Monthly playlist-January 2019

Posted: 7th February 2019 by blaue-rosen in Music News,press releases
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“An active line on a walk, moving freely, without goal. A walk for a walk’s sake…” (Paul Klee)


Some might say that the first albums to be released every year, set the tone for the whole year so if our favourite 22 albums of January are any indication of that, then we are to brace ourselves for a very interesting year ahead!

logo playlistIf the soundtrack of this month was an image, then it would be a very dark one with highlights that sharply divide the surface, creating an effect similar to that of a thunderous sky. The albums that form this playlist have sometimes strong and other times softer influences and they occupy a sonic space that has black metal, post rock, darkwave, punk, industrial, post punk, deathrock and experimental elements. This playlist turned out to be focused on self released albums as these were the ones that had the strongest impact on us this time.

There is again a big number of releases clustered within punk/post punk, taking up every possible space from typical hardcore punk, to more experimental punk rock and post punk. The releases of Arrington de Dionyso, Hank Wood &The Hammerheads, Papa Roach, Drool, Graveyard Bashers and Warbastard are our favourites of those releases.

Honey and Poison‘ from Arrington de Dionyso, that includes a cover of The Velvet Underground’s ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’, brought to mind the fierce sound of SUICIDE, the lyricism and dark folk melodies of Nick Cave and the theatricality of Fall and Tom Waits combined with a lot of punk psychedelia mixed through! Within its amazing songs, you will find some rare moments of psych rock experimentation in the form of tribal rhythms. We read this statement: “This is trance world Trans-Utopian music, it is made for a world of imagination, a celebration of Life and a conversation with Death… No record label is interested in releasing this, no publicist is interested in promoting this. It is up to YOU, the person reading this, to listen, to share, to say whatever it is you might like to say about the music contained in this virtual package “Honey and Poison”. However, it is the overall performance that will either strike a chord or not. We really enjoyed this album! Papa Roach’s ‘Who Do You Trust?‘ is an album with great energy whose sound, at times, nods at Rage Against The Machine and Marilyn Manson and at other times to a more mainstream heavy sound. Graveyard Bashers, in their album ‘Where’s Billy?‘ offer everything a voodoo rock/psychobilly music lover always looks for, angry vocals, horror film aesthetics on the cover, machine-like grinding rhythms coming out of upright bass, guitar, drums and…a baseball bat. ‘Drool II‘ by DROOL, nods to the sound of Protomartyr with slow punk rhythms that alternate their dynamics, sometimes creating a numbing effect and other times making everything around them move much faster in a more decisive way. Typical punk rock sound comes out of the EP ‘Heads‘ by Hank Wood &The Hammerheads but it is this sound’s great flow and energy and Hank Wood’s expressive vocals that set this release apart from the other albums of this style that we listened to within the month. The debut, self released album by Warbastard entitled ‘Blood On Your Hands‘ is a fine example of hardcore punk music, with angry vocals, explosive energy and a frantic, noisy guitar created sonic wall that will make your brainwaves boil and you heart pumping as fast as it can.

No Interest‘ by Sounds Like Winter, Antagonista‘ by Polyverso and ‘Part Time Punks Session‘ by Topographies, will most certainly appeal to fans of The Cure and Joy Division as they seem to have been strongly influenced by those bands. Topographies in particular, have created a very interesting sound that mixes elements from 90s indie pop/shoegaze music with guitar riffs that have a Cure feel. The two covers of ‘Sueisfine’ and ‘I only Said’ stay true to the original versions of the songs. In ‘Sueisfine’ the band added more energy to the performance of the lyrics and more noise to the guitars that surround them, while in ‘I only Said’ they chose to bring out the dreamy/shoegaze qualities of the original song. The longer I paid attention to the details, the more elements I could identify in the sound of Topographies but, overall, I think they offer something great here. Similarly, Polyverso start this debut album with very familiar guitar/riff combinations but later reveal their creativity by alternating the industrial and darkwave sides of coldwave. After the first 3 songs the relationship of the melodies to the rhythms become much more interesting making this album one of those ones we listened to many times within the month. Sounds Like Winter in their EP entitled ‘No Interest’ have been inspired by the best moments of Joy Division and offer two new songs together with live recordings of two older songs, until their new album is released and we can enjoy them on their tour within 2019.

Probably the best album of this playlist is the latest release by HANTE. entitled ‘Fierce‘. An album with many collaborations, ‘Fierce’ is quite surely, the best release by HANTE. to date and features Sólveig Matthildur (Kælan Mikla), Marble Slave and Fragnance, Box von Düe (from Box and The Twins, who also appeared on ‘This Fog That Never Ends’) and Ætervader. This album is miles away from the sound of ‘Between Hope&Danger’ and closer to the sound of ‘This Fog That Never Ends’, in terms of musicality, lyricism and emotion. It offers synth melodies that have amazing flow, the vocals are more confident and much more atmospheric than in the past. As before, this album is bilingual in its lyrics. It was also great to identify strong influences from the early heavier (than their current sound) darkwave sound of Diary of Dreams in the song ‘I Don’t Need A Hero’, that could be perceived as the response to the famous Bonnie Tyler song ‘I Need A Hero’.

Deathrock has always been a less populated music style but those bands who still believe in this, always produce great releases. ‘Demo‘ by The IRE and ‘Ash Land‘ by Guignol included amazing songs that were inspired the sound of Cinema Strange and Christian Death but go beyond these influences. The IRE, have nice melodies, great guitar and bass riffs and an overall style influenced by the sound of 80s NDW and post punk bands such as Red Zebra and Xmal Deutschland. We will keep our ears open for their next release! ‘Ash Land‘, the debut album by Guignol, will probably transfer you in a space haunted by the ghosts of Christian Death and Cinema Strange but not for long as this band is here to stay. Their confident rhythmic alterations within the album but also within each song, will definitely put your minds and bodies in turmoil in the dancefloor. We loved the guitar riffs, the powerful drum beats, the playful bass riffs and the theatrical vocals. This album needs your support and time!

Electro/industrial and IDM have been represented by Phobos Reactor, IDK and Cyanbaal. We are not used to encountering much theatricality in industrial music and yet, Phobos Reactor in their album ‘A Dream within A Dream‘, have also used spoken word in order to deliver the lyrics in an inspiring way. Nitzer Ebb came to mind while listening to ‘The Pen’ and Anne Clarke when listening to ‘For Those Who Are Still Alive’ from this album and if this does not intrigue you to give a listen to this album, I don’t know what will, perhaps the fact that P.Emerson Williams has created the cover for this release. IDK a.k.a Daniel Myer has gathered 13 previously written tracks, in this debut album for this project, entitled ‘IDK One‘. This is a self released album that precedes the formation of Rendered, a project of Myer with Cle?ment Perez. You can expect inspiring IDM melodies, enriched with tribal and industrial elements, that create an atmosphere in which you will find it very hard not to dance. Cyanbaal’s self released album ‘Living Tunnel‘ seems to have been inspired by the greatest moments of Project Pitchfork’s career. This is darkwave music in one of its finest moments. Staccato rhythms that also characterize the distorted vocals, industrial sonic textures and rhythms with a great flow make up the magnetizing sound of this album,that clearly creates a sonic tunnel of sorts.

Classic rock music might not be listened to very often in radio shows or bars but there are still very nice albums that represent this style. Our favourite one was Brave’s ‘the calm|the storm‘. We loved how the heavy guitars created space for the violin to come to the foreground which in turn, was beautifully paired with the ethereal vocals. The relationships of the electric guitar with the violin as well as that of the electric guitar with the acoustic guitar, are really fascinating in this album and you might want to stop and re-listen the parts where one gives way to the other! This band has found unique ways to make sonic transitions from areas of electrifying energy to others full with serenity, melody and ethereal qualities. Ukulele is not an instrument we encounter everyday in rock music and yet here it is, contributing to the great sound of this album. You will listen to great rhythms and great melodies which, sometimes contradict and other times complement each other in order to create a rich sound. We also loved the new self released album by The Woodland Hunters entitled ‘The Thoughts of Chairman Jim‘. In it we identified influences from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Dylan and Chuck Berry which have been humbly but very creatively handled in order to create a beautiful sound. The cover of this album is carrying a strong message about collective social and political struggles inspired by anarchist ideas and the title of the album got us searching for this ‘Chairman Jim’. Is he a real person? Was he someone important at some part of the world?This might be a great question for the band and we hope to have the chance to talk to them about it. We are sure you will enjoy listening to this album as much as we did. We cannot leave the new beautiful album of The Twilight Sad out of this month’s soundtrack of course.’It Won/t Be Like This All The Time‘ is being released five years after ‘Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave‘ and its artwork follows the theme of the band’s latest album as well as the emotional intensity and the directness that are elements of this band’s sonic signature. The artwork is courtesy of the longtime collaborator DLT, who has also collaborated with Mogwai, Micah P.Hinson and Max Richter while Andy MacFarlane has done the production of the album. We loved this album because it brought out a fierce experimental attitude with synthesizers brought at the foreground, drums and typical post punk rhythms carefully placed at the background so that the musicality of the vocals could be further highlighted. There were industrial textures here and there, heavy ‘rock’  guitars which respectfully receded to give way to synth notes to ‘shine’ through. This album,like every album of the band, is telling a story. It doesn’t matter so much if this story had as a starting point personal experienced of the band, because the visuals and the music are (as always) driving us to a new environment tempting us to solve this ‘puzzle’ where all the lyrics and all the images and their emotional strength make sense simultaneously. This album made us go back and re-listen the discography of The Twilight Sad and made us want to ‘see’ the previous albums in a new way.The Twilight Sad will be presenting this album live in London next month so don’t miss their gig!

The albums of Griefloss, Mo’ynoq and Velian are interesting metal releases in their own very  unique way. In their album entitled ‘Griefloss‘ the band combines an Anathema-inspired lyricism with very theatrical black metal vocals. After careful listening we can compare the dramatic delivery of the lyrics to the heartbreaking performances of Sopor Aeternus. All this might sound like an odd combination of elements at first, but after listening to this album for a few more times, we concluded that this is exactly what sets this album apart from the other releases of a similar style. Velian’s debut self released album entitled ‘Godless‘ is the result of a creative composition of many elements among which are neoclassical/ethereal vocals which nicely complement symphonic metal parts. Despite the fact that their mesmerizing melodies seem to be abruptly interrupted by the vocals, the overall sound of this album is worth our support and your time. In their debut album entitled ‘Dreaming In A Dead Language‘, Mo’ynoq flirt with the sonic borders between noise and black metal. With heavy and frantic guitars and vocals that seem to have lost all their ‘human’ characteristics, Mo’ynoq offer one of those deeply dark sounds that we find incredibly fascinating!

The rhythms of funeral processions and dark concepts seem to have inspired the fascinating heavy, post rock soundscapes of A Swarm of The Sun. The three tracks in their album entitled ‘The Woods‘, will guide you to a hypnotizing stillness, to a place where your mind goes numb and all magic can reveal itself… Don’t resist its darkness, it really is so powerful!

Ethereal/neoclassical music is so rarely represented these days and this has made the comeback of Autumn Tears even more exciting. The band has returned with a new album after 11 years. ‘Colors Hidden Within Gray‘ With the mastering of this album, having the signature of Olaf Parusel (from the band Stoa), this is a truly fine sonic offering. The production of this album is exceptional and highlights all the ‘colors’ of all the instruments adding volume and depth in their sound. The arrangement of instruments that include viola, cello, clarinet, flute, french horn, trumpet, trombone, harp, bagpipes, piano and unusual instruments such as kamancheh (Iranian bowed string instrument) and bansuri (a type of flute associated with music tradition of India) is also carefully considered, highlighting each of them in a way that makes each of them a different ‘actor’ with a different role in the whole conception of this album. If you are not captivated by the bansuri at ‘Drift‘ I don’t know what else can get into your psyche…We also urge you to notice the relationship its sound has with the piano (played by Ted Tringo) that starts and then discreetly goes into the background. The album is alternating between moments of cinematic, orchestral glory and moments of mesmerizing serenity having as guides the beautiful vocals of Jennifer Judd, Brona McVittie,Dawn Desiree Smith, Nathan Nasby, Beraud. Matthias Borgh (ex Arcana) is also putting his own mark on the percussion rhythms that we can listen to in this album. We dare to wish for this band to be included in the line up of this year’s WGT so that we can enjoy their music live at Schauspielhaus…

The most shambolic, psychedelic and experimental album of this playlist is definitely RAIC’s ‘Multiplicity‘. True to the meaning of this word, multiplicity, the sound of this album exhausts the limits of experimentation bordering on the ‘unlistenable’ and even dares to juxtapose jazz inspired sonic fragments with black metal noisy parts and distorted vocals, creating a really disquieting sound. We challenge you to listen to this album from beginning to end and stay emotionally ‘intact’…!

The best way to move on to the music of the next month is to embark on a meditational trip. The last two albums of this monthly playlist will make sure that this ‘trip’ is a smooth as it can be and as dark as you dare it to be… Alone in The Hollow Garden and ?leph have released albums which will provide ceremonial and dark paths for your mind to wander in. ‘Gyalwa Gyatso‘, taking its title from an important deity of Tibetan Buddhism, creates a rich sound, extracted from a plethora of sources. The music of this album will intrigue parts of your mind and will put you in a trance, as any mantra would.  Tibetan bells, singing bowls, rol-mo cymbals, damaru drums, kangling are merged together with other traditional acoustic instruments like turkish saz, melodium, flutes, seed shakers and with a few self made piezoelectric  devices, analogue synthesizers, drum machines and throat singing are just the ‘raw ingredients’ of this album, whose final ‘destination’ is open to interpretation by every listener out there.

Finally, Aleph’s ‘Entropy‘ might have started as an attempt to give a sonic form to a physics’ concept, the second law of thermodynamics that deals with entropy, but what it really creates in the end, is a deep sound with an amazing flow. Whether this proves the concept of the law, that states “…the total entropy of an isolated system can never decrease over time…” is for each of us to think about. This album has brilliant moments where ‘electric currents’ in the form of high pitched repeated staccato sounds traverse the space, only to be ‘disturbed’ by spoken word that take the role of a guide. The album has been mastered by Philipp Münch, includes a remix by Ah-Cama Sotz and features soprano Dimitra Tripi, taking her out of her classical music ‘comfort’ zone and presenting her with new sonic colours!

Whether your mood throughout January was meditational or dynamic, whether you prefer the heavier sound rather the more experimental/meditation one, our playlist aims to do what Klee’s ‘lines’ aimed to do, take a ‘walk for a walk’s sake…’ we just hope you enjoy it!

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