• 2009's Mandelbrot set

    Nov 4 2009, 16h28 por Lysander

    Actually, 2009 hasn't been a bad year at all for new releases. Having initially thought it was one of the most dreadful years on record for new music [which is what I tend to think every year] there were some good new discoveries and great older releases to unearth.

    We're still a few weeks away from the mid-December Rubicon, but in what is becoming a mini early-November tradition, here are my personal thoughts on the best so far this year.

    Halo Manash - Am Kha Astrie:



    Halo Manash's previous albums were a little too droney and self-indulgent for my liking, a lot of the time sounding like 60 minutes of a football rattle in a wind tunnel. Am Kha Astrie, along with The Language of Red Goats , is a much more ambient and mature effort. Split across seven tracks with numbers ranging from disquieting to demonic, it's possibly the most composite and rounded album the band have yet produced.

    Atrium Carceri - Souyan:



    AC gets a lot of flack from the dark ambient crowd, mainly because they've been around longer and are one of the most popular bands. Previous albums were way too oversampled but this time round AC have really reigned in the atmosphere, dropped the sampling to its lowest since Cellblock and come up with an album of perfect dark ambient combinations.

    Riverside - Anno Domini High Definition:



    This would be higher up the list if it weren't for the first three minutes of the album, Mariusz's crooning of "I hope my sell-by date didn't expire yesterday" being horribly cringeworthy. After this though, things rapidly improve and with ADHD Riverside have put out their best work since Second Life Syndrome. After the rather lost and directionless Rapid Eye Movement, ADHD is a far more realised work with the band actually making an effort to write decent music rather than coasting for 70 minutes of wankery.

    TomE / Seven Morgues - Deep in Marble:



    This split album is the combination of two projects from the same artist, Israel's Oren Ben Yosef. Most of the time just using pure vocal combinations, Tome and Seven Morgues build up an atmosphere of disenchanted, dark and demonic rituals. The use of clean vocals, hums and tortured, hissing cries is a devastating and disturbing combination, and as a result Deep In Marble comes across as one of the most difficult listens in ambient music I can remember. I recall a time when Enemite and even raison d’être seemed difficult to get through, but there's always another album to eventually take things to the next level - which Deep in Marble has done effortlessly and admirably.

    Katatonia - Night is the New Day:



    The almost perfect successor to the almost perfect In The Great Cold Distance, NITND develops the maturity and focus of its predecessor but gives it a heavier coating. Even though the atmosphere and colour of the album are exactly in the same class as I've come to expect from Katatonia, there is a slight feeling that they're going through the motions and letting the ball roll of its own accord rather than influencing its direction anymore. Nevertheless, it's a high quality album and one of the classiest 'metal' releases this year.

    Keelhaul - Keelhaul's Triumphant Return to Obscurity:



    Having previously played a kind of progressive metal/metalcore fusion, the band's 2009 album sees them more or less veer straight into technical metal. The album is largely instrumental with beefy, solid production, catchy riffs and the odd passage which is so confounding it keeps you coming back out of pure intrigue. This is one of the few metal albums I have to sit down and pay attention to to digest, a musical Rubik's cube which needs time and focus to appreciate. Along with its humorous - and intentionally mocking - song titles, it's a highly interesting and captivating piece of work.

    Redemption - Snowfall on Judgment Day:



    After the slightly disappointing Origins of Ruin, Redemption have returned with a much surer trajectory - hardly surprising given Nick's physical condition. This time round the feeling is very different in the Redemption camp. Gone is the nebulous "I can take it or leave it" feel of OOR, this time everything is sharpened: guitar solos, vocals, riffs, drumming. Everything is expertly - and emotionally - done, with Ray Alder delivering some fine vocal melodies conveyed through intensely personal lyrics.

    Album of the year candidate(s):

    This was very difficult indeed given the two at the top, both highly commendable for their own reasons. A very close second goes to:

    Black Math Horseman - Wyllt:



    In a time when most female-fronted metal has been defenestrated and decried by the large majority of fans, BMH have come out with something entirely different and welcome. OK, it may not be metal in the standard definition of the term, edging more towards post-rock/metal and ambient, but it's one of the freshest 2009 releases. Largely instrumental with only the odd smattering of echoey, pained female vocals, Wyltt is a lonely voice in the world of metal - vox clamantis in deserto - ringing out to be noticed and understood. This won't appeal to those looking for metal in its more standard forms, but for those needing something new and innovative. Each passage, each bar and each note has its own individuality and feeling, made even better by their simplicity. In the end it's the stark, bare-bones feel of the music which makes it even more powerful, effective and unnerving. A fantastic debut.

    Leaving the primary spot to:

    The Mars Volta - Octahedron:



    TMV had already threatened to make a pop record after several albums of post-ten minute songs, indecipherable lyrics, dissonant guitar solos and frenetic tempo changes. It's easy to see why the band are both revered and reviled, but they're one of the most original, talented and inventive ensembles around. Octahedron is a sea-change from the loud and frenzied The Bedlam in Goliath and sees the band put out a more 'acoustic' and mellow album. Some of it may be a little too mellow in places, and it's a shock to the system that they can put something like this after the relentless, spasmodic Bedlam. Maybe this was exactly the point, and to be able to carry off both styles with convincing aplomb is a hugely impressive feat, especially when so many bands have failed to do so.

    Pending albums of interest:

    Kauan - Aava tuulen maa
    raison d’être - The Stains of the Embodied Sacrifice
    The Morningside - Moving Crosscurrent of Time

    Discoveries not released this year worth mentioning:

    Arcana - Le Serpent Rouge
    Armin van Buuren - Imagine
    Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
    Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
    Cloudkicker - The Discovery
    Coroner - Mental Vortex
    Dieter Müh / Mnem - Atomyriades
    Duke Ellington - Money Jungle
    Fates Warning - No Exit
    Fates Warning - Parallels
    Fates Warning - Perfect Symmetry
    Forgotten Silence - Kro Ni Ka
    Herbst9 - The Gods are Small Birds but I am the Falcon
    Katatonia - Dance of December Souls
    Katatonia - Brave Murder Day
    Katatonia - In the Great Cold Distance
    Love Spirals Downwards - Flux
    Lull - Like a Slow River
    Maeror Tri - Myein
    Metallica - Ride the Lightning
    Moonsorrow - Verisäkeet
    Moonsorrow - V: Hävitetty
    Niyaz - Nine Heavens
    Savatage - In the Hall of the Mountain King
    The Mars Volta - Amputechture
    The Mars Volta - The Bedlam in Goliath
    Watchtower - Energetic Disassembly
  • HH media tracker

    Fev 10 2009, 13h27 por Lysander

    Another 'personal' journal entry to keep track of the media reviewed for the webzine Heathen Harvest.

    I'll divide this into three sections - any more would be overkill and categorising things can be easily over-laboured. I'll update this journal regularly.

    It may look a bit 'light' at the top end - but the albums in the first section are very good indeed.

    High quality albums:

    Dieter Müh/Mnem - Atomyriades
    Herbst9 - The Gods are Small Birds but I am the Falcon
    Halo Manash - Am Kha Astrie
    TomE / Seven Morgues - Deep In Marble
    Artefactum - Sub Rosa EP

    Promising albums:

    Catherine Duc - Visions and Dreams
    Compulsive Shopping Disorder - In The Cube
    Cynic - Traced In Air
    Helene Hørlyck - A Nordic Room
    Locrian / Continent Split
    Mistress of the Dead - White Roses, White Coffin
    Nedicry - Sincere Wounds
    Novalis Deux - Ghosts Over Europe
    Waldsonne - Wanderer
    Apart - Across The Empty Night
    Jarboe - Mahakali
    Tormenta - Self-tiled
    Al Conti - Scheherezade
    Wolfskin - O Ajuntar as Sombras
    Ovro - Horizontal/Vertical EP
    Zak Riles - s/t

    Needing much improvement:

    Autumn [RUS] - And We Are Falling Leaves...
    Felsenreich - Unschuld
    O Quam Tristis...- Les Chants Funestes
    Requiem Eternam - Medieval Times
    SaraLee - Damnation to Salvation
    Instant Movie Combinations - For The Travellers Sadly Walking in Ever Mist
  • The wedge thickens - current albums of 2008

    Nov 5 2008, 11h31 por Lysander

    It's only the beginning of November but there has been an increase in quality discoveries towards the end of this year. So to keep track of things [more for personal reasons than anything else], here are a list of the some of the best of 2008 so far.

    Best albums that were released this year:

    Todesbonden - Sleep Now, Quiet Forest

    Almost perfect fusion of metal and ethereal, and only those with an interest in both would really enjoy this. An excellent release which temporarily breathed life into the dying femme-metal genre.

    Opeth - Watershed

    Possibly their weakest album but still miles ahead of many other bands'. Quality musicanship and atmosphere abounds in spite of a couple of poor tracks.

    sToa - Silmand

    Long-awaited follow-up to 2002's Zal which didn't disappoint. Another excellent slice of otherwordly ethereal music with more focus and direction than some previous efforts.

    Bohren und der Club of Gore - Dolores

    This was going to be a hard one for Borhen after the massive cult followings that Black Earth and Sunset Mission gained. Post a positively dull Geiterfaust, Dolores sees them back on track with more moody, slow and bleak ambient jazz. It takes a few goes to get into, but the noir atmosphere is as intoxicating as ever.

    Pin-Up Went Down - 2 Unlimited

    Personal bias aside, this is a very original and well-put together piece which you either love or your hate. Fantastic vocal work, inventive songs, first-rate production and imaginative songwriting.

    Vestigial - Translucent Communion

    It's hard for dark ambient artists to put out original albums. A lot of the time the songs just mesh together into one homogeneous web, but this isn't the case here. Hopeless and desolate soundscapes are here in spades, getting progressively more viscous and climaxing with the albums pinncale, Anthropic Resonance.

    Album of the year candidate:

    Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles

    A total surprise which came out of nowhere: female-fronted electronica with a strong 8-bit theme that is sometimes harsh and sometimes melodic. The variety in the album is astounding and over 50 minutes CC hog their way through 16 diverse synthpop/chiptune tracks, culminating with a shoegaze number which would make the Cocteau Twins red with envy.

    Some will say it's a tour de force, others a cacophony, but it's one of the most pleasing and original discs I've come across for a long time.

    Pending albums of interest:

    Herbst9 - The Gods Are Small Birds, But I Am The Falcon
    Cranes - Cranes
    Kauan - Tietäjän Laulu
    Halo Manash - Language of Red Goats

    Discoveries not released this year worth mentioning:

    Death - The Sound of Perseverance
    Edge of Sanity - Crimson
    Hexperos - In The Garden of the Hesperides
    The Morningside - The Wind, The Trees and The Shadows of The Past
    Kauan - Lumikuuro
    Onirot - Deus Ex Machina
    The Moon and the Nightspirit - Rego Rejtem
    Combative Alignment - And Outside Glows the Red Dawn
    Herbst9 - From A Dark Chasm Below
    Conception - In Your Multitude
    Robert Rich & B. Lustmord - Stalker
    Love Spirals Downwards - Ardor/Idylls


    I'll make another list in a couple of months but due to the slight improvement in the releases I'm coming across, it was worth noting these down somewhere.
  • Vorschau: Tenebrae Vision @ Neurobeat Radio

    Set 9 2008, 17h16 por TenebraeVision

    Morgen Abend wird es in der Tenebrae Vision wieder einmal sehr ruhig.

    Modern Classical & Ambient füllen die Playlist in der sich u.a. Julien Neto, Matthew Robert Cooper, David Darling, Hans-Joachim Roedelius & Tim Story, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Brian Eno & Ryuichi Sakamoto, Stars of the Lid and John McCafferty, Wes Willenbring, The Future Sound Of London und wie bereits angekündigt Max Richter tummeln.


    wie immer um 19.00 Uhr

    Tune In:
  • Connexion Bizarre Netlabel > Various "You Are Here Vol.2: A Compilation Of New York…

    Set 9 2008, 11h50 por purplevelvet

    Various "You Are Here Vol.2: A Compilation Of New York Electronics" (September 8, 2008)

    Download this amazing compilation, compiled by Ben Dewalt aka Terrorfakt



    Download Link - Internet Archive

    Tracklist

    01. Aural Blasphemy - Beta
    02. Azrael Trigger - Strife
    03. Cenotype - Let The Blade Speak (live mix) *
    04. Cervello Elettronico - Empty Veins *
    05. Controlled Bleeding - Regurgitation
    06. Edgey - I Become
    07. genCAB - version2
    08. Life Cried - Burnt To Ashes
    09. Navicon Torture Technologies - Mind Is A Prison. (Winter Overcome By Spring) *
    10. Panic Lift - Failsafe
    11. Synth-Etik - Exobiological
    12. Terrorfakt - Mephisto
    13. Tonikom - Changed Life
    14. Totakeke - Dead Set On Living
    15. Xentrifuge - Entombed

    Note: as you can see, some of the tracks highlighted in blue and marked with a >Play icon are already available here on last.fm, whilst some others are exclusive tracks/versions.

    For those of you who missed out on the first compilation in this series compiled by Matt Fanale aka Caustic (also mentioned in one of my earlier journals, approx a year ago), here is the link:

    Vol 1 Compilation download Link
  • New Ah Cama-Sotz CD release " DECLARATION OF INNOCENCE " (bats & cats BC06)

    Set 7 2008, 12h19 por camanecro

    New Ah Cama-Sotz CD release " DECLARATION OF INNOCENCE " (bats & cats BC06)

    release date: 2 October 2008 (available on maschinenfest 2008)

    cd info: limited numbered edition of 500 copies in metal box !

    pdf press info: http://www.ahcama-sotz.com/bc06.pdf


    AND


    http://www.ahcama-sotz.com website has been upgraded to version 6.0 !


    Ah Cama-Sotz


    Declaration of Innocence


  • Totakeke: Forgotten On The Other Side Of The Tracks

    Set 7 2008, 11h46 por purplevelvet

    Totakeke

    i'm really looking forward to the upcoming new album by Totakeke, due out 23 sept 08.



    This is what the label website has to say about it:

    Coming in September 2008 on Tympanik Audio is the companion CD to Totakeke’s critically-acclaimed album ‘eLekatota - The Other Side Of The Tracks‘ appropriately titled Forgotten On The Other Side Of The Tracks.

    13 new and forgotten Totakeke masterpieces from the ‘At The Train Station On A Saturday Evening‘ and ‘eLekatota‘ album sessions, seamlessly mixed and mastered to flow like a new collection of work. Futuristic Industrial rhythms meets uncompromising complexity with all the innovation and quality you have come to expect from this master of abrasive and melodic electronic music.

    Side-Line magazine calls Totakeke “…impressive” with the “potential to become a reference in the current Industrial scene” and Igloomag says “…original… a widely varied and ever-changing sonic soundscape of moods, textures, rhythms and atmospheres.”

    Includes hard-hitting remixes by Lucidstatic, Pandora’s Black Book, and Terrorfakt.

    As an added bonus, we will be offering a free 12-track download compilation of Totakeke’s work titled ‘Past:Present:Future‘ featuring selections from the entire Totakeke discography including 4 new tracks from the upcoming DCD full-length album ‘The Things That Disappear When I Close My Eyes‘, slated for release in early 2009 on Tympanik Audio.

    Intelligent Rhythmic Industrial at its finest…

    Tracklisting

    Cry For Help
    Left At The Station 1
    Plug Me Back In
    Jetee clip preview
    The Things That Disappear When I Close My Eyes (Rmx by Pandora’s Black Book)
    The Past Remembered
    Dead Set On Living clip preview
    Left At The Station 2
    Euthanasia
    Pull The Plug On Your Faith
    Strangle(_d) clip preview
    The Things That Disappear When I Close My Eyes (Blindsided Mix by Lucidstatic)
    Left At The Station 3 (rmx by Terrorfakt) clip preview

    http://tympanikaudio.com/releases/ta015/

    tympanik
  • Ahnst Anders Spezial @ Neurobeat Radio

    Ago 24 2008, 16h34 por TenebraeVision

    Ahnst Anders Spezial @ Neurobeat Radio

    Am 27.08 wird es Rahmen der Tenebrae Vision ein Spezial rund um den Organic Ambient, Industrial, IDM Künstler Ahnst Anders (Pflichtkauf, play33 rec) geben. Zu hören gibt es speziell für diese Sendung angefertigte Sets vom Künstler, Tracks und eine Klangperformance mit dem Namen "Zeit für Wunder".



    Ahnst Anders entdeckte schon früh die Liebe zur Musik und zum Klang. Als DJ im Independent Bereich, faszinierten Ihn die Sounds der 80ér, Wave und EBM genauso wie moderne Klänge der Techno- Experimental & Drum & Bass Szene. Die Suche nach neuen Sounds und Möglichkeiten führte Ahnst Anders in die Gefilde des Organic Dark Ambient welche auf seinem Debut Album "Dialog" (erschienen im Oktober 2007 auf dem Aachener Label Pflichtkauf) eindrucksvoll dokumentiert wird. Verschiedensten Elementen und Geräuschen aus Natur & Alltag verleiht er einen ästhetischen Klang und verbindet diese mit Flächen, Pads & drumbasierten Strukturen zu einem sehr interessanten Klanggebilde. Das dabei völlig unverkrampft mit verschiedensten Genres wie Techno-, Minimal oder Drum´n´Bass gespielt wird, zeigt die kreative Unbefangenheit eines Ahnst Anders. Wenn man sich die Zeit nimmt und sich völlig auf seinen Klang einlässt, wird man mit faszinierenden Reizen konfrontiert die einen so schnell nicht mehr loslassen.

    Mittlerweile konzentriert sich Ahnst Anders nicht nur auf das produzieren von Musik für Tonträger und Live Konzerte, auch Kunstausstellungen und Klanginstallationen haben sein Interesse geweckt, so das es interessante Projekte wie "Zeit für Wunder" zu bestaunen gab bei der er über einen Zeitraum von mehreren Monaten mit den Aufnahmen des Satzes "Zeit für Wunder" in den verschiedensten Sprachen beschäftigt war, und dazu Menschen gebeten hat den Satz in Ihrer Heimatsprache einzusprechen. Diese Sätze hat Ahnst Anders später, in feinster digitaler Kleinarbeit, in seinem Studio bei Aachen in Ihre Wortbestandteile zerschnitten und in unterschiedlichster Rheinfolge wieder zusammengefügt und arrangiert. Aus einem Chaos verschiedenster Stimmen, entsteht für jeden wieder verständlich, der Wunsch aller Menschen, der Wunsch nach einem Wunder.

    Zitat Ahnst Anders:

    "Musik ist schon mein Leben lang ein fester Bestandteil meines Lebens .... sie begleitet mich immer mehr und ist das Elexier für Antrieb, Freude und Emotion. ..... Wir werden den ganzen Tag von so vielen Sounds beschallt, die störend wirken, warum mit diesen Sounds nicht was interessantes anstellen..... ? " " Alles ist Kunst .... der Blickwinkel ist entscheidend.... Um Ideen zu entwickeln braucht man Raum ... Raum zum Atmen , Raum zum Denken oder inne halten .... Raum zum Schweigen und zum Reden, aber niemanden der laut redet und nichts sagt.... Alles braucht Raum, denn wer wären wir ohne eine Möglichkeit Räume zu füllen, .... Flächen zu erschließen und dadurch die Lücke des Zwischenmenschlichen verschwindend gering zu gestalten...."

    …also wird die Tenebrae Vision Raum & Zeit Ahnst Anders widmen, um euch seine speziell für diese Sendung angefertigten Sets, Tracks und die Klangperformance "Zeit für Wunder" zu präsentieren.

    Tune In:
  • Tomorrow (20.08) Tenebrae Vision @ Neurobeat Radio

    Ago 19 2008, 18h46 por TenebraeVision

    In the Next Show (20.08 CET)... I play Experimental, Ambient, Post Rock und Modern Classical...with the following Bands:

    Deaf Center, Peter Broderick, Lights Out Asia, Wolfgang Voigt, A Silver Mt. Zion, Sigur Ros, Svarte Greiner & Windy & Carl...

    Every Wednesday19.00 - 20.30 (Central European Time)

    Welcome and Tune In
  • "Bad Days (meet the batz-mix)"

    Ago 6 2008, 14h12 por camanecro