Monthly Playlist-Favourite albums October 2019

Posted: 13th November 2019 by blaue-rosen in Music News,press releases
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“A poet is a nightingale who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds.”
-Percy Bysshe Shelley

October was one of the most inspiring months of this year in terms of its independent music output, not only because Stephen Mallinder has released his first solo album for 37 years, but also because SWANS have ‘broken’ their self imposed hiatus. In October we also had the chance to enjoy some great debut releases by new bands showing a strong DIY element. If this monthly playlist was a person, they would be a kooky, abrasive and gothic looking one.

First things first, Stephen Mallinder, the never-tiring to experiment with sounds, co-founder of Cabaret Voltaire has released a new album, his first in 37 years, entitled ‘Um Dada‘. Having headlined the newly founded Re-Textured festival in London earlier this year, Stephen has summoned tribal, house, funky and techno sonic spirits, and tamed them with minimal aesthetics and a Dada-esque attitude. The magic of this album is found in the ‘muffled’, strong (and flat at the same time), beats and the way the distorted vocals add dimensions to them. This is one of the very few albums where visuals, sonics, and aesthetics are all aligned. ‘Um Dada’ is the only album where we have seen so many ‘dry’ beats having such an uplifting effect. House and techno music have been long taken over by a mainstream attitude, losing the underground spirit from which they derived. This album proves that there are very few and very important musicians out there who are committed to exploring the darker, more indirect conceptual impact that techno and dance rhythms can have.

SWANS are not over…not yet…they also haven’t forgotten their first albums and ‘leaving meaning.‘ is proof of both these statements. Michael Gira has been joined by a -too-good-to-be-true, list of collaborators, spanning two generations and have created a magical album, an ode to the band’s days of lyricism and conceptual heaviness. These were the days that the second incarnation of the band, seemed to negate and these are the days when this sound of SWANS, the band’s early sound has come back. This is an album by a super band consisting of (the now on permanent hiatus) Baby Dee, Anna, and Maria von Hausswolff and many other collaborators. This album, as all of SWANS’ albums, is a process and a procession. You begin with ‘Hums‘ and you come out with ‘My Phantom Limb‘ feeling numb, feeling ‘stuck’, unable to move, unable to think, unable to let the mantra let go of your mind. Spoken-word, eerie female vocals, ceremonial rhythms, and slowness…as if you are trying to lift your feet from a heavy, sticky substance as if you are trying to free your mind from something while IT is resisting! Swans will be touring this album and we cannot wait to welcome them to London in March 2020.

A special place in this monthly playlist is held by Christopher Tignor and his latest album entitled ‘A Light Below‘. This is the fourth album by this pioneering musician who has secured funding for his innovative use of tuning forks which are integral to the sound he is creating. This album has quite a mournful mood, it explores the melancholic sides of modern classical music in a way that made us create the mental image of a reclusive personality trying to figure out a way to express themselves. In a statement about this record Christopher has said: “Using no overdubs, pre-recorded tracks, clicks, or looping, this music dismissed electronic music’s grid, reclaiming time as a first-order expressive element, flexing it, while doubling down on the performance aspect of this performance art…I’m most interested in what deeply moves the heart. This world is fucked; we need new methods we can believe in trade stories, to share laughter and pain…”. We loved the fresh sonic look that this album is taking into modern classical composition, the way looping is used without relying too much upon itself, the throbbing beats and the heaviness that this album is creating throughout.

Speaking about experimentation with sonic form, Portico Quartet‘s new album entitled ‘Memory Streams‘ is starting by placing us in the calmest sonic environment out there and slowly builds up a rich, free jazz, sonic web that will appeal to fans of Nils Frahm and Thievery Corporation alike. Minimalism is at some point enriched with Balkan music rhythmic and aesthetic elements, a welcoming choice that sets apart this release from other minimal releases of this year. This is an album that places you in a relaxed environment, an ideal sonic accompaniment to the wanderings of your mind around everyday complexities. Enjoy it, during sunset or at the small hours of the day! The new album by Mike Granditsky, entitled ‘Post European Music‘, is tapping into one of the most serious social/political ideas that puzzles a part of the world lately. With experimental, eerie and minimal sonic aesthetics that blend slow electronic beats, with samples and Jazz snippets, this album and Mike’s vocals share qualities with the solo work of Barry Adamson, Scott Walker, and David Sylvian. Before moving on to a harsher sound and a conceptually darker atmosphere, it is worth talking a bit more about the beautiful new album by Lighting Dust from Vancouver, entitled ‘Spectre‘.
Apart from a very deep sound with a lot of texture and emotional dimensions, this album’s magic is being spread around through a seamless blend of folk, country and indie rock elements, which the siren-like vocals are ‘swirling’ around like an imaginary soft silken fabric, creating all sorts of awe-inspiring ‘shapes’.With music, one can never know which combination of elements can cause everything around to feel ‘lighter’ and more inspiring. This album achieves this hard-to-grasp feeling with the layered vocals and the way they give their place to a single voice before this in-turn is then split again into more voices. You will notice that everything that this album is, comes from an elegant composition of many parts. Violin, synthesizers, cello, ethereal vocals and gentle electric guitar and bass, all transcend their purpose and create something worth listening to again and again. Congratulations!

Following a similar emotional trail, the new album by Cult With No Name entitled ‘Mediaburn‘ blends pop with blues and jazz in the duo’s signature way. Both the melodies and the overall production have elegance, while the lyrics talk with subtlety and in a poetic way about almost everything that surrounds us; mistrust as a result of a devaluation of communication, displaced people and their agony, environmental issues and pollution, the vanity of the celebrity world, sexual dysphoria and a collapse of human interaction are just a few of the subjects that the lyrics talk about. While all this is aggravating and disheartening, Cult With No Name, understand that the best way to talk about all this, the best way to deal with these and probably the first step to take in understanding their gravity, is to choose a dancing partner and as Leonard Cohen was singing ‘take this waltz’ (in this case it is more ‘take this blues’ dance’). The backing vocals of Kelli Ali and the magic violin soundscapes of Blaine Reininger (Tuxedomoon) take the dreamy element of this album’s sound to a different level. Cult With No Name is a band that one has to see perform live because they create otherworldly sonic magic, their melodies have a discreet yet gradually increasing dynamism and they create a bittersweet feeling of a post-apocalyptic/dystopian euphoria. A very rare feeling to experience in a gig and an extremely difficult one to achieve artistically. They describe themselves as ‘post-punk electronic balladeers’ and while almost everyone else is focusing on how to translate the deconstructive aspects of this world into music, this band is trying to ‘repair’ the ‘connections’, find the way to reconnect the broken pieces and instead of creating a patchwork, to reconstruct the fabric’s consistency. Allow their songs to influence your mind and value them as there aren’t many bands like this one out there.

The new album by Refused entitled ‘War Music‘ is one of those few albums that we want to broadcast to everyone that can listen. Aesthetically this album is the opposite of ‘Mediaburn’ as it has an NU metal/hardcore punk character and a more ‘in-your-face’ attitude. A well-placed anger against war and political wit characterizes the lyrics and the visuals of this album . Marilyn Manson and Beastie Boys come to mind while listening to the songs whose main ideas revolve around a denouncement of social and political conformism. Refused, who have gone into hiatus twice since their formation in 1994, have announced their reunion in 2014 and this album comes 4 years after their previous one entitled ‘Freedom’. This album is one of the best anti-war sonic offerings we have come across the last few years, as it is unapologetically and rightfully critical of the political machinations that rule the world. ‘Violent Reaction‘ is a song that talks about strategies governed by greed which drag people’s lives into battles surrounded by blood and endless sacrifices. Its video clip is as inspiring as it is evocative and depicts a chess game where every piece that moves, is filled with blood until the whole board is a choreography of a bloody trail.

The video of ‘I Wanna Watch The World Burn‘, is depicting a woman being covered in what seems to be petrol while its poetic qualities are revealed through the slow way with which the scene unfolds as well as its symbolism. This is one of the best albums of this year so far and you should also expect to find it in our soundtrack of the year. Equally harsh in terms of sonics are the new releases by Bad Tracking and Självmord. ‘Widower‘ the new EP by Bad Tracking from Bristol, is a noisy, extreme and industrial release where the vocals are testing the limits between man and machine with the aim to express an agonizing, existential struggle at all its drama. The visuals, equally dark in their aesthetics and symbolism, are enhancing the feeling created by the sound, that one is about to face one of their worst nightmares…When a release is accompanied by a statement like this one: “Tell the widower, of the nanny state, to go and fuck himself…“, then one can only be intrigued by the translation of it into sound!

Schistostega‘ the new album by Självmord, takes its name from Dragon’s gold which is a luminescent moss, known for its glowing appearance in dark places. According to a statement by the band, “Our music combines elements of Swedish depressive black metal, depressive rock, and ambient music”. We loved this album because it transcends the usual agonizing atmosphere of a typical black metal album by oscillating between folk lyricism and heartbreaking, howling songs whose existential agony is tearing apart everything that surrounds us while listening to them.

In garage sonic worlds you will find the debut albums by MNNQNS and WIVES. ‘Body Negative‘ the debut album by MNNQNS (pronounced mannequins) from France, has 60s garage vibe which is beautifully enriched by punk and pop aesthetics. Vocals that are layered and do not hesitate to ‘pause’ the music that surrounds them in order to come forward and dominate the atmosphere differently, guitars that are as vibrant as an exposed electrical cable and infinite energy, will make you wonder how did the time pass so quickly and ultimately will make you re-listen the to the whole album from the beginning. ‘So Removed‘ the debut album by WIVES from New York, has a more evident post-punk character, enriched by female backing vocals and high-pitched piano notes, which also make reference to the music of the 60s and give to the sound of this album a ‘lighter’ and sassier vibe. The electric guitars, in sync with the drums and the bass, create a throbbing, mechanistic sonic base, on which the vocals are free to explore all their theatricality before these seemingly ‘tamed’ instruments, go on a noisy trance several times throughout this album. The delivery of the lyrics sometimes brings to mind the performance of Lou Reed and other times the combination of spoken word with more lyrical parts just create the impression that this whole album is the soundtrack of a play! The new album by BODEGA is entitled ‘Shiny New Model‘, has a sound inspired by 70s’ rock (especially on what concerns the guitar riffs) and seems to end a little too soon leaving a very strong mark behind it. It is an album that makes space for punk as well as tribal rhythms and rock n’ roll elements both in its rhythms and the performance style. The band is touring in the US at the moment and we are hoping for a UK date in 2020 as well.


The sound of the debut releases of Come to Ruin and Belfast has a rather deathrock/gothic feel. The demos of Come to Ruin are putting us into a dark post-punk atmosphere, with heavy low pitched notes, dynamic and motivating rhythms, and discreet coldwave melodies. ‘Before Anything‘ is the debut EP by Belfast. Nodding to The Chameleons on what concerns the guitar/bass riffs and the delivery of the lyrics, this is a very promising start from a band that we cannot wait to enjoy performing live. This is a darkwave album whose melodies and vocals retain something from the lyricism of New Wave. We loved the energy that the electric guitar is emitting throughout this album, passing from electrifying psychedelic solos to vibrating riffs and we hope that this band’s music finds its way into club’s dance floors very very soon! ‘Gloom‘ the new album by Meldamor moves in punk, coldwave and deathrock rhythms which give to its title a cold melancholic colour. Fans of the sound of Siouxsie and The Banshees and Xmal Deutschland unite, for this release draws inspiration from similar sources as these favourite older bands!

Constance Chlore has been inspired by no wave and industrial music for their debut album entitled ‘Constance Chlore‘.Fans of Bakterielle Infektion, Test Department and Cabaret Voltaire, will adore this album! The ingredients of their sonic recipe include samples of sirens, mechanized synthesizers, reverberating vocals and frantic rhythms that cannot possibly allow you to sit comfortably on a chair. We loved the sound of an old piano within the sonic mayhem that is being created and the overall energy of this album and we could not pick a favourite song from it, no matter how many times we listened to it from start to finish. The album ‘A Structure of Violence‘ by Final Cop, has been going down a noisier industrial sonic route in order to give a form to concepts of gun control, the economy, conceptual strength and consequences of violence. This album includes a song that makes reference to Sanda Bland, an African-American prisoner whose death in prison has been declared a suicide and a song that includes extracts about several shootings in the USA (Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina…) while the sound that accompanies these announcements tries to recreate the conceptual and factual distortion that these incidents have created!

Amrou Kithkin‘s new album ‘Sensoreless‘ has slower rhythms compared to Constance Chlore’s. Using the best elements from the early sound of Depeche Mode, with the lyricism of new wave music and some Cure-esque riffs, this band from Poland has created a fine post-punk album with strong darkwave and coldwave elements. No two songs feel/sound the same in this album, which despite its title is animating all of our sonic senses. Speaking about post-punk, the new album by Tempers is entitled ‘Private Life‘ and oscillates between electro-pop and coldwave music. The different styles of the album after the first few songs, separate it in two halves each with a distinct character. Following a collaboration with world-famous architect and a great thinker, Rem Koolhaas, Tempers have now summoned Leonard Cohen’s energy (i.e. ‘Leonard Cohen Afterwards‘), the ceremonial aspect of dark ambient music (i.e. ‘Exit‘) and the dystopian atmosphere we have encountered in the sound of Lebanon Hanover and Boy Harsher. If all this does not make you wonder about the end result, I don’t know what will!

Christophe Philippe‘ is the debut bi-lingual album by Rue Oberkampf. The synth melodies carry through something from the spirit of Trisomie 21 and the ethereality of the vocals something from the soundtrack of French new wave movies. The careful use of samples and the flow of the rhythms create an album that is very pleasant to listen to and dance to. The industrial parts bring to mind the early sound of Front 242 and despite the fact that the past has mainly informed the music, it seems as if we are to expect great things from Rue Oberkampf in the near future. We hope that one of these things is a gig in London.

Using ‘lighter’ sonic colours in their ‘Submersion‘ EP, The KVB, revisit some previous songs of theirs and they present these alongside two new songs and create a dreamy synthwave sonic path (as the cover of this EP also suggests) which we have been ‘asked’ to follow…and we do this gladly! It is on a darkwave sonic trail with guitar/bass riffs influenced by Cure and Joy Division that Hände from Warsaw has also ‘walked on’ in their EP entitled ‘armia//Finlandia MC‘. We loved the alto vocals and the darkness with which they deliver the lyrics and the almost spoken word character that they seamlessly adopt in order to enhance the melody of the electric guitar that comes to the foreground.

Coma, a new band from Kyiv, have infused their melancholic post-punk songs with attractive melodies and lyrics in Russian. The album entitled ‘Сюжеты Детства‘ has a cover that creates the impression of a gothic children’s novel and songs talk about, the loss of childhood’s innocence, social and political betrayal, the vanity of the art world, war and personal disappointments, using melancholic lyricism and poetic verses. One can probably sense the similarity of the subjects between this album and the one by Cult With No Name and the different sonic approach that is being adopted. The only release in this playlist that immerses itself in the gothic rock universe, is the new EP entitled ‘Lair‘ by The Seventh Victim from Newcastle Upon Tyne. This is a teaser release for the band’s upcoming album due in 2020. With ‘thin’ guitars, high pitched samples and throbbing percussion surrounding the vocals that carry with them all the conceptual gravity of the lyrics, this EP creates a reverberating atmosphere and definitely deserves a place in DJs’ setlists.


Speaking about a reverberating atmosphere, Dark Voice of Angelique from Russia, whose previous release was also part of last December’s monthly playlist, retain the ceremonial, dark ambient aspect of their sound in their new EP entitled ‘Slow Food‘. The sound has volume and many dimensions as a result of a cinematic use of samples, distorted vocals, and industrial aesthetics. Equally atmospheric, as always, is the new release by Empusae entitled ‘Iter In Tenebris‘. Seldom has Empusae offered ceremonial, non-melodic music and for this reason, we loved this EP. We read about this album that: “Through the medium of old 78 rpm phonograph records from early 1900, each song captures a different demon. Resulting in a dark and ghostly ambient post-industrial soundtrack from oblivion.“. The atmosphere that is being created through these four tracks, is almost liturgical in its overall sonic imprint, the ethereal, otherworldly vocals enhance the feeling of grandeur as befits a demon of course. The EP starts with an evocative and symbolic track that takes its title ‘Shabriri‘ from the Jewish mythology spirit which rests on uncovered water at night and which will cause blindness or ocular diseases to those who drink of it and ends with ‘Aesma‘, a track that takes its name from the demon of wrath in Zoroastrianism. In the meantime, we are ‘lured’ into a dynamic sonic environment that awakens all the sinister spirits that we have ‘hidden’ in small ‘boxes’ within ourselves and even though we have no control over this whole process, having this sound as a guide, makes us enjoy the trip to the fullest.

Two more albums impressed us very much during the previous month and they are the debut by Greek band Γεμάτος Αράχνες, ρε φίλε (meaning overtaken by spiders mate) and the most powerful album by psych-rock/experimental band Julie’s Haircut. Γεμάτος Αράχνες,ρε φίλε comes from Athens and carry within their rhythms all the aggressive dynamism that this city inspires its people with. Their debut release creates mysterious wickedness on the environment as one cannot keep its title and its meaning out of one’s head.  A character which is overtaken by spiders, his wanderings around the city and his hallucinatory condition, is the main point of focus of the lyrics that talk about intoxicated party encounters and decadent urban scenes, loneliness and various social problems. In punk, industrial and NDW rhythms and aesthetics, this is one of the best truly underground releases of this year. The band has said that the album will be available in a limited cassette format which you can order from the email address found on their Bandcamp page.

We would like to conclude this monthly playlist with the majestic album by Julie’s Haircut, entitled ‘In The Silence Electric‘. From the vibrating, electrifying, sonically distorted chords that we can hear from the first second of the first song to the work of Annegret Soltau, the German avant-garde feminist artist, whose work appears at the cover of this album, this album follows gracefully the band’s previous album ‘An Invocation And Ritual Dance of My Demon Twin’. This band from Italy, has an impressive stage appearance and its sound has a strong conceptual element as well, whose power is also carried through on stage. With some bands it is just about the sound, in psych rock and experimental music, it is mostly about ‘the trip’ but Julie’s Haircut have always taken all this to a different level, through the aesthetic symbolism found in their artwork, through the conceptual symbolism revealed by their titles and through the depth and richness of their sound that does not hesitate to ‘confront’ and encompass blues’, tribal and even Eastern music references in it. This album is a spell, the strongest, one can be found to be under and the best one to instigate all sorts of self-induced hallucinatory and deeply spiritual trips.

We will leave this playlist with you now and we hope that you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed preparing it!

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