• Sylvi Alli, "Vessel"

    Jul 5 2010, 21h39

    Sylvi Alli uses her deep, resonant voice as a vessel in her new appropriately titled release. It echoes in the the opening song 'Conduit', chatters in the witchy 'Arbor Sea,' and soars in 'Gyre.' The vocal spell summoning continues in 'Incant' and the harrowing 'Hex.' At times, Alli sounds like Lisa Gerrard (particularly in the Eastern-flavored track 'Through The Veil', others, Diamanda Galas, but there's a calm intensity to her singing that's all her own. The backing tracks, mostly self-performed--layers of loops, guitars, keyboards, rhythm--put her vocals front and center. The closing later tracks, 'Tyger' and 'By Fire,' feature an instrumental complexity that alludes to Alli's training as a classical pianist. 'Vessel' is a must have for lovers of dark, ethereal music. Every track bewitches.

    -Craig Laurance Gidney
  • Louisa John-Krol, "Djinn"

    Dez 23 2008, 14h14

    I just posted my review of LJK's new cd "Djinn" here:

  • “Duality” Rajna

    Dez 21 2008, 17h03

    The few last Rajna releases left me cold. The vocals at their best resembled Lisa Gerrard at the height of her powers, but often, the chauntese would resort to affected whisper singing, like a bad imitation of Enigma. Their further move to more of a pop sound diluted the ritual aspect of their older work, The new album, however, is perfectly balanced between the old and new approaches. Less whispering, more operatic swoons. The pop melodies are defined and tight, while the majestic religious intensity of the Eastern-influenced pieces is re-sestablished. As a result, “Duality” sounds less like Enigma and more like early Bel Canto. Such tracks as the dark “Tree of Patience,” the mournful “Lamentation” point to Dead Can Dance, while lighter fare, like “Fallen,” and “Sun Comes To Life” still maintain a bewitching edge. Highly recommended for lovers of ethereal/heavenly voices.
  • Emily Bezar, “Exchange.”

    Ago 17 2008, 16h56

    Emily Bezar’s latest offering is probably the most complex of her releases. Her songs are like suites, with busy melodic passages that sound like they belong in different songs. The lyrics are both confessional and abstract. And her amazing voice will float into operatic swoops at a moment’s notice. It’s the kind of avant rock collection that belongs in between Joni Mitchell’s “The Hissing of Summer Lawns” and Bjork’s “Medulla”; it requires deep listening. But for those who are patient enough, it offers many treasures. “That Dynamite” is concise enough to be a single, complete with a ‘hook’; “Climb” is big band number that your parents might love; and “Lament” is a cabaret ballad from an alternate world version of the 40s. The other pieces, with their dramatic rhythm shifts, jazz crashing into prog rock, and stellar vocals, will remind one, at various points, of King Crimson, Kate Bush, Stereolab and Alice Coltrane. One of the song title sums up this song cycle’s aims well: ‘Glory or Crazy.’ Indeed.
  • Jo Gabriel, Fools and Orphans

    Jun 26 2008, 15h10

  • Autumn’s Grey Solace, Ablaze.

    Abr 12 2008, 20h25

    The 5th AGS album follows in its predecessors' footsteps, exploring dreamy, atmospheric music in tones of dark and light. The opening 'Endlessly' sets the tone, with its army of chiming, shimmering guitars, solid bass lines and Erin Welton's angelic soprano. Echoes of the Cocteau Twins appear in the following songs –'Fluttermoth,' 'Into The Stream,' and 'The Moon Nocturnal.' Scott Ferrell bends his guitars into interesting shapes, particularly the guitar-as-violin solo that emerges in 'Into The Stream.' A lighter, acoustic approach appears in 'Imaginary Grey' and the almost jazzy 'Sea of Honesty'; there isn’t even a hint of 'goth' in these sprightly tunes. The foray into Evanescence-styled gothic metal, 'A Rhythm That Writhes' adds darkness, but sticks out from the rest of the sun-splashed sonic architecture. The lyrics are filled with nature imagery, which come to a head with 'Tusk,' a hypnotic tune about elephant poachers. The album closes with the aptly titled 'Angelspeak,' with Welton wordlessly vocalizing above Ferrell’s ocean of acoustic and electric guitars.

  • Jack or Jive, "Kakugo"

    Mar 6 2008, 3h13

    The Japanese darkwave act just released their new album "Kakugo." They really don't sound like anyone else. The music moves from new age to dark ambient to synth pop. Singer-songwriter Chako can sound like Liz Fraser or Yoko Ono. Her singing can be flawed, but it is always heartfelt. The song titles are political and fantastic at the same time, like Stereolab. It's more of the same kind of stuff that they usually do. At their best they can transport to another world full of light and shadow.
    Jack or Jive
  • Annie Barker and Priscilla Hernandez

    Fev 5 2008, 14h05

    Reviews of Annie Barker and Priscilla Hernandez are now up on the Ectophiles Guide to Good Music.

    Annie Barker's album was produced by Robin Guthrie and has a the swirling goodness he's known for.

    Priscilla Hernandez is new age goth--somewhere between Sarah Brightman and Enya.


    Priscilla Hernandez
    Annie Barker
  • Favorite CDs of 2007

    Jan 2 2008, 14h08

    1.Happy Rhodes, Find Me
    2.Hannah Fury, Through the Gash
    3.Sylvi Alli, A Hundred Birds
    4.Roseland, Self Titled
    5.Susanna, Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos
    6.Electric Butterfly, Self-Titled
    7.Irfan, Seraphim
    8.Unwoman, Blossoms
    9.Dwelling, Ainde de Noite
    10.Stars of the Lid and Their Refinement of the Decline
    Happy RhodesHannah FuryRoselandSusannaElectric ButterflyIrfanUnwomanDwellingStars of the Lid
  • "Blossoms" by Unwoman

    Dez 27 2007, 2h32

    The new Unwoman project is quite beautiful. The first part is a collection of intensely personal, atmospheric cello-soaked darkwave songs that wouldn't sound out of place on the Projekt label. Part two is a song suite, with lyrics by the poet Edna St. Millay and a lone cello. But parts of 'Blossoms' feature Erica Mulkey's clear, crystalline singing voice that reminds me of Sally Doherty. It's an exquisite album, mixing both art songs and arty pop in equal measure.