Friday, March 5, 2021

Richard Barbieri / Tim Bowness - Flame (1994)


Artful, nocturnal melancholy featuring the vocal stylings of Tim Bowness, who as far as I know hasn't stopped being sad since at least the early 90s. If you had told a 16-year-old me that I'd end up liking the same kind of sleekly produced, middle-aged sad sack music that my dad forced me to listen to in the car on the way to school, I probably would've quoted "Life Sentence" at you and skulked away to smoke cigarettes with my faux-hippie girlfriend and assure myself that I would never, ever be like my dad -- who, it turns out, was right all along.

Track listing:
1. A Night in Heaven
2. Song of Love and Everything Part I and II
3. Brightest Blue
4. Flame
5. Trash Talk
6. Time Flown
7. Torch Dance
8. Feel

Also listen to:

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Pieter Nooten & Michael Brook - Sleeps with the Fishes (1987)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:

Excellent one-off collaboration between Pieter Nooten (of Clan of Xymox) and ambient composer/guitarist Michael Brook. Drifting synths, mournful strings, murmured singing, heartbreaking songs. Very 4AD.

Track listing:
1. Several Times I
2. Searching
3. The Choice
4. After the Call
5. Finally II
6. Instrumental
7. Suddenly II
8. Suddenly I
9. Clouds
10. Finally I
11. Several Times II
12. Equal Ways
13. These Waves
14. Time
15. Several Times III

Also listen to:

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Fetisch Park - Alluvial (1997)

Driving, techno/industrial-leaning electronic abstractions partially built around the singing of Thai prostitutes, recorded by the band while staying at a hotel in Bangkok. In the hands of a lesser artist, this could have been a disastrous exercise in exoticization à la Enigma, but Fetisch Park imbues these recordings with genuine, even frightening power, making for a work of art that's utterly fascinating -- both conceptually and sonically.

Track listing:
1. Malaysia Hotel
2. Blow
3. Gradation d'humour
4. Reiz
5. Off Line
6. Pongh
7. Ball-Room
8. Cargo
9. Kadse
10. Suktion

If you like this, try:

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Light - Turning (1996)

Ambient, shoegaze-informed space rock. Echoing, shimmering clouds of guitars, droning feedback, minimal drums, and distorted vocals. Definitely FFO Flying Saucer Attack.

Track listing:
1. Trailer
2. Tale of White Passage
3. Nature Man
4. Bird
5. Passing
6. Unknown Song
7. Mind Crossing
8. End of the River

Similar listening:

Monday, March 1, 2021

The Consumers - All My Friends Are Dead (1995)

18 minutes of killer raw garage punk. All My Friends Are Dead was supposedly recorded in 1977 -- the author of this article claims to have seen the receipts -- and if that's the case, this was some seriously ahead of its time, proto-hardcore shit. Any doubt that I have is completely unfounded and surely just a testament to how great this record is.

Track listing:
1. Teen Love Song
2. Anti, Anti, Anti
3. Consumers
4. Concerned Citizen
5. Your Problem
6. Ballad to the Son of Sam
7. My Type
8. Dream Hits
9. Get Out
10. Media Ogre
11. Punk Church

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Saturday, February 27, 2021

dälek - Absence (2004)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:

My favorite dälek record, and definitely in my hip-hop top 10. Impenetrably dense, shoegaze-like walls of noise, monstrous beats, and bleak, extremely pissed-off flows. One of the only rap records that's made me do the invisible pineapple. 

Track listing:
1. Distorted Prose
2. Asylum (Permanent Underclass)
3. Culture for Dollars
4. Absence
5. A Beast Caged
6. Koner
7. In Midst of Struggle
8. Eyes to Form Shadows
9. Ever Somber
10. Opiate the Masses

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The New Birth - Comin' from All Ends (1974)

Soul/funk perfection from the great New Birth, a band formed via the fusion of multiple instrumental and vocal groups. Equal parts party-starters, baby-makers, and reflective space-out sessions.

Track listing:
1. End to End
2. Take This Train to Freedom
3. I Wash My Hands of the Whole Damn Deal
4. Lady Love
5. Pretty Music
6. Patiently
7. Echoes of My Mind
8. Do It Again
9. Comin' from All Ends
10. Epilog

If you like this, listen to:

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Abbey Lincoln - Abbey Is Blue (1959)

One of my absolute favorite vocal jazz records. Slow-burning, ethereal sounds for the late-night hours, addressing heartache and racial injustice in powerful, sorrowful terms.

Track listing:
1. Afro-Blue
2. Lonely House
3. Let Up
4. Thursday's Child
5. Brother, Where Are You?
6. Laugh, Clown, Laugh
7. Come Sunday
8. Softly, as a Morning Sunrise
9. Lost in the Stars
10. Long as You're Living

You'll probably also wanna hear:

Monday, February 22, 2021

Pablo's Eye - Pablo's Eye (1989)

First album by this under-appreciated project, a musical collective centered on Brussels-based artist Axel Libeert. Glistening guitars, sharp synths, Marie Mandi's understated, expressive vocals (which often remind me of 90s Joni Mitchell), a bit of viola, and very little percussion of which to speak. Not particularly representative of the group's definitive sound, but a great record nonetheless.

Track listing:
1. The Lord's My Shepherd
2. Mysteries Due To...
3. Winter
4. Burning Passion
5. Possession
6. Helen's Nose
7. A Duel
8. The Salmon Sings
9. Lullabye

If you like this, check out:

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Sink - Ark of Contempt and Anger (2016)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Sink - The Process (2008)

In which Sink leave behind blackened drone-doom for a strange, unsettling concoction of avant-garde, neofolk-infused darkwave and vintage Goblin-esque psychedelia. It's starting to look like this might be Sink's last record, and if so, it's a fucking bummer that we'll never get to know where they might've gone from here.

Track listing:
1. Hunger
2. Pilgrimage
3. Dream Map
4. Consolation
5. Crystal Ship
6. Enchant
7. Terminal
8. World Asthma
9. So We'll Go No More A-Roving

Also listen to:

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Masabumi Kikuchi - Poo-Sun (1970)

First solo outing by Japanese jazz pianist Masabumi Kikuchi. Mesmerizing pieces that generally feature two pianists (both usually on electric), two drummers, a saxophonist, and a bassist. You're welcome.

Track listing:
1. Dancing Mist
2. Thanatos
3. E.J.
4. Yellow Carcass in the Blue
5. Puzzle Ring
6. My Companion

Similar listening:

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Elm - Bxogonoas (2008)

Ritualistic drone from Jon Porras, who is probably known best as a member of Barn Owl (along with Evan Caminiti.) Dark and psychedelic, with acoustic instrumentation and an organic approach that points towards the more abstract realms of psych folk.

Track listing:
1. Dawn Unveils the Golden Thread
2. Offerings
3. Arboreal Lace
4. Blackened Horizon
5. Trails Lined with Turquoise and Silk
6. Guaquy
7. Warm and Still the Ground Keeps Our Frozen Hands
8. The Desert Speaks at Sundown
9. Lift Our Eyes to the Swelling Tides

If you like this, listen to:

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Escape the Day - Ghostless (2005)

Get the party started with some crushingly sad German slowcore/post-rock. Simple guitar and piano figures and barely-there, whispery vocals, and the occasional cathartic crescendo. Ghostless is devastating on its own terms, and even more so given that one of the project's two main members, Chrisoph Florian Rehse, committed suicide before it could be released.

Track listing:
1. Hallways
2. Ghostless
3. Days
4. The Hour Undone
5. If I Told You
6. Still
7. This Wave's Length

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Charalambides - Market Square (1995)


Heavily sedated drone/psych/folk. Consists almost entirely of warped, at times out-of-tune guitars and lonely, drifting vocals. Seemingly largely improvised. The sound of nodding off. (Not making any assumptions about the musicians involved, just a description of the sounds they made.)

Track listing:
 -Disc One-
1. Think About
2. Those Who Walk
3. We Live Like Pigs
4. Namaste / Lightning Walk / Hours / And So Danced the River
5. Bankrupt
 -Disc Two-
1. House with Three Sides
2. Silvatica
3. Saratoga Reel
4. Indianola
5. Magnolia at Last
6. Someday You'll Get Yours

Similar listening:

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Bann - Æschatologia (2009)

Epic, symphonic German black metal with strong doom overtones. A beautiful, keyboard-heavy ode to medieval times (the era, not the dinner theater chain) colored by whispery-rasps that sound more like Golem than any other vocalist I've heard.

Track listing:
1. Der Geiger
2. Schwarze Bulle
3. Narrenschyff
4. Carmina Necrologia
5. Fraß der Flammen: I Póli
6. Die letzten Dinge (Æschatolog)

For fans of:

Monday, February 8, 2021

Gimmik - ?!Load-Error E.P. (1997)

First record by Gimmik, a project of Toytronic label founder Martin Haidinger. Distorted breakbeats and toy sound effects juxtaposed against texturally rich, often quite lovely synths, all tied up with a glitchy bow.

Track listing:
1. Little Computer People
2. Sister Moon
3. Soft Drink
4. Floppy Disk
5. Thing on a Spring
6. Floppy Disk (Load Error Mix)

Also listen to:

Thursday, February 4, 2021

The Smoking Popes - Get Fired (1993)

Brilliant first album by one of the most distinctive pop punk bands to ever grace our dumb world. The Smoking Popes never really fit the pop punk label, as their vocalist has a somewhat arch, sarcastic croon akin to that of Morrissey, and their dynamic, rough-around-the-edges songs have more in common with bands like Dinosaur Jr. than Green Day. This is probably why I never dug them back in the day, and have only learned to love them over the past few years as a jaded middle-aged crank.

Track listing:
1. Let's Hear It for Love
2. That's Where I Come In
3. Let Them Die
4. Double Fisted Love
5. Don't Be Afraid
6. Can't Find It
7. Off My Mind
8. Not That Kind of Girlfriend
9. Days Just Wave Goodbye

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Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Gorch Fock - Lying and Manipulating (2005)

Texan noise rock. Barely-controlled chaos with blaring horns, unhinged vocals, and the occasional synth dropping in like a goddamn U.F.O. 

Track listing:
1. Prologue: Mexia Creek Crossover
2. Scott Jernigan
3. Bono
4. (Untitled)
5. Tap Is Crack
6. Message of Counter-Cultural...
7. Brazilian Whack Job
8. Penance / Giant Mast
9. Operational Thetan
10. Tampa Pentagram
11. Michael Kolhaas
12. Jefferson Davis Pinkus
13. Ohio
14. (Untitled)

More insanity:

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Lip Cream - Lip Cream (1989)

By request, here's a lil' Lip Cream. Classic, fist-pumping Japanese hardcore. Sometimes it feels like I've posted everything there is to post, and then someone requests something like this and I realize how wrong I was.

Track listing:
1. 罪 –Sin–
2. カモフラージュ
3. Fresh
4. Bloodsucking to Death
5. Into the Confusion
6. Fight Alone
7. F・C・D
8. From My Soul
9. Never
10. 紅蓮(光る風)
11. Trap of War
12. 無 –Nothing–

If you like this, listen to:

Monday, February 1, 2021

Skuggeheim - Vinterrikets konge (2007)

Norwegian raw black metal. A solo project of the main dude from Throne of Katarsis. All the incomprehensibility of a very lo-fi recording, but funneled through what sounds like a warped tape. Buried somewhere in all that, there's a really great, relatively traditional black metal album. Like a lost Blazebirth Hall project, but without the racism.

Track listing:
1. Med slipte oekser
2. Vinterrikets konge
3. Symboler i snoe
4. Avgrunnen
5. Ulvene drar
6. Doedens mellomakt

More like this:

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Ophiolatry - Anti-Evangelistic Process (2002)

Killer slept-on Brazilian death metal. Knotty, occult brutality that's more than a bit reminiscent of Morbid Angel, which is definitely not a bad thing. 

Track listing:
1. Intro
2. Psychodemoniac Mentalities
3. Messiah of Deformity
4. Entombed
5. Havoc
6. Opposite Monarchy
7. Anti-Evangelistic Process
8. Asmodeus - The Destroyer
9. Breaking the Bones of Jesus
10. Chaos Domination
11. Vexation

More like this:

Friday, January 29, 2021

Blood of the Black Owl - A Banishing Ritual (2010)

A heady fusion of dark psych, Pagan neofolk and blackened drone-doom. Dissonant monoliths of sound worthy of latter-day Swans broken up by flashes of crushing, pitch-black caveman sludge. It's borderline criminal that it took me so long to post this.

Track listing:
1. Intent
2. The Statement of Will
3. Chant of the Captured Spirit
4. The Final Banishing

Also check out:

Tape - Milieu (2003)

Sad, sweet, fragmented instrumentals from a Swedish trio. Acoustic and electric guitars, chimes, melodica, organ, piano, saxophone, and more against a backdrop of fragmented, glitchy textures and field recordings.

(As many of you pointed out, my previous post of Luminarium actually linked to Milieu. This is because I had started out making a Luminarium post, but immediately decided I'd rather do Milieu, and forgot to change the title and artwork. Thankfully, the description works, give or take the part about saxophone, for both albums. Making a new post entirely to fix the URL. Thanks for letting me know.)

Track listing:
1. Oak Player
2. Sponge Chorus
3. Crippled Tree
4. Edisto
5. Golden Twig
6. Long Bell
7. Root Tattoo
8. Switchboard Fog

Similar vibes:

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Jane - Fire, Water, Earth & Air (1975)

Excellent German prog/space rock. Three sprawling, interwoven suites contemplating love and human inter-connection through the lens of the classical elements. The Floyd influence is certainly there, as is the utopian rush of krautrock. I've known this band for years, but for some reason slept on this record until recently. Highly recommended for any prog fan.

The track listing's kinda confusing and overly long to write out, so I'm actually not gonna try to suss it out here, but it essentially amounts to: Track 1 has the Fire and Water bits, Track 2 is Earth, and Track 3 is Air.

You should also hear:

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Nebula - Genesis (2002)


A phenomenal collaborative project from a group of ambient greats put together by Oöphoi. A massive, ever-expanding void of subtly layered ambient drone in which to float around until the end of infinity.

Track listing:
1. OM Creation: Breaking the Cosmic Egg
2. Let There Be Light
3. Floating Galaxies
4. Time Vessel at the Gates of Forever
5. Pulves et Umbra (Dust and Shadows)
6. The Sacred Pool of Tepeu and Gucumatz
7. The Dawn of Man

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Monday, January 25, 2021

Es - Kaikkeuden kauneus ja käsittämättömyys (2004)


Finnish experimental sounds that touch predominantly on drone, neoclassical, and musique concrète. Mysterious, beautiful, and often much darker than that relatively whimsical album cover might suggest.

Track listing:
1. Surullisille, onnettomille...
2. Hamuavia
3. Pehmeä iho
4. Huumaava ikuisuus
5. Puutarhaan lasketuu höyhen
6. Juhlat
7. Sädekellot
8. Sadepäivät
9. Aavehuminaa (katjalle)
10. Kaikkeuden kauneus ja käsittämättömyys

You should also hear:

Friday, January 22, 2021

Jeniger - Jeniger (2002)

One of the first and best melodic d-beat/crust records; it's maybe worth noting that Jeniger was recorded before the first Tragedy LP came out. This record changed the way I thought about punk, and was one of my old band's biggest influences during our formative years.

Track listing:
1. Point of No Return
2. Wasted
3. Lethargie
4. Paradise
5. For This Time
6. For No-One
7. Go Off

More melodic d-beat:

Thursday, January 21, 2021

MMOTHS - Luneworks (2016)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:

Woozy, abstract, downtempo electro-dream pop. Distorted washes, glimmering synths, odd time signatures, pulsing rhythms, murmured vocals, late-night vibes.

Track listing:
1. You
2. Deu
3. Phase In
4. Para Polaris
5. Verbena
6. Scent
7. Eva
8. Lucid
9. Body Studies
10. 1709
11. Phase Out
12. Ohm
13. Naoko Pt. 1
14. Naoko Pt. 2

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Skumring - Der glemte tider (2005)

Omit - Repose (2011)

Melodic funeral doom featuring two future members of Omit, including their incomparable vocalist, Cecilie Langlie. Drawn-out chords, delicate acoustic guitars, and that crestfallen voice.

Track listing:
1. Sovn
2. De glemte tider
3. Forførelse i natten

Further down the spiral:

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Gastr del Sol - Camoufleur (1998)

Oval - Systemisch (1994)

Final and IMO best album from this stellar experimental indie/post-rock outfit of David Grubbs and Jim O'Rourke, featuring (on this record) Markus Popp of Oval. Acoustic guitars, horns, strings, understated vocals, keyboards, piano, and electronic textures form a beautiful, elusive sound. As a go-to early morning listen, Camofleur provided the soundtrack to many opening shifts at my old record store job.

Track listing:
1. The Seasons Reverse
2. Blues Subtitled No Sense of Wonder
3. Black Horse
4. Each Dream Is an Example
5. Mouth Canyon
6. A Puff of Dew
7. Bauchredner

If you like this, check out:

Monday, January 18, 2021

Latitude - Latitude (1986)

Debut LP from this new age duo. Synth voices of every kind, programmed drums, and 'real' guitar courtesy of legit virtuoso Ben Verdery.

Track listing:
1. At a Heart's Glance
2. Wing and a Prayer
3. A Boy's Fortune
4. Spring Training
5. Open Water
6. Private Island
7. Rock Pool Dreams
8. Cloud Dancing

More like this:

Friday, January 15, 2021

Venus Star - Son of Venus the Destroyer (2010)

Prevalent Resistance - Eternal Return (2008)
Circle of Ouroboros - Abrahadabra (2012)
Rahu - The Quest for the Vajra of Shadows (2012)

Finnish raw, punk-and-doom-infused black metal. Compilation of three cassette demos. An endless parade of largely mid-paced riff-fests with psychotic, almost screamo-y vocals. Some of the most mosh-worthy raw black metal I've heard.

Track listing:
1. Venus-Lucifer I
2. Venus-Lucifer II
3. Venus-Lucifer III
4. Venus-Lucifer IV
5. Venus-Lucifer V
6. Venus-Lucifer VI
7. Destroyer Sonata I
8. Destroyer Sonata II
9. Destroyer Sonata III
10. Son of Ishtar I
11. Son of Ishtar II
12. Son of Ishtar III
13. Son of Ishtar IV

Similar listening:

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Gaussian Curve - The Distance (2017)

One of the great modern ambient records. Simple, programmed beats coast through a shimmering expanse of rich, chiming guitars and synths. At times, there's a slo-mo smoothness that suggests 80s soft rock played at 33 instead of 45; elsewhere, it's more of a tasteful take on classic new age. Speaking of classic new age, some of you nerds might be interested to learn that Gigi Masin is involved.

Track listing:
1. Breathe
2. The Distance
3. Dancing Rain
4. Suspended Motion
5. Ceremony
6. T.O.R.
7. Four for You
8. Another Place

If you like this, try:

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Hilton Valentine - All in Your Head (1969)

2021 is off to a predictably bleak, anxiety-ridden start, huh? Here's a bit of late-60s psychedelic folk rock to help us escape to a world of sunshine, soft green hilltops, and weed smoke.

Track listing:
1. Listen
2. Everything Returns to Me
3. It's All in Your Head
4. Little Soldiers
5. Eyes of a Child
6. Sitting in the Sun
7. Is There Anything But Love
8. Land of Children
9. Run, Run, Run
10. Peace
11. Girl from Allemagne

Similar vibes:

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Clogs - Lantern (2006)

Folk-and-classical-leaning, instrumental post-rock from a NYC 4-piece that includes The National's Bryce Dessner. Tastefully understated arrangements made up of guitar, melodica, viola, violin, mandolin, bassoon, and percussion, among others. Lantern has been a go-to wintertime listen for me since pretty much the day it came out, so maybe it can help get some of you through the cold months as well.

Track listing:
1. Kapsburger
2. Canon
3. 5/4
4. 2:3:5
5. Death and the Maiden
6. Lantern
7. Tides of Washington Bridge
8. The Song of the Cricket
9. Fiddlegree
10. Compass
11. Voisins
12. Tides (Piano)

Also listen to:

Monday, January 11, 2021

Dissonant Winds - Forestial Transcendence (2017)

Australian atmospheric black metal. A beautifully bleak blur of tremolo picking, lo-fi drums, and ghostly howls, broken up by dark expanses of icy, minimal synth drone.

Track listing:
1. Lo the Forest
2. Upon the Pessimist Throne
3. Echoes of Silence
4. Forestial Transcendence

More like this:

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Deadbeat - Primordia (2001)

Engrossing, narcotized dub techno from French-Canadian producer Scott Monteith. Grainy, echoing atmospherics, minimal melodic loops, and dark, subterranean pulses.

[EDIT: I just realized that I made the framework for this post before blogger updated and made it impossible (as far as my skills are concerned anyway) to imbed and align images as they are below. Look how much better that looks! Sad.]

Track listing:
1. Public Inspiration
2. Jaffa Dub (Queen B)
3. Peripheral Artifacts
4. Elder Drum
5. Minus Forty Madness
6. As We Conquer
7. Sunday Morning

Let it rain

More along these lines:
The Sight Below -
Glider (2008)
Donato Dozzy -
K (2010)

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Belzebuth - Belzebuth (2007)

Australian atmospheric/depressive black metal. Dissonant guitars, funereal drums, droning keyboards, and a howling goblin lead you through the forest of tortured spirits to your final resting place.

7 untitled tracks

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Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Dip in the Pool - Silence (1986)

Heaven-sent Japanese ambient synth pop. Understated, deceptively complex, and way ahead of its time. Little bits here and there remind me of some of the greats, but Dip in the Pool never really sound like anyone but themselves. 10/10.

Track listing:
1. Rabo del sol
2. Facing the Sea
3. はすのえにし
4. Sur le pois
5. Silence
6. ひなまり
7. View
8. Again
9. Spring from the Surface
10. Dormir

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Monday, January 4, 2021

Stu Goldberg - Fancy Glance (1979)

Jasper van 't Hof - Eye-Ball (1974)
John Lee & Gerry Brown - Infinite Jones (1974)

Funky, synth-heavy fusion led by keyboardist/pianist Stu Goldberg. It's really good. Would have been posted years ago but I couldn't find a clean rip until today.

Track listing:
1. That's the Joint
2. Night of the King
3. The Mypsy
4. Tears (Bass Solo)
5. Pokhara
6. What Is It
7. Sangre Caliente
8. Organism

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