Music Reviews



VV.AA.: Distant Noises

 Posted by George Embryonik (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 31 2013
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Distant Noises
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Other Voices Records
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
'Other Voices Records' is a Russia based, independent record label dedicated to releasing works by 'ambitious and creative artists from the past, present and future'.
So when I first played the 'Distant Noises - A Cold Wave Compendium' compilation, I knew it was going to be a special release. The compilation brings together fourteen artists from nine countries, offering a diverse, sound palette ranging from analogue synthpop to minimal darkwave, from post-punk 80s new wave, to pure electronic bliss.
What impressed me the most, while playing the album over and over again, is that it was really difficult for me to choose a song that i liked 'the most'. That is always an indication - to me at least - of exceptional high quality of the songs, especially when listening to a compilation with many different and, i would say, unusual sounds and styles. The songs share an underlying melancholy, and a retro quality, that makes them blend together beautifully, while the emotionally charged darker melodies and vocal deliveries make, listening to this compilation, a memorable experience.
Whenever i listen to compilation albums i always try to see that certain 'passion' for the music, that would make it stand out from the rest! It is evident here! From the carefully selected songs, and the expertly mastered sound to the black and white emblematic artwork.
It is a very highly recommended compilation and it is available for FREE on Bandcamp!

The Danse Society: Scarey Tales

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 27 2013
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Artist: The Danse Society (@)
Title: Scarey Tales
Format: CD
Label: Society Records
Rated: *****
"Scarey Tales" is the second album of the reborn The Danse Society that, after their "Change Of Skin" happened one year and half ago, bring to the fans five new tracks plus a cover of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit". The new album's concept is focused on classic scary tales and if you think that many of them were transposed into movies, why not taking inspiration from classic tales like "Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hyde", "Alice In Wonderland", "The Raven", etc. for an album? Think about Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" that has been shot in the 1935 by Lew Landers and by Corman in 1963, "Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde" (this one had so many transposition in 1908, 1920, 1931, 1941, etc) and think about the atmosphere they were able to create. The Danse Society with "Message In The Wind", "White Rabbit", "The Scarecrow", "The Tale", "The Wof" and "Jekyll & Hyde" are able to make you enter a world made of mystery and darkness. They do it mixing their elements with sorcerers' ability: in thirty-seven minutes of music Maetheyiah, Pauk Nash, David Whitaker, Martin Roberts and Paul Gilmartin are defining their new sound even more compared to "Change Of Skin" and it's made of epic synth orchestrations, powerful drumming/bass lines and guitar melodic arpeggios that time to time tun into power chords. Last but not least we have Maeth's voice, that has a central role into their music. Tracks like the opening "Message In The Wind" or "The Tale" are powerful and sensual and I'm sorry to point it out like for "Change Of Skin", Maeth is the new Siouxie. Her voice is powerful, melodic, vibrant and expressive and even if I loved their 80s songs, I love also their new sound. Wrapped in a book which contains a rhyme poem and lots of fabulous illustrations by the best artists around, "Scarey Tales" is available at £ 7.00 (plus postage and packing) at the band's website.
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Artist: RMEDL | K11 (@)
Title: Chthonian Music
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
This striking conceptual album and the related sound installation, based on the sound spacialization system I.M.E.A.S.Y. and performed in an ancient Etruscan hypogeum in the archeological park of Cecina, a little town close to Leghorn (Italy), during the spring solstice within the programmatic-conceptual event "Metasound ' Independent Curatorial Experiences in Contemporary Art: from the object up to the event: sound art, multimedia and practice of the art of listening", was initially limited to 50 private copies. Three years later, Cold Spring decided to reissue it in order to avoid the this remarkable sonic artefact could sink into the oblivion of the underworld the involved artists ideally climbed down. The Roman consul Albino Cecina, which gave the name to the above-mentioned town, ordered the construction of a villa, whose ruins can still be visited. The cavity of its cistern and its mysteric tunnels became the perfect location for Chtonian Music project by Italian philosopher, composer and sound artist Pietro Riparbelli aka K11 and Sandro Gronchi, head of Radical Matters, who involved an impressive number of sound artists and musicians from different but somewhat contiguous stylistical ground (Philippe Petit, Seth Cluett, Gianluca Becuzzi, Francisco Lopez, Aderlating, Andrea Marutti, Burial Hex, Christina Kubisch, Deadwood, Francesco Brasini, L'Acephale, Luciano Maggiore, Massimo Bartolini, Nordvargr, Utarm, Y.E.R.M.O) emphasized the sacral function of that ancient place with a sonic performance which sounds like a contemporary devotional rite to the Goddess Demeter/Persephone, the queen of hell and bride of Plouton/Hades and the symbolic representation of "the awakening of the soul and its cyclical path of death and transfiguration" behind her myth, who inspired the religion of the Mysteries, imported by the Etruscans in Italy. After the initial "Mvndvs", where Francismo Lopez immediately catches listener's attention by rendering natural amplified sounds on deep ultra-low frequencies by Seth Cluett and unexpected distorted rumbles which lacerates the apparent stillness like heavy thunders, the five following parts of "Katabasis" sonically describes the descent in the underworld by means of remarkable performative peaks such as the mindblowing raving ascension of Part II with the catchy vocals by L'Acephale and the heady drones by Utarm, the entrancing piano by Burial Hex on the magmatic fog by Andrea Marutti and Pietro Riparbelli in the third part ("Epopteia"), named after the final initiation rite in the Eleusinian Mysteries, the dusky electrical excitement of the first part, the grazing guitars by Francesco Brasini on the immersive virtual underworld moulded by Becuzzi and Bartolini on the narcotic organ and unearthly shouts by Riparbelli, the metallic rolling balls and the resounding crack on the ground which ushers listeners to the end of the obscure journey in the fifth part, before the final representation of "Nuktelia", a sort of supreme demonaltry when wizards with snkes twisted on their arms, moved at flickering light of torches in long orgiastic processions. Due to the high number of guests, under the stylistical viewpoint, "Chthonian Music" harvest from a wide range of styles: dark ambient, doom metal, dark-folk, field recordings, art rock, drone, classical music, musique concrete, ritual ambient flocked to celebrate the mysteries.
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Artist: United Bible Studies (@)
Title: Spoicke
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Fluid Audio (@)
Rated: *****
The strictly limited edition of 77 physical copies, which included handmade Larch Elder Futhark rune with burnt symbols of Three Principles, Four Elements, planets and metals, finished with natural bees' wax, fire resin incense, fine drawing represented the life and the death of a magician, double sided luxury postcards, black envelope and mini cards into homemade sewn fabric pouch, is already sold out, but the last release by experimental and improvisational folk Irish band United Bible Studies, recorded on the occasion 2009 VPRO festival in Amsterdam, is still digitally available. Their contemplative self-building musical discourse on stillness continues over the four sonic chisellings, which evolve by themselves on the basis of an ideal medley between dark-tinged gloomy folk, stylistical hints at Scarborough-Fair minstrelsy, acoustic purism and occasional electronic flurries, where the dialogues between Richard Moult's piano, Aine O'Dwyer's harp and acoustic guitars, lap steel guitars and electronics by Gavin Prior and David Colohan on the initial "Black Matthew 1" and delicate moody ballad of "Hazlehurst Requiem", which manages to combine ballad form with celtic and Indian folk music particles, seem to be the real highlights of the recording. The vocal interpretation and the briny celtic glows of "The Shore That Fears The Sea" is also a very evocative peak from the beginning to the final repetetion of the verse "something comes quietly", which pours the listeners into the above-mentioned "Hazlehurst Requiem".

My Dear Killer: The Electric Dragon of Venus

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 06 2013
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Artist: My Dear Killer (@)
Title: The Electric Dragon of Venus
Format: 12"
Label: Boring Machines (@)
Rated: *****
I have really no idea what recorded Russian voices are speaking about here and there on this album while they got enwrapped by gentle guitar strokes, but I could just imagine it could be related to the title of this long-awaited second album by Stefano Santabarbara aka My Dear Killer - seven years after his last "Clinical Shyness" -: Russian cosmonauts use the expression "Electric Dragon" to describe the violent electriomagnetic very luminiscent storms, which occur just under the clouds on Venus and that caused some troubles to space probes. Such an allusion, which seems to be confirmed by hints in songs like "Magnetic Storm" or "Glass Glow", could elucidate the delicate emotional outburst ad well as the subtle disquietude which often flare this nice recording, whose main features are the straight naivete' of guitar arpeggios, the mood swings of Stefano's singing which sometimes sounds like mourning, choking back tears, patching anger or lapsing into reverie and the unobtrusive interventions by guest musicians Piergiorgio Storti (Morose), Stella Riva (Satan is My Brother), Matteo Uggeri (Sparkle in Grey) and Gherardo della Croce (HMWWAWCIAWCCW?), who sprinkle the stark concision of guitar-voice intertwining by means of effected guitars, electronics, theremin, winds and other noises, which cannot but enhance dark-tinged fold by My Dear Killer. A certain embitterment together with occasional sick angst resurfaces from MDK's depths, but there are many intense epic moments, among which the above-mentioned "Magnetic Storm", "Scent of the Water", "Mild Eyes" and "Frozen Lakes" seems proper highlights to my inner eardrum.


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