GENDER TROUBLE: Chokehair CD Dark Vinyl Records
There is an irony in a label called Dark Vinyl actually releasing CD’s; no matter I guess. As it happens, there is much on here to digest amongst the 2 very lengthy tracks on offer.
What R. Loren and Faith Malimba have created; is a white noise foundation with techno and trance infused pads and beats over the top. Occasionally there are vocal elements that interweave with the blister effect along the way.
I have one minor gripe. When I pressed the CD and heard the clinical dance over the harsh noise wall I figured there was a fault with the disc and skipped to track two; and after I was confronted with the same it was only after a bit of investigation, that I realised this was intentional. Whilst I will give kudos for the original approach, it doesn’t detract from the fact that the constant fuzz, sits a little too high in the mix.
All qualms aside, ‘Chokehair’ is actually a quite enjoyable piece of work once your ears become accustomed to the formula. Taking me back to underground dimly lit clubs, the music itself is grimy and dirty enough to launch it a great distance from the mainstream; and as a press and play one stop listen, it is a thoroughly enjoyable affair, given the time and space it deserves. Dare I say it, mixing the two genres works damn well; and I can only imagine this would be nothing short of a riot live on stage.
BLACKHOUSE: Live in Leipzig LP/CD Dark Vinyl Records
Recorded at the infamous Wave Gotik Treffen in Germany 2015, this long staying Power Electronics act have always caused minor confusion amongst fans, regarding their overt Christian views being vented through a genre; that to be fair, usually is a tad more brutal lyrically.
Luckily, for someone such as myself (I am not a fan of religion, or indeed the converted ranting about it), musically this is right up my street, where the visceral squelches of sound and reverb drown out what is actually being said; leaving me to enjoy the noise and intricacies that only the very well adept can create in this genre. Blackhouse are indeed one of them.
I have actually never been a fan of live albums, but with PE it doesn’t make a difference in most instances; as the music always sounds instant and live by its very nature. Long-term fans will find much on here to appreciate, with this effectively being a best of compilation release. Those new to the project wouldn’t go far wrong in picking this up as an introduction.
ASMUS TIETCHENS: Parergon CD Stille Andacht
Germany’s Tietchens has been ridiculously prolific throughout the years, as his massive discography will attest to. Playing around with electronics can be an enduring affair; and he has done mightily well to add longevity to his musical career.
‘Parergon’ is a sparse affair, make no mistake; and silence plays as much a part in its construction as does the noises on offer. Echoing solitary drones are occasionally joined by what I presume are field recordings and DIY electronic wires of sound; and you have a degree of patience to sit this one out as an entire experience.
As quiet an affair as this is, it doe have an ethereal undertone that gives it a ghostly apparition-like edge. I t’s this background special awareness that allows it to unnerve the listener as it sinks under the skin.
Primarily though, this is an album that has a very limited audience. Only aficionados of the genre will truly appreciate this, where the line between absolute twaddle and well accomplished is very fine indeed; luckily, this falls into the latter.
GITANE DEMONE QUARTET: Past The Sun CD Dark Vinyl Records
I never thought I would see anything from this lady drop through my door; indeed I haven’t seen the name for about 22 years since I stopped hanging out in proper Goth clubs. Demone of course hails from Christian Death fame; and the band members that reside with her on this project, are all from similar outfits that make me recoil in horror just thinking about them.
The years however, have been kind to Demone in some respects; and her vocal talents haven’t diminished one jot. Musically though, this is a bit messy, with a muggy production on the guitars and drums; and given the maniacal piano lines, I can’t help but feel this release as a whole, would have just benefitted from Gitane producing songs with that medium alone.
‘Past the Sun’ is no less barking mad, and in a lot of respects, the odd smattering of loopy Jazz influences assist in providing some endurance and are marginally enjoyable; but overall, this is pretty shocking and is about as dreadful as Valor’s Christian Death were (and they were only marginally worse than Rozz Williams’ version if truth be told). If there is still a market for this kind of music, then good on Demone and her cohorts for ploughing away at it, flogging that miserable long dead horse; at least she can still sing.
MYTRIP: Filament LP/MC Amek
Bulgaria’s Mytrip combine a wealth of range driven Dark Ambient and drones with field recordings and attention to pitch black resonance. Opener, the suitably titled ‘All Black’, is just that; filtering into the wiry ‘Fibre Mask’, which introduces a simplistic beat to carry the throbs and scratches of sound with purpose.
‘Dust’, lures the listener into a false sense of security with near friendly tones of lighter tinged ambient; and is complimented in turn by the almost upbeat rhythm of ‘Lustre’, where notes slide and dance along the subtle padded beat. The chamber echoes of ‘Adaptive’; provide air to the release, as a bed of gristly PE tinged undercurrents give a solid foundation foundation. As the no fuss drone of ‘Soft/Outer’ hummed the album to a close, I was left thoroughly satisfied with this fine body of work.
I’ve not heard of the Amek collective label before now; but if this is an example of the quality of work they produce, then I shall be eager to hear future output. I also love the old school formats of this release; on just vinyl and cassette; it takes me back a few years.
GEISTFORM: Transmitter CD HANDS
The sixth full-length album for Spain’s Rafael Espinosa opens up with contact head feedback and monotone beats. A simplistic yet appropriately minimal introduction for a CD that demonstrates pretty much what Geistform is all about.
‘Gauss’ essentially is the first real song on the album; encapsulating a distinct German Techno influence and drive, that sets up the wiry ‘Arc’ to perfection. ‘Receptor’ and ‘Ratan 600’ follow suit with the same level of beat interplay; and this is where my one true gripe with this release is triggered.
I am used to the scene giving birth to many an artist that plays on the same format, song-by-song, rhythm-by-rhythm; and unfortunately, Geistform doesn’t drift far from the same repetitive structures over and over again. The only downside then to ‘Transmitter’, is its glaringly obvious lack of variation; which could be an issue for many.
However, where Espinosa truly shines, is his ability to provide an accompanying atmosphere that utilises frequency to great effect. Electronic bleeps and triggers bounce over gritty, airy pads; whilst attention to clarity and structure, drives an all-enveloping hypnotic listening experience. This in turn overshadows the glaringly obvious lack of beat diversity.
For those that have not encountered Geistform before, then you could pick up any of his albums for consumption and not be disappointed; whilst this latest opus doesn’t offer anything different, it is once again a solid, well-produced body of work.
AH CAMA-SOTZ: Exorcise-Murder Themes III CD HANDS
Herman Klapholz steers away from rhythms and beats, on this third in a series of albums that have intermittently appeared in-between other releases throughout his long and prolific music career.
Concentrating his efforts on a collection of songs that source Dark Ambient as a foundation block; AC-S plays with a variety of near Sci-Fi futurism sounds, to add a touch of polish to the near Satanic overtones of this release (I have yet to determine just how serious or tongue in cheek this all is).
I actually prefer ‘MTIII’ when it concentrates its efforts just on Black Ambient alone; and tracks such as Resistor’ and ‘Burnside’ lurk ominously in the dank gutters to great effect. I am less as enthusiastic by other interferences when it comes to this genre; and luckily, Herman keeps these to a minimum.
Some obligatory vocalisations and chants along the way are not misused and are kept to a minimum. What I am most impressed with, is that on this 11 track-strong album, he has managed to keep a grasp of pace and placement, which is sometimes the failing on any number of DA albums. This is then, by and large, an engaging piece of work, even if it sadly lacks the potential to reach out to anything but a limited audience.