AUTUMN "The Hating
~reviewed by Blu
Hailing from Minneapolis where they formed in 1995, Autumn's been called "ethereal with an edge" by Carpe Noctem Magazine. Produced by the legendary likes of William Faith and Chad Blinman, and photography and graphic design by Clovis IV, The Hating Tree quickly gained notoriety for its sweeping vocals and atmospheric music. With only Neil McKay on guitar and drum programming and Jeff Leda on bass and cello; they manage to produce a full, heavy sound that suitably backs Julie Plante's amazing vocals. Not only is her voice strong and overwhelmingly emotional; her lyric writing is fueled by real-life experiences - often traumatic and bitter which make this CD all the more powerful.
The CD opens with the bitter but dancey track "How It Came to Be This Way" which Julie has been quoted as saying, "this is a song about my life." Her vocals soar, almost operatically, over the more than capable guitar playing of Neil and the rumbling bass accompaniment of Jeff. She sings, almost elegantly roars, "for when the hour has broken us/we shall wonder - wonder who it was/and how it came to be this way/the death I die every fucking day". Similarly, "A Waiting Time" seems to echo the bitter-sadness of past memories while "Even Now" slows it down with liquid smooth precision. Musically, "Seconds" is my favorite song. The bass line slithers like a snake underneath the melodic but forceful tempo of the guitar which sometimes crashes down and overwhelms everything before returning to its strumming. Julie's voice on this one is menacing to say the least. Anger seethes from the core of a soul wronged and struggling to find a way out of its own personal hell as she executes the angsty lyrics over the musical backdrop.
The music Autumn produces is personal and inspired. The songs on The Hating Tree tell a story - a very private one. If you've ever ached, ever felt the pain of rejection or the anger of misunderstandings, ever searched your soul for the strength to carry on, you'll love this CD.
Julie Plante- vocals, piano
Neil McKay- guitar, programming
Jeff Leyda- bass, cello
Label: Tess Records, PO Box 206, Santa Barbara, Ca 93102 http://www.tessrecords.com
The Unauthorized Autobiography of Undead Rock and Roll Music"
~reviewed by Blu
Direct from the underground scene in New York, the CD release from The Brickbats, lovingly subtitled "The Unauthorized Autobiography of Undead Rock and Roll Music," stands up to all my expectations. Having heard this band on other compilations - namely the Black Out A.D. CD from Neue Asthetik, I expected a dramatic witches brew of two-parts The Munsters, one part Billy Holiday rock and roll, with a dash of spooky goth thrown in for good measure. I got that and more.
Besides being extremely entertaining with their outrageous monster-themed music and costumes (see their web page at www.brickbats.com), they're actually wonderful musicians that are doing something quite unique. They have a rockabilly beat that's driven by catchy bass lines and sometimes drifts into an old punk sound. The enthusiasm they put into their performance translates so well on the CD you come away knowing they'd simply rock your socks off live.
The lyrics are angsty and twisted and full of Halloween fun at first listen but if you study a little more carefully, you'll find their souls seeping out between the lines. The playful sounding "Too Many Vampires" translates into a song about the worst kind of heartbreak. "Run For Your Life" echoes more sentiments about tragic relationships - "Tried so hard to sing a love song, this is as close as it can get. Still my guitar's complaining, slightly out of tune. So look at me and tell me the best..." "Undead Rock and Roll Music" has got to go down in history as one of the best Halloween party songs ever next to "The Monster Mash" featuring an addictive bass line by bassist Paul Morden. Corey Gorey's vocals go from angry punk to melodic seduction through out the CD and DW Friend drives them along with solid drumming. My favorite track is the last one, "Hysterical," which I haven't been able to get out of my head for over a week now.
There's something wickedly wonderful here - a mixture of childhood fantasy, true-life horror and tragedy, the cultism of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and the decidedly intelligent creative genius of Poe. There's not much I wouldn't do to see these guys play live.
The Brickbats are:
Corey Gorey: Guitar/vocals
Mr. Paul Morden: Bass/backup vocals
D.W. Friend: Undead Drummer
Web Page: Planet Brickbats
Dismal Abysmal Recordings, PO Box 149, New York, NY 10002-9998
~reviewed by Blu
I bought this CD the other day in a bookstore. It was on an endcap for New Age Music and the name and the beautiful cover caught my eye. Upon closer inspection, there was a statement from the label- "Six Degrees is a label whose offerings include world, contemporary instrumental, ambient, contemporary classical, folk and intelligent pop...At Six Degrees, we are making records that we feel are exciting and unusual. We would love to hear your feedback. Be in touch. Everything is closer than you think."
In a world that seems to be over-run by big corporate materialists - the look-alike strip malls and impersonal chain coffee houses replacing unique independent business owners; a small label like this with such a vision and commitment to meaningful music is a blessing indeed and a rare find. Check out their website to learn more about this unique label.
The music itself is as beautiful as the cover would seem to imply- an artistic blend of ambient and secular moods with neo-classical styles. John Schaefer writes about the resurgence of ambient/old world music in the liner notes:"But maybe, in retrospect, we are simply regaining something that popular music through the ages has had, and that we lost only recently; music as an expression of our questioning, questing selves...as a great sustaining mystery...as an invocation... much of the music on Invocation is not religious at all, but simply aims at something higher than ourselves."
The CD starts with "The Kisses, 2nd Movement" which features violins, viola, double bass, vocals, bass clarinet, and piano. The voices come in quietly and layer upon layer more music is added as the melody builds. Suddenly you are left with an achingly mournful violin that is finally comforted by the vocals. "Persephone (Nue)" is a soothing mixture of classical instruments, computers and synthesizers followed by "Tsintsqaro" which is the pastoral Georgian song that Kate Bush has covered before beautifully done with three vocalists here. Then things take a slightly more upbeat turn with "Polegnala e Todara" which features The Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir. A nordic landscape is the setting for "Ars Moriendi" while Gregorian chants and Sufi mysticism are elegantly combined in "Popule Meus Quid Feci Tibi?" "The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary, part 1" follows with its secular inspiration and "Isolation Part One" and "Avening" take the listener on a more futuristic spiritual path. Estonian lullabies are the inspiration behind "Marjal aega magada" but my favorite on this CD has to be the eclectic "Oppenheimer."
Oppenheimer starts with a haunting speech by J.R. Oppenheimer taken from the NBC news archives laid against the sound of empty wind, " We knew the world would not be the same, a few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent... I remember the line from the Hindu scripture...is trying to persuade the prince he should do his duty and to impress him, takes on his multiarmed form and says, 'now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.' I suppose we all thought that one way or another."
The piece then trembles and waves and vibrates between overlapping Hindu scriptures, Latin Mass, and Jewish Laments. The combination of these deeply religious melodies strung so artistically together is nothing less then stunning, sadly beautiful and intense. Rather than make a statement on religion, it speaks the state of being human and the trials that entails.
The songs on this CD are an inspiring mix - some good for those moments alone in contemplation and some that be appropriate even in the dark romantic settings of a goth club. The vision is working well for this label - Invocation is a solid, well made, beautiful collection.
Six Degrees Records, PO Box 411347, San Francisco, CA 94141-1347
~reviewed by: Anthony Flores
Loomer is a band hailing from San Francisco, by way of Detroit. Lynda Mandolyn (Inside Out, Lickitty Clit, Fabulous Disaster & Piston) and Hugh Caley,make up the band. Apparently,they've been a studio project since 1996 when they played their last show in the Mojave Desert. It struck me as an interesting locale. I think it would be an ideal soundscape for such lushly textured songs. You'll find great vocal harmonies, samples, shimmery guitars, and bass. I can praise the lyrical content as well. A mixture of ambient and noise; it is extremely listenable. In my opinion, this band needs to come out of the studio. I think live shows would really support their recording efforts.
"I Don't Know What you Want From Me," besides being a long title for a song, is also a standout track. Ambient, atmospheric, processed guitar parts, the controlled pleading in Lynda Mandolyn's voice, all worked to make this an effective exercise in commiseration. This was beautiful.
"I'm Coming Down," is another well crafted song. The percussion sets the beat for the intro. The vocals are uncanny in their ability to swing the ear from one part to another. I like the versatility and inventiveness of Mandolyns singing here. This is a voice with a lot of potential, given strong material. The guitars again are an effective complement to the whole. I love it when a thing just works.
I want to mention "Nitrous," because it's a great song. But more importantly, because as beautiful as this album is; it is also interesting to listen to. The album as a whole and this song in particular, challenge the listener. There is a lot to listen to and for. Intriguing vocal effects throughout, a great composition. I liked this,especially.
I have been really pleased with the material I've heard lately. There are some very capable, even gifted musicians out there. I would place Loomer,in that category. I liked this album, I think you may as well.Loomer is:
Lynda Mandolyn- vocals, guitars, bass, keys, sequencing
Hugh Caley- guitars, bass, keys, sequencing
Serge Vladimiroff- guitars, bass, keys, sequencing
Web Site: Loomer
Label: Evil Eye Records, P.O. Box 640264, San Francisco, CA.94164
Machine In The Garden One Winter's Night
~reviewed by Admortem
It is not surprising that Middle Pillar chose The Machine In The Garden to be the first band to represent them as a music label. I have been buying from Middle Pillar for years because of their specializing in ethereal, neo-classical, and darkwave music. It is by no coincidence then, that the first CD to be released on the Middle Pillar label features all three genres of music on one beautifully composed selection.
As the title of this CD suggests, One Winter's Night extracts the same cold, dark beauty that is felt on a night in winter. The sound of this CD conjures images of walking about on snowy December nights, feeling the numbness of frozen air creeping through the body, with the sight of ominous tree branches that possess life of their own in the darkened sky - with Summer's voice bringing warmth like snowflakes falling lightly upon eyelashes.
Every song on One Winter's Night lyrically expounds upon the illusions of the melody. A perfect cohesion, the words carry with them the icy air of night. Each composition, though individually distinctive, continues on within that same illusion. It is only fitting to conclude, then, with these words from the song Ex Oblivione, which provides some of the most chilling, descriptive imagery:
These are my last days my last dreams
Unfamiliar stars shine in foreboding skies
Soft rain taps lightly on my cold body
Journey under the world into dreams of mist
Silent trees flowing in the moonlight across shady groves
Drifting through the valley twisting, gnarled trees
In forgotten woods finding desolate stones
Arches through walkways beneath overgrown castles
Haunting in the world of dreams flying in the mists of trees
Vines and stones veil them now where labyrinths grew
Loving and vibrant comes the light from behind the shining doors
Laid within the antique wall I pass in to
I'm blending and bleeding into nothing
Being with no one
These are my last days
My last dreams ~
Roger Frace-sequencing, guitars, bass, vocals
Summer Bowman-vocals, sequencing, flute
Label: Middle Pillar
~reviewed by: Anthony Flores
"Sacred," is a plum ripe for the picking. This is Margot's follow up to her self titled debut released last year. That album saw a lot of radio, US, UK, and Canadian club play. I don't think this album will be any exception. It's ripe for some cool remixes.
You may be asking yourself, "Who is Margot Day?" Well,as lead singer of The Plague, she was present at the birth of NYC's Goth scene. She's credentialed and has a diversity of tastes that I found intrigueingly fascinating. She's worked with Adam Yauch, of Beastie Boys and Jim Thirwell of N.I.N., among others. Without further ado, let me introduce you to Margot's "Sacred."
There's so much to praise about this album. It's no secret I like best what speaks to my heart and mind. Margot accomplishes both with great writing and musicianship.
The album opens with "CyberDreams." It is a lush, otherworldly landscape of small house beats and synth, joined to vocals that entwined themselves about the whole. Sound waves of pleasure lifting me up on their crest, only to set me gently down again.
"Sacred life," starts out with an almost martial beat. It proceeded to glide effortlessly, back and forth between martial and mystic. A marching song for ones spiritual journey.
"25th Hour," was a potpourri of sounds. It was fascinating to listen to as a lesson in training the ear. It was like an audio Easter egg hunt. That spelled fun for me. My ear appreciated the challenge.
These are only a sampling of the plums I picked from Margot's tree. I really liked this album. There's so much out there that offers nothing new. If it is a repeat of the old it is more often then not, badly done. Margot has imagination, depth, talent, and most importantly, something to share. The fact that she can share it in a fresh and intriguing manner,makes her worth looking into.
Web Site:FUTURE RECORDS: MARGOT DAY
Future Records, 871 Via Abajo, Santa Barbara, Ca. 93110
A Murder of Angels
"While you Sleep"
~reviewed by Blu
Just in time for Halloween, Middle Pillar Presents gives us "While You Sleep" by a Murder of Angels. Long known as one of the best gothic/ethereal music distributors, Middle Pillar is finally dabbling in producing some spooky music of their own and I, as a big fan of theirs, am quite happy about it. My personal bias aside, "While You Sleep" is a terrifying exploration of soundscapes and nightmares. Put away those Halloween sound effect tapes you had as a child, this is scary cinematic music for grownups guaranteed to creep you out. (Try sitting up late one night and listening to this while you read a scary book*!).
The songs range from spooky sounds, rhythmic exploration, seductive melodic chimes, some sparse ethereal singing to digitally enhanced dialog scattered over top. My favorite tracks (so far) have been "Melting Across the Night" which features a haunting monologue and "Suspended in Frozen Misery" with its sulfuric cauldron-bubbling. This is a CD that can be listened to over and over again - the tracks so craftily engineered that you hear different sounds every time as your ears dissect the layers. I find myself wondering how spooky this would sound played in the lounging area of a dark club, yum! Congrats guys!
A Murder of Angels is:
Bryan Dall and Derek Rush
Webpage: http://www.middlepillar.com (check out their selection of CD's ..I swear I spend all the money I make hereI should own stock!)
Middle Pillar POBox 555, New York, NY 10009
*Dawn Song by Mike Marano (winner of the best new horror novel WHA)
The New York Room
The Color of Midnight
~reviewed by: Anthony Flores
What can I tell you about The New York Room? Well, not as much as I'd like to. I don't have a press kit, and their site provided no biographical information. After a couple web searches, I have little to report. I can tell you this. They have two full length releases, 1991-1995, and The Color Of Night. They've seen inclusion on a few compilations to date. Aside from that, I can only say, that this band blew me away. The music, is profoundly moving. I haven't stopped listening to it, since I received it. There is not a weak cut, on this disc. This is the soundtrack for the after life, that is, if you're deserving of great reward. This is faint praise indeed, for a band that took me to a new place, altogether. A place, that I'll visit as often, as I can escape to it. Gentle reader, for your edification, I offer The New York Room.
Right out of the gate, their cover of The Rolling Stones "Paint It Black," is outstanding. You hear a lot of covers these days, most fall far short of their intended homage. Not so, this excellent interpretation of a great classic song. Sara Dellingers vocals, wring every vestige of emotion from the lyrics. I always liked this song, but Sara truly has "Paint(ed) it Black," for me. I can't thank her enough, bravo...masterful, stupendous.
"O'Mio Babbino Caro," by Puccini was absolutely delightful. It was short, but sweet. This is the kind of interpretation, that makes me fall in love with classical music all over again. The soaring range, and emotionally charged delivery of Leslie Boughton, was sublime.
"The Anatomy Of Melancholy," is another great track. Percussion, piano, and vocals work together separately, and in unison. They play upon the emotions, with a sensitivity and sympathy, that cannot fail, to leave you untouched.
There are so many great cuts, on The Color Of Midnight. I've never been fond of comparisons, I understand the desire to stand alone, upon the singularity, and integrity of ones unique vision. But, for the sake of a band, that I'm convinced is deserving of far greater success, and exposure..I'll draw these comparisons. If Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins, and a few equally distinguished bands were blended together, the result would be The New York Room . It is an abundant mix, of cover, classic, instrumental, very original work, worthy of a very large, and equally original listener base. You could do no kinder thing, than to add this uncommon, and infinitely worthy album to your collection. You deserve the best, and you'll cast your nets wide, before you'll find a worthier group than The New York Room.
The New York Room is:
Matthew Ervin-piano, keyboards, percussion, drum programming, samples, loops, arrangements
Derek Menchinger-acoustic and electric guitar
Web Site: The New York Room
Label: St. Thomas Records, P.O.Box7427, orange, CA.92863
~reviewed By: Black Orpheus (A.F.)
Reprobus hails from New Jersey. If you're anything like me; his name may not ring a bell. I'm privileged to correct that. He may just be one of the states greatest exports since Frank Sinatra, and Bon Jovi. Reprobus is the indomitable crafter of intriguing electronic soundscapes, that challenge and mesmerize the ear. I was delighted to have discovered his new disc, and to bring him to your attention. Read on ferocious listeners...
"Adoration," is aptly named. It's an outstanding piece of musical craftsmanship. There is a delicate piano part that carries throughout. When this part is wed to the succeeding effects and beats, the result is...the darkside of a spiritual experience. I adored this near gothic gem.
"Mantra," is worthy of your ear as well. With its understated beats and electronic effects: it became a meditation piece for me. I like to listen quietly, in a blackened room. It is only me and the sensations inspired by the music. Does it bring me closer to my conception of god? There are moments, yes.
The third song to seize on my attention was "Awakening." As with the previous two the title seems particularly astute. It feels like starting from a slumber. Sleepy and dream like; and then the beats kick in. Electronic music that transcends expectation. It feels good to be awakened to the possibilities of such music once again.
"Sonoluminescence" held more then just a passing moment of pleasure. I may have found my faith again. In an age that is known for substituting effects for real talent and creativity; Reprobus renewed my dwindling interest by way of heart. I see a talent that will only grow and deepen in its complexity.
Reprobus Is: Himself - writer, producer, engineer, and programming
Web Site: Reprobus Main
Light Hello darkness
~reviewed by Anthony Flores
I discovered Shadow Light not long ago. I caught one of their shows here in Seattle at The Vogue . I was so taken with their show that I sought out their amiable frontman, John Clough. I asked to hear more of them, and this is what I heard.
"Hello Darkness," is the second full length release of this local band. Their first release was Into The Shadow Light on Ivy Records. Johnhas worked with local band Faith&Disease among others here in Seattle. With his musical bloodlines it should come as no surprise that this album is a nice piece of work.
The opening track is "Call it Emptiness." I have to say, this is not one of my favorites. It is a decent songin general. But the keyboards, robbed me of any real enjoyment I might have had. They reminded me of those Casio keyboards that some of the luckier kids got way back when. I felt they really worked against the mood, which the rest of the music had so ably established.
"Memories Of Dying," was very well executed by comparison. I was particularly partial to this track. It had a really laid back kind of groove, with a prominent conga ?.. percussion thing going on behind the vocals. A little smooth Jazz, meets Goth... This is cool. I appreciate the willingness to infuse the genre with some unexpected elements. That is often a delight.
"Gothic Pose" is a charming tongue in cheek indictment of Gothic styleover substance. It's a pleasure, to see the poseurs taken to task. I liked this.
"When We Pretend," was another song I liked. I enjoyed the guitar licks here. The song worked the mood was established and maintained.
"Lingering Doubt," is a morbid musing upon death and decay. It's also a good song as well. In closing, there was "Last Chance." It's a remix off their first album Into The Shadowlight on Ivy Records. It's another really strong song, with great guitar, vocals, and arrangement.
Shadow Light is a promising band. I know their heartis in the right place. The "right" place is a "dark" place. Hello Darknesshas its faults; BUT it has its merits. This band, will only get better. Judging by the guest appearances on both albums, I'm not the only one who believes in their budding abilities. I expect to see, even better things to come.
Shadow Light is:
John E. Clough-Vocals, Key & Drum Prog.
Jeremy Hill- Drums, Percussion
Web Site: Tragick Records
& ECLIPSE Meridian
~reviewed by Blu
Every once in a while a CD comes along that's perfect from the get go - no listening to it a couple times to let it grow on you, no digging and analyzing deeper meanings just to appreciate it, nothing but perfection on the first listen. Soil & Eclipse's second release - Meridian, is such a CD. You just KNOW this one will go down in goth history as one of those staples and must-haves in everybody's collection. The press release heralds it as "Music from the heavens for your digitized enchantment" and that wouldn't be an exaggeration. Although individually diverse, the songs ranging from swirly ethereal beauty to awesome dance mixes, the CD itself is a solid, cohesive composition that suggests Soil & Eclipse is a mature, well-defined band who's off to an exceptional start. Not only is the music well composed and mixed, but the lyrics are beautifully crafted poetry. (And if you know me, you know I'm a lyric snob if the lyrics suck I don't care what the music is like its gotta have SUBSTANCE!)
The CD starts off with "Poetry of Angels" that has a catchy dance beat not unlike that of good Depeche Mode in feel although Jay's voice is much deeper- almost operatic at times and then shifts down to a seductive whisper at other moments. The title track "Meridian" and "Valhalla" are more club-friendly dance songs with a bit more punch and angst followed by the slower, dark electronic "Thief of Always." "The King of Lies" appears twice - once in its original form with those deep masculine vocals as a focal point and again as a re-mix with more electronics and bass. Also worth mentioning is the way this band uses synthesized classical elements (earning them the title of "neo-gothic"). "Lycanthropy" starts out with a soft harp and then suddenly morphs into an industrial song complete with vocal effects; "The Haunting" has a sweet piano/music box sound; and "Tempest in a Spark" is an emotional roller coaster of pipe organs and harpsichords. "Divinity" sports the best set of lyrics in my opinion and starts out almost ethereal in quality before engaging in a driving beat. "Exile" is my favorite track (although it's hard to pick just one) with the way the vocals and lyrics smoothly cascade over and counteract the electronic melody. With their talented but diverse musical style, Soil & Eclipse are sure to please even the darkest of souls.
Soil & Eclipse is Jay Tye and G.W. Childs IV
Technical Support: Nerve Factor
COP International: www.copint.com
Suture Seven Aversion
~reviewed by: BlackOrpheus(A.F)
I was lead to Suture seven quite by accident. While I was web researching my Advent Sleep review; I discovered Elton Nestler's (formerly of AS) new project, Suture seven. It takes it leave of Advent Sleep's Egos & Eros gothic tone for the equally fertile ground of industrial dance. For the most part, it is an effective introduction to the band. It is not without its weaknesses, but nothing that can't be over come. Their part, in four international releases between them, would attest to their overall experience. Given that they've shared the stage with bands like Switchblade Symphony, Christian Death, and Coal Chamber among others; I think they may be approached with confidence.
First off the disc is "True." I think this is one of the albums strongest tracks. Manipulated vocals and steady jackhammer beats keep this song in motion. It's has tremendous energy, it's always got me moving. There is a sense of despair in Jamie Gibsons voice when he sings "nothing you know is true, everything is new." He is overwhelmed that there is little constancy of truth in the age in which we live. The truth changes from one moment to another. This is perhaps my favorite track on Aversion. I will say this. It needs more inspired sampling. By way of compliment, I think the song is a worthy candidate for a remix.
"Dead" is another fine example of the bands abilities. If you haven't noticed the song titles are very succinct. I like that. The story is in the music itself. "I should stay, but I think I'll go, ten minutes later I'm dead on the road." Heavy, aggressive, industrial beats introduced by spatial, atmospheric effects; this is "Dead." Oh, did I mention the shredding guitar work of Elton Nestler? There is nothing like listening to inspired guitar work.
I liked 'Lived." It opens with an industrial intro, metal striking metal. The groove by comparison to the rest of the album is very laid back. "I can make you cry, I can make you sigh, I can never make you, what you really want to be." It strikes me as the questions posed by a man who has experienced what it is to live. Not in the sense of biologically functioning, but actually feeling the extremes of emotion. It is very effective as a musical inquiry into the trial of existence.
Suture seven has a lot going for them. They possess talent, but talent alone won't take them where they want to go. I'd like to hear more inspired samples, writing, and greater compositional complexity. They can and need to distinguish themselves from everyone else. If they can do this, you'll be hearing a great deal of them in the future. Also, as an addendum, they may want to provide greater biographical information and a lyrics section. This would be to their benefit. They are worth a listen, and I recommend them. They are young so I'm willing to forgive their shortcomings. I see near faultless material in the future given attention to the details. Because as MichelAngelo once said, "trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle".
Suture Seven is:
Jamie Gibson- lyrics, vocals, noises
Elton Nestler- programming, guitars, bass
Web Site: Suture seven
Label: Sarx Records, P.O. Box 251, Hummelstown, PA 17036-0251
Volume1:Music From The Gothic, Darkwave, and Ethereal Underground Various Artists by Cleopatra
~reviewed by Anthony L. Flores
Today, I received the most extraordinary double CD compilation "The Unquiet grave," from Cleopatra Records. It consists of 32 tracks of demos, and self released material, submitted to the label. If this is indicative, of the talent waiting at the door; then let my voice join those crying out from "The Unquiet Grave".
I have to confess, I'm a long time fan of the Cleopatra compilation. I am nearly always, pleasantly surprised by their bold, and original choices. They are nothing like those repetitive, and redundant compilations of '80's New Wave out there. If you're blessed with the opportunity, to put forth a compilation; it's a pleasure to see that it embodies passion and killer instincts. Once again, I'm proud to say Cleopatra delivers on their legacy. "The Quiet Grave," is a great example.
Disc1, was my introduction to Magenta's "Eccentricity." The vocals are first rate, and the music tight. This is a really strong piece of musicianship, infinitely listenable. If it isn't a radio/club staple, I'd be surprised. It reminded me of Curve, but I like this more. This was the opening track, and only the first that seized upon my ear.
Another outstanding track off disc1, was Advent Sleeps "Vision In Black." Lyrically, it is unusually articulate, and evocative. It is the perfect center piece, for a finely crafted song. I hate to make comparisons, I'm sure you can make your own. I will only say, that I was impressed. On the strength of this song, I hope we'll hear more from Advent Sleep.
Sauce For the Future's "Sulfur Trails," is one of my favorite songs at the moment. Sci-fi atmospherics, a doom/gloom organ effect; this is the stuff waking melancholia is made of. It is a strong track, and a must hear. If my ship ever comes in, this band will be playing on the Flying Dutchman.
These are my disc1 favorites. Gossamer's"Run",remixed by Wayne Hussey(MissionUK), is worth noting as well. But make no mistake, personal preferences aside; there are no dogs on this disc. Taken in its totality, it is all great music. I was introduced to some new bands here, and I'm excited enough to follow up on these initial offerings.
Disc2, is also a treasure trove of ear pleasers. Android Lust, gets my first vote with "Heathen(A Thousand thoughts)." What an incredible song. If it doesn't end up on some indie film soundtrack, bolstering some implied mood of paranoia and fear; I'll be surprised. I would have included this on The Blair Witch Soundtrack. It is that creepy, and I say that in the most complimentary way. This is one of my personal favorites, I listen to it endlessly.
Tapping The Vein's "Butterfly," is a close runner-up for favorite disc2 song. It starts out innocently enough, builds to a climax, and then the petit mal. I love the energy of this song. It touches upon the full breadth of emotion, it is above all comforting in its way. It's odd how I feel my heart open, and constrict with swell and ebb of its refrains.
Alchemia's"An Explained World", is another song to take note of. It's reminiscent of Dead Can Dance, in a passing way. It has a very meditative, sacred music kind of a feel to it. Visions of temples, burning incense,devout,berobed men in prayer...this Alchemia conjured in my mind. Not a bad thing, I'm in need of such sometimes.
The Unquiet Grave, was an incredible experience. It was a model example, of why this music means what it does to me. In an age when style seems to consistently run roughshod over substance, it's a comfort to have an experience like this. It's good to know, there are people out there, that are creating great music out of their sensitivities to the world around them. These people offer me things, I can feel and experience. Entertainment is great, but if that's all there was; we would have needed to create this music. Kudos to Cleopatra, and the very deserving artists I encountered on "the Quiet Grave."
Cleopatra label Group 13428 Maxella Ave. #251 Marina Del Rey, Ca. 90292
CLEOPATRA INFORMATION PAGE
Our Black Orpheus (AF) talks to Michael Bann...
I'm here today with Advent Sleep. If you haven't heard this band, I strongly encourage you to seek them out. I think you will find your efforts well rewarded.
1) What can you tell me about the genesis of EGOS AND EROS, and "A Vision in Black," in particular? To what experience(s) would you credit its origin?
Egos and Eros was in my mind for some time... I have been writing for ages... I actually had no need to promote until I realized that I personally had a lot of people I knew who did music...and some of it was my favorite...and not because I knew these people...and I thought how sad the rest of the world might not hear this music.... So I then shifted gears...I wanted to release at least one CD that might make some sort of mark... Something I could have when I was old and gray and say.... "I participated in my time..."
Vision in Black was just that ... it was a fantasy I had... Of a woman...the perfect woman...and how consuming that can be ... how much more powerful than anything else in the world passion and seduction can be. How sweet and deadly all at once.
What do you consider the primary themes of Gothic music?
Melancholy... Death... Things people would consider "Dark"
3) Do you feel the themes are generally used as a dramatic device or as an authentic exploration of the dark side of the psyche?
Being vocal about something you think about isn't a device. Some do obviously, and usually it comes off as silly... For me it is the opportunity to share my dreams and thoughts. My philosophies...
4) I find Gothic music to be informed, articulate, and insightful for the most part. This has always drawn me as a person. How about you? Do you feel the willingness of bands in the past to create horror movies in song made a caricature and stereotype of Gothic people? If so, do you think we are overcoming that misconception?
I recall one time an article on the evils of music...you know how Satan travels through rock recruiting our youngsters....it cautioned parents on the obvious perils of your children listening to Heavy Metal....and I found it interesting that they actually mentioned Gothic music...they said even more frightening than Metal, Gothic music contained an intelligent, educated delivery of dark messages ... to be very concerned if your child gravitated to this..... And I have always thought that...articulate indeed... I can't help but think all the great minds of the past would have found great artistry in this genre. Overcoming it? We are ourselves overcoming it. The world has not yet. Will we as a scene? If we forget about trying to, I think that would be the best way. Don't worry about it. Water erodes all things...in time.
5) Tell me about the band. What are your individual backgrounds? What do you feel each person brings to the creative process?
I can only speak for myself. And the band pretty much helps flesh out the parts I write. Advent Sleep thus far has been the entity that executes my musical thoughts ... but just as an actor cannot lay claim to the parts he reads...he has infliction, he has style...the others who've contributed to Advent Sleep have a similar role... The play would still exist without specific actors...but they do affect it.
6) Who, if anyone, do you count as influences and for what reasons?
Musically or overall?
Musically in order of exposure to me.... The Beatles, Buddy Holly, Tommy James, these acts were critical in my appreciation of melody and hook ... how can you escape something catchy....even if it pisses you off and you hate it otherwise? Ramones, Sex Pistols, Boomtown Rats, Lords of the New Church power...energy, anarchy... these bands got me primed for the aggressive music that followed it.Sisters Of Mercy, Mission UK, Siouxsie and the Banshees...The groups struck me as they had power and beauty... a melding of feelings that never before were merged...Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson. What can I say ... some of the first listenable as music abrasive music you could hope to find... I consider Mansons first album to be pretty much rock. NIN well..... secret...I consider Trent to be one of the only modern geniuses of music.
This ages Beethoven or Wagner...not direct comparisons only of magnitude and importance. Believe it or not Dave Brubeck, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Greig, Chopin... Some big band too... the Dorsey's... Gershwin.
When I was growing up my mother had these collections from Longenes Symphonette Society ... each set of 3 LP's covered a style... I listened to them all...I didn't know there were categories to rally behind...there were elements of each I liked and remembered...and surely the music I write is my minds inability to reconstruct all this music it absorbed through my early years...I really do feel there is nothing completely new...just people adapting what they've heard and liked and making it their own ... like a voice is to an individual.
Overall would be Clive Barker, Lovecraft, Poe, the Bible specifically the Apocalypse Movies....Everything by Hitchcock, Burton. Will Wonka, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.... Caligula, The Hunger. The classic horror movies. Randomly... Helmut Newton, Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Skin Two the magazine... Places...cities, urban decay...New York, Philly, New Orleans....the small towns New Hope and Jim Thorpe in PA...And really ... life experiences. They always find their way into my music.... I am all about moods. All the other arts....moods...I see images and think of music...or sounds evoke sights in y minds eye ... all things touch you in one way or another...why not become this organism that ebbs and flows in relation to all that surrounds it?
It's a shame but religion affects me too ... not in a very positive way most of the time...I suppose it's because so much of it is man soiling the beauty of the thought...man using it to serve his needs at a given place and time... a lot of the atrocities and inhuman practices of a lot of religions really make my blood boil... The hypocrisy of their teachings vs. their actions ... and how so many would easily deny another's opinion and beliefs though by and large the beliefs were the same just not attached to the particular franchised religion they follow.... Sorry..I really shouldn't get started there. You don't have that kind of time.
7) I was really proud to hear Advent Sleep wasn't one of those bands interested in promoting counterproductive attitudes of unapproachability,etc., Tell me about your feelings concerning this.
That's so silly to me.... We are all people. There may well be someone who reads any of this who has artistic tendencies that just might find some more fuel to further their work... Others have positively affected me to do this, to share ... and you know what...people thank me, thank me for doing it, for trying ... somehow something we've created has meant something in someone ' life... Please ... this interaction is part of it all. I welcome it.
8) For a band who enjoys such a high esteem among Goths, how do you feel about Andrew Eldritch's comments as regards the genre, and what prompts such comments in your opinion? Do you think their impact is positive or negative?
We nearly threw our hats into the ring that fateful show they did in Philadelphia some summers ago...good friends of mine were selected for the bill, The New Creatures, subsequently they were canceled... I did photograph the event however and sorry to say for Eldritch it was not an Industrial crowd, it was not a Metal crowd...no, it was the single biggest gother of goths I have ever seen.
It is negative to him not the genre.
I only ever hear him refereed to as gothic...some would say the godfather of it all....
9) Most of your material has been self released. Tell me, about the plus and minuses of this arrangement. What are you looking for, in record contract terms?
That is necessity. The labels that release this music are very small often the artists as labels. Few are large enough to release others than themselves. The big gun(s) have most success with compilations or re-releases of older material ... and I am sad to say are even getting away from the genre ... when was the last time Cleopatra gave us a new Goth Band?
I can only hope CD's like the UnQuiet grave will give them good indication that some of these new bands have a following...people should get vocal about it ... email them! Now! Do it now!
Think about the underground...Wax Trax is defunct I believe.... I won't wager the health of TVT at this point..... Road Runner? never had goth anyway ... everyone else is tiny. It's about distribution. The internet may be the saving grace....
In a record contract? To know the disc will be available in the outlets. That they will get it to the DJ's that they will do some advertising....
10) Any plans for a new album? If so, when? How about a West Coast tour? Seattle? Convergence?
Yes, a new album featuring five or so songs from Egos & Eros ... the ones on the comps...the ones DJ's play a lot..... three tracks that have been available on singles... That already get airplay all over the planet..and a few remixes-instrumentals... I am also working on a book.... I may just craft the CD to correspond with the book as a soundtrack situation... The book and the CD will probly be titled Look Away My Love. I have so many stories caused by the band over the past three years ... it is all very cinematic in quality... Oops there you have it...it might be quite screenplay worthy.
A tour? We wanna tour this entire country, the world ... to see the planet was one of the original reasons to try to promote this at all....as soon as it is financially viable this will occur. We all have to have day jobs you see. Logistics are difficult unless you are independently wealthy. We will keep trying rest assured.
Thanks for speaking with me today. It was a pleasure to introduce you to the StarVox audience.
you so very much for doing so, the pleasure was all mine
Web Site: Advent Sleep's Home on the Web.
Today, I'm speaking with Volker, of the german band Girls Under Glass..
1) As a genre, and state of being; in what way is "Goth" reflected in your life and music? Would you say it lends itself,to a particular temperament and emotional predisposition?
As a genre and as a state of being I can tell you none of us have anything to do with "Goth". I also would not define our music agoth-music. We are very much influenced by the some wave bands of the 80's and try to combine this with our own idea of melancholic & atmospheric music. It´s no political understanding of something we only try to transport feelings and emotions with our music. Of course humans and experiences change, thats why mainly all our records sound different. We are not always melancholic, we can be sometimes even depressive, but also aggressive. So there is no certain scene we want to see represented by us. GUG is GUG. Thats all.
2) Between the '80's and this moment is a lot of experience. How do you feel about "Goth's" prospects for the next millennium? How has it failed, and how is it succeeding?
Because I'm not part of the goth-scene, and I'm even not interested in it,I'm definitely the wrong man to ask about the goth´s prospect for the next millenium. I don´t have a fu.... clue. I'm interested in development and progress and not in transporting a certain idea of goth-live-style from the 80's. There are not many gothbands I like, especially not the Americans bands like Christian Death, Mephisto Waltz. In the middle of the 80's, I was into that kind of sound. But I was always much more interested in electronic music, such as Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, Ulravox, Visage etc. So I never felt as a part of the gothic-scene although we had many fans from that scene.
3) To quote Alphaville, are you "Big In Japan"? If not, why not? What do you think of your chances, for cracking that market?
I don´t know any band like GUG that is big in Japan. Even Sisters of Mercy planned to go there a couple of weeks ago and now it is cancelled because there is not enough interest.I would like to play in Japan. As I I would in Brasil, USA, Africa or anywhere else in the world, or do you think thatJapan is something special (?). The European music that is interesting for Japan is definitely not the kind of music I'm interested in (mainstream rock and Euro-Pop and boy-or girlie-groups. Thank you.... it´s not us
4) With the US release of "Nightmares," what kind of reception are you anticipating?
I don´t expect anything. We will see what happens. We trust and believe that Van Richter is doing a good job for us, and next year we'll see where we stand. When I know where we are, I will expectations for next steps we could do, but in the moment we are at the very beginning. The experience shows that Americans are NOT waiting for German bands. Apart from Rammstein or KMFDM there are no other German bands with a comparible sound that are successful in any case, so why should we be?
5) Would you say club DJ's wield more power than the radio DJ, in influencing the listening habits of the more independent listener? Do you think their active participation, could really push "Nightmares" on to more than modest success?
Good question! I don´t know how the American market works. In Germany you can´t break a act through club-support, you need the radio. In America you have big advantage of having lots of college-radios that CAN play alternative music. In Germany there is no real radio-scene for our kind of music so here the clubs and DJ´s are very important. But it´s not enough to make a band successful. It depends on so many different things like"image", "presence", that is nottransported by radio or club but more byTV and print-media. So any media-presence is important.For the amrican market I have no idea how it works. I can imagine because of the size of the states it must cost a fortune to promote a band in all American states and cities. I would be very lucky if could answer the question yourself and tell me whats goin on in the states. How should I know?
6) What do you think the chances would be for touring as the opening band, for one of these resurrected '80's bands we see taking to the road again? Any interest in such a proposal?
Yeah, defintely. There is nothing wrong with bands that reunify themselves. I loved the Bauhaus-show, Iam still a big Numan fan, I heard that The Cult are playing in the states again, and thats also great.. There are much more elder bands that just can´t stop doing the same shit again and again although they should better stop I definitely would love to support one of my early heroes.
7) In the Goth-Industrial-Techno arena, what largely unknown bands have caught your ear, and for what reasons?
I like Madonna, Massive Attack, Julee Cruise, Type O Negative, Paradise Lost, The Tea Party, Gary Numan, Placebo, Manic Street Preachers, Filter and NIN and some others. No-one of them is unknown. To be honest, for years I couldn´t see any new interesting German band because there are no good new bands. Thats why the most successful German bands are the old ones like Pitchfork, Wolfsheim, Deine Lakaien, Das Ich. All of these bands stand for a ceratin , special and unique sound. My view is that it´s not really worth to watch out for great new bands. If they are great you will get to know them. But I must also say that my private taste of music became more commercial in the last years. There was a time when I was especially watching for new , unknown stuff and I became to know stuff like Godflesh, Slab!, Kode IV, Digital Ocean, Single Gun Theory, Schnitt 8, and many more acts that are practically unknown in Germany. I like all of them but since years it´s not worth watching out for these kinds of new acts. Mostly Iam just dispappointed.
8) We know Van Richter chose the title and song list for "Nightmares." But had it been your choice, what title and songs would you have chosen, and why?
We trust Van Richter to do the the right thing for USA, because he lives there and not we. We have released 10 records with 100 songs alltogether. They are all good and they could all be on a best of compilation or at least on a compilation that explains the idea of the band.
9) What would you say, is your favorite G.U.G. album to date,and for what reason? If you were to do a cover album, what songs would you want to cover? Give at least six examples..
We WILL do a cover album, although we did many cover versions already. But it´s always good fun giving this songs a GUG stamp and see what they sound like. We just did "Frozen" of Madonna, a brilliant version that will hopefully be released by Van Richter end of this year or beginning of next year.We would cover Wall Of Voodoo "Mexican radio", Garbage "Happy When It rains", Sparks "Never Turn Your Back On Mothers Earth", Tuxedomoon "Creature Of The Night", Black Sabbath, Neil Young "The Needle & The Damage Done", Bauhaus, T-Rex "20th Century Boy" , maybe David Bowie and some other stuff. Why? Why not?
10) Tell us, if you can, about any ideas you might have for an album of new material...
just released a new album in Germany "Equilibrium" that hopefully come
out in USA via Van Richter in the next year. Our plan is not to play too
much live because we are tired of playing live. We will concentrate on
acouple of festivals (Zillo was a big success, we have 2 more festivals
this autumn). The other plan is to get a good maxi-single together. We
are convinced that our "Frozen" version could become a big or small success,
so we are waiting for some remixes to arrive in hamburg. With this remixes
we will have a maxi together with new stuff, remixes and this brilliant
coverversion. This single will be released in the states first before we
get it out in Germany. Thats all the plans we have in the moment, apart
from doing another album in the next year.
Interviewer: Anthony Flores for StarVox
More Info on Girls Under Glass can be found on the VAN RICHTER RECORDS website.
Today, I'm speaking with Moses, Kullf, and Myk of Testify, about the band and their new album "Crack The Mind", on VanRichter Records.
1) How do the German origins of the band, reflect on the music, if at all ?
Moses: I don't think that we make a specific teutonic sound
Kullf: You come from a very Industrial area - that MUST have influenced you
Myk: I think these are phrases. As the question was. Nothing's ever new. All phrases.
How do you feel about being dubbed the next Ministry?
Kullf: I am not firm with the newest Ministry-release. Haven't heard it often enough.
Moses: We will never be the next Ministry. Ministry has become poor.
Myk: That is what numerous people say, even countless. So it is a phrase
Do you find their work still relevant in the late '90's? What differentiates
your material from theirs?
Moses: Ministry seem to have missed their path of development. Our material is more song-orientated ... with real hooklines
Myk: Which means more conventional. More sort of rotten-old phrase-like stuff.
Rascal & Myk, what do you feel you've brought to TESTIFY; in terms
of musicianship and experience?
Kullf: Myk and Rascal and Lo, the first Testify-guitar-player - they definitely have messed it all up! ... With what they have built on the first album - all these EBM-sequences, very paltry drum-patterns and absolutely thin guitars - agrh! weia. Inferiour sound made by electronic-freaks.
Moses: And experience, harr! The experience how to endure hundreds of gigs with an average audience of 28 listeners - that's what they were able to teach us
How does "Crack the Mind," build upon the collective work of TESTIFY?
Kullf: The riff and basic-work of Moses and myself have gained more stress of
importance - that bettered the whole thing. Myk of course destroyed everything in the end setting his voxes on the fine arrangements
Moses: Bull for the first time sang background voices...
Kullf: He should have sung the foreground voxes
What would you consider to be the strongest remixes, on "Crack The Mind"?
Kullf: The beauty of the Quest Of Nothing-Warzone-Pharmaceuticals-Mix is an aesthetic that all Testifylers fell for.
7) Do you consider your live shows, to be as effective at communicating the music, as the recordings? Would you say more so, or about the same?
When we have a real good evening our shows might even outmatch our recordings
Myk: Sounds like a phrase to me
What does your tour schedule look like for the immediate future? Any plans
to play anything akin to an OzzFest, or even any desire to?
Moses:Tour schedule, harr! There will some autumn-activities, but we have plenty of time in between - so much time that we could...
Myk: write a fantasy-novel in the mean-time
Kullf: And the script for two or three movies
Myk: Hmm. Not enough time for the two scripts I fear - unless it were pornographic movies, where the conversation is shortened to: Aaahrg! Do it again, but deeper and harder and faster and spill your....
Moses: next question, perhaps
Realistically, where do you see yourselves as a band, in the next five
Kullf: Five YEARS? I ask myself where we be in five MONTHS!?!
Moses: In roundabout five weeks I don't think that Testify still exists
Can you give us a glimpse, into the next album; or is it still to early
Myk: We have material; but nevertheless it is still too early for that question.
behalf of StarVox.Net, I'd like to thank you for your time. It was
a pleasure, and we hope to see you in a city near us soon.
Interviewer: Anthony Flores for StarVox
More Info on Testify can be found on the VAN RICHTER RECORDS website.
A.D. Tour -Faith and the Muse;-Judith;-DJ Scary Lady Sarah;-The Changelings
@ the Masquerade- Atlanta, Ga August 8, 1999
The evening opened up with our local favorite - The Changelings, debuting a new song for us as well as playing old favorites. Always delightful to hear, their musical preciseness never ceases to amaze me just as I am always stunned by the beauty in Regina's voice that's matched only by Paul's violin playing. Even Dj Scary Lady Sarah was tempted into dancing (she did, infact, dance through all the sets with enthusiasm---weee!).
Sarah then spun some uber goth tunes (a thankful relief from the screeching metal they *were* playing when we first came in <shiver>) and handed out gifts as we waited for Judith to come on stage. Chris and company were fun- reminiscent of old SoM in dress (tophat, long coat, glasses) and musical style. Their drummer was kicking major butt as was their guitarist despite the cast on his hand. Chris's vocals were yummy as usual.... how I love those deep voices. They did a spiffy cover of "Save a Prayer" and then got the crowd dancing with some of their more well-known songs like "My Passage" and "Mirror" (my personal fav). Brian of DeadAir fame was in heaven I think at one point calling out..."I love you" to which Chris replied, "Gee, I love you too."
More tunes from Sarah did little to ease the anticipation among the crowd as they gathered in front of the stage to wait for Faith and the Muse. Finally six heavenly beings dressed completely in white graced the stage. Unfortunately I don't recall the names of all the great musicians they had with them, but noteworthy was Chris from Judith joining them and a wonderful girl on cello/bass who, despite technical difficulties throughout the show with her instruments was quite a trooper and refused to get frustrated by it. Their presence on stage was impressive and they hadn't played a single note yet. Monica had bright redish hair complimented by an elaborate head piece and an outstanding Victorian dress. She was small and pixie-like but had the voice of a Siren. She smiled and cooed at the audience and radiated friendliness. William on the other hand was a towering figure - larger than life (plus 2feet with hair like a majestic mane) and quite serious all the time. His accuracy and confidence when he played was over powering and definitely put the sting into some of their faster, guitar based songs.
They opened with Scars Flown Proud from their newest CD which was simply amazing to hear live. Its my favorite new song - quite an anthem for goths in general. I love the lyrics. At one point during the concert I went back to our table to take in the crowd and stage from afar- all the swirling bodies and emotion coming from the band through the people in the audience. Two in particular caught my eye - a beautifully graceful girl full of life and radiating (beautifully pregnant in a long sweeping black maternity gown) - swirling, twirling, sometimes with minute, precise movements of passion and pain- slowly slowly then whipping into a frenzy with the beat. All that gracefully complimented by her male counterpart, swaying around the edges of her dance space, intricate and elegant in every move of his own. Together but separate - their dancing a compliment to the musicians and the music that was being played. Infact, the energy on the floor was incredible - people moved by the music, swaying and dancing...
Also worthy of noting: William Faith dedicated a very impassioned guitar solo to our own Michael Overstreet (of DeadAir fame again). At the end of the show the crowd clapped and cheered up a storm and demanded more. Nick and Damon from the Changelings were up front with me saying, "Yeah, we need more of that..." Soon they appeared again - white and ghostlike through the remaining smoke to finish up with "Mercyground". People danced and danced like there was no tomorrow. It was one of those concerts you just wanted to keep going and going but finally the lights came up and Sarah started spinning again. She started right off with one of my personal faves "Monsters" by The Cruxshadows that kept a handful of us on the floor in front of the stage dancing. I had the privilege of meeting Chris from Judith and Moncia. Both were very nice to speak to and patience with the people waiting to speak to them.
All in all I've got to say that it was one of the best concerts I've seen. It was so emotional and beautiful that if you weren't moved by the music in the least, you should probably audition for this winters "grinch" role.
Thanks to all the musicians
and to DJ Scary Lady Sarah for making it an amazing night.
Written byBlu;Faith and the Muse;Judith;Neue Asthetik;The Changelings;DeadAir;The Masquerade
TAPE FOR A BLUE GIRL:
With Faith& Disease
The Fenix, Seattle, Wa. June 29, 1999
Faith&Disease is a Seattle treasure. It is Dara Rosenwasser that makes the band a gift without boundaries. It is on the strength of the bands very able musicianship; that Dara's voice can transport her listeners to such strangely comforting realms and back again.
Faith& Disease took the stage a little after 10pm. They proceeded to play a short 60 minute set that opened with "Hashivenu", from Fortune His Sleep, as well as the song of the same name. Dara was assisted on vocals by Charlotte Sather. "Hashivenu" is a personal favorite of mine as well as others; if the applause was any indication. The Faith&Disease experience is akin to attending a program of sacred song within ones inner cathedral; such is its effect upon the senses.
Although there were some minor technical issues as regarded feedback, the band persevered. They went on to cover three songs from their 1998 release Insularia. These songs included "Cocoon", "Perhaps.. Persephone", "and a beautiful "I Come And Stand At Every Door". "Crown of Thorns," from Beauty and Bitterness and a total of four new songs rounded out the ten song set.
Black Tape For A Blue Girl debuted in 1986 with their first full length album The Rope. The story really began in 1983 when Projekt records was conceived by band founder Sam Rosenthal. It was a means to release the music of local Electronic & experimental bands in his Florida community, as well as his own. Projekt has become a hallmark for integrity and commitment to quality.
As One Aflame, Laid Bare By Desire is their eighth full length recording. It continues the bands articulate exploration of the longings of spirit and flesh. Desire from a distance toward one unaware is the theme. The album is strongly influenced by the work of French artist marcel Duchamp. His pervasive influence was crucial to the development of Surrealism, Dada, and Pop art.
Black Tape..., took the stage just before 11:30 pm in their first Seattle show. It was the trio of Sam Rosenthal, Lisa Feuer, and new vocalist Elysabeth Grant that launched into "Given" off As One Aflame... It was the first of four off the album that also included "Your One Wish", "ent'racre" and the song of the same title.
Elysabeth acquitted herself admirably as lead vocalist. Her voice was strong, palpably emotive. Lisa Feuers flute, and backing vocals were the ideal accompaniment to Elysabeth; classical surrender meets modern demand for satisfaction.
We were blessed with an appetizer of songs from those albums most familiar. "Could I Stay The Honest One", from Chaos of Desire; "Touch and Darkness" off the Ashes In Brittle Air album; and "A Good Omen" from The First Pain To Linger were just a few of the standout, standards of the band. They also played their contribution to the compilation album "A Cat Shaped Hole In My Heart," - the inspired "Majestic As A King".
This band speaks to me in a way that few bands ever have. It is a poetic voice that articulates all the pain of longing, all the pleasure of having won the beloved, and all those places between the two points. Poetry in motion, liquid and undulating. If you have the capacity to be silent, to listen, and most importantly to FEEL the music, you won't walk away unchanged.
Written By Anthony
c/o Ivy Records 1904 third ave #1015, Seattle, wa 98101.
Black Tape For A Blue Girl c/o Projekt P.O. Box 166155 Chicago, IL 60616;The Fenix, 315 2nd Ave S, Pioneer Square, Seattle,Wa.
with Mortiis; godhead; Diet of Worms; Nocturne @ The Galaxy Club – Dallas,
September 27, 1999
On a balmy Sunday evening in September, the darkly inspired of Dallas congregated for a night of music lead by some of gothic rock’s most wicked and well-known prophets. One of this century’s greatest violinists, Lord Yehudi Menuhin once said “Music creates order out of chaos; for rhythm imposes unanimity upon the divergent, melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed, and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongruous.” Menuhin’s words became reality in the sights, sounds, and spectacles put on by this feast of performances sampling from a wide variety of musical styles.
Our first course was a captivating appearance by Dallas’s own Nocturne playing selections from their new release, Twilight. The drums of their opening track, “Dead Sea” had a certain electricity that carried throughout their set as well as having provided a rough and lovely heartbeat through the rest of the evening’s revelry. A notable piece was “Phyrrhic Victory”, warmongering in style and an ingenious blend of driving guitar lines, well-selected samples, and glory in the form of a female voice. Singer and temptress, Lacey Conner, captivated the audience by intertwining herself with the melodies she put forth from angelically innocent to seductively demonic. Finishing out their set with another incredibly programmed track, “Monarch”, they left a lasting impression. Nocturne is definitely an act not to be missed!
Next on the bill was Diet of Worms. Hand picked by Christian Death, they took the stage with full on force, and singer Damond spellbound at least one young lady who was quoted as saying “He’s SO hot!” Highly influenced by both the synth-pop and the metal of the 80s, their songs carried a sense of the unique along with the familiar. With a synthesized start and a metallic drive, my favorite of their six-song set was the title track of their self-released CD, “To Thine Own Self.” That’s right, this band is unsigned. Maybe this tour will be their lucky break. Surely the friendly likes of Damond, and the great conversationalist/guitarist Punchy deserve a reward for their hard work!
Definitely beyond your typical stereotype of the middleman, the third of these five fine sets was godhead with their atypical approach and an apocalyptic style. They have managed to achieve, with perfection, the hard edge of electronica while continually breaking for a haunting calm. Bursting forth with a real attention-grabber by the name of “The Reckoning”, they played their set with a continuity and energy rarely found in live performances. In the final lines of one of my favorites of their set, “Penetrate”, frontman Jason Miller put across a clear message: “I’m not going to imitate”. They held up to their words by carrying a style all their own, making even the aspects of their act that are frequently done seem entirely one of a kind. Always a fan of a well-done cover, their take on “Eleanor Rigby” was thoroughly impressive. They carried their adaptation with such originality, that even as a Beatles fan it took me two choruses of dancing in my seat to even realize it was a Beatles cover! But not only are they a fantastic group of musicians, they are an incredibly down to earth bunch. You will find no haughty rock-star attitude here! I had the opportunity to speak with Jason briefly several times throughout the evening, and each and every time he presented himself with unprecedented grace and charm that made me feel as if I was speaking to a new friend rather than a traveling musician. Having played tracks from their recordings from early last year entitled “Power Tool Stigmata”; I am anxiously awaiting a new release from them as well as future shows.
I truly feel privileged to have been able to be present during such a manifestation of musical majesty as was displayed by Mortiis. He opened with the marching beat of “Towards the Gate of Stars”, a sample of his newest album, Stargate, to be released in the US on October 19th. Not only did this Scandinavian resident stand out among the other groups he toured with, but he also carries a sound unique to anything I’ve ever encountered. Described as dark ambient, his compositions are of eerie soundscapes combined with a foreboding rhythm pounded out by a trio of drums. Seamlessly layered on top of his well-orchestrated arrangements, he incorporated an ethereal female vocalist, and strategically placed his own diabolical hiss. What’s quite striking about his use of the human voice in his work is that it isn’t the melody-carrying lyrics of most modern music, but instead he uses it as an instrument in and of itself. His masterpieces are truly something to be experienced, and I highly encourage you to do so should you have the good fortune.
Of course, topping the night off, we have Christian Death. A stage decorated, ironically, in pure white flowers and tulle. Bedecked in white satin gowns and tulle veils, they appeared one by one in mock processional style to pick up their instruments and begin to play. When all had arrived, newcomer Miatri stealthily erupted into the lyrics of “To Die With You”. Often when a vocalist is replaced in a group, the band as a whole loses the edge they once carried. This is surely not the case with Miatri, who added her own distinctive style while keeping with the femme energy that Gitane Dimone had once given to the ensemble. On the next song, “She Never Woke Up”, Valor entered with his signature laid-back dementia style of singing.
They carried on in full splendor for several tracks until they exited briefly, only to return void of their pure white frocks and in their decidedly death rock style black attire. Their change in physical style also manifested itself in a change in musical mood, and they continued with some of their more fast-paced works like “Out of Control”. What really stole the show, however, was when Yaal, the lovechild (if you will) of Valor and Gitane was introduced as “The Antichrist” to perform “A 9 is a 6” in his youthfully piercing voice. After the show, while affably signing the endless autographs, Valor proved that he lives up to the definition of his name in his response to a highly personal (and probably painful) query of a fan. A gothic rock staple, Christian Death is a band that will endure.
This was one of those tours where one wishes that they were built with a biological camcorder so to experience the show over and over. With 5 remarkable bands, and almost 6 hours of music, this was a night I will not soon forget even without a cinematographic memory.
Written by ::CyBeRiNa
FLuX::;Photographed by ::CyBeRiNa FLuX:: and Per Nilsson
Nocturne http://www.nocturne.cc;c/o Hallows Hill http://www.guavajelly.com/
Diet of Worms http://www.dietofworms.com
c/o World Entertainment http://www.monmouth.com/~worldent/ P.O. Box 3095; Seabright, NJ 07760
godhead http://www.godhead.com;c/o Sol 3 Records Sol3Rec@aol.com
Mortiis http://www.mortiis.com;c/o Earache Records http://www.earache.com/;Mazur Public Relations Tel: (609) 426-1277 Fax: (609) 426-1217 E-mail:;firstname.lastname@example.org www.mazurpr.com
Christian Death http://www.christiandeath.com;c/o Cleopatra Records http://www.hallucinet.com/cleopatra/; Galaxy Club 2820 Main Dallas, TX (214) 742-2582
The Razor Skyline with
Tri-State Killing Spree & Fockewulf
The Fenix, Seattle, WA. September 9, 1999
Thursday,must have been an auspicious celestial event. I had the good fortune to catch an outstanding triple bill. It consisted of The Razor Skyline, Tri-State Killing Spree, and Fockewulf. They deserved a far greater turnout than the fifty or so people there. But promotion for such shows being what it is(sigh), it was an intimate gathering.
As has become the custom here of late, the show didn't start until after 10PM. Tri-State Killing Spree opened with the entrancing "Strong Hands And Makebelieve." The music is an intricate tapestry of musical textures- the singing, and poignant lyrics of Sean Sonnet; the unexpected and delightful violin that Jyri Glynn brought to the collage; Thomas Atwell's guitar like the warm beating of birds wings; and Matt Bognes bass lines, like rain on the window panes. It was a sadly brief set consisting of only six songs. Two of the songs I particularly liked were "Antarctica," and "My Socrates." Interestingly enough they can be heard on MP3.com - Tri-State Killing Spree. Tri-State Killing Spree, while inexplicably named, was a pleasant discovery. They have a new album out, see their web site for details.
Fockewulf was next up on the bill. This is R.Williams new band, familiar to some of And Christ Wept. They opened with "I Am God," from the lauded demo Dominus Et Deus. The band was dynamic and compelling. The addition of vocalist Severina has only enhanced the music. She was beautiful and charismatic. The range and emotional depth she brought to songs like "I Am God," with its spiritually tinged lyrics, was near indescribable at moments. R. William with his aggressive delivery was the perfect complement to the Fockewulf duality."Terror And Withdrawal," "Frail Doll," and "Creamatoria," were among my favorites of the night. I believe some of the material was taken from the numerous compilations they've contributed to. They also have a new album out- "Die Toten Weg." Strong electronic-industrial material, an energetic stage show I could liken to Razed In Black, in some ways, made this a great experience.
Headliner Razor Skyline, is also celebrating a new release Fade And Sustain. This follows on the heels, of their first 1996 release Journal Of Trauma. On the strength of tracks like" Queen of Heaven," that album went on to become a COP International best seller.
Razor Skyline opened with "Strangeness." It was strangely affecting. Karen Kardell was a vocal powerhouse; equal parts chanteuse and diva. She came on with an energy that was contagious. One could liken her to a force of nature and that would be no small exaggeration.
"Queen Of Heaven," was well received. I know,I was anticipating it, as one of the few songs I was familiar with. Corey's guitar work was touched by forces unseen. It was amazing to feel some of those licks fan the room to flame. He possessed so much poise for someone buffeted by a force of nature. Calm, and serene he was masterful in his unflappability. He was the rain, to her winds...
"Hex," and "See The Light," would be well worth eulogizing for their good work upon the small, but obviously appreciative audience. The set was over before I could even begin to truly live through the music. I wish I could adequately convey the artistry of this band. Alas, I own no music from which to revisit the place,they let me glimpse. But I will, and encourage you to do the same. I've always said great art is felt, before anything else. At least, this is my truth. Razor Skyline made me feel thrice over. I still feel the music, though it's only echoes within me now.
Written by: Anthony
Flores *photo by Ken McGrath from The Razorskyline web page
The Razorskyline; COP International,981 Aileen St.Oakland, CA 94608
Tristatekillingspree, address band questions to windravenrecords@ email.com
Fockewolf -ADSR Musicwerks; ADSR Musicwerks,1106 E Republican Seattle WA 98102
The Fenix, 315 2nd Ave S, Pioneer Square, Seattle,Wa.
Symphony With Doppelganger & Razed In Black
The Fenix, Seattle, Wa. August 25, 1999
Wednesday, the devil took the hindmost. Seattle, was pleased to see Switchblade Symphony return, in support of their new release "The Three Calamities". Opening for Switchblade, was Doppelganger and Razed In Black, playing to a near capacity crowd.
Doppelganger, is a three piece band. I had every intention, of sharing something about them. I asked for their website, which had all the requisite information. I was given a site, that fails to register in my numerous searches. The little I can tell you, is that they are three very attractive women; who also put on an energetic set. They took the stage, just before 10pm. I must confess that technically, though they performed well; I was ...unmoved. Nevertheless, kudos for their efforts; there will undoubtedly be better shows ahead for them. I for one, hope to be in attendance.
Razed In Black, was the find of the night!! No one, was prepared for Romell Regulacions blistering onslaught. I watched the crowd, as they reeled back; as though struck. My lovely companion and I, turned and looked at each other in disbelief. WHERE did this band come from, how had such a talent managed to evade us both?
Rommel Regulacion, hails from Ewa Beach, Hawaii. He composes, performs, and produces. If you are the least familiar, with his prodigious output; it should come as no surprise that he is a marketing major and music minor. Besides "Razed In Black", he has a side project "Transmutator'"along the techno line. He's applied his talents to video game soundtracks, and several tributes, and compilations. I had the pleasure, to speak with him after the show; as I needed his set list. He wrote it out on the spot for me. Now, how often do you encounter that kind of graciousness? Razed in Black, if you haven't heard them...I pity your malnourished ears.
Razed In Black took the stage at 10:30pm, along with one of the most enthusiastic drummers I've ever seen. They opened with "Overflow", off the remix album "Overflow". They went on to cover "Cyberium," off their "Shrieks, Laments, And Anguished Cries." The majority of the remaining set, was culled from their 1999 release "Sacrificed." It included the tracks "Solution, Master, Never Meant, I've Suffered Long Enough, I Worship you, and 'Nightmare." To my mind, it was a faultless set; every song a power tool. I was Shaken, AND Stirred...and my ears were grateful, to encounter yet another... "Razed In Black"...
Seattle, has long carried a torch for Switchblade Symphony. So a rendezvous with Tina and Susan, is always a cause for excitement. Their August 25th show, in support of their most recent release "The Three Calamities" was no exception.
Shortly after midnight, Switchblade regaled us with "Into The Sky." It was the first of seven offerings, from The Three Calamities. I must admit, I was slow to warm to this album; not unlike my reaction to Bread and Jam for Frances. But the more I listened to it, the more it took hold of me. I really believe, that the last two albums material; has been best communicated through live shows. This show was an example of that. There are subtlties of phrasing, textures that are only fully realized live. The privilege to participate, in a never to be replicated moment; is too great a temptation. I live for these moments, and Switchblade Symphony; can be relied upon to supply them.
Never ones to disappoint, half their set were old favorites. "Dirty Dog, Rampid," and "Soldiers," off Bread and Jam for Frances, aroused a great response. "Wrecking yard, Clown," and "Dissolve" aroused the most enthusiastic response by far. No small wonder, Serpentine Gallery, introduced a whole new audience; to a genre long underappreciated by the record buying public.
In conclusion, I'd like to say this. There is a little recognized contingent of artists, toiling away at music and day jobs. These musicians are largely more articulate, and are willing to take far greater risks musically; than corporate creations. When you see their shows, buy their music; you are witnessing the future. You can connect with them through the music, because they are closer TO the music. I challenge everyone, to turn out for these shows. They are a great value, in more ways than one.
Razed In Black c/o Cleopatra 8762 S.Sepulveda Ste. D-82 Los Angeles CA 90045.
Doppelganger @ http://audiohost.com/doppelganger (this is all I managed to find at deadline)
Switchblade Symphony c/o Cleopatra 8762 S.Sepulveda Ste. D-82 Los Angeles CA 90045.
The Fenix, 315 2nd Ave S, Pioneer Square, Seattle,Wa.
The Charnel House @ Café Cybre – Hurst, Texas
October 9, 1999
In a quiet suburb of Dallas there is a strange little place. Part Internet café, part high school hangout, part coffee shop, part art gallery, and part club that features a variety of underground gothic and industrial artists on the weekends. Their concerts are all ages, with gourmet coffee served instead of liquor providing for an always alert audience. This Saturday evening, an intimate gathering enjoyed a show provided by two local artists that complimented each other well, Charnel House and Destination Venus.
First on stage was The Charnel House. They formed in 1994 in Denton, home of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Church of the Subgenius, a world-famous set of college lab jazz bands, and just a 30-minute drive to Dallas. Their songwriting style takes highlights from a variety of British pop styles ranging from the spacey dirge of Joy Division to the punk feel of old school Cure. The first two songs, “Slattern” and “Catherine Ties”, were a bit on the slower side and seemed to be giving them a rough start. By the third track, they had let their hair down and played one of the best, and most upbeat, tracks of the night “Crux”. Another particularly good track was “Stellar” in which the band's newest addition, Geoff, seemed to really get into on drums striking out a heavy, almost funky beat while Michael and Jason played their bass and guitar in unison at parts, and complimenting each other in others. They took a short break to setup keyboardist, Clint, while the bassist and drummer switched places. Again with a shaky start, they finished off their set with four more tracks, “It’s OK to Lie”, “Tired Duration”, “Bridge”, and “Girl Interrupted” in which Geoff, now on bass, continued with his exceptional stage presence.
Destination Venus then took the stage dawned in their signature shirts and ties. The band, also out of Denton, has a great lineup. There is Otto with his stellar guitar lines and deep, rich vocals. Anomie is also up front with her spacey, reverberated guitar and gorgeously girly vocals that nearly contradict her tomboyish look. The quiet and sweet Brandi forges out a thick, strong bass line. Last but not least there is Mr. Bigelow who has a talent of getting a really big sound out of a simple drum set that consists solely of one tom, one snare, one bass drum, a high hat, and two crash symbols. Their sound is a menage a trois of Joy Division, Mazzy Star, and The Cure that ends up somewhat shoegazer meets a dreary punk. As always, they put on a fantastic show full of space guitar lines and dreamily demented lyrics. Notable tracks would be “The Killer” sung by Otto, and a cover of The Godfather's "Birth, School, Work, Death" sung by Anomie. They always blow me away however, with “Mister Gatsby” in which Anomie always seems to bring the house down. At this point Destination Venus is still working on a CD for release, but they go into studios very shortly to work with Um Die Ecke on a Cure tribute album.
Look for it! I’m certain
it will not disappoint, as this is a band with a bright future!
Written by: ::CyBeRiNa FLuX:: Photographed by: O. Bahn and M. Nunn
Destination Venus http://email@example.com
The Charnel House http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Venue/2291/Thecharnelhouse@hotmail.comCafé Cybre http://www.cafecybre.com 481 Harwood Rd; Hurst, TX