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.

 

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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.

 

Exclusive Premiere: Duran Duran Duran – Sinking About You

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Not to be confused with Duran Duran, the more experimentally oriented electronic musician Duran Duran Duran (Ed Flis) is now having his latest release put out on Tripalium Corp – as a part of one of their ongoing release-series – Digital Mutant. The title of this release is “Bolo Trax” and sports some very intuitive, beautiful and forceful ambient-styled electronica on the a-side of the release, whilst the b-side is filled with a claustrophobic and abrasive experimental kind of electronic music.

What’s exciting about this release is that it is a very limited edition cassette, only forty copies made, which after it comes out will become a sought after item. Even though some of the music isn’t that appealing when listening through it the first time, like many good releases it starts to grow on you and certain themes can be sought out within the music and yourself as you connect to it on a weird metaphysical level.

We’re proud to be collaborating with Tripalium Corp in getting to exclusively premiere their releases, and this one is no exception. You will be able to stream the song “Sinking About You”, taken from the a-side of the release, exclusively on Repartiseraren nine days before the actual release. Tune in to it down below and don’t forget to pre-order the cassette. It is also available as a digital release.

Review: STEREO NO AWARE – the sound of STEREO NO AWARE (LP)

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STEREO NO AWARE is completely new to us. Their sound is experimental rock’n’roll with psychedelic influences. We had the opportunity to receive the limited edition color version of the vinyl-release, which is beautiful in all its aesthetic glory. When it comes to the general aesthetics of the release there are too much colors for us and a coherent theme cannot be found – but that does not discourage listening. Each to his own. The aesthetics are on point when it comes to knowing from the first glance, what kind of genre and record this is going to be. The covers are very pattern-based when it comes to the outer layer of it, and more basic and down to earth when it comes to the inside of it.

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Lyrics for each song have been printed on the insert and is sharing the space with artistic doodles of different creatures, a computer with tentacles and something which looks like a freely interpreted version of Edward Munch’s painting “The Scream“. There have been many people involved in the making of the artwork itself (both sleeve and front cover), such as Jonathan Ash, Jane Nicola Rossi and Isaac Ashlind.

Now on to the music. The first song “Passing For A Ghost” is obnoxious in all its experimentalism at first, with the different voices and basic rhythmic beat, but it is swiftly sidelined into a more oriental vibe together with the ethereal mind of someone else. It is like there are different personalities on display within the song itself, like a madman talking to himself or an organic trip between a younger and older self. What is exciting about this form of rock’n’roll is that there are so many instruments that aren’t used normally.

From different flutes to what almost sounds like mandolins, but probably isn’t. They themselves call their music “experi-mental pop”, which might be an apt title to put on yourself, but I believe it is more then just that. Popular music has no bearing in their music, especially not in this first song. It is too “out there” to ever be popular in anyone’s mind. Probably why they used that play of words with “experi-mental” pop.

Tristram The Manipulator“, the second track is more coherent in the general sound and is a part of a huge soundscape which one could get lost in immediately. Though we’re not a fan of the almost rapped lyricism a bit into the song itself, the reverberating noise that the rhythm and baseline together with the drums produce – is astonishing in and of itself to make up for that lack of musical prowess. The vibe is switched from emotional and right up the funkier alley – right into 8-bit crunched up and claustrophobic beats. There is a lot of attention to detail in this song in general, where every shade of instruments gets a play in between the main rhythm (if there was one) and the rest of the song.

Yareta Yorona” is even more emotionally invested then the other songs so far. We’re not fans of the poetic side of the talked lyrics, though more of a fan of the stoner/psychedelic influenced vocals that appear further in. Attentively changing from a darker, more distorted voice to a louder and pitched one. Two different worlds that collide perfectly and make for nice moments. Everything flows so great together except the aforementioned babbled (though audible) lyrics. The singing parts are much better. Too bad that some of the outro goes into an obnoxious playful fogged up state, but it is saved by the more acoustic and sincere proper ending.

Cattle Calling” is messed up in a lazy way. It feels like they just let everything go, but at the same time the melodies in the song are on point. There’s too much experimental hitting on the drums, slapping on the baseline and churning on the guitar going on, until a desperate vocalist manages to save the good melodies with his voice – as it goes totally spaced out. An otherworldly sound complete with the influence of a saxophone – haven’t heard that instrument until now – but it gives off a jazzy and entwined feeling together with everything else. “Pagan Feelings” is like a continuation of “Cattle Calling”, it could almost be the same song, outro-wise at least.

The big difference between these two is that it continues down the same trodden path in which STEREO NO AWARE have made us aware of their talent. An experimental needle in the right position, delivering everything they can in terms of musicality to make up for their past mistakes. The common theme is the spaced out and less filled up, erratic soundscape. They leave silence to play a bigger part in the sound then they have before in the other tracks. Everything from the beginning of the song up until the end goes more acoustic, as it has been with the latest tracks we’ve listened to on this album so far.

Normal One” is the highpoint. They’ve managed too well to combine the organ with the drums and the vocalists ‘normal’ state. Had they not screwed up some of the rhythm by filling out the space left by the organ as it slowly disappeared, it would’ve been the best song so far. Though having said all of that, we believe it combines the best elements of their music and turn it up a notch – to make it believable.

Oaks Park” is perfect when it comes to the drums. Everything else is just a companion on this flipped out journey. They touch a deeper nerve with it and hold themselves together instrumentally. From the guitar-licks to the sharpened edges of the fast-paced strumming of guitars at some points, is replaced later on with an outdrawn saxophone that slows down the tempo a notch and bring a cloudy comfortable feeling of well-being into the mix.

As the songs grow longer, “The Great Dialator” adds a minute or more to the song in comparison with the others. Accompanied with a robotic voice, maybe this is the epitome of human and AI interaction – they can never convey that feeling which is human – they will never encompass all those facets of humanity. No matter how much Bladerunner 2049 will try and convince you otherwise. No matter how the futuristic automation will keep us from doing what we loathe. There is something humble about this song and it convey their more primal outlet.

Had they simply removed “Tongue Clouded“, the album would’ve been better off. It is a decent song, but it is so far removed from the feelings that have been given by them musically so far. Though one favorite part is the stern baselines that comes into the song, but one-two seconds later it is far gone. Just to arrive again. They could’ve built on that emotion further – it had a rejective theme to it and a more dark, sinister outlook on things then what have been made clear so far.

Conversely (Exit Tango)” is a mish-mash of everything you’ve heard so far. To get a grip on STEREO NO AWARE – you must listen to it. It gives you a grasp on what this album might be all about, musically. A very ambitious track and the longest one on the record so far, with old-school piano-playing and in more of a drunken haze then before. Imagine film noir gone completely decadent cabaret. Together with “Credits“, both are your typical outros but the first one was made into a track instead that clings to what have already passed (the other songs).

After having heard this it sounds like so much different music one have already heard, but they have something distinctly theirs. It would be interesting if they could develop it further, though they’ve already done it to good length already. Maybe this is the final product. A good album if you’re into experimental music – if you’re not, then this might not be for you. Listen to it in full down below (digitally) and do yourself a favor – order the limited edition vinyl – the colored one(s).

Excusive Premiere: Michael Idehall – Dream Circuitry

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Michael Idehall have been featured here countless times, but he never ceases to improve in regards to his industrial music (seancetronica) – now releasing his eighth album, if you only count full, solo releases. His work spans from the occult and back into electronic music, beyond any comprehension at times and sometimes in the realm of fathomable. With this album on the German label Raubbau, titled “Machine Spirit Transmission” – he widens his approach exponentially, including more beat-oriented sounds in terms of a general theme musically.

Aesthetically it features a new emblazoned symbol which we don’t know the inherent meaning about, but for those eager to know about the symbolism of Michael Idehall (the project), you should venture through his gates and into The Hermetic Library. Without knowing all to much, Aleister Crowley seems to be an influence in terms of the occult and esoteric nature in which music like this is created.

We’re pleased to announce to you that we’ve teamed up with Raubbau to bring you a full track from the forthcoming album. “Dream Circuitry” is the middle-point in which this album is construed, or at least that’s how we feel about it. Tune in and remember to buy the physical tape from the Raubbau distributer ant-zen, or simply order the digital release from Raubbau if you prefer it that way. The release date for it is on the 25th of October.

 

Listen: Dorisburg – Venom

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First single by Dorisburg since 2016’s “Time Stretch Totem” on Aniara Recordings, make for a well-thought out venture into the deep end of techno. Mixing the best elements of both atmosphere and beat, the acidic nature of each track on this double-single release is more then enough for a listening session. Each instrument is well-placed and the texture of each sound is mind-blowing in the sense of how good it translates musically, when put together with everything else.

The artwork for the release is ambiguous but simplified and pleasant aesthetically.  Mountain Explosion Device is the home to this release, having only been used up til’ now as a platform for Stockholm producer Kalawila to release some of his own music. The release itself is a very limited edition vinyl featuring “Venom” on the A-side and “Serum” on the B-side.

Get it from Dorisburg himself or Subwax (distributor of Mountain Explosion Device releases).

 

My visit to Kalabalik på Tyrolen 2017

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Kalabalik på Tyrolen is a festival arranged by Klubb Kalabalik annually at Tyrolen – a picturesque site located at Blädinge not far away from Alvesta, in Småland, Sweden. The arrangement has a history that dates back to 2011 and live-acts such as The Horrorist, Kite, Schwefelgelb, Dernière Volonté, Absolute Body Control, Martial Canterel, and Portion Control – to mention a selection of the diverse multitude of electronic and non-electronic acts alike – that have played there. 

The club itself, Klubb Kalabalik, have hosted a multitude of club nights in Växjö since 2005. Christoffer Gunnarsson and his crew seem to have placed themselves high above many festivals, which made one eager to visit and see what it was like. This year included acts such as Diesel Dudes, Sturm Café, Die Selektion and Kaelan Mikla – in what I personally wanted to see live the most, plus acts that I had never heard about or knew somewhat of – but wanted to give a chance.

Here’s my personal account of what went down musically and socially at Kalabalik på Tyrolen 2017.

After waiting half of the day until the train was going to depart from Malmö to Alvesta, I indulged in the playlist that Klubb Kalabalik had set up on Spotify. Upon hearing some of the acts that were going to play there, I didn’t really muster up any excitement for my trip. As the time to depart came even closer, one became increasingly nervous as to what to expect from this festival. Going from the scenic beauty of the Scanian landscape to the darkness of the dense forests in Småland was a change of scenery one hadn’t felt in some time. Everything went as it should on the trip and the train was cozier then anticipated.

Upon arrival in Alvesta, it sure was very different from Malmö. A tiny society in comparison. But it felt like a breeze in comparison and somewhat of a vacation from the ‘big city’. Since there’s not an ounce in me that wanted to pitch up a tent in the now rainy Småland, a hotel felt better suited for me as a form of relaxation and a better place to live, quite frankly. After having checked in, settled in, and the time closing in for the first act that I wanted to see on Tyrolen, I called a cab and went down to await it. It took some time before it arrived, but I was greeted by fellow people going to the festival themselves.

I thought it was going to be a further ride into the forests then it actually was, about ten minutes away from Alvesta itself. Quickly the ride became more of a social event then I would’ve thought it had been and the people I shared a cab with were really nice to talk to. A dimension of traveling to this festival that I hadn’t accounted for when I was on my way there, was meeting with all the people I know through my zine and label. Upon arriving to Tyrolen, it wasn’t the picturesque kind of place I had thought it would be – but as we got out of the cab, getting closer to the entrance, I was proven wrong.

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Tyrolen at night

A very picturesque and stylish sign, in bright red and yellow stated the following: “Tyrolen“. As one walked through the entrance, the bright lights that formed a column straight forward also gave off a nice aesthetically pleasing vibe, which was especially true the darker it got throughout the day, as the evening was closing in. Before the first act was going to play, that I was personally excited to hear live, my newfound friend and I became more acquainted and discussed the schedule and what to see. We were both, apparently, going to see Kaelan Mikla.

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Kaelan Mikla live, 19:00 on Friday the 25th of August

To be honest, I had been shunning Kaelan Mikla and their music for some time. First time I heard them, they were really exciting – but it got tiresome at one point to listen. As we moved down to hear them play, it really was a seance-like appearance they quickly laid down. It was enthralling to hear every song they played and it was very different to hear them play live then it is listening to their records. One part of me couldn’t stop moving to the beat of the music and the further into the live-set we got, the more I danced.

What appeased me the most was the bassist and her style of playing, it really added to the theatrical vibe that Kaelan Mikla managed to pull off convincingly. There was something about her rocking back and forth which made one be able to completely enjoy dancing and at the same time viewing their prowess on stage. When the final song was to be played, frankincense was lit and the mood became even darker, a perfect end to a great show.

The core of their music became more appealing as they channeled their ritualistic nature completely and let it self-destruct. It was almost as a religious experience dancing to it, especially after they had plowed through a few songs. Certainly a great start to an increasingly exciting festival to be at, which had frankly just started.

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Lode Runner live at 20:20 on Friday the 25th of August

Next up was Lode Runner – a band I had never heard of, apparently they were from Russia. Having had a discussion as what to see next, I parted from my newly found friend as I went over to see what all the fuzz was about, as a bigger crowd of people were gathering outside the next, smaller stage called “Joddelero” – “Rotundan” was the bigger stage, where Kaelan Mikla performed. Here is where I began to seriously dance my ass off. Even though many of the songs had the same rhythmical component with different variations, the music was beyond great to listen to.

The energetic nature of the post-punk that Lode Runner bestowed upon us made for some very unorthodox moves on my part. Even though the experience was not close to the religiousness of the dance that went down to Kaelan Mikla, there was some shoegazing happening and a foot forward, two steps back kind of minimalist dancing. People were getting more and more excited as to what lay ahead of them and it was a noticeable shift from the more gloomy, not as enthusiastic dancing going on earlier.

After having heard them perform, it was clear that nothing could beat them live – having listened to their music afterwards in comparison. They can truly be considered to be more of a live-act then a studio act, for the moment at least. As people got increasingly drunker they let loose a bit more and it seemed like people were excited for Die Selektion. Before all of this I had also met some of the people that I met in Malmö a year ago, one of them actually performing with Forces later that night.

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Die Selektion live at 21:20 on Friday the 25th of August

Die Selektion. What can I really say? I enjoyed their latest album “Deine Stimme Ist Der Ursprung Jeglicher Gewalt” which was a refreshing insight into what they’re capable of, so of course I had to watch them play live. Enthusiastically at first, I stood in front as they began to play and song after song poured out. Here, somewhere, I hit a metaphysical state of questioning my experience at Kalabalik, induced by the mesmerizing nature of trumpet-playing and energetic maneuvering by Luca (the singer). It became some kind of existential angst, a blurred line between just existing and philosophizing – which made me go further back and sit on the bench through the rest of the show.

Really a clash of two perspectives – being active and dancing to their music – and sitting back, enjoying how other people seemed to be into it in full, at the same time analyzing the bands move from subliminal presence to a full-on assault musically and owning the stage. As the show went on it became more and more interesting to watch and listening to, from a “shy” beginning to an outburst of emotions only available to those present.

It really felt as one was blessed by their presence and the curse of the existential angst slowly but surely faded away. As they said their goodbyes and the stage was going from full to empty once again, the excitement grew for seeing Diesel Dudes live for the first time. As quickly as they set up, as quickly the show started. It was time to get involved for real. Cue a blurry picture and enter a complete war-zone.

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Here’s where the creative ambition to be a photograph faded.

In come two burly dudes. The epitome of Diesel Dudes. After laying my jacket and hoodie on the floor, I quickly were to be involved in frantic dancing with the lead singer of Lode Runner in close proximity around me. What began as frantic dancing as the most, slowly became an outdoor gym where testosterone was administered by Douglas Du Fresne (the singer) together with his pal in a quite bizarre fashion, musically. After the first song or so, the dancefloor grew to be a wild mosh-pit that included virtually everyone in a big half-circle, to the joy of more passive onlookers.

When people were beginning to flail their arms violently and totally flip out, everyone was in some sort of ecstatic camaraderie and everyone who took a tumble was quickly helped up to continue the electronic body music-infused madness that had slowly brewed into a complete storm. Douglas even influenced me to do a few push-ups. There was a certain shift in attitude the further everything went on and it was evident that people got more excited and involved as the songs were quickly thrown out there until there was none left – but then people shouted they wanted more – and were given some.

Diesel Dudes have a uniqueness about them which I’ve never felt on a show for a long time, maybe even seven years. Their brand of electronic body music takes on the anarchic side of electro-punk and the attitude they bear with them resounds throughout the audience enough to make everything you do intense. For those of you who missed out on this show, it was really one of the two highlights of the festival. A once in a lifetime experience – to be honest.

Unfortunately for the other musicians, here’s where I was fatigued enough to just sit back and enjoy everything else from a distant. Here’s where the social theme of the festival became more evident, as I met more and more people I hadn’t met before. From hearing Whispering Sons from a distance, to wondering what could be made out of Easter to completely abandoning everything to socializing backstage with people. Even though the social aspect of this festival can be exaggerated, as people tended to move within their social circles and little cliques, there were a certain friendliness backstage among the artists that had performed and us others.

Now the time had arrived to move to Forces, but unfortunately not much of it was experienced due to hanging out backstage and venturing further away from the festival, nearer the DJ-tent. But it was perfectly enjoyable to hear them play from a distance, it invoked a certain kind of feeling which enhanced the social sphere and made the conversations more appealing in the end. Unfortunately for the DJ’s the electricity came and went like it wanted, which was a shame. There were some really good jams coming out of there, as I spent my remainder of the time going from a caravan to a backstage-caravan.

For someone like me to last through the whole night is a unique thing. My last experience of a festival being Peace & Love in 2011 which was nothing in comparison to what this had become. One thing can be said about the social atmosphere of the festival and it was meeting people you’ve either made releases with, written about or simply learned to know otherwise in connection with Repartiseraren. The appreciation and knowledge of what I do was astounding, even coming from people I haven’t chatted that much with.

After almost falling asleep and not being able to catch a cab until two hours later, in the middle of the night, almost the next morning – was a frustration. Coming home from that, with the experiences that I was given on the first day of Kalabalik, was a lot to process and reintegrate into the mind the other day. So many good and positive things on the same day, giving in less and less to the more anxious side of things.

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Saturday the 26th of August

Sleeping from early in the morning the next day, up until it was time to venture out to Tyrolen once again, it became even more attracting as it was my opportunity to say hello to more people I didn’t have time to greet the first day. I decided to come there a bit later since I really wanted to start off the evening by seeing Sturm Café live for the first time ever. This was one of those moments I had been waiting for and one of the main attractions for my visit to Kalabalik.

My newly found friend from the first day was munching on a pizza and followed me to the bigger stage were we sat down to look at Sturm Café. Just about ten to twenty minutes before that I had greeted Gustav (the singer) of the band and hoped to hear what they could produce as a live-act – which didn’t concern me since they are veterans themselves, and have played many shows before. Before they went on-stage the inversion of Diesel Dudes were playing on the other stage, and they had some really catchy tunes, as Morning Hands. It was from a distance, like experience the total opposite of what Diesel Dudes had been about on Friday.

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Sturm Café live at 20:00 on Saturday the 26th of August

Queue the anticipation as Sturm Café went on and everyone from the festival seemed to be gathering at the same spot – literally most of the people were present at this concert, and from my view it was the most popular out of them all, in terms of the audience. Unfortunately I was too tired to re-live my experience at Diesel Dudes the other night, but they surely churned out some tunes and everyone were dancing lively to the pop-sounding electronic body music that Sturm Café have mastered throughout the years.

This time they played mostly classics and also delivered the best versions of these songs -as they should be heard – live. The execution of each song was absolutely flawless. After having a highlight for my first day on the festival, this became the other one and the best one, really. Upon hearing “Koka Kola Freiheit” the whole place erupted and the drums were amazing – the bass was resounding and blurting out uncompromisingly to everyone’s delight. The dancefloor was alive once more. It seemed like the quality of the sound was somehow enhanced, be that because of the production of the songs or the digging engineer in front of me, should be untold. But there was an overall difference.

I wish I had seen them earlier, they are really much more than what can be described about them. I am proud to have contributed to their discography in the form of a cassette-release. They have a certain quality musically that not many groups in the electronic body-genre can produce. Even though one might scorn them upon a first listening, this is one of those groups that can’t be dismissed just on their approach to the genre in terms of lyrics and concept.

Around the same time as Friday, the festival turned into more of a social event and I managed to hook up with more of the people I had only seen profile pictures of, or had spoken with before without being able to meet them in person. It gave a certain quality to the social interaction being on the same festival as them. It is a shame that it is only a yearly occurrence. I had been stoking the flames of my own excitement for Bestial Mouths, but even though they delivered some nice interpretations of their works, it didn’t give me the same kind of motivation I had gotten earlier.

Then I heard Xarah Dion from afar and was enthralled about her emotional deliveries of the music she’d created. I hadn’t really listened that closely to the music itself before but was attuned to it even more the more times I passed going from inside the festival to just outside in the camping-area. She had some really great songs in her repertoire, even though I didn’t experience it closer than that, it was a pleasant listening session for myself in my newly found social environment.

It is hard to sum up this festival and it isn’t necessary to have actively participated in every DJ-set or live-act, but it turned out to be a great listening experience whether one was directly involved by dancing or appreciating the music closely, or simply hearing it from a different perspective whilst engaging in other activities. I must say that I have never been to a more well-organized festival in terms of music, general pleasurableness and the non-existence of violence and anti-social behavior. Even though Kalabalik på Tyrolen is a very small festival in comparison to other counterparts – it is hands down – the best festival I’ve ever been to.

The sheer work of Christoffer Gunnarsson and his crew should serve as an inspiration to other D.I.Y.-festival makers for the future. It is really an impeccable show of hostesship. The fact that you can also get closer to the artists is a huge plus. Otherwise you’re locked out of that opportunity. They’ve really outdone themselves for me as a first time visitor and I was lucky enough to be personally invited as well, which for me is an honor and just cements the importance of Repartiseraren further. For the first time in these environments, since being invited to The Foreign Resort backstage in Christiania – have I felt that what I do make a difference and that people actually enjoy it.

I would be dismayed if there weren’t a Kalabalik på Tyrolen 2018. I would go again even if I weren’t a guest to the festival in terms of my hobby. They have another important factor about what makes them great as well and that is the representation of more established artists and smaller artists that get the same playground, basically. You’re intrigued about watching artists perform that you haven’t heard about and even though not everything might be one’s cup of tea, the variety is stunning for such a small initiative.

Thank you so much for one of my best experiences in terms of music, in 2017. It brought up so many feelings and the organizers, artists, new friends and old friends have my deepest respect. You are the variation we sorely need.

Yours sincerely,

Repartiseraren