Posts Tagged ‘Neurot Recordings’

Neurot Recordings – 6th May 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

There’s something about Neurot: as a label, it certainly has a distinct ‘house style’, and if it does seem to be predominantly in the vein of Neurosis, then Ufomammut’s latest offering, Fenice,  is simultaneously definitive and a departure, in that it’s clearly metal in persuasion, and given to long, slow, and expansive workouts, with the majority of the album’s six pieces running (well) past the seven-minute mark. It’s delicately-paced, too: it’s not all a crawl, but the crescendos land a fair way apart and the build-ups are long and deliberate.

Opener ‘Duat’ is an absolute monster, clocking in past ten and a half minutes, and beginning with ominous dark ambience and slow to a crawl electronics, before a surging techno bass grind cuts through and pulses away. It’s three and a half minutes before the guitars pile in, and when they do, everything comes together to forge a piledriving industrial blast: for a moment, I’m reminded of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘March of the Pigs’, but then things switch again with a tempo change, slowing to a lumbering thud. It builds from there, and the final minute hits that sweet spot of pulverizing riffery that is pure joy. Ufomammut may be a ‘doom’ band by designation, but this is some of the most dynamic progressive metal you’ll hear.

Having set the bar so high so early, the challenge is, can they sustain it? ‘Kepherer’ is a dank, semi-ambient interlude that provides some much-needed breathing space. ‘Psychostasia’ starts off gently, but again, builds into a really slugger, the riff hard and repetitive, the vocals half-buried amidst overdrive and reverb, and it’s so, so exhilarating.

It takes an eternity of a slow, nagging cyclical motif, rich in chorus and reverb, before ‘Metamprphoenix’ breaks, and segues immediately into the throbbing behemoth that is ‘Pyramind’, where things do, finally, hit all-out doom grind with the heaviest, most crushing power chords. The bass goes so low that it practically burrows underground, while the guitars soar skyward. Closer ‘Empyros’ is the album’s shortest track, and it’s three minutes of punishing guitars that pick up precisely where ‘Pyramind’ leaves off and just drives and drives and drives, churning, hard, heavy.

If you’re seeking instant gratification, Fenice isn’t the album you want, but that doesn’t mean that it by any means feels drawn-out or like there’s much waiting involved: despite the lengthy songs, and the slow-builds, the textures and atmospheres are remarkable. I have a friend who loves his slow-burning metal and math-rock, but hates Amenra because he finds them insufferably tedious. Personally, I’m a fan, but I get the impatience, and it is largely around this kind of slow, earthy metal where time stalls and aeons pass between events, and the builds take several lifetimes to come to any kind of fruition – but this most certainly isn’t an issue for Ufomammut on Fenice. The compositions twist and turn and continue to not only hold the attention but to tug at the senses, keeping the listener on edge, poised, tense, expectant. And they always deliver on those expectations.

There is a clear and definitely trajectory here, too, building over the last three pieces to a point where the riffs are dominant – megalithic grinds that hit hard. Fenice makes you feel a broad range of things: boredom or disappointment aren’t among them. It does require some work, but it’s amply rewarded.

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As Italian masters of heavy psychedelia Ufomammut prepare to release their ninth full-length album, Fenice, through Neurot Recordings in early May, they have just shared a video for ‘Pyramind’.

For more than two decades, Ufomammut has combined the heaviness and majesty of dynamic riff worship with a nuanced understanding of psychedelic tradition and history in music, creating a cosmic, futuristic, and technicolour sound destined for absolute immersion. Fenice, “phoenix” in Italian, represents endless rebirth and the ability to start again after everything seems doomed. The album is the first recording with new drummer Levre joining Poia and Urlo, marking a new chapter in the band’s history and unveiling a more intimate, free sound for the group.

The second single from Fenice, ‘Pyramind’ is delivered through a visualiser filmed in a scenic rural setting in Italy. Guitarist Poia reveals, “To choose a single track from Fenice isn’t easy, because the songs are long and linked together, and the flow results are incomplete. But we think that ‘Pyramind’ represents in a very clear way Ufomammut’s two-souls attitude: the heaviness melted down with psychedelia.”

Watch the video here:

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LIVE DATES:

07.05.22 – Alessandria (IT), Laboratorio Sociale – Album release party
14.05.22 – Mezzago (IT), Bloom
24.05.22 – Vienna (AT), Arena
25.05.22 – Karlsruhe (DE), Dudefest
26.05.22 – Bremen (DE), Tower
27.05.22 – Ghent (BE), Dunk!festival
28.05.22 – Groningen (NL), Vera
29.05.22 – Berlin (DE), Desertfest
30.05.22 – Dresden (DE), Chemiefabrik
31.05.22 – Salzburg (AT), Rockhouse
10.06.22 – Munich (DE), 17 Years Sound of Liberation Festival
11.06.22 – Piacenza (IT), Desert Fox Festival
24.06.22 – Wiesbaden (DE), 17 Years Sound of Liberation – Official Festival Warmup
26.06.22 – Clisson (FR), Hellfest
18.08.22 – Pescara (IT), Frantic Festival

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Photo by Francesca De Franceschi Manzoni.

On May 6th Italian alchemists and power trio Ufomammut return with their ninth studio album, Fenice via Neurot Recordings and Supernatural Cat, but not as we’ve heard them before, now “more intimate, more free.”

For over 20 years, the band has combined the heaviness and majesty of dynamic riff worship with a nuanced understanding of psychedelic tradition and history in music, creating a cosmic, futuristic, and technicolor sound destined for absolute immersion.

Fenice (meaning Phoenix in Italian) symbolically represents endless rebirth and the ability to start again after everything seems doomed. The album is the first recording with new drummer Levre, and truly marks a new chapter in Ufomammut history.

“I think we lost our spontaneity, album after album,” says Urlo. “We tried to make more complicated songs and albums, but I think at some point we just ended up repeating ourselves. With Fenice, we were ready to start from zero, we had no past anymore – so we just wanted to be reborn and rise from the ashes..”

Whilst the band are well-known for their psychedelic travels into the far reaches of the cosmos, Fenice is a much more introspective listening experience. Fenice was conceived as a single concept track, divided in six facets of this inward-facing focus. Sonic experimentations abound in the exploration of this central theme; synths and experimental vocal effects are featured more prominently than ever before as the band push themselves ever further into the uncharted territory of their very identity.

Check out the video for ‘Psychostasia’ here:

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Neurot Recordings / Gilead Media – 8th October 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Less is more. This is something that few bands appreciate or understand half as well as Kowloon Walled City. And less doesn’t have to mean less intense: if anything, it’s a major factor in the ‘more’ element of the equation. Instead of hitting the listener with hard volume, relentless drumming, and gnarly distortion, Kowloon Walled City distil emotional pain into something simple and direct, and in doing so achieve optimal impact.

Their last album’s crushing weight derived not from its pace or even its volume, but its sense of space. Instead of filling the air with big noise, each chord crashed down hard and rang out into silence. In that space, Singer/guitarist Scott Evans’ vocals conducted pure anguish and blank nihilism. No throaty metal stylisation or posturing, just a kind of shouting – a shout of pain, of psychological torture – the torture of existence.

It’s the space between the sound that they’ve explored in the evolution of their fourth album, Piecework – their first output in six years. Make no mistake: Piecework is fucking heavy. It packs some utterly gut-punching, seismic riffs that drive hard, and when they hit, they’re utterly pummelling. But it’s the bleakness, and the blankness, that’s most affecting, that really hits the hardest. In the first instance, it’s simply so raw, so unprocessed. With the vocals clean and up-front, it’s the humanity that’s at the fore.

Not that there was any fat on Grievances, but with Piecework they pare it right down to the bone, and then scrape away a little more. Whereas most of the songs of its predecessor sat around the five or even six-minute-plus mark, Piecework packs seven songs into around half an hour. In cutting back so hard, the effect if heightened as the grey walls close in tighter, faster, more likely to bring a crushing end. The effect is cumulative, and there are no clear standouts on Piecework, only a sustained slug driven by a low, lumbering bass. It’s a bass that really churns the gut, and it has a physical force.

The production captures this dark, dense force perfectly, conveying a sound that feels live, that feels real. Wish you were there? Hell yes: we all need a bit of fortune, and Piecework is both beautiful and harsh. When they bring it down to nothing but a single note hanging in the ear, I’m reminded of latter-day Earth, and it’s clear that space and time matter.

As the press notes tell us, ‘Evans was dealing with the loss of his father during the writing of the album. He found strength in the women in his life, especially his maternal grandmother, who worked at a shirt factory in Kentucky for 40 years while raising five kids. The album name (and title track) is a nod to her line of work—and her quiet resilience.’ The lyrics are at once abstract and packed with images. There are no specifics, only scenes, and they’re bleak ones, of claustrophobic confined spaces, of deathbeds.

And it’s no criticism that this feels like an album of graft: the rhythm section ploughs on, and on, relentlessly, as if their duty is pure graft, digging, digging, digging. In the same way that early Swans was the sound of punishment, so Piecework is a soundtrack to the brutal reality of production-line capitalism.

The album’s predominantly slow pace is not the sound of rapid mechanisation, but of soul-sapping drudgery, the crushing weight of negative progress. There is no respite, no detours to bathe in moments of human kindness, the idea that for everything, there are glimmers of light and optimism. No, Piecework is an album with no let-up, in the way that Unsane are unrepentant, unremittingly grey in their outlook and execution. It hammers and bludgeons away at the senses and prods hard at the frayed nerve endings, the space and dead air speaking to the emptiness that hits us when the noise stops. Life is short and life is cruel, and Piecework is the perfectly merciless reminder of that.

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Oakland post-metal greats Kowloon Walled City have released a new track, ‘Oxygen Tent’.

Since their formation the band has been in a continuous cycle of refinement, gradually peeling away layers of grit and distortion to forge a singular vision of heavy music — yielding a pair of critically acclaimed albums along the way; Container Ships and Grievances.

The new song, their first in six years, distils things even further as the band continues into a new era of their career.  Listen to ‘Oxygen Tent’ below and stay tuned for more news soon.

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Steve Von Till shares another piece from his forthcoming ambient album A Deep Voiceless Wilderness approaching on 30th April via Neurot Recordings. "Called From The Wind" arrives by way of an elegant video from Chariot Of Black Moth, which can be viewed below. The track is also available on all the main streaming sites. About the video Steve comments, "Jakub Moth hints at the emotion behind a timeless story about humanity and landscape without saying too much, without limiting the universal scope of the sound. As I have removed the verbal language from the ambient version, he has added visual poetry to accompany it."

Watch the video here:

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Neurot Recordings – 7th August 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Stepping out from the Neurosis fold once more to deliver a fifth solo album since the turn of the millennium, Steve Von Till brings more grizzles bleakness across six lengthy songs. These are still very much songs in the conventional sense, structured, organised, focused, centred around melody and instrument and voice. And as the title suggests, No Wilderness Deep Enough finds Von Till wandering some dark, barren territories.

As is a defining feature of the Neurosis sound, there’s a richly organic feel to the music here. Brooding strings provide the core for the sparse but dark orchestral arrangements which dominate this bleak, acoustic-led album that places Von Till’s grizzled, growling vocals to the fore.

A sparse piano motif – which is almost a direct replication of Glissando’s ‘Floods’ plays out the outro on ‘Dreams of Trees’, the album’s first song, which is a low-key, percussion-free post-rock effort that tugs at emotional levels that have lain dormant for an eternity – or at least since we’ve all been clenched in the spasm of lockdown. It taps into a different and deeper psychological space.

It’s all remarkably low-key, so does actually require some attention to fully absorb, but some quiet time and contemplation soundtracked by No Wilderness Deep Enough makes for a quite moving experience.

Oddly, much of No Wilderness Deep Enough sounds more like I Like Trains fronted by Mark Lanegan, and the dark introspection of single release ‘Indifferent Eyes’ carries the same brooding, mood, and a sense of a cracked emotional state – ground down, world-weary, harrowed, and bereft, embattled, bloodied, but still standing. Von Till conveys all of this with a heavy-timbred creaking sigh, a ravaged, Leonard Cohen growl delivered with magnificent poise. You feel this: every note, every word.

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Steve Von Till reveals his new single and video ‘Indifferent Eyes’ from his forthcoming album, No Wilderness Deep Enough. The record’s six pieces of music shape a hallucinatory landscape of sound that plumbs the depths of the natural world’s mysteries and uncertainties—questions that have vexed humanity since the dawn of time asked anew amidst a backdrop that’s as haunting as it is holistic.

About the track and video Steve remarks "Indifferent Eyes is perhaps the best example of how the process of creating No Wilderness Deep Enough pulled something very different out of me vocally;  something more expressive, more out on a limb and adventurous, and definitely outside my previous comfort zone. I am grateful at this stage in my artistic life to still have opportunities to challenge myself and grow. This past winter, photographer / videographer Bobby Cochran travelled up to our property in North Idaho to shoot this video.  I love any excuse to get outside and stay outside in the winter time.  We hiked, built fires, and shared many hours of great conversation about what is important in this life.  I think that energy comes through in this video albeit in a simple and understated manner."

It’s music to lose yourself in and unlike anything you’ve heard from Von Till. An album that’s devastatingly beautiful and overwhelming in its scope, reminiscent of the tragic ecstasy of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ recent work as well as the borderless ambient music pioneered by Brian Eno, late composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s glacial compositions, and the electronic mutations of Coil.

Watch the video for ‘Indifferent Eyes’ here:

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Photo credit: Bobby Cochran

Neurot Recordings – 2nd August 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

The best collaborations are greater than the sum of the parts, and transcend 2 + 2 = 4 equations of artists playing to type while rubbing up against one another in a predictable fashion. We often hope for more, but artists seldom really deliver.

The self-explanatory Neurosis & Jarboe, originally released in 2003, now fully remastered and with entirely new artwork from Aaron Turner, and available on vinyl for the first time sounds neither like Neurosis nor Jarboe, nor 50/50 Neurosis and Jarboe, but something that draws on the best elements of both to forge something very, very different.

The lugubrious slow grind of Neurosis is present in the low bass churn and the more ethereal elements of Jarboe’s vocals, which have brought grace to Swans since 1986 and her own solo work over a good two decades now. Both artists’ work has a certain timelessness about it.

In context, this is both noteworthy and, if not exactly ironic, a point of cognitive dissonance. In my head, 2003 is recent and this reissue is shockingly close to the original release. But this is the point at which the passage of time and its acceleration comes screaming in my face to remind me that 2003 was sixteen years ago. There are kids who’ve been born and are now of a legal age to raise families and to vote since the album was first released, and yet Swans calling it a day the first time around in ‘96 with Soundtracks for the Blind still feels quite recent. How is this album sixteen years old? Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, and Neurosis & Jarboe has very much stood the test of time, largely because it doesn’t sound quite like anything else.

‘His Last Words’ is perhaps the most overtly ‘modern’ cut on offer, and after a slow guitar grind, hits a groove that straddles dance and psychedelia. But there’s a deep, dark atmosphere that creeps over this and the album as a whole, with the majority of the tracks stretching out beyond seven minutes and pushing repetitive motives which worm their way under the skin and penetrate the skull by means of sonic bludgeoning.

The nine-minute ‘Erase’ brings some heavy, emotion-wrought doom-country with a distortion-tinged vocal that alludes to a dirgy Come, with Jarboe sounding more like Thalia Zedek in the song’s early minutes before the anguished howl emerges, culminating in a throat-tearing, raw-spewing roar by its uncomfortable climax.

Then, ‘In Harm’s Way’ recreates the woozy two-chord grating attack of early Swans when they were at their most gut-churningly jarring and abrasive, and it hits hard.

So why remaster, and why now? What does it add? According to Steve Von Till, ‘We recorded this ourselves with consumer level Pro Tools back then, in order to be able to experiment at home in getting different sounds and writing spontaneously. The technology has come a long way since then and we thought we could run it through better digital to analog conversion… This new mastered version is a bit more open, with a better stereo image, and better final eq treatment’.

And because they got Bob Weston of Shellac, and engineer at Electrical Audio to work on it, it does sound bloody great and lands with maximum impact. And the new artwork’s rather nice, too.

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A new video for "Espirais da Loucura” from Brazilian trio DEAFKIDS has been shared this week. The song is taken from the band’s explosive third album, Metaprogramação, which was recently released through Neurosis’ label, Neurot Recordings.

The new video for for "Espirais da Loucura” was directed by Vitor Jabour. The band offers, “‘Espirais da Loucura’ illustrates the desperate layers of absurdist madness in its inner and outer aspects – cloistered witnesses in fields of agony – the inner war between our own personas and desires. In its outer aspects, it reflects the chaotic confusion of our daily struggles in socio-political realities, where present and future are being written in hopeless and dystopian lines by this fascist and corrupted misgovernment we are currently living in Brazil. The video was created through analog circuit-bending by the Brazilian VJ Vitor Jabour, collaborating with what we call the ‘Brazilian Lo-Fi Abuse,’ by creating violent synesthetic sensations through the abstraction of colors, lights and sensory movements."

Watch the video here:

With harsh noise and industrial elements seamlessly melded into a volatile and rambunctious hybrid of ethnic jazz/world music-influenced punk, DEAFKIDS thematically tackles existential socio-political topics and dystopian themes through their own artistic lens. Their singular sound and manic energy coalesce to form one of the most intriguing and challenging acts in recent years.

DEAFKIDS will tour across Europe in support of the album this Spring, leading with two sets at Roadburn Festival April 11th and 12th. These shows will be followed by several weeks of shows, the tour lasting into early May, and the band joined by Rakta for the journey. North American touring with Neurosis and Bell Witch has also been announced. Dates and details below.

DEAFKIDS w/ Rakta:

11/04/2019 Roadburn Festival 2019 -Tilburg, NL

12/04/2019 Roadburn Festival 2019 – Tilburg, NL w/ PetBrick

14/04/2019 – Amsterdam, NL

16/04/2019 D. K. Luksus – Wroclaw, PL

17/04/2019 Underdogs – Prague, CZ

18/04/2019 Urban Spree – Berlin, DE

19/04/2019 Merleyn – Nijmegen, NL

20/04/2019 The Lexington – London, UK

21/04/2019 Soup Kitchen – Manchester, UK

22/04/2019 The Hope & Ruin – Brighton, UK

23/04/2019 Moon – Cardiff, UK

24/04/2019 The Cluny – Newcastle, UK

25/04/2019 Rough Trade – Bristol, UK

26/04/2019 Olympic Cafe – Paris, FR

28/04/2019 SWR Barroselas Metalfest 2019 – Viana do Castelo, PT

29/04/2019 Mag4 – Bruxelles, BE

30/04/2019 Bar Hic – Rennes, FR

01/05/2019 Tri Martolod – Concarneau, FR

02/05/2019 Léo Ferré – Brest Espace, FR

03/05/2019 Les 3 Pieces – Rouen, FR

04/05/2019 Het Bos – Antwerp, BE

05/05/2019 Donau Festival 2019 – Donau, AT

w/ Bell Witch, Neurosis:

07/08/2019 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA

08/08/2019 Cat’s Cradle – Carrboro, NC

09/08/2019 9:30 Club – Washington, DC

10/08/2019 Theatre Of Living Arts – Philadelphia, PA

11/08/2019 Brooklyn Steel – Brooklyn, NY

13/08/2019 Paradise Rock Club – Boston, MA

14/08/2019 Corona Theatre – Montreal, QC

15/08/2019 The Opera House – Toronto, ON

16/08/2019 St. Andrews Hall – Detroit, MI

17/08/2019 Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL

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