As you can see I am experimenting a bit with the layout. I have been thinking of a new and better way to separate reviews from other news, like announcements of releases that I did not review or just general ‘blog entries’. I am currently fairly happy with the result, but I do not yet have everything working properly. The stories and ‘blog’ entries can currently only be visited one by one, not in an overview. Also the rating-stars do not look too good.
So, some work in progress. I hope that you like the new design.
Last.fm keeps track of what I listen to. I “scrobble” most of what I listen to, so this is fairly accurate. Not “scrobbled” is what I hear in the car. In any case, just to give you an idea, here are my most played artists in the last 12 months:
1 A Place to Bury Strangers 377 tracks
2 Haus Arafna 305
3 The Dead Weather 259
4 Thorofon 194
5 Peter Pan Speedrock 111
6 Genocide Organ 107
7 Ex.Order 107
8 Igorrr 100
9 Sonic Area 96
10 The Lost Rivers 96
11 The Tiger Lillies 95
12 The Soft Moon 87
13 Nicholas Lens 86
14 Anenzephalia 84
15 Distel 82
16 Agent Side Grinder 81
17 Black Bug 81
18 Health 77
19 Propergol 76
20 Duchess Says 76
There are a few surprises. I find the music of my townmates Peter Pan Speedrock nice, but not great and I do not have the idea that I played them so often. The same goes for Genocide Organ; usually when I play noise it will be more something like Ex.Order, Operation Cleansweep or IRM. There are a few bands/projects that probably come up so high because they have short tracks, so I play many songs in a short time. Numbers 17 and 18 are actually all played in the last month! Short tracks I guess!
A funny list though.
I got an email of Uncoiled Loops, a label that released a dark ambient compilation through Bandcamp. Besides dark ambient the label also has IDM and dubstep. Check out their Bandcamp if you are interested.
Zoharum from Poland puts out another three titles, one of which is made avaible by Noisen Records.
Synapsis “Officine Terraria Reworked”, reworked material of projects such as Zenial, Hoarfrost and Self Inflicted Violence. Sometimes soundscapes, sometimes dark ambient, sometimes noisy.
Lagowski presents Legion “False Dawn” a reissue double cd with weird field recorded sound collages.
Piotr Kolecki & Molok Mun “The Spices” and ambient noise soundtrack album.
For more information visit the Zoharum website.
Tesco Organisation has been around for 25 years and to celebrate this, they had a small festival in their hometown Mannheim at 16 and 17 november 2012. 8 Classic industrial projects made their appearance.
Anenzephalia is closely linked to Tesco and Genocide Organ. However a one man project, mr. Moloch is usually accompanied by one half of Genocide Organ on stage, as he was this time. The man himself you can see on the left, Genocide Organ on the right. We will see this combination later on this weekend. Anenzephalia gave a great show and presented a new cd. Noisy industrial, not the power electronics of GO, aggressive vocals, well done!
I did not really know The-So-Aa. I thought this was a dark ambient project and indeed it was. Not too great, but a few tracks were pretty dark, a sound that I prefer when hearing dark ambient.
I was really looking forward to seeing Operation Cleansweep. They make a brutal form of very industrial noise with aggressive vocals and harsch rhythms. The show was not as extreme as on some of their releases, but perhaps it was better for a live performance, since with sped-up rhythms some people even managed to dance and mosh!
I am no fan of The Grey Wolves. This ancient noise project represents to me what noise should not sound like, chaotic, unstructured, noise for the sake of noise. I never really tried to listen to them, perhaps I would like some of his material by now, I do not know. The show did not start very extreme, just eerie noise with vocals. After a few tracks we went back to our hotel to get some sleep.
The second evening was opened by Galerie Schallschutz. At the previous Tesco festival (in Antwerpen) they had a play with aliens and the like. Nothing of that sort this time, just two guys on stage and two small screens with video. The volume was much higher than on friday night and the sound was harder than I remember Schallschutz, but the show was nice.
Propergol could well be my favourite noise artist. I have seen him live before (also in Antwerpen). The albums of mr. Nougaillion tend to get more ambient and less noisy and the show showed this as well. It looks a bit like Jérôme focusses more on the video aspect of his abilities, since the show was not quite what I hoped. It started chaotic, I had the idea that not much of it was live (or he found a brilliant way to combine sound and image to create his shows on the fly) and instead of having a show build up in atmosphere, there were separate tracks with pauses in between. After a few ambient experiments, somebody in the audience shouted “come on!” and (coincidentally or not) the show moved towards the more industrial noise sound of earlier albums, the atmosphere got better, the pauses went away and the video brilliantly accompanied the music. Yep, a nice show with perhaps a bit of a false start.
Contrastate… Well, I actually only know them from an ancient tape that I got decades ago in the times of ‘tape trading’, dark ambient with vocals. “A Thousand Badgers In Labour”, the last song of the show was even the title track of that album, the only track that I knew. For the rest Contrastate was a lot more industrial and even somewhat noisy from what I expected. Four men on stage (not all visible in my photo) giving a varried and nice set.
Genocide Organ represents my love/hate relation to extreme electronic music. A lot of their material is chaotic atonal brutality with a lot of high frequencies. Other tracks are more structured and have a really dark and/or really aggressive atmosphere like only few power electronic projects tend to manage. I have heard quite a lot of their material (but by far not all I am sure), but I do not like 90% of it. Like The Grey Wolves, GO often represents the side of noise that I do not enjoy. Also I had never seen them on stage. At the previous Tesco festival I could not go the second evening (and sadly missed Post Scriptvm) and for the rest they just never played at something I attended. Their show at their own party was given by four people, the duo that makes this project, mr. Moloch of Anenzephalia and somebody who I did not recognise, but who was obviously of the organisation of the festival. The volume was brought up even more and the show started with an earblowing energy. It is amazing how many people actually came to watch GO (some as far as the USA), people who are apparently even more musical masochists than myself. After a few tracks my girlfriend could no longer stand the extreme volume so we split. Given the fact that I usually spare her from noise, it was amazing enough that she agreed that we would go to this Tesco festival, she even seemed to have enjoyed some of the shows, but GO was a bit too much, so leaving might pave the way for future noise events!
All in all this was a very nice festival with a few minor points. It took to well after the scheduled opening and starting hours before we could get in and before something actually happened, and secondly, the place was stuffed, there was nowhere (but outside) where you could just stand, sit or hang without being pussed aside by people passing all the time. Minor issues of course for somebody who was more lucky than many others in being able to be there at this classic event.
A decade ago a selling line for new cds was: “sounds like Der Blutharsch”. Nowadays you have to sound like Triarii in order to sell cds. I listened to a few of these new stars in the field of martial industrial. My scepticism to the current state of the style is unfortunately confirmed grandly. Tethrippon is a Greek act with boring music and awfull vocals. The cheesy orchestrations are as bad as in the early days of martial industrial, but then they were at least new. Of Kazaria’s “Credo Nostrum” album I haven’t heard one complete song, my finger kept being drawn toward the ‘next’ button on the remote. Nebelkorona was the least uninteresting project. In fact, a few tracks on their “Tannenhochforst” are quite alright, but the rest are not…
Nope, my heart does not speed up hearing about the next great project in the field of martial industrial.
It has been a while since I got to know Duchess Says. A great band going from electropop to electropop to nowave extremity. A while ago to they released a new album and a European tour was announced! The timing was not perfect, but I managed to go to the Utrecht show yesterday. There were two other bands, the first was the pretty boring De Blaffende Affen (I think this is a band from the practice facility where the concerts was helt), the second an alright band called Bombay Show Pig (some nice idea, but neither of the two can sing) and then it was time for Duchess Says. MAN what a show! This is definately the most interesting live band I have seen in a long time. They mostly played their energetic punk songs and that with only a four-piece band (drummer, electronics, guitarist and singer). The singer is an energetic young woman who is constantly running through the audience going to somebody to grap him/her, push him/her away, dance with him/her, throw beer over his/her head, etc., she even had a picknick in the middle of he audience. The show is full of energy and a part of the audience obviously knew what was going to happen since the first 4 rows have been dancing and jumping around since the band entered the stage. It was truely a great show. Hopefully the band will get a slighly larger audience than just about 70 and return to Europe some time soon.
Me and Harlow go back a long time. I liked his “ritual” project Funerary Call (now revamped as a noisy ritual project), later a new project arose making a Propergol kind of noise. Dark, industrial ambient, noise eruptions and harsch power electronics. Sistrenatus gives a lot of shows in Canada and the USA. Inspite of albums released on Hermetique and Cold Spring, there has still been no European concert. Now I only scribble some review every now and then. I do not organise concerts, not even know people who do, but if you, like me, think that it is high time for a European show of Sistrenatus (and Funerary Call) (preferably in the Netherlands, Belgium or the West of Germany!), try to interest some concert or festival organiser and finally make this happen!
About a week ago, I saw Blood Axis in Waregem, Belgium. A day later the band played in Leipzig. The evening was opened by Andrew King. I have seen King before, a part of the audience obviously did not. King was nice, but previously I enjoyed him better. Next up was Allerseelen, again there seemed to be people with different expectations, but however I do not have any Allerseelen albums, I usually enjoy the live performances. The Steeple was well populated, not over-crowded, but unfortunately way too hot. Also during the Blood Axis show the place was not crowded. The very day of the show, the cd “Ultimacy” was made available and the playwist was adjusted. Not just songs from “Born Again”, but an overview of the carreer of Blood Axis with folky songs, more rock-versions of the pompous old tracks and fortunately a lot of new material. Unfortunately the cds sound so well, that inspite of the star team with David E. Williams and Robert Ferbrache, Blood Axis did not really convince me on stage. Annabel does not reach the height with her voice on stage as she does in the studio, her violin-playing shows the difficulties of the pieces that she chose or wrote, Michaels voice is two scales higher than on a recording and the keys of Williams did not quite sound like the sampled orchestrations of “Reign I Forever”. So was it a bad show? Certainly not. It seemed like everything was played live, which is something different from the usual music from a laptop with a little drumming of scene-performances. Some tracks sounded a bit different from usual, which, if well done, can be nice as well. The band enjoyed themselves and even when the music sounds better in my living room, it is strong enough to create an atmosphere. No legendary concert perhaps, but it was nice to see Blood Axis again after 13 years.
We are already home from Summer Darkness 2011. They got a lot less money from the city of Utrecht so the setup became again more compact. 4 Locations, one of which public and less, but mostly, less interesting bands. I wonder about the number of visitors, but I cannot find any information yet. Last year there were some 6800 people, so Summer Darkness is about a third in size of the Wave Gotik Treffen. We arrived yesterday and the first act I wanted to see was Kristus Kut. His shows appear to be quite something, but every time he is around, there is some reason I cannot go and see him. This time we arrived way too late… We did see the Law-Rah collective, also on the Kink FM stage in the tiny ‘mirror room’ at the attic of Tivoli Oude Gracht. Then we went down to the big room of Tivoli to see Rome. I have seen Rome several times and the music does not get more interesting. The show was just alright. Next up, ORE. A couple of months I saw them giving an awfull show in Rotterdam, yesterday was not too bad. Songs from ‘the middle period’, a good-old explicit pornmovie on the back; moody. After dinner we got a few songs of Kirlian Camera in Tivoli De Helling (a half hour walk). They have become very synthypop! It was not awfull, but not really my cup of tea either. 16Pad Noise Terrorist was very nice, better than on cd. Hard drum’n’bass with a little “rhythmic noise”. I find it always funny to s see how many ‘normal people’ come to see these hard, but danceable (I guess that is the reason) kinds of music. On the way back to the hotel, we got a glimpse VNV Nation. A packed Tivoli Oude Gracht, but synthpop, not my style…
For today we did not have tickets, but we got some only for the Kink FM stage. For Greater Good, a few nice tracks; Akoustik Timbre Frekuency (a boring new age ‘singing bowl’ performance) and Machinist who gave away a nice soundscape.