Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bestial Summoning - The Dark War Has Begun (1992)


Raw, primal black metal from the Netherlands. Rudimentary riffage, sloppy blastbeats, a rough mixing job, and vicious vocals that sound like the work of a demonic horde. For fans of The Oath of Black Blood and Dethrone the Son of God, this is a lost classic.

Track listing:
1. Victory Is Ours
2. Unholy Prison
3. Evil Will Prevail
4. Exorcism Fails
5. Give Me Your Orders
6. Enjoy Your Death for Satan
7. Summoning the Brothers
8. Countess of Evil
9. The Dark War Has Begun
10. I Am Home (Dedicated to Dead)
11. Dwelling of the Unholy Ghost
12. Birth of the Antichrist

God's armies are wiped out
He is crying like a pathetic little child in his heaven

Ricky Ililonga - Soweto (1978)


Fuzzy African psych with elements of funk and soul. Go ahead, try to not like it.

Track listing:
1. Love Is So Strange
2. You Got the Fire
3. My Destiny
4. Soweto: Pray for Soweto / Soweto / Blow Your Mind / Soweto Explosion
5. Shebeen King
6. Fire High
7. Sunshine Queen
8. Afri-Koko

I'm going under

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sathanas - La Hora de Lucifer (2012)


By request, here's La Hora de Lucifer (the new mix and master, to be specific), the 8th album from longstanding US black/death metal band Sathanas. They've never been at all groundbreaking, but that hasn't stopped them from kicking plenty of ass for Satan, in a gnarly, thrash-y, early Bathory/Celtic Frost kinda way. If the chorus of "Hammer of Demons" doesn't get you headbanging, that part of your brain must not exist.

Track listing:
1. Forged in Eternal Fire
2. Engraved in the Book of Death
3. Battle of Bewitchment
4. La Hora de Lucifer
5. Dark Conjurings
6. Hammer of Demons
7. Nocturnal Reign
8. Blackest Hate

Unleash this fury
I hear the voices say to me
"Take your life and join us
We await"

Michael Shrieve with Kevin Shrieve & Klaus Schulze - Transfer Station Blue (1988)


Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Stomu Yamashta, Steve Winwood, & Michael Shrieve - Go (1976)
Richard Wahnfried [Klaus Schulze] - Time Actor (1979)
Michael Shrieve & David Beal - The Big Picture (1988)
Michael Shrieve & Steve Roach - The Leaving Time (1988)
Michael Shrieve - Stiletto (1989)
Klaus Schulze - Shadowlands (2013)

An excellent, hard-to-find record that brings together Michael Shrieve (who's best known as drummer for Santana for their first eight records, but has a phenomenal catalogue of solo and collaborative efforts), Kevin Shrieve (who I assume is Michael's brother and I know nothing about) and the almighty Klaus Schulze. The first song, "Communique: Approach Spiral", is exactly what one might expect from this collaboration: Schulze's propulsive synth pulsations working in unison with Shrieve's pounding percussion to create a fluid, sustained sense of tension. After the relatively brief, ambient "Nucleotide", the title track starts off down the same road as "Communique" before taking a sharp turn into a lush, slo-mo disco groove that managed to give me chills the first time I heard it -- this should tell you something about what a goddamn nerd I am.

Track listing:
1. Communique: Approach Spiral
2. Nucleotide
3. Transfer Station Blue
4. View from the Window

Four winds

Friday, May 29, 2015

Orenda - Back in the Grave (2006)


Bulgarian black metal. Simple riffs played repeatedly to hypnotic effect over unending blastbeats -- aside from fills, it's literally all blasts until the last track -- and hateful vocals, with a subtle but crucial sense of dynamics generated by layering in reverb-drenched leads, sparse keyboards, and samples. Think of it as black metal for people who listen to too much black metal, in that it's next level in a way that (probably) only total nerds like me can appreciate.

Track listing:
1. Kargan (Devastation)
2. The Shrine
3. Remembrance
4. A Deep Grave
5. Die Away
6. Obscurantism

Restless spirit passed through the oblivion
Icy winds left blowing behind him
Insane blizzards marked his traces
His wings were all fire
Fire and madness
Sorrowful wails were chasing him
Blood was raining
He did not turn back

Vidna Obmana - Gathering in Frozen Beauty (1989)


Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Vidna Obmana - Echoing Delight (1993)
Steve Roach & Vidna Obmana - Well of Souls (1995)

Haunting ambience from this Belgian composer. Icy floes of synthesizer -- crystalline chords, simple melodic mantras, dissonant drones -- drift about with an eerie calm.

Track listing:
1. Dazzling Array 1
2. Lost in the Swirling Distance
3. Inside the Empty Mass
4. Dazzling Array 2
5. Before Mutual Grace
6. Upon Steel Heaven
7. Dazzling Array 3
8. Reflecting Deep Stars
9. Into Gray Divides
10. Gathering in Frozen Beauty

Silver growing

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dead Shell of Universe - Tamo Gde Pupoljak Vene... Tamo Je Moje Seme (2008)


Serbia's answer to Deathspell Omega. I'm starting to think that these 35 minutes of music are all we'll hear from this band, but I hope to be proven wrong.

Track listing:
1. Sanjo
2. Tamo Gde Pupoljak Vene...
3. ,,''

The bride into the black of the night
The woman dressed in the burning sky

The Legendary Pink Dots - The Maria Dimension (1991)


Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Legendary Pink Dots - Chemical Playschool ! & 2 (1981)

A full-on masterpiece of dark, mind-melting outsider psych. Come get lost in a dense musical forest of acoustic and fuzzed-out guitars, synth, saxophone, and more, throughout which Edward Ka-Spel's warped, desperate vocals echo. Perfect in every way, except in that it is too creepy for mixed company.

Track listing:
1. Disturbance
2. Pennies for Heaven
3. Third Secret
4. The Grain Kings
5. The Ocean Cried 'Blue Murder'
6. Belladonna
7. A Space Between
8. Evolution
9. Cheraderama
10. Lilith
11. Fourth Secret
12. Expresso Noir
13. Home
14. Crushed Velvet

Deep down horrors untold
In the hold

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Today Is the Day - Willpower (1994)


Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Today Is the Day - Today Is the Day (1996)

Pro-tip: There is no such thing as the "best" Today Is the Day record. The way I see it, Willpower, Temple of the Morning Star, In the Eyes of God, and Sadness Will Prevail are all equally qualified for the title. But right now, I'm feeling Willpower the hardest, and I can at least say with minimal doubt that it's the best of their three Am Rep records. Math-y rhythms, thick, dissonant guitars, deranged leads, and a hallucinatory but razor-sharp and crushing overall feel, punctuated by the powerful, borderline terrifying vocals of supposedly very nice psychopath Steve Austin. Also, listen for "Simple Touch", a very rare moment of beauty in an extremely harsh body of work.

Track listing:
1. Will Power
2. My First Knife
3. Nothing to Lose
4. Golden Calf
5. Sidewinder
6. Many Happy Returns
7. Simple Touch
8. Promised Land
9. Amazing Grace
10. Execution Style

You are the angel and the fist

If you like Today Is the Day, you might like:

THERAPY?
FUDGE TUNNEL

Richard Harris - A Tramp Shining (1968)


Best known for including the original version of the impossibly maudlin "MacArthur Park", A Tramp Shining is a surprisingly, endearingly outsider-sounding collection of swooning, orchestral 60s pop. Fans of early Scott Walker will love Harris' slightly skewed take on crooning, while fans of Bryter Later will fall for the lush instrumental arrangements and starry-eyed melodrama.

Track listing:
1. Prelude
2. Didn't We
3. Interlude
4. Paper Chase
5. Interlude
6. Name of My Sorrow
7. Interlude
8. Lovers Such As I
9. In the Final Hours
10. MacArthur Park
11. Dancing Girl
12. Interlude
13. If You Must Leave My Life
14. A Tramp Shining

Bless the place that no one goes
Bless the words that no one knows
Bless the rose that never grows
Lights that are dim, trees without limbs
Babies that cry, and lovers such as I

Molested - Blod-Draum (1995)


Essential Norwegian death metal. Reverb-drenched drums and guitars that alternate between discordant speed picking and melodies that might come across as epic if they weren't so muddy, and vocals that seem to have very little to do with rhythm of the song over which they're being growled. Then, midway through the jaw-dropping "Following the Growls", Norwegian folk instruments come into play and stay there through the title track, making for some of the strangest, most thrilling sounds to ever pop up on a death metal record. Somehow, they then manage to top themselves with "The Hate from Miasma Storms", one of the best pure death metal songs in existence.

Track listing:
1. A Strife Won at Wraith
2. Along the Misty Morass
3. Unborn Woods in Doom
4. Following the Growls
5. Blod Draum
6. The Hate from Miasma Storms
7. Carved by Raven Claws
8. A Glade of Ingrown Blood
9. Forlorn as a Mist of Grief

But the owls have left
A greed for golden throne

Monday, May 25, 2015

Yatha Sidhra - A Meditation Mass (1974)


Related:
Dreamworld - On Flight to the Light (1980)

Before the Fichter brothers formed Dreamworld, they were Yatha Sidhra, the name under which they recorded this drugged-out underground classic of hypnotic, experimental krautrock. Chord progressions and percussion grooves loop endlessly as flute, synth, vibraphone, guitar, and electric piano improvisations dance overhead, accented occasionally by blissfully mellow vocals.

Four tracks, titled "Part One" through "Part Four".

Circle dance

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Rites of Thy Degringolade - The Caryatid (2000)


Raw, drug-fueled, Canadian black/death metal. Recorded as a solo project, The Caryatid is a hallucinogenic, scatterbrained trip wherein ripping, dissonant blackened death runs full force into deranged, avante-doom passages, accented by ominous drones, cryptic samples, timpani, and moaned clean vocals.

Track listing:
1. Into the... Rise and Fall
2. Adrift Amongst the Solids
3. Six to Complete, to Complete Infinity
4. The Rise and Fall of...
5. The Caryatid
6. T'was a Product of Dipsomania
7. FMSVRHS

Rites has set a blade to their hearts and their ears
And over their eyes is a covering
And for them is a great punishment

Black Dice - Beaches & Canyons (2002)


God-tier experimental psych. Mixes drone, electronic, noise, psych rock, and sound collage into a bizarre, harsh, but celebratory package. One of those rare records that manages to capture the type of happiness that's not contented or resigned, but charged, revelatory, and even a bit scary.

Track listing:
1. Seabird
2. Things Will Never Be the Same
3. The Dream Is Going Down
4. Endless Happiness
5. Big Drop

Cloud pleaser

If you like this, there's always:

Boredoms - Super Roots 7 (1998)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Lyd - Lyd (1970)


Hella druggy, dark, raw, heavy psych. Recorded in 1970, but didn't see an official release until 1992.

Track listing:
1. The Time of Hate and Struggle
2. Need You
3. Stay High, Fly Away Is Still OK
4. Double Dare
5. Think It Over Twice
6. Trash Pad

In the mornings, ever after
People lying cold as ice
Wondering whether it was worthwhile
Being dead but being right

Friday, May 22, 2015

Yattering - Genocide (2003)


Polish technical brutal death metal. Blah blah it's heavy, blah blah blah the riffs are cool, blah blah shredding blah blah blah, but what's really awesome are the little touches, like the warped lead on "Panic in a Sea of Blood", the unexpectedly jammy instrumental breaks on "Living Bomb", and the tremolo guitar on "Non Adapted Socially" -- total insanity! They also seem to hate someone named Mario, so if you're anti-Mario, have I got an album for you.

Note: their lyrics are vague and definitely ESL (sample lyric: "You create appearances of existence/Motherfucker without creative hopes") but as far as I can tell, the "homo" in "Non Typical Homo" is short for "homo sapien", so... homophobia averted.

Track listing:
1. Genocide
2. Schism
3. Message to M.A.R.I.O.
4. Non Adapted Socially
5. Panic in a Sea of Blood
6. Inflow (Thought from Outside)
7. Non Typical Homo
8. Rapist's Victim
9. Sentence (To Die)
10. Temptation of a Crime
11. Murderer (You Are)
12. Living Bomb

Nobody's interested in your
Past, future, relationship of sperm

Ray Lynch - Deep Breakfast (1984)


Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Ray Lynch - Sky of Mind (1983)

Lynch's masterpiece, Deep Breakfast ditches all traces of the organic instrumentation that had colored his first record, Sky of Mind, diving headfirst into a pristine world of synthesizer.

Track listing:
1. Celestial Soda Pop
2. The Oh of Pleasure
3. Falling in the Garden
4. Your Feeling Shoulders
5. Rhythm in the Pews
6. Kathleen's Song
7. Pastorale
8. Tiny Geometries

Sky beneath your knees

More synth-y goodness:

SOFTWARE
KITARO

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Nahar - The Strange Inconvenience (2013)


Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Nahar - La Fascination Du Pire (2009)

Progressive French black metal. Elements of doom, post-metal, and prog-metal, masterfully arranged and performed.

Track listing:
1. In Red Light Perdition
2. Face of Extinction
3. Where Others Have Drowned
4. Millenium's Echo
5. Desert of Redemption
6. The March of No Reason
7. Untitled

Under the hypnotic eye of a great snake

If you like this, try:

Kozeljnik -
Deeper the Fall (2010)
Gorath - Apokálypsis: Unveiling the
Age that Is Not to Come (2011)

Brigitte Fontaine - Brigitte Fontaine Est... Folle (1969)


There's nothing like a sultry French voice singing over orchestral pop to help you to come across as cultured and as having good taste. Don't be fooled, though, I just had a slice of pizza and washed it down with a Tecate.

Track listing:
1. Il Pleut
2. Le Beau Cancer
3. Il Se Passe Des Choses
4. Une Fois Mais Pas Deux
5. L'Homme Objet
6. Éternelle
7. Blanche Neige
8. Comme Rimbaud
9. Dommage Que Tu Sois Mort
10. Je Suis Inadaptée
11. Cet Enfant Que Je T'Ais Fait

I'm about to forget

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Heinous Killings - Hung with Barbwire (2006)


Sick-ass brutal death metal from scenic Cleveland. Will probably make you disrespect your surroundings. I'm a sucker for drum machines, incomprehensible walls of riffs, unintelligible growls, and sample abuse, so Hung with Barbwire has been in near-constant rotation here at OPIUM HUM headquarters -- ever since some dumb-dumb on an idiotic forum complained about not being able to find it anywhere, and I tracked it down in less than ten seconds because I am a master of internet music nerdery. The song titles aren't as over-the-top as they could be, but I'm actually kinda digging the simplicity. They're like, "I'm not gonna get too technical or crude about it, just trust me, I'm going to brutally murder you."

Track listing:
1. Possessed to Kill
2. Strangled by Intestines
3. Skinned Alive in Acid
4. Hung with Barbwire
5. Chopped Up in a Body Bag
6. Asphyxiating Soil
7. Dissected Spinal Cord
8. Infection Consumed
9. Severe Throat Stabs
10. Nailed Cranium

"What do you want?"
"Your blood... all over me."


More like this:

VOMIT REMNANTS
DISAVOWED

Roy Montgomery - Temple IV (1996)


Damn, haven't listened to this one in a while, and it's even better than I remember. Hypnotically strummed guitars chime away into infinity over warm beds of Moog and grainy feedback. I'm coming out of a few days of school insanity, and this one's doing me right.

Track listing:
1. She Waits on Temple IV
2. Departing the Body
3. The Soul Quietens
4. The Passage of Forms
5. Jaguar Meets Snake
6. Above the Canopy
7. Jaguar Unseen

And now the rain sounds like life is falling down through it

If you like this, here's some more like it:

Hash Jar Tempo - Well Oiled (1997)
Steven R. Smith - Owl (2008)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Svartsyn - Timeless Reign (2007)


Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Svartsyn - ... His Majesty (2000)

To me, Svartsyn's raw, ass-kicking second album, which I have linked above, is one of the all-time great black metal records. Timeless Reign is a different beast. It's far more polished, and although it's generally pretty fast, it's more about atmosphere than brutality. Also, gotta love how happy the snake head in the upper right corner looks. The rest of the heads are here to destroy; that one's here to party.

Track listing:
1. Intro / Surth Lit the Earth
2. Tehom
3. Sanctus Satanas
4. My Sinner
5. Birth of Terror
6. Timeless Reign
7. Spiritual Death

Out of closed eyelids pours the blood of beauty

Sparklehorse - Distorted Ghost EP (1999)


Released between Sparklehorse's two most beloved albums, Distorted Ghost begins with "Happy Man (Memphis Version)", a track that answered the prayers of anyone, myself included, who fell in love with the apparent pop song that popped up, garbled and half-destroyed, on the Good Morning Spider track "Chaos of the Galaxy/Happy Man". The next four songs are prime Sparklehorse -- whimsical, melancholic, starry-eyed alt rock -- with a highlight in the stuttering noise pop of "My Yoke Is Heavy". Finally, the EP closes with an additional version of "Happy Man", this one done in the style of GMS favorite "Pig". An essential release for any fan.

Track listing:
1. Happy Man (Memphis Version)
2. Waiting for Nothing
3. Happy Place
4. My Yoke Is Heavy
5. Gasoline Horseys
6. Happy Pig

I woke up in a horse's stomach one foggy morning
His eyes were crazy and he smashed into the cemetery gates

Monday, May 18, 2015

Slugathor - Echoes from Beneath (2009)


New school old school Finnish death metal. Sounds like Bolt Thrower performed in the lysergic style of Incantation.

Track listing:
1. Summoning (The True Face of Evil)
2. Stormtroopers
3. The Smoke
4. Unveil the Passage
5. Abomination
6. Last Rites
7. Downfall

Dragged down among the undead
To be reviled, defamed and spat upon

Farflung - The Belief Module (1998)


Monumental LA space rock with heavy quasi-Eastern vibes.

Track listing:
1. The Day of St. Anthony's Fire
2. Petal
3. Fingers of the Sky Catcher
4. The Belief Module
5. Gleam
6. The Dead Sea
7. World Within a World

Acid tabs

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Echtra - Burn It All Away (2004)


OG Cascadian black metal from one member of Fauna, one of the area's finest. Echtra's first solo release, Burn It All Away consists of three mesmerizing, exactly 23-minute monoliths seemingly designed to obliterate the conscious mind. Re-released on bandcamp as Echtra I (and made available for pay-as-you-will download) but it'll always be Burn It All Away to me.

Track listing:
1. I
2. II
3. II

A dream of animals dancing with my soul

Steve Tibbetts & Knut Hamre - Å (1999)


Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Steve Tibbetts - Steve Tibbetts (1977) + Yr (1980)
Steve Tibbetts - The Fall of Us All (1994)

A collaboration between experimental fusion guitarist Steve Tibbetts (one of my all-time favorite artists) and Norwegian fiddle player Knut Hamre. Anyone familiar with Steve Tibbetts will find this album instantly familiar. Every composition seems to be built on his loose, shimmering guitars and longtime collaborator Marc Anderson's understated percussion, but here, they're filled out by the warm drone of Nordic fiddle, as well as some cello and harp. Gorgeous stuff.

Track listing:
1. Olav Bergsland
2. Huldra-mi
3. Trebakken
4. Huldreslåtter
5. Nøringen
6. Ånde
7. Fjellmanngjenta
8. Huldreslått
9. Spelar Guro
10. Baansuul
11. Bygdatråen
12. Baansuul

Glass everywhere

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ash Pool - World Turns on Its Hinge (2007)


Hateful raw US black metal. From New York, to be specific. Blast beats, pogos, rudimentary riffing, with a sloppy but solid, punk-ish delivery. And, as you can see from the track listing, some pretty goddamn provocative lyrics.

Track listing:
1. Sin of Life
2. Crucifixion Fantasy
3. Vices Triumph Over Wisdom
4. Shade of Rape
5. Under Zyklon Blue
6. Penetrated Slave
7. Rapist's Thrusts
8. The Sin of Nature Is the Sign of God

Like a pillow
Slashed of its feathers
Each young hand
Each slight ankle
Each hair
Never coming back

Friday, May 15, 2015

Dødheimsgard - Kronet Til Konge (1995)


90s Norwegian black metal. Pure and true -- nothing but tremolo picking, busy drumming, hoarse, reverb-soaked howls, and Satanic blasphemy.

Track listing:
1. Intro
2. Å slakte Gud
3. En krig å seire
4. Jesu blod
5. Midnattskogens sorte kjerne
6. Kuldeblest over evig isøde
7. Kronet til konge
8. Mournful, Yet and Forever
9. Når vi har dolket Guds hjerte
10. Starcave, Depths and Chained
11. When Heavens End
12. Outro

For us, sounds of lovely pain

The Five Day Week Straw People - The Five Day Week Straw People (1968)


Some choice early psych for dat ass. The Five Day Week Straw People isn't some lost masterwork, but it's a solid collection of upbeat, druggy 60s garage rock. Plus -- and this is important -- it does contain "Sunday Morning?", whose warbly guitar textures and ethereal vocals arguably make it a (very) early piece of proto-shoegaze. It's also straight-up one of my all-time favorite songs.

This reissue contains the 10 original album tracks, followed by 9 previously unreleased songs from John Du Cann's other band, The Attack.

Track listing:
1. Five Day Week Straw People
2. I'm Going Out Tonight
3. Gold Digger
4. Postmen
5. Car Wash
6. Feel Like Having a Party
7. Sunday Morning?
8. Does It Rain!
9. If You Were Around
10. Dust in My Eyes
11. Magic in the Air [bonus]
12. Mr. Pinnodmy's Dilemma [bonus]
13. Freedom for You [bonus]
14. Strange House [bonus]
15. Feel Like Flying [bonus]
16. Too Old [bonus]
17. Go Your Way [bonus]
18. Now the Sun Shines [bonus]
19. Sleep Like a Child [bonus]

Get yourself free

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Famulus Ab Satanas - Sacred Assembly Beneath Unholy Secrecy (2006)


Lo-fi Finnish black metal. Copped this years ago by raiding some rando's library while using Soulseek for the first time. This same user unwittingly introduced me to Black Seas of Infinity. And that's the kind of top-shelf, thrilling, yet relevant storytelling that keeps you coming back to my incredible blog.

Track listing:
1. Dark Cult of Satan
2. Blessed to Serve
3. Only One King Will Forever Prevail
4. The Great Finale
5. Ultimate Invocation
6. Towers Rising Beneath
7. Prayer of Your Servant

When you've got Satan on a bagel
You can have Satan anytime

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Seefeel - Polyfusia (1994)


One of the best and most underrated bands to come out of the British shoegaze scene of the early 90s, Seefeel created a godly fusion of minimal techno and ambient shoegaze. Released on the heels of their classic debut LP QuiquePolyfusia compiles two earlier EPs, including a cover of The Cure's "Plainsong" and some remixes by one Richard D. James.

Track listing:
1. More Like Space
2. Time to Find Me (Come Inside)
3. Come Alive
4. Blue Easy Sleep
5. Plainsong
6. Moodswing
7. Minky Starshine
8. Time to Find Me (AFX Fast Mix)
9. Time to Find Me (AFX Slow Mix)
10. Plainsong (Sine Bubble Embossed Mix)

"I think it's dark and it looks like rain," she said
"And the wind is blowing like it's the end of the world," she said
"And it's so cold, it's like the cold if you were dead"
And then she smiled for a second

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Shackleton - Discography (1999-?)


So this one's pretty much a mystery to me. I don't remember how it ended up in my iTunes library, and this cryptic blurb is literally the only writing regarding this band on the entire internet. So from that, and a desolate last.fm page, I've been able to piece together that they were a 4-piece from San Francisco, they started in 1999, and they had an album called The Inland Mile. Anyone got the scoop?

Musically, this is guitar-driven, generally upbeat post-rock. Homemade but polished and fully legit, in a way that at times reminds me of Duster. It's hard to believe -- sad, even -- that a band this good could have so completely slipped between the cracks.

Track listing:
1. Flame On!
2. More for Detroit
3. Open Letter (To Mom and Dad)
4. Yo Terminator... Meet the Album That Killt Me
5. Roll On Horses (Roll On)
6. Replaced Space
7. Unemployable
8. The Send-Off
9. Sharp Air
10. Monster Song
11. Day of Feast, Day of Rest (Grow Away)
12. Jon and Roy
13. South Patrol
14. Body Doubles
15. The Forked Tongue
16. The Engine
17. Now, We Leave You!

It'll be so very long

Monday, May 11, 2015

Islaja - Palaa Aurinkoon (2005)


Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Isalaja - Ulual Yyy (2007)

Lovely, free-form Finnish freak folk. A druggy, organic cloud of acoustic and electric guitars, accordion, clattering percussion, organ, piano, what sounds like singing wine glasses, manipulated noise, a bunch of other instruments, and Isalaja (aka Merja Kokkonen)'s breathy, understated singing.

Track listing:
1. Laivat Saapuu
2. Rohkaisulaulu
3. Uni Pöllönä Olemisesta
4. Palaa Aurinkoon
5. Haaveilija
6. Senkun Tanssitaan
7. Sateen Tullessa
8. Rukki
9. Tule Puutarhaan
10. Vaeltajan Laulu
11. Rukous

Chaos pilot

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Callisto - True Nature Unfolds (2004)


Finnish post-metal/atmospheric sludge/whatever roundabout way you have of saying "it sounds like they decided to start a band based on their love for Oceanic." What an obnoxiously specific subgenre this was. However, since all those dumb-dumbs who were in Isis worship bands have long since moved on to making false black metal, I'm able to hear this with fresh ears again, and remember why I was so stoked on it when it came out -- it's goddamn powerful, man. Their precise, crushing riffs are enlivened by a gift for composition, as well as some well-placed cello, saxophone, and guest vocals.

Track listing:
1. 31 46° N, 35 14° E
2. Blackhole
3. Limb - Diasporas
4. Cold Stare
5. Storm
6. Caverns of Khafka
7. Like Abel's Blood Cried for Revenge
8. World Collide
9. Masonic
10. The Great Divorce

Stormriding through the bleakest on a black horse

Peter Kater & R. Carlos Nakai - Migration (1992)


A collaboration between Native American musician R. Carlos Nakai and jazz pianist Peter Kater. Tranquil, meditative, piano-based compositions with cello (courtesy of David Darling), flute, saxophone, bone whistle, and some gorgeous vocal embellishments. Gets a bit syrupy at times, but highlights like "Stating Intention" are chill-inducing.

Track listing:
1. Wandering
2. Initiation
3. Honoring
4. Stating Intention
5. Surrender
6. Embracing the Darkness
7. Lighting the Flame
8. Transformation
9. Quietude
10. Becoming Human
11. Walking the Path
12. Service

Honorable sky

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't - Individualized Shirts (2001)


Related:
The Apples in Stereo - Science Faire (1996)
Elf Power - The Winter Is Coming (2000)
The Gerbils - The Battle of Electricity (2001)

One of the lesser known Elephant 6 acts, Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't is the brainchild of Olivia Tremor Control keyboardist Peter Erchick. Individualized Shirts is the project's first record, and it has everything that you know and love about E6 -- fuzzy guitars, 60s psych pop-inspired vocal melodies and harmonies, and a warm, analogue, homemade-sounding recording. Why haven't you heard this album?

Track listing:
1. Ten Thousand Years Old
2. If I Leave Tomorrow
3. Do Be Day
4. Karaoke Free
5. Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't
6. I Am Instead
7. Big Giant
8. Million Pieces
9. Moon River
10. Me and Bob
11. Sleep Come Easy
12. I Stopped with Victor
13. Pueblo

Given half a chance, we all end up like someone
Someone we don't like

Friday, May 8, 2015

Thy Catafalque - Sublunary Tragedies (1999)


Chaotic, cacophonous, avant-garde industrial black metal. Canned strings, programmed drums, metal-zone guitars, walls of industrial noise, vocals drenched in distortion and at times pitchshifted, and some moments of woozy beauty. I'm always a fan of programming your drum machine to play blastbeats faster than humanly possible, which is exactly what they do on the album-opening "Erdgeist", so bonus points for that.

Track listing:
1. Erdgeist
2. Ashesdance
3. Triumph Lightless
4. Come Lateautumn Rains
5. Via Millennia
6. Rota Mundi
7. Static Continuance

Glasshearted clouds above diving
Veering and falling and rising
Nightfall room, winter shade these days
I close my eyes when I am awake

Eloy - Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes (1979)


Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Eloy - Colours (1980)

A bona-fide space rock classic. Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes finds these German greats at their most expansive and Pink Floyd-y, with extended instrumental sections, fantastical lyrics, and their trademark sleek yet far-out, synth- and organ-fueled sound. They have so many great records, but if I had to pick one, this would be it. If you're not feeling it, I'm pretty sure you're in the wrong place.

Track listing:
1. Astral Entrance and Master of Sensation
2. The Apocalypse
3. Pilot to Paradise
4. De Labore Solis
5. Mighty Echoes

It is here, it is near, it is by our side
It is you, it is me, it's our guiding light
It is real, so unreal, it's the magic sign
Makes us rise, makes us kneel on the edge of time