In the aftermath of a ritualistic live gig by Fire+ Ice which had as support bands While Angels Watch and Knotwork,  it’s time to start preparing ourselves for a more melodic upcoming live gig which will take place at Electrowerkz on Saturday July 12. The headliners, Kirlian Camera, is a band I personally adore and the support bands will be Naevus and Rome.

How does one introduce a favourite band without risking being favourable? Somehow it seems that the best way to do this is by adopting the same approach as for talking about a dear and old acquaintance.

Kirlian Camera’s name has been inspired by Kirlian photography also known as electrography which is a technique used to capture the phenomenon of electrical coronal discharges and has been the subject of scientific and parapsychology research. Kirlian Camera is Angelo Bergamini’s band which now counts 35 years of history. 13 albums after the release of the first self title 12’’, mark the long path of musical and stylistic transformations that the band has followed since their debut gig in Spring 1980 on the occasion of the Italian Gay Pride party. The band’s line up was constantly changing with four female singers preceding Elena Alice Fossi who officially began the collaboration with the band in 2000.

The first result of this collaboration was ‘Still Air’ and it was just an indicator of what was to follow. Ever since, the band has continuously released remarkable music. Both Angelo and Elena, with Siderarctica which gave birth to the all-girl band SPECTRA*paris, are still producing solo work. Using mostly synth generated electro sounds and well integrated atmospheric samples, Kirlian Camera’s sound underwent several changes but one was most significant throughout the years. I am talking about the changes in style and character of Angelo’s vocals over the years. Since the albums ‘It Doesn’t Matter Now’ and ‘Eclipse’ the male vocals have been transformed so much that they have now become an additional instrument. However his current performing style was also apparent in the song ‘After’. Kirlian Camera started in a rather post punk atmosphere with undefined melodies (e.g. ‘Future Rain’) in the album ‘It Doesn’t Matter Now’ then the band underwent a revelatory transformation in ‘Eclipse (Das Schwarze Denkmal)’ and later also developed the ambient part of their sound which related to space music. The solo and abstract sound of the song ‘Christ’s Eyes’ of the first album has been so creatively developed that formed the basis for the formation of the band’s distinct character thereafter.

Electric guitars had more prominent role in ‘Eclipse (Das Schwarze Denkmal)’ and ‘Todesengel. The Fall of Life’ which also made references to rock (e.g. ‘River of No Return’, the amazing cover of ‘We Will Rock You’). The lamenting and sheer darkness of ‘Tor Zwei’ and ‘Sterben…’ was never replicated after this album but other songs followed their style (e.g. ‘Odyssey Europe’) while the song ‘Eclipse’ immediately became very popular song in the dark music scene until now. Various words have been used to describe their music style, ‘neofolk’, ‘electro pop’, ‘dark electro’, ‘darkwave’ etc. Even though all of them apply to some extent there is one element that traverses the band’s music, namely a melancholic and emotional darkness created by dystopian synth and electric soundscapes made up of electro, synth, old industrial, krautrock and various other elements woven together with inspiration. The electronic experimental element in the band’s music was apparent since the first album (e.g. ‘Terminal’, ‘Bondarenko:The Lost Days’ ) and made a connection with electronic and ambient futuristic music which lead to the definition of Berlin School of electronic music identified as space music. It seems that male vocals have changed dramatically as a result of an increased influence of space music. And even though the female vocals always had and continue to have a weird combination of detachment and warmth, one thing is true, this is a band that consistently creates nice music which can’t be compared to anything similar. Their last album ‘Black Summer Choirs‘ released in 2013 by Out of Line, was simultaneously slower in rhythm, bleak in atmosphere (e.g. , ‘Farewell Road‘,’Stranger In the Abandoned Station‘)  and more electro pop (e.g. ‘Heavens‘), blending at times folk elements (e.g. ‘Words‘), downtempo rhytms and orchestral soundscapes and bringing to mind Portishead (e.g. ‘Black August‘, ‘My Kids Kill‘, ‘Barren Cronfields‘)  performance lacking the more energy intensive elements of their previous releases but retaining the high quality of music.

Most bands ‘forget’ or do a lot of compromises to the music of their early days, Kirlian Camera is just not one of these bands as all the albums reveal that Angelo Bergamini has a multifarious and ingenious personality as a musician. The band’s live performances are of equal high quality visually and in terms of sound. I have personally seen the band perform three times the past decade in Athens of Greece and at the Wave Gotik Treffen and was never disappointed since every setlist was almost a best of and their stage appearance is equally beautiful.

Naevus is a band which has a comparably long history to Kirlian Camera. Formed in London in 1998 with Lloyd James as a vocalist, they released their first album ‘Truffles of Love’ in 1999. To this day I consider this to be their best album. Naevus have very clear influences in their sound, namely Death In June, Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, Current 93 but their lyrics (e.g. ‘Food’s Journey’, ‘Break no bread’, ‘Waste’) and some of the songs’ titles, reveal a sense of cynical and harsh humour (e..g. ‘Bread and Cheese in the Doctor’s Surgery’). In their last album ‘The Division of Labour’ released in 2012 from Hau! Ruck this cynical humour (e.g. ‘Idiots (Let Me In)’, ‘Bleat Beep’, ‘Chalk Is Valuable, Keep It In Your Hand’) gives place to direct criticism especially in the lyrics of ‘Song In Suspension’:

“…Your banker is high Never mind
They fall at your feet
Never mind
Chemicals in your blood stream
Never mind
People in your streets
Never mind
It’s only science…
But who will fight this fight that you fight
Who will fight that fight that you fought…”

If anything all the above show that this is a band which through their music, directly address several issues that puzzle them in a lot of levels. The band, along with their clear orientation towards neofolk, had strong melodies in their songs when they started and in the albums ‘Soil’ and ‘Behaviour’ they have also adopted elements from psych rock and psych folk by experimenting with their playing and including sound samples creating chaotic but very exuberant atmosphere (e.g. ‘Waste’). In their album ‘The Division of Labour with the exception of ‘Song in Suspension’ which has a numbing effect on me every time I listen to it, Naevus seem to have abandoned all these elements in favour of a rather old school and typical neofolk sound where repetition of a basic military theme (in style), dominates the songs. So the atmosphere and emotion of songs like ‘Oracle Oracle’, ‘The Mill’, ‘A Lesson’, ‘Use’, seems to have been left in the past. A month ago Naevus officially announced the use of crowd funding for their next album while the release date of their latest EP ‘Backsaddling is not yet known. Naevus have collaborated with Spiritual Front, Sieben a.k.a Matt Howden, Jo Quail, David E. Williams, Rose Mc Dowall among other musicians and after this gig will also be the support band to Of The Wand And The Moon on September 28, 2014.

The last time I saw the band perform live was in 2010 when they were supporting David E. Williams at the pub The Enterprise, along with Sol Invictus. Since then, they have released one album and two EPs therefore this live will naturally include new material.

Rome is the newest of the three bands as they were formed in 2005 in Luxembourg by Jérôme Reuter and released their first album ‘Nera’ in 2006 in Cold Meat Industry. The band started rather cautiously by implementing a lot of samples and following the steps of neofolk bands which replicated war songs (e.g. ‘Rape Blossoms’) and the atmosphere of rebel songs (e.g. ‘Der Zeitsturm’). Rome has frequently implemented orchestral sounds in their songs giving them depth and an atmosphere of emotional glory (e.g. ‘Les Hirondelles‘).However it was after two album that they seemed to actually being able to find their own character as musicians by developing further the music and lyrics’ style of their earlier extraordinary song ‘Hope Dies Painless’. This resulted in the release of two perfect albums ‘Flowers From Exile’ and ‘Nos Chants Perdus’. These were their only three albums which I have purchased without second thoughts and which I listen from beginning to end without skipping any song. Jérôme has a unique melodic voice which, combined with the music he writes in the electric guitar and the juxtaposing samples, give Rome their character. The atmosphere and melodies of these two albums was unprecedented and was not replicated in the next albums ‘Die Aesthetik Der Herrschaftsfreiheit’ and ‘Hell Money’. Last year Rome released the EP with the cynical title ‘Hate Us And See If We Mind’ which included two very lengthy songs and their next album will be called ‘A Passage to Rhodesia‘ and is expected to be released in 1000 copies as a box containing a book, 2cds and a DVD on August 2, 2014 by TESCO distribution. This box is available to preorder now throught TESCO at

However on what concerns their live gigs there is a negative element which doesn’t have to do with the band, that until now hasn’t been addressed. Their live appearances seem not to do justice to their music. Their melodies seem to be ‘lost’ resulting in an abstract noise, the vocals can’t be heard clearly and it takes a lot of effort to understand which of their songs is performed. I’ve seen Rome three times the past 8 years in different spaces in Athens and at the Wave Gotik Treffen and I, as well as others, have been quite disappointed by the quality of sound in all three venues. Everyone wondered if this had something to do with the sound engineers and to this day this is still unexplained. Personally this has never and will never put me off attending his live gigs however I really wish that his music will be heard at its best in Electrowerkz so that it can be appreciated for what it is.

I am looking forward to this live gig which will also have a dedicated Dj for the evening which is also one of my favourites, Dj BlackDeath 1334. Since I love the music of all the bands i can only  expect to listen to them at their best. You can purchase tickets from here:

Blaue Rosenbox

Spread the word by sharing this