November Növelet ‎* Unintended By Nature (cd 2016)

NN has never been a very active project. In 1994 there was the 7″ “More Satanic Heroes”. Five years later the album “From Heaven On Earth”. After that is was silent until the great album “Magic” (2007). A year later the 7″ “Sacred” was presented and yet another 7″ “Heart Of Stone” in 2012. Last year the album “The World In Devotion” was released.
Now, instead of releasing another 7″, November Növelet decided to release a compilation with “The singles 1994 – 2012 – Bonus Material”, the latter (“bonus material”) are three new tracks that were not released on vinyl but on this compilation.

Oddly enough, the 7″s are not presented chronologically, but the other way around. “Heart Of Stone”, “Sacred”, then the noisy sounds of “More Satanic Heroes”. At the end the three newly recorded tracks follow that -of course- have the ‘current’ Növelet sound can be found, so there are some noisy tracks in the middle. The more dramatic / melancholic sound of the “From Heaven On Earth” album is not present on “Unintended By Nature”, so this album is not really an overview of the development of NN.

In my opinion the best material of NN can be found on the albums “Magic” (most of all) and “The World In Devotion”. The songs form more of a unity than on “Unintended By Nature”. There are a few very nice tracks on the 7″s, other tracks are alright. However certainly not bad, the “More Satanic Heroes” tracks are the least of this compilation. The three new tracks are also nice to good, but I would have preferred them to be in the beginning of the cd so that it would have been entirely counter chronological.

Links: November Növelet, Galakthorrö

Tanz Ohne Musik * Infinity (cd 2016)

If I am not mistaken, this is the same duo as Divine Muzak, but Discogs does not ‘say’ that the female halves are the same person. Tanz Ohne Musik has been releasing music since 2011. I ran into their Bandcamp around the time the sound shifted from an alright minimal wave sound to a much more interesting Galakthorrö-like sound. Still, it took until the sound shifted back a bit towards the ‘old sound’ that Galakthorrö showed interest in the project from Romania.

Putting on “Infinity” initially gives the impression that Tanz Ohne Musik went for a more November Növelet style than the tranquil Haus Arafna sound of “Between Our Body Shapes”. As the album continues, it is clear that “Infinity” is more like the last release “Belong” (2014), more like the earlier releases than “Between Our Body Shapes”, but still with “angstpop” elements.

The album is relatively lively / uptempo with a couple of very nice tracks. People who know the project will not hear very big surprises. People who got this album because of the label it is released on, may find that Tanz Ohne Musik is a bit more danceable and accessible than most Galakthorrö music.

Links: Tanz Ohne Musik, Galakthorrö

In Slaughter Natives * Ventre (cd 2016)

I get quite a few newsletters and I keep an eye on websites that review music, but it was Deezer that ‘told me’ about a new ISN. When I wanted to look it up on Discogs, I could not find it. It took a bit of searching, but “Ventre” is actually a book of the French artist Nihil and ISN made an accompanying 35 minute cd. The project is released by Cyclic Law.

“Ventre” starts of pretty tranquilly, not with the pompous ISN style, but more ambient, with slow beats. Less energetic as we are used to of ISN. Lateron the style becomes more typical.

I have not seen the book or the cd, but images can be found on the website of Nihil and that of Cyclic Law. The album is not the best ISN, but it certainly is not bad either.

Trying to find information about this release, I noticed that the ISN part of the 1994 split cd “Mort Aux Vaches” with Deutsch Nepal has been rereleased in a few versions. That is really old-style ISN.

Links: In Slaughter Natives, Cyclic Law

Pop. 1280 ‎* Paradise (cd 2016)

I discovered this noisy band a couple of years ago when I was looking for electropunk. They were formed in 2009 and have released their third full-length in four years time. The band uses guitar-noise that may remind of a band like Swans here and there, but they have also got ‘pulsating electronics’ which are closer to a band like zZz. Sometimes the sound goes in the direction of ‘electropunk’, at other times the band has more of a noise-rock sound. There are also softer, more experimental tracks.

Like on previous albums “Paradise” is not an overall masterpiece, but most tracks are nice to good and a couple of tracks are very good.

I like to listen to the noisy side of popmusic nowadays. Often that is the ‘shoegaze’ side of the spectrum, but I must say that this dirty kind of ‘electropunk’ is a welcome addition.

Funny sidenote, the band shares labels with noise-lady Pharmakon and the famous Zola Jesus.

Links: Pop. 1280,

Geneviève Pasquier * Live One (mc 2016)

Discogs.comYou have to be patient for releases of Pasquier (under her own name at least). “Handle With Care” is already from 2010. This new cassette does not even contain (much) new music either.

Side A mostly contains reworkings of old tracks such as Blitzkrieg Baby and Warm Leatherette, but also new (or at least unreleased) tracks like Douleur and 8 P.M. Daily News. This side has more of the ‘soft side’ of Pasquier with also a bit of new elements here and there.

Then we flip over to side B which contains a live recording from a Wien/Vienna show in April 2011. The tracks here come both from earlier and more recent albums. Live Pasquier can be nicely industrial, raw and energetic (I remember a great show at the 2010 Summer Darkness Festival in Utrecht, Netherlands). The recordings do not sound as raw as I remember the Utrecht show, but I prefer this side over side A. The live recordings have an alright sound, but the oddly faded applauses are a bit strange.

“Live One” makes a nice album, an overview of Pasquier’s discography. I am curious if there will be new material some day though. There are only 100 tapes, so if you are a collector, be quick. You can also buy a Bandcamp release.

Links: Geneviève Pasquier, Raubbau

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

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