What is Invisible Guy and how did we get here?

invisible guy logo

It’s been a great year for this blog and I can’t thank my readers enough. Since the start in the end of 2011, there’s been a constant surge and I believe I’ve put this blog on the map. To compare, this blog isn’t a journalistic blog at all, it’s a hobby or a zine if you’d stretch it that far. All this year, I’ve been working hard to keep up with everyone else and came up with my own material. There’s been a lot of in-depth interviews, reviews, promos and articles featured. Even though my project was meant to be and still is a hobby, I believe that I’ve outgrown my own shoes and I’m planning to do some new stuff in 2013. Some people have thought that this blog has many authors, but I’ll have to burst that bubble and tell you that I’m the sole writer behind all this material. Which means that I have put some real time and effort into this. I also think that I’m one of the only blogs that do track-by-track reviews, but I hope that someone will prove me wrong. The one thing I’ve been missing on Invisible Guy is the contact between me and the readers, which I hope that I can improve. Feel free to send me a mail. I’d like to thank every reader, associate, musician, blogger, friend and basically everyone that has supported me and kept me doing this for so many months. I promise you, there will be many more. Hope you have a Happy New Year and settle down with more great releases of this year, brought to you by Invisible Guy. A huge thank you to everyone.

Dream Affair – Aborted State

A somber combination of the best in post-punk, goth rock and dark wave. Scouring through the more traditional sphere of the music, picking up on the newer vibes, making it a delight to listen to. I only wish that it could’ve been a little bit longer and feature more tracks, but it certainly keeps you on the edge and reminds you of some great acts. This is the time for rock noir.

Momentform – Yearn

Blissful but moody dark wave, featuring some minimalistic synth-pop. Coming from the newly founded New Ideals label, this french act taught me well. It may not have reached the bottom, but it certainly hammered the lid and got it off in time. A sullen, yet emotional piece of music that make you waltz around in the middle of the night, as the rain is blaring on the window.

Suffer The Pain – The Last Massacre

Metallic punk, which will drive you nuts. Forcefully taking upon the mission of plaguing your ears, with some pretty decent co-operation between punk and metal. Even though it’s repetitive, I would say that I had a certain attraction to the record as a whole and I enjoyed it pretty much. It might not be a favorite, but it affected me in one way or another.

White Blush – S/T

Probably one of the more interesting genre-hopping this year. I’m not at all into pop, but this album changed the game for me. She walks in between genre, plucking stuff that seems to fit in and making it fit. Even though it was released not too long ago, I think it affected me in many ways. Amongst other things, Carol Ryu’s voice would be one of them. I suggest you check this out, because it’s a much bigger endeavor than pop.

Beyond Pink – Pride and Prejudice

One of the most powerful acts in the hardcore-scene as of today, at least when it comes to Sweden. This album has it all, it’s catchy, driven and they do hardcore the way it should be. Everything is in its place, the vicious momentum of the riffing and the drums make you want to go at it. The vocalists are also great, as almost everyone in the band sings at one point.

Night Sins – New Grave

Heavier post rock, blended with loads of other genres. A nostalgic piece that looks down the aisle and continue to walk down. Besides the lyrics, the baseline and the bonecrushing sound-scape, I also enjoy the delicate riffing that goes on in the songs. There’s really something about them that is fantastic, it also brings back glory to genres that should’ve been shelved a long time ago.

Rättens Krater – Den Stora Stöten

Some edgier stuff that haven’t been tried out for years. Reminds me of some good ole’ Onkel Kånkel, but with some new wave attachment, also add some dadaism. It’s really hard to place them anywhere, because they’re so straggly with their sound. However, one of the better releases this year and they deserve some recognition for that. Pretty original.

Barren Womb – On the Origin of Fæces

This is also some weird stuff. Country mixed with black-metal and noise-punk? Only Norwegians could think something like that up. But it works and they deliver their music with a strong hand and they’re something you should count on when browsing music online. Be sure to check them out.

Structural Disorder – A Prelude To Insanity

A fantastically skilled progressive metal band from Stockholm. Producing some of the finest quality metal to date and even though it’s an EP, I think they deserve a place here and hope you understand my situation. Looking forward to hear more material from this act in the future.

Institution – Domen Är Satt

Do I even need to say anything else? Fine Swedish hardcore blended with crust. I ended this year with a bang, as I did my last review. It is one of the best sounding hardcore albums from this year alone, with a little bit of competition from here and there, but they manage to stay alert and hold their ground. This is definitely something you should check out.

Övervarning – Mellan Rummen

I don’t really like dark ambient, so when I stumble upon an act that I like, I tend to like it a lot more. This dark ambient act from Sweden(?) surprised me a lot when I listened through it. As the sound galloped through my headphones, I couldn’t do anything but to immerse myself into the sound-scape. A notable success for someone that doesn’t like the genre.

E. E. Engström & The Twin Street Tree Trunk Love Ensemble – Loving Fog Fiends

Sweden needs some real dark jazz. At least a band with the ambition of being a little bit more eccentric and experimental, when it comes to the sound. It reminded me a lot of the great eras that have already passed, imagine yourself sitting down in a shady bar, somewhere in New York, with a whiskey being poured down in your glass, listening to this music.

Soundmeds – Hospital EP

Yeah, I know, it’s another EP. I changed the rules before the end of this year. One of the better acts within the rock-sphere. This is some ambient stuff, that will make your head turn around in a 360, waiting for the next doses of psychedelia, alternative rock and post-rock being served straight into your ears.

Notable mentions (albums/EPs/singles):

Nocturnal – Until the morning light

Dalaplan – Ta mig när jag faller

Paranoid – Hardcore Addict

V/A – Dimmorna Skingras Vol. 2

In Death It Ends – Forgotten Knowledge

Imiafan – Old School Surprise

Ekman – Kalla Rytmer Att Dansa Till I Ensamhet

V/A – The Peter Out Wave

Agent Attitude – Never-ending Mess

Thank you to everyone for making this blog what it is. I couldn’t have done it without you. Hopefully my work here has paid off and I hope that you’ll check it out in 2013 as well. Let’s hope that this year ends with a bang and that I get on track as quickly as possible, so I can supply you with more interesting reviews and in-depth interviews. I would also like to do a shout-out to Jesper Bjerke also, who made the logo and the design for this blog. Thank you for everything this year and let’s hope that you have a Happy New Year!

Review: Momentform – Yearn

Momentform_-_Yearn_FINALA cut in between minimalism and cold wave. There is not anything edgy about this, but there’s surely a wave of ambient swooping into the category of cold wave. With the first song “Harbours” surely getting away with it. The sound is actually portraying calm waves in my mind, which I would say is the epitome of the name. Like small waves cutting through the rocks and making it almost up to a cliff. It makes me think of the sea as a whole and what a powerful force of nature it can be. The minimalist sounds of this song leaves more to offer beneath the cloud of judgement. It seems, above the surface, to be nothing but a bland piece of ambient meets cold wave. But there’s actually a lot of subliminal stuff going on beneath the waves, which draws my attention towards the changes in between the more minimalistic and the more bombastic, since the sound seems to flutter a lot in between those two spaces. As if it opens a door to the other side of the sea, in which it docks in another harbor.

Everything that could be conjured through a girl’s name is something I’m going to like. I’m hoping that the track “Cecilia” won’t be an exception to that formality. It’s got an edge to it that the first track lacks, or that the first track really wasn’t meant to portray. With ramblings in french and a more clean cut cold wave sound, but without the weird stature of it. There could easily be something implemented, a video or the likes of it, for this song. Because it conveys such a harsh sound-scape and really brings out the darker side of Momentform. With the pulsating baseline, lo-fi drums and the whole environment of it, it’s really the essence of what could be a progenitor for the blend of both synth and wave. Even though I believe that something is missing in the mix, it doesn’t really change my opinion of the song. It’s got something in it that I can’t really grasp, but there’s no sloppiness involved and its been fixated in my mind for the whole day.

The trackSemester” seems to be more of a lo-fi and minimalistic synth-pop piece than anything else. The quirky melodies remind me of the old-school 80’s sound in many ways. Somehow I wanted to put Depeche Mode into the equation, but its far from that. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a hybrid of that and the more cold wave oriented bands of the past. It seems like there’s a pattern that repeats itself throughout the song and leaves a lot to wish about it, but I believe that it escalates rhythmically later on in the song. But at this part of the cassette, I begin to get bored with the music at hand. Since I love variation and I love unvaried acts at time, it can get a little boring in between the more rhythmic and melodic parts, since it continually repeats itself, even though in different variations.

Concluding this listening experience is the track “Frames” which is outstanding in many ways. It conveys the perfect mix in between quirky melodies and lo-fi experimentalism. There’s something about the sound-scape and warmth of the sounds that make it sound almost analogue. Since I don’t know if that is the case, then bravo! The analogue sounds make it even more worthy to listen to. It doesn’t matter if it is or not, but it seems to be and it adds a little bit of extra punch within the sound. I also think that to a degree it almost sounds like something that would be more suitable in the 8-bit sphere. But, at times, the intriguing sound becomes bland and boring. It seems like it is very repetitive and it makes me feel like I’m bored out of my mind. Hopefully his sound will develop throughout and I hope that he’ll continually improve himself. I must say that at times, this felt like it was my cup of tea, but sometimes it didn’t.

Harvesting #10: We’ve come so far with New Ideals! [Part I]

I started up Harvesting as a source of renewal. What inspired me to start Harvesting was the fact that I’ve tried everything else and I wanted to break free. So I started it up and reckoned I needed a name first, so I came up with the name “Harvest” as it symbolizes what I do when I search for music. I look for it online and Harvest what I think is worthy of a place in it. But then I decided to change the name to “Harvesting“, because that’s something you actively do, as opposed to harvest (which you’ve already done). My original thought was to only let the “best of the best” have some space in the edition to begin with, even though I after the first three decided to let loose on the genres and be a little bit more inclusive. Thanks to everyone that read it and appreciated it, I must say that it became a huge success. Which means that I will be keeping Harvesting running on an (almost) day-to-day basis. The second most important thing about it is that great people, be it bands, artists of any kind, clubs or record-labels – everyone has a place, if you’re insignificant enough. That, in turn, doesn’t mean that you don’t do anything great. It just means that you’re unpopular in today’s mainstream society and it means that I have to shed a light on you. If you’re interested in being featured here yourself, don’t hesitate to contact me.

In this edition of Harvesting you’ll get to meet the following: BRANES, Moral Hex, Rule Of Thirds, New Ideals and Momentform. In other words, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck. Since this is free and all. Hope you enjoy it even more this time around. You’ll also get a closer relationship with New Ideals and Momentform, since I’ve asked them a few questions.

Branes – Perfection Condition

An interesting duo which seem to lay more emphasis on their aesthetics than anything else. But I’m interested in the music at hand, and it sounds pretty funny. I don’t know if that was their intention, but their music sounds like a mix of sarcasm, death rock and synth-pop. The first song “Veronica Box Lunch” is a great insight into the most underrated death-rock, with a slice of intriguing and dark synth-pop. Since they hop in between a lot of genres, one of the more appreciative things they’ve done is the vocals. It’s got the theatrical and enthralling sound of the old-school, but at the same time a little bit of dark cabaret sliding in between. Rhythmically, it’s a monster, that just plows through you with the force of ingeniousness. Even though some of the songs can be a bit boring at times, the up-tempo pop-song “Abracadaver” bring a smile to my face each time.

It feels as if I’m being shown a hysterical show that tries to employ everything they’ve ever learned, at the same time. I believe that there’s a more humorist touch to their album more than anything else, because everything seems a tad too dis-organized. But I think they’ve got something going for themselves that could develop into something even better. The last song on this album, titled “Ramsey in the Dark” is one of the better songs on the album. A genuine slab of dark-wave angst, accompanied by quirky rhythms and weird melodies. Sounding like a robot in between and developing into a hysterical piece of art.

Buy their album over at their bandcamp and finance their continual absurdity. Oh, yeah, the digital-only version costs about 8 dollars. I believe it’s only released as a digitally-only download thing, since they ain’t got it in their shop. But you could snoop around, because there’s t-shirts and their first album also. There’s also a possibility to download the songs individually, for free.

Moral Hex – S/T 12¨

Apparently, there’s so much great goth rock and death-rock out there, it’s a shame that I didn’t find it earlier. This piece of interesting anarcho-punk mixed with goth rock, is what I’m going to listen my ears off to. First song “Corporate” is a battle between the drums, galloping away, along with a nice goth-sounding baseline. Accompanied by sincere guitar-riffs in the background and an obligatory vocalist that sounds like any older goth rock band. Even though they have a lot of influences on the side of goth rock, it’s obvious that punk is getting the firmer handshake this time around. I like the speedy, yet static tempo that fuels the sound-scape. The lyrics are also a stark reminder of what kind of world we live in and how it’s operated. Second song “Constant Regret” is a more vaudevillian kind of song, with high ambitions of being the melodic wonder you’d invite to your back alley for a live session. With nice drumming and a tempo that’s a little bit more compromised, just to suit the general mood of the sound-scape.

A kind of scaled-down version of the first song, but with its own touch and reigns to hold by. It seems like it slows down even more, the further in you get on the album itself. The third song “Behind the Mask“, is a masterpiece in itself. Employing some of the almost pop-oriented vocals, surfacing amongst a sound-scape that utilizes the best of the different instrumentation. A baseline to die for and drumming that is sufficient enough to bear the sound-scape up on its bare shoulders. A great experience of both worlds, whether it’s the punk-oriented side of it or if it’s the goth-oriented side. Both hold a great influence on this band and all their songs. It also feels great to find out that both are as exquisitely expressed as possible. Good riddance.

Buy the album over at their bandcamp for 4.99 dollars as a digital download-only album, or you could venture over to their label Mass Media Records, to look for it. I didn’t find it over there though, so the best would be to get the digital version of it first and then see if they’ve got a physical version available anytime soon.

Rule Of Thirds – DEMO

Tis’ a new addition on the scarce death-rock sky. I chose a lot of death-rock/goth-oriented releases because I wanted to show it to the world. Actually didn’t know they existed, but found out about it some days ago. Been listening to this record since then. The first song “No More Moon” has several strengths that reveal themselves the longer you get into the album, with a relatively repetetive and lo-fi sound-scape they manage to scrape on your inside and figure out which emoticons that need to come out. I felt pretty bedazzled when I listened to this for the first time, I think its ingeniousness in a bottle. Feels like I’m in an abandoned church and hearing the nonliving orchestra playing this tune for me. In the next song on the album, namely “Total Disappointment“, the singer sounds a little bit lite Anja Huwe from X Mal Deutschland. It’s also a little bit more down-tempo than the first song and sounds enthralling to say the least, there’s a pinch of nocturnal-feeling in it too.

As the melody on the guitar sounds completely in touch with the rest of it. One of the later songs on the album, “Northanger Abbey“, gets me everytime. I don’t know if it’s the sincerity in the screechy voice or if it is the stand-by drumming. But everything sounds so bombastic, yet it has that punk-feeling to it, like it’s been done wholly by D.I.Y.-measures and standards. It’s like a chaotic landscape of different instrumentation, that just fights to survive and be included in the wonderful landscape. There’s something dreamy about it, but it’s quite noise-filled. I don’t really know how that combination can be pulled off, but apparently Rule Of Thirds succeeded in doing that, especially with this song. This will be a band that I’ll keep an eye on in the future, because their demo, quite frankly, rocks the socks off me and it’s got that certain feeling that I get when I listen to old goth rock. Surely a keeper and it will probably be with me until they release something new. Hopefully they will, because I would like to see which label that would squander this kind of talent.

So if you want to buy it, you can venture over to their bandcamp as usual. You’ll get a digital-only download for 2.50 AUD, which isn’t that much to be honest. Packed with five songs and the first release this band has given away to the public. But I’m guessing that they only have a digital release because it’s quite a small label to begin with. Major Crimes Records released this pearl on the 22nd of June 2012.

There’s a new label on the rise and it’s name is New Ideals. It’s run by a music-enthusiast by the name of Joe and the label currently resides in London, UK.

Did you have any experience of labels before you started New Ideals, and what’s the main idea behind it?

– New Ideals is the culmination of much daydreaming, which consequently, is also why it has taken me so long to start it. My own views on music are terribly uncompromising so it seemed a natural step to set up a label where I could control every concern. However, it was only when I moved to London a year ago that the idea developed a clear narrative that extended beyond simple musical considerations. Certainly true for our first releases, there exists a critique on ones discordant relationship with the city.

I first approached Ianis from Momentform as their previous releases appeared to portray a similar message, which he confirmed. As we spoke more it became clear that we shared many of the same influences, and happily he agreed that Momentform would provide the debut release from New Ideals. My only useful label experience comes from a thirst to consume as much as I possibly can relating to Factory Records, an undeniable influence.

What kind of music are you specializing in when releasing?

– The label and its collaborators share a belief that music should provoke austere feelings of love and discomfort, a statement we shall be looking to uphold with each and every releases. There is little concern for adhering to a particular genre, however with much of my own musical taste rooted in post-punk, unwittingly, I am sure this will be reflected in many of our releases.

Since you’re from London, could you tell me anything about the climate there? What’s hardest about having a label over there and what challenges do you have in front of you?

– London is an all consuming city, impossible to escape, often exhausting, but ultimately enthralling. As I touched upon earlier, it was only when I moved here that the idea for the label developed a clear focus. At the moment there is a certain sense of dystopia to London, that like much of the world, is currently feeling the full force of austerity. With Momentform and blablarism both based in their respective capital cities, and myself in London, the city is a shared is a shared reference point for us all.

The greatest challenge for the label is ensuring every release gets the exposure its creators so richly deserve. If this happens then everything else will follow.

Are there coming any other releases planned before the end of 2012, and if so, could you tell me anything about them?

– IDEAL 002 will be the debut release from Ukrainian solo artist blablarism, due for release in late November. I can’t reveal too many details at the moment, but the release is similarly informed by living in the city, with Kiev the source of both inspiration and desperation

Thank you for letting me interview you about your label! Say what you want here in the end!

– It has been a pleasure, thank you. Be sure to follow New Ideals as there are some great releases planned in 2013 that we are beyond excited for, including a band who have already appeared on my favorite record label.

Before we get started on the questions I sent to Momentform, I need to emphazise that it’s Ianis Lallemand from the band, answering the questions asked.

Could you tell me anything about the history of the band and when it first started out?

– Momentform started out of discussions with my friend Pierre Suarez in the south of France, in the summer of 2010. I had been playing bass and releasing electronic music for some time; Pierre writes a lot, mostly short and very intense pieces. I was quite tired at this time with the process of producing complex electronic pieces, stuff that usually took me days to complete. I wanted to delve into something much more visceral, something I could write and produce more instinctively – music which could function as snapshots of certain states of mind. It seems to me Pierre’s lyrics respond to the same urge of instantaneous, cathartic expression. Hence it seemed natural to mix my music and his texts.

Although the tracks born from this collaboration where amongst the first to be finished, Pierre vocals only appeared in the second release, Four Days (released in June 2012 by Modern Tapes, Chicago). I see Momentform as an open project – which means that it might also take instrumental forms. However I’m very proud to have Pierre doing its great spoken word vocals once again on Yearn.

You’ve released your first 12¨ on American label WT but now you’ve released on New Ideals – what was the reason for this?

– This wasn’t planed, it just happened out of opportunities. I’m very happy to work with New Ideals. Joe (the label’s owner) is a really nice person and I wish him and his label all the best for the future.

What does the minimal synth genre mean to you?

– Apart from the quality of 80s pastiche that is undeniably has in some extent, I think the sound quality of the genre is particularly relevant to electronic music now as a path out of overly-polished productions, and out of the abstraction of club-oriented music.

Do you have anything else planned for the near future? Anything you could reveal?

– I’m working on a live set that I want to play at very special and intimate occasions. I have a few tracks ready, which are quite different than what I’ve done in the past releases. There are also a few other projects that I cannot reveal yet.

Good thing that you chose Invisible Guy! Or yeah, I chose you. But, what do you have to say here in the end?

– Thanks for the great work you’ve been doing with the blog and the Harvesting series. Thanks to Joe from New Ideals, Patrick from Modern Tapes and William of WT Records for their support!

This is the end of Part I.

Expect Part II to be released on Monday!