Music Reviews

Chirleison: A Whisper

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 22 2005
Artist: Chirleison (@)
Title: A Whisper
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: The Fossil Dungeon (@)
Distributor: Metropolis, Dark Vinyl Records, PHD Canada, Audioglobe (Italy) and many more
Rated: *****
Everything about this CD is pretty. Pretty cover on the CD. Pretty tri-fold digipack design. Pretty band name. Pretty music too. Kind of sad, melancholy, rather. Haunting, maybe. Goth? Definitely. Consciously "goth". Candle lit rooms of people dressed in black, sipping absinthe or some kind of exotic caffinated beverage. These things come to mind when I listen to "A Whisper".Chirleison is a trio from Sardinia, off the coast of Italy. There is Alessia Cicala (voice, flute), Mara Lasi (keyboard, drum machine) and Daniele Serra (guitar, drum machine). Pretty names all. Personally, I don’t think anybody should ever take credit for a "drum machine", but we’ll let it go for now. So exactly what kind of pretty (but melancholy, has to be melancholy) goth music does Chirleison make? Pseudo-medieval neo-folk. On first listen, this CD "sounds" like everything a band in this genre should sound like. Heavenly voices, rich, atmospheric musical backing, simply gorgeous... BUT ... (and you knew there had to be a but) nothing stands out compositionally even after three or four listenings. And truth be told, an hour or two later, I can’t even remember what they sound like. Remember the "Heavenly Voices" compilations from the mid 90s? Remember the track somewhere in the middle of the CD that somehow just seemed to float by? It’s something like that.Actually, this is better than I’m making it out to be. I think I just want this to be more than just a passing diversion. Everything is very well executed. And it doesn’t matter that Alessia sings in Italian, in fact, it makes the music sound even more exotic. I just wish there was something I could hold on to, some remarkable song (like Ordo Equitum Solis’ "Our Lady Of The Wild Flowers", though I’m not wild over Leithana’s voice) make me want to tout this CD as the next big thing in the genre. I guess I will just have to accept it for what it is; a tasty dark musical dessert to savor occasionally ... but probably not too often.


 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 19 2005
Title: Worn Copy
Format: CD
Label: Paw Tracks (@)
Rated: *****
If I think about Ariel Pink, I think he's a particular guy and his work reflects his multifaceted personality. It's strange to say so, because I don't know him but by listening to his second album WORN COPY, which has been recorded in 2002/2003 on his eight track recorder, is like listening thirty years of rock music ('60s, '70s and '80s) and the result it's fresh like a milkshake. Listening to the seventeen tracks made me think about the attitude that Nick Saloman had by playing as Bevis Frond. The lo-fi production make the album sound like a Pink Floyd bootleg and the music is light like the first Creation label pop bands or the pop bands that were active in the UK in the early '80s: bands like Talulah Gosh or the Postcard label related bands. Sometimes the anarchy takes an hold (like on "Bloody! (Bagonia's)") but the melody that permates the whole recordings make of WORN COPY a strange blend of pop experimentation which is really functional if you don't mind about the recording quality. For sure the people at Paw Tracks have been convinced enough to reissue this album that have been released first by Rhystop in 2003. If creativity doesn't afraid you Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti is a project to follow!

Black Tape for a Blue Girl: Halo Star

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 04 2005
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Artist: Black Tape for a Blue Girl
Title: Halo Star
Format: CD
Label: Projekt (@)
Distributor: Ryko Disribution (US), Iris, Audioglobe (Europe), Nova Media Distribution (Germany)
Rated: *****
After 18 years of making music, one of the most well respected and deserving groups of the US darkwave scene is back with their 9th album Halo Star. Fans of the band will warmly welcome this return and will be surprised by the changes. The album is described as a return and a departure at the same time. Some of the original sonorities have been recovered and integrated with BTFABG's more recent ones but, as many bands do (maybe mimicking this one...) the balance between the male and female vocals have been maintained and taken further with an additional female vocalist as well as percussions, guitars, bass, dulcimer, flute, violin and all the other good old analog and digital electronics. People looking for beautiful, relaxing, rapturing dark melodic wave music with medieval influences will love this, so will people into labels such as 4AD, Fossil Dungeon, Middle Pillar and of course Projekt, one of the most hard working, long lasting record labels in the US dark scene history, run by the very Sam Rosenthal who also started Black Tape for a Blue Girl in the eighties. You can buy this CD from Projekt for less than 12 bucks (and it even comes with a beautiful full colour booklet).

Sophia: Deconstruction of the World

 Posted by eskaton   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 01 2005
Artist: Sophia (@)
Title: Deconstruction of the World
Format: CD
Label: Cyclic Law (@)
Rated: *****
The only other disc by this band that I have is Spite. On Deconstruction of the World, the bombastic military orchestrations are present and accounted for. However, this seems a bit less noisy than Spite and a bit darker. What’s it sound like? Sort of like Bjärgö and Eriksson’s other project, Arcana (although much more aggressive) as well as bands like In Slaughter Natives. One of the things that I liked about this album was the fact that it is not just straight military percussion and orchestration all the way through. For example, track 7 (Severed) is really nice drone and ambience and track 4 (Condescension) is a track of pulsing bass and barely understandable voices. In an interview, Heathen Harvest ( asked Bjärgö what inspired this album. He responded that "When you look at the TV or read the newspaper, you see only war, greed, hate, and destruction. I get very depressed and feel that maybe it is time to "deconstruct" the world and start fresh again. And yes, absolutely! I see it is as self destructing, just watch the environmental destruction, people know it is there, and people know that the world will not survive it, and still we do nothing about it." This is some dark, yet beautiful, music. Fans of neoclassical militaristic music probably already have this, but if you don’t, you should get this.

As an added bonus, there is a video for the song Depravity. It consists mainly of archival footage of range of motion tests and people wearing weird eyewear/blindfolds interspersed with what appears to be images of a side of beef interspersed. The music is good, but the video is a bit boring.

Orbit Service: Twilight

 Posted by eskaton   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 01 2005
Artist: Orbit Service (@)
Title: Twilight
Format: CD
Label: Helmet Room Recordings (@)
Distributor: Massive Music America
First, I must disclose my bias. I am a heavy fan of Current 93. I would guess that Orbit Service are also fans because it has a similar feel at times. So I should like this, right? This is a weird combination of the acoustic guitar music of Current 93 and In Gowan Ring with elements of psychedelic rock and college indy rock thrown in. Those who have spent any time listening to or working at a college radio station know what I mean by college rock - it’s hard to explain. I don’t know what it is, but this CD just doesn’t really do anything for me. Of course there really is no accounting for taste at times, but it doesn’t really seem to be the kind of release I would expect to review here. It doesn’t really fit well into any of the categories I have available to me to choose from. At times, the music seems to have a kind of psychedelic feel reminiscent of Pink Floyd (track 8, Thought You Should Know) while some, like track 5 (The Seven Rays), is pretty much straight slow college rock. For me, the high point of the disc was track 10 (Sad Syrup), an instrumental. I would say that this album is adequately executed. Probably a good band to see live but not really an outstanding album. CMJ would probably love this album. If you're looking for college rock with a bit darker edge this may be your thing. Unfortunately, I wasn’t terribly impressed.

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