Music Reviews

LEVANT: Beyond the Masque of Eden

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 18 2011
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Artist: LEVANT
Title: Beyond the Masque of Eden
Format: CD
Label: Dead Scarlet Records (@)
Rated: *****
LeVant is a project where is involved the Romanian composer and producer George D. Stanciulescu best known for his dark orchestral act Ad Ombra, band with at their active two albums on Rage In Eden. Released by the Greek label Dead Scarlet Records, BEYOND THE MASQUE OF EDEN contains eleven new tracks which musically span from neo-classical, dark wave and electronic music where dramatic atmospheres find their counterpart into upbeat dance rhythms and lyrically it has excerpts of poems by R.M. Rilke, E.A. Poe, D. Campana, M. Eminescu. Collaborating with three soprano (Alexandra Damian, Ilinca Olteanu and Maria Paduraru) and with Mihai Mhalu on guitars, George recorded the tracks alternating rich electronic sounds with guitar solos to piano and orchestra driven parts. Doing so, he succeeded into creating an album where the cinematic atmospheres are able to fascinate the listener. Also the choir and the soprano solos help a lot into creating the mysterious ambiance which is present overall the whole album.

Daniele Brusaschetto: Fragranze Silenzio

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 16 2011
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Artist: Daniele Brusaschetto (@)
Title: Fragranze Silenzio
Format: CD
Label: Bosco rec / Bar La Muerte
Rated: *****
I've been following Daniele Brusaschetto's music and moves since longer than I can remember. He was one of the pioneers of the '90es scene of weirder and more interesting electronic music in Italy and almost twenty years later he's still at it. I've lost count of how many records he's done. As you'd expect his style has evolved and changed and today is maybe darker and more introspective than ever. If you judged his latest direction from the title-track of this CD you'd think that he's now into Sunn O)))/Boris/Sleep but, except for that one long, epic and somber closing doom movement, the album "Fragranze Silenzio" (Silence Frangrances) has much less distortion and rather portrays and artist that can effortlessly move from slow and sinister tracks (like the opener "La Bambina Intermittente") to more uptempo electronica that sound like an odd mixture between Bjork, Clock DVA and Young Gods (as in "Il Sole Domani"), passing through minimalistic industrial rhythmic episodes (such as "Ali di Mosca"). Courageous choices like phase-reversing percussion tracks so that you can listen to a song with or without a beat ("Clouds") speaks for his daring approach.
Throughout, a sense of loss and reflection permeates this album, augmented by disturbed and treated pianos, glitchy beats and electronica, treated guitars.
The common denominator is more often than not his vocal style and his cryptic lyricism. Wide and deep doubled vocals, sometimes willfully distant, almost always dipped in long reverbs and treated to sound removed but still within the context of the music.
Lyrics are mostly all in Italian and if you want to really dive into Daniele's world they are printed on the inside of the digipack. He's certainly an artist that has a lot to say but leaves plenty to imagination.

Skeleton Trees: Season of Mists

 Posted by Barton Graham   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 12 2011
Artist: Skeleton Trees (@)
Title: Season of Mists
Format: CD
Label: Les Productions Kaivalya
Rated: *****
'Season of Mists,' Skeleton Trees' debut effort, is a hauntingly beautiful venture into dreamland. Their goal with this concept album was to "compose a soundtrack for the mind and to forge a unique universe in which all dreams can resonate' and I think they achieved that in several ways. For one, the vast majority of the record is extremely low key (and low tempo) and filled with beautifully toned synths, ambience and just HAUNTINGLY beautiful vocals (courtesy of Alice Morrison's not only beautiful voice, but alluring French accent) and melodies interspersed with the occasional dialogue sample and contrasting, upbeat (and at times almost carnevallian) runs that more often than not, work. There are many influences notably at work here: the Beatles (think Harrison-esque harpsichord work and Lennon's 'Tomorrow Never Knows,' evident in the eerie 'Inside Her Cave'), a variety of late 70's to early 80's goth and post-punk bands, just a HINT of Nine Inch Nails (specifically the melody in the ending of 'Lady of the Snow') and even a moment of Jack Off Jill, sans the inherently vulgar subject matter (though I imagine this one is more coincidence than influence) and too many more to mention. The only pitfalls are the drums on occasion can verge on clumsy, and the bass seemed a bit lackadaisical, at times being noticeably off, and finding its way to notes that can be just cringe inspiring, which is much more obvious at points in or after 'Shadows' at which point the album seems to become just ever so slightly disjointed, but pulls itself back together by the end. But don't let the sound of those points fool you, it's a great cd, and I'm very much looking forward to their upcoming sophomore release tentatively titled 'Between the Floor and the Downstairs Ceiling'.

VV.AA.: We Bring You A King With A Head Of Gold

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 06 2011
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: We Bring You A King With A Head Of Gold
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
Three years and half have passed since the release of the folk compilation "John Barleycorn Reborn - Dark Britannica" and now, always thanks to Cold Spring Records, we are here to celebrate once more the crop-spirit who 'dies' in the harvest and and reborn in the following spring when the fields come back to life. No matter how much we are technocratic or futuristic as we should follow our natural cycle and connect again with our mother earth. The thirty four artists gathered on this double compilation titled WE BRING YOU A KING WITH A HEAD OF GOLD, give their personal vision of ancient pagan tales using original tunes or referring to traditional folk songs playing passionately their tambourines while guitars arpeggios create now joyful and then dark melodies. Rise your voices loud following the chants of Tinkerscuss, Kate Harrison, Autumn Grieve, The Fates or Jennifer Crook and follow the flutes and violins dancing around a fire with your fellows. This time you won't find any rock or psychedelic sound, only folk. Here's the full playlist:
Disc 1

1. Barron Brady - 'Earthen Key'
2. Laienda - 'Little Drummer Boy / Anvil'
3. The Rowen Amber Mill - 'Blood And Bones (Ciderdelica Mix)'
4. Tony Wakeford - 'The Devil'
5. Kate Harrison - 'England'
6. Drohne - 'The Hooden Horse / An-Dro'
7. Corncrow - 'The Cutty Wren'
8. Sproatly Smith - 'I Shall Leave You There'
9. Tinkerscuss - 'Black Sarah'
10. Cernunnos Rising - 'Hear It With My Heart'
11. Mama - 'The Fool Of Spring'
12. Magicfolk - 'Green Man'
13. Wyrdstone - 'Lost At Ty Canol'
14. Emil Brynge - 'Devon Dream'
15. Kim Thompsett - 'Lords And Ladies'
16. Dragon Spirit - 'Always Be Ours'
17. Philip Butler And Natasha Tranter - 'Jack The Mommet'
18. Touch The Earth - 'Ancient Landscapes'

Disc 2

1. Relig Oran - 'Ye Mariners All'
2. Autumn Grieve - 'Within Hollows'
3. Ian McKone - 'Searching For Lambs'
4. John Parker - 'Manningham Blues'
5. Rattlebag - 'The Tyburn Sisters'
6. The Fates - 'The Song Of The Fates'
7. The Hare And The Moon - 'The Three Ravens'
8. The Kittiwakes - 'Lynx'
9. Venereum Arvum - 'Robin Sick And Weary'
10. Telling The Bees - 'Fithfath'
11. Richard Masters - 'The Wind Knows'
12. Demdyke - 'Mother Carey's Chicks'
13. Beneath The Oak - 'Oh Earthly Man'
14. Sedayne : Sundog - 'A Wee Brown Cow'
15. Ruby Throat - 'Swan And The Minotaur (Troubled Man)'
16. Jennifer Crook - 'Ribbons Of Green / The Dream Waltz (Live)'
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Surge & Subside
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Aphotic Audio (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
How pervert is this? Millions of Germans have been sitting in January evening by evening decadently in front of their TV sets to watch the 'drama' of a group of wannabe-prominent people 'trapped' in an Australian jungle camp.
The real drama though has happened to the same time only a few miles away in the Australian state of Queensland, which has been punished with a millennium-tide. It has been a historical high tide, which Australia hasn't seldom seen before. Uncountable people lost all of their estates, several had to fight for nothing more than their naked survival.
I'm ashamed by our TV-watching (de-)generation, which is seemingly impressed by the childish behavior of these half-prominent jackasses, which have played their role well in a faked show. Simply to say 'sorry' for this unbelievable and disrespectful kind against those Australian people fighting for their existence sounds like utter mockery. However, there are people over there in Australia making the right decision about charity. Help in any form is required and any idea, which promises only a small doze of relief, is an action to follow and support.
The same thoughts have had the people of the label Aphotic Audio (EMPTY), even more regarding the fact, that with Ken Evans of the Synthpop-project TYCHO BRAHE, one of their friends is directly affected. So with the support of the Australian Crash Frequency community, they've sent out their call for help and support to international-based artists, friends and band-projects, to provide tracks for this charity DCD compilation set, which can be purchased directly via the Aphotic Audio website.
All proceeds extracted out of the sales of this DCD compilation will be forwarded to the flood victims in Queensland. The response has been amazing: You'll get global scene-players like PSYCHE, ANGELSPIT, DISMANTLED, ASSEMBLAGE 23, SKREW, or COLLIDE asides hard-working independent contributors like DIVERJE, LUCIDSTATIC, I, PARASITE, ANDROID LUST, AUTOCLAV 1.1, ANGEL THEORY, and of course the complete roster of the Aphotic label (among others EMPTY, M(I)LKRUN, IAMMYNEWT...). By checking the mouthwatering track listings stated below, it's nearly forbidden to rate any of these fine contributors for their good intention, as they all offer the best they can - what counts is the will to help and to support the victims of this tragic flood.
All purchasers of this DCD set via the Aphotic Audio website will be specially rewarded with an additional Download-pack consisting out of 9 additional tracks (see below...). More than ever before are you, dear listener of Electro-/Industrial-/Alternative-music, asked for to purchase this compilation set. As the current dramatic happenings in Japan and Libya additionally prove, there can't be enough action available to relief suffering. So now it is on you to show your support ' illegal downloading of this DCD set is strictly forbidden and similar pervert, than the behavior of all participants of the TV 'drama' mentioned above! Go ahead and buy this one!

1-1 Sensory Gate - Ianus 2:46
1-2 Angelspit - Cold Hard Cash 4:05
1-3 Empty - Drift (Ginger Snap5 Remix) 5:25
1-4 Bound In Oblivion - Pain & Suffering 6:32
1-5 Psyche (2) - The Beyond - Live (Flood Relieft Edition) 5:32
1-6 Streak (3) - Groovey Booty 6:06
1-7 Diverje - Suffer ( V2 Remix) 4:08
1-8 Dismantled - Dead On Impact 4:23
1-9 Lucidstatic - Operating Directive 7:18
1-10 Mangadrive - 67 Gemini Starglider 5:49
1-11 NVEiN - All So Wired 5:02
1-12 Skrew - Universal Immolation 5:38
1-13 Tempest & The Diaspora - IO 3:42
1-14 Viral Millennium - Vomitosis 3:47
1-15 In-Fused - Misplaced (Iammynewt E-rage Mix) 5:26
1-16 Maximum Sexy Pigeon - Tunguska! (Water Retentive Mix) 3:29

2-1 P45K - Adrift 3:15
2-2 Assemblage 23 - Raw 6:47
2-3 I, Parasite - A Violence At Rest 7:43
2-4 Android Lust - God In The Hole 3:49
2-5 Soulchasm - My Facade (Empty Remix) 4:35
2-6 Autoclav1.1 - Waxing 4:45
2-7 Anhedonia - Rain 5:23
2-8 Motion Fused - Reflection Of Madness (Extended) 4:37
2-9 Angeltheory - The Wind 4:12
2-10 Headdreamer - Colder 5:22
2-11 Collide - Ocean 5:26
2-12 M(i)lkrun - Lard Ram 3:48
2-13 Dark Territory - Trista Me (Angeltheory Mantra Mix) 4:34
2-14 Iammynewt - itHURTS 3:55
2-15 Flood Of Rain - Grey Sky 5:34
2-16 Blast Radius - To Find Them Frozen 5:07

MP3-1 Sensory Gate - Purgatory (Marco Zanza Devoted Mix) 5:17
MP3-2 Empty (3) - This Regret Redux 5:29
MP3-3 P45K - Before Dawn 5:55
MP3-4 Blast Radius - Sight Unseen 4:53
MP3-5 P45K - What Have I Done 6:06
MP3-6 Tempest & The Diaspora - Jasmine 4:34
MP3-7 Iammynewt - Egor (Version 2.0) (Skullduggery Remix) 3:56
MP3-8 Disharmony - Evolution 8:12
MP3-9 Betty X - Shoot'em Up (Fury Road Mix) 3:04

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