Posts Tagged ‘mood’

In the magical volcanic landscapes of Lanzarote, Jana Irmert found images for the ideas, moods and feelings that fueled the work on the tracks of What Happens At Night: For me this release is a window through which I could express my thoughts and feelings about our planet in turmoil. Starting out from a point of hopelessness, my fascination with travelling into Deep Time and learning about geologic ages grew. After all, what will be left of us will only be a delicate layer in the rock.“

‘Stratum’, named after the word used in geology for a single layer of sediment, attempts to dissolve time and space, merging the abstract and the concrete. The volcanic landscapes, which are very young from a geological perspective, thereby become a place where human existence plays only a marginal role.

Watch the video here:

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Temple Invisible have unveiled their arresting new single ‘Over My Feet’, taken from new ‘Chiasm’ EP coming next month.

Fusing chiffon vocals with impending electronic beats, ‘Over My Feet’ comes as the third single plucked from Temple Invisible’s forthcoming ‘Chiasm’ EP, and boasts the breadth of the genre-defying duo.

Showcasing the two-piece’s knack for creating evocative electronic-tinged tracks that are as dark as they are diaphanous, “Over My Feet” feels eerie and overcast yet optimistic and inviting all at once.

Speaking of the inspiration behind the track, vocalist Irina Bucescu explains:

“’Over My Feet’ is like a walk in the forest. It draws its roots from the deep and rich life of the underground — the mycelium. As you progress deeper into the forest, you connect with the life force, inside out, and blend the deeper and more disturbing truths into a multi-layered view of reality. The metamorphosis of death can be a beautiful thing when you walk in the forest.”

With its opening moments unfolding like a silken ballad — gauzy vocals and gentle key taps wind themselves around one another with cushiony ease — the docile ambience is soon underpinned by swirling electro rhythms that steadily threaten to erupt, before overflowing into a meticulous amalgam of rippling instrumentals.

Watch the video here:

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Lia Hide – Dinner

Conch Town Records – 25th March 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Such a contentious word. Two syllables, it kind of has a satisfying downbeat in the middle before an inflection, and on the face of it, completely innocuous. But ‘dinner’ is a territory of dispute that denotes and divides regions. It’s all about positioning – whether it’s ‘breakfast, dinner, and tea, or breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This is essentially an English debate, and personally, I believe cricket has the answer the end all debate, stopping for lunch and tea – afternoon tea. That and the fact that no pubs display a ‘dinner’ menu at lunchtime.

So, while Lia Hide is from Greece, I’m working on the premise that the follow up to the absolutely cracking ‘Proposal’, the first single from her forthcoming fourth album, The Missing Fourth Guest, is about an evening meal, with the lighting low – probably candles – and a long evening in prospect.

As she explains in the accompanying notes, “It’s an invitation to dinner , so we can mend things that went wrong. I go from being alone in my own head, in my mess, to reaching out for some communication with someone, anyone, so we can have dinner, discuss and focus on being alright.”

It sounds like a pretty nervy meal in prospect, and the track has an appropriately tense start, which burred whips of electric tension and glitching distortion cutting across the gentle piano and subdued beats. ‘Can we focus on being alright?’ she sings in a low-key, ponderous tone. Beats burst and stutter all around over a rolling piano before, seemingly from out of nowhere, brass bursts and blossoms, introducing an unexpectedly jazz feel to this roiling, multi-faceted electronica.

It’s anything but obvious, but it’s magnificently executed, and makes you hungry for more. Who’s for supper?

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Chapter 22 Records – CD December 18th / Vinyl in April 2023

Christopher Nosnibor

It seems hard to credit now, but back in the 80s and early 90s, the BBC’s national radio was a remarkable platform for breaking new music. John Peel will forever be legendary for the countless bands he gave exposure – obscure acts starting out and the likes of which would be unlikely to trouble the top 40… but then again, so many off them went on to do so. But there wasn’t only Peel – Janice Long and David ‘Kid’ Jensen played so many up-and-coming and under-the-radar acts, and they, too, would feature artists by having them record sessions at the Maida Vale studios.

The mid-80s was something of a pivotal period in terms of the evolution of alternative music, particularly here in the UK. In the slipstream of the post-punk acts that would come to be considered the progenitors of ‘goth’ – Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Sisters of Mercy in particular – followed a wave of bands who developed the style, but with poppier, more indie leanings. Although The Sisters’ ascent meant they developed away from being a ‘Leeds’ band, their presence and rise from the city made Leeds the epicentre of the second generation of goth – or perhaps post-goth indie – with the likes of The March Violets, Salvation, Groovin’ with Lucy, and The Rose of Avalanche all emerging from Leeds around this time.

By the release of their debut album, First and Last and Always in 1985, The Sisters of Mercy had moved a long way from the sound of their first few EPs, a move that coincided with their signing to a major label and Wayne Hussey replacing Ben Gunn. The Sisters were dead by the summer of that year, but rising from the ashes, The Mission’s first singles and debut album, God’s Own Medicine in 1986 added impetus to the rising wave of janglier, more accessible indie-goth.

Both John Peel and The Mission would play a part in the rapid ascendence of The Rose of Avalanche, with the former offering them a session simply on the basis of a track on a compilation album, and the latter inviting them to open for them on tour. That kind of exposure to such a potential fanbase is hard to come by any means, and by 1987 they had Sounds spurting praise all over them. Yet for all this, they failed to break the mainstream or to trouble the charts, and chugged on till the early 90s before calling it a day (although they recently opened a new chapter with some live dates. Never say never, eh?).

The recent release of The Sisters of Mercy’s BBC sessions has caused considerable excitement in the community, being their first official release since their 1992 compilation A Slight Case of Overbombing. The sessions had been in circulation as bootlegs for decades, under various titles and with varying quality. The fact the release left a side of vinyl blank while leaving the audio of the band’s Whistle Test performance – arguably on of their finest – in the vaults has caused considerable consternation particularly considering the 3-sided vinyl cost over £40 on release on Record Store day, while the cut-price CD is flimsily-packaged and feels ‘budget’ in every way.

Exhuming The Rose of Avalanche’s BBC sessions after a 25-year hiatus from releasing material may not send quite the same ripples, but isn’t only a significant event for fans, but a substantial document of the time.

It may have been early cut ‘L.A Rain’ that grabbed JP’s attention, but it’s not featured in their first Peel Session, which features three original cuts plus a cover of The Spencer Davis Group’s ‘Gimme Some Lovin’’ delivered with guts and monster guitar solo work, al driven by a stonking bass.

The band clearly evolved fast, and gained in confidence and competence. It’s the swagger that really makes the impression on ‘Rise of the Groove’ that spearheads the second session, which also features a strong take of one of their most successful singles, ‘Velveteen’. Rougher and rawer than the official version, ‘Never Another Sunset’ packs some heft without the tidal wave of reverb, and ‘Too Many Castles in the Sky’ is all about the up-front rock action.

Because of the nature of the BBC sessions, these recordings are necessarily quick, underproduced, but the positive flip is that they capture thee band in the moment. And it’s a good moment, bursting with energy.

The album wraps with the songs that started it all, an eight-minute sprawling drawling take on ‘L.A. Rain’ that’s pure Velvet Underground.

There are so many good songs on here: now is the time The Rose of Avalanche should be reassessed, and appreciated in a different light.

Artwork - The Rose Of Avalanche

27th August 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Leeds proves once again to be the spawning ground for some interesting experimental music, and this four-tacker from Material Loss is a work of dark, dark ambient, a genre I’ve become increasingly drawn to over time by virtue of its lack of prescription: what I draw from it is as much about my own projections, my own internal state and contemplations as the music itself, although it in turn has the capacity to reflect back at me those internalisations. And what Material Loss convey corresponds with the name – a sense of emptiness, a sensation of being aimless and bereft. Admittedly, these moods do hit from time to time and I know his isn’t something by any means unique to me, but when they descend they do so rapidly, like a storm blowing in from the horizon on a strong wind, building from out of the blue and forcing a sudden pressure drop.

And what is material? Something palpable, tangible. And yes, these four tracks, for all of their vague, effusiveness, they succeed in conveying something more concrete, somehow. It’s all about the atmosphere, which has been carefully constructed and arranged for optimal effect, and while it’s short, it reached seep into the psyche, and into the body, prodding the gut, the bowels, the lungs, and, above all, stealthily creeping around the deeper recesses of the brain.

Such dank murkiness shouldn’t be associated by any means directly with a depressive state, though: the lack of overt form or structure can be quite therapeutic, offering a form of escapism as one allows oneself to drift through the sonic clouds, The first piece, ‘Set’ rumbles and growls, and within those sonic clouds, there’s a storm brewing. It’s a distant rumbling, a dissonance, an almost unquantifiable and most unspecific unease more than anything else.

Following on, ‘UA’ manifests as a barely-audible droning hum for the most part but it’s occasionally rent with tearing shards of nose or rising tides of amorphous sound. The fact that each composition is brief means that none becomes overwhelming, r challenging to the point of traumatic, although in the infinite subtlety, the menace is always present.

‘SD-CLA’ may be brief, but it’s dark and doomy, a single beat repetitively hammered out at a funereal pace amidst fizzing electrics and splinters of breaking glass. Closer ‘Alm’ – the calm without the c – brings a sense of tranquillity, a lifting of the mood and something approximating a sense of lightness and of relief, and a sense that maybe things aren’t so bleak after all.

They are, of course: the reality of living in the now is beyond dismal, but at least, for a couple of minutes, we can perhaps forget and pretend otherwise.

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Potomak – 31st January 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

hackedepicciotto is Alexander Hacke (Einsturzende Neubauten) and Danielle de Picciotto (Crime & The City Solution), and The Current is their fourth album It’s pitched as being ‘their most powerful album yet,’ and the press release explains that ‘after composing desert drones for their previous album Perseverantia and dark foreboding melodies for Menetekel, their new album moves forwards, gaining in speed and energy’.

The energy is abundant, but it’s dark and flows in subterranean currents. Recorded in Blackpool, of all places, there is little sense of illumination in a work that’s dominated by shadow, although that’s by no means a criticism.

‘All people / are created equal’ de Picciotto announces in a stilted monotone which echoes out across a bleak and solemn soundscape of atmospheric, picked guitar and dramatic strings which glide and swoop over a swirl of electronic crackles, indistinguishable voices and dolorous bells. Over the course of the piece, she utters various permutations of the phrase, revealing new meanings with each arrangement.

There is very much an exploratory feel to The Current: this is not an overtly linear work, or an album comprised of songs in the conventional sense. These are eleven distinct ‘pieces’ which are more spoken word / narrative works with music than anything, although this misrepresents the fact the words and sounds are very much equal in their billing. And yet there is a sense of progression, as the rhythms become stronger, more forceful, and more dominant as the album progresses.

‘Onwards’ plunges downwards with a grating bass pitched against a relentlessly rolling rhythm; ethereal, choral vocal harmonies and cold, cold synths forge an unusual juxtaposition, and the result is powerful, stirring deep-seated emotions that swell in the chest as the energy rises.

In contrast, ‘Metal Hell’ goes post-industrial with metallic clattering an scraping disrupting a choppy, processed guitar riff that cuts a murky path over an arrhythmic mess of percussion, and the title track thunders a slow martial beat to build a grandly epic piece that conjures images of sweeping vistas dominated by rugged mountains and dense forests.

Things take a turn for the unsettling on ‘Petty Silver’, which finds de Picciotto writhe and wheeze in a sort of little girl lost voice against a backdrop of chiming xylophone and a heavy synth grind that’s pure Suicide. The penultimate track, ‘The Black Pool’ opens with a cluster of samples from news soundbites or similar about ow ‘the UK is fucked’ (fact, not an opinion) over some swirling ambient drone and a Michael Gira-esque monotone vocal trip

When the pair share vocal duties, Hacke’s cracked, grizzled growl is the perfect contrast to de Picciotto’s clean, airy yet tense and high-string delivery. And it’s the contrasts that make The Current: it isn’t any one thing, but a number of things simultaneously and while the rhythm section resonates deep and low, there’s lot going on at the front of the mix, and it’s this dynamic that gives the album a constant movement. To dissect it beyond this would be do damage the effect: The Current is an album that possesses a subtle force and brings submersion by stealth.

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hackedepicciotto – The Current