[5th] December: The Way To Light – Withering Flowers in Bloom

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Long way have he wandered. From an obscure act in the middle of nothingness, to a less obscure and more intrinsic musician. Ever since his first release “That Place Now Forgotten” he’s fought to stay in the shadows just for a little bit longer, to smell the fresh air and dampen his ambitions. Now Austin Rathmell have released two splits, with Horders and Crawl, as well as a second album titled: “Cleansing Silence“. Each time something new is about to be put out, he’s acclimatized himself even more to his original concept—more atmospheric and bleak neo-folk semi-acoustic music—less experimental ins and outs. He still has an ambition to go further with that and introduce even more intriguing components in his music. The further into ourselves that we dwell, the farther we’ve withered. Which is exactly a conception for something to bloom anew—though a contrast in the outlook on life can be found to be the exact opposite.

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After readying his latest release which was put out on Neuropa Records, there’s not many steps to take until he’s introduced once again on Die Song. This American label is working hard on putting out their forthcoming releases, both on cassette as they’ve done in the past—but also on vinyl. It feels like The Way To Light holds a soul-seeking ambition which never have transcended beyond what one man can do. Time and time again this is disproved when he launches yet another strike at the heart of one’s perception of what his music is all about. Now he’s actually being introduced on a non-commercial collection, which is not just any collection but a sound-calendar called Ljudkalendern—organized on and by Repartiseraren. It was originally recorded—doom and gloom—for Autumn and when the leafs fell.

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Though we think it is appropriate for the changing of seasons. From a lengthy heat wave into Fall to a rapid change and decline of heat in favor for cold and rough Winter. Through whispers and dank environments come a heedful call for Yule to slowly commence—not prematurely—but with enough time on our hands to make the best of it. This is music to listen to when you need time to reflect, when you’re at the campfire preparing a meal you’ve hunted yourself. It’s an insight into the hunter-gatherer society that no longer exists. Maybe it’s also a reflection of how the prettiest flowers turn out to shrivel after a while. Nothing ever changes—it only gets worse. The song is titled “Withering Flowers in Bloom” and is a oxymoron in itself, a beautiful one. This is for the 5th of December and the continuation of Ljudkalendern.

Poem:

Oh how it’s never the same“,
he came to proclaim.
For time is never still,
it’s the only thing with free will

Hear ye, hear ye for 5th of December! Now there’s not much time left until a new day is birthed. A snowstorm is upon us and there’s no escape from it, we hope to make it out alive. Let’s settle down in a cave and hope for the best. A new song will be brought forth for your listening pleasure—tomorrow. There’s still time left of today, so you’ll have to enjoy it then. Here’s the exclusive track “Withering Flowers in Bloom” as balsam for your ears.

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Spotlight [Compilation Special]: Not So Cold and White Circles [Part II]

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The newcomers from Eastern Europe called YusYus have proven themselves to be very efficient; both musically but also in other respects. Having released three singles since March of 2013—all of them have been dedicated to compilations. Their latest track “Proleter“, which is featured on the Not So Cold – A Warm Wave compilation, is adopted lyrically from Esad Babačić—front-man for a short-lived Yugoslavian punk-band called Via Ofensiva—that were active in the 1980’s. Re-modeled from post-punkish hardcore, but containing the same melodies sung by Esad, for the melodious run-around for the minimal synth outfit that represents YusYus. What’s most interesting is the gradual shift from the warmth of the synthesized baseline to the cold re-interpreted vocals. Combining electronic tenderness with a stale cold-wave suspension. Ambitiously crafted alongside the original influences, coming at you with a straight rhythm for a rocky appearance, chiseling out the prerequisite for a marvelous sculpture. Nothing is left for the coincidence—everything is carefully planned and staked out for their seemingly effortless implementation.

Having just released a second album, Italian post-punk, darkwave, shoegaze duo Schonwald pick and choose from a range of influences. Their contribution for the compilation is “Gemini“, a track originally featured on their double-single “Mercury / Gemini“, put out on 7¨-vinyl by the American label Hozac Records, in 2013. When it comes to their sound, thoughtfulness are their strongest key to combining these different genres. A hugely sounding bass-drum that pushes everything forward, together with suggestive vocals that solicit our inner feelings—using metaphors in their lyrics to provoke an emotional reaction. Most of it seems to be somewhere in between minimal synth and those sub-genres, but that doesn’t explain the multifaceted deliverance which their darkwave vein conjure in the atmosphere for them. This is from a time where they were in between having released a first album in 2008—experimental as hell—searching for a new sound. We think it was a good situation for them to be in, because this certainly stitch everything together, from beginning to end. Both for the individual track, but also in a larger perspective.

Now here’s a newcomer (at least for us) we forgot about, namely: Tiers. Actualized once again whilst searching for music to write about, as they had been put up digitally on Artificial Records some days ago—for their sophomore release “Winter“—which had been released a year ago from now, on vinyl. Their song “Vignette” is a new one featured on this compilation. What I like about Tiers is how their atonal sound makes for a harsh cold-induced venture into depths of a snow-ridden landscape—much like the title for their release. That’s also one of the reasons I don’t really like their sound, although the vocals are OK, some of their otherwise conceptually interesting sound shows itself to be sloppy. Most of it drifts away into nothingness without leaving you with any reflections on whether you’ve just been snowed in, or if what you heard had any bearing at all—leaving a mark? It starts off good but the more you get into it the more you want to get away from it. The repetitiveness doesn’t give or take anything from the atmosphere as such, nor’ does the instrumentation at any point—it just goes into a mish-mash of… what ever one could call it. We must give them appraisal for their ambitions, because the sloppiness isn’t derived out of them not trying anything at all and just going where they feel like—but rather for trying too hard. We get nowhere and we’re going to suffer from hypothermia if we stay here.

B-Side

Staying true to the concept—Hungarian artist Adam Berces have named his track “Hőhullám” (Heatwave). His own journey began with the compilation “A Classical Collection: 2006-2011” on the label Hard Body Sounds, in 2012. Two years later his album “Posztapokaliptikus Almanach” came out in two versions on SINCRONICA. Now he’s gracing us with a completely new song, where he goes ballistic on electronic body music fused with electro and minimal synth-pop. Though his vocals are enhanced and his robotic coolness shines throughout, it merely comes off as a cheap throw-down of 1980’s synth-pop versus a re-imagined minimalistic sound—allowing no ambivalent contrasts or synchronized, swell bombardments of imaginative sounds. No, this is a primitive ravishment that leaves little to your own imagination. Be it for better or worse, things can’t get more straight-forward than this. So the negative annotations to what we feel his musical achievement delivers with this track, can be turned upside down and be used as positive remarks. It depends whether you like it this way or not, and we must admit that we like it when there’s a transcendental feeling, an enchanting vision that cannot be grasped. Another thing which saves him a little bit is the general catchiness he manages to pull off between dark layers of electro, with the minimalistic drums and triggered sounds that come crashing in.

The flagship from Tacuara Records are now entering the mix. Yes, we’re talking about Vólkova—a project that is pleasurable to be introduced to for the first time. César Canali who runs the label is a part of this duo together with Paula Lazzarino. With their song for this compilation, “Come and See“—we’re flabbergasted immediately. It’s a completely new song and it alludes to the general purpose of their project, a melancholic vibe which is blended with ambient music and a film noir touch, occasional flirts with deranged noise and on bordering from darkwave into industrial for moments—quickly replaced with a piano and the continual mesmerizing beat—suddenly entering a breakbeat outbreak which flips the atmosphere entirely.  We must say that it’s one of the more interesting songs on this release so far, unfortunately some of the atmospheric and sullen sound-scape is ruined by the accentuation in the vocals. An exotic touch at first which actually blends into everything else very well, like a subversive message being uttered now and again—but it falls short in its repetitious nagging. Whenever nothing too chaotic is happening it fits, but the further in you get the more tired you are of hearing broken English and his willful dialect. Despite that—we’re more then pleased about their contribution.

Songs from “White Circle Compilation” will also be included into this article, you’ll just have to wait until it’s updated.