mandag den 18. januar 2021

 Neon Lies- Loveless Adventures



Latest from our favorite minimal-wave wizard from Zagreb, Croatia! Released in the last summer of 2020, a thing which is out on both vinyl, CD, and cassette! 9 tracks, 28 minutes of sheer naked aggression and angst from some big-city made out of steel and concrete! 

The first track Drugz (notice the Z!) takes you instantly back to early Front 242 and Fad Gadget, a lovely thumping drum-rhythm, cold analog synths, and doom-laden male-vocals with nice echoed effects... a song about losing your lover simply for the drug(z) people!... 

The second track Hideaway continues the cold rhythms with more upbeat synth-melodies, more dancy and infectious! Love the almost cherry melody hidden in there, a VERY good track that ( in my opinion ) should have some radio-play... What we could call an underground dance hit here!

Third track Down... Is a track that gets... further down. Thumping and pulsating electronic-minimalism caught in a loop. And wait there is more, some in there sounds like the stroke of guitar strings?... Might just be a cool sound effect (now that I think of it!). Lovely sounds lurking in the background in this track here. 

The fourth track Learn, has a more atmospheric approach than the other tracks, again with those infectious boot-stomping rhythms. Again, with a lovely moody melody which heightens the listening experience.


The fifth track Insecurity is a hypnotizing piece with constant synth-waves/keys with a lovely synth-bass. It a bit like early Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark, just with less focus on the song and more focus on the sound aesthetic. 

The last track I will review is the last track on the album simply called Lights. The slowest and the heaviest track on the album. One of the tracks on the album which (for some reason) I would love to hear how it would sound if this electronic-track was done on real instruments... just curious. A good track without a doubt, any post-punk bands willing to do a cover of this excellent track?!. 

As you can read, I am glad. And I bloody love this album, and so should you. Why?. Because I say so... it offers melodies, blood, sweat, and tears (Not the soul band!). The raw analog synth sound is perfect, and the effect-laden vocals are just cool. Perfect cyberpunk sound for whatever our future might hold for us. 


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lørdag den 9. januar 2021

 Phragments - Anthems Of Solitude



Nothing more and nothing else, releasing an album called Anthems of Solitude in these times fits perfectly like a glove. Slovakia grim-ambient act Phragments have been around since 2005 and has been releasing material on such cult-labels as Malignant and Eastern Front.  And this one of the act's sixth album, released just in the last Christmas of 2020. Out on vinyl and CD (via Bandcamp).

The first track simply called Hollow is what it is. A hollow and haunting sound from somewhere completely devoid of life, post-nuclear sites maybe? Thriving communities turned into dead and empty spaces, where only the echoes of life itself sadly remain. Spooky windy sounds... the kind of winds which will occur after an explosion of an atomic bomb, heavy drones coming from somewhere underground, metallic and rusty hitches making an eerie sound... and something... the sound of falling trees, or someone messing around with metal scrape?. Human-likes chanting voices like the monks of Tibet being also present here. A beautiful post-apocalyptic ambient track describing... a place which you really don't want to be in.

The second track Consequence drones it further down into the underworld. Sound of a violin-(like)-drones here, automatic ventilation-systems creating a mood there and... deep trumpets?... or just very large horn-like instrument being played in a deep cavern. Very nicely done!


The Third track Frontiers of Hope actually has a melody in it. Not a cherry and happy one, but a melody nonetheless with traces of human-life! There is a kind of martial-wave/industrial gone dark-ambient/drone wipe here, might be that (again) ruined after the war sort of mood. Think A Challenge of Honour meets later Raison D´être, martial drone?

The fourth and last track on this album is called An Ode To Our Times. A ritualistic moment when time stops, and by sorrow-filled elements drones the very last darkness out of the album.

The sounds are superb, elements and beautifully multilayered/mixed, the melancholic and moody expression being convincing... lots of reasons why this album is good. BUT I have a minor thing ... I would like some ... chaos/extra sound-dymamics to it. Not that I want a harsh-noise thing or anything, but... interesting samples here and there, taking from movies or from the news perhaps, dialogues or actual sounds, etc. Maybee having a classic sci-fi horror from the 80s running in the background while listening to it, might do the trick?.. I don't know, give it a listen people!


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lørdag den 2. januar 2021

 Wooded Memory - The Last Stories



A release which I have thought about reviewing for some time, but for various reasons... I forgot!. Coronade-related? The new president of the USA? Corona-mutants?... I don't know, 2020 has been a weird year... and 2021 may might ... just be a little wee weirder. Nonetheless, I have decided to keep the weird stuff down and put the Kalteldur-thing further up on the shelf for everyone to see it. And what better way to start the first review of 2021 with a prober dungeon-synth release from 2020!

Wooded memory is a newish act from Pasadena, Maryland. Which so far has released 2 albums and a digital l mini-EP. This one called Lost Stories is the debut, it was released in 2019 and came out on a very limited cassette via the label Realm and Ritual (sold out) and is digitally available on Wooded Memory´s Bandcamp-site of course. 5 tracks, around 44 minutes in total. 

Before giving the album a listen, I suggest you reading the inner-notes first:

Outside the wind is howling as the sky proclaims its wintry will; a falling blanket of unceasing snow. I watch it from my dwelling, my solitary cell. Today it feels like a refuge, a small fire burning keenly in the corner warms my hands. With quill and ink, I am seeking to chronicle the lost stories, the great deeds, the songs and prayers of a time now long past. I am content. Yet I know tomorrow I will look out on the fresh snow and wish to tread out, to create new stories in my footsteps, to shed this eremitic life like an old cloak and dress myself in confident color. I could revisit those crowded streets full of boisterous speech and joyful reunion. I could find friendship, perhaps even love.

But for now, I will remain, reciting the old tales to myself and hoping to capture their truth on parchment. I will watch the snow, solemn and steady, as it sings its own truth; indomitable yet longing.

Dungeon synth for concentrated isolation? Seems perfect in these pandemic times right?... The first track My Hidden Shelter reveals a snow-covered landscape, the smell of a bonfire is in the cold air. A hint of a dimly light can be seen through the misty and snowy weather... a hut? Not a cherry hut, but a hut that sits on one of the edges of the world. A saddened and melancholic moody piece, with extra retro-nudges towards fantasy-themed movies from the 80s and classic roleplaying games on the Amiga500. Sort of like... Winter-synth with an 80s synth-wave feel. 



Next track The Great Prison... The sound of someone walking on dry icy-snow with beautiful epic retro-orientated synth-strings. Interesting kind of melody and mood... kind of takes me back to that classic CMI act Morthhond. I cannot help but think, that a simple martial beating would do well here (can actually hear it in my head when I am hearing this track). A decent track without-a-doubt. 

The third track called A Hermits Tale pumps up the grandiose and epic feel. A lovely heroic organ synth, the sound of icy-winds, heavy cello-synth, retro keys, and a bad-ass sound of something metallic being hit at the right epic time. Again, I love this balance between the sound of dungeon-synth and the sound of the classic 80s soundtrack wibe. 

The fourth track Thy Humble Knight (being the shortest track) offers a slightly less heroic feel, but a kind of feel one might sense when listening through the soundtrack of Twin Peaks? Romantic and mysterious maybe?. A short track but good. 

The last track Escape to the Trees has lovely and excellent sounding church organs which then later evolves into something dreamy. A typical kind of outro sort of a track, but a decent ending to the album.

And that what I had to say about the tracks on Lost Stories. Not the much dynamic sounding release, but a release which offers more a beautiful soundtrack sound with a nod to the 80s. Could you imagine the soundtrack of Miami Vice being stuck in the middle ages? But again, it is a unique release made by an artist with a great vision for his act. For a collector of Dungeon Synth, I would say that every collector should own this unique release... a re-issue maybe?...

onsdag den 25. november 2020

 Horologium - Starvation Musings



Horologium is back!! (if you remember my earlier review). This time we are dealing with a cassette EP from Spanish Marbre Negre, a 4 tracker called Starvation Musings. Recorded in 2018 and 2019, Zielona Góra, Poland. And limited to 75 copies, plus each tape comes with a pin. 

Somewhere in the realm of martial industrialism and the borders of apocalyptic dark-ambient, this little treat deals in the horror of starvation. Something which is a problem when one is living in the shadow of such problems as war, poverty, disease (pandemic?) or just a case of living as a farmer where things will... just not grow. As being detailed on the cover artwork, children being one of the most terrible victims of this. It might be an old photo from the "good" old days, but starvation (especially among children) is still a problem that still doesn't concern those who have way too much money up their arses. The inside cover-artwork reveals (mostly) women with buckets, collecting water from a well surrounded by snow and ice (frozen water?). Since the band is from east Europe, I could imagine that these photos or from those parts as well. I am no expert in history, but I do know that many east European countries have struggled with famine and poverty... And some places like Romanian still does.

The first track on the EP is called Musselmänner. Read this first:

Muselmann (pl. Muselmänner, the German version of Muselman, meaning Muslim) was a slang term used among captives of World War II Nazi concentration camps to refer to those suffering from a combination of starvation (known also as "hunger disease") and exhaustion and who were resigned to their impending death. The Muselmann prisoners exhibited severe emaciation and physical weakness, an apathetic listlessness regarding their own fate, and unresponsiveness to their surroundings owing to their barbaric treatment by prisoner functionaries. 

A looped sample from some classical kind of music, reverbed drums, doom-laden (and looped trumpets), and the strings of a screaming violin-sound being stretched into eternity.

The second track Wasting Away adds a touch of desolation and melancholia. Haunting piano-notes, whispering human-voices, the sound of someone walking in sewage (I think), and an eerie... sort of humming and moaning background. The sound of despair, at that point where human-life just accepts grief and death as an everyday issue. The listener is left with a very, sad sensation after this track. Interesting metallic tribalism (ála Test Dept) at the end gives the track a "nice" post-apocalyptic feel. Really love the haunted voices in the background.


When you get to the third track called Enter The Famine (on the B-side of the cassette) it just gets... a bit more "lifeless". Cold and desolate black-ambient and metallic ritualistic beatings like Archon Satani, interesting collage of samples going on in the background, church bells, and angelic humming drones coming from some temple nearby... ´Bring out your dead!´... you get the picture!.

The fourth and last track Their Life Is Short, But Their Number Is Endless might just the... the merriest track in the EP. It´s the sound of final death and the soul is delivered from the agonized body. A short but effective outro. 

Interesting how much thought and mood you can put on only 28 minutes, but that is how this one works. Would have been too long if we were dealing with 70 minutes full-length, but this tiny cassette deals with the theme very seriously and I can assure you that you will be convinced! This is a must release, everything on this release seems like it has been made in a very thorough way (and I do think that it is!). This is a must dear reader... A MUST!.



onsdag den 28. oktober 2020

 Yasuyuki Uesugi - Choices Are Equal 

But Results Are Unequal



Yasuyuki Uesugi is one of the latest new-faces on the Spanish Marbre Negre label. A Japanese noise-artist which has been VERY-MUCH active since 2019, go up and check his discography on Discogs (Then you´ll know what I mean!). Anyways, this one has come out as a black cassette, with a black´ ish piece cover-artwork showing ... white nerves maybe?... Maybee a branch... Nope, I think it´s nerves. The title of the track being... quite interesting. When we are talking about nerves (as of such) and of choices which you being equal (from one person to another) the different results always ends... as something being rather unique or personal. I don´t know if that made sense or not, but the truth is that our brain and the nervous being... very extremely complex Which will give you the perfect answer to AI, that real article intelligence seems almost like an impossible task. But what do I know? ... I am no robot expect, I am just a bloody reviewer!

Another thing worth taking notice of is that this noise artist from Japan is more than just your average noise-musician, he suffers from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and the best way for him to express himself (by spiritual means) is to do what he does... making experimental music.     

The first track called Lack of Long-term Perspective gently surprises the listener that we are dealing more with the aesthetic of sound, then in general harshness.  Vortex-moving ambient-noise with looped effects, static drones (but light and heavy ones), with some atmospheric metallic-reverbed effects added to it as well. Soothing and hypnotic metallic harshness, very nice. 

The second track Researchers Wants To Discover New Mental Illness follows the same concept in sound. Some changes are made and it´s being perfectly mixed with the former track. A ritualistic-element can be sensed here. Sofar it still sounds good.


The third track The Spiritual World Feels Chaotic Because I Don't Understand It gets way more psychedelic and frightening. Layered, looped, and scary swirling sounds just sucks you right into a portal. The sense of concept still being there!

The fourth track I Have A Number of Mental Illness Without Names tunes the psychedelics down a bit with numerous bubbling sounds and harsh drones.

And then I will reveal no more, this is just the A-side of the cassette being reviewed here. If you are curious, then go around and check it out (and hear the complete album ) on Marbre Negre´s Bandcamp site. 

What I have heard is not bad, it´s when monotonous stuff is done... in the way that it should. It feels real and authentic, the sound has a sense of ritualistic purpose. Some of it may sound frightening, but in a lot of ways, it´s rather soothing. It´s not chaotic as such, nor being clinical in any way. A worthy release from Japan and Marbre Negre, Cheers!

mandag den 26. oktober 2020

 

Oliphant Morn - Morë olori i Palantìr



New dungeon synth act from Quebec called Oliphant Morn, out now with its new debut called Morë Olori i Palantìr (released the 12th of October this year). A 5 track mini-album made between the year 2018 - 2020... made by a Lord Verbouc, except the last track Han Som Reiste which is a Burzum cover/tribute. 

As for the title itself, it has something to do with those Seeing-stones from the Lord of the Rings, which goes by the ancient tongue as Palantìr. As you will notice on the Bandcamp page, there is a small text introduction to this mini-album : 

Come, travelers. And gaze through the sinister and hypnotizing Palantír of Saruman. To see battles of uncertain fate and
desolate landscapes forgotten by time.

And as you all probably know, Saruman is a tricky bastard suffering from a rare kind of egomania and.. low-self esteem at the same time (now that we are at it!). I will not stare into his sinister and hypnotizing ball of uncertain doom, id rather puff some jolly-good weed with Gandalf (if you would ask me!). Nevertheless, this Palantir offers dungeon synth in the more... doomy corner. If you happen to be into cherry hobbits and Robin Hood´s merry bunch (or comfy synth), then this might just be... your cure for that! *gulp*. Let us look more deeply into the tracks within shall we?...

The first track called Rammas o Lothric (The High Wall of Lothric) is something (I think) from the moody fantasy RPG named Dark Souls III not something by Tolkien... haven't actually played it yet!. A simple intro of a track containing the sounds of the haunting and cold winds of the night, and an epic neo-classical piece with horns and piano, describing ruins and utter despair. Sounds a bit like Ildfrost (old Cold Meat Industry act). Beautiful sound and a lovely mood surround you, lovely intro!.

The next track called I Lóre o Thuringwethil ( Thuringwethil´s Dream ). So who is this... Thuringwethil anyway?. This is something from Tolkien´s Quest For the Silmaril. A female Maia who took the shape of a female vampire, she also served Morgoth before that (pretty old one right?). She did some dirty work for the baddies and ended up being defeated at a fight between Sauron and Huan in some fortress. This track moves into a gothic Mortiis sort of horror-setting. Slowly evolving moody track with saddened synth-strings, still containing that neo-classical feel. A more simple and minimal track than the first, and very nicely done. Background music for Hammer Horror flicks! 


The third track is the track from which the album has its title, that sinister ball that Sauron wants me so bad to look into ( Which I still won't! ). A slightly "merrier" and light-feel tune with barbaric/orcish (but sutle) ritual drum-beatings, mesmerizing synth keys... and spoken-word ritual vocals. Vocals which takes me back to Endvra. All this fades away when that cold night-wind re-appears with some sinister string keys going on at the same time, strangely relaxing and slightly sinister at the same time. The strange wind keeps up blowing when all of a sudden... strange things come out from some otherwordly place. Is it the voices of the dead or... the sound of daemons trying to tear into your room? Lovely doom-laden feeling, lovely ritualistic mood with an eldritch quality attached to it!

The fourth offering called I Thùle O Irithyll (The Breath of  Irithyll) returns to that game which I still haven´t played. Dark Soul 3. A more downbeat sort of track with less sinister undertones, there is although a sense of something tragic. The most melancholic piece on the track, almost kind of ... suicidal dungeon-synth?!. The piano sounds make me think of a certain Jazz musician who did some remarkable melancholic pieces (not that it is Jazz!)... Bill Evans, maybe it´s the sound of the synth... I don't know!.

The last track on the album is the Burzum cover Han Som Reiste, which actually is the second dungeon-synth cover of this track which I have heard so far. A sort of a track which has that... wandering around the wilderness, looking for danger and adventure sort of feel. Very simplistic piece with synth guitars and nothing much else, a lovely down-to-earth kind of an outro if you ask me.

And then this mini-album stopped. A kind of a mixed bag of trophies, made in a big-time span. At first thought, I was thinking of a straight Tolkien-based album (title), but you also had some nods to Dark Souls III. The album is decent and good, offering not something groundbreaking or new as such but delivers a classic and old-school dungeon synth thing with that certain... Northern European vibe. The best track on the album would be... Saurons ball track goddammit!. Yup, I understood why the artist behind this act chooses this track to be the champion of the album. Give it a try mate, a relaxing and doom-laden trip into fantasy-related murkiness. By the way, look below... that is him, the man behind it all. Cheers!


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tirsdag den 13. oktober 2020

Stefano Bertoli - Eleven Faces

and Forty Two Arms 



I don´t know Stefana Bertoli but I do know the label Italian label Industrial Ölocaust Recordings. This one, with the highly esoteric themed title, is the first release in his own name. A 2 track-track full-length which is sofar available on tape, pro-CD-R, and by digital means. 

 If anyone should be in doubt what the theme is about, then I can reveal to you that it seems to be a concept-based treat around a certain Avalokitesvara who in turn is a Bodhisattva (any person who is on the path towards Buddhahood), this Buddhahood embodies the compassion of all Buddhas ( is a title for someone who is awake, and has attained nirvana and Buddhahood)... So basically, we're talking about a godlike and important figure in Buddhism. He/She also contains both sexes, and must therefore be seen as someone like... Abraxas maybe? Well ok, on to the recordings itself.

A vintage old-school proto-electronic treatment waits to be explored. As a fan of old Doctor Who (and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop), some of you might have a feeling where the album goes. The first track simply named Kan starts with echoing and reverbed icy bleeps of various pitch and volume, imagine space... cold, empty, and very large. Not that far away from the likes of Coil´s Worship the Glitch album. These evocative bleeps swirl around your speakers for around 10 minutes, and then the track moves further into a minimal ritualistic sound-setting. Mechanical hummings from a source with a high voltage get mixed into a dynamic set made of various electronic and primitive glitch sounds, it´s all very stimulative and addictive so far!. Some of it also reminds me of the ghostly radio-sounds which I have heard on Ulver´s Perdition City!


Track two named Non, adds esoteric Tibetan-like chanting to the electronic glitch mesh. Still within the same sound-nature as the earlier track. Fans of Zoviet France and Hybryds, take notice here. Interesting and demonic noises ripes a hole in the sound-fabric later on! Chilling dynamics happening around 16 minutes later, the feeling that something otherworldly tries to enter your world (by quiet means). Don´t fall asleep to this album people, the demonic noises around 24 minutes are brutal... and frightening. And then it ends.

Feels like reaching up from some deep gulf to get some air! It´s not a noisy treat, but when the album stops... silence greats you... feels kind of eerie after that. A very subtle psychedelic experience, parallel universes in sound? This might be it. Kind it a spin, a prober mind fxxx.