Posts Tagged ‘Expansive’

Christopher Nosnibor

Coldwell’s own notes which accompany this – truly epic – album explains and articulates it best, when he writes ‘This new retrospective is certainly not your typical album. Each track is almost an album in its own right! The material sees CC at his most experimental, stripped back, noisy and immersive. Following on from last year’s Music for Documentary Film, this collection gathers together some of Michael C Coldwell’s sound art work and music written for exhibition and gallery contexts.’

This is very much one of the benefits of the digital format: there is no restriction of duration on account of data capacity. Time was when physical formats restricted the running time of a release, with a vinyl LP optimally running for around forty-five minutes but having the capacity to squeeze in about an hour, with CDs being able to hold seventy-two minutes and while a cassette could – precariously – take two hours, no-one released a two-hour single cassette.

Conflux Coldwell’s collection of installation works is immense, and with a running time of around two-and-a-quarter hours, it’s in the realms of recent Swans albums. While it’s by no means a brag, I’ve endured longer, notably Frank Rothkamm’s twenty-four-disc, twenty-four-hour Werner Process, and am also aware of Throbbing Gristle’s legendary 24 Hours cassette box set, but the point is, Coldwell has really made the most of the space available to him here.

I sometimes differentiate albums as being foreground or background, and Music for Installation is very much background, the very definition of ambient. That isn’t to say it’s uninteresting or unengaging. It’s simply a vast set of field recordings and sound collages that make you feel as if you’re in a certain environment. Unlike the aforementioned Swans albums, which I find are difficult to listen to because they require a commitment of time to sit with them and focus, to actively listen, Music for Installation is a very different beast which works while rumbling on while you’re doing other things. And as an experience, this very much works.

The fifty-five minutes excerpt (!) of Remote Viewer is exemplary. Passing cars, scrapes, drones, the sound of metal on metal, clanking, indistinguishable muttered dialogue, and extraneous sounds that range from – possibly – the rush of wind to the sound of feet gently passing on creaking timbers, all sit side by side and overlap in various shapes to create a latticework of real-life founds the likes of which you probably would ignore if you even noticed them at all under normal circumstances. Of course, if this is an excerpt, where’s the rest? It’s the kind of immersive soundwork that could run for hours and that would be perfectly fine.

The live performance of ‘Dead Air’, which runs for an album-length headline performance is superb. It’s testing, but it’s also magnificently executed. The sounds and textures are balanced, but the overall sound is gloopy. The result is a piece that’s creepy, evocative, and dissonant, and built around wailing whistles and pulsating drones that coalesce intro their own organic rhythms, drawing together elements of Kraftwerk and Throbbing Gristle to conjure a dark, dingy soundscape.

‘Dismantle the Sun’, running for fourteen minutes feels concise in comparison. It’s barely there for the most part, the most ambient of field recordings. It’s hard to identify any of the individual sources, but again, there are rhythms that emerge from the rumble off passing cars and the whisper of the wind, and the piece transitions both sonically and spatially as it progresses, at times evolving from a whisper to a howl. One feels a sense of movement, which in turn creates a sense of disorientation, although the voiceover detailing ‘solar oscillations’ in the closing minutes provides a certain grounding.

The final brace of compositions, ‘Alternating Current’ and ‘The Specious Present (How Long is Now?), which have a combined time of around ten minutes feel like barely snippets or sketches in comparison to the other three immense pieces, but what they lack in duration, they compensate in depth, being richly textured and showcasing some interesting beats and conjuring some dark, confined spaces. And for all its vastness, Music for Installation is quite a dense, claustrophobic experience at times – and it’s a quite remarkable experience, too.

AA

cover

With eleven full-length records under their belts, Swedish melancholic metal masters Katatonia don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Yet, it comes as no surprise that the band is about to impressively solidify their unique stance in the world of metal and beyond once more with their 12th album, the hauntingly beautiful Sky Void of Stars.

Today, Katatonia unveil the second single and Sky Void of Stars’ album opener ‘Austerity’, along with a visually palpable video. The heartfelt offering crashes through the dark with memorable, mind-bending rhythms as it shifts with elaborate guitar riffs that perfectly showcase the musical expertise and experience of the band. Topped off by the dark, conjuring voice of Jonas Renkse and mesmerizing lyricism, the gloomy mood for the album is set. The song is now available via all digital service providers worldwide.

Katatonia on ‘Austerity’: “We hereby present you our new single and the opening track of Sky Void of Stars – ‘Austerity’. Energetic and dark, stern and disenchanted. Enjoy.”

Watch the official video for ‘Austerity’ here:

AA

Katatonia

Who are we? Where do we go? These are the kind of existential questions that have arisen for many of us during these last years and that have also been haunting DISILLUSION during the process of creating their fourth full-length Ayam. Without a chance to perform live and their personal lives also being affected by many restrictions the focus of the German avant-gardists shifted fully towards their band and the creation of new songs as well as recording. The effect is audible: Ayam sounds richer, even more multi-layered, and fully matured compared to the already highly praised previous releases. Yet the intricacies of their music are never just a means to an end, but more than anything all the complexity is subjugated to serve the inner feeling and cinematic aspect of each song itself. 

The thematic questions and multi-dimensional layers of the songs are also reflected in the album title Ayam. The word derives from Sanskrit and means "This One". Pronounced in English it sounds like "I am", while reading it backwards turns it into "Maya", which is neither an accident nor explained by the band that obviously likes to offer riddles.

While DISILLUSION stuck closer together, they were also searching their hearts whether it was time to change old habits and try out something new. This led to the excellent decision to leave the mix of the album to different ears than the bands’ for the first time. Their choice could not have been better as renowned producer Jens Bogren (OPETH, KATATONIA, MOONSPELL) once again worked his exciting magic and enhanced their already unique sound by shining a sonic spotlight to the most important aspects such as the vocals.    
Founded around singer and guitarist Andy Schmidt in the East Germany city of Zwickau in 1994, DISILLUSION pulled the rare trick of already becoming a staple in the field of avant-garde melodic death metal with the release of their full-length debut "Back to Times of Splendor" in 2004. The Germans have always been driven to seek new challenges and find new ways to evolve their music, which was exemplified by the following album "Gloria" that took radical musical steps in several directions at the same time. "Gloria" was far ahead of its time in terms of composition and sound, which becomes apparent when compared to GOJIRA’s masterpiece "Magma" for example that came out a decade later.

Despite their early success, DISILLUSION took a creative hiatus until suddenly returning in 2016 with the single "Alea" and a new line-up that had changed in several positions. Quite likely even to the band’s surprise, a large and loyal fan base had formed during the decade of their absence, which showed in sold out shows and a highly successful crowdfunding campaign to realise a new album, which the Germans repeated for Ayam.

19347941-3e6d-828c-f9c2-4dce26e5a3df

When The Liberation was released in 2019, critics described the album as a logical continuation of Back to Times of Splendor. Its songs reflected 15 years of additional experience in the musical development of Andy Schmidt. "The Liberation" turbo-charged all of DISILLUSION’s best qualities: the perfect interplay of massive metal with moments of pure euphoria and quiet introspection that create a sonic rollercoaster ride of passionate emotions.

With Ayam, DISILLUSION again sail among the stars to new stellar constellations of heavy sounds. While staying true to their general course, the German avant-garde pioneers also continue dropping anchor to explore new planets sparkling in space with a multitude of radiant sounds. "Ayam" offers exciting evolution rather than radical revolution, and DISILLUSION’s new musical forms and means are most beautiful and astonishing to behold. This album is a golden ticket to join the extraordinary journey of a life-time. Please feel free to check-in anytime you like!

AA

ea0d6bd8-521a-3bef-b268-2020303450d8

Experimental metal group Imperial Triumphant release their new track and music video for ‘Tower of Glory,  City of Shame.’ The music video was directed and edited by the band’s very own Steve Blanco.

“Monolithic events engineered throughout the ages compel great shifts in consciousness. Seemingly coincidental and synchronous points forever alter the landscape. Pigeons gather one by one. Civilization moves through the gateways and in hindsight the obscured vision becomes clearer. Still unknown, however is the truth as all is an illusion with much loss of life and zero accountability. At a certain point there are too many pigeons for the control’s infantile stories to be what they claim,” states Imperial Triumphant about ‘Tower of Glory, City of Shame’.

Watch the video here:

AA

Imperial Triumphant is gearing up to release their forthcoming full-length album, Spirit of Ecstasy, on July 22nd via Century Media Records. The band have already released two singles off the upcoming album, ‘Merkurius Gilded’ (ft. Kenny G and Max Gorelick) and ‘Maximalist Scream’ (feat. Snake/Voivod).

Spirit of Ecstasy follows the band’s previous LPs 2020’s Alphaville, 2018’s Vile Luxury and most recently their 2021 live record, An Evening With Imperial Triumphant, which was recorded at the infamous Slipper Room in New York City. Just like its predecessors, the album features a handful of special guests including Kenny G on soprano saxophone, Max Gorelick on lead guitar, Snake on vocals, Alex Skolnick on lead guitar, Trey Spruance on lead guitar, Andromeda Anarchia with choirs, Sarai Woods with choirs, Yoshiko Ohara on vocals, J. Walter Hawkes on the  trombone, Ben Hankle on the trumpet, Percy Jones on bass, SEVEN)SUNS on strings, Colin Marston on Simmons drums and Youtube, and Jonas Rolef on vocals. Stay tuned for more details about the highly anticipated release by following the band on socials.

Imperial Triumphant is Zachary Ilya Ezrin (vocals, guitars), Steve Blanco (bass, vocals, keys, theremin) and Kenny Grohowski (drums).

Recently, Imperial Triumphant announced that they will be joining Zeal & Ardor for their North American tour 2022. The band will be hitting the road starting September 11th in Brooklyn and wrapping on October 7th in Berkeley. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Imperial Triumphant’s website.

IMPERIAL TRUMPHANT Tour Dates:

U.S. Headline Shows

July 29 – Baltimore, MD – Ottobar

July 30 – Youngstown, OH – Into the Darkness Fest

July 31 – Rochester, NY – Montage Music Hall

European Headline Dates/Festivals

August 10 – Jaroměř, Czechia – Brutal Assault

August 12 – Oxfordshire, England – SUPERNORMAL FEST

August 13 – Manchester, England – The White Hotel

August 14 – Glasgow, Scotland – Stereo

August 15 – Belfast, England – Voodoo

August 16 – Dublin, Ireland – The Grand Social

August 18 – Somerset, England – ArcTanGent Festival

August 19 – London, England – The Dome

August 20 – Méan, Belgium – MÉTAL MÉAN

August 21 – Brittany, France – MOTOCULTER

August 23 – Madrid, Spain – Moby Dick

August 24 – Barcelona, Spain – Sala Upload

August 25 – Toulon, France – L’Hélice

August 26 – Mantova, Italy – The Academy

August 27 – Winterthur, Switzerland – Gaswerk

August 28 – Strasbourg, France – La Maison Bleue

August 29 – Nijmegen, Netherlands – Merleyn

August 30 – Hamburg, Germany – Hafenklang

August 31 – Aalborg, Denmark – 1000 Fryd

September 1 – Oslo, Norway – Bla

September 2 – Goteborg, Sweden – Fangelset

September 3 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Hotel Cecil

September 8 – Leipzig, Germany – Bandhaus

September 9 – Tel Aviv, Israel – Gagarin

Zeal & Ardor North American Tour

September 11 – Brooklyn, NY – Warsaw

September 12 – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts

September 13 – Cambridge, MA – The Middle East

September 15 – Montreal, QC – LE Studio TD

September 16 – Toronto, ON – Opera House

September 18 – Detroit, MI – El Club

September 19 – Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge

September 20 – Minneapolis, MN – Turf Club

September 23 – Calgary, AB – Dickens

September 24 – Edmonton, AB – The Starlite Room

September 26 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre

September 27 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile

September 28 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre

October 1 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater

October 3 – Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom

October 4 – San Diego, CA – Brick By Brick

October 5 – Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex

October 7 – Berkeley, CA – Cornerstone

AA

cosmicimg-prod.services.web.outlook

Venus Principle are premiering the melancholic and powerful new track ‘Drag Nets’ as the final single taken from the dark psychedelic rocker’s debut full-length Stand in Your Light, which has been scheduled for release on May 27.

‘Drag Nets’ makes subtle use of a wide range of instrumentation from sax to mellotron vibes and Mini Moog, and the stunning vocal chemistry between Daisy Chapman and Daniel Änghede comes into play again as well.

The band comment: “After the initial recording sessions for Stand in Your Light were postponed, we had a chance to write a few more songs”, guitarist Jonas Stålhammar tells. “The last one written was ‘Drag Nets’. It turned out to be by far the heaviest track on the album. ‘Drag Nets’ represents the waste and rejects of man. You can trawl the sea for food and treasure, but humankind will always carelessly discard all unwanted matter only for it to be rediscovered as flotsam and jetsam. The idea of adding saxophone was a last minute thought in the studio when I reached the conclusion that we had too many guitar solos on the album already. Our amazing guest on the saxophone, August Eriksson, copied my guitar solo note for note and then added some improvised sprinkles.”

Listen to ‘Drag Nets’ here:

AA

Venus_Principle_000_album_cover_Stand_in_Your_Light

Eight Bells have revealed the dark melancholic video single ‘The Well’ taken from their forthcoming new album Legacy of Ruin, which is scheduled for release on February 25, 2022.

The avant-garde doom project from Portland, Oregon conceived by guitarist and singer Melynda Jackson has previously revealed cover art, tracklist, and further details of their new full-length. Watch the video here:

AA

“This song’s story is particularly personal for me”, explains singer and guitarist Melynda Jackson. “It explores the emotions and fears of pastoral ‘salt of the earth types’ looking over the land that no longer yields a good harvest as a metaphor describing their lives. Mourning the bountiful past and coming to realize that they themselves are responsible for a bleak future. Melynda Amann, who was a member during the writing of this track, is also singing with us, while  Andrea Morgan adds haunting ambience with his violin.”

With their third album, the Portland metal experimentalists have sharpened their songwriting approach to create a soundtrack for the end of the world. Legacy of Ruin again features the trio’s trademark haunting vocal harmonies along with sometimes blistering, and sometimes impressionistic guitar riffing to create heady atmospheres of dark and light. 

The result of Eight Bells’ musical exploration is an emotional and insistent odyssey that transcends genre and imbues contemporary metal with 19th-century Victorian ghostliness, cinematic soundscapes in combination with female and male vocal harmonies perfectly fitting the album’s lyrical story. "Legacy of Ruin" focuses on themes of the human condition, natural destruction, death, regret, loss, malice, and retribution.

Eight_Bells_001_band_by_Cody_Keto

Pic: Cody Keto

4th February 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Nordic Giants are one of those acts who seem to exist almost mythically. Listening to their recordings, watching their visuals, even witnessing their live shows, does little to render them any more concrete or real. The duo go by the names Loki and Rôka, but beyond that, we know nothing. That they have managed to remain so shrouded in mystery is a remarkable achievement, especially in the Internet age. In doing so, they remind us of so much of what is missing in contemporary culture. Celebrities used to be distanced, unobtainable, out of reach, while underground acts were entirely obscure. It was possible to control the limits of what was in the public domain, by means of mailed or faxed press releases. Any kind of presence was optional, as radio play and word of mouth did the job of promotion. Times have changed, expectations have changed, and not necessarily for the better. Artists are expected to be so much more public now, buy to what benefit, ultimately?

Kudos, then, to Nordic Giants for being Nordic Giants, and doing what they do on their own terms. Symbiosis follows their debut album, A Sèance of Dark Delusions (2015) and their documentary / soundtrack project, Amplify Human Vibration (2017), and as such, it’s been a fair time in coming. So much so, that one worries how things will stand up in a contemporary context. A fair few bands making their post-lockdown return haven’t fared so well, largely because they still sound like their old selves – and times have changed, life had moved on. There may be nostalgia for the old times., but… we don’t need to relive the past times. This is not the early 00’s heyday of post-rock.

But Nordic Giants exist in their open space, and their own time.

According to the accompanying blurb, ‘Symbiosis represents the interdependent relationship of all life. The union and blending of polar opposites, the harmony created when two different elements combine, not just in nature or in a philosophical sense, but at the root creative level… This collection of songs blends light with dark, moments of ambience with power and the subtle with the mysterious – themes that Nordic Giants continue to experiment with extensively over the years.’

The first track, ‘Philosophy of Mind’ comprises many features typical to Nordic Giants: heraldic horns, vocal samples, resonant bass and rolling drums, depth, layers, atmosphere. It’s a mesmerising piece, spacious, moody. Rene Descartes’ famed quote (in translation) ‘I think, therefore I am’ echoes over the lilting piano, ahead of a roiling crescendo, and the closing couple of minutes grow in tension And scale. This is classic Nordic Giants, and the album progresses neatly from here. It may not present may serious surprises, but it does present a succession of immaculately-conceived and perfectly executed compositions, from the driving ‘Anamorphia’ to the supple, subtle melody of ‘Hjem’.

The featuring of guest vocalists – Alex Hedley on the expansive ‘Faceless’ and Freyja on ‘Spheres’, with its delicate, poised atmosphere and cinematic sound – add to the diversity of sound and also the stylistic range of Symbiosis, an album that really reaches deep into the emotional space. It’s lusciously-produced, but at the same time poignant, and you ache on hearing the soaring strings and the nagging piano trills. There are moments of ambience, of mind-sprawling semi-ambience, and of absolute magnificence.

Symbiosis is dateless, ageless, marvellous.

AA=

Digital_Cover

11th January 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Curse my brain. It’s so unhelpful at times. When Tim Hann – aka break_fold – emailed me his new single release, I managed to misread ‘Welwala’ as ‘Welawala’, and immediately my mental jukebox struck up ‘Summer Nights’ from Grease. ‘Tell me more’, you say?

Uh-huh, ok. Having recently connected with analog horizons, with whom this is his second release ahead of the fourth break_fold album, scheduled for release towards the end of 2022, Tim’s been gaining traction with support for previous singles ‘Meanwhile.. Up in Trump Tower’ and ‘Variant’ from BBC 6 Music DJs Gideon Coe and Steve Lamacq.

As is common for Hann, it’s a TV series that in part inspired the composition: on this occasion, it’s the sci-fi show The Expanse as well as Blanck Mass’ Calm with Horses film soundtrack (as far back as the debut album by I Concur, Hann was drawing on The Wire among his wide-ranging sources).

Gary Numan-esque synths and that crisp crack of a vintage drum machine snare sound. Beneath the bold strikes builds first a later of bass, then a bubbling synth loop, and then the drums kick up a notch and beat harder. As the elements layer up, the track takes on new depths and grows in intensity. The dropdown is perfectly timed, and from there it builds again. Compositionally it’s magnificent, and there’s a lot of action and dynamic work packed into three-and-a-half minutes. It’s tight, and the production is poised, just-so, and it all comes together with a precision that at the same time feels intuitive, and it’s that intuition that really gives it some force as it pushes the listener along in its swelling current.

As the press release explains, ‘Welwala is about seeing something from two different points of view. It is structured around two contrasting synth lines with focus shifting between them, evoking both optimism and threat. These are layered with an insistent drum track in a sequence that hints at narrative evolution.’ So, a bit like ‘Summer Nights’ then. I mean, ok, not musically, but my misread was right about the telling the story from two different perspectives, right? Right?

AA

a2453954432_10