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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Darkrad - "Little Black World"

Artist: Darkrad
Album: Little Black World
Year: 2014
Label: Mrakmur
Genre: Death Industrial, Dark Ambient
Website: darkrad.bandcamp.com













Basics:
Little Black World is the newest release from CMI alumni Darkrad. This comes as a cassette and is limited to 50 copies (though also available digitally). Here we find Darkrad exploring deep, hellish nightmare realms.

Stuff:
Perhaps not exactly what you'd from someone affiliated with CMI, this release inhabits the darkest & most disturbing sectors of the human psyche and is much closer to lo-fi death industrial (although it has a"lo-fi" feel, it features solid mastering from Flint Glass's Gwen Tremorin).
Side A seems to be more focused on gloomy atmospheres. It opens with "Chernota" which is a four and a half minute dirge of the utmost decay and blackness. "Nobody Knows" and "Feel the Blood" are similar; languidly moving amorphous black masses of sound wash over the listen and drench them in filth. The listener is taken to the dank, lightless sewers of the the abyss within. There are what sounds like very effected vocal bits here and there - like transmissions from a mental asylum in hell. Would be fitting for something like Silent Hell, or your nightmarish horror location of choice. The A side ends with "Someone Beneath" which is the first song I don't really like, too murky and formless for me, it's hard to make out if anything is really going on.
The B side is harsher and utilizes more feedback and noise - it reminds me of Malignant act Deathstench (although there is no black metal here). "Dread Unknown" and "Ocean Beckons" both utilize that wall of black noise sound, immersed in reverb. There are more vocals (I think) here, equally effected and indecipherable. I think it would be nice to hear this material with more discernible, up front vocals although it's not bad as is. "All is Wrong" harkens back to the sound of the A side tracks, but is more minimal with a steady ritualistic beat. The final track, "Rasshelina", is the first to introduce melody -- which I quite like. It doesn't change much, though I found myself liking it anyway. It feels like a lull in a nightmare where you can almost appreciate the beauty of all the horrible structures encircling you.
The tracks are all fairly short; generally 4 minutes and under. This is appropriate since none of the tracks have all that much progression, instead they get right to the point and end before wearing out their welcome.

Overall: 
Super dark and scary material. This material is absolutely fitting to be released on cassette tape and I think it will please fans of that lo-fi, ultra black ambient sound. Make sure to listen to this on a system that can accurately reproduce the critical low end which makes up the bulk of this tape. Put it on in a pitch black room and face your demons. One to check out for fans of Malignant, Danvers State Recordings, and similar lo-fi death industrial/PE leaning labels.

Grauraum releases free album of b-sides



Industrial/IDM project Grauraum (a.k.a. Hotaru Bay, both of which have releases on Raumklang) has released an 9 track EP of material which did not fit with his upcoming album. There is some really cool industrial and industrial-leaning IDM-ish stuff here. Check it out, pay what you want.

BANDCAMP

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Skadi - "Enemy Within"

Artist: Skadi
Album: Enemy Within
Year: 2014
Label: self-released
Genre: Dark Ambient, Tribal
Website:  skadi-music.bandcamp.com/













Basics:
Normally, I don't bother much with covering self-released material on here - there just isn't enough time for the millions of projects out there. However, every so often something incredible makes its way into my ears and I feel compelled to write about it. Skadi is just such a project. I was turned onto his work by a friend not too long ago and immediately proceeded to get everything he had available on his bandcamp. This month brings us his newest album (and, I believe, first new work in quite a while, the other recent albums are re-releases) called Enemy Within. This album sees a continuation of his typical sound: a combination of early/mid Raison d'etre and similar time period Ah Cama Sotz's dark ambient material.

Stuff:
The album opens with "The Labyrinth" which is a pretty typical Skadi track: it begins with a long droning section which brings to mind the opening of a great pit in the earth. The track slowly builds with the addition of sporadic drum hits and buried choir-esque sounds. About halfway in, the piece opens up into a full tribal beat accented by similar ethnic motifs and a beeping synth which conjures mystical & darkened desert vibes (think 10 Years Bat Vibez but a bit more on the ambient end of the scale). "Path of Despairing" is a much more minimal, meditative piece carrying the same general mood - dark and fiery caverns in the desert. "Oath of the Tormented" begins in a similar manner, though it builds into a series of powerful, distorted drum hits mixed with a tranquil melody giving it a dreamy, surrealistic feel - like you're being enveloped by light radiating from the edge of some majestic scene. "Path of the Abandoned" harkens back to old Raison d'etre with it's murky sacral elements: heavenly pad and very subtle choirs. This one feels like being in the ruins of a cathedral, it's walls parched & sun-bleached; it's halls buried under time and sand. "Path of the Lost" successfully melds the sacral vibe with the earlier tribal vibe. It again uses the highly melancholic choir-esque pads which bring to mind an ancient, crumbling gateway to the divine, and mixes them with tribal drumming similar to the first track on the album. The album comes to a close with the 11 minute "Path of the Dead". This is the most minimal track on the album and takes some of the aforementioned sacred elements and strips them down to their bare essence. It feels like the journey of the dead between living and the next world.

Overall: 
Another solid release for a highly under-appreciated project. Very well crafted and evocative stuff. This is definitely pro quality stuff that would be right at home on any major dark ambient label, don't let the fact that he self releases fool you. I hope that more light can be shown upon this work and that people will take notice because it is more than worthy. Enemy Within is something that needs to be heard by dark ambient fans.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Brighter Death Now + Deutsch Nepal + Raison d'etre US tour

Since we're located in the US this is legendary tour is very relevant to us. BDN + Deutsch Nepal + Raison d'etre US tour brought to you by Annihilvs

Tour facebook page

TOUR ITINERARY:

• Oct 15 Montreal, QC - CASA DEL POPOLO with LUSSURIA and S/V\R
https://www.facebook.com/events/294977320627103

• Oct 17 Pawtucket, RI - MACHINES WITH MAGNETS - with BOCKSHOLM, POST SCRIPTVM and THE VOMIT ARSONIST
https://www.facebook.com/events/249977845194103/

• Oct 18 Brooklyn, NY - THE ACHERON - with HIVE MIND and POST SCRIPTVM
https://www.facebook.com/events/1474160852800053/

• Oct 19 Philadelphia, PA - KUNG FU NECKTIE - with VENERENCE and WORMS OF THE EARTH
https://www.facebook.com/events/1457189457855083

• Oct 21 Pittsburgh, PA - BELVEDERES ULTRA-DIVE - with REQUIEM and SHOCK FRONTIER
https://www.facebook.com/events/465279526939148

• Oct 23 Cleveland, OH - NOW THAT'S CLASS - with SKINGRAFT and LUPUS SOL
https://www.facebook.com/events/564287880354922

• Oct 25 Chicago, IL - CLUB RECTUM - with BONGRIPPER, RECTAL HYGIENICS, FINAL GRIN, KOUFAR, and CUSTODIAN
https://www.facebook.com/events/307555979402763

• Oct 28 Denton, TX - RUBBER GLOVES - with STEEL HOOK PROSTHESES, BLACK LEATHER JESUS, FILTH, and GOAT
https://www.facebook.com/events/409861079149279

• Oct 29 Austin, TX - ELYSIUM - with HIVE MIND and CORPORATE PARK
https://www.facebook.com/events/265023053674745

Tundra - "Tajnie I Głębie"

Artist: Tundra
Album: Tajnie I Głębie
Year: 2014
Label: Zoharum
Genre: Drone, Dark Ambient
Website: zoharum.com/













Basics:
This is the new release from Polish drone duo Tundra. From what I can tell, this album is meant to be ritual ambient with the purpose of aiding in spiritual journeys.

Stuff:
Right away, Tajnie I Głębie plunges the listener into dark chasms of ritual ambience. These tracks are minimal and sparsely populated, relying predominately on layers of rising & falling drones which are occasionally punctuated by the clacking and shaking of acoustic instruments. It's a bit boring for me, though the production is quite good and helps these sounds achieve their full potential. When listening to this album I feel as though I am actually in a temple or ritual room meditating along with these men as their music illuminates our esoteric work. These sounds connect with me on a metaphysical level, and I do see how this would aid with inner journeys. I definitely feel that this would make good music for rituals, and it brings to mind acts like Arktau Eos and Halo Manash. "Wędrujące kamienie" gives me that inner temple vibe. "Powrót cz. 1" makes me feel as if I am floating alone in a sea of utter blackness. This track utilizes a spoken word vocal sample which doesn't seem like it should work, but in a weird way it adds something to the song. "Wrzosowiska" continues the lone ship a dark sea mood, but feels a bit grim-er due to the subdued, noisier drones that permeate this song. The only song I didn't like was "Król Lasu" - the annoying main melodic sound and empty composition made this one a chore to sit through. The album ends with the 17 minute piece "Powrót cz. 2" which has a rawer sound, as they mix in chunky, distorted drones through much of this track. Though it has some "harsh" elements in it, I still find it to be rather meditative and enveloping.

Overall: 
Something to check out for those looking for subdued ritual music that feels like a sparser version of some Aural Hypnox acts with cleaner, more modern production. It's solid, if predictable, drone music.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Statiqbloom releases new video



Our fellow zine Heathen Harvest has debuted the new video from NYC based industrial act Statiqbloom. This is a really cool act that sounds like a throwback to Skinny Puppy and related.

Shot, Edited, and Directed by Gretchen Heinel

check it out: HERE

"Brooklyn’s Statiqbloom is the dark hallucinogenic brainchild of Fade Kainer. Drawing from the grittiness of early industrial and EBM, Statiqbloom combines hard dance beats and haunting electronics with disorienting vocals to create a pulsing raw vision of music for today. Kainer has also provided vocals and electronic soundscapes for industrial doom metal band Batillus, and, previously, industrial metal duo Inswarm. In addition, Kainer is a member of blackened synth band Theologian, has played synths and percussion on tour for Jarboe, and has done remixes for a variety of bands and artists including Chris Connelly, Nachtmystium, and Secrets of the Moon. In 2013, Statiqbloom self-released the Mask Visions Poison EP. A new record (featuring Soren Roi of Rosenkopf) will be released as a split with Zex Model on Desire Records in fall 2014."

Black Tape For A Blue Girl releases free album



BTFABG releases "The Collection" as a pay what you want release via bandcamp.

BANDCAMP

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Slipdrive - "River of Heaven (ost)"

Artist: Slipdrive
Album: River of Heaven (ost)
Year: 2014
Label: Hymen Records
Genre: Electronica, Downtempo, IDM
Website: www.hymen-records.com













Basics:
Here we have yet another side-project from IDM producer Keef Baker. This time he has set about tackling the task of writing the soundtrack to a futuristic sci fi tabletop RPG (named River of Heaven) and has released it under the moniker Slipdrive.

Stuff:
I wasn't sure what to expect from this release, but I ended up quite liking it. Imagine the soundtrack to a retro sci fi video game of the 80s, mixed with Tangerine Dream and given a modern spin by way of Keef Baker...and that's exactly what River of Heaven is. This is a super nostalgic trip down retro-future lane and is sure to please fans of 70s/80s sci fi and related video games. Layers of analog synths and melodies intertwine, coupled with driving percussion. While the synths sound convincingly cheesy (in a good way) and old school, the beats and top notch production give this a strangely modern feel which gives it a sense of identity, and takes it beyond simply being a throwback album. The songs go back and forth between being full-on upbeat, driving pieces like "Stepping Out Into The Bright Age" to the more subdued, but still somewhat rhythmically driven, "Arrival in the Kentauran Hegemony" to entirely beatless pieces such as "Machine Collective Wants to Play". I enjoyed each of these styles, although I prefer the tracks with more percussion - without it it feels as though a small but fundamental element is missing. The more upbeat parts remind me of N5MD's Spark and his chiptune/IDM hybrid sound.

Overall: 
A neat release that I found myself quite enjoying. This sound isn't something that I listen to all that much, but I can definitely appreciate it and I know others will as well. A worthwhile side-project, even if it's just a one-off effort (though it would be cool it there was more material in the future). Would like to see more IDM guys get the opportunity to write soundtracks like this.

Aquavoice - "Nocturne"

Artist: Aquavoice
Album: Nocturne
Year: 2014
Label: Zoharum
Genre: Ambient
Website: zoharum.com/













Basics:
Nocturne is the second release on Zoharum for ambient act Aquavoice. I've not heard of this project before, so I don't know much more than that. According to the press release, this album is more focused on ambient while the previous one was more experimental.

Stuff:
Nocturne gets off to an awkward start; the first track is nearly unlistenable due to this overly loud high pitched drone that continues throughout the entire song. It sounds like there is some nice content in there but the high buzz completely ruins it. Thankfully, this only occurs in the opener and the rest of the album is quite pleasant. The album is comprised of various strange sounds, field recordings, hazy melodies, and bits of sampled speech that form dream-y ambient soundscapes. There are also some glitchy fragments a la Oval or Monstrare (Cordell Klier) which can seem a bit out of place, but generally work to add something of a strangeness and unpredictability that makes the pieces more interesting. The bulk of the tracks make me feel as if I am sitting at the edge of a lake in a futuristic city that has gone to sleep. They purvey extremely subtle moods, although when you listen deeply you will hear that there are quite a few elements in play within each track. These elements work together beautifully to conjure strong icy / lonely maritime visions for the listener. I get a strong Biosphere - Substrata vibe. My favorite track is "Sleep Well" which combines the aforementioned cold, edge of the water atmosphere with a subdued kick and strings dripping with sadness to create a highly poignant piece.

Overall: 
This album is like Mille Plateaux and/or Rastor Noton mixed with Glacial Movements; less cut'n'click and more quiet atmospherics by way of sound art. Definitely something to check out for fans of cold, pensive, minimal soundscapes (but don't mistake that for boring drone). Though not unique, Nocturne is minimal ambient done right.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Chase Dobson - "Parallel Lines"

Artist: Chase Dobson
Album: Parallel Lines
Year: 2014
Label: Crime League
Genre: IDM, Shoegaze
Website: crimeleague.bandcamp.com













Basics:
Parallel Lines is the new release from Tympanik alumni c.db.sn. This time he has teamed up with Displacer's Crime League imprint. To go along with the evolution of his sound, he has chosen to forego the nearly eponymous moniker and release this under his less abbreviated name. While there are certainly many elements that listeners who are familiar with the c.db.sn sound will recognize, there is quite a bit of fresh ground being covered here.

Stuff:
"Tangent A" begins the album and opens with a familiar, highly emotional ambient section of emotive pads accented by bits of melody. After a few minutes the percussion kicks in and the listener is treated to some beautifully poignant IDM, not too far from the N5MD sound. This track is probably the most similar to his older works. The following song, "Soft", begins the transition into his new shoegaze/emo influenced sound. His trademark melodies and heavy low end remain, but the percussion is more subdued and we're given very clear and forward vocals (much more up front than on his previous song "athousandmiles" appearing on the Accretion compilation). "Soft" carries a very hazy, melancholic-but-hopeful summer evening vibe. "Metal and Plastic" seems to be a throwback to his initial deep house recordings. This track is a feel good, groovy dance track that I would imagine them playing in Urban Outfitters or something (without the annoying bits that would normally turn me off from the music played there). The next track, "The Slip", features Displacer and is a neat melding of both their styles - the analog-driven grooves of Displacer's work, combined with the shoegaze tropes heard in "Soft". "Tangent B" is quite similar to the style of "Metal and Plastic" - the 90s sounding deep house, although this one has a quasi 303 sounding synthline which bolsters the sentimental retro vibe. It's got a very nice ambient interlude which brings back fond memories of raves of yore, before diving back into the beat. This track is super visionary and you will no doubt have a multitude of images swirling around in your head during it's duration. The album ends with a remix by the legendary Dryft. This track is a super slow burn - it spends a vast amount of time just churning and painstakingly building upon itself, like the slow moving of the continents. From what I've heard of his newest album The Blur Vent, this seems to be pretty in line with that style - sort of a gravewave / downtempo / haunting sound which really sludges out the original. Good to listen to on Vicodin and float into space.

Overall: 
A very solid release all around. To be honest, I don't even listen to shoegaze and don't feel like I would enjoy it if I did, yet this still won me over. This is a release that bridges hipster-y feel good indie electro and intelligent, pensive electronic music. The vocals are well recorded and skillfully fitted into the tracks. The music and beatwork is complex enough to draw me in and keep my attention. It has all the elements that I loved about his work as c.db.sn with the fascinating inclusion of new, atypical components which have begun to define a completely new sound.  It's one of those records that just sounds good and connects with you, even if you don't normally listen to the style/genre. Definitely something to check out for fans who are interested in hearing IDM that has been evolved into more emotional music that dwells a little closer to the heart.