Posts Tagged ‘dark’

Enigmatic Italian singer Elena Alice Fossi has released the next fascinating single, ‘Indigo Cypher’, which is taken from the forthcoming new full-length of her dark electro project SPECTRA*Paris. The fifth album of that band is entitled Modernism and has been scheduled for release on August 26.

Watch the seductive and deceptively gentle electro track ‘Indigo Cypher’ here:

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“Memories of a life that does not belong to you”, singer, composer, and lyricist Elena Alice Fossi muses. “If you don’t feel at least a bit like a fish out of water in this grotesque theater that is humanity, then this song is not for you! We were born in deception and there we stay until we realise that real life is running elsewhere. ’They’ shape us in order that we make our own lives and that of others worse. ‘They’ mold us to obey slaves and to become slaves ourselves. ‘They’ shape us so as to love our family even when it has nothing to do with us.”

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CRONE have released a pro-shot video illustrating the first single ‘Gemini’ taken from the dark rockers’ forthcoming new album Gotta Light?, which has been slated for release on September 23.

Watch the melancholic and longing video for ‘Gemini’, which perfectly mirrors the mood of this track here:

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“I wrote all the basics for ‘Gemini’ on an old acoustic guitar”, vocalist and guitarist Phil Jonas reveals. “It is amazing to look back and see how the song eventually developed into the piece that it is now. The lyrics came to me very quickly. I am sure their meaning unfolds with a little digging. The video by director Robert Piel at least in my mind tells the story of a lost twin and its inevitable return in some kind of a rebirth. This can be interpreted in many directions. I think each of us has already had to leave someone behind.”

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Misanthropic Agenda – 20th June 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

I’ll admit, I was struck by the name when this landed in my inbox. Success! With an insane number of submission emails day, I don’t even open most, let alone play the albums attached. But then I learned that PWIS is Nathalie Dreier – who’s interesting for her visual work as well as her audio – and Dave Phillips, who’s To Death I covered last year – which deepened my intrigue. And it’s one hell of a cover, too.

Meaning What Exactly? is quite a different proposition – from pretty much anything, in truth. Presenting four lengthy compositions, it’s fundamentally an electronic album, but it’s far more than that, or anything. The title is a challenge, a query, a – what I keep hearing as a phrase in my corporate dayjob – a ‘provocation’. It comes down to ‘exactly’. The word is weighted; even without explicit emphasis, it feels emphasised, vaguely stroppy even. The addition is the lexical equivalent of a hand on hip, a raised eyebrow, a scowl, a sneer of condescension to a worker from another department who has no facts. ‘Yeah, do your research, bitch’, is what it says.

And who really knows what it means, or what anything means? Exactly. And what this album means – exactly – I can’t quite fathom. The titles conflict with the contents, at least, based on my lived experience, on my reception. They say it’s a ‘dialogue mixing treated field recordings with organic acoustics and digital sources, brought together in long trance-inducing sessions of meticulous audio de/construction and philosophical debate’. But how much of that is apparent in the end product? Well, that’ debatable.

‘Pangolin’ is otherworldly eerie: a booming drum echoes out through a shifting reverberation of spine-shaking synths. It doesn’t readily evoke aardvark-like creatures, apart from perhaps in the final minute or so when Drier’s monotone vocals are replaced by snuffling barking sounds. It’s weird, but then, what did you expect? I don’t know what I expected, if I’m honest, but probably not this. This is dark, disorientating, disturbed and disturbing, and even more challenging for the absence of context. Meaning is the end product of intent, of purpose, and there’s no clear indication of where this is coming from, meaning we’re left to face the strange with no guidance.

A grinding bass and muffled, muttering voices, whispering about fish all build to a hellish tumult of murmurs and doom-sodden low range hums and thrums, and nothing feels right. It’s awkward, and unsettling. You – certainly I – don’t really tune into the words delivered by Drier in her suffocating spoken word passages, not out of disregard or disrespect, but because all of it comes together to create a claustrophobic listening experience. Meaning What Exactly? is not an album you sit and dissect, or sit and comfortably disassemble or analyse. I find myself, instead, contemplating the meaning of meaning.

‘Us vs Us’ plunges into deeper, darker territories, with a grinding, driving bass worthy of Earth, propelled by thunderous sensurround drumming, with purgatorial howls echoing all around. It’s heavy, harrowing, and it’s that simple, tribal drum style that defines and dominates the eerie eleven-minute closer, ‘The House is Black’. The house is black and the atmosphere is bleak: the vocals are mangled and distorted and play out against a murky, fragmented, fractured backing, to unsettling effect. The beats are sparse, subdued, distant, yet taut, crashing blasts and ricochets. You make it want to stop. The clock is ticking. Your chest tightens. The nerve rise, jangling, fearful. It’s like walking through a graveyard at night, knowing there’s someone lese shuffling around nearby. Make it stop, make it stop!

A crackle, a crunch. What is this, exactly? Perverts in White Shirts don’t only excavate darker domains, but scour and gouge their way into the darker, deeper territories where tension pulls tight and tighter still. It’s the sound of trauma, of suffocation. Meaning it feels like a direct passage to the depths, meaning it’s dark, uncomfortable, like it’s almost unbearable at times. Meaning it’s good.

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Machine Man Records – 27th May 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

‘Into the Glow’ is the second single from Michael Haggerty’s upcoming album, Fire Behind The Paper Trees, and his second official release under his real name having previously recorded as Krebs. Perhaps stepping out and being himself is in some way liberating, but whatever the motivation or rationale, it’s fair to say that the results are thus far positive.

There’s something somewhat uncomfortable when critics speak of ‘craft’ in their critiques. Perhaps it’s because ‘craft’ connotes something one works at, and improves, honing to a point whereby a level of quality can be achieved consistently, day in, day out, up at the crack of dawn and chiselling away until sundown, manufacturing… which there is a certain sense to, and it’s valid to a point, but this is to diminish the flare of creativity, the sparks of emotional channelling, the way in which elements of chance and happenstance all combine to make art. Because music isn’t furniture.

‘Into The Glow’ is probably as close to perfect songwriting as you can get. It is crafted: the dynamic shift between the 80s-style electronic verses and more guitar-driven choruses is precise, and balances subtlety with impact. The tempo change is sweet and shifts from reflective to driven, and the production is vast – also crisp, cold, mechanical. Bleak, brooding, but shining with optimism, ‘Into The Glow’ packs so much range into its concise three-and-a-half minutes, it’s a glorious thing.

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After being involved with Heilung for two years, and more recently with the worldwide-acclaimed movie The Northman as songwriter and actor, Jonas Lorentzen decided to focus on his own musical expression, based on a reimagination of Nordic Folk and spiritually driven music. The result is Nebala, spearheaded by Jonas Lorentzen, but assisted and graced by powerful talents such as Sebastian Gainsbourough (Vessel, The Northman, Manchester Collective), Kjell Braaten (Wardruna, Origami Galaktika) as well as non-musician minds assisting in the conceptual development, Doctor Mathias Nordvig (Professor of Pre-Christian Religion at CU Boulder) and Philosopher Naina Gupta (University of Kingston).

Nebala unveils today the new single ‘Ant Mér Sjalfri Þér’, a song about unfulfilled love, desire and longing consuming us. It refers to the myth in which Wōdan sought the Billingas magwia, the Maiden of the Fleeting Moment. In this myth, love and desire are ripped away from the ones who have let themselves be consumed. The artist also releases a new video, a short film in which the songs ‘Ant Mér Sjalfri Þér’ and ‘Laþu’ merge to create ‘The Eternal Child’.

Jonas Lorentzen comments: "This is the entire art film as we originally intended. A story about a man trying to come to grips with his own demons and desires. Inspired by mythology and Jungian archetypes."

Watch the video here:

Using traditional frame drums, lyre, tagelharpa, Tibetan singing bowls, and throat singing, Jonas Lorentzen has developed a unique Indo-Nordic sound for Nebala that toys with timescapes, soundscapes, and cultural boundaries to bring you back to the primordial experience of music itself.

He comments on the album: “When you let yourself be taken by desire and lust, you will be consumed by what the ancient Germanic peoples called Laþu. The ancestor of our modern word “to let,” laþu suggests giving into natural desire and emotion. When Wōdan sought the deepest knowledge of the cosmos he had to brave the dangers of the deep caves in Hnitbjörg and let himself be taken by the desire of Gunlaþu, the forceful goddess of the underworld.”

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1st June 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

It shouldn’t be a deal, really, but it is: Glytsh are a rare thing, namely an all-female industrial duo, comprising French singer Jennifer Diehl (aka Luna Blake) and Swiss guitarist Claire Genoud (aka Hella Sin). Like so many ‘rock’ and metal-orientated genres, industrial of all shades, from the electro to the metal end of the spectrum is depressingly the domain of the white male.

In this predictable, recycle-heavy world of white male angst, Glytsh are a breath of fresh air. But Glytsh aren’t a breath of fresh air because they’re women: they’re a breath of fresh air because they’re fucking exciting. While ‘(Hard)core memory’ still works with established tropes, their debut single, a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Closer’ set out their stall and managed to draw a fair bit of positive attention in the process. On the one hand, it was a pretty faithful cover, but also had enough of a slant to it to show that they’ve got game. And now, with the arrival of ‘(Hard)core memory’, Glytsh prove that they’ve got both style and substance, meshing together both electro and metal elements in an explosive three and a half minutes.

From a low, bass-heavy electronic intro, ‘(Hard)core Memory’ starts slow-grinding and sultry before tearing into a lumbering rock riff with screaming metal vocals, a collision between Rage Against The Machine and Marilyn Manson. It’s pretty full-on, and that’s before the Slash-style guitar solo blasts in near the end.

‘(Hard)core Memory’ has got the lot, and yet I somehow suspect that Glytsh have got a lot more to offer yet.

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Enigmatic Italian singer Elena Alice Fossi, best known for being a member of Kirlian Camera, has released the first single, ‘Devious’, which is taken from the forthcoming new full-length of her dark electro project SPECTRA*Paris. Her fifth album under that moniker is entitled Modernism and has been slated for release on August 26.

“What’s the moral conduct to follow?”, singer, composer, and lyricist Fossi asks. “This song certainly won’t teach us any morals! With a decidedly noir matrix and via its gloomy lyrics, it lets itself be crossed by a glamorous imprint where the blood goes to be combined with the enchanting reflection of a bewitching shadow. God’s body has indeed been invaded by his servants.”

Watch the video here:

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SPECTRA*Paris was conceived as an electronic rock oriented project in the wake Elena’s previous project SIDERARTICA. In 2007 she self-released the ultra-rare promo 3" CD-R limited to 25 copies "Spectra Murder Show" and immediately got picked-up by a label, which led to the acclaimed first album Dead Models Society (Young Ladies Homicide Club) hitting the streets in the same year. The debut reached the charts in many countries and went up to gold. Elena followed-up with two successful albums in 2010, License to Kill and Christmas Ghouls. Tracks from these recordings as well as the latest album Retromachine Betty (2017) have been used in tv and catwalk soundtracks.

With Modernism, SPECTRA*Paris chronicle Elena Alice Fossi’s musical prison-break into the freedom that only true art can grant. Aided by her accomplice and long-time friend Angelo Bergamini, who co-produced and supervised every sound in this chapter, the composer and singer has delivered a fascinating personal statement via a wide range of electronic music.

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14th February 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Was I the only one to misread the band’s name on first seeing it? Probably, and I suspect it says more about me than anything. Ah well. Meanwhile, as much as the quality of the band’s new single speaks for itself, the list of collaborators who’ve contributed remixes to this EP says a fair bit about the Chicago ‘post-punk demolition duo’, notably Stabbing Westward and Dean Garcia of Curve / SPC ECO.

It’s the Stabbing Westward remix that’s up first, and it’s a stonking industrial rock chugger. It has a crisp, bright feel and is driven by an explosive snare, the likes of which you rarely hear now, but was popular in the 80s. Of the different versions, it’s arguably the most radical, yet at the same time is also the one with the broadest commercial appeal, in that it is more overtly industrial and metal-edged.

Structurally, the song’s interesting for the fact it consists of several sections rather than a simple verse / chorus, and as each section rolls around, it develops something of a cyclical feel (I usually tend to feel most songs are a linear listening experience. ‘Confusion’ and ‘confusion’ make for a nice rhyming pair, but it’s the bass that’s as strong a hook as any of the lyrics, and it’s the bass that dominates the band’s own single version, which adds ten seconds to the original, which appeared on the Dead Lights five tracker released last year. Said bass is a shuddering low-frequency grind, and the drum machine tips a nod to ‘Blue Monday’ then goes into overdrive, giving the song a real urgency.

The DG Impulse remix grinds harder and longer, stripping it back to the bare bones of that sonorous bass and a pounding beat, to oppressive effect, while the IScintilla Remix is a full-on rabid aggrotech workout, and pretty nightmarish with it.

In contrast, the Loveless Love take on the track plays to the songs 80s electropop roots, coming on like The Human League remixed by JG Thirlwell or Raymond Watts.

It makes for a varied listening experience, and one that marks a neat evolution from the band’s previous releases to date.

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Christopher Nosnibor

Purveyors of aggrotech and dark electro, Against I, take something of a swerve for this new release, a four-track EP led by single ‘You and I’, which features guest vocals (and lyrics) by rising star on the scene, J:dead, who comments that “‘You And I’ is a story about a relationship breaking down, because either person cannot love themselves first. Each person is trying to hold the other up from their own struggles but in turn, is forgetting about themselves and their own needs.”

The cover art is more horror than dark techno, and it’s not entirely representative of the EP’s sonic contents, but you should never judge an EP by its cover of course.

First things first: ‘You and I’ is a richly atmospheric tune, with a so much texture and detail. There are strong leanings towards later Depeche Mode, and I’m most reminded of ‘Little 15’, but there’s a lot going on here, not least of all a thick, chuggy guitar and an insistent bass that’s pure goth vintage. The baritone vocal – rich and crooning – very much invites positive comparisons to Dave Gahan and it broods and cruises the mid-pitch, mid-tempo sonic structures that climb and loom over damaged emotional states. As a single, it’s a sock in the chops.

As an EP, this does feel like a bit of a cobbled-together effort that may have worked better with either the lead track and either the instrumental ‘My Madness’ – a high-octane technoindustrial stomper (a strong contrast) – or the ‘Club’ remix of ‘You And I’ as a B-side. Said remix is pretty decent. I don’t actually know if goth club nights are still a thing, but then this isn’t excessively dancey, and hasn’t been remixed as a dancefloor-packing stormer, but instead accentuates the track’s solid mid-tempo groove.

But then there’s the ‘Mayhem’ remix of ‘OMG’ from the debut EP, courtesy of Guilt Trip, which is so much more overtly metal, and snarls and rages like a rabid beast – save for the mellow Kraftwerkian rip in the mid-section. And if ‘You and I’ was intended to showcase a different aside of ‘Against I’, the inclusion of an older track feels like a slightly awkward fit.

Minor niggles aside, it’s a solid effort led by a cracking single tune.

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Ipecac Recordings – 29th April 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Dälek emerged in the late 90s when hip-hop was transforming in all directions. But while the Wu-Tang Clan and their offshoot projects had a level of dynamism and radicalism about them, it’s no understatement that Dälek shattered through their achievements, and if there was any debate about that, then Precipice really should settle it. It’s felt like we’ve been teetering on the edge of a precipice for a long time, and that pre-millennium tension has, over time, proven justified as the entire world careers into some kind of end-of-days chaos. If this sounds like some hysterical end-of-days paranoia panic, you’re probably not paying attention. The pandemic was just a sideshow, a distraction from global tension, climate change… Trump, Brexit, the war in Ukraine and the threat of nuclear war stepped up to levels not seen since the 80s… Are we still at the edge of the precipice, or have we just tipped – or powered, full-throttle – over it? I’m too dazed and bewildered to know, but Dälek have provided a soundtrack that conveys the sense of confusion and dislocation brought on by uncertainty and tension.

‘Lest We Forget’ is a mid-shade, mid-tempo swell of ambience that swirls around densely before ‘Boycott’ hits hard and heavy. Christ, that booming bass! That eddying noise that drones and warps! The beats! Man, the fucking beats! They’re heavy alright, and there’s no let up on ‘Decimation (Dis Nation)’.

If so much mainstream contemporary hip-hop has been overtly commercial, with Precipice, Dälek remind that hip-hop’s origins were a voice of protest, of antagonism toward the mainstream, against the government, against oppression, against suppression. N.W.A were telling it like it is with ‘Fuck Tha Police’, and fuck shit, nothing has changed thirty-four years later.

Dälek are a whole lot more subtle and less up-front and in your face in their antagonism, but they’re no less aggrieved, and no less political. This means that their impact is just as powerful, albeit in different ways, and sonically, Dälek are devastating. There’s a physicality to their music, and where the lyrics aren’t necessarily so prominent, the weight of the beats, the density of the bass and the murk of the midrange combine to create a force like colliding with a wall of breeze blocks.

‘The Harbingers’ slows things down, and it’s dark, stark, the atmosphere desperate, desolate, while ‘Devotion (when I cry the wind disappears)’ feels almost uplifting as the synths soar and their subtle, sonorous sounds swoop upwards before the seven-minute ‘A Heretic’s Inheritance’ crashes in, hard, cyclical, heavy, an urgent throbbing riff marking the intro amidst a maelstrom of scratching feedback and extraneous noise. It throbs and thrums, and this isn’t hip-hop like you get on the radio, it’s not the shit—hop of the mainstream beloved by the masses. No, this is fucking brutal, and it kicks and punches hard, repeatedly, leaving you winded, breathless, gurgling., while MC dälek repeats the mantra ‘I hold myself to high standards / I don’t give a fuck if the gods are angry’. No doubt that applies to the gods of capital. Fuck them.

The title track is weightier still, and it’s positively skull-crushing, and it goes to show that it doesn’t have to be metal to be heavy, and the final track, ‘Incite’ is stark, tense, and gloomy, rounding off an album that packs a lot of weight and tension. It’s hard to place exactly how it feels as an experience, and how it sits, musically. Precipice is the sound of dislocation, of alienation. It’s real life.

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