Posts Tagged ‘Orchestral’

Industrial metal band, Biomechanimal has just unleashed their epic new single and video, ‘From The Mouths Of Beasts’. The song is a celebration of all the music that became part of Biomechanimal’s influence; hard beats, epic orchestras, and a complete lack of reliance on genre boundaries.

’From The Mouths Of Beasts’ is a take on the phrase, ‘from the mouths of babes’, a concept in which children have a way of telling magnificent truths in their innocence. ‘From the mouths of beasts’ is the reverse of this.

We are surrounded by people, especially in the music industry, who use and use people, taking what they want from others, spouting whatever they like to get what the want. These people are incapable of truth and innocence. This is a song about them. Lines like ‘devolve to entropy’, ‘burn up my wings’, describe the effect these people have on others.

Recorded at Monolith Studio, "’rom the Mouth of Beasts’ s the focal point of the band’s efforts to reimagine themselves into something heavier, ferocious, and dramatic. Says Matt Simpson, “We wanted to commit to being as authentic as possible, with all our new material using studio drums (a first for the band)”. ‘From The Mouths Of Beasts’ is a far cry from Biomechanimal’s industrial and EBM beginnings.

Check the video here:

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Biomechanimal are a genre-smashing act from London, UK, mixing harsh vocals with massive bass design, huge guitars, and pounding kick drums. The brainchild of Matt Simpson, and active since 2013, the act have played from Finland to Australia, but are most often found in Slimelight, their home stomping ground, and have played shows with 3TEETH, Hocico, Aesthetic Perfection, and many more.

Biomechanimal has reinvented itself as one of the foremost bass acts in the UK, mixing the signature sound of the London underground with the brutal theatrical drama of orchestral metal. The proof is, of course, in the pudding, which has been sampled by venues all over Europe. After a string of releases in 2021 (including a vocal feature on Matteo Tura’s midtempo masterpiece Corrupt), the band has now unleashed their next single, "From the Mouth of Beasts" ahead of the upcoming EP.

Fronted by Matthew L. Simpson on production and vocals, Kekko Stefano Biogora on drums, Sarunas Brazionis on guitar, and Keith Kamholz on mixing & mastering, Biomechanimal is pulling out all the stops with a sound that is as menacing as it is immersive.

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Bearsuit Records – 31st August 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

I may have mentioned it before, but I always get a buzz when I see a jiffy marked with an Edinburgh post stamp land on my doormat mat and I realise it’s the latest offering from Bearsuit records. Because while whatever music it contains is assured to be leftfield and at least a six on the weirdness spectrum, I never really know what to expect. That lack of predictability is genuinely exciting. Labels – especially micro labels which cater to a super-niche audience tend to very much know their market, and while that’s clearly true of Bearsuit, they’re willing to test their base’s boundaries in ways many others don’t dare.

Andrei Rikichi’s Caged Birds Think Flying is a Sickness is most definitely an album that belongs on Bearsuit. It doesn’t know what it is, because it’s everything all at once: glitchy beats, bubbling electronica, frothy screeds of analogue extranea, mangled samples and twisted loops and all kinds of noise. As the majority of the pieces – all instrumental – are less than a couple of minutes long, none of them has time to settle or present any sense of a structure: these are fragmentary experimental pieces that conjure fleeting images and flashbacks, real or imagined.

‘They Don’t See the Maelstrom’ is a blast of orchestral bombast and fucked-up fractured noise that calls to mind JG Thirlwell’s more cinematic works, and the same is true of the bombastic ‘This is Where it Started’, a riot of rumbling thunder and eye-poppingly audacious orchestral strikes. Its counterpart and companion piece, ‘This is Where it Ends’ which closes the album is expensive and cinematic, and also strange in its operatic leanings – whether or not it’s a human voice is simply a manipulation is immaterial at a time when AI—generated art is quite simply all over, and you begin to wonder just how possible is it to distinguish reality from that which has been generated, created artificially.

Meanwhile ‘At Home I Hammer Ceramic Golfing Dogs’ is overtly strange, a kind of proto-industrial collage piece. ‘What Happened to Whitey Wallace’ is a brief blast of churning cement-mixer noise that churns at both the gut and the cerebellum. Listening, you feel dazed, and disorientated, unsettled in the stomach and bewildered in the brain. There is simply so much going on, keeping up to speed with it all is difficult. That’s no criticism: the audience should never dictate the art, and it’s not for the artist to dumb things down to the listeners’ pace, but for the listener to catch up, absorb, and assimilate.

‘Player Name: The Syracuse Apostle’ slings together some ominous atmospherics, a swampy dance beat and some off-kilter eastern vibes for maximum bewilderment, and you wonder what this record will throw at you next.

In many respects, it feels like a contemporary take on the audio cut-up experiments conducted by William Burroughs and Brion Gysin in the late 50s and early 60s, and the titles only seem to further correspond with this apparent assimilation of thee random. I suppose in an extension of that embracing of extranea, the album also continues the work of those early adopters of sampling and tape looping from that incredibly fertile and exciting period from the late 70s to the mid-80s as exemplified by the work of Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, Test Dept, Foetus. These artists broke boundaries with the realisation that all sound is material, and that music is in the ear of the beholder. This strain of postmodernism / avant-gardism also follows the thread of Surrealism, where we’re tasked with facing the strange and reconciling the outer strange with the far stranger within. Caged Birds Think Flying is a Sickness is an album of ideas, a pulsating riot of different concepts and, by design in its inspiration of different groups and ideas, it becomes something for the listener to unravel, to interpret, to project meaning upon.

Caged Birds Think Flying is a Sickness leaves you feeling addled and in a spin. It’s uncanny because it’s familiar, but it isn’t, as the different elements and layers intersect. It’s the sonic representation of the way in which life and perception differ as they collide.

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Thanatosis – 7th May 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Within Reach of Eventuality is the debut album by Swedish duo David Bennet & Vilhelm Bromander. Their notes on the album state that ‘Following a semi-open score, the duo is treating elements such as complex textures, non-pitched sounds, microtonality, beatings and intense pauses in an improvisatory and careful manner’.

I’m not entirely sure what that means, and I’m not certain of the meaning of the album’s title, either. It feels like it almost carries a sense of significant import, but then is equally so vague as to be almost abstract. And in a way, it’s representative of the four pieces on the album. There’s a grainy scratching flicker of extraneous noise running along in the background during ‘Part I’, like a waterfall in the distance, while in the foreground, elongated drones – atonal strings or wavering feedback – hover around the pitch of nails down a blackboard. Occasionally, more conventionally ‘orchestral’ sounds – emerge fleetingly – gentle, soberly-paced percussion, string strikes and soft woodwind, and it comes together to create a somewhat ominous atmosphere.

It’s a hushed, minimal ambience that fades out towards more sonorous drones that ebb and flow across ‘Part II’, and as the album progresses, the interplay between the tones – and indeed, atones – becomes more pronounced, and also more dissonant and consequently more challenging, as long, quivering, quavering drones rub against one another.

The structures – such as they are – become increasingly fragmented, stopping and starting, weaving and pausing. There is a sense of a certain musical intuition between the players, the rests coming at distances that have a sense of co-ordination, if only as much to confound expectation as to sit comfortably within it. In other words, Within Reach of Eventuality feels like a semi-organised chaos, and as it slowly slides towards the conclusion of the sixteen-minute fourth part, the sound thickens, the volume increases, and the atmosphere intensifies, become more uncomfortable in the process. And in this time, the meaning becomes clearer when it comes to understanding their approaching the sonic elements in a ‘careful manner’. There’s nothing remotely rushed about Within Reach of Eventuality. The notes are given space and separation, room to breathe. It all feels very considered, very restrained: it’s no improv free-for-all, there are no frenzied climaxes or blasting crescendos. Instead, they demonstrate a sharp focus on a fairly limited range of sounds and spaces, and the result is an album that has a strong cohesion.

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Greek dark pop artist Lia Hide has recently unveiled ‘Proposal’, the first single from their new album, The Missing Fourth Guest.

The ‘Proposal’ is an invitation to a debate, a dispute, a symposium, where the three people involved are discussing the ideas that puzzle them throughout their lives. The lyrics are weaved in a dialogue between the lead singer and her alter-ego.

The ‘Proposal’ video was shot at the historic Bagkeion Hotel, in Omonoia square, Athens, Greece. The three band members are investigating elements of the Timeaus (Plato) dialogue, getting ready in their rooms for a later dinner (“Dinner” is also the title of the next single & the musical sibling of “Proposal”), in the Timeaus Sonata, the conceptual three-part work of the album .

Watch it here:

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Emerging from the ashes of several pop bands, BRUIT ≤ was born out of the desire of its members to turn their backs on the majors and return to a process of creation without constraints.

Initially the band’s intention was not to perform live but to research and experiment with sound in a studio environment.

At the end of 2016, this research resulted in two live videos filmed in their studio that would enable the band to make its debut on the Toulouse scene. After this experience, Clément Libes (bass, violin), Damien Gouzou (drums) and Théophile Antolinos (guitar) composed together in search of their own sound identity and with the aim to create progressive music that subverts genre and would result in the expansion of stylistic boundaries. Consequently, during this time the band went through several line-up changes until Luc Blanchot (cello) joined in January 2018.

It was only then that BRUIT ≤ truly felt complete and sure of their direction, creating emotively intense and expansive instrumental compositions of a conceptual nature that merge post-rock, ambient electronica and modern classical.

On 19 July, 2018, BRUIT ≤ signed to Elusive Sound who released their first EP titled “Monolith” in the fall of 2018. Afterwards Bruit went on a 20-show tour of France and Belgium sharing the stage with bands like Shy Low, Slift, The Black Heart Rebellion, Silent Whale Becomes A Dream, Jean Jean, Endless Dive, Poly Math, Orbel or A Burial At Sea. The band was invited to play at the Dunk Festival in 2020 but the event was cancelled due to the Covid19 pandemic.

BRUIT ≤ focused on the composition and production of their first full- length album, changing their line-up again with Julien Aouf taking over on drums. ‘The machine is burning and now everyone knows it could happen again’, will be released digitally on the 2nd of April 2021. In the spring the album will be released on vinyl by Elusive Sound.

New single ‘Renaissance’ is the 1st track to be shared from the band’s debut with them commenting,

”The piece evokes a humanity reborn from its ashes and rebuilding itself from nature. On this track Mehdi Thiriot has created a video clip, woven with symbols that illustrate the everlasting conflict between nature and culture.’

Watch the video here:

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Ipecac Recordings – 24th April 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Some cursory research tells me that Oscillospira is an anaerobic bacterial genus from Clostridial cluster IV that has resisted cultivation for over a century since the first time it was observed. There’s a distinct compositional theme across the album’s eight compositions, although, with high drama and dynamics dominating.

Thirlwell has been mining a rich seam of orchestral drama for a long while now, in a trajectory that began with the 1985 Foetus album Nail. Since then, his projects have become increasingly expansive and ambitious, and the last decade has seen him abandon all trace of anything that could be remotely construed as ‘industrial’ in favour of grand cinematics, not only on the latter Foetus albums, but also the Manorexia releases and soundtrack works and all the other various side projects… Did I mention that over 40 years into his career, despite having tempered his wilder sonic urges, Thirlwell’s creativity and output remains unabated? And yet for all the volume, the quality remains undented. I make no apologies for the fact that I’m a total fan, and have been forever.

Few musicians are even a fraction as articulate as Thirlwell, musically, lyrically, or conversationally. Throughout his lengthy career, he’s retained his somewhat enigmatic status and singular musical view.

This collaboration with Simon Steensland is one of many during his career, and is very much representative of Thirlwell’s output over the last decade: heavy orchestral work with all the widescreen feel of a John Williams work, while at the same time seeing Thirlwell return to territories that bring industrial and orchestral together in a head-on collision.

‘Catholic Deceit’ enters by stealth with a sweep of strings, but swiftly develops into something bold and layered, before crunching metal guitars grind in hard and heavy. Revisiting the religious theme at the album’s mind-point, single release ‘Papal Stain’ follows a similar trajectory, with some energetic jazz drumming and discordant horns clashing crazily over the course of its ten-minute running time.

‘Heron’ goes choral and a little bit original Star Trek, but equally has some hushed, eerie passages that not only provide contrast, but alter the mood significantly. There’s a Swans-like stop-start guitar grind at the heart of ‘Night Shift’ over which monastic vocals echo like a ritual, and ‘Heresy Flank’ pushes a cyclical groove that’s ruptured by some classic orchestral strikes.

It’s not just the arrangements and the varied instrumentation that are outstanding in their immense vision and inventiveness, but the production too: it’s immense, and while the overall effect is one thing, the detail entirely another, as incidentals leap out unexpectedly, and different instruments rise to the to fore. Often, such details are subtle, but the effect and impact are pronounced, and something special.

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Legendary NYC based musician JG Thirlwell (Foetus, Manorexia, Xordox) and composer Simon Steensland present the cinematic noir of their new track "Papal Stain" from the new collaborative album Oscillospira, to be released 24 April on Ipecac Recordings.

Speaking on the track Thirlwell remarks, "’Papal Stain’ is a multi movement piece which takes the listener on a cinematic journey that vacillates wildly in mood before its tumultuous climax. Along with Thirlwell and Steensland playing many instruments between them, the track features performances by drum virtuoso Morgan Ågren (Devin Townshend Band, Zappa, Mats Morgan) Simon Hanes (Tredici Bacci) on guitar, Chris McIntyre (Tilt Brass, Either/Or, SEM Ensemble) on trombone and Joanna Mattrey (Tredici Bacci) on violins."

A frequent collaborator with the likes of Zola Jesus, Melvins, Swans, Kronos Quartet and many others, JG Thirlwell is also the composer for the highly acclaimed animated TV series  ‘Archer’ and ‘Venture Bros’ while Swedish multi-instrumentalist Simon Steensland is known for his compositions for theatre.

Different yet complementary, both creators make idiosyncratic music that can be characterised by dramatic intensity, shadowy suspense, darkness and light, sometimes breathtaking and always evocative cinematics. Oscillospira is an odyssey of dark chamber prog with a cinematic bent, largely instrumental album with eerie choral parts.

JG Thirlwell and Simon Steensland’s journey together first began in 2017 in Stockholm at a workshop for the Great Learning Orchestra, a collective that operate on the model of an experimental music ensemble from the late 60s, Cornelius Cardew’s Scratch Orchestra, using musicians from a variety of backgrounds and abilities. 

JG Thirlwell recounts "I had been a fan of Steensland’s work for some years through his albums like Led Circus and Fat Again. I admired the dark power in his work and it seemed adjacent to a lot of music that I love and inspires me – groups in the Rock in Opposition and Zeuhl worlds such as Magma, Univers Zero and Present, as well as 70’s era King Crimson and Bartok."

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Brooklyn based composer/producer/performer JG Thirlwell (Foetus, Manorexia, Xordox) – who has collaborated with the likes of Zola Jesus, Melvins, Swans, Kronos Quartet and many others, and is the composer for the highly acclaimed animated TV series  ‘Archer’ and ‘Venture Bros’  – and Swedish multi-instrumentalist and theatre music composer Simon Steensland collaborate on a new album Oscillospira due April 24th on Ipecac Recordings.

Different yet complementary, both creators make idiosyncratic music that can be characterised by dramatic intensity, shadowy suspense, darkness and light, sometimes breathtaking and always evocative cinematics. Oscillospira is an odyssey of dark chamber prog with a cinematic bent, largely instrumental album with eerie choral parts.

Ahead of the album they’ve unveiled ‘Heron’ as a taster. Listen to it here:

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Oscillospira

The experimental chamber collective Collectress, who create unique surrealist-tinged chamber pop and have been described as a cross between "the Elysian Quartet and possessed Brontë sisters teasing an unsuspecting dinner party" (Foxy Digitalis) release a video today for new single "In The Streets, In the Fields".

Using dance as a means to explore the nature of the music, and with nods to both psychedelia (particularly 13th Floor Elevators), and the 1937 recording of Virginia Woolf’s “Words”, Collectress play at taking you somewhere imaginary whilst staying grounded in reality- ‘in the streets’ yet also ‘in the fields.’  The band remark "we liked the sense of the transience of language as evoked by the crackly Woolf recordings, of time passing and of spaces shifting, of being in one place yet another at the same time, in “Different Geographies”. In this technological world of ours, Woolf’s “Words” speaks to us from the past, visionary in suggesting we are mere vessels for language to occur, adapt and move around in. “In the Streets, In the Fields” melodically ‘sets off’ and in some way is doing this too, its simple structure unfolding, shifting and developing over the course of the song."
Collectress continue "the film for "Streets" was always going to include dance as a means to explore and express the nature of the music. We talked about parts of the body, colours and ‘elements’ to include. We each gave our interpretation and filmed ourselves dancing at our own respective ‘different geography’. What you see in the film is a layering of those interpretations to the rhythm and layers of the individual parts of the music, to create an indefinable space that we hope has something recognisable and grounded but that also allows for an element of getting lost."

Watch ‘In the Streets, In the Fields’ here:

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Collectress Spring Shows:

Friday April 10 – Brighton Album Launch at The Rosehill, Brighton

Sat May 9 – Daylight Session (plus special guests), Union Chapel, London

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PNL Records – PNL040 – 20th April 2018

Extra Large Unit is an appropriate collective moniker: More Fun Please! is a live recording of an expanded iteration of Paal Nilssen-Love’s Large Unit ensemble, and features some twenty-seven musicians, in a line-up which features three grand pianos. Yes, three grand pianos. Excessive? Hey, if you’re going to go large, why not go uber-maxi, all-out massive?

The accompanying blurb explains that ‘The challenge of composing for so many musicians, while also maintaining the qualities and identity he had established with Large Unit, pushed Nilssen-Love to new creative levels. This was a monumental task…’ And More Fun, Please! is a monumental album. The question is, how much fun can you handle?

In his liner notes for the album Nilssen-Love writes, ‘When writing music, I search for extremes, pushing boundaries: physical, dynamic, instrumental limitations, if any, how fast and how slow can one play, how loud and how quiet. I search for unusual ways of thinking. I want to give the musicians trust and have them take initiative and to feel the responsibility of what it is to be an individual player in a group context’.

More Fun Please! is a thirty-minute aural rollercoaster, half an hour of highs and lows. At times, it sounds like a classic cartoon soundtrack, parping brass and sudden bursts of percussion; at others, it’s brimming with oriental exploration and eastern promise, and at others still, it’s utter bloody chaos, discord and cacophonous mayhem. In between, there are passages of trilling, tooting, droning and scraping, brought to abrupt halts by immense orchestral strikes – and I mean immense, earth-shaking, and borderline galactic in scale – and plinking, bibbling xylophone breaks.

The brass is beyond wild. Words simply aren’t enough.

The whole thing is an orchestral frenzy, a riotous ruckus of everything all at once, with sustained crescendos that seem to last forever.

It’s a lot of fun… but half an hour is probably about as much of this kind of fun as anyone can handle.

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