Resignation—1897 (2009)

Resignation—1897 (2009)

Resignation—1897 (2009)

Details

All music by NG Ekholm and HN Björkk. Recorded December 2008 to January 2009 at Villa Bohult. Post production and mastering by HN Björkk. Layout by aDhDesigns. Released on 205 Recordings. Exclusively distributed through Old Europa Café.

Band

  • NG Ekholm
  • HN Björkk

Tracks

  1. I
  2. II
  3. III
  4. IV
  5. V
  6. VI
  7. VII
  8. VIII
  9. I (2)
  10. I (Rmx)

Review

Ah, yes! I thought. Because that’s what you wnat to listen to on the train to London: an hour long album of ambience. And then I fell asleep and had the best snooze on a train that I’ve had for a long time.

I woke with a jolt as though I was unconsciously aware that everyone was looking at me. I wasn’t dribbling, that was a good thing at least. Had I been snoring?

Ah well…

Resignation.

This is a beautifully paced piece of music that seems to ebb and flow like the tide. Perfect for lying down to in a darkened room.

The tracks wash into one another. A throbbing heart beat gives the songs life. Listening hard you can hear layer upon layer of sounds, blending together, playing off one another, giving the tracks depth and complexity.

Conclusion

This isn’t a metal album by any stretch of the imagination. But it is beautiful and I look forward to exploring this work further.

Review score: 80%

Opaque—The Cult of Survivors: Unreleased tracks 1997–2007 (2007)

Opaque—The Cult of Survivors (2007)

Opaque—The Cult of Survivors (2007)

Details

Four CD set released by Kovorox Sound to mark ten years of Opaque. Features unreleased live and studio tracks spanning the entire history of Opaque. each disk has been professionally duplicated with on-disk printing and is individually packaged in its own sleeve. the four volumes are packed inside a heavy weight plastic wallet with printed outer sleeve.

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Pure sleaze food
  2. Agony blizzard
  3. Luggage
  4. Slow burning intrusion
  5. Razorwire katatonika
  6. They didn’t seem to appreciate the horror of it all
  7. The plexus of gore and grime and crime
  8. Absence
  9. Queue jumpers water torture

Disc 2

  1. All knowing
  2. Cannabalism, cookery and blood drinking
  3. Cold mist
  4. Consumating axe
  5. The cult of survivors
  6. Masochistic gut rumble
  7. Poured upon the fornicators
  8. The audience was over
  9. The cauterized stumps
  10. The tree on the hill

Disc 3

  1. Home made sauna becomes sweltering tomb
  2. Screams. stabs. aorta. death
  3. Beneath the awareness of mother culture
  4. No depravity taboo
  5. Rupturing organs laughing
  6. Crepitus
  7. Under the knife, under the spell of the anesthetic
  8. The illusion of petty individuality
  9. Spontaneous medical equipment
  10. Veiled assertations

Disc 4

  1. Super-k bills
  2. Anger screams
  3. Inside the voices
  4. Animal blood
  5. From deprivation
  6. Under guise of consolation
  7. The perfect wrongness
  8. Lice infested tea house

Review

More noise. And squeaks. Noise and squeaks.

Squeaks and noise. For girls and boys.

And then some pretty ambient tones.

And then back to noise and squeaks. And some ambient noise. And some ambient squeaks.

Four discs worth.

Conclusion

All very admirable and artistic, and skilfully executed. But not really for me. Sorry.

Review score: 20%

Noma / Rejectamenta—Noma / Rejectamenta (2009)

Noma / Rejectamenta—Noma / Rejectamenta (2009)

Noma / Rejectamenta—Noma / Rejectamenta (2009)

Details

Released on At War With False Noise Records, 2009. Limited to 500 copies.

Bands

  • Tracks one and two, all sounds and dictaphonics by John Cromar
  • Track three, all sounds by Adam Cresser

Tracks

  1. Friede in den gedanken (13:30)
  2. Amusia (22:37)
  3. SSilence (33:10)

Review

More experimental, ambient drone.

The packaging is curious. It comes with, what the record label refers to as “reverse art”, so the front cover is on the back, and vice versa.

Both experimental artists Noma (John Comar) and Rejectamenta (Adam Cresser) hail from Glasgow

The record label described Noma’s contributions to this split release thus:

He takes on two tracks here, the first is a slowly-building tone-fest. Very ambient, and hauntingly beautiful…bascially what Noma does best. Next track “Amusia” is a little atypical of what most people will expect. Imposing thuds are interjected by what sounds like some form of screeching metallic machine being thrown down some stairs, electronic blasts. Surreal, bizarre, unpredictable….very Noma.

Rejectamenta’s solitary track represents only his second ever release. The track here “SSilence” is a follow up to “SServant”. This is clearly not a silent track. It is, to quote the press release, 33 minutes of a “total overload of a billion circuit-bent instruments all melded together into one massive orchestral binary cacophany”

 

Conclusion

There is something intriguing about these sounds. But I’m not sure I’d choose to listen to this terribly often. But it is quite grand, like a soundscape.

Review score: 60%

Half Makeshift—Omen (2008)

Half Makeshift—Omen (2008)

Half Makeshift—Omen (2008)

Details

All instrumentalisation, recording, mixing and artwork by Nathan Michael. Mastered by James Plotkin. Thank you Nicholas, Chris, James, Marc, Adam, Jess and Earth. Released on Profound Lore Records, 2008.

Band

  • Nathan Michael—Everything

Tracks

  1. Omen I (15′ 27″)
  2. Omen II (12′ 12″)
  3. Omen III (11′ 01″)
  4. Omen IV (12′ 11″)

Review

This is a curious album. It is only four tracks long, but it still lasts over 50 minutes. The album packaging is quite surreal. It looks like a collage, drawing together retro images from, I guess, the 1950s or 1960s, alongside photographs and illustrations of human anatomy, and chess diagrams. And then there is next to no text on the packaging—nothing to do with the album, anyway. Anything that I’ve gleaned about the album or composer I’ve had to find elsewhere.

I tried to listen to the album at first in the car, but I couldn’t hear much above the rumble from the road.

Omen appears to be one piece of music, separated into four parts, sitting somewhere on the experimental / ambient / drone spectrum.

I’ve been searching for a word to sum it up, and I can’t get far beyond “devastating”. There’s a deep melancholia to the music, as it densely flows from one cinematic soundscape to the next. At times I felt as though I was drifting aimlessly on an ocean, beneath a heavy grey sky. It’s definitely not a piece of music to put on to cheer yourself up to.

And yet… having listened to it once and having come out the other end feeling utterly miserable, I just went back and started it again. And again. And I’m now on my fourth listen today. There is something mysteriously human about it; there is something about it that makes it oddly soothing and comforting while paradoxically making you also feel on edge. It’s like sitting down in your comfy fleece trackies and jumper, clutching a mug of hot chocolate to watch The Blair Witch Project.

The music itself is a mixture of guitar (clean and distorted), bass, drums, keyboards/piano, and various sounds, frequencies, waves and bursts of static. Passages are played backwards, and throughout there is a deep drone. Some passages flow, others like those in “Omen III” lurch adding to the jarring. It is simple but uneasy.

Conclusion

Half Makeshift appears to have been the project of Nathan Michael, who stopped recording music convinced that the world would end on 21 May 2011 (the birthday of Great King Rat, for any Queen fans out there; and the birthday of my grannie and her twin sister, for any members of my family out there). Omen then was his last recording: a requiem for the human race. If I’d known than before I might have kept this as the final album to review.

Like much modern choral music, this is a love-it or hate-it kind of album. I’m veering towards the love-it end of that particular spectrum, but I guess I’d need to be in the mood to listen to it. It’s just that mood will likely be depressed.

Review score: 80%

 

 

Deuterror—Le Gueule de Guerre (2007)

Deuterror—Le Gueule de Guerre (2007)

Deuterror—Le Gueule de Guerre (2007)

Details

Released 1 June 2007 on Steelwork Maschine.

Band

  • Nicolas Crombez (aka Deuterror)—One man project from Belgium

Tracks

  1. Untitled I
  2. Untitled II
  3. Untitled III
  4. Untitled IV
  5. Untitled V
  6. Untitled VI
  7. Untitled VII
  8. Untitled VIII
  9. Untitled IX

Review

This is Nicolas Crombez’s third album under the moniker Deuterror, the first two being internet-only releases.

The album title “Le Gueule de Guerre” is French for “The Mouth of War”.

I think I’m probably stretching boundaries quite a bit to categorise this album as metal, but we’ll run with it. It’s hard to pigeonhole exactly (which is always a good sign in my book). It’s broadly dark, ambient / drone / industrial.

The album certainly has a cinematic feel to it. Like the soundtrack to a really bleak, post-apocalyptic movie. It’s subtle, it’s atmospheric, and I really enjoyed it.

In a way it reminded me a bit of Towering Inferno‘s album Kadesh, but with the atmosphere of the soundtrack for Dear Esther.

Nine untitled tracks, which Last.fm helpfully labelled with Roman numerals, so I have followed suit. Here are my notes on the nine tracks:

  1. Insects. Pulsing bass.
  2. Pulsing electrical arcs. Train. Bells. Organ trumpets.
  3. Aircraft flying over. Rocket. Dischordant. Horns. Horrific choir.
  4. Rain. Thunder. Train. Birds. Someone walking breaking twigs.
  5. Deep horn. Mellotron. Gunshots. Distortion.
  6. Suffering voice. Growling bass.
  7. Strings. Chorus. Guitar and organ.
  8. Choir.
  9. Scraping tools. Drum beats.

And there it is. 43 minutes and 55 seconds worth of various noises.

Conclusion

I rather liked this album. It’s interesting, it’s experimental, at times uncomfortable, always challenging.

Review score: 94%