Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Earthstar - French Skyline (1979)

Excellent, borderline symphonic Berlin-school synth glory, this time from a Utaca-based band. According to the credits, there are a ton of instruments on this album -- including flute, violin, guitar, French horn, and an actual choir -- but it all gets folded into a single, massive wall of sound. Co-produced by Klaus Schulze.

Track listing:
1. Latin Sirens Face the Wall - Part I: Sirens
2. Latin Sirens Face the Wall - Part II: The Amazon
3. Latin Sirens Face the Wall - Part III: The Flourishing Illusion
4. Splendoured Skies and Angels
5. French Sky Lines Suite

More like this:

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Sacrificium Carmen - Sanansaattaja (2013)

Finnish raw black metal. High-pitched, DSBM-sounding shrieks atop a redlining storm of tremolo-picking and muffled drumming.

Track listing:
1. 666
2. Sanansaattaja
3. Korpin Jäljissä
4. Viimeinen Rukous

If you like this, try:

Monday, March 29, 2021

Endon - Mama (2014)

A mind-melting, eardrum-shattering cacophony of Japanese blackened noisecore insanity. Harsh noise, samples, drumming that's akin to free jazz but with blast beats, tremolo-picked guitars, serrated synths, and unhinged, shrieking vocals. Produced by Atsuo of Boris.

Track listing:
1. Etude for Lynching by Family
2. Parricide Agent Service
3. Acme Apathy Amok
4. Pray for Me
6. Just Like Everybody

Further into chaos:

Friday, March 26, 2021

Jeff Mills - The Occurrence (2010)

Jeff Mills has been making strange, cosmic techno since the early 90s, and he shows no sign of stopping; if anything, he's gained momentum over the past decade. Thus, he's built up a pretty extensive discography, which can make things difficult for a prospective fan, so I'm just going with the album that was my entry point into his beautiful cosmos. What is it about Detroit that makes for such amazing house and techno?

Track listing:
1. Indications
2. Spacewalk (The Storm)
3. Abnormal Feeling
4. Inception
5. Hallucinations
6. Something Is Happening
7. Protons
8. Opening the Passageways
9. Infected
10. Eve
11. Satellite Retrieval
12. The Occurrence
13. A Newfound Sense of Being
14. Damaged Tether
15. From Beyond the Star
16. Reviewing the Incident
17. Transmitting Data to Mission Control
18. Re-Establishing Connection
19. Spiral Galaxy
20. New Measurements
21. Peaceful Encounter
22. Determination
23. Off-Line

More Detroit magic:

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Buried Inside - Chronoclast (2005)

A perfect fusion of Celestial-style post-metal and melodic metalcore, Chronoclast blew the minds of pretty much everyone who heard it when it first came out, but never quite made the crossover into full-blown classic, possibly because they didn't quite stick the landing with the follow-up record. I saw them open for Isis shortly after this came out, and the vocalist had a gong front and center that he would positively fucking wild out on during instrumental bits.

Track listing:
1. Introduction
2. Time as Ideology
3. Time as Methodology
4. Time as Surrogate Religion
5. Time as Imperialism
6. Reintroduction
7. Time as Abjection
8. Time as Automation
9. Time as Commodity
10. Time as Resistance

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Wavestar - Moonwind (1987)

Synth-based sounds for drifting through an infinite expanse of glittering stars and planets. Like many of us, anxiety has played a major role in my life over the past year, and it's been the kind of pervasive, omnipresent anxiety that can't be staved off by ambient music. In fact, ambient music has been so at-odds with how I've been feeling, it's made my anxiety worse a few times. Kinda like how if you're feeling really lonely, listening to funk can feel like listening to a great party that someone else threw and didn't invite you. SO I take it as a great sign that I've been listening to more and more of it over the past few months.

Track listing:
1. Voyager
2. Edge of Morning
3. Cabala
4. Troll Valley
5. Moonwind
6. Chase the Evening
7. For the Whales [bonus]

Similar vibes:

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

1 Gud Cide - Look What the Streets Made (1995)

A should-be classic of underground Forth Worth, TX g-funk. Smooth, laid-back beats and flows to match. Some really poignant, emotionally compelling stuff. The cover famously includes a picture of one half of the duo, Twisted Black, after he was shot in the face -- as you can tell from the "(NOT)" underneath the "R.I.P. Black", he survived -- taking the then-newly-formed group temporarily out of commission and arguably robbing them of their place in hip-hop history.

Track listing:
1. Intro
2. Time to Be a Man
3. Convictin It
4. Makin It Right
5. Game of Life
6. Mama Told Me
7. Remember Me (feat. Jerome)
8. Skitt
9. Years Ago (feat. Jerome)
10. Loco vs. State (feat. Jerome)
11. Let Them Colors Go
12. Brothers
13. Going Crazy
14. Where Do I Go
15. Terror in the Gulf Coast (feat. El Dog & Pig) [bonus]

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Monday, March 22, 2021

The Clearing Path - Watershed Between Firmament and the Realm of Hyperborea (2017)

Phenomenal Italian progressive black metal, and maybe my biggest musical oversight of 2017 (it really was a phenomenal year for black metal.) Jangling, barely overdriven guitars, distorted screams, ambient noise, and wordless choirs winding their way through an infinity of dark, cosmic knowledge. As seamless a fusion of beauty and dissonance as you're likely to hear. This is one of several solo projects by the same dude, and they're all excellent, so if you're feeling this, check out his other stuff.

Track listing:
1. Ankhtkheperura in Thee (A Mystical Enlightenment)
2. The Pillars of Creation
3. Stargazer Monolith
4. This Stairway Will Carry Me Towards the Grandest Light

More black metal for cosmic exploration:

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Camera Obscura - Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi (2001)

First proper full-length from one of Glasgow's finest musical exports. Breezy, sleepy, 60's-referencing indie pop that's very much in the vein of early Belle and Sebastian, whose Stuart Murdoch helped out with string arrangements. All of this band's records are really great -- there's apparently a new album in the works, too -- but Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi and I go way back.

Track listing:
1. Happy New Year
2. Eighties Fan
3. Houseboat
4. Shine Like a New Pin
5. Pen and Notebook
6. Swimming Pool
7. Anti-Western
8. Let's Go Bowling
9. I Don't Do Crowds
10. The Sun on His Back
11. Double Feature
12. Arrangements of Shapes and Space

If you like this, listen to:

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Fantastic Four - Alvin Stone (The Birth and Death of a Gangster) (1975)

A lost gem of lushly produced 70s soul. Rich, layered vocals and ornate, orchestral arrangements. Not sure why more people don't rep this record; maybe it's the lack of a successful single? Whatever the case, any O'Jays fans should definitely hear it.

Track listing:
1. Alvin Stone (The Birth and Death of a Gangster)
2. Have a Little Mercy
3. County Line
4. Let This Moment Last Forever
5. Words
6. My Love Won't Stop at Nothing

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Friday, March 19, 2021

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Obywatel G.C. - Obywatel G.C. (1986)

A bit of dark Polish art rock/pop. Unsurprisingly, I know very little about Polish pop culture, but the main guy behind Obywatel G.C. -- Grzegorz Ciechowski -- was in a band called Republika, who apparently were a big deal in Poland back in the day. Very 80s production that includes slap bass, bleating sax, wailing (but tasteful) guitar leads, soft synth pads, and more. I'm feeling it.

Track listing:
1. Paryż Moskwa 17.15 (czyli mimowolne podróże kochanków)
2. Tak Długo Czekam (czyli "Ciało")
3. Błagam Nie Odmawiaj (czyli wyroki ferowane z pewną nadzieją)
4. Kaspar Hauser
5. Spoza Lini świata (czyli listy pisane z serca dżungli)
6. Przyznaję Się Do Winy (czyli zeznania miłosne)
7. Moje Modły

If you like this, listen to:

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Black Swan - When the Angels of Twilight Dance (1998)

Dolorian - When All the Laughter Has Gone (1999)

Finnish melodic black metal. Mostly mid-paced but busy drumming and the occasional faster section keep things energetic. Ample keyboards but not to an off-putting degree. Highly recommended for any fan of the style.

Track listing:
1. The Tavastian Parade
2. Under Cloak and Hood
3. Into the Sea of Sorrow
4. Autumn in Eden
5. The Withering Flower of Life
6. Mist
7. To Behold the Sky of Flames
8. When the Angels of Twilight Dance

More like this:

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Asunta - Landscapes (1996)

Mesmerizing ambient instrumentals from a Polish duo of clarinetist/composer Sławomir Gołaszewski and harmoniumist (that's probably not a word) Wojciech Karwacki. Nothing but droning harmonium and echoing clarinet. Could be likened to an extremely abstracted form of dark jazz. Whatever it is, it's a true hidden gem of ambient music that I only stumbled upon fairly recently, and I'd like to think that I've cultivated a readership that will absolutely fucking love this.

Track listing:
1. Landscape I / Krajobraz I
2. Landscape II / Krajobraz II
3. Landscape III / Krajobraz III
4. Landscape IV / Krajobraz IV
5. Landscape V / Krajobraz V
6. Landscape VI / Krajobraz VI
7. Landscape VII / Krajobraz II
8. Landscape VIII / Krajobraz VIII

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Saturday, March 13, 2021

Hordes of the Lunar Eclipse - Dancing Demons in the Grey-Lit Glade (2003)


Ripping occult black metal from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Excellent drumming, somewhat standard-issue raspy vocals, and really interesting guitar playing that has this droning quality that, in a certain light, takes on an odd, sore-ridden beauty.

Track listing:
1. In the Service of the Stormlord
2. Gleaned of Gazes into the Shadow-Mirror
3. Nameless, Unnamable
4. And Blood Became Snow
5. Beneath the Veridian Loche
6. Dreams of the Aemerald Alter
7. Dancing Demons in the Grey-Lit Glade
8. Frozen in Death
9. Anointing of the Sick

More like this:

Friday, March 12, 2021

Acrimony - Tumuli Shroomaroom (1997)

I'd like to start by acknowledging the alien-Buddha in the room. Yes, it has a beard. Yes, it looks more like something you'd see on a comp of didgeridoo-driven trance than on a metal album. However, stoner-doom metal this is, and really good stoner-doom at that. It's significantly less cheesy in execution than it is in presentation. And there's only a little bit of didgeridoo. I humbly ask that you trust me, maybe take a bonghit or two if that's your thing, and give ol' Tumuli Shroomaroom a spin.

Track listing:
1. Hymns to the Stone
2. Million Year Summer
3. Turn the Page
4. Vŷ
5. Find the Path
6. The Bud Song
7. Motherslug (The Mother of All Slugs)
8. Heavy Feather
9. Firedance

More heavy longhairs:

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Locust - Weathered Well (1994)

Woozy, nocturnal ambient-electronic sounds from London producer Mark Van Hoeg. The kind of album that makes you feel as though you have stepped into someone else's inner world, and you can't really read their thoughts or memories but you can kind of watch them bounce off of each other unconsciously in the darkness. You know what I'm talking about, right? Right? Anybody?

Track listing:
1. Prospero
2. Moist Moss
3. Xenophobe
4. Weathered Gate
5. Tamed
6. Still
7. Music About Love
8. Lust
9. Fawn

Similar vibes:

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Avsky - Scorn (2010)

Swedish black metal. Riffs on riffs on riffs, reverb-soaked vocals, and the kind of cruel-but-almost-catchy/groove-y edge that the Swedes have been dominating for years. And there's a d-beat part in "No Compassion, No Regrets". A phenomenal record that I thought I had posted years ago, but that must have been my old blog.

Track listing:
1. As the Mountains Collapse
2. No Compassion, No Regrets
3. Dead End
4. The Beyond
5. Scorn
6. The Sickness Within

More from the land of Swede:

Monday, March 8, 2021

Michael Penn - Resigned (1997)

Charming, Beatles-worshipping power pop from Michael Penn (brother of Sean and Chris.) I feel like I'm lifting this thought from somewhere, so forgive me if that's the case, but: There's something inherently sad about power pop, and it's not just that it tends to consist of a bunch of peppy-sounding songs about heartbreak and depression. It's that it always seems to be made by some scruffy dude, clearly out-of-sync with the times, pouring countless hours into crafting these sweet little guitar-pop nuggets that have precisely zero chance of becoming actual pop hits. I guess there may have been a little bit of space for music like this when Resigned came out, but Matthew Sweet already had dibs.

Track listing:
1. Try
2. Me Around
3. Like Egypt Was
4. Out of My Hands
5. All That That Implies
6. Selfish
7. Cover Up
8. Figment
9. Small Black Box
10. Comfort
11. I Can Tell

More power pop sad bois:

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Creeps on Candy - Wonders of Giardia (1999)

Killer noise rock with hardcore tendencies from some dudes who've been involved with a whole bunch of Bay Area hardcore/punk bands over the years. Lands a bit on the more melodic side of the equation without sacrificing intensity or nastiness.

Track listing:
1. Nectar of the Gods
2. Her Song
3. Trial
4. Arena
5. Fish People
6. Porn Habit
7. Apples from Eden
8. Gravity's Angel
9. Truth-Truth-Lust
10. Life War
11. Descent
12. Dr. O
13. Bobby Ray
14. Scorpion Dance in the Floating World

More nasty sounds for nasty folks:

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

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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

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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

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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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