swaying in front of my computer right now with a smile on my face. Eternia is in my CD player and the volume is turned up loud.
Eternia hails from Australia by way of the UK, and musician/vocalist David Quinn has assured me that he will not be offended if I compare him to Joy Division. Eternia, like Joy Division, create music that is deep, dark and beautiful, and David vocals borrow much from the dour Mancunian legend who lives still in musical mythology. Where Curtis was stark, however, Quinn is richly emotive. The instrumentation is layered and strongly melodic, a throwback to the heyday of 80's dark pop music. Guitar chords churn in and out of a sea of drum beats and sound effects, each rising and falling in accord with the other. Quinn has an unerring sense of when to turn up the intensity, and when to just let it drop away. From Dungeon's Luxury of Doubt is a truly beautiful album.
"Rain" is likely to garner Quinn the most overt comparisons to Joy Division, as his vocals on this track are eerily reminiscent of Ian Curtis. Over a steady computer-driven beat, Quinn asks "Will you ever love me?" while a lovely, mournful guitar line spirals in the background.
"Shattered" finds Quinn moving away from the basso profundo vocal style. This is a mid-tempo number that rises and swells unexpectedly and thrillingly.
"Eternal" is almost poppy, and certainly one of the tracks on this disc most likely to lure you unto a dancefloor. The steadily churning guitar line is almost trance-like, and then it spreads out, turns almost psychelic, and you feel that you could follow this music anywhere.
"Why I Hate Children" varies sparse, delicate moments with heacy grinding guitars and melancholy vocals, a more overtly goth oeuvre than the others.
"Adore" bursts into life with fuzzy layers of guitars from which the vocals gradually emerge. Just when the song threatens to become monochromatic, finely tuned harmonies kick in and hover gently in the background.
"Electric" is a low droning track that slinks along, all stealth and feedback. You won't be expecting the uplifting wash of sound that carries you away at the end. This is one of those songs that you pray to hear in a club so that you can feel like you're dancing forever.
"Drown" rises slowly, the guitar growing ever louder as the tension in the song builds. This track reminds me a lot of the Swans at their melancholy best.
"Hidden" starts off with an electro-drum beat that leads into aggressively swirling guitars. Quinn seems to be exploring his vocal range on this track, and the effects are lovely. His voice has a very appealing mid-tenor quality when he's not trying to force it into the lower registers.
From Dungeon's Luxury of Doubt is a worthy debut that gives us much to look forward to. The passion of David Quinn and his collabarators is unmistakeable, and once again, I'm reminded of why I was drawn to goth all those years ago.
Why I Hate Children
The Chapter House
Whitby, YO21 1Rb
Mentale (Demo CD 3b)
~reviewed by Matthew
Over the past few months, I have been keeping an eye on this band and we at Starvox have continuously been kept abreast with this French musician’s endeavours. I was the designated observer, and I very much enjoyed following this project through the releases “Visions” and “Après Les Chaos.”
Monsieur Gebel is quite the prolific musician, seemingly drawing from an endless well of creativity; he keeps on churning releases out in hopes of gaining attention from the underground and possibly acquire label interest.
Again, I have been enjoying Ex Nihilo’s music and I see a great deal of potential for success in these releases, however, I have to say that this current CD-R that is being shopped about doesn’t have the impact of the prior two I have heard.
Where the prior albums had their share of memorable and potentially accessible stand out tracks, “Maladie Mentale” is more of holistic sound scapes of apocalyptic electronics. In many ways, it reminds me of early Velvet Acid Christ only without the necessary rhythmic intensity. Where as there is an audience for more experimental electronic music, the key to success nowadays is to combine abrasive noise with a steady beat. Sadly, if music is not deemed club friendly, it doesn’t reach as high a plain of success as other artists. The only reason I even make the comparison and mention this is that the prior two Ex Nihilo offerings seemed to be geared more so in that direction where as this one seems to be taking a step elsewhere. It is my opinion, frankly, that Ex Nihilo needs to continue much building where those CDs left off as those songs stood out more. On this release, things seem to be rather had to pick out. The latter half of the CD begins to pick up more, but again, I think to put it simply, it could be better.
If experimental electronics are the direction Ex Nihilo plans to head, stronger material needs to be composed. I found a lot of the music here to be rather bland and missing something. The songs are cool but they bleed into one another too much and there is a lot of momentum and build up that never really peaks. Some of the finer moments are “Pierres De Tonnere” and “Maladie Mentale (part 2)” which by simply boosting the volume of the drums, a harsher mix on the drumming could lead both tracks to the dance floor. This as well would have worked on the track “Philtre Of The Dead” which suffered from a weak percussive pound that could have really kicked some major ass!
Also, I think to American audiences, what would really set this band apart as I mentioned in prior reviews, was the heavily accented French vocals. However, the vocals are very sparse on this release, and when they do appear, they are lost in the mix and often processed. I would like to hear Laine’s voice return at the forefront of his programming. There are hints of a mischievous darkwave feel reminiscent of the timeless act Malign from San Francisco on “Struck By Lightening” and the luscious whispers on “Psychotique” but again, I think the drums and vocals were unfortunately lost in the mix.
The music is intense, apocalyptic, and harsh in its imagery and emotive effects. All the pieces are here, things just need to be assembled in a more solid way. Of course, this CD is labeled as DEMO CD 3B, as Laine has several cassette releases that were only demoes as well. Perhaps he is just experimenting and he has something else up his sleeve. With Ex Nihilo, I think there big break could just be around the corner?
1.) Voyage a l’interiur de cerreau
2.) Des Espoirs
3.) Ave Tenebrae
4.) Tetes mortes
5.) Pierres de tonnerre
6.) Les chambers du cerreau
7.) Maladie Mentale (part 1)
8.) Maladie Mentale (part 2)
9.) The Philter Of The Dead
10.) Struck By Lightening
12.) Pullition interieure
13.) Vers nulle part (en la memorie de Pierre Saunier, homme de coeur)
Nihilo – Official Site:
CH-1470 Estavayer-le Lac
"Celebrate the Misery" 7-inch and Circa EP
~reviewed by Michael Otley
Flare's "Celebrate the Misery" 7-inch features a remix of this cut from their debut CD *Botton* with a cover of Everything But The Girl's "Another Bridge" on the b-side. Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields is credited with the shamefully dissonant and muddy "Celebrate the Misery" remix. Merritt adds sleigh bells and reverb to an otherwise crisp band to create a claustrophobic atmosphere. Guitars and bass warble while vocals clash in an ironic chant of the song title. Fortunately "Another Bridge", while a cover, seems more representative of Flare melancholy. Gentle male vocals, from LD Beghtol, combine with slow string arrangements, among other minimal instruments, for a peaceful effect.
To follow up, Flare's *Circa* EP, while short (clocking in at 22 and a half minutes) picks up where their peaceful cover of "Another Bridge" left off. The whole CD is cohesive, and there's no bad remixes on this one. Flare has a crisp and gentle sound that tugs at your heart strings. They're cheesy at moments, but in a very nice way.
The first track, "Triumph of the Pig People", begins with soft vocals and rich strings. Only 45 seconds long, this could be a They Might Be Giants ballad with it's quirky high harmonizing vocals creeping in toward the end. The title track follows beginning with slow and full piano, what could be a Rachel's piece until the voice of LD Beghtol enters. Quiet and somehow touching banjo comes in after the first verse. Later, guitar and banjo compliment each other with uplifting strings and vocals "I really love your paintings."
The lyrics are fairly straight forward, never pretentious. The instrumentation is always interesting yet simple, including various string instruments, voice, toys, and a touch of synthetics for atmosphere. My favorite track is "Anywhere (like the moon)" with piano and strings carrying the song until simple drums enter with string and synthetic swells. Fans of Rachel's, the Black Heart Procession, and even Current 93 might take particular interest in this NYC based band (if they can keep the great Stephin Merritt away from the mixing board).
Scourge of Malice
~reviewed by Michael J.
With little to go on but the rumor mill on the Internet, I stalked the fifth release of Graveworm with reckless abandon. Finally, with little fanfare and beneath my inquisitive radar, Scourge of Malice finally hit the streets and, quite frankly, Graveworm may be the best band few people have ever heard.
has subtly shown immense progression in this album by adding more string
arrangements and Gregorian chants but have stayed true to the formula that
has worked so well for them. The songs are much more powerful and
the music is extremely complex. It’s almost overwhelming at times
but the magic of Graveworm is the ability to create this type of music,
yet keep each instrument on its own unique plateau. The drumming is outstanding
as always thanks to Martin and the guitar work of Steve and Eric is intricate
and heavy yet they lament beneath the spiny surface of the percussion.
The keyboards seem to be more prominent in this release and they mourn
as well. The trademark of this band is the ability to play fast and
hard but yet give the listener a feeling of sadness and loss.
It’s truly amazing especially when you combine this with the angst-ridden shrieking of Stefan.
Buried at the heart of this release lies a tribute to Iron Maiden. “Fear of the Dark” begins as the original version but then tapers off to a beautiful string interlude before punching into the heart of the song. It’s absolutely awe-inspiring and one of the coolest covers I have ever heard.
Each song on here weighs in at an average of five and a half minutes but the songs seem much shorter and the only thing to break up speed of this wonderful ride is the short instrumentals spattered throughout. They are mostly string and acoustic guitar arrangements and are a testament to the bands ability to cross genres and create great music no matter what they are doing.
Scourge of Malice is such a strong album that it met every expectation I could muster and then some. It’s rich, moody, and filled with flawless musicianship. I have held this band in high regard since the first time I heard them and now they have delivered yet another masterpiece. I highly recommend this band to fans of Cradle of Filth and older Dimmu Borgir but don’t expect another copycat band as Graveworm are definitely in a league of their own.
2.Unhallowed By The Infernal One
3.Abandoned By Heaven
4.Descending Into Ethereal Mist
7.Fear Of The Dark
8.In Vengeance Of Our Wrath
10.Sanctity Within Darkness
Stefan – Vocals
Steve – Guitars
Eric – Rhythm guitars
Sabine – Keyboards
Diddi – Bass
Martin – Drums
~reviewed by Wolf
Seeing as this was one of my favorite releases of 2000, I couldn't let it go without a review here on Starvox. If you avoid everything outside of the goth/industrial genre (shame on you...), then you're wasting your time reading this. This cd isn't even all that "underground", especially in the world of progressive trance, but if you have a passion for excellent electronics, then by all means do read on.
Hybrid (consisting of Mike Truman, Chris Healings and Lee Mullins) started out tearing up dancefloors worldwide by doing remixes/additional production work for big names such as DJ Rap, The Future Sound of London, BT, Alanis Morissette, Filter, Energy 52, and more recently Moby (who they've been touring with at the end of last year). An unusual rise to fame, but '99 and 2000 finally saw the release of 2 singles ("If I Survive" and "Finished Symphony"), as well as the full-length debut of this creative producers trio, Wide Angle.
The cd truly is a hybrid of styles, techniques and musicians, delivering a vast array of highly original songs. The music ranges from trance to drum&bass, taking sidetrips into more loungy material, house-flavored cuts and frequently supported by the Russian Federal Orchestra. Vocals are provided by none other than Julee Cruise and Chrissie Hynde, with a hip-hop contribution by rapper Soon E MC on "Sinequanon". Diverse? You bet.
On "Opening Credits" we are instantly introduced to the beautiful orchestral arrangements of the Russian Federal Orchestra. Subtle electronic sounds flutter about as the composition flows into "If I Survive", with Julee Cruise on vocals. The beats roll with great complexity, layered with beautiful string arrangements and delicious electronic effects. Ms. Cruise (yes, of Twin Peaks theme fame) puts up quite a voice, as opposed to her usual singing style, while singing "If I survive, I'll learn to forget the crime...if I survive...but I swear you're going down, if I survive". Definitely a great track to open up with (and the remixes of this song on the single are great as well).
The loungy "I Know" brings more of her vocals, showing a pleasant contrast with the song's frantic beats. An almost disco-style guitar adds to the mix and makes it a rather incomparable composition. The same can be said for "Beachcoma" where a lazy saxophone delivers the set-up for awesome breaks, a featherlight piano and a nice dose of subtle scratching. Then there's the distinct sound effect that seems to be a Hybrid trademark, sounding somewhat like a very deep bass thrown through some modulation filters. Yumm.
Arrangements of highly detailed breakbeats, cut up and reworked with great talent, are Hybrid's main appeal. There's no sitting still to them, especially on a song like "Dreaming Your Dreams". Again the singing and music are of a laidback nature, but the energetic beats spice it up and push this way beyond elevator music. "Snyper" focuses almost entirely on its frantic beats, with a low threatening sound lurking underneath and a sample that sounds like a scream, surfacing at strategic points. Then, just when you think you have the song figured out, the orchestra appears, building up to a gorgeously uplifting crescendo and the beats complementing it all so perfectly that it makes you wonder why classical music and drum&bass don't meet more often.
"Theme From Wide Angle" is one of my favorites, even if the beats start out in a rather typical 4/4 fashion. But have no fear, a house-style club bass kicks in and the beats turn more complex, eventually joined by deliciously modulated sequences. This, in turn, builds up to the strangely mellow guitar part that leads into more drum&bass style beats. My only complaint is that I would've liked another build-up here, instead of having the song calm down, but I guess that shows how unpredictable this disc is.
Then there's the dreamy trip-hop of "Sinequanon", the wild and crazy "Kill City", an exercise in trancy d&b on "Altitude" and the masterful "Finished Symphony". The latter brings more of this beautiful orchestral d&b hybrid, another highlight on this diverse and innovative cd. It's amazing how the orchestra (conducted by Sascha Puttnam) so seamlessly fits its string arrangements to the beats. Or perhaps that should be vice versa. Either way, it works astonishingly well.
The cd ends with the "Red Square Reprise" version of "Altitude", which is way too good to only be 2.5 minutes long (but then again, it is a reprise) and an edit of "Kid 2000". This song features Chrissie Hynde on vocals and doesn't do much for me personally, mainly because I don't care for her singing, but the music is still grade A Hybrid material.
I love this cd. It's so refreshing and well-produced that I recommend it to anyone with an open mind and a taste for good electronic music. The diversity and talent presented here are amazing and I'm hoping to hear a lot more from Hybrid in the future. A collection of their remix and production work is out due this month, so I'll defnitely be getting my fix.
01. Opening Credits
02. If I Survive
03. I Know
05. Dreaming Your Dreams
07. Theme From Wide Angle
09. Kill City [Edit]
10. Altitude [Edit]
11. Finished Symphony
12. Altitude [Red Square Reprise]
13. Kid 2000 [Edit]
Official label site: http://www.distinctiverecords.com
~reviewed by Edwin Somnambulist
Spacepop is the premier work from the Atlanta based group Launch. This is a really mellow CD, and could probably be classified in the spacerock/dreamrock category. Launch takes their influences from the early 4AD years, that magical, wonderful time for music when everything was new and musical possibilities seemed limitless. Though time has moved us past those years, it's wonderful to see that they're not forgotten, and many of the musical avenues associated with those times are still being explored.
Richard Coker has been part of a number of successful bands, including Flowers for Luci (for whom he wrote the popular song "Chemical") and the Cleopatra based group Usherhouse before hooking up with Patrick. Now as Launch, the two have made themselves a familiar name to the Atlanta scene, having played numerous gigs in the city at such places as Dottie's and the Earl. Spacepop is their first self-produced CDEP, and they hope to have a full length CD out in the very near future.
I find this style of music to be very dreamy. With no drummer pounding out a rythm to keep time to, everything seems to flow together naturally. The distortion adds to this effect, topped off with Richard Coker's beautiful, tranquil vocals. This is what I picture when I think teenage angst music.
Spacepop is an all around great disc that would work well played on radio, in clubs, or just for relaxing at home with. I give it a high recommendation.
5. The Dream
Richard Coker -- Guitar and Vocals
Patrick Buckley -- Bass
Musick In Theory and Practice
~reviewed by Michael J.
Once in a great while, a musician will appear on the scene that is so bursting with ideas and talent that one genre of music is not enough to contain them. Le’rue Delashay is one of those musicians. In his latest solo CD entitled Musick In Theory and Practice, Le’rue takes up on a journey with many paths and levels and proves he’s not the “guitarist du jour”.
Glenn Danzig recorded Bl
ack Aria in 1992, I thought that was the coolest thing ever. This, I thought, was the best of both worlds and since then have seen very few of these. Musick answered my nine-year craving immediately when “The Creation of Thought Divine” first spilled from my speakers. Heavy crescendos gush forth and envelop the listener and, just as quickly, subside again. There is no distorted guitar or vocals to be found here. This is strictly orchestrated emotion.
“Chapel Serenades Mv. 1-3” and “Evocation of Midnight Manifests” follow behind leaving a trail of symphonic and beautiful chime compositions in their wake. ”Vanitas” Concerto in G Minor, Op. 16” stands as the last of the original work from Le’rue on this album. The remaining two tracks are interpretations of Beethoven’s “Bagatelles, Opus 13, No. 6” and “The Conjuration”, taken from Walpurgisnacht, The Haunting.
I love it when musicians that normally practice a different style of music take hold of their roots and pay homage to those that inspired them. Le’rue has pulled this off without becoming arrogant and remaining under control. For those of you that would consider him an up and coming musician trying to join the ranks of the elite, beware, for he is already amongst them.
of All Evil Records
Action Hero Superstar
~reviewed by Michael Otley
NYC's Leslie Nuss is an example of a classic case of small town girl meets big city. Originally from Illinois, Nuss is a creative singer-songwriter working with various competent musicians to fill out her catchy songs. Her second album, Action Hero Superstar, is on the creative side of pop rock nodding to artists like Beth Orton and Tuscadero.
The album starts with "Blake's England" acoustic guitar and quiet bass and very quickly comes to a very catchy chorus with electric guitar, rock drums, and multi-tracked vocals. The song is very dynamic and an impressive opener and mood setter for the rest of the album. The following track "So Easily" also contains excellent dynamics, with mid-tempo verses, and break-out choruses reminiscent of The Pink Album Tuscadero. Track 3 is probably my favorite, "Dynamite", with it's very quick and complex percussion (mixture of snare, shakers, and high hat) and ambient guitars. The song has a very interesting instrumental break down with strings before a fading out repetition of the chorus section, probably the most Beth Orton like track of the album. "Roses Red" follows, calming the quick pace set by "Dynamite" and really showcases Nuss's voice and personal voice style.
The entire album is very strong and also rocks, so to speak. The album is cohesive, never straying too far from itself while employing different musicians and musical flavors, never afraid to add the right sound. One of the more notable songs from the 11 track album is the soft "Concert Boy", a seductive song where the narrator attends a Radiohead concert and has day dreams full of lead singer Thom Yorke. If you're into catchy pop rock like Beth Orton, you might be as star struck with Leslie Nuss, who is cute to boot.
Thema Ex Hiberna: Winter's End
~reviewed by Wolf
I highly disagree with reviewers who slam electronic music for its supposed unemotional nature, the ability to create a song by simply pressing a button, or yet the lack of talent and creativity involved. They are further from the truth than they'll ever know and if anyone can prove this then it's lxl. This one-man project from Portland utilizes whatever is in his reach (including sequencing applications written by lxl), proving that the means are still the servants of the artistic vision. The result is inventive, complex and at times quite emotional.
A few years ago Doppler Effect's Undercurrent and Resurgence samplers introduced many talented new bands to me, but none were as convincing as lxl. It was mostly his track "Prophecy" that prompted me to track down his site and order both of his mp3.com cds. Again lx, brainchild of lxl, did not disappoint and presented a wide variety of musical styles on these 2 discs (assisted by guitar/bass player Duckworth McKay on the Scissors cd). Personally I like to think of lxl as the new haujobb. Not so much in style perhaps, but definitely as far as creative vision and originality are concerned.
Thema Ex Hiberna is described by lx as "a three-week Winter Solstice project to help resolve a number of lingering issues". The winter theme runs throughout the entire disc and images associated with this are brought to mind skillfully by the compositions. Industrial aspects are present, but the multitude of pianos and string parts gear these compositions more towards the dark ambient/darkwave genre.The songs flow together effectively, creating a very consistent whole of calm moments alternated with bursts of percussion, piano parts raining down upon obscure sound effects and the occasional mysterious female/male vocals (even reversed at one point). What is most admirable about lx is hist unconventional song writing, ranging from the almost-waltzing elegance of "Delicate" (I swear, it sounds like he sampled a typewriter for this song) to the rhythmic, bass-driven "Cloudsong". Listening to his music is an exploration through rich sounds and ideas, where corresponding imagery (snow, solitude, winter, the cold etc. in this case) is easily evoked.
(The original version of Thema [...] featured a cover of the Cure's "Disintegration", but that wouldn't have been allowed on mp3.com. What a shame...)
On Scissors the approach is more industrial, yet far from what one would call typical. Piano parts are still prominently featured, this time in low, threatening notes of urgency, and each version of the title track offers a new interpretation. The EpicDramaMine mix is indeed rather dramatic, filled with echoing melodies and percussion, while the UnquietRemembrance version features more aggressive beats, a fair share of distortion and McKay's guitar work. CleanStainedGlass focuses the most on the piano arrangements, seemingly combining variations on the main melodic themes of "Scissors" to create a more uplifting track with percussion that could almost be labelled as IDM.
Aside from the three versions of "Scissors" there's the dark and epic "Lost", a desolate piece expanding into a full assault of percussion, and last, but certainly not least, "Prophecy". I could probably write a 10-page essay on how amazing I think this song is, but I'll try to contain my enthusiasm a little. It's one of *those* tracks...shivers and all...on "repeat" for hours...
Low sounds of machinery provide the set-up for infectuous beats, more of those trademark low piano notes and a howling distorted guitar (or something synthesized akin to it). Add in chopped-up vocal samples (the way haujobb treated their samples on "Consciousness" and "Mediaeval"), emerging strings and a melancholy piano ending, and there you have "Prophecy". As with lxl's other work it could've benefitted from better production, but the ideas and execution are so superb that it is all forgiven.
lxl deserves to be heard and with talent like this my Prophecy is that this name won't be unknown for too much longer. Check out his official site or mp3.com for samples of his music and hear for yourself what this man is capable of.
Thema Ex Hiberna: Winter's End:
01. ice and she
03. no more daydreams
07. and ever
01. Scissors (EpicDramaMine)
03. Scissors (UnquietRemembrance)
04. Scissors (CleanStainedGlass)
Official site: http://www.audiophonic.com/lxl/
Official label site: http://www.sonic-boom.com/dfx/
Compilation Appearances Vol. 1
Songs Recorded Between 1990 and 1994 - The Arizona Years
~reviewed by Michael Otley
Although Mike VanPortfleet called it quits on Lycia last year during the recording of a new album with former collaborators John Fair, David Galas, and Tara Vanflower leaving the album unfinished, we do get two more shots at full-length Lycia releases. These come in the form of compilation appearances, compiled into two CDs, the first just released covering the years 1990 and 1994, subtitled The Arizona Years. These are the earlier years of Lycia's existence, though not reaching as far back as 1988, the very beginning, or 1999 the year of that Wake was originally released.
With compilation appearances spanning the early 1990's, much of the album has a bleak and raw feel, most comparable to the Wake release as well as the Bleak side project, though never quite as rough or aggressive as Bleak. Three tracks are different versions of songs from The Burning Circle and Then Dust double CD album, an excellent version of "Sleepless" being the most notable of these. The CD includes both Lycia tracks from From Across This Gray Land No. 2 as well as the= acoustic version of "Everything is Cold" from From Across This Gray Land No. 3, simply one of the most beautiful Lycia tracks recorded with Mike on vocals, acoustic guitar, and non-obtrusive drum programming and Will Welch on fretless acoustic bass. Another stand-out track is the live version of "Wake" with David Galas accompanying Mike on the synth with eerily calculated synthetics.
After Lycia's 1994 black tape for a blue girl covers, originally recorded for the Of These Reminders black tape tribute, Lycia's 1994 side-project Dust follows. Dust, with John Fair returning on drum programs, has a particular return to the Wake sound. Dust compilation appearances included Palace of Worms Records Palace of Worms compilation, the Silber Records Alleviation compilation, among other compilations, some never released. The Dust sessions are more aggressive and less forgiving than other Lycia related recordings, with relentless drums (excepting the more or less drumless "Wind") and almost always continuous guitar on the all instrumental songs.
Overall, an excellent fix for any Lycia fan, I would recommend other albums to a Lycia-curious individual. For the earlier material Ionia and A Day in the Stark Corner are good places to start, with Cold as a favorite later album. The Arizona Years is revealing some of Lycia's darker moments, and with "Everything is Cold" one of the more precious. Front and back cover photos are beautiful as well. Anyone with an appreciation for Lycia already will get a lot out of this release.
~reviewed by Wolf
Formerly known as Thine Eyes, ML [pronounced "m-luh"] is the new moniker of gentlemen Rian, Laird and Tanner. As Thine Eyes they already explored the intricate territories of IDM (intelligent dance music) and released 2 albums on Doppler Effect Records (Christian Sex Loops and My Knobs Taste Funny), but as they discarded the remaining bits of industrial that surfaced throughout the Thine Eyes material, the name ML was chosen to strictly pursue IDM. Last year I had the pleasure of reviewing a Thine Eyes cd-r, which already gave a glimpse of the ML sound, and now there's Pajama Party, the first ML ep, released on Toast&Jam records.
Describing IDM is as difficult as describing the music of any band in the genre. Often it seems that anything goes, as long as it's complex, unique and far away from the formulaic nature of most other forms of electronic music. Occassionally humor is part of the IDM sound, in which case Aphex Twin comes to mind of course. And the most noteworthy IDM artists are without a doubt Autechre with their meticulously detailed sound manipulation.
ML produces a soothing type of IDM, laidback and seemingly of a simple nature until you've heard it several times and start paying closer attention. It does seem more stripped down than the older Thine Eyes material, but the layering is more subtle this time around and the sounds are carefully matched up with one another to create a very consistent overall sound that is a lot more dense than it originally appears to be.
The main element of almost every track on Pajama Party are dreamy melodies, timelessly drifting nowhere, layered with quirky basslines, strange sounds and quite effective percussion. This percussion consists of careful placements of assorted bassdrums, snares, hihats and other elements. The rhythms change often, avoiding repetition and providing endlessly fascinating headphone sessions with this disc. My recommendations are "Red envelope", "Actor, Martin Donovan" and "An approach to...". The songtitles are cryptic as always and in combination with the music this often leaves you thinking that you're being left out on the story behind the songs. Or left out on a joke, in the case of "Take that, pants", where uhmm...farts become part of the song structure. (Perhaps that's all it is, a fart joke?) Well, there's a first time for everything.
Pajama Party is a great ep, provided you're into this type of music of course. And if you like IDM then you know it can't really be described, but simply has to be experienced. ML seems to be the matured version of Thine Eyes; intricate, subtle and highly fascinating. Definitely recommended for IDM enthusiasts.
And the pants song? It'll be legendary before you know it. Pajama Party is only $3 ppd, so get a copy before you miss out on all the fun!
01. Red envelope
02. Actor, Martin Donovan
03. Take that, pants
04. Hear the story, read the book
05. An approach to international business management
06. Pawtucket, RI
08. Let's be Japanese girls together
Official site: http://www.thineeyes.com/
Official label site: http://members.nbci.com/headphone/
Under the Flesh
~reviewed by <