Music Reviews



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Artist: INNFALLEN
Title: Three Days of Darkness
Format: CD
Label: First Fallen Star (@)
Rated: *****
Presented into a deluxe A5 digipack THREE DAYS OF DARKNESS is the debut album of Innfallen. The eight tracks of the CD are linked and form a story: God, sick of the depravity and decay of humanity sent to earth every demon and the sun and all of the stars have been extinguished. With total darkness, starts the first of the three days where a sort of purging will start. Few will found themselves alive after the third day when the sun and the star will come back and having tested pure fear they will be the witnesses of God's anger, being an example for future generations. Doyle Finley (of Invercauld) and talented newcomer Kevin Scala have built a convincing soundtrack to the Catholic prophecy of "Three Days of Darkness" and if you are ready to enjoy a good dark ambient album with thick atmospheres with multi layered synth soundscapes and reverbered industrial sounds, you can try this one. Check some sound excerpts at the label's releases page.
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Artist: ASPECTEE
Title: Morben
Format: CD
Label: First Fallen Star (@)
Personal musical project of a German guy called Michael Frenkel (already active as Evoke Scurvee), Aspectee is delivering through First Fallen Star its debut album titled MORBEN. Containing nine tracks in balance from sidereal and industrial sounds, the album hypnotize the audience with layers of minimal sounds. Ambient is a word that can sum too many things and I don't know if it fits very well tracks like "Dianthus", "Aspectee" or "Betho et" because on these ones we have a mixture of organ drones, light melodies, grinding noises and filtered vocal samples. The tracks are divided into different moments where the atmosphere changes from a calm drone fluctuation to a blend of treated choirs with drone noisy loops on background. There are no rhythmical patterns on the album and the fact of focusing all the tunes on variations of a musical solution won't help the occasional listener or people who aren't fanatics of the genre. Personally I appreciated the atmosphere alternation and some moments here and there but I found listening to the whole album in a row a little difficult.
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Artist: Golden Serenades (@)
Title: Hammond Pops
Format: CD
Label: +3DB
Distributor: Musikkoperat�rene
There's an almost "romantic" aesthetic purpose surrounding the eruptive and destructive disassembly of the Norwish project Golden Serenades, made up of the tympanic membrane torturer John Hegre and Jørgen Træen (both of them involved in the renowned prolific Jazzkammer, a noise/electronic famous experimental project also propelled by the quick wit by Lasse Marhaug), wonderfully summarized by the rose-coloured rocks of the majestic Horninsdal mountains, whose imposing appearance seems to tower above the homonymous lake and the obscure template drawn by the conifer woods laying on its banks. They've gained a certain notoriety in the obscure and controversial art of the so-called instrument bashing, i.e. that sadistic divertssment in recording and filtering an instrument during its destruction and dismantle, the typical dish they served (rigorously hot... ) in their past productions including a plenty of tapes, CD-Rs and CDs, showing such a cutthroath cruelty in fragmenting instruments that the most furious noise experiments by legendary saboteur such as Psychic TV, Einsturzende Neubaten or Merzbow and even the irritating noise produced by your mother while hovering (!) could appear as chilly and enchanting melodies indeed! It's quite easy to find on Youtube one of their performance in 2007 during which they destroyed a 5000$ priced guitar (net nanny-like warning: if you're a guitarist, don't look for it... explicit contents could rise you angry as well... !); on Hammond Pops, the chosen victim is an Hammond organ, completely disintegrated with the tacit consent (excuse this word-trickery expression... ) of the organist and sound-carver Sigbjørn Apeland.


A 40-minute non-stop lasting agony full of piercing noises and shrill cries of the instrument which is going to bleed your ears, but with an unexpected narcotic power that will induce you to keep on listen this atrocious but funny experiment till the end, a crushed drone and an aesthetic brave immoderacy which are astonishingly able to bewitch the listener. People with trained pavilions and a taste for extreme sound morphing will be surely delighted by Golden Serenades crimes! Tremendously subversive and totally estranged from conventional forms, delighting even our bleeding eardrums...


PS: don't be scared as the Hammond organ's not totally clinically died and started intensive rehabilitative treatment!!!
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Artist: Nina Walsh (@)
Title: Bright Lights & Filthy Nights
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Malicious Damage Records Ltd (@)
Distributor: Malicious Damage Records Ltd
Rated: *****
This is the kind of album we don’t usually get around here; a folky, predominantly acoustic little number more likely to found reviewed in the glossy pages of Alternative Press or Spin than the cold, grey post-apocalyptic landscape of Chain D.L.K. However this release is deserving of attention because it IS different in a quirky, oddball sort of way. It is the arrangements more than the songs or singer that makes it unusual; although Ms. Walsh’s vocal characteristics are notable for their dichotomy of innocence and world-weariness.
The same is true with the CD cover- a girl looking like Heidi, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (or an older version of the Sunbeam Bread girl) and the title, "Bright Lights & Filthy Nights," a contrived but charming contradiction. And so it goes with the music- simple and guileless in song structure most of the time, yet employing subtle (and some not so subtle) production techniques and instrumental touches lift it out of the banal. You don’t hear much theremin and synth burbles and atmospheres backing most folky artists, but you’ll hear it here.

The result is what you might get if you were a folk singer/songwriter and your album was produced by John Cale, Brian Eno AND Edward Ka-Spel. There is a bittersweet aura to the songs as Nina’s voice is soaked in Melanie’s "Leftover Wine" and the embers and ash of Marianne Faithfull’s last cigarette before she started singing in Broken English. Echoes of Hope Sandoval and pre-Marble Index’ Nico (sans the Teutonic drama)
haunt the halls Walsh’s musical manse. I also hear a bit of Lida Husik and Claudine Longet. Not only has Nina well absorbed some of these nostalgic influences, but has wrapped them in an appealing modern eclectic package.

Perhaps that’s due to her musical resume. She did a vocal track for Primal Scream. She created and co-managed two record techno labels (Sabres of Paradise’ and Sabrettes’) with Andrew Weathererall. She was involved in SLAB with Lol Hammond and co-wrote two track on The Orb’s Cydonia’ album with Alex Patterson. I’m compressing here; there’s a lot more that she’s done, including running her own experimental underground label, CPIJ Records. But now you know she’s not just some chick with a pleasant voice and an acoustic guitar who happened to get lucky with an inspired bedroom recording.

There are some interesting diversions on Bright Lights’ too. Her vocal compatriot, Gareth Thomas, conjures a less emotive and gentler Martyn Bates (Murder Ballads’, Eyeless in Gaza) on "Storms". "Love Leech" is straight out of Danielle Dax’s playbook of playful weirdness. And the wonderfully atmospheric track "Industrial Folk" could easily have been done by Bjork. In certain respects, I’m reminded of the SPELL collaboration with Boyd Rice and Rose McDowall by the overall feel of the album.

As good as the songs are individually, there is one standout track, appropriately titled "Strong". It’s anthemic with a killer chorus hook. This song has a lot of potential in the college radio market. While I don’t think Bright Lights & Filthy Nights’ is perfect, it comes damn close to being a classic. Audrey Riley’s fine cello playing also deserves some mention as it enhances the melancholy mood of many of the tracks. Bravo, Ms. Walsh for putting out a fine album. I think it might just be remarkable enough to pique some curiosity amongst the jaded.
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Artist: VV.AA
Title: Black Snow - the compl etely different Xmas com pilation
Format: CD
Label: Black Rain Rec.
Distributor: D: Nova MD GmbH A: Rebeat Music Vertrieb S: Non Stop Music Records
Hiya (that’s how people greet each other in Scotland). It is Xmas time! It goes for the goths too. I don’t know whether any of you expected a gothic/electro compilation from Black Rain Records for Xmas or not, but it is out there. But it is not just another random compilation of songs thrown together from already released albums. No! This one is special.
Almost all bands covered songs from the 40s and 50s. I guess the only exception from these decades is "Hava Nagila" (let’s rejoice) covered by Hioctan. The original was written way before the 40s. I tend to interpret the presence of a traditional Jewish song on a Xmas compilation as a social statement celebrating the contemporary European cultural diversity. Besides, Jesus was Jewish and Xmas is his alleged birthday. So the Christians say.
Feindflug don’t sound that intense and militaristic as we know them, but rather atmospheric and mid-tempo danceable. No lyrics on this one.
"I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" by Dandelion Wine is sheer entertainment. I enjoyed every tact.
Novalis Deux offer another Hebrew title "Halleluja" (let’s praise?). A classic Xmas song people know not only in Christian countries. Great lyrics and Novalis Deux’s performance bears no signs hinting that this song too much for the band’s talents. Truly well done!
DyM’s "Little Drummer Boy" sounds like a disturbed radio transmission from a 50s heavy industry factory.
Jabberwock offer a number of extraordinary ideas what to do on a Xmas party.
What would be Xmas without cinnamon? Killed by Candy celebrate this spice in the lyrical, eh... "Cinnamon". Cookies and a cozy fire place. Awwww.
This Vale of Tears has a military, rhythmic touch for "Frozen Zone". Those guitar riffs will keep you listening, let me assure you.
Oil10 contributes a retro-oriented version of "Christmas Machine". Panic Lift sound like they are surely on Santa’s naughty list with their "Hourglasses". Very goth-danceable and yet evil sounding. Plane to Pia play a German classic Xmas song "Tousend Sterne sind ein Dom" in a very festive and truly Christmas-like manner with an electro touch to it. You could listen to it with kids without scaring them away.
Tyske Ludder made a mini medley of "Fairytale Of New York" and "Fairytale Of The North" with some criticizing lines like "Fuck your Christmas".
The Pussybats with Meli (Livid Halcyon) close the album with "A Wish". Kind of sad. May remind you of things that happened to you and touched you emotionally and make you think of what you could do to make the world a little better. It is not just about wishing, but also about doing.
A very very good and unusual Xmas compilation. I’m not going to wish you happy Christmas, Chanuka or Yule; this winter time should not be about dividing, but about uniting people, hence simply happy holidays!
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