Recension: Kalabalik På Tyrolen – 2018

När jag skriver detta sitter jag ned i ren bekvämlighet i min lägenhet. Något som kan vara både bekvämt men även obekvämt är Kalabalik På Tyrolen, situerad i en gammal folkpark precis utanför Alvesta, gör att både att atmosfären för själva festivalen och festivalen i sig blir ett. En kombination av något som är unikt för Sverige både på platsen där den hålls men också för att det är mer än en festival – det är en återkommande tradition för många inklusive mig.

Jag hade packat mina väskor och var redo för att åka. Det tog mig inte lång tid att komma till centralstationen i Malmö och när jag väntade på perrongen försökte jag lista ut vilka som också skulle till festivalen, för att se om det gick att urskilja men det var denna gång nästan omöjligt för merparten skulle ta ett senare tåg.

Tågresan i sig är inte obekväm, det går lätt med Snälltåget att ta sig dit även om man är två timmar därifrån. Det infinner sig ingen känsla av att vara uttråkad, som det kunde göra om man skulle längre upp i landet till en helt annan festival. Det enda som kunde varit smidigare är om man inte hade haft lika mycket packning, det var osmidigt att ta sig fram på perrongen i Alvesta – festivalbesökarna hade inte dykt upp ännu.

Senare fick man reda på att ett tåg hade börjat brinna och därför var en del människor försenade till festivalen, sedan var det en lastbil som hade vält på motorvägen så en del bilburna människor hade varit tvungna att vänta på det med.

Man checkade in på hotellet som man lärt sig att vänja sig vid, såg till att boka en taxi väldigt tidigt i förväg så att man skulle slippa få vänta på en i kanske en timme eller mer – men taxiresan från festivalen på natten var nog snäppet värre att vänta på, särskilt när man bokat den tio timmar i förväg och den först inte dök upp, för att senare komma väldigt mycket senare än väntat.

Det största problemet för de som inte har bil är att ta sig till festivalområdet, det hade varit intressant om man kunde uppbringa en buss eller dylikt som vid fasta tidpunkter kunde ta en från festivalen och tillbaka igen.

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Allting var dock som vanligt när man skulle ta sig till festivalområdet, man tog sig dit lite tidigare för att få uppleva en av de första banden, i detta fallet var nog om jag inte missminner mig Europ Europ som jag fick se live för första gången, det var första gången jag träffade Tom från bandet, som jag samarbetat med tidigare på ett släpp och vars band jag skrivit om ett par gånger tidigare. Jag kände igen honom, men han kände inte igen mig först, vi pratade sedan om allt möjligt och då stötte jag även på Matt Weiner från TWINS – detta samkväm med artister, oavsett om man är inbjuden för att täcka en festival eller inte, är vad jag tycker om med Kalabalik På Tyrolen.

Den sociala biten är minst lika viktig som musiken, man kan vara en aktiv och en passiv deltagare på samma gång. Europ Europs musik är väldigt experimentell, de är dock väldigt duktiga på att spela på väldigt oortodoxa instrument, vilket man kan se på bilden men även när den tredje medlemmen som var med och spelade dök upp.

Tyvärr måste jag säga att intrycket jag hade av den sociala biten, även om jag träffade ett par människor jag träffat ett par gånger innan, samt nya väldigt trevliga människor så tyckte jag att festivalen har växt ur sina obskyra skor och trampat in på mer “kommersiellt” territorium – det är bra på så sätt att det kommer fler festivaler, men dåligt på så sätt att den mer intima känslan uteblir. Det var väldigt många människor man inte ens hade något samröre med, det var för många människor helt enkelt.

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Nästa höjdpunkt var faktiskt Roberto Auser, jag har lagt upp ett par premiärer med hans musik – jag tycker om den eftersom att det är en komplexare form av electro, lite tyngre men med ett eget sound som fascinerar. Väldigt många gungvänliga låtar som ständigt utvecklade sig själva under längre tid, den ena mer egensinning än den andra i form av ljudbilden.

Här smådansar man och ser alla andra göra detsamma, tempot börjar växlas upp och man vet inte riktigt vad man vill se senare, förutom ett par sedan tidigare intressanta akter. De som hypades mest just denna festival var Hatari, jag vet att de har gjort ett par bra låtar men det var inte direkt något som intresserade mig. Dock var detta senare på kvällen och krockade givetvis med det DJ-set jag själv hade, tyvärr blev det inte så lyckat i och med att det skulle vara ett showcase, mest eftersom att jag hade felformaterat min USB-sticka – kontentan var trots detta att det blev vissa lyckade övergångar men en magisk känsla ändå, trots ett allt mer tomt dansgolv.

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Gertrud Stein – minimalistisk synth-pop i ett expressionistiskt paket. Väldigt dansvänliga låtar som gjorde att man stannade kvar för att se resten, inte direkt det som gjorde det största avtrycket men ändå tillräckligt. Välutvecklade melodier och intressanta utsvävningar i form av både hur hon klädde sig men även hur hon agerade på scen, jag föredrar dock den interaktion som Diesel Dudes gav till publiken 2017 – helt fenomenalt.

Ett par sämre bilder senare och en hel del förvirring, så blev jag intervjuad av synthpodden Blå Måndag, där jag fick avslöja en hel del som var på gång och pratade lite om kassetter och dylikt, ja ni kan ju höra mer här. Jag fick även höra på när Zanias blev intervjuad, ett väldigt proffessionellt upplägg och en synthpodd ni borde lyssna på, de sticker ut från mängden, minst sagt och jag är tacksam över att jag blev intervjuad.

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Just det, Position Paralléle levererade och var extremt bra. Dessvärre vet jag inte riktigt om bilden ovanför var på Celldöds spelning eller deras, bilderna jag tog blev inte så bra som jag hade tänkt mig då jag hade mer fokus på att vara involverad i mer än bara musiken. Bägge spelningar hade dock sina egenheter och var värda att titta på, väldigt bra uppträdande av bägge som man inte sent glömmer. Det var något i atmosfären just vid detta tillfället som är just något du inte upplever någon annanstans, publiken blir mer och mer involverad i själva spelningen.

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Något som kulminerade när Vanligt Folk spelade, sångaren kastade sig ut i publiken och det blev nästan som en modern moshpit. Ni får vara medvetna om att denna recension inte direkt är i kronologisk ordning förutom i början, det är här allt börja bli ett och man börjar bli smått förvirrad efter att nästan ha kommit in i natten. Energin som Vanligt Folk levererade var inte av denna värld och förmodligen en av de bästa spelningarna under hela festivalen, deras nya sound är dock inte något som intresserar lika mycket som deras äldre låtar, tror inte ens de tog med “Idioter Av Församlingen” som är min favoritlåt.

Huvudsaken är dock att de gav allt. Man fick en adrenalinkick som satt i resten av kvällen och natten. Man fick sig också en tankeställare om att man själv kanske skulle vara bättre på att dokumentera det som hänt omkring en, som på alla andra festivaler sprang jag på Ronny från Container 90, hade ett par trevliga samtal och träffade dagen efter utanför hotellet på delar ur Alvar. För övrigt var deras gästande under Dive‘s spelning magisk, det var inte säkert att det skulle ske, men det blev så och det var brutalt.

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En av de saker jag märkte med denna festival var att det inte var lika mycket häng med artisterna, 2017 kunde man hänga på ett annat sätt men då kände man å andra sidan fler som spelade just då. Just under det året hängde man i en avställd husvagn bakom en av scenerna, det blev en hel del humoristiska saker som hände och nya bekantskaper som inte riktigt tog sig utanför just Kalabalik På Tyrolen. Många man inte träffat på ett tag, många man precis lärt känna.

Just 2018 års upplaga var lika välorganiserad som den brukar vara, de är aldrig dåliga på den biten men för mig så kändes det som att det fanns en hel del människor som enbart var intresserad eller där för någon eller en av akterna, inte som festivalen innan dess. Detta korrelerar även med att det var för många människor på festivalen, men som tidigare sagt är det positivt då det hjälper den att överleva.

Den intimiteten man fick under föregående år gick nästan förlorad, men man hade ändå ett par trevliga stunder med människor man kände sedan tidigare, oavsett om man träffats först då eller inte.

Jag hoppas på att få återvända 2019 då det finns väldigt många artister jag vill se, jag kan också hålla ett annat fokus då eftersom att jag inte DJ:ar själv. Festivalen kanske inte heller blir lika fragmenterad och då kanske man även får träffa på människor man senast såg på samma festival 2017. Oavsett det positiva och negativa med festivalen så får man hävda att det inte finns någon liknande festival – den är unik av sitt slag och förhoppningsvis dör den inte av i första taget.

Adjö Tyrolen, jag hoppas att vi ses igen 2019. Ha det så bra tills dess.

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Recension: Grand Mal x – Darkness

grandmalxdarknessNågonting som gör Grand Mal x till en hörnsten i alternativ elektronisk musik är hans ständigt utvecklande, rörliga ljudmiljö som är något av hans signum. Från poppigare låtar till mörkare, så rör han sig från ett tema till ett helt annat i en mängd olika släpp. Att få nöjet att släppa några låtar på ett samlingssläpp är få förunnat, men ant-zen verkar ha lagt beslag på denna starkt lysande stjärna i en dunkel elektronisk himmel.

MedDarkness” är mycket sig likt men än mer är föränderligt, det som är positivt är de svenska titlarna, trots att merparten av musiken är på engelska ser man nästan fram emot ett par ord på svenska – även om det inte blir till.

Ut ur mörkret kryper en väldigt osannolik kombination av mörkare popnostalgi ihopblandat i en koncentrerad låt vid namn “Nights“, en bra öppningslåt som inte lämnar något att önska. Från rörligheten i synthslingorna till de dängande trumslingorna som snärjer dig direkt, du kastas in i tematiken som ombesörjs i detta album – man förstår nästan vad det handlar om direkt.

Flamma” är som en låt någon ur kollektivet Ascetic House hade kunnat släppt, det är en väldigt låg och suggestiv miljö där allt det experimentella släpps ut för att förlusta sig på det andra, i början påminner det om ett intro till någon sludge rock-låt eller en psykedelisk dänga som kunde befunnit sig inom ramarna för dessa genrer. Man dras med under ytan och sopas till, gång på gång. Låten känns mer underskön, mer äkta på något sätt än den föregående.

Stjärndamm“, den tredje låten på detta album påminner om något som likväl kunde ha varit musik till en spännande nivå på något spel från ett annat årtioende. Spänningen förhöjs av den konstanta rytmiska klang som trummorna lämnar efter sig, det är en okompromisslös slakt av de mest känsliga ljudhinnor. Ibland känns det som att han tar ut svängarna lite väl, men det är de mäktiga synthslingorna i kombination med ambitionen att skapa en fläckfri atmosfär som förhöjer musiken.

Ur Källan Och Ritualer Därav” är den låt som är minst spännande hittills, även om de subtila tonerna fångar en så finns det en hel del grejer som minst sagt känns malplacerade. Som en kosmisk maelström, som en knepig människas inre tankar och vibrationer, en skrämmande insyn till det som väntar utanför. Även om det kan kännas exotiskt i vissa fall, så är det mer som en mellanakt som inte hör hemma på albumet.

The Reaper” är elektroniskt funkig, med enstaka passager som påminner om de vrickade skallar i Vanligt Folk när deras sång kommer in och rubbar hela ljudlandskapet, i frontalkrock med dina sinnen. Basslingorna i denna låt är det som är bäst, de gör att allting skälver och att ingenting står still, de är mystiska och letar sig ut genom de vidöppna springorna i denna genomruttna kåk – den metafysiska varelsens sista gömställer öppnas upp, ut kommer ljudvågor du aldrig trodde du skulle få höra – sinnesrubbat.

Essence” är en spännande låt som känns som en kombination av L’Avenirs mer poppiga alster och mystiken bakom Person:A och hans musik, en kombination av det bästa två andra artister har att erbjuda, men givetvis något helt eget och skilt – även om passager av denna låt melodiskt kan tänkas blandas in där med. Sången är vacker och orden levereras med mening – något som kan saknas i vissa delar av andra låtar på albumet. En av favoritlåtarna på detta album.

Black Book” är vad “Ur Källan Och Ritualer Därav” samt “Flamma” borde blivit om de kombinerats, om vissa onödiga ljudkällor hade skalats av helt och hållet. Mörker, åter mörker som får representera titeln på albumet och som representerar det väldigt väl. Det som är höljt i dunkel, det som letar sig fram i de mörkaste av vrår och som vid ett perfekt tillfälle lockas fram, människans inre och okontrollerbara natur.

Men även bland lager av misantropi kan man hitta en strimma av ljus, någonstans därinne finns det en strimma av hopp, även om det känns avlägset. Hoppfullheten letar sig in i rytmen och håller fast den mot de mer långsamma delar i låten.

A Star For Everyone” har jag nöjet att ha haft på ett helt orelaterat släpp, det är en av de bästa låtarna jag hört med Grand Mal x, det är ingenting nytt utan något äldre men det är helheten med låten som gör att den är så spännande. Hela tiden finns det något att fästa öronen på och något att hänga med i, låten är inte lika lång och som många andra på albumet och behöver inte vara det heller. Grand Mal x i komprimerat men välkomponerat format.

Albumet i sig är en representation av mycket bra som han gett ifrån sig, men även en hel del mindre bra låtar och en hel del som bara är okej. Så länge mer än en låt är bra på ett album så kan man konstatera att det duger – helheten avslöjar att potentialen att nå högre är något han har siktet inställt på. Köp och lyssna här nedanför, via ant-zen.

 

Review: Identity Theft – Reconnaissance

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Some things change while other things remain the same. The developmental process of Identity Theft have taken some time to get used to, but on his latest endeavor he doesn’t have any qualms with getting rid of the chains of the past – embracing the future and what it holds for him and his project.

Identity Theft is the solo-project of Michael Buchanan, spanning multiple years of experience in other projects and with electronic music in general, and he was kind enough to send me the physical edition of his fifth proper solo-album, which was released in November of 2017 by Treue Um Treue.

With the assistance of Mara Barenbaum (of Group Rhoda / Max + Mara) on three tracks, plus one remix by Arktaion of one of the tracks on this release, this can be considered to be a project mounted by himself, only utilizing the experience of others to enhance it further. I’m thankful that he sent me this physical release for me to share with you, my thoughts on the release in full, a track-by-track in-depth review that has taken a longer time to finish then originally intended.

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The aesthetic aspect of Reconnaissance

When I view the cover from afar, it seems so distant aesthetically that I just want to get a magnifying glass to see what it is that is revealed on the dark exterior of the cover. It is almost an 1980’s-esque vibe that it brings in terms of color, even though it is a more darker and less screechy one that is otherwise found in movies from that era.

There is a certain distance from itself, it is remote and it fits the theme of the process in which the album itself was written – three days of complete isolation from civilization. Even though at first glance the cover might not be something special, it conveys an eerie meaning that in my opinion goes lost within the urbanized centers of the city – there’s something else then you out there, something bigger and more meaningful, something that should be preserved.

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 The musical aspect of Reconnaissance

If you’ve listened to any of Mara Barenbaum’s music, especially Group Rhoda, it becomes clear that their style of music mix very well with Identity Theft’s, the introductory in “Reconnaissance Peak” which is the first song – is at the same time as it is sincere, very forthright about its existence – proclaiming proudly that “I am here, we’re in the moment, but we’re a presence to be reckoned with“. Additional rhythms are perfectly timed and blend in to the general atmosphere, which is forever changing.

Once you let it slip, it will seep out through the rest of the components that build up the songs, from a more hands-on approach to music making into a thoughtful display of ambitiously layered synthesizers that take off into nothingness. You feel so small when you listen to this, it is so graciously laden that once it slips through the cracks of your pathetic being – you just want to hear more of it, playing it over and over again.

Eagle’s Peak” is almost double in length, and has a more subtle tone to it. Even though it can be felt to be much of the same, just in a different pace, it is even more serene and sincere as it plays on the simple notes that go from barely noticeable to a resounding plethora of different synthesizers layered perfectly upon one another – a click away from generating a monstrosity – you feel as if it is about to leap straight into you.

Some of it is too angelic to even fit in, being taken out throughout the back-door by the more sinister themed atmospheres that lurk nearby. Once you feel at ease you get caught off-guard by a sudden blast of noise, it is meant to be enjoyed but it is difficult to be completely on your guard as it is not a song that is foreseeable – you cannot simply categorize it and be aware of all the elements, it is not such a song that leaves you with no lasting impression – it grasps you gently and takes you into it.

It symbolizes perfectly the name it was given, “Eagle’s Peak” is a summary of what you could expect, but you will not know before you enter.

Last Chance Creek” is on the other hand something completely different in terms of atmosphere, it is much more urgent in tone and you get thrown into the mixture directly by the loud base-drum, the soothing percussion and the grandiose synthesizers that blend it into perfect synthesizer-based music that would be a fitting beginning of a movie or the end of the same.

It is by far the most beautiful song on the album yet, and there are many contenders for that throne – but here’s where the king enters and the queen become one. A futuristic blip on a radar that shouldn’t be ignored, an unfathomably great conversion of straight-forward electronic music and the ambiance which is so often ignored – Identity Theft manages to keep control of everything and never slip up.

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My Sentence” is more of an intermission, a placeholder-song that is not bad but it is not equally as great as the other tracks I’ve listened to. There is a place for these kinds of songs on albums, so even though the judgment is quick to come, there’s a certain quirkiness to the sound that can’t be missed out on. You can’t really add much more to the description of this song, it is there but it does not evoke anything, it pumps you up for another song.

Blood Moon” is the next song, it evokes a feeling of hope and that you’re about to be redeemed. There is an underlying sense of belonging, you feel like you’re a part of the atmosphere as you childishly gaze upon the stars and point your finger as to were you’d want to go – the different emotions that are involved range from those described, to some kind of sorrow – that you at the moment don’t have anything of that.

You’re desperate to find a place, but this calms your nerves and make you forget about it for a moment or two, maybe some kind of nostalgic memory is invoked as you travel into the electronic realm, a progressive dream that becomes more and more of a real, tangible kind of matter that you can actually grasp physically and mentally. An ode to the moon, the one that can affect our moods.

What’s coming next is about to stun me, make me fall off my high horses and into the arms of you – whoever is the next to be embraced, to enter my life. The stunningly creative way of making an even more emotionally touching song is just the sheer brilliance of Michael Buchanan, simply marvelous as “Misanthropocene” goes from the meager time it has to be played – into an extended form of electronically charged synthesizer-bliss of a landscape of sound, covering all bases.

How can the sound be so bold? Yet so refreshing, calm and sensitive? There’s a warmth to it but a stone cold outlook in atmosphere of sound, as you float on by, passing your own self by without any reflection – you’re taken aback by the sound as it drives you on, as the motivation of doing rather then listening becomes painfully obvious. At the same time you want to sit still, you want to experience and move with the sound.

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The Unreliable Narrator” is a more unhinged song that move to the left and the right, from the center and to the top, everywhere but within a controlled manner like the last song. Just like the title suggests, it is a more chaotic song with a gloomy mood that fits perfectly between the casual intermission delivered in “My Sentence” and “Blood Moon“.

Though much more repetitive then other songs on this album, there is some kind of progression that can be felt throughout the whole song, the rhythm isn’t that much of an interesting thing – but it hearkens back to older days of Identity Theft – which is reminiscent of some of his first material.

Soft Alibi” is the next one, one of the more experimentally oriented songs on the album so far, clashing between the normal kind of bombastic maximality that virtually all of the songs so far have been attached to, into a monotonous but minimalistic experience that is only alluding to bombastic vibes through the rhythm – which is unusual if you’re trying to create an atmosphere on it alone.

The rhythm is what makes the song enjoyable on itself, but it is clear that it is nowhere near the same infective nature as the more grandiose songs he’s been churning out after one another earlier on the album.

I don’t know what to make of “Lost Frontier“, whether to see it as a genial move away from the more obvious tracks on the album itself, but the baseline packs a real punch and is what drives everything forward in the song itself – after a while it flips out into something out of the ordinary, which is what one can appreciate when listening to this kind of music – the controlled inventiveness of the past songs – and the chaotic nature of the shorter songs.

It latches on well to the next song “Leave No Trace“, which spins from virtually a stale and non-atmospheric mess into a solid, emotive gargantuan that is just waiting to devour you as a whole – the roundness of the synthesizers become more clear the more it develops, as the more sharp nature of the sound in the beginning fades into a whirlwind of magnificent electronica.

The last song, “Prosopagnosia” is not only an outro, it hopefully shows the way to what can be expected from future releases. It is a well-needed break from the more experimental vibes that were delivered in the latter part of the album, it is a firm and shakable landscape of sound that is predictable in its nature but never lets you down. You know what you are getting and you can expect what is around the corner, but it leaves much to be fantasized about.

I don’t consider the remix itself to be the last song, but we’re taking it last as it is a track-by-track review which goes from point A to point B. “Last Chance Creek (Arktaion Remix)” adds a rougher edge to “Last Chance Creek” which couldn’t be felt there, it hypnotizes in a whole different manner then what the original song did, it is crashed into different pieces making it sound like a crossover between the electronica of Identity Theft, spliced into the erratic mood of IDM music.

It is not a bad remix actually, but it makes you wonder what kind of remixes could be done on the other tracks? Maybe there should be a release which features some of the tracks remixed by different artists, that would be a really nice offshoot from the original release itself.

This album is a must-have if you’re interested in the better domains of electronic music, the parts that have not yet been infected by ridiculous clichés. It is a must-have physically for any collector, so I am proud to be in the possession of the review-copy of this album. You should get it yourself, there are only five copies left, you can find it down below.

Review: Anemone Tube – The Three Worlds – Allegory Of Vanity

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This project had previously been unknown to me, a world I did not want to explore by myself without anyone by my side – a sickening gut-wrenching feeling – coupled with astonishment as I ventured deeper into my own insanity. Anemone Tube is without a doubt one of the most complex experimental industrial, dark ambient acts out there right now. Stefan Hanser – the real name of this musical culprit – also runs the label that released this compilation, The Epicurean.

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He was kind enough to send me one of his three latest releases, featuring earlier unreleased material and bits plus pieces that have been featured on obscure releases. The one I was sent is the last one in the series, “The Three Worlds – Allegory of Vanity” – playing around with the word vanity, depicting it in different settings and with different edges to make a complete red line throughout the releases.

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The aesthetic aspect of The Three Worlds – Allegory Of Vanity

It is very clear from the beginning as to how much time have been spent on the artwork alone, there are subtle meanings which you can draw from the artwork itself, and it is a delight to hold on to the physical material and view the aesthetic splendor. Not many artists have such a beautiful, harrowing cover. A lot of inspiration is drawn from Buddhism in general, specifically the spiritual aspects of the religious teachings of it.

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There is a rejection of death, there is an embrace of death in the cover itself – nothing lasts forever, it is as if there’s a mummified corpse propped up on the artwork – which is frightening for a Westerner like me. A certain aspect of what makes or breaks the modern human is the fear of death. The photography taken by Dario Lehner encompasses much about what makes Anemone Tube a great artist, there’s a depth and a thought not just on the music – but on the aesthetic aspect – it is entwined with everything else.

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The musical aspect of The Three Worlds – Allegory Of Vanity

Extreme music in different shapes and forms have always been interesting for us, but we’ve never gotten around to the more extreme forms of industrial music. Here’s a real combination of the occult and the experienced at the same time, a veteran of industrial music is more likely to deliver something listenable or thoughtful.

The first song “Ausweg” encompasses material recorded during 1997 – which is unfathomable that it has been over twenty years since then. It is with an urgency that you’re thrown into the chaos of crackling noises, what sounds like gunshots into the air – a veritable nightmare that we’d make sure to never live to see. The word in itself, “Ausweg“, portrays a grim reality which musically is not far away from turning into a mish-mash of continuous loops, into a more controlled and adventurous mixture of dark ambient and experimental industrial music.

Throw in a bit of power electronics to shape the mold that it goes by, just to hear the sirens roar as the skies blacken above you – this music is perfect to listen to in the evening, because the same kind of mayhem isn’t believable musically during daytime. Towards the end of the song there’s a lull of acceptance, a small concentrated steadily shifting atmosphere that leaves nothing more then an overlook of the maniacal frenzy that just occurred musically.

Primary Slave“, also one of his works from 1997, is a descent into nothingness, a nihilistic tendency that devours all the joy you’ve worked up through your day. It is emotionally draining to be listening to, but admirably complex in both the subjective topics being disseminated among a barrage of strong, abrasive rhythm that leaves nothing to be desired musically – it is thought-provoking without having to leave an inch to the imagination. It is like being told what you should be doing, despite a nervousness that slips through the cracks of your subconsciousness.

Honestly, there’s few people that manage to pull off such a masterful combination of the darker genres in electronic music, once you’ve listened until this song, there really isn’t much that can bring forth anything – unless you look far back into the 1980’s, and the primary sources of where this music actually comes from. One of the negatives with this kind of music is that if you’re not heavily into it, there’s nothing you could gain – egotistically speaking – from listening to this. It is a niche that is waiting to reap its benefits, but Anemone Tube’s completeness is what ultimately could break this kind of basic thought.

The third song, “Illusions“, is a previously unreleased track from 1998. Here he makes a clear example with his lyrical ingeniousness, combining the harshness in his vocals with the overall spearheaded atmosphere that thrusts with all its combined weight – into a morbid dark ambient spectacle. A spectacle that leaves no-one undisturbed, a whirlwind of the most uncompromising power electronics, industrialized experimental music that you’ve heard for a long time. This satisfies every man’s need of true, infectious anti-music.

In comparison with the other songs, this one is our favorite. That’s one of the main benefits of listening to Anemone Tube – when one song is surprisingly great – another one strikes out from below and takes the throne. It is almost unbearable to listen through the end, as the intensity is ramped up and you feel a great deal of paranoia – surely one of the most emotionally charged songs thus far.

Asphyxiate” and “Imminence” were both recorded in 1998, previously released on “Allegories For The Future“, a cassette-release on Loud!. The only reason both of these are written about in the same column, is because it feels like they are more intimately connected then the other songs, both logically but also musically. The aforementioned one isn’t that big of a deal in comparison with the last song, but it bridges over a gap between the more emotionally charged songs, and the fact that it fills you with total indifference.

Asphyxiate” is literally what it aims to be, just by looking on the title. It is indescribably horrid – not in the musical way – but as it lacks the complexity and forcefulness of the other tracks on the release. “Imminence” grabs a hold of the classic power electronics sound and puts in an atmosphere where it otherwise would be lacking, a constant disarray of charged electronica that bashes in your skull with such frequency that it must be played out loud. If punk is dead then it will re-surge post-mortem through this release – this kind of music is as uncompromising now as it was back then – and this first compilation is a tribute which holds the spirit to a high degree.

For those of you who have been following Anemone Tube for a long time, we sincerely recommend getting this release. Instead of just buying it digitally, but this wonderfully crafted CD and play it quietly, or aloud. Stream it in full down below, this release is as brutal as it possibly could get, and it isn’t a forced re-hash of older material.

Review: Celephaïs – Grey Dawn, Quaint Gardens

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Ordo Viatorum surprised us first with the split between Neugeborene Nachtmusik and Onont Kombar, to us they seemed like an off-shoot to Enfant Terrible at first – though they share common ground in a lot of aspects – this label is run by Jeroen Holthuis and Maurice Hermes. The label is even more experimental, if that is even a possibility. The second release to be reviewed on Repartiseraren came out in November last year, and features the first album of the duo Celephaïs – Ian Martin (Kaval, Opfer) and Jeroen Holthuis, titled “Grey Dawn, Quaint Gardens“.

We were sent a physical vinyl (limited edition of 300) which is remarkable in all its simplicity, but more on that later on in this article, as we’re about to show you the full layout of the release itself in the pictures below.

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Gladly enough, there’s nothing negative to report about in the shipping process, everything looks pristine and is working as intended. So here’s where PostNord actually didn’t screw up in terms of delivery, a once in a lifetime experience. There are two more pictures which feature the A-Side and the B-Side of the vinyl itself, which can be viewed down below, and then we’re off to the aesthetic aspect of this release.

The aesthetic aspect of Grey Dawn, Quaint Gardens

It is clean, easy on the eyes and beautiful in its own particular way. White and black, some hints of light brown on the vinyls themselves, and the insert almost looks like a Rorschach-test. There’s always been hints of different colors beneath the black and white facade that Ordo Viatorium have portrayed before this release, there are subtle notions of something else hidden away that you’d have to look for before even finding it.

Even though the aesthetics aren’t that pleasing when it comes to the cover, it is simply because it is not something we’ve grasped and can relate to in any way, it feels like a profound release when viewing the package as a whole, but be wary of catching a mind-virus, as it feels like looking at something resized a million times as if it was originally viewed through a microscope.

Those kinds of aesthetics are not off-putting, but it is subliminal in a way that we cannot fathom – but the artists themselves had a clear intention of putting images in our heads – and that goes perfectly well with the music. It’s pretty standard for any experimental release to have something that doesn’t adhere to the norm – but it has rather become the opposite – that experimental aesthetics have set their own norm – which isn’t touching your soul in the same, rebel spirit as it may once adhered to.

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The musical aspect of Grey Dawn, Quaint Gardens

As described earlier, this duo consists of Ian Martin and Jeroen Holthuis, both of them are no strangers to experimental electronic music. Ordo Viatorum is proving to be a viable platform for these projects to flourish, without the help from the outside and little to none recognition, which is wholly undeserved. The musical experience these two possess is what reveals itself in this debut-album, “Grey Dawn, Quaint Gardens“, now we’re going to delve into it as per usual – on a track-by-track basis – for the review.

Undreamed Dreams” is a paradox in itself by name, but it adheres to the concept in the title of the track, a dreamy and ambivalent soundscape set in motion by a hushed electronic motion that steadily creeps in on you. A boat that never reaches harbor, a train that huffs and puffs like the old days but never stops on a platform – a continuum between awake and asleep. It is a ghastly feeling to be caught in a limbo, the more you notice the vague and sensible touches put in there by the artists, the more uneasy it feels listening to it.

We conjure the most horrible thoughts, as time passes by this is where time stops for a while and feels like an eternity. Not even on the second track yet, and we’re not even upset because of boredom, but it is upsetting to be drawn in and latched on to musically – it feels like never letting go, a constant reminder that you can only affect as much of the world around you, but it doesn’t make a difference in the end. There are some beautiful nihilistic tendencies which gives off a cold, stale emotionally charged vibe.

The music itself is as if ambient were re-occupied by the greatness of Tim Hecker’s earlier material once again, just in a completely different setting. It is very European in style, and delivers what can be construed as a thoughtful but menacing barrage of noisy synthesizers, simple but provoking droned out sounds, abhorrent ringing sounds and rambunctious arpeggios – a wake-up call on a Sunday evening that Monday is tomorrow.

Resentful Of Awaking” is being hit by the sunlight when you just want to pass out, another day to tackle with inane activities. What becomes clear after two songs in is how accurate the titles are, they have not just been made up out of the blue, like most ambient songs have – they actually reflect themselves into the music, as it have reflected it back when first being named. This one is more beautiful in a calming fashion, though some of the sounds manage to send a chilling feeling down our spine. If we’d hear this every time we’d be waking up, we would’ve been filled with energy and optimistic about the rest of the day.

There is a certain nerve of darkness that smothers itself upon you, when the rain hits your window and you’re forced to endure walking through it on your way to work. When the music is so thought-provoking in different ways, and you can just soak it in – doesn’t matter if it is negative or positive – you know the musicians have succeeded. It is an art form if you manage to pull so many strings, so many nuanced feelings in between that can’t be written in words, that you should be aware of what talent you’ve amassed.

Damp Stone Spiral Stairway” is the best song overall on the A-Side of this vinyl, nothing beats the constant brooding, deep base tone that makes your head spin round and round like the vinyl itself on the turntable. You may feel nauseous, you may be a bit dissy after hearing it – but when paired with the flair and urgent sounds in the background – the atmosphere cannot get any better. Having built upon a solid ground, this uproots on itself and heads upwards, through the mountains. Have I ever wanted to witness Aurora Borealis in sound, this is it – or at least close to one of nature’s phenomenons – it is almost as if they’d want to mimic something like that with the sound.

When paired with the whole audio-visual experience, this song becomes even better and should solely be watched together with this video, even though it definitely holds up on its own. Some of the best combinations of ambient and experimental electronica in general that we’ve heard for quite some time.

Red-Roofed Pagoda” starts off with a whirlwind of buzzing sounds, spaced out electronic music and a more industrially-oriented paved way musically. There’s more surprising elements fused within the music itself, and chords that feel like they are going somewhere – rather then laying the emphasis on a massive atmosphere – it is more compact and solidified. It is heavy on the ears but not antagonistic in any way, there’s a seriousness that isn’t fading out any time soon, an urgency to deliver a musical message or show the way, despite what you think of it in your own mind.

Had there been any vocals on this one, they’d be suitable for power-electronics and industrial, but more so the last genre. It is almost as if there will come something that reminds you that it could be power-electronics or noise music, but they discard that run-at-the-mill option and go heavily into other territories of unexplored synthesis. An eye-opener for anyone interested in those genres, as it is most often invested in what came before but not on what comes next, or what could be morphed into something in between all of that.

A Violet-Coloured Gas Told Him” is by far our least favorite song, it doesn’t swing the rope as high as the others and instead falls short. There is a short way to climb, but this is as if something was concocted in a laboratory, where the main focus wouldn’t be on establishing anything to bridge over from the gap the last song left, to the song after this one. Unfortunately it feels bland and uninspiring, though some moments of it leaves more to the listener in terms of experience.

Here’s where they jumped ship for the first time, there really isn’t anything that makes you feel anything. If that is the point – then they’ve succeeded – if not, then they’ve failed miserably, unfortunately. We’ve tried to listen to it multiple times, but it barely gets interesting on the end of it, but then we’re all deaf ears.

Good thing to be caught up in “They Seemed To Gallop Back Through Time“, as it saves the evening, literally. Despite being the last song on the vinyl, it proves to be a great outro as well as a song, heavily invested in intangible themes and a compromise between atmospheric electronica and the more industrially oriented side of Celephaïs. There are also some oriental vibes caught in between all of this, but as they fade out it begins to get more scarce with that. Then – all of a sudden – they jump back into it, more outdrawn and less stoic, more psychedelic and with a vengeance.

What do we think of this album all-in-all? It is probably one of the greatest debuts we’ve heard in these genres, and we’re interested in what will happen in the future for Celephaïs. They provide you with something different, even though you hear similarities with other artists and groups, but they don’t affect your judgement when listening to this. To get the ultimate experience, you definitely have to get the physical edition of it, the vinyl – from Ordo Viatorum. You can listen to some of the full tracks from this mix Jeroen made for SEER 334, down below.

 

Watch: Celephais – Damp Stone Spiral Stairway

This surrealistic, brooding and strange sound emanating from Celephais is hypnotizing. Alongside the music-video for the song “Damp Stone Spiral Stairway“, featured on their first album release ever on Ordo Viatorum, is a piece of craftsmanship we’d thought we wouldn’t like at first glance. When combined with the music, the video brings together cinematography and an almost 3D-esque glimpse into something not as futuristic anymore, it feels almost as if we’re viewing this from the perspective of someone three decades ago at least.

Once you’re sucked in, the music never lets go of you, it pulls you further in and holds you up – as if you’ve seen the light for the first time – a metaphoric out of the body experience, as told by weird shapes and forms traversing time. The full album is titled “Grey Dawn, Quaint Gardens” and will be reviewed, track-by-track, tomorrow on Repartiseraren. Nothing more needs to be said about this, we’ll let the video describe it perfectly well on its own – because a great music-video can convey something we ordinary humans can’t do in text, you really need the full audio-visual experience.

Previews of the full album can be listened to on the Ordo Viatorum Soundcloud, we’ve linked that below this text so you can get into both the video and the music at the same time, though only in the shape of previews so far – you will have to purchase the vinyl – it is beautiful to say the least, in a very subliminal way.

Review: Rope Sect – Personae Ingratae / Proselytes (CD)

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Caligari Records have been a favorite of mine since some time back. Always on top with new releases, always on point with the darker themed musical styles (mainly metal) – everything is allowed if it is contained within these limits – and they don’t do a half-arsed job at it. The proprietor of the label was kind enough to send a physical edition of the release about to be reviewed, and we’re glad to finally be able to listen through and critique an item from their discography.

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Unfortunately to our own dismay, the case was slightly damaged with what seems to be small cuts on the front of it. The CD itself was not damaged but the plastic attachment which keeps the CD in place was in half, thus there was no use for it at all – thanks to our wonderful shipping company PostNord – who seems to take much joy in making sure that shipments arrive as damaged as possible, unless packed very tight and secure.

 

The aesthetic aspect of Personae Ingratae / Proselytes

Aesthetically the whole package, despite it being a standard jewelcase, is really magnificent to look at. The booklet comes with lyrics for each song, and at the end of it (pictured) there’s a very well-drawn image of a man which could resemble any statue from ancient Greece, holding a rope which yields a perfect representation of the band’s name. Just beside the man is a tightly knit rope, where the words “Venerate the rope! Fear The Rope!” is written beneath it. Makes for a very sinister impression.

The decorative‘ aspect of this release is what makes it, though the fonts are somewhat off-putting except on the front of the CD where it almost seems to be sketched out rather then digitally put there – even though, in the end, part of that dimension as well. You know very well what kind of genre it ought to be by looking at it, even though you might not be able to place the sub-genres, which is a slightly ambiguous touch that makes it even better. Shows how much can be done aesthetically without the release having to be more then a jewelcase.

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The musical aspect of Personae Ingratae / Proselytes

Rope Sect as a band is a trio, consisting of ‘Inmesher‘ (guitars, drums & vocals), ‘Harbinger‘ (bass) and ‘Gaarentwynder‘ (additional guitars). The release is a compilation, a combination of their first EP released by Caligari Records on cassette, “Personae Ingratae“, and their double-single “Proselytes” released on vinyl by Iron Bonehead Productions. We want to make it perfectly clear that we haven’t heard these releases in their physical format, therefore we can’t do any comparisons and if we had we wouldn’t any way because it would only make sense as that instead.

Fallen Nation” starts off with an ominously sounding German quotation in sound sampled from somewhere, heck knows where. Then what could be described as some crossover between metal and punk, but without the -core in it. Somehow it reminds us of a better, less outdrawn version, maybe heavier in certain aspects – later Katatonia. If they had mingled with Jawbreaker, but without the cheesy lyrics. It is hard-hitting, straight up emotional and there is where the first comparison is drawn, out of a sense of nostalgia and not so much musically – even though some of it is similar, in terms of melody.

It feels weird that a first track on a release can be so addicting. A perfect cocktail of nihilistic tendencies together with a dim, bright light of hope in the end of the tunnel. The drums are muddy, distorted and together with the guitar work and baseline create a malformed, rowdy atmosphere – which is then smacked together with clean vocals. The vocalist is really talented, he pulls off such an emotional but assertive tone in the way he articulates each word, lyrically.

The second song “Tarantist” ups the instruments a notch in terms of how the solos, the riffs and the overall rhythm is concerned. Sure, much of it is similar with the first song, but it has a more deathrock-ish vibe over the atmosphere, perfect for a December’s evening like this. We find ourselves digging more to this song, even though the first one had its perfectly laden harmonics. The psychedelic edge in some of the riffs are absolutely glorious in all their simplicity – they manage to bridge to the chorus in a down-tempo – to maniacal uptempo after a few seconds, so effortlessly.

Even though it makes no sense in text at all, the most powerful lyrical content in this song is when the singer calmly but ominously proclaims: “We’re gonna die – why?“, it hits so close to home that it almost frightens. It is so existential in a beautiful way – yet it gives you an unobjectionable push into the grim realities of life, which isn’t as romantically charged as the notion of living forever either as a memory in the past, or resurrected in the future.

Pretty Life” heads in a different, more downtempo way that has a lot in common with atmospheric black metal, instead of the punk (and sub-genres of it) overtones that dominate on this record so far. Too bad that it is so repetitive and doesn’t really cast a good light on the vocalist as it has done with the uptempo, more aggressive songs before this one. Sure, some moments are great as when the more ‘acoustically’-oriented passages that add an upswing to an otherwise not that interesting song.

Some facets of it can be intriguing to listen to but it is not what we’re expecting after we’ve listened to Rope Sect, we’re sorry to say that. If anything, the abrupt ending is in a class of itself, since this song doesn’t need to be more outdrawn and killed right away. Don’t get it wrong, it is not a bad song per se, but it is an OK song in comparison with the other two which set the standard very high.

King Of The Night” remind us, in a good way, what the commercially successful band Ghost would’ve been if they hadn’t sold out from the get go. Rope Sect is like the better version of what the ideal would’ve been with that band, even though it was dead from the get go, really. A really trashing song from the get go which includes the better parts of good death metal, with the melodically oriented stance that actually, by now, defines their music for us.

Not to mention the classic rock’n’roll vibe coming out of the second chorus, the solos from the guitars are fantastic. They also slap the darker atmosphere on it so that it doesn’t flip out and go into full deranged death’n’roll. In this song comes another memorable line, which also touches emotionally through how the singer delivers it vocally – “We found the gallows sling in the light / A lost reversal of fortune“. What a great line lyrically. It gives off a very subliminal message as it goes through your brain, an ambiguity not easily taken away.

On this compilation, “Recess” feels like the dividing line between “Personae Ingratae” and “Proselytes“, even though it originally wasn’t. A good piece of death-doom metal but with much better melodies then there generally is in that crossover genre. They are really accentuated and heightened in this short song. An uproar of the most desperate anguish, but without the cheesiness that would be attached to it otherwise with bad lyrics, so it is actually good that they went full instrumental for once. Though it wouldn’t of been any trouble for the singer to lay his unique touch on it as well, had it not been.

Ochlesis” is the longest track on the release, and feels like a combination of all the good in the first few songs and the otherworldly nature of their atmosphere. Simple but ingenious riffs lay the foundation of the choruses, as one is transported between all possible sub-genres and back again. From metal to post-punk, doom metal to gothic rock. There’s also an downtempo part that is fanatically great – they leave room to each instrument, and let the different textures blend together through silence and noise – completing the sound in a vividly imaginable perfect scenario.

Though the first part shines the brightest, as that is their stronger side, it is accompanied by an even heavier laden barrage of the finest metal you could imagine. Nothing is compromised when they get to do their own thing, whatever that could be called in a summary. Though, as written in the first paragraphs about this song, it is clear that it is a combination of all the best elements so far from this record.

Death Is Your Lover” is by far the roughest sounding track so far, having more dark riffs then ever before. The title alone suggests what you’re about to hear when turning it on. The drumming also goes into different riffs, as it almost wants to go into full blast-beat as soon as possible, but is hindered by the fact that it is as gloomy as doom metal can be when it is at its best – in combination with the psychedelic, slow and hard-hitting aspects of that certain genre.

Little bits of pieces in this song are good, but together it doesn’t stand out that much in comparison with other songs. There are different ambiance that could’ve been adjusted a bit more, and the singing gets a bit dull after parts of it, but without a doubt the lyrical content of this song is one of the best. Especially the repetitiveness of it all, which lulls one into uncertainty.

Rattenkönig” is so pleasurable to listen to. It holds up great in all aspects and is except the first two songs, “Fallen Nation” and “Tarantist“, which in itself makes it a great song. The lyrics flow so well, as if the vocalist have lived what is described himself. As if it is recited by a great orator. There’s really nothing more to be said then that it gives off a spiritual feeling when listening to it. Such a great, uncompromising and skilfully made song that it isn’t even funny. Nothing could be done better in it that would make it even more outstanding.

BothQuietus” and “Proselytes” is if you had inverted the record itself, not that they are identical to the first two songs musically, it is just that they are as great in their own respects. Here, they’ve added a bit more that gives the atmosphere that knife-sharp edge and volatility which some of the other tracks miss out on. The first song mentioned actually contain some blast-beats to our joy, and it is the better one of the two, but both are god-damn impeccable.

Such a great ending to an otherwise more than good compilation of two releases. We could not recommend it more, actually. It is just a shame that it hasn’t gotten more publicity, because this sure is a hidden gem in the Caligari Records discography – despite it being the next-newest release there. If anything, you should really get this CD because nothing beats having the physical item. You can get it digitally and on CD from Caligari Records, stream the release down below to make up your own mind.