Michael Idehall * Retort Redux (12″ 2015)

I heard about this lp, but because I wanted to wait until I had more things to order, I was a bit late to get myself one of the 150 copies. Only when I got the lp I noticed that there is also an lp + cd version (limited to 50 copies)…

The label :retortae: presents the lp as a “greatest hits” “as well as two tracks not available on any physical matter before and one track which is totally new.” Indeed, most tracks can be found on “Sol” and “Deep Code”. Side A closes with a magnificent track called “Saturnalia” that has been previously released on an mp3 compilation called “Ljudkalendern”. That makes the opening track of side B (“Revelation”), the new track. A very good track as well. … There is another track on side B that I did not know, the rather industrial-sounding “You Are Beyond” which would have fitted well on “No Man’s Land”.
Should you be able to lay your hands on the version with the cd, there are five more tracks. Two of them were previously available on the soundscape “Svartkonster”, one on “Sol” (but then remixed) and two tracks are new. Damn! Or would the tracks on the cd all have the soundscape-style?

The sleeve of the lp does not have a whole lot of information. There is a snake on the back that I have had on my arm for a few decades, but for the rest there are just hard-to-read titles and an artistic and minimalistic cover, but the world wide web is able to provide some more information.

“Retort Redux” indeed is some sort of ‘greatest hits’ and the tracks that were new to me are certainly great too. It is an investment for just three tracks though, so I guess this lp is mostly meant for Idehall collectors.

Links: Michael Idehall, :retortae:

Thorofon * Roots (cd 2016)

Celebrating their 20th aniverary Thorofon reworked some old material. However I thought I was quite familiar with this German industrial project, I do not recognise a whole lot of tracks.

As you can expect the sound on “Roots” is a bit more old-style, more industrial than the recent ‘industrial disco’ type of releases. Recent releases do seem to have more extremities between harsch industrial and more ‘disco’ tracks than “Roots” though. This new album is fairly consistantly industrial, but in the Thorofon style of course.

A nice release from Ant-Zen.

Links: Thorofon, Ant-Zen

Michael Idehall * No Man’s Land (cd 2016)

A new Idehall. Would it be a ritualistic soundscape or more in the vein of “Sol” and “Deep Code”? Since it is released by Ant-Zen (in collaboration with Beläten), who also released the two named releases together on one disc, I had hopes for the latter. This is not entirely true though.

“No Man’s Land” in one way holds the middle between the soundscape style and the other style of Idehall, but it actually presents something new as well, a development of style, because the music is still recognisable as coming from Michael Idehall. The sound is still ritualistic and somewhat dark, but it got more of a dirty, industrial touch with squaks, noises and rhythm. Sometimes the music is downright noisy. This new sound is good too.

The album opens with a ‘noisescape’ type of track, but the second track “Yoni” has more of the “Sol”/”Deep Code” style with Idehall’s mantra-like singing and a repetative rhythm. What follows next sounds a bit like a very dark IDM track with an odd rhythm, a very interesting track. The title track is a bit like the previous, again relatively tranquil. Then follows a bit of a dark space ambient track with a ‘spacey rhythm’ and ‘spacey sounds’. The next track is actually called “Deep Code” and is again a somewhat softer track with echoing voices and a bit of a spacey ambient sound. Next up is the highlight of the album. “Nightmare” is a brilliant industrial and noisey track with a bit more tempo and distorted vocals. The next tracks are mostly industrial ambient type of tracks with the Idehall-style ritualistic darkness. There are two more rhythmical tracks. Compared to the first half, the second seems a bit less dark.

I think this album may appeal to people who like ritualistic dark ambient with an industrial and noisy edge, perhaps it is not unfair to drop the name of Coph Nia who also uses a ritualistic and magical dark ambient style, but the result is different from Idehall though and Coph Nia rarely gets as dirty as Idehall on this album. When you like Idehall’s previous releases, you should certainly listen to this new one. Be warned that it is a little different though. Personally I still prefer “Deep Code”, but I also enjoy this new album quite a bit. It has a couple of great tracks and a bunch of good ones.

Links: Michael Idehall, Ant-Zen, Beläten

Sophia * Unclean (cd 2016)

Who would have thought there would be another Sophia album after 13 years? Of course Sophia did a few shows in the last years, so “Unclean” did not totally come as a surprise. Before I found a place to order the cd, the album could already be found on Deezer (and undoubtely Spotify) so I already had a listen to this 37 minute album.

Like we are used to from Sophia there are pompous, orchestral industrial tracks and more dark ambient tracks. The slow tracks with the big blasts and whispered vocals remind of In Slaughter Natives, perhaps even more than ever. The towards the end there are two superb tracks in which Bjargö uses his voice in a more interesting way and created more uptempo music.

“Unclean” is not a masterpiece, nor is it really innovating. It is another descent Sophia album though.

Links: Sophia, Cyclic Law

The KVB * Of Desire (cd 2016)

I have known this band for a while. I ran into them when digging through the ‘minimal wave scene’, but this scene is a bit wider concerning musical styles. The same can be said about The KVB, because they do not really make ‘minimal wave’, but rather some sort of ‘shoegaze’. Over the years I have read all kinds of descriptions for music from that corner. “Ghostwave”, “witch-wave” and whatnot.

Basically the music of The KVB is electronics and a (bass) guitar. What you see more often from this angle of music, it is a boy/girl duo. Music-wise you may think of The Soft Moon and in a far distance A Place To Bury Strangers. More comparable is some of the music released by Aufnahme + Wiedergabe.

“Of Desire” is an alright album. The same I can say about many releases from this ‘scene’. It is currently a type of music that I listen to quite a bit, but there is not a whole lot that I think is completely brilliant. Since it is easy music to listen to, it goes well as background music.

Should all this be new to you, The KVB is not the worst band to start your explorations with. They are big enough for this album to appear on Spotify and Deezer, so it is not difficult to give them a try.

Links: The KVB, Invada

Violence Conjugale ‎* Vices Et Mensonges (12″ 2016)

I have known Violence Conjugale for a while. They have one brilliant and several nice tracks. They make something between “minimal wave” (in the slower tracks) and “old style EBM” (in the faster tracks) plus a sound of their own. This ‘minimal wave scene’ is an odd scene. I just took this project to be from that corner and now they share labels with Duchess Says. Also the previous release from 2012 is (based on the label) more to be placed in the “electropunk” scene and now again.

Just as I know Violence Conjugale, this new album contains alright tracks, but especially the more uptempo tracks are more of my liking. There is nothing like “Homosexualis Discotecus”, but this new lp sure contains a few interesting tunes.

Perhaps it is fairer to say that this project holds the middle between “minimal wave” and “electropunk”. Anyway, a project you may want to have a listen to.

Links: Violence Conjugale, Teenage Menopause Records

Genocide Organ * Obituary Of The Americas (cd 2016)

However I can enjoy some pretty extreme music, this German project is often too much for me. Their sound can be chaotic and extreme with high frequencies and little structure. GO also has darker tracks that I do like, but also among their more extreme material there are tracks that I like. The thing is, an album contains perhaps a few tracks that I like and a lot that I do not. Hence, GO albums are a bit of a risk to my ears.

27 Years after their first release (!) there comes an album that is perhaps GO, but maybe not too typical. “Obituary Of The Americas” has more of a wall-of-sound type of noise than their usual chaotic power electronics. Not that this album sounds like Ex.Order, but their style is more comparable that some GO tracks. Compared to other GO material, this new album is easy-listening. You still have to be able to be a musical masochist to enjoy this album though, so be warned! “Death industrial” is probably a good description. Anenzephalia but somewhat harscher.

A track like “I Don’t Wanna Die” is really my kind of noise. A static, pulsating sound, very extreme vocals, a wall of lower frequencies and a lot of samples. Also other tracks are pretty good, extreme, but not over my edge.

I like the ‘new’ sound of GO! It comes as a limited lp and an unlimited cd.

Links: Genocide Organ, Tesco Germany

Metroland * Things Will Never Sound The Same Again (cd 2016)

Four years ago Metroland released the nice album “Mind The Gap”. I saw them live at the Summer Darkness festival in Utrecht and I really like the Kraftwerk sound of the project. The projects name and all the tracks were ‘metro-themed’, the music analogue minimalistic and danceable. Also live Metroland had the static Kraftwerk-look.

Looking at Discogs I apparently missed most releases. I only know the “Thalys” box (2014) the music from which is alright (apparently I fogot to review it).

“Things will never sound the same again”, a very fitting title for the new album. When I put on the album I wondered if I chose the wrong one. The opening of the album sounds nothing like the Metroland that I knew. The minimalistic dance-sound does return soon though and the analogue Kraftwerk sound tracks are obviously Metroland. That Passengers A and B seem to have wanted to experiment with another sounds as well. “Good Moaning” is a bit more uptempo, the title track leans a bit towards electro as does “Under The Roof” (still a Metroland version of electro though).

Something different and something recognisable. Does this album mark the transition to a much different sound?

Links: Metroland, Alfa Matrix

Arpatle * Quapi (cd 2015)

However this project is from my own country, I do not remember having heard of Arpatle. Judging Discogs, this is Arpatle’s fourth release in a seven year period (the website also lists a free download album).

Arpatle makes dark ambient which is sometimes fairly typical. Sometimes the music is more “soundscapes”. Here and there the music is a bit darker or even a little bit noisy and the sixth track “Sheithu” even sounds a bit industrial in a few moments.

I am not too crazy about the soundscape-parts, but in the more ‘lively’ parts are more of my liking.

Links: Arpatle, Offshoot Records

In Search Of Death * III (cd 2015)

There is not a whole lot of information on this disc. No track titles for one. There is this though:
> Recorded in 2003 by – Xavier H
> Mastered in 2015 by Peter Andersson
According to Discogs that would be Peter ‘Raison d’Être’ Andersson and not Peter ‘Lina Baby Doll’ Andersson, but who is Xavier H.? Judging the cover of the cd which is the same as the logo of the label Death Continues Records, my guess is that H. is the man behind the label. So what about the “III”? If Discogs is correct, this is In Search Of Death’s (and Xavier H.’s for that matter) first and only release. Perhaps the third attempt?

I bought this cd as being “death industrial”, but that is not a very good description in my opinion. The cd is not harsch enough to be “death industrial”, but it is too hard to be “dark ambient”. Most tracks hold somewhere in between. “Dark and noisy ambient” that would be a description. There are also passages where the sound gets pretty noisy though, so when you like dark ambient, but not noise, think twice before buying this album.

The music on this cd is alright. It is moody and dirty, but not terribly interesting. It is not boring either, so it will work out just fine as background music.

It appears that there are only 200 copies of this cd by the way.

Links: In Search Of Death, Death Continues Records

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