Posts Tagged ‘electronic’

Gothic/occult wave duo Raven Said has just unveiled their new EP, Chants To Dissolve.

Chants To Dissolve is about the spiritual essence that represents a certain alchemical phase of Solve (a transitional process between the Nigredo and Albedo phases in basic Alchemy).

On the abstract, the EP represents the invisible and inaudible flattering of a butterfly’s wing to the deafening roar of the inescapable wave of the coming future. Physically, it’s an effort aimed at changing the composition, without an exact result In a philosophical context. This means that the future is not defined and there is only the possibility of one or another existence; a certain point of polyfurcation, a set of evolution.

With pulsing vibrations of guitar and synths transformed into elegant canvases in cold tones, Raven Said is the flexible fusion of darkwave / goth rock / post-punk; the musical expression of symbolic mysticism and psychology.

Check ‘Immersive Waves’ from the EP here:

The founders of the band – Andrey and Maria united for creation of old school Goth Rock / Occult Wave project. One of the most famous poems of the American romantic writer E. А. Poe inspired the band’s stylish title.
Raven Said accumulates the energy of Second Wave Goth Rock and complements this with elements of Post-Punk and New Wave to form their original modern sound.

Musically, Raven Said takes inspiration from the likes of Rosetta Stone, Nosferatu, Witching Hour, The Cult, Mephisto Waltz, Cinema Strange among others. Raven Said’s lyrics focus on occultism, attraction to the world beyond and following into the realm of the unconsciousness themes.

Raven Said has served as a support act for cult artists such Golden Apes (DE), The Danse Society (UK), Das Ich (D), My Own Burial (ES), Murnau’s Playhouse (FI), Moon Far Away (RU), Orplid (DE), Larva (ES) etc.

Raven Said has received considerable acclaim and recognition. The band has participated in numerous online, print and radio interviews and has been reviewed in various online and print publications worldwide. They have also taken part in online festivals – Absolution NYC, Goth for Sanctuaries, ARG-Fest & Luna Negra.

2017 saw the release of the EP, Seven Deadly Tapes which was well-received both in Russia and abroad. In 2020, the band released the LP, Beyond the Darkest Hour on the UK label, Secret Sin Records.

Broadening the forms of traditional Goth rock, Raven Said are experimenting with new shapes and themes having the artistic charm and authentic visual aesthetics.

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Negative Gain Productions – 9th September 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Curse Mackey has enjoyed an enviable career as a frequent performer with legendary industrial collectives Pigface and My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, and has built a substantial catalogue of work as a solo artist too – and it’s perhaps to be expected that much of this, including his latest, Immoral Emporium, is defined by the vintage late 80s / early 90s Wax Trax! electroindustrial sound.

While Immoral Emporium is undeniably dark, it’s also fairly poppy and accessible, with a title track that calls to mind more recent Gary Numan. And this is in the region of the album’s tone and style overall.

Starting off, ‘Smoking Tongues’ is strong on melody and surprisingly sparse retro synths and while Depeche Mode circa Black Celebration comparisons are likely the obvious choice, it’s as much A Flock of Seagulls. That may appear to some as a rather casual dismissal as being flimsy pop, but the electropop that rode the charts in the early to mid-80s was way darker than it’s usually given credit for or remembered as being. Consequently, suggesting that the spoken-word verses of ‘A Sharp Reminder’ are reminiscent of Pet Shop Boys’ ‘West End Girls’ is absolutely no sleight.

‘The Reveal’ takes a turn for the more overtly industrial, with menacing synth bass pulsations and a death disco thudding beat. ‘Dead Fingers talk’ borders on bouncy, and while ‘Lost Body Hypothesis’ is harder, darker, and driven by a nagging bass, it’s in the same sphere as Nine Inch Nail’s ‘Sin’, and it’s that late-80s grind that dominates Immoral Emporium. Many will bang on about how Pretty Hate Machine broke new ground, but the fact is, without denigrating what is undeniably an outstanding and era-defining album, that it only broke the territory in commercial terms. It maty have added some layers of noise in the production, but it didn’t really add all that much to what Ministry and Depeche Mode had already been doing, and that’s before we get to the conveyor-belt catalogue run of acts churned out by Wax Trax! between 1986 and 1988 with releases by the likes of Revolting Cocks, Front 242, and Fini Tribe. There was a certain sameness among the label’s acts and releases, but they worked, because there’s something instinctive and primal about drums that thump and clatter distortedly against insistent bass workouts and various elements of extraneous noise.

On Immoral Emporium, Curse very much revisits his roots, and it’s well-realised with solid songs packed back-to-back.

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9th September 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Brooklyn-based blood and gore and dark-fixated industrial metal act GLDN keep on mixing things up with their singular and innovative take on industrial / metal / electronica, and the first single released ahead of the upcoming album Hemophilia, released early October, is another genre-smashing blast of excitement.

At the start of the video, front man Nicholas Golden is wearing a minidress on a mock-up of a slightly fuzzy-looking VHS clip, and while in itself it’s not edgy, it’s both resourceful (can’t afford actors for your promo? Do it yourself) and parodic in setting a dystopian tone n a retro setting. The trouble with retro dystopias is that, as we’ve come to find the hard way, is that the projected future which is now the present is actually worse. 1984 no longer reads like fiction, but reportage. What do you actually do with that knowledge? How do you live with that grim realisation? You too could be the owner of an obelisk…

The lyrics pick at social media and Instagram perfection, and on reading the lyrics, I remember with a slow sinking feeling how I read on a daily basis in the tabloid media how professionals – nurses, teachers, name it – are taking to OnlyFans to make ends meet and in no time they’re quitting their stressful, shittily-paid dayjobs in favour of coining it in to pay off their mortgages:

Got no flaws, no imperfections

The unachievable is my new obsession

Can’t get enough, I’m never satisfied

I’ve got to whore myself out just to feel alive

‘I’d rather be dead than be irrelevant’, Golden concludes, and it’s a stark yet fair reflection: people crave the attention as much as the money, and the bottom line is that the system is fucked and society and culture is fucked.

Coming on like an electro-infused black metal cross between Placebo and Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails, ‘Suicide Machine’ finds GLDN in darkly abrasive form, peaking with a blistering climactic finale that’s utterly punishing. Bring the album.

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Cardiff electronic producer Conformist and gloom wave duo H O R S E S. ‘Heddiw’ ( ‘Today’ in English) collaborate for a collision of electronica and ominous post punk,  on a inventive framework of crunching beats and blips, haunted synth samples  and infused with the ominous vocals of duo H O R S E S, that bare more than a passing resemblance to Joy Division. A collaboration forged in the depths of lockdown, this haunting and bracing release is just a teaser of what’s to come in 2023.

Conformist says of the collaboration, it’s “a project that began by exchanging audio files between myself and H O R S E S on WhatsApp during the depths of Covid lockdown; I’m really pleased we can finally get this track out.  Vocals are by H O R S E S and production is by myself.  Hopefully this is just the beginning; we’re looking to follow up Heddiw in 2023 with a bunch of new ideas.”

Listen to ‘Heddiw’  here:

Conformist is one of the most respected names on the Electronic music scene in Wales, with early demos immediately catching the attention of Steve Lamacq, Huw Stephens, John Kennedy and Eddy Temple Morris.

Subsequent Conformist albums "Paid To Fake It" (2013) and "Lifestyle Bible" (2016) earned lavish praise:

"Paid To Fake It" is the sort of record that will take your breath away…bloody brilliant" The 405

"A musically kaleidoscopic head f***…brilliant" Louder Than War

"a head-spinning deluge of audacious beats and samples…staggering" Wales Online

Conformists’ production work is distinguished and full of unique character; staying leftfield but fresh and ahead of others; meticulous, dense and layered, revealing hidden detail with every listen – taking inspiration from Public Enemy’s Bomb Squad and cut n’ paste pioneers Coldcut, Steinski and The Dust Brothers to name a few.

Purveyors of dark hearted electronic music and inventors of the Gloom Wave genre, H O R S E S are formed by two gentlemen from a southeasterly part of Wales.

Casting a longing gaze on early 70s German electronica, mournful vocals escorted gently by cold beats and balmy synths evoke a brutalist image of Berlin, as the melodies wash between the brash concrete structures of your mind.

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gk. rec. – 13th August 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Since taking control of his own release schedule – in addition to various releases via various labels – Gintas K’s output has shifted from rivulets to cascades, with this nature-themed album being just one among countless releases, live performances, exhibitions. soundtrack and compilation appearances so far this year, and, not least of all, Lėti in May, released on venerable experimental label Crónica.

There’s little explanation behind Mountains, runlets, caves & cascades, beyond a selection of quotes from HP Lovecraft and the detail that the album’s six pieces were ‘played, recorded live, at once without any overdub; using computer, midi keyboard & controller’ in 2020, and one suspects Gintas has a hard drive bursting with such recordings just waiting to be edited and mastered to form unified documents of his tireless output.

The first five pieces form the larger work that sits under the album’s overarching title, numbered one to five. They’re sparse, minimal, echo-heavy, like wandering around in a vast cavern while droplets fall into the subterranean lake that occupies the bottom, and who knows how deep it may be, how many tunnels are filled with millions of gallons of water that have run down through the ground and into this naturally-carved warren of rock-lined corridors beneath the ground.

In places, barely perceptible glimmers of sound, like bat sonar, jangle in the upper reaches of the audio spectrum. I’m reminded of the cat repellent device in my back yard, and I wonder if to some, these passages would actually appear as silence – or if for others, like my ten-year-old daughter, they would find the pitch unbearable and have to run from the room covering their ears. Quiet gurgles and trickles are the primary sounds on ‘Mountains, runlets, caves & cascades #3’ and I find myself feeling altogether calmer, picturing myself in a pine woodland with steep banks. I picture in my mind’s eye local scenery like Aysgarth Falls and Ingleton Falls and find myself at ease – but this being Gintas K, there’s disruption afoot, and blips and squelches zap in seemingly at random to remind us that this is digital art, and the fourteen-minute ‘#4’ marks the full transition into digital froth and sluices of laptop-generated foam.

And so it trickles into ‘#5’ which brings more bleeps and blips and jangling and some high-pitched rattling that for some reason makes me think of seeing footage of milk bottling plants in the 80s – back when milk came in glass bottles, and I trip on this trajectory of nostalgic reverie until the arrival oof the unsettling final track, the eight-minute ‘eastern bells’ that’s a slowed-down yawn of sound, metallic reverberations ringing out into the silence, echoing in the dark emptiness in ebbs and flows, like a conglomeration of sounds, drifting in a breeze.

Mountains, runlets, caves & cascades is a supremely abstract work, and while it’s not a huge departure for Gintas K, it does represent one of his softer, gentler, sparser and less frenetic works. It’s by no means an album to mediate to. But it is overall fairly sedate, and it not only allows, but encourages a certain quiet reflection.

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Expert Sleepers – 25th August 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Fallout 4 is, as the title suggests, the fourth album in Darkroom’s Fallout trilogy.

Darkroom have been going for more than twenty years now, and have built up an extensive catalogue centred around fluid ambient work, which they’re keen to point out ‘stretches the definition of the genre to its limits in many directions: from quiet, introspective and naturalistic through celestial and melodic to intense, abrasive and synthetic.’

In presenting three longform compositions, Fallout 4 affords the collective to fully explore all of these elements.

As the accompanying notes explain, ‘Darkroom’s music has always been played not programmed, with a focus on human interaction and capturing the magic of live performance’, and the first two pieces hark back to the last performance of their 2012 tour. ‘It’s Clear from the Air’ is hypnotic, rippling, mesmerising, low, undulating drones providing a subtle low end to the textured interweaving synths that overlay subtle yet complex rhythms.

It bleeds into the twenty-five minute ‘Qaanaak (Parts 1 & 2)’ and immediately the tone is darker, denser, with a grumbling low and needling pulsations that create tension within the suffocatingly thick, beatless smoggy atmosphere. You find yourself lost, in suspension, somewhat bewildered as the tones twist and change. Electronic flares whip and lash as stuttering beats emerge through the relentlessly nagging pulsations, and continue to shift and mutate to a broiling, bubbling larva as booming bass tones surge and swell. The rhythm grows in urgency, but it’s muffled, constrained, which heightens the experience of a sense of airlessness and entrapment and as much as the throbbing oscillations are indebted to Can and Tangerine Dream, their abrasive edge hints at the uneasy, wheezing synth grind of Suicide.

The third piece, ‘Tuesday’s Ghost’ is perhaps the most conventionally ambient’ of the three, and is certainly the most overtly ‘background’ as is swims and floats and chimes along fuzzy lines of slow decay and loose, vague forms that have no shape, rise and fall. There is a discreet linearity to it, as it gradually, and subtly builds in depth and density, and it’s here that it become clear just how essential that human element is to Darkroom’s work – that sense of musicians bouncing off one another and understanding one another through intuition. There is no substitute for it, and you simply can’t programme the dynamics of form. It’s this intuitive, natural fluidity that breathes life into the compositions, and in turn, it’s this sense of life that the listener connects to and engages with. Fallout 4 may be ambient at heart or by genre… but it’s also far beyond the frontier of ambient.

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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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Cruel Nature Recordings

Prefacing the deluxe edition of their most recent album, Functional Music, expanded to include tracks from the Hyper-Suburb EP, Russian new wave experimentalists Dvanov have offered up aa video single for ‘Уварово (Uvarovo)’.

The St Petersberg-base band started out as Voda-i-Ryba back in 2013, before changing their name.

And what a time to be a Ukrainian—supporting, anti-war band in Russia, and what a time for Dvanov: ‘Уварово (Uvarovo)’ is the last release with vocalist Vlad Kilin and marks what they call ‘the beginning of a new stage in the Dvanov’s life,’ adding ‘In these songs, the cultural memory of revolutions and childhood memories of anxious summer nights collide with the ghosts of modern capitalism. There are the evening and the ringing of endless fields behind the walls of supermarket, cicadas crackle and there’s nowhere to go. We are releasing this at a tragic time when our country has waged an imperialist war. No war! ‘

‘Уварово (Uvarovo)’ is a crazed, beat-driven frenzy of oddness, a bit noisy, a bit industrial, a bit electro, a lot wtf.

Oh, and all proceeds from the sale of Functional Music are going to a Ukraine crisis support charity – which makes it extra-functional.

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Kranky – 15th April 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Well, this is nice. No, it’s not sarcasm or some kind of snide semi-criticism wrapped in a vague compliment. Jacob Long’s third Earthen Sea outing for Kranky, Ghost Poems, was composed and created in New York during the first wave of lockdowns, and conjures a sense of calm , of tranquillity, and captures a sense of the hush that descended over life during this time. For many, there as an underlying rush of panic, of anxiety, as we struggled to comprehend what the hell was going on. The rolling news was little short of terrifying, and from my own vantage over the pond, New York looked like a dystopian movie. People weren’t only dying, but there were queues around the block just to get people into hospitals.

And yes, while all of this madness was going on, all other aspects of life were on hold. This was true of every town and city around the globe, but New York, the city that doesn’t sleep, was held still by a giant pause button. The very idea of New York without bumper-to-bumper traffic, packed sidewalks and parks rammed with joggers and dog walkers seems inconceivable. And yet, it happened.

Ghost Poems soundtracks empty streets, slow air currents and a general absence of everything – people, activity, life. As the title suggests, this is a collection of works which are haunted by the echoes of life, of activity, or movement, and listening it reminds me of my ventures outside in those early days and weeks of lockdown here in (old) York, England, a city usually populous withy workers and tourists, reduced to a ghost town. Social distancing was no issue on leaving the house: you could walk for half an hour is see maybe three other people. It was eerie. It was weird. It felt apocalyptic, like I was one of the last people on earth.

Slow, vaporous synths ebb and flow like a slow tide, dragging back and forth against a sparse, heartbeat pule of a beat on ‘Shiny Nowhere’, and it sets the sparse tone perfectly, and ‘Felt Absence’, with its slow backward-swelling remind into deletion encapsulates the mood perfectly. It’s not about what there is, but what there isn’t: that absence, that lack. It doesn’t feel right; even the air quality is different, and listening through an open window, there is birdsong, there is stillness… and so little else.

Elemental themes run through Ghost Poems: ‘Snowy Water’; ‘Rough Air’, and similarly, the sky is at the heart of the vistas which present themselves: ‘Ochre Sky’; ‘Deep Sky’; ‘Slate Horizon’. Looking out, and looking up, there was a strange stillness, an emptiness, above as below. Where did the time go? Two years have evaporated into this expanse of sky, and life has returned. Talk of ‘the great pause’ and ‘new normal’ have drifted away on the breeze. For all the fear of the pandemic, there was a certain optimism that something fresh and new may rise from the silence, from the space; perhaps a new green dawn, perhaps a kinder capitalism, a world without endless traffic, where the work/life balance may lean more towards life. All of these contemplations are spun into the soft, gentle airiness of Ghost Poems, an album suffused with calm, with a quiet optimism. This may have already been lost, buried in the clamour of the return, but Earthen Sea has captured that moment when there was a reserved sense of hope.

Listening to Ghost Poems compels one to sat back, and breathe in, slowly, deeply, to fully expand the lungs, and then exhale, again, slowly. Perhaps there is still hope after all.

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Over twenty years and a dozen albums, The Birthday Massacre have become prime exponents of goth synth pop. They describe Fascination as ‘at once the most fully realized album with the bands signature blend of haunting vocals, captivating electronica and aggressive guitars and their most accessible’.

It’s this accessibility that immediately announces itself from the outset. The title, ‘Fascination’, immediately makes my mind leap to the song by The Human League, and this is unquestionably poppy, but this is in a different league instead. It’s the title track that opens the album and it’s a colossal anthem. It’s in the slower mid-pace tempo range, and the production is so immense as to be arena-worthy, the slick synths drifting over big, bombastic guitars. Some may baulk at the notion, but it’s pretty much a power ballad. It paves the way for an album that’s back-to-back bangers.

I mean, make no mistake, this is a pop album in a pure 80s vein, and pushes tendencies that were always in evidence in BM’s work. People often seem to forget just how dark a lot of mainstream pop was in the 80s, but listen to A-Ha, even Howard Jones or Nik Kershaw objectively and the currents of darkness are clearly apparent amidst the clean lines of the clinical synth pop production of the day. It’s perhaps time to re-evaluate what actually constitutes ‘cheesy’ – an adjective so often pinned to the 80s with no real consideration – and cast aside the idea of ‘guilty pleasures’ when it comes to a lot of music of the era.

‘Stars and Satellites’ is bold and brooding, and probably the most overtly ‘goth’ track of the album’s nine, although ‘Like Fear, Like Love’ grabs bits of The Cure and tosses them into a stomping disco tune. But those drums… they’re great, they’re huge, but they really are the epitome of the 80s sound. Elsewhere, the guitar line on ‘One More Time’ actually goes 80s U2 with heavy hints of Strawberry Switchblade (and they weren’t goth either). Step too far? Maybe for some craving the chunky chug of industrial guitars, because this is fundamentally a riff-free zone, but Fascination works if you embrace the spirit of its being easy on the ear and accessible.

It feels fresh for the band, but also feels like a relatively safe step in the direction of commercialism. It’s ok, and the songwriting and performances are solid throughout, that much is undeniable. It’s one of those albums that may take some time to sink in, in the way that Editors’ On This Light and on This Evening and The Twilight Sad’s Nobody Wants to be Here, Nobody Wants to Leave, felt just that bit mainstream initially. Digesting an overtly ‘pop’ album or a change of direction – and while the direction of Fascination is something that’s always been a part of The Birthday Massacre’s sound – hearing it placed front and central inevitably feels like a shift. And it is a shift, of course, just not one of seismic proportions.

‘Is anyone real anymore?’ they ask on ‘Precious Hearts’ before the final cut, ‘The End of All Stories’ goes Cure again, only this time with monster power chords that border on metal to fill out the mix.

Dig it, soak it in, play it a few times. You’ll probably like it, even if not on first listen.

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