Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kommunity FK - Close One Sad Eye (1985)

When Patrick Mata founded Kommunity FK in 1978, not many knew the terms Gothic or Industrial. In the process he also founded the L.A. Deathrock scene. This album is the best documentation of his work. upon listening to this you'll hear many elements of other Goth, Darkwave and Industrial acts that you're familiar with. The difference is that Mata wasn't following trends. He began the American trend. Its his own original brand of dark Post-punk with a touch of 70's Glam. Bataille, Genet and Cocteau meet Bowie. Absolutely brilliant.

Get It Here

Or: Kommunity Fk

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Group Hex - EP (2010)

R.I.P Blessure Grave. I was upset about this until I began investigating related projects. Do not dismay. This EP by former members Tobias, Shiloe and J. Gradin (also Total Fang, Secret Tones) is a a taste of the Dark Minimal Synth coming our way soon. Beat-driven Minimal Wave synthesizers meet early Robert Smith guitar on a barbituate Coldwave dancefloor.

Just check out anything on Talking Helps. This should get me through my mourning period with ease.

Listen Here

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fuzz Against Junk - Netti Netti (2008)

This outstanding Bristol septet melds heavy 70's Acid Rock with hints of British Jazz and Krautrock all with an improvisational feel; And its surprisingly cohesive and accessible for such experimental material.

Sometimes intense and abrasive, sometimes groovy yet cerebral, they even stray into nasty funk and pastoral hippie folk at times. I enjoy that the vocalist hints at some Damo Suzuki, Don Van vliet, Dr. John and even a bit of David Tibet. And for the real nerd, you'll be happy to know there's even a cut that sounds intentionally like something from the Wicker Man soundtrack.

This is a delicious stew of Comets on Fire, Soft Machine, early Can, Sun Ra, Ghost, Current 93, Thuvian throat singing and Sun City Girls, all a part of a balanced breakfast.

Get It Here

Or: Netti Netti - Fuzz Against Junk

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cough - Sigillum Luciferi (2008)

Ok, folks. This is it. Sludge Metal songs about Satan and weed. I'm not sure it gets any better than this. The cover depicts Crowley's eleven-pointed star, a pentagram and marijuana leaves. I doubt they're serious about any of it but the imagery plays on all the attractive cliches of Metal in general and they have the skills and creativity to back it up.

I'm also impressed with the fact that they're not from the west coast. No revolving members from the Graves at Sea / Asunder scene. Richmond, Virginia. That's right. Southern boys. Hell yeah.

They acquired the drummer from The Sword for this album and he definitely makes his presence known. These are extremely slow and impressive compositions with the best production I've heard in this genre (Sanford Parker producer of Nachtmystium). Pure fucking magick. It gets more interesting as the album progresses. Let it seep into you.

Get It Here

Or: Sigillum Luciferi - Cough

Twin Sister Moon - Then Fell the Ashes (2010)

The latest release from Frenchman Mehdi Ameziane (of Natural Snow Buildings) doesn't beat around the bush. The first cut, "Black Nebulae", launches into a tempest of perilous metallic drone but he changes course nicely afterward.

"1976" and "Ghost That Was Your Life" are brief but lovely folk songs reminiscent of Benoit Pioulard. Mehdi's androgynous vocals are just gorgeous. He has a knack for calling to mind the 60's British folk scene a la Sandy Denny and Vashti Bunyan.

"The Big Sand" is essentially a ten minute medley of frightening Ritual Drone, friendly and inviting Ambient and another acoustic ballad.

"Desert Prophecy" and "Trailer" are a couple of melancholy yet hooky folk pop songs culminating into the title track, a twenty-four minute drone treatice which could become a classic. This piece builds for twenty-two minutes of now familiar elements but also incorporates very gentle and tasteful piano. Eventually, and no surprise here, he wraps up the album with another somber but beautiful folk ballad.

Unfortunately, everything he releases is a very limited vinyl run so you'll probably have to be content with those nasty mp3's. Regardless, this is very intriguing and enigmatic music that requires a specific listener. I hope you're one of them.

Get It Here

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Coil - How to Destroy Angels (1984)

This is it, folks. This is the record that got me into all the weird shit that you know about me. Seriously, it all stems from this. The first release from Coil. And to all you hipster kids that listen to drone and aren't aware, yes, amongst their monstrous output of Industrial and Acid House in the early 80's, this was their first recording. In my world, this is the original Drone recording. Not to be confused with Ambient because that's a different idea altogether. I'm talking about primal ritualistic drug-addled cosmic Carl Jung investigated honest to god droning ceremonial paganistic roots of post-simian intellect type shit.

This is music that makes you evolutionarily regressive. It always reminds me of William Hurt's character's desire for pure understanding in the film "Altered States". This is the appropriate score for the Mexican tribal psilocybin-ingesting scene in the film which focuses on the male ego and the innate power struggle of the anima and the animus. By the way, If you're not familiar with Ken Russell you should get a fucking clue.

This is ritual music for the accumulation of male sexual energy.

"The price of existence is eternal warfare."Further reading for Coil fanatics

Get It Here

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bohren and Der Club of Gore - Black Earth (2002)

If you're not familiar with Doom Jazz but enjoy the music of Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch, you're in for a treat. Since 1992 this German quartet has been creating what I refer to as a demonic extension of the music for Twin Peaks. Also present is the influence of Barry Adamson's work on the "Lost Highway" soundtrack. Thanks to Mike Patton for re-issuing this on his Ipecac label in 2004. Its the Bad Angel on Codeine. I love this band.

They describe themselves as "an unholy mixture of slow jazz ballads, Black Sabbath Doom and down-tuned Autopsy sounds".

They've released a handful of albums through the years but "Black Earth" is their finest work. They work with traditional jazz instrumentation (minimal brushwork and sizzle cymbal on the drum kit, subtle upright bass, sparse piano, fender rhodes and breathy haunting saxophone); but eerier than you could imagine is the very creative and ghostly input of the mellotron. I'm also impressed with the way this album is mixed. I like the levels but be careful with your subwoofers when you throw this one on. This truly is Jazz for Doom Metalheads.

Get it here

Monday, November 8, 2010

James Blackshaw - Sunshrine (2005)

The introduction of bells is reminiscent of an old Folkways Soto Zen Temple Ceremony album I just purchased. And this is a perfect meditative palette for Blackshaw's 12 string guitar virtuosity. These are lush and sedate yet complex arrangements of finger-picking magick. Its dizzying to follow. So dizzying, that once you stop trying to follow it, you'll find yourself lost in a trance.

Unlike some of his Tacoma-esque contemporaries, Blackshaw is a talented composer. John Fahey's influence is apparent but so is Phillip Glass', as the guitar and bells meander down a beautifully repetitive path. His path is visionary and adventurous but never harsh or dark.

Recommended if you enjoy morning coffee, weed or meditation.

Get It Here

Or: Sunshrine - James Blackshaw

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blessure Grave - Judged By Twelve, Carried By Six (2010)

If you're a friend of mine that sees me often, you can probably disregard this one. I ramble on like a blithering idiot about how much I love this band.

Blessure Grave stunned me. At first listen I felt as if every room sound besides this was pushed into the background. Had someone asked me to describe a band I'd like to be in and proceeded to fabricate it? Because it felt very close to home.

T. Graves and Reyna Kay, along with a full live lineup, remind me of the early days of Goth before the hair and make-up, a time when Post-Punk musicians were clumsily yet honestly foraying into dark, depressing and self-loathing territory;taking the cue from Ian Curtis' honest emotion and starting the Darkwave movement. Blessure Grave describe themselves as drawing influence from Death in June and March Violets (and with an EP called "Unknown Blessures" obviously, Joy Division. I assume they are aware how difficult it is not to be pigeon-holed as Goth revivalists when creating such stylized material.

Its an authentically updated 80's vibe: fuzzy bass, minimal guitar melodies and synth lines, drums almost exclusively floor tom and snare, gutturral yet subversively elegant vocals; Its just an opiate for me.

I want their first tape more than anything else at the moment. Obsessed. Any help with that would be greatly appreciated.

Get it here.

Or: Judged By Twelve, Carried By Six - Blessure Grave

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Umberto - Prophecy of the Black Widow (2010)

Matt Hill's clan of Goblin worshippers and John Carpenter / Dario Argento film junkies are back with a new score for the euro-horror film that never was. This time they've changed the formula. Now, we're hearing a soundtrack as played by an 80's New Wave band with an expensive Giorgio Moroder habit. Incorporating Krautrock, Komische and minimal synth-driven fear and suspense, this outing is deployed predominantly by authentically produced keyboards and keytars. Its retro-innovative and very convincing but just as you get lost in the intensity, the campy elements leap out at you, once again bringing a smile to your face. If you enjoy the sounds of 70's horror and suspense (particularly low budget outings), I'm sure you'll dig this.

Get It Here:

Or: Prophecy of the Black Widow - Umberto

Friday, November 5, 2010

Agalloch - Marrow of the Spirit (2010)

Its been four long years since my favorite American Black Metal band released an album. Well, the new one is here and it was well worth the wait.

The cello and field recordings of "They escaped the Weight of Darkness" introduce us to the new Agalloch. Its a beautiful ambient interlude that gives way to "Into the Painted Grey" which heralds the blastbeats and fine-tuned aggression of new drummer Aesop Dekker, who finally gives them the heavy handed sound they've been looking for.

"The Watcher's Monolith" calls to mind the Neo-Folk tendencies of "The Mantle". The acoustic-laden Post-Rock of this gorgeous track reminds me just how versatile this band can be.

The track I'd heard about but still wasn't prepared for is "Black Lake Nidstang", a seventeen minute sprawling epic worthy of the hype its been receiving. A minimal beginning gives way to a driving sludgy rhythm with a surprisingly clean yet plaintive vocal track. After a lovely seemingly infinite period, the tracks unravels into a droning experimental soundscape with a beautifully simple guitar loop before returning to the meat of the track and eventually decaying in a luscious fashion.

The closing track "To Drown" is by no means anti-climactic after the beast of a track prior. It holds its own as a classic Agalloch track reminding us of the Drudkh-like nature of this band but distinguishes itself with a classical march that resolves the album in a very mature and dignified manner.

Personally, I already prefer it over "The Mantle". Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe its just the fact that I'm a drummer and as an Agalloch fan, I finally dig the drummer. What's certain is that herein lies another Post-Black Metal Shoegaze Folk (insert label here) classic. I have been working on my albums of the year list and this one crept up on me. I couldn't be happier that it did.

Get It Here

Or: Agalloch

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Angelic Process - Weighing Souls with Sand (2007)

Yes, its a Male / Female duo that plays Shoegaze Drone Doom Metal. No, you shouldn't just assume that since you listen to Nadja that you should disregard this. This is different.

K Angylus (Jacksonville, AL) and MDragonfly (Macon, GA) began recording around Athens in 1999. Unfortunately, eight years later, they had little acclaim. I discovered this band a year after their demise and am sad that I never had the opportunity to experience their live shows or their company.

Deeply emotional and honestly pleading vocals (sometimes singing, sometimes screaming) are buried deep within a cold wall of My Bloody Valentine-like noise, masked by thick black metal accented riffs at a speed akin to Neurosis or Jesu; with minimal tribal drums deep and heavy as you could imagine.

This is an album I love to walk around to when its bitterly cold out. The desperation and darkness is abundantly clear and I relish it.

The following is a statement from their Myspace blog:

During the last few weeks, I have had to face a very difficult reality...as it stands, I can no longer make music. The break to my already damaged right hand has not healed correctly. As of now, I can't play drums at all and I only have a limited ability to play guitar (and I cannot bow at all). Even with surgery, a recovery that would allow me to play well enough to continue the band is not assured. Such a surgery would also require extensive muscle reconstruction and bone resetting and will take an estimated year and a half to 2 years to heal.

I have made music for the last 12 years...nearly half my life. I've done The Angelic Process for nearly 9 of those. When I think about who I am without music, I don't really know. Sometimes, something is so much a part of you...

But to get to the point, The Angelic Process has been put on hold indefinitely. There is nothing else that can be done about that. We have also managed to sell out of all the copies of all the reissue albums and most of our supply of the other albums. We will no longer be selling Angelic Process merchandise through our website or Decaying Sun site. This may change in the future, but as of right now, we need a break from everything. The stress and amount of energy that have gone into making this decision have left M and I drained and in need of a recovery period. All the orders that have been placed will be filled and everyone will get their order, but no new orders will be excepted from this point on. Any new news or updates about the band will be posted here and on the website.

We want to thank everyone for everything. We have met so many amazing people because of the band and our life has been improved so much by those interactions. I so want to name everyone and thank them personally and I'm sure I will in time, but right now I just want to get this post over with.

This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. It feels like a part of me is dying. I am sorry to everyone who loves this band as much a we do. I'm sorry to everyone who will never see us play live. I'm sorry to everyone...

formally of The Angelic Process

Shortly thereafter, he committed suicide.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hearts of Darknesses - Music for Drunk Driving (2004)

its 2002. You decided to have a house party. You invited all your friends. you're a bit tipsy. A bit dizzy. You come out of the bathroom to find Nate Young doing a keg stand, Alec Empire rewiring your stereo / dj setup and Mongo beating on trash cans. Greg Gillis has just commandeered you're kitchen counter boombox with a Midnight Star tape, Lydia Lunch is coaxing your girlfriend into a game of spin the bottle near the closet and "No, Abruptum, Anal Cunt really can't walk. Put him back in the wheelchair, right now!"

Download a track here: LORENZO 333

Hearts of Darknesses

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gorecki - Symphony No. 3 "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" (1976)

I honestly feel this is the saddest musical composition ever written. After listening for many year's I'm still not calloused to its beauty and power.

The piece consists of three movements written over three months in 1976. A solo soprano sings three different stories. A Polish lament of Mother Mary, a message written on the wall of a Gestapo cell during World War II, and a folk song of a mother searching for her son killed in the Silesian uprisings. The dominant themes of the symphony are mother and son and the separation war causes.

Polish culture is steeped in pain and suffering and when you listen to this piece you will feel all of it. Completely let yourself go while listening and you WILL be deeply moved.

This piece also marks a departure from Gorecki's dissonant characteristics toward a distinctly tonal direction. I find it interesting to recognize the influence he has had on Drone and Ambient artists with work created almost entirely from minimal tones. Much like Morton Feldman, Gorecki needs large amounts of space to focus your attention on the balance of sound and the lack of sound, both of which are integral aspects of the work.

My favorite version is by Conductor David Zinman with the London Sinfionetta, Dawn Upshaw solo Soprano.