Sunday, January 31, 2016

John Kerr - Reflections of Citadel (1991)

Lulling, ambient synthscapes by English composer John Kerr. All drawn-out chords, simple but evocative melodies, gentle pulses, and atmospheric reverberations. Reflections of Citadel compiles all but two of the songs from two of Kerr's albums -- Reflections (1987) and Citadel (1988).

Track listing:
1. Still Waters
2. Wings of a Child
3. Forbidden Dreams
4. Mind Over Matter
5. Ever Decreasing Circles
6. Reflections
7. The Call
8. The Thirteenth Triangle
9. The Misted Light Below
10. Paradise with a Sting
11. In the Shadow of the Light
12. Passion, Love, and Pain
13. On the Plains of Creation

Gathering of the spirits

More like this:
Harold Budd -
Lovely Thunder (1986)
Rudy Adrian - Sub Antarctica (1999) +
Twilight (1999)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Ravencult - Temples of Torment (2007)

Greek black metal. Pretty goddamn generic, but you surely know by now that that's not at all a problem for me.

Track listing:
1. The Sigil of Baphomet
2. In Times of Demise
3. Onslaught Command
4. Blessed in Heresy
5. Commence the Burning of Heavens
6. The Nightsky Codex
7. Utter Cold Void
8. The Needles of Truth

In the icy seas of black ink we coronate the naked cold
As a noisy storm of insects searches channels to spread pest

More kickass generic black metal:
Grond - Winterkrieger (2000)
Cultus - A Seat in Valhalla (2004)

Martin Rev - To Live (2003)

Martin Rev - Clouds of Glory (1985)
Suicide - A Way of Life (1988)
Martin Rev - Stigmata (2009)

Driving, synth-fueled electro-punk done as only the master can do it. Most of these songs -- with the notable exception of the totally fucked up "Shimmer" -- consist of simple loops repeating endlessly with subtle flourishes as Rev distortedly whispers and mumbles monosyllabic intonations. I played this at work yesterday and apparently an old lady angrily tried to get my co-worker to put something else on. So the question is: are you with me, or are you a cranky old lady?

Track listing:
1. To Live
2. In Your Arms
3. Black Ice
4. Gutter Rock
5. Shimmer
6. Painted
7. Places I Go
8. Lost in the Orbits
9. Jaded
10. Our Roads
11. Search for Stone
12. Water

Here in heaven

You might also like:
Tones on Tail - Pop (1984)
Chris & Cosey - Technø Primitiv (1985)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Hypothermia - Veins (2006)

Swedish raw, depressive black metal. Droning chord progressions, plodding drums, and demented vocals. I make it sound so good, right?

Track listing:
1. Part I - Isolation
2. Part II - Failure
3. Part III - Counting Hours


If you like this, check out:
Sortsind - More Days (2001)
Onirik - Songs for the Apocalipse (2005)

Mikami Kan - ひらく夢などあるじゃなし 三上寛怨歌集 (1972)

Japanese folk rock. Pretty sure he's a bit of an underground legend in Japan, but I know virtually nothing about Mikami Kan, and given that he sings solely in Japanese, I don't even know what he's singing about. His vocals, however, are awesome, ranging from a near-whisper to a quavering wail to (most often) a hoarse scream juxtaposed against a driving but generally 'nice-sounding,' simple musical backdrop of acoustic guitar, piano, bass, and drums.

Track listing:
1. あなたもスターになれる
2. ひびけ電気釜!!
3. 痴漢になった少年
4. 股の下を通りすぎるとそこは紅い海だった
5. パンティストッキングのような空
6. 一人の女のフィナーレ
7. 昭和の大飢饉予告編
8. 誰を怨めばいいのでございましょうか
9. 夢は夜ひらく
10. 故郷へ帰ったら
11. 気狂い
12. 夜中の2時
13. 五所川原の日々
14. 青森県北津軽郡東京村
15. 葬式

Blood of the lamb

Haemoth - Kontamination (2005)

French black metal. It's not full-on art-y French-y, but it's plenty evil and kickass. Saw this in the bargain bin at my work and knew that I'd like it based solely on their having made it practically impossible to read the packaging -- now that's some good old-fashioned elitism. Kontamination is technically an EP, but including "bonus tracks" (that are on pretty much every edition) it's over 45 minutes long.

Track listing:
1. Soiled
2. When the Blood Turns Black
3. Kontamination (Nothing But Hatred)
4. Poisoned Wind
5. Famished
6. Stigma Diabolikum
7. Dependence
8. Aversion
9. Defects and Perversion

Sons of the black light

More French magnificence:
Nahar - The Strange Inconvenience (2013)
VI - De Praestigiis Daemonum (2008)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Carmen - Fandangos in Space (1973)

It might sound like a typically absurd prog album title, but "fandangos in space" is actually a pretty apt description of the Spanish folk-flavored prog contained herein. Produced by the one and only Tony Visconti.

Track listing:
1. Bulerias
2. Bullfight
3. Stepping Stone
4. Sailor Song
5. Lonely House
6. Por Tarantos
7. Looking Outside (My Window)
8. Tales of Spain
9. Retirando
10. Fandangos in Space
11. Reprise Finale

Dancing on a cold wind

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Isole - Forevermore (2005)

Ereb Altor - By Honour (2008)

First and IMO best album from Swedish doom metal titans Isole. Dynamic, heavy, heartbreaking, and bleak. Also, great clean guitar tone -- an area in which bands like this are often sorely lacking.

Track listing:
1. The Watcher
2. Deceiver
3. Age of Darkness
4. Forevermore
5. Premonitions
6. Beyond the Black
7. Moonstone

Futile are your deeds, forevermore

You'll probably also like:
Black Sabbath - Dehumanizer (1994)
Procession - Destroyers of the Faith (2010)

Care - Diamonds & Emeralds (1997)

100% solid-gold new wave with elements of jangle-pop. Care only managed to release a handful of singles during their short time together, so Diamonds & Emeralds -- a compilation of said singles, b-sides, and tracks from an unreleased LP -- is pretty much the only way at this point to hear this truly great band.

Track listing:
1. Diamonds and Emeralds
2. An Evening in the Ray
3. Chandeliers
4. Flaming Sword
5. Cymophane
6. Love Crowns and Crucifies
7. Temper Temper
8. White Cloud
9. Caretaking
10. My Boyish Days
11. Sad Day for England
12. Soldiers and Sailors
13. Whatever Possessed You
14. Such Is Life
15. What Kind of World
16. Nature Prayed Upon
17. Flaming Sword (12" Version)
18. Misericorde
19. Besides 1 and 2

In golden light

You should also try:
Urban Verbs - Urban Verbs (1980)
Ian McCulloch - Candleland (1989)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Orthodox - Gran Poder (2006)

Spanish drone-doom. There are two things that really set Orthodox apart from their peers, the most obvious of which is their vocalist, who sings as if facilitating a religious ritual -- in keeping with the band's subversion of Orthodox Catholic themes -- with a sharp vibrato (I'm pretty sure there's a chorus effect on there as well.) The other is their fondness for, when not bringing the heaviness/riffage/etc., venturing into abstract, free-form sections, such as the beginning of "Arrodillate Ante La Madera Y La Piedra", which brings to mind Sunn O))) jamming with a jazz drummer who's shot full of barbiturates.

Track listing:
1. Geryon's Throne
2. Arrodillate Ante La Madera Y La Piedra
3. Oficio De Tinieblas
4. El Lamento Del Cabron

Silver birds of prey

If you like this, try:
Otesanek - Otesanek (2004)
Ascend - Ample Fire Within (2008)

Ian Boddy - Elements of Chance (1981) + Options (1982)

Two excellent, early cassettes from criminally under-appreciated UK synthesizer-guru Ian Boddy. Anxious, arpeggiating basslines, simple drum machine patterns, and gauzy synth leads. I'm still obsessing over David Bowie so it's difficult for me to hear stuff like this without considering how heavily indebted it is to the haunting second half of Low.

Track listing:
-Elements of Chance-
1. Iaja
2. Natural Motion
3. Four Views
4. Surface Touches
5. Elements of Chance
6. Living Son [Bonus]
1. Corridors
2. Karina
3. Water on Stone
4. Into View
5. Skylights
6. Silhouette
7. Follow
8. End Sequence
9. Till Quiet Descends
10. 21 Degrees

Living in a ritual

For more in this vein, try:
Edgar Froese - Aqua (1974)
Giorgio Moroder - Einzelgänger (1975)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Wigrid - Hoffnungstod (2002)

Raw, atmospheric, Burzum-worshipping German black metal. Commenter Neon Knight really came through for me the other day on my Rahu post -- not only did he/she correct a dumb error I had made, he/she hipped me to some excellent US Burzum worship -- so if you're reading this, thanks, and if you haven't already heard it, give this one a spin!

Track listing:
1. Leere
2. Ort der Einsamkeit
3. Die Entstehung
4. Schreie der Verzweiflung
5. Das Sterben eines Traumes
6. Hoffnungstod
7. Der Weg in ein Anderes Dasein

Burying place

For more like this, try:
Grand Nocturne - Despair and Demise (2006)
Dusk - Örök Halálban (2009)

Waveshape - Zyklus (1995)

Propulsive synth-worlds, made by a coupla Germans of course, for floating around in outer space. According to the liner notes, Zyklus actually includes recordings of a neutron-star near Cassiopeia. Reminds me a bit of Klaus Schulze, circa Moondawn. Getting this one took all of my internet music nerd powers, so y'all better enjoy it!

Track listing:
1. Impuls
2. Aura
3. Amplituden
4. Interval
5. Zwischenraum
6. Zenith
7. Intermezzo
8. Abendstern
9. Stellar
10. Zwischenzeit
11. Magma
12. Puls

Every atom of our planet and body is a last proof of a dead star

More synthesizers in outer space:
Software - Chip-Meditation (1985) +
Electronic-Universe I (1987)
Michael Stearns -
Encounter (1988)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Doug Hammond - Spaces (1982)

Cerebral, sharp-edged jazz led by drummer Doug Hammond, and fleshed out with two alto saxes, a bit of flute and piano, and cello. Dissonant solos and intricate, asymmetrical rhythms abound, but there's a sense of playfulness that keeps it from feeling too harsh. Not sure how an album of this caliber managed to slip through the cracks, but at least us nerds are here to catch it.

Track listing:
1. Space and Things (Suite): Lopin'
2. Space and Things (Suite): Water Moves
3. Space and Things (Suite): Spell Dance - Meno Mosso
4. To My Family
5. Cüd Ba-Rith
6. Snakepit Strut
7. Mini Ensemble
8. Rizz Biz
9. Uhren
10. Murdxas
11. Figit Time

To live the fairytale of life

More for your earholes:
Sam Rivers - Contours (1965)
David Holland Quartet - Conference of the Birds (1973)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Rolf Trostel - Inselmusik (1981)

When I posted The Escher Drawings a few weeks ago, I promised "lots [more] like this in the coming weeks." For those keeping score at home, since then, I've done posts for records by Rudy Adrian, Erik Wøllo, and Manuel Göttsching & Michael Hoenig. And that's not even counting synthtastic stuff like Lilli Berlin and Frazier Chorus.

Now, here's another one. Though I'm definitely not getting tired of listening to this stuff -- if anything, I'm gaining steam -- I am running out ways to describe it. So suffice to say: this sounds like a German dude performing extended compositions for multiple synthesizers. Would it help if I mention that they're all minor key?

Track listing:
1. TestTanz
2. ArtMeta
3. Urteil
4. Skizo
5. Der Prophet

Fun, fun, fun

You might also like:
Richard Pinhas - Rhizosphere (1977)
Etienne Jaumet - Night Music (2009)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Wormsblood - Mastery of Creation (2009)

Lo-fi, drug-ridden US black metal. Mastery of Creation compiles tracks from three demos dating back to 2006.

Track listing:
1. Fragments of the Witch
2. Hollow Cost Nothing
3. The First Dim Shinings
4. Sig Bind
5. Good Night
6. A Wolf in the Night
7. Obsessed by the Bloodstone
8. Through the Veil of Birth
9. Of a Mourning Phase Unstirred
10. On a Burial of Unsilent Night...

Harvest of stars

More like this:
Masochist - History (2007)
Vetala - Demo I (2008) + Demo II (2009)

Brass Construction - Brass Construction (1975)

Excellent first LP from a bunch of cool motherfuckers from Brooklyn. Extended horn/synth/guitar/other solos over relentless, booty-shaking funk grooves, punctuated by gang-style vocal hooks. Get high, get funky, and get it on.

Track listing:
1. Movin'
2. Peekin'
3. Changin'
4. Love
5. Talkin'
6. Dance

I want'cha to dance

More boogie for ya butt:
Magnum - Fully Loaded (1974)
Afric Simone - Boogie Baby (1978)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cryptal Darkness - They Whispered You Had Risen (1999)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Cryptal Darkness - Chamber of Gore (1994)

Cryptal Darkness' second LP improves in every way on the band's debut LP, which itself was a complete departure from the death metal of their first demo (linked above) to goth-tinged melodic doom. Quite heavy on the death-tinged melodrama à la My Dying Bride, with elements of keyboard-fueled funeral doom à la Shape of Despair. Love the complex, intertwined guitar leads. And that's an homage to -- not a ripoff of -- "Black Sabbath" midway through "To Blackened Skies I Suffer"........ right?

Track listing:
1. Always, Forever
2. They Whispered You Had Risen
3. To Blackened Skies I Suffer
4. All That Remains
5. Naked She Lay in the Virgin Snow
6. I Bleed
7. Last Embrace
8. A Dream Unremembered

Your blood fills me with ecstasy
Together at last I now know that I can be free

If you're feeling this, try:
While Heaven Wept -
Sorrow of the Angels (1997)
The Fall of Every Season -
Amends (2013)