• Les Fragments de la Nuit, “Musique du crépuscule”

    23. Okt. 2008, 14:44

    Epic, sublime, intimate and euphoric. I thought long and hard about how I wanted to describe Les Fragments De La Nuit’s album, “Musique du crépuscule”, and really, it can be summed up with those four words. The music is composed by a small band with cello, violin and piano, so it is very neoclassical in nature. But this is in the most sense, and the music on “Musique du crépuscule” really transcends what conventions I normally use to describe beautiful music.

    On the band’s Myspace page, they list composers such a Steve Reich and Philip Glass as influences. I don’t hear much experimental sound here as it sounds like there is a definite vision, but I definitely hear the intimate, introspective qualities of Glass present. They also list Godspeed You! Black Emperor as an influence. Again, I hear nothing similar to Godspeed or post-rock. There is definitely a similarity to Rachel’s “Music for Egon Schiele“, but even that comparison is fleeting. “Musique du crépuscule” is dark and epic like sound track work, using occasionally intense staccato rhythms, and really brooding progressions. However, where the music is larger than life at times, it is highly personal and reflective. Where it has similarities to a lot of music I listen to, it really is highly original work.

    If you like neoclassical music, and want something as dreamy and sublime as it is dark and brooding, I definitely recommend this album.

  • Amanda Palmer, "Who Killed Amanda Palmer?"

    22. Okt. 2008, 15:38

    I first saw The Dresden Dolls live in 2003 when they opened for The Legendary Pink Dots front man Edward Ka-Spel. I saw Amanda Palmer standing around before the show with her face paint on and thought, “oh brother, what sort of crap is this going to be?”

    The Dresden Dolls then proceeded to blow away my expectations and leave me standing with my jaw on the floor. I loved the chemistry between the two performers, the dramatic nature of the songs and the extremely charismatic performance. After the show, I threw down some cash to buy their CD, and I told Amanda that I was surprised I never heard of them, and that I expected them to go quite far. Her reply was more of a non-reply, more of a smile of smug self-assurance, which I think characteristically defines The Dresden Dolls and their, thus far, rather fruitful career. It also describes this new solo album by Amanda Palmer.

    On one hand, it is easy to see “Who Killed Amanda Palmer” as The Dresden Dolls Lite, but that isn’t entirely fair. The album does not deviate from any of the previous Dresden Dolls albums in any significant way, but it does have a slightly different artistic flair. What you have is a nice collection of clever songs with the same injection of character that Palmer injected into the Dresden Dolls albums. With these things, I often wonder why they bother with not calling it a Dresden Dolls album, but I guess The Beatles wouldn’t have been The Beatles without, say, John Lennon. And so this album, missing the amazing drummer Brian Viglione, is not The Dresden Dolls.

    My particularities regarding naming conventions aside, this is a great album. Some of the slower pieces put me to sleep, but the album as a whole is really holds my attention. I like Palmer’s more aggressive pieces, such as the one titled “Leeds United“. I have no idea what this song is about, but it is catchy, memorable and simply rocks out. “Who Killed Amanda Palmer” treads into a alternative/pop music sound that I do not often go for, but the overall confidence expressed in these songs is too compelling too ignore. Coupled with the fact that they are memorable and easy to pleasantly replay in my head all day makes it an album worth recommending.

  • Thomas Nöla Et Son Orchestre, "Songs For Children, Vol. 1"

    18. Aug. 2008, 14:33

    Thomas Nöla Et Son Orchestre is another tragically obscure band that deserves much more attention than they receive. This is especially true when you consider that Douglas P. from Death in June collaborated with them on one of their early albums. This mini CD, ” Songs For Children, Vol. 1″, is a bit different than their normal work, but still manages to fit cohesively into their discography in terms of tone and mood.

    First, a bit about the disc. It is a hand made 3″ CD-R that you can purchase directly from the artist for $4. That $4 includes shipping, which means if this release sounds even remotely intriguing to you, you should just buy it. If you hate it, well, then you have a strange $4 novelty to hang onto. The CD came in a plastic envelope with hand printed cover art that features various vintage photos of children. On the front, a photo of a young man in a sweater vest and a bow tie that I strongly suspect was taken in the late 70’s.

    The music itself, as per the webpage for the album, is composed entirely on a “decadent” Hammond organ from the 1960’s. Now, I find the claim that this is music for children to be highly dubious, as it is very minimal styled work, and gritty, and above all, it is seriously creepy. I imagine kids singing along to Blues Clues, not role playing as Bela Lugosi alone in their dark closet. Or, perhaps I simply wasn’t a demented enough child. Not to suggest that this music isn’t great, as it is! The organ playing is quite masterful, managing to create all sorts of mood dynamics, and demonstrating a lot of compositional skill. I love that Nola is able to create effective ambient music without any glaringly obvious post-production. Even other lo-fi ambient artists like Library Tapes have more post-production than this and still don’t quite manage to stir up this much mood. This music is raw, to be sure, and sounds as if, in addition to being played with a vintage instrument, it also could have been recorded on a vintage tape reel. The raw nature of the recording is part of its charm, as it feels more genuine and personable than other compositions that could compare to it.

    “Music for Children” really reminds me of the sound track for “Carnival of Souls“. I would half suspect this is the sort of style Nola was shooting for during composition. If so, kudos, as he succeeded. For $4, you can’t go wrong, and I’m sure this will be a highly limited edition. Considering the consistent quality of work Nola puts out, I would strongly suspect his work will get more popular as time goes and availability of this recording will become scarce. I wouldn’t delay in grabbing this while it is still available.


    18. Aug. 2008, 14:31

    Continuing on the free album front, I recently discovered MONO ATRO on Myspace, accidentally. MONO ATRO, a Japanese artist, currently has two short albums available, “MDCCLXXVI” being the most current from 2007.

    “MDCCLXXVI” is a really bleak album. It is with a huge variety of finely produced sound textures. This is not just tonal ambient work. This album lacks the deep drones many dark ambient artists employ. There are washes and tones woven in the mix, but what makes this album so engaging is the usage of voices, environmental sounds, radio recordings, metal clanging and a myriad of other textures mixed in. The snippets of voices are certainly the most unsettling aspect of this album. On a few of the tracks, there lies some simple but effective, glitchy and down-tempo percussion work. This helps drive the album along very well, and helps add a lot of musical depth. The fact that this percussion is produced so subtly prevents it from distracting from the ambient nature of the recording. The track “Silicis” in particular moves along with this percussion layered in with exceptionally scary synth work and utterly creepy vocal grumblings and snippets. This album is truly dark.

    “MDCCLXXVI” reminds me a bit of Akira Yamaoka’s soundtrack work for the “Silent Hill” video game series. It also reminds me a bit of of Shinjuku Thief’s less orchestral work. This album is free to download from Clinical Archives.

  • Dev/Null

    18. Aug. 2008, 14:29

    I find it exceptionally irritating when I hear people argue that file sharing is killing music. There are quite a number of artists out there giving albums away as free downloads for this to ever be true. And it isn’t limited to just fringe acts. This giving away the album concept goes from obscure artists to popular artists as big as Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead. Making money is not the only motivation for cranking out great music. Anyway, when I originally put this blog together, I wanted to focus on free releases exclusively, but decided instead to just focus on whatever music I love and happen to be listening to at the time.

    So, this is an album you can download for free. Defying the consist accusation that breakcore is a dead genre, Dev/Null releases “Necrobestial Sadbreaks”, a ridiculously amped up power house album of highly intricate cut-up beats. The theme on this album seems to be grindhouse cinema with song titles such as “Gorechestra” and “Zombie Sunset”. The array of sounds matches, including scattered 8-bit tones, crunchy metal guitars, vintage synth work, and an endless supply of other things. There is a lot going on in this release.

    The beats are seriously wicked. Dev/Null really amps up the tempo more than any quality producer I can think of. The beats are super heavy, super fast, and are absolute madness. The album has only three full length tracks, along with four tracks that are a minute in length or shorter. The whole album is only about 16 minutes long. The smaller tracks are, interestingly, part of what makes this release awesome, as they are no holds barred, balls out heavy. It really is impressive how blistering fast and crunchy the whole album is. It’s free to download, so at least give it a listen!

  • Hecq, “Nightfalls”

    13. Aug. 2008, 12:43

    As long as I am thinking about soundtrack work, I should write about Hecq’s new album. Hecq is normally known for highly atmospheric music with , oriented beats. “Night Falls” strips away the glitch (for the most part) and the beats and focuses on highly atmospheric compositions. Most of the album sounds like it could work as a soundtrack for a movie like “Blade Runner” or “Alien“, I imagine something set deep in space. There is a lot of very atmospheric pad synth work that is very rich that works with the various sound design elements scattered about. Here and there, you hear elements of very quiet, glitchy work, but it isn’t rhythmic at all, and works exclusively to help build the ambience. This album is definitely dark, but it is not oppressively dark like Lustmord, or The Protagonist. The actual ambient work more reminds me of Squaremeter, particularly on the album “War Of Sound“. I highly recommend this album to anyone who appreciates their music very dark, mixed with neoclassical and glitch elements.

  • Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, “The Dark Knight” Soundtrack

    13. Aug. 2008, 12:40

    I suspect everyone on the planet has seen “The Dark Knight” by now, considering it has been a month and the astounding ratings the movie has received on IMDB. One of the striking components of the movie, a movie I absolutely loved by the way, is the brilliant score by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. This is a surprisingly highly textured work that uses both a traditional orchestral score as well as some gritty sound design and guitar work. Like a lot of movie scores, this one contains a few orchestral themes, in particular for Batman in the track, “I’m Not a Hero” and for Two-face on the piece titled, appropriately, “Harvey Two-Face“.

    The opening track titled “Why So Serious” is worth the price of admission for the whole album alone. In the movie, it seems to work as the Joker’s “theme” track, but isn’t very musical compared to the rest of the album. It opens with an otherworldly buzz that reminds me of a swarm of insects. It is extremely tense and edgy, and clearly is meant to invoke a sense of madness, which it does quite effectively. As it slowly builds, the piece is filled up with really deep clangs and drones while an extremely crunchy guitar riff explodes into the mix. This is not a rock piece, however, and during the movie, the riff comes and and leaves as explosive scenes occur.

    This music is dynamite and works with the film in an extraordinary way. If you’re enjoy film scores, this is a top notch recommendation. It is similar in style, though a bit more , to the Batman Begins score, but much better. If you get a chance, go see the movie in Imax, the soundtrack really comes alive there.

  • Roseland, "Roseland"

    20. Mai. 2008, 23:11

    Roseland is a strangely obscure collaboration between film score composer Tyler Bates (300, Doomsday) and Azam Ali from bands Niyaz and Vas. Both artists’ historical output is amazing. However, this album is quite a departure for both of them, though no less competent.

    Roseland reminds me a bit of , think Portishead or Massive Attack, injected with a healthy dose of Siouxsie and the Banshees style . It is a largely electronic recording with scattered riffy guitar work. There is a solid groove with a strong down beat, making this music a seductive dance floor choice. Each track is memorable, without annoying pop hooks, and work together to make a good, complete album.

    Azam Ali’s vocal work is simply divine. Her range, and vocal depth are staggering. Her work here is commanding, intense, passionate and utterly beautiful. Even though Ali’s vocal work is quite potent, it is noteworthy that in no way does it overwhelm the overall mix or composition. This is a normal point of contention I have when a band showcases such a prominent vocalist. This is not just a showcase for how wonderful a vocalist she is. This is definitely an even collaboration between these two competent artists.

    Roseland is not quite trip hop, but it is difficult to classify and I suspect anyone into bands like Massive Attack will enjoy this album. I would also recommend this to fans of / acts like Dead Can Dance or The Creatures.

  • Orion Rigel Dommisse, "What I Want From You Is Sweet"

    20. Mai. 2008, 23:03

    Orion Rigel Dommisse’s album, “What I Want From You Is Sweet”, is a perfect example of an album that is so great, it makes it difficult for me to review it. I want to lavish praise on it for being highly original, emotive and wonderfully peculiar, but end up wanting to write, “It’s awesome, just listen to it”.

    Of course, it isn’t necessarily for everyone, so I’ll describe it the best I can. It is a collection of depressing folk oriented songs. Dommisse’s vocal work remind me a bit of Melora Creager from Rasputina, but much more soft and not quite as devilish. The lyrics are extremely crafty, largely being songs about death and tragedy. This is seriously dark music, with sort of a girly, powdery kiss that makes it feel almost like a set of demented nursery rhymes. Or even more accurately, it is music that would work well for narrating very dark fairy tales or folk legends. It is definitely music for deep in the forests.

    I would recommend checking out this album if you enjoy the idea of a very mellow, folk oriented Rasputina, or like anything by Marissa Nadler. It is hard to draw comparison’s to Dommisse since her music is so unique.

    Zombie Horde music Blog
  • Earth, "The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull"

    20. Mai. 2008, 14:52

    Earth is a band that gets tagged with a lot of descriptions and genres that do not really apply to its current sound. I am constantly reading their music being described as "" or "", which do accurately describe the bands style from many years ago. In more recent times, the band's sound has moved to a more , old west styling, which is the case on the recent album, "The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull".

    This album does not quite fall into any sort of true ambient territory, as there are very solid and noticeable musical progressions. This almost seems more like movie work than true ambient or background music. The bulk of it is filled with really dense and highly styled guitar washes that invoke a very serious "Wild West" atmosphere. I can't really compare it to Ennio Moriccone's western soundtracks as the music is very different. However, I think "The Bees Made Honey..." could be substituted and used as a soundtrack to many of the great Leone westerns. Instead of lush orchestrations, you have almost a rock sensibility that could be coming from a lone cowboy traveling alone in the desert. Although, this cowboy happens to be carrying around some impressive guitar amps. The sound is not epic in scope, but rather more introspective.

    Personally, I look forward to taking a trip out west, and playing this while going through the desert. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys the scarce few examples of "western ambient" like A Small, Good Thing or Steve Roach and Roger King's "Dust to Dust". It might also work for people who are really into western movie soundtracks of any type, particularly the recent soundtrack work by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis for movies like "The Proposition" or "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford".

    Zombiehor.de Music Blog