PALAIS IDEAL: No Signal CD/DL Dark Vinyl

PALAIS IDEAL: No Signal      CD/DL   Dark Vinyl

There’s plenty of acts around at the moment who still toy with New Wave and associated sub genre’s, many of them even come from the mainstream; with acts like Editors and White Lies being at the pinnacle of the multi-sellers.  As it happens, the former of these two sound more like a sub-standard U2 nowadays, but they’re still an influence on this lot, with regards to their earlier work.

Palais Ideal are decent enough in the music production stakes and the tunes themselves cover and merge a varying degree of influence from Clan of Xymox, Sisters and a touch of Legendary Pink Dots amongst others; and coupled with the bands polished image, you pretty much have them in a nutshell.

Overall, this is a solid affair that misses out in the originality stakes, but that’s not the issue as there’s nothing actually ‘new’ nowadays.  The guts of the problem for me are the vocals, which slide out of tune on far too many occasions, denying them that top-drawer status.  Couple the fact that when they are kept steady and in key, its only when they blurt out as a monotone Goth drone.

Overall, if you are deeply embedded into the Goth subculture, you’re gonna lap this up.  For anyone who ventures further a field but still likes New Wave, then this will still miss the mark somewhat; being too engrained in the ever fading cult from which it has come, where only the ageing big hitters still shine and the newer bands tend to suck.


MIAZMA: s/t CD/DL Dark Vinyl

MIAZMA: s/t         CD/DL Dark Vinyl

This is a compilation based on tracks from three previously released albums and 4 further exclusive numbers specifically tailored for this CD.  I actually haven’t encountered much of this artist previously, but it didn’t take long to get the gist of what he is trying to achieve with the words “Any SISTERS OF MERCY fans will surely love this album!” being prominent in the press release.

I am sure any hardened European bedded in nails Goth will undoubtedly enjoy this; as much as they loved The Merry Thoughts, or Star Industry, or indeed any other Eldritch wannabe act.  Thing is, whilst all of these bands, including Miazma do have a touch of Andrew’s overtones, they have all sounded a tad tacky in their application; and only hit the mark sporadically.

There is an argument that whilst the Sisters don’t produce any more work, then there is a market for those that want to keep the old flames burning.  Unfortunately though, they only amount to the ever-dimming embers of what once was; leaving a fog as thick as Eldritch’s live shows.

Don’t get me wrong; Miazma is musically well produced and the songs have a fair bit of weight to them.  Whilst being extremely easy on the ear though, I just can’t take it that serious; and if I want to listen to music of this ilk, I will just pull out a classic vinyl of the UK’s finest, from many years ago when it truly mattered.  In fact, that’s what I may do right now and relive my youth, avoiding the second-class plagiarism.


SYLVAIN CHAUVEAU & CHANT1450: Echoes of Harmony-Early Music Reworked CD/DL Sub Rosa

SYLVAIN CHAUVEAU & CHANT1450: Echoes of Harmony-Early Music Reworked      CD/DL Sub Rosa

A crossover of early ensemble based repertoire of 15th and 16th century compositions, sound designed electronically, may not spark much interest for many; but it does grab my attention.

There is something majestic about the music created here, knocking on the door of Dead Can Dance, but flirting with the sounds of Gregorian spirituality; a mysteriously hidden, yet omnipresent lore.

Easy on the ear and surprisingly un-subcultural (considering the contemporary electronic influence), this does have a touch of the major league to it, where this could be exposed to a wider classical market and they would revel in it. I could imagine this going down well in an old opera house or a sitting in grand medieval cathedral somewhere in Eastern Europe littered with candles burning at dusk.  On the flip side of the coin, this could also appeal to God botherer’s, sat at home on a Sunday afternoon lamenting their past discretions; and that’s where it becomes a tad droll.

Overall though, this is a pleasant and interesting piece of work.  I would struggle play this more than once and most likely will never again as it barely differs in experimentation throughout.  It is however, accomplished; and that’s more than can be said about a lot of releases out there.  My cat William loves it too; and nobody argues with him.


O3: Trashumancia CD/DL Sofa Music

O3: Trashumancia         CD/DL Sofa Music

All the makings of albums I hate come to mind, when the words ‘Free Improvisation’ are uttered.  It really does set me off on bad footing before I hit the play button, as history has told me most of the stuff in this field is nothing short of bloody awful.

Again, whilst being quieter than expected, this is a rambling concoction of bells, chimes, stumbling instrumentation and percussion that endlessly fumbles and falls over with no apparent nod to any form of musical gumption.

There’s no structure, no form and most importantly, no point to this genre and I am aghast at the amount of labels that churn this stuff out year on year.  The sad thing is; occasionally you can hear a glimpse of musicianship that criminally hasn’t being capitalised on.  If I never hear another album of this ilk, it will be too soon. Life is far too short to waste on monotony such as this.


GREGG KOWALSKY: L’Orange, L’Orange LP/CD/MC Mexican Summer

GREGG KOWALSKY: L’Orange, L’Orange          LP/CD/MC   Mexican Summer

‘What does the sun sound like?’ asks the press release.  It’s a mystery that never crossed my mind and most likely one we will ever truly find out, if it’s worth asking at all.  No matter, as Kowalsky obliterates any questions that may be directed at himself, with an impressive conceptual 7-tracker that took me completely by surprise.

Warm summer enriched ambient is the order of the day here, with multi-layered pads that compliment each other as a fusion of pitch that sit on a bed of oven baked bass lines.  Lush, high-end pitter-patters are allowed to flow across a sea of ranging drones, never losing sight of essential melody.

‘L’Orange, L’Orange’ is a dreamy album; and one of those releases, which you really have to make some space and time for.  The rewards for the listener are endless here, once you allow yourself to be completely immersed in its tangerine, seamless folds.  It also gains kudos for an ability to have kept me transfixed from beginning to end; and I very nearly just hit ‘play’ once again, as the final notes reverberated out.


CUT WORMS: Cable Mounds CD/DL Opa Loka Records

CUT WORMS: Cable Mounds        CD/DL     Opa Loka Records

This is Richard Van Kruysdijk’s second full-length under this moniker, once again manipulating a variety of electronic sources and effects to produce a prime slab of ambient, that surprisingly doesn’t tailgate around the bleaker end as I expected.

As far as Dark Ambient goes, Richard has this pretty much nailed on tracks such as ‘Witch Brogues’.  The low-ends drag in an alternate direction to the soaring highs; and the space between is utilised as a playground for other effects.

A variable palate is evident on ‘Cable Mounds’, where sounds cater for lovers of Drone and experimentalism and indeed, fans of analogue synth.  This variation does surprisingly leave the release disjointed in parts; and it’s the direction that suffers somewhat as a result.

Overall though, there is a lot on this latest piece of work to smile about if you separate the tracks into sections; and the sum of its parts more than outweigh the structure as a whole.


ZE-KA: Ghost Planet CD/DL Opa Loka Records

ZE-KA: Ghost Planet         CD/DL     Opa Loka Records

French composer Jean-Phillipe Feiss has a background in classical music that isn’t all that evident on this project, which for the most part loiters with experimental noises until the cellos make an appearance on ‘Red Forest’.

‘Ghost Planet’ is an obscure affair, where the tracks themselves sound like midsections of background scores to a movie; that never actually evolve into full songs (apart from ‘Landscapes’ and ‘Oceans’).  As such, this just adds to the peculiarity of the album as a whole.

This is not to say that this work is bad; it isn’t, not by any means.  Track by track (barring the opening pointless high pitched number, ‘Fission’) there is much to become involved in if you like obscure and disjointed moments of desolate space.  In those aspects alone, Ze-Ka has been successful.




Moscow based Kedr Livanskiy (real name Yana Kedrina) surprised me somewhat with this release.  With imagery conveying something more in a classical vein, this is actually a synth based album that utilises the very basics when it comes to 80’s pop beats and programming; and tops it off with Kedrina’s reverberated vocals, that for the most part appear to be sung in her native tongue.

‘Ariadna’ is an odd affair that captures a desolate empty backdrop to cold abandoned buildings; and it’s anyone’s guess if this is intentional or not.  I will give some kudos for not being able to nail down exactly whom or what this reminds me of compositionally, even if this isn’t the most challenging of works, from a musical standpoint.

For all its simplicity, there is something about Yana’s latest output that is endearing none the less; and if anything, it’s nice to listen to something once in a while that’s not over complicating matters and just gets on with the job at hand.


ORCHARD: Serendipity LP/CD Ici d’Ailleurs/Mind Travels

ORCHARD: Serendipity       LP/CD   Ici d’Ailleurs/Mind Travels

A collective of artists brought together by the label, of which; Aiden Baker is the only name I recognise.  This did help somewhat when listening to the album, as I immediately could latch onto some of his input as a foundation.

When ‘Serendipity’ shines, it invariably is a result of the ambient tracks on offer; and these are more up my street musically speaking.  However, a lot of the project revolves around a varied stream of musical apparatus; and freeform Jazz-esque improvisation and random fannying about will always bring about a pit of inconsolable rage, with me having to endure it in any shape or form.

It would be unfair to completely pull this apart though, as there are some genuine moments of musicality on here, that stand out regardless of musical taste.  As stated before, when they catch an ambient wave, they really nail it.  It’s just a pity the effort it took to listen to so much I dislike, to find such small moments of personal pleasure.



ANDERS HOLST & YANN COPPIER: Onomatopeia     DL  Clang

The press bumpf that came with this release, states that this is a collection of aggressive soundscapes created with live synth, programming and guitars; and as such, on paper, sounded right up my street.

As a whole, this isn’t bad at all.  Without being as challenging as I first suspected, a lot of ‘Onomatopeia’ is ambient driven, regardless of the instrumentation utilised; and is for the most part, a quiet affair where nothing truly kicks off, so to speak.

This 9-tracker has its fair share of experimentalism; and this, directionally speaking, is where it falls short.  When Holst and Coppier concentrate their efforts on outright atmosphere and ambience, they pretty much have it nailed down; with chasms of gritty peaks and troughs that stare upwards to the glassy air driven pads that float above them.

Nowhere near as aggressive as I first imagined; but a fairly interesting affair overall.  There is little on here to be unhappy with for lovers of experimental ambience across all associated genres.