Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Al Gromer Khan - The God Perfume II (1991)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Al Gromer Khan - Divan I Khas (Visions of a Mogul Prince) (1987)
Al Gromer Khan & Amelia Cuni - Monsoon Point (1995)
Al Gromer Khan - Utopia (1993) + Attar (1996)

Quietly stunning new age tranquility from OPIUM HUM all-star Al Gromer Khan. Soothing synth washes and glittering waves of sitar are the through-line, with various other elements -- wordless, reverent vocals, piano, some percussion -- adding depth and dynamics from song to song.

Track listing:
1. Opal Moon
2. Black Princess
3. The Paisley Handicap
4. Ghazal
5. Crystal Night Prayer
6. White Marble Reverence

I walk everywhere

You should also check out:
Klaus Weise -
Baraka (1981)
Barry Cleveland with
Bob Stohl and Kate Epple -
Stones of Precious Water (1986)

Monday, July 30, 2018

Mossy Davidson - Northwind Calling (1977)

Stunning, nature-loving private press Alaskan folk. A double album, Northwind Calling is seemingly the only thing Davidson ever recorded, and it's an absolute gem; it's pretty much the Just Another Diamond Day that never got rediscovered. I realize that that's a tall order, but Mossy's up to the challenge. For real, any fan of Vashti Bunyan -- or 60s/70s folk, for that matter -- needs to hear this.

Track listing:
1. So Long
2. Fox Sparrow
3. Sea-Man
4. Day Dream Land
5. Northwind Calling
6. Coyote's Cry
7. Going to Blow
8. What Is That Light
9. Eagle, Goodbye
10. Little Brown Violins
11. Cloudy Day
12. It's Hard to Be Left Behind
13. Alone Too Long
14. Where Does This River Flow
15. Flag of the Green Lands
16. Rainfall
17. Mother's Song
18. Changes, Changes
19. Birds of Passage
20. Come Back, Come Back

Will you be walking where I have gone
Along this long, lonesome road someday?

If you like this, listen to:
Bridget St. John -
Ask Me No Questions (1969)
Sally Oldfield -
Water Bearer (1978)

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Earth - Sunn Amps and Smashed Guitars Live (1995)

Witness the creation of drone-doom, which, according to Dylan Carlson (the man behind Earth -- I don't have to tell you that, right?) was made to be the ideal music for doing heroin and nodding off to. Despite the album title, only one song here was recorded live, and it's the all-guitar, 30-minute-long, album-opening monolith, "Ripped on Fascist Ideas". The rest are studio tracks from five years earlier, each of which consists of slo-mo Sabbath riffs over (mostly) programmed drums, and one of which ("Divine and Bright") features a haunting, ethereal vocal performance from Kurt Cobain and is one of my favorite songs in the world. (Why are there so many parentheses in this writeup?)

Track listing:
1. Ripped on Fascist Ideas
2. Geometry of Murder
3. German Dental Work
4. Divine and Bright
5. Dissolution 1

Doll steak
Test meat

You're also gonna wanna hear:
Boris - The Thing Which
Solomon Overlooked
Sunn O))) - ØØ Void (2000)
+ Dømkirke (2008)

Jarosław Śmietana - Talking Guitar (1984)

Debut LP from Polish guitarist Jarosław Śmietana. Extremely laid-back, kinda disco-y at times, and super-smooth. In fact, this might just be full-on smooth jazz, but I'm vibing way too hard to care. How hard am I supposed to fight my pleasure center in the name of good taste?

Track listing:
1. Bieganie Po Manhattanie - Manhattan Jogging
2. Alisia
3. Tabasco Song
4. Podróżując We Śnie - Travellin' in Dream
5. Trzech Panów W Łódce - Three Men in a Boat
6. Samba Carrera
7. Papierek Lakmusowy - Litmus
8. Od Siedmiu Wzwyż - From Seven Up
9. Polowanie Na Robaczka - Hunting a Bug
10. Samochody W Pokrowcach - Cased Up Cars

Girl drink drunk

More along these lines:
Paul Horn -
Dream Machine (1978)
Seaside Lovers -
Memories in Beach House (1983)

One Master - Forsaking a Dead World (2006)

US black metal. Worthy torchbearers of the raw, at times sloppy evil of true black metal. They also have an album called Reclusive Blasphemy, a title that I am definitely stealing if I ever start a pure black metal blog.

Track listing:
1. The Dark Tower
2. Chill of the Grave
3. Unholy Grimness
4. The Test
5. Master of the Past and the Present
6. I, Magus

A cursed and dismal mind

Also listen to:
Heretic -
Black Metal Holocaust (1999)
Front Beast -
Black Spells of the Damned (2006)

Friday, July 27, 2018

Hate Forest - Purity (2003)

Astrofaes - Those Whose Past Is Immortal (2006)
Kladovest - Escape in Melancholy (2009)
Rattenfänger - Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum (2012)
Blood of Kingu - Dark Star on the Right Horn of the Crescent Moon (2014)

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: the 666th black metal album to be posted on OPIUM HUM. I had planned to mark the occasion with a list of my top 100 (or 50 or something) favorite black metal records, but I'm still hemming and hawing about the order, and haven't even started working on the writeups. Oops, I guess that the guy who is constantly getting high and writing about music that no one cares about has a procrastination problem. Who knew?

So in the meantime, here's a (spoiler alert) shoe-in for my top 10: the cold, epic perfection of Purity by Hate Forest. Icy guitars, bestial vocals, simple but unrelenting drumming, and a lone synth drone tying each song to the next. An absolute game-changer for me -- should be one of the first black metal records anyone hears.

EDIT: As an anon pointed out, Hate Forest are/were notorious racists/possible nazis. Should have warned you about that, my bad.

Track listing:
1. Domination
2. Elder Race
3. The Gates
4. Megaliths
5. The Immortal Ones
6. Desert of Ice
7. Cromlech

What the ruins remember

More top 10 material:
Abigor -
Verwüstung / Invoke The Dark Age (1994)
Svartsyn -
... His Majesty (2000)

Dider Bocquet - Eclipse (1977)

A heavenly piece of obscure synth greatness. There are 100 copies of this LP in existence, each with a hand-drawn/written cover.

Track listing:
1. 1984
2. Le Chemin du Silence Part 1
3. Eclipse
4. Le Chemin du Silence Part 2

Transcendental overdrive

More like this:
Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co. -
Like a Duck to Water (1976)
Mario Schönwälder -
The Eye of the Chameleon (1989)

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Accersitus - Lamps of the Concealed Shrine (2011)

Creepy US raw black metal. Dissonant guitars, simple drumming, and ghostly, echoing vocals. Pure, ritualistic evil, entirely unfettered by such petty concerns as dynamics, composition, musicality, or listenability.

Track listing:
1. Intro
2. Scorpions from the Necks of the Living
3. Lamps of the Concealed Shrine
4. The Diamond Helmed Lords of Vexation
5. The Whispering Ones, Spirits of the Basalt Forest
6. Outro

Entity of Satan's fire

More like this:
Black Howling - Forgotten Land,
Throne, and Crown (2003) +
Flagellation Reigns Eternity (2003)
Mons Veneris -
To Rape the Nazarene +
Abismo a Céu Aberto (2006)

Sloan - Smeared (1993)

First album by Canadian power pop greats Sloan. Extremely 90s-sounding, with plenty of richly layered vocal harmonies and warm, shoegaze-y guitars.

Track listing:
1. Underwhelmed
2. Raspberry
3. I Am the Cancer
4. Median Strip
5. Take It In
6. 500 Up
7. Marcus Said
8. Sugartune
9. Left of Centre
10. Lemon Zinger
11. Two Seater
12. What's There to Decide?

Kiss me, kiss me
I can't wait 'til you kiss me

You'll also like:
The Boo Radleys -
Kaleidoscope (1990) + Boo Up! (1991)
Tripping Daisy -
Tripping Daisy (2000)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Dystopia - The Aftermath (1999)

Asunder / Like Flies on Flesh - Asunder / Like Flies on Flesh [Split] (2000)

For better or worse, The Aftermath changed my life. Sample-packed, aggressively miserable tracks -- culled from various EPs, splits, and comps -- from the darkest, heaviest, and probably overall best crust band of all time. A melting pot of sludge, hardcore, grind, and warped psychedelia that still sounds unlike anything else. Also, the riffs. The fucking riffs.

Track listing:
1. Population Birth Control
2. Father's Gun
3. Self Defeating Prophecy
4. Sleep
5. Socialized Death Sentence
6. Backstabber
7. They Live
8. Anger Brought by Disease
9. Jarhead Fertilizer
10. Taste Your Own Medicine
11. Instrumental
12. Diary of a Battered Child
13. Cosmetic Plague [Rudimentary Peni cover, hidden track]

Gun in my mouth
I pull the trigger and my brains come out
The same story
A dead child
A father's gun

Also listen to:
Grief -
Torso (1998)
Damad -
Burning Cold (2000)

Herbert - 100 Lbs (1996)

How 'bout some super-sweet, expertly constructed, minimal deep house to get you over the hump? I mean, I have off the next three days, but we can't all be living the good life. Since I'm a nerd, I associate house music not with dancing, but with schoolwork, so, have an essay to write? A stack of essays to grade? Something entirely unrelated to essays that requires you to put in a bunch of hours by yourself? Make a playlist that starts with 100 Lbs, strap on some headphones, take some Adderall/pound some coffee, and take that bull by the fucking horns.

Track listing:
1. Rude
2. Desire
3. Thinking of You
4. Oo Licky
5. Friday They Dance
6. Pen
7. 100 Lbs
8. Take Me Back
9. Deeper
10. Resident
11. See You on Monday

But really, it's nothing

More along these lines:
Moodymann -
Silentintroduction (1997)
Cosmin TRG -
Simulat (2011)

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Навь - Чертоги Смерти (2004)

Russian black metal. Fuzzy guitars, hoarse vocals, and what a more professionally-oriented band might call "demo quality" production.

Track listing:
1. Чертоги смерти
2. Выходящие из сердца метели
3. Ледяной панцирь вершины мира
4. Чернобог
5. Вечность смерти
6. Всезнающие, равнодушные, одинокие
7. Бесконечные объятия зимы
8. Обсидиановые ножи

Path to burning space

More like this:
Barathrum -
Infernal (1996)
Antagonic Omnipotent Catharsis -
... Onwards the Path to Antagony (2006)

Keith Fullerton Whitman - Playthroughs (2002)

Revelatory drone from American musician Keith Fullerton Whitman. Hearing these severely processed, guitar-sourced drones hover in and out of each other, awakening new frequencies and vibrations along the way, feels actually mentally and physically refreshing. Kinda like one of those really nice facial cleansers that leaves your skin feeling all tingly when you wash it off, but for your brain.

Track listing:
1. Track3a (2waynice)
2. Feedback Zwei
3. Fib01a
5. Modena

If I didn't care

You'd also enjoy:
Stephan Mathieu -
Wurmloch Variationen (2000)
Borden, Ferraro, Godin, Halo, Lopatin -
FRKWYS 7 (2011)

black tape for a blue girl - Mesmerized by the Sirens (1987)

Sam Rosenthal - Before the Buildings Fell (1986)
black tape for a blue girl - A Chaos of Desire (1991)

Second album of lovelorn ethereal-wave from these legends thereof. A lush cloud of drifting synths and chiming, folk-y acoustic guitars, with (by my count) eight separate vocalists providing performances ranging from angelic to dramatic, quasi-operatic tremors. As the years go by, the things that once bothered me about this band seem to melt away, leaving me with a band operating completely in their own lane, creating a synth-based sound-world of wrenching heartbreak with aching, almost otherworldly sincerity.

Track listing:
1. Jamais Pars
2. A Teardrop Left Behind
3. Dark Skinned and Inviting
4. Lie Broken, Bleeding
5. Hairline Sunlight
6. With a Million Tears
7. The Sawdust Scatter
8. Beneath the Planks
9. Scream, My Shallow
10. Seireenien Lumoama

Hide in yourself

You should also listen to:
Lycia - The Burning Circle
and Then Dust
Arcana -
Dark Age of Reason (1996)

Friday, July 20, 2018

Moonblood - Rehearsal 12 (1998)

German raw black metal royalty. A blown-out haze of icy riffing, muffled blast beats, and distorted rasps, with a Witchfinder General cover to boot.

Track listing:
1. Endless Chaos
2. Domains of Hell
3. Witchfinder General
4. A Walk in the Woods
5. The Quest After the Doctrines of Might and Wisdom
6. Medieval Tunes
7. Into Frozen Forests
8. In the Moors
9. These Graves and Wooden Coffins Are My Realm
10. When the Moonlight Takes the Sky
11. Burning in Hell
12. Troylodytin
13. As a Soul in a Blazing Banner of Darkness

Under the white cold snow

You'd also like:
Urgehal -
Rise of the Monument (1995)
Heemat -
Platschonk (1998)

Richard Burmer - Bhakti Point (1987)

Lush new age from US composer Richard Burmer. A soothing, texturally rich mix of organic and synthesized sounds.

Track listing:
1. Bhakti Point
2. Nightland
3. A Book upon the Crossroads
4. The Turn Again
5. Reunion
6. Little Dreamer
7. Willow Song
8. Closer Than Love

Under shaded water

If you like this, try:
Peter Seiler -
Flying Frames (1986)
Michael Shrieve & Steve Roach -
The Leaving Time (1988)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Castrum - Black Silhouette Enfolded in Sunrise (1998)

Croatian symphonic black metal. Evil, majestic, and true black art with a grainy, analogue sound.

Track listing:
1. Weeping Inside Plagued Mirrors (Burial of Ashen Bride)
2. A Symphony in Moonlight and Nightmares - (Opus I - Veiled with Threads One Age Before / Opus II - Infernal Howling Through Pathless Silence)
3. Black Silhouette Enfolded in Sunrise
4. Tears of Piano
5. On the Wings of Dark Angel
6. Beyond the Mountains of Frozen Spell
7. Obscurity Within Funeral Moon
8. For Those Wistful Moments in Mist

Sublime moon ascends
Impure as my soul

More like this:
Vintersemestre -
Jääverisaatana (1995)
Alghazanth -
Thy Aeons Envenomed Sanity (1999)