Thursday, April 18, 2019

Jane Siberry - The Speckless Sky (1985)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Jane Siberry - The Walking (1987)

Crystalline art pop from the great Jane Siberry. While The Walking will always be my personal favorite Siberry record, The Speckless Sky is probably her best. It's less experimental, but it's also less melodramatic, it's exploratory, and has the same shimmering, idiosyncratic beauty. Pretty sure this is what people have retroactively started calling "sophisti-pop," but I haven't adopted that one yet because it's so lame, it physically hurts to say out loud.

Track listing:
1. One More Colour
2. Seven Steps to the Wall
3. The Very Large Hat
4. Vladimir Vladimir
5. Mein Bitte
6. The Empty City
7. Map of the World Part II
8. The Taxi Ride

There's the sun
Through the bars
Cutting swathes
Lighting dust

If you like this, listen to:
Anna Domino -
East and West (1984)
Jan Bang -
Frozen Feelings (1989)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Purple Confusion - The Sound of the Atom Splitting (2002)

One-off LP of glitchy, downtempo IDM from a group that featured, in its 6-member lineup, both original members of M83. Fractured, stuttering beats and gauzily layered synths, with a sense of beautiful, melancholic wonder that brings to mind the spirit -- and occasionally, the sound -- of post-rock.

Track listing:
1. Introduction
2. Return to Nassau
3. Running Behind Butterflies
4. Jeff Koons
5. Bliss
6. Secret Tragedy
7. The Endless Harmony of Your Cosmic Wonder
8. Dreaming of an Hypersomniac Princess
9. Breathing Underwater
10. The Cloud in Your Eyes
11. Falling in the Sea at the Speed of Snow Part I
12. Falling in the Sea at the Speed of Snow Part II

Things are sometimes tragic

You should also check out:
Funckarma -
Solid State (2001)
Ulrich Schnauss -
Far Away Trains Passing By (2001)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Carpe Tenebrum - Mirrored Hate Painting (1998)

Masterful Norwegian black metal featuring two then-members of Dimmu Borgir -- who, it's important to note, were still great at this point. Icy, intricate guitar work, punishing drumming, and atmospheric keyboards. Why is the album art so bad, and why does the shadowing of the band name and album title make it so much worse?

Track listing:
1. The Abyss' Mystic Haze
2. Lured Like You Thought
3. The Painting
4. Mirrored in Scarry Skies
5. And Forever
6. Ludus
7. Void Dress
8. Dreaded Chaotic Reign

Astral chimes divine

You'd also like:
Setherial -
Nord... (1996)
Mactätus -
Blot (1997)

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Gob - The Kill Yourself Commandment (1999)

Chaotic, dissonant, misanthropic hardcore. You see, back in my day, you couldn't just go to a Youtube comments section if you wanted a stranger to tell you to kill yourself -- you had to track down the right obscure hardcore record.

Track listing:
1. Inside the Nexus Phase
2. Smoking the Hanta Virus
3. Home Self-Communion Kit
4. Bring Me the Head of Gob
5. Re-Freezing Psychorium
6. Anatomy of a Broken Nose
7. Atrocity Simplex
8. Encoded Information Entitled: Untitled
9. Northern Nevada Methlab Wars
11. Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy
12. 21st Century Shit for Brains

I'm your man

More like this:
Discordance Axis -
The Inalienable Dreamless (2000)
pg. 99 -
Document #5 (2000)

Friday, April 12, 2019

Kenny Wheeler - Deer Wan (1978)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
John Taylor, Norma Winston, & Kenny Wheeler - Azimuth (1977)

Laid-back but sprawling, stream-of-consciousness pieces, helmed by Canadian trumpeter/flugelhorn-player Kenny Wheeler, and featuring a band of ECM heavyweights -- check the tags.

Track listing:
1. Peace for Five
2. 3/4 in the Afternoon
3. Sumother Song
4. Deer Wan

Follow down

You'd also enjoy:
Barre Phillips -
Mountainscapes (1976)
Paul Motian Trio -
Le Voyage (1979)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Kay Gardner - Mooncircles (1975)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Kay Gardner - A Rainbow Path (1984)

Beautiful, nature-loving, gynocentric (I just learned that word) folk with an abstract, psychedelic bent and some lovely, baroque string-and-piano arrangements.

Track listing:
1. Prayer to Aphrodite
2. Changing
3. Beautiful Friend
4. Moon Flow
5. Wise Woman
6. Inner Mood I
7. Touching Souls
8. Inner Mood II
9. Lunamuse

There's a woman in the moon
There's a woman in the sea

If you like this, you should hear:
Bridget St. John -
Ask Me No Questions (1969)
Mossy Davidson -
Northwind Calling (1977)

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Centurian - Choronzonic Chaos Gods (1999)

Dutch death metal. Blasphemous, ripping, technically proficient brutality. Formed following the dissolution of the great Inquisitor. Significantly more polished/pro than that cover might have you expecting.

Track listing:
1. Damned & Dead
2. The Law of Burning
3. Hail Caligula!!!
4. Misanthropic Luciferian Onslaught
5. Let Jesus Bleed
6. Blood for Satan
7. Soultheft
8. Cross of Fury
9. In the Name of Chaos

When I'm in hell
I won't stop laughing

More along these lines:
Monstrosity -
Millenium (1996)
Serpens Aeon -
Dawn of Kouatl (2003)

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Necrofeast - Soulwinds (2000)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Necrofeast - Necrofeast (1996)

For their second and final album, Necrofeast turned sharply away from what I called "disgusting, reprehensible, doom-inflected" black metal and into the realms of the atmospheric/symphonic. A keyboard-dominated mix -- the guitars are seriously barely there -- and a conspicuous drum machine give Soulwinds a uniquely ethereal sound.

Track listing:
1. Slag om Germania
2. Soulwinds in the Battle Sky
3. Runendans
4. Roep van de Raaf
5. A Sacrifice to Ingvi
6. Hymn / Spirit of Death
7. Secrets of the Shadowdancer
8. The Halls and Glory of Walhalla
9. Bloed in de Sneeuw
10. Eeuwige Strijd Tegen al Licht en Leven

Cosmic forces
Total blackness

Also listen to:
Odium -
The Sad Realm of the Stars (1998)
Lunar Aurora - Of Stargates and
Bloodstained Celestial Spheres

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Sculpture - Like a Dead Flower (1997)

An obscure EP of Portuguese doom/death. Between the wandering harmonized guitar leads and the vocals switching back-and-forth between a weepy moan and a death growl, Like a Dead Flower sounds pretty much exactly like Serenades-era Anathema.

Track listing:
1. Arid Life
2. At the Gates of Shadows World
3. Autumn Serenades
4. The Remains of the Day
5. Our Crying Earth

I want to belong to the nighttime

You should also hear:
Paradigma -
Mare Veris (1995)
Saturnus -
Paradise Belongs to You (1996)

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

France Joli - France Joli (1979)

Heavenly disco from French-Canadian singer France Joli. Four long, slow-building tracks whose immaculate, detail-heavy production is just as conducive to headphone listening as it is to shaking your fat ass.

Track listing:
1. Come to Me
2. Let Go
3. Don't Stop Dancing
4. Playboy

The only one you love

You'd also like:
The Players' Association -
The Players' Association (1977)
Adrian Gurvitz -
Sweet Vendetta (1979)

Monday, April 1, 2019

Hyatari - The Light Carriers (2004)

A crushing monolith of instrumental post-metal/drone-doom, divided into seven movements. Towering waves of guitar crashing down around simple, programmed drum patterns, and filled out by keyboards, samples, and one instance of chanting, reverb-drenched vocals.

Track listing:
1. Sheet of Flames
2. Freeform for the Disenfranchised
3. The Light Carriers
4. Fourth Realm
5. 14,000,000,000 Years Ago
6. Harvesting Sod
7. Collapse


You'd probably also like:
Boris -
Amplifier Worship (1998)
Old Man Gloom -
Seminar III: Zozobra (2001)

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Magnetic Fields - The Wayward Bus (1992)

Second album of dreamy, lo-fi indie rock from The Magnetic Fields, and their last with Susan Anway handling lead vocals. At its core, early Magnetic Fields' songs had a similarly simple, girl-group-pop-style approach as, say, the Jesus and Mary Chain, but instead of piling on distortion and acid-addled feedback, it's synths, strings, and heartbreak. I absolutely love all of their early records, but this one's probably my favorite.

Track listing:
1. When You Were My Baby
2. The Saddest Story Ever Told
3. Lovers from the Moon
4. Candy
5. Tokyo A Go-Go
6. Summer Lies
7. Old Orchard Beach
8. Jeremy
9. Dancing in Your Eyes
10. Suddenly There Is a Tidal Wave

They say we're too young
I think we're too old

You should also listen to:
The Ocean Blue -
Cerulean (1991)
The Stratford 4 -
The Revolt Against Tired Noises (2001)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Swarm of the Lotus - When White Becomes Black (2004)

Extremely heavy Baltimore metalcore/sludge. Dissonant, apocalyptic riffs and shrieking, paranoid vocals. My old band did a brief tour with Swarm of the Lotus and Magrudergrind (and at least one other band whose name I forget) the year that this came out, and it was kinda just OK, as at the time SOTL was the only band on the bill that anyone gave a shit about. But their vocalist/guitarist did give me a picture disc 7" on the last day despite our having never spoken so that was pretty cool.

Track listing:
1. Cherry Chocolate Salamander
2. Committed to Ash
3. Strength of Inner Eyes
4. Volatile
5. From Embers
6. Seeing Truth
7. Serpent Within
8. An Ocean of Fire
9. Episode Infinity
10. Burn Autumn Burn
11. Stained Glass Oubliette

Not a speck of life

You should also listen to:
Breach -
Venom (1999)
Majority Rule -
Interviews with David Frost (2001)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Secret Stars - Genealogies (1998)

Swansong from this experimental lo-fi indie rock duo. I first discovered The Secret Stars through the album Ten Small Paces by Ida, which contains not only a cover of "Shoe-In", but a song called "Les Étoiles Secrètes" that's about falling in love while listening to The Secret Stars and talking about how great they are.

Based on Ida's precious, uniformly pretty sound, I remember expecting more of the same -- maybe rougher around the edges. But surprise, surprise: while their sound is in fact rooted in sweetly sad, lo-fi slowcore, there's a strong presence of experimental tape-loop noise, as well as diversions into sloppy, raucous indie rock. There's even a Crass shout-out.

Track listing:
1. Haphazard Joy
2. Shoe-In
3. Melt
4. N29, It's Alright
5. Can U Feel It?
6. The Four Senses
8. Sister, Brother
9. Trance Hall Storm
10. 5,000,000,000
11. Some Sinatra
12. The Mode-E
13. The Vitamin-V
14. We Have Been Schooled By...
15. Release Form
16. Back in the Car

Home is here, anyway
Or wherever I say

You should also hear:
Lullaby for the Working Class -
I Never Even Asked for Light (1997)
Damien Jurado -
Ghost of David (2000)

Friday, March 15, 2019

Bosse - Echoes of the Forgotten (2008)

Deeply mournful instrumental neofolk. Uneasy drones hover over stark acoustic guitar figures. Winter was already getting me down, then I had a major fuck-up come to fruition last week, so expect sporadic, morose posting, if any.

Six tracks, titled "I" through "VI"

And everybody's leaving
Everybody's kneeling
When all that's left to want is
One good reason
One good reason
For this to be left to doubt

You'd probably also like:
Six Organs of Admittance -
For Octavio Paz (2004)
Footpaths -
Footpaths (2012)