Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lustmord - Metavoid (2001)

This was my introduction to Dark Ambient music. A crucial experience that slightly altered my perception, as if I'd found an answer that had previously eluded me.

Brian Williams has been recording as Lustmord for 30 years. He IS Dark Ambient. After a stint in SPK in 1982, he delved deeper and deeper into a distinct horror / Sci-fi soundscape formula culminating in a successful career as a film sound artist in Hollywood.

Metavoid is rather different than most of his work, as it is quite symphonic. A most accessible work that could easily have been a film score. Gently unsettling, its more the fog of darkness as opposed to his usual terror and confusion as though actually being in the belly of the beast. Don't misunderstand, with titles like "The Ambivalent Abyss", "Blood Deep In Dread" and "A Light That is Darkness", this is no cakewalk but simply a good place to start for anyone interested in the genre.

The bulk of his discography is extremely demonic and unsettling. Though rarely abrasive, his work is so dense with corrupted tones, incantaions, tibetan horns, bullroarers, and chanting that it makes me feel as if I'm about to be sacrificed at some evil mass. Incidentally, His first live performance in 25 years was at The Church of Satan's high mass observance on (06-06-06). So lets go plodding through the viscous aural crimson waters like in that dream you had once where you were being chased by a specter but couldn't get off your knees. Creeped out yet?

Get It Here

Or: Metavoid - Lustmord

Friday, October 29, 2010

Frumpy - Frumpy 2 - 1971

This is 70's German Progressive Hard Rock at its finest. That statement may not mean much to some of you reading this but there was an extraordinary amount of creativity manifested in that scene. Check out the German television program "Die Deutschrock Nacht" and you'll understand.

Frumpy’s second album consists of four lengthy tracks, ripe with swirling and busy keyboard wizardry, guitar that is sporadically interspersed to be a mere additive, strong bass playing obviously influenced by Holger Czukay, and tasteful subtle driving drumming matched with the oddly charming sound of Inga Rumpf’s raspy and hoarse singing.

This album is is an example of the impact American and British Hard Rock had on Germany and how this band managed to utilize that influence while incorporating their own distinct Krautrock originality. Jeff Beck, Jefferson Airplane and Grand Funk join forces with Can, Neu and early Kraftwerk.

Get It Here

Or: Best of Frumpy - Frumpy

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

C.A. Quintet - Trip Thru Hell - 1969

I recently discovered this Minnesota Garage / Psychedelic rock band because a friend sent a link to me about the LP selling for $1600 on Ebay. After downloading it I understand why. Freaky acidic jams like "Trip Thru Hell Part 1" and jangly pop songs such as a strange cover of "Micky's Monkey" make for an oddly captivating outing. With flanged drum solos and trumpet lines in the vein of Arthur Lee & Love, this makes quite a trip. Its a nightmarish evening of blotter and confusion you might remember from youth. Elements of everything from Jefferson Airplane to Manfred Mann and from The Pretty Things to The 5th Dimension. If you're a fan of Drug Rock in general, don't sleep on this one. Ripe with heavy riffs, Go Go'ish 60's game show theme vibes, amateur Jazz and a campy Canned Heat feeling bluesy acoustic outro about their passionate drug use makes this bizarre and goofy but infectious.

Get It Here

Or: Trip

Overmars - Affliction, Endochrine...Vertigo - 2005

My favorite underrated French metal band will rot your brain, confuse the hell out of you and weigh heavily on your mind if you manage to endure the 69 minute barrage. This 2005 release is extremely honest and radically brutal. I call it metal out of necessity. Its ripe with Black Metal, Sludge,Hardcore, Horror film soundscapes, instrumental interludes and dissonant atmospherics. Patiently delivering a story that seems infinite, this septet runs the gamut of moods underneath Arnaud's plaintive and growling vocals. Avant-garde intellectualism sides with grace and intensity in the face of their depressive and grisly subject matter. Meticulously produced, I highly recommend listening to this one in headphones. Only...not before bedtime.

Get It Here

Or: Affliction,

Friday, October 22, 2010

ZDL. - In Der Maschinenhalle - 198?

This early 80's tape of a live show the band did is outstanding. A noisy atonal lo-fi No Wave washed out beauty. I know nothing about this visionary German band except there are some tapes floating around. Dying to here more. I had a dream that Warsaw and Einsturzende Neubauten had a bastard child and then it showed up on this tape. Seriously comparable to those groups. A beautiful hybrid here. Tracks that have driving pounding tribal drum rhythms with crunchy flanging guitars alternating with tracks that are industrial soundscapes with ritual chanting. Just fucking lovely. Das ist eine gute.

Get It Here

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sad Lovers and Giants - Feeding the Flame - 1983

1991. I was at a friend's house on a Sunday night listening to "The Edge with Coyote J. Calhoun" on the radio for the first time. My friends and I had just become enamored with Goth and this show was supposed to be the best place to here it. It truly was. I'll never forget that the first song of the evening was "Man of Straw" by Sad Lovers and Giants. This Midnight Music band would be a catalyst for my newfound obsession with dark music.

Not that they were really Goth, mind you. I remember thinking they sounded like The Church if the drugs had pushed Steve Kilby off the deep end once and for all...Goth Church. I think my initial comparison still rings true. After the first two albums I lost interest but this and "Epic Garden Music" continue to be entirely relevant albums. Download a track here: MAN OF STRAW


Friday, October 1, 2010

Zola Jesus - Stridulum: Hope and Reassurance in a Gothic Disguise - 2010

I must admit that upon first listening to this album I had written it off as pleasant yet generic goth revivalism. When I began to truly delve into it I realized I was sorely mistaken.

The ethereal atmospheric keyboard drones and plodding sequenced drums conjure the darkest and most introspective side of the 80's a la Faith or Pornography. And the addition of classic Siouxie-esque vocals visualize a truly impressive solo gothic resurgence project. But the lyrics are the genuine weapon here.

21 year old classically trained vocalist Nika Roza Danilova (also LA Vampires, Former Ghosts)is breathtaking. Yes, The Siouxie comparisons are valid but these lyrics are much more relative to the majority of us. Banshees lyrics were light-hearted yet magical, surreal and sometimes metaphysical. Nika doesn't bother impressing you with her intellect. She heads straight to the heart of pain, insecurity, broken relationships and lost love. Though simple, these lyrics are honest and stunningly delivered.

The crucial factor here is that though she takes her listeners into the depths of sadness and loneliness, hope is always presented. A very mature emotional positivity resides in this young woman. Take the lyrics of "I Can't Stand" for example:

It's not easy to fall in love
But if you're lucky you just might find someone
So don't let it get you down
Cause in the end, you're only one

I can't stand to see you this way
It's gonna be alright

It's not easy to let it all go
But once in a while it's good for your soul
So don't let it get you down
Cause in the end, you're on your own

I can't stand to see you this way
It's gonna be alright...

Austere, I know, but when she combines haunting synth, rapturous vocals and a drum track that would make Jonathan Kane proud, I believe her, I'm wholeheartedly convinced.

Get It Here

Or: Stridulum

Villages - The Last Whole Earth

This debut LP "THE LAST WHOLE EARTH" is engagingly contemplative and meticulously well-crafted drone. With washes of guitar and synthesizer, subdued vocals, field recordings and minimal noise, VILLAGES devises a beautifully pastoral narrative teeming with honest emotion.

While the majority of Drone artists are currently plotting a darker and harsher course, this offers warm radiance reminiscent of acts like Flying Saucer Attack, Labradford and Stars of the Lid that many are sure to find refreshing. Download a track here: DRESDEN