As the dates on posts will show, I have neglected this blog for most of 2012 thus far. I have been doing tons of work behind the scenes at Inner-X-Musick and the new label PANICMACHINE and I have been writing. Here’s a quick rundown of what I scribbled for Dominion Magazine in the first half of this year:
The Valley Of The Shadows And Beyond – An Interview With She Wants Revenge
She Wants Revenge made a big impact with their eponymous debut album just a couple short years after their formation. This kicked off years of hard work, both on the road, and in the studio bringing them to audiences far beyond what a post punk/darkwave act can usually expect to reach. In interviews She Wants Revenge‘s core duo of Justin Warfield and Adam Bravin show very eloquently their love of and passion for music and the artists that inspired them. What grows out of this inspiration is an organic bloom that is very much their own.
Valleyheart is a love letter from She Wants Revenge to San Fernando Valley where they grew up. Not everyone could write so lovingly about the place they came from, so I wonder if this love for their roots is something they arrived at over time after travelling far and wide, or if they had this appreciation for where they came from all along. “Everything that contributed to the artists we are today”, says Adam Bravin, “we learned about while growing up in the San Fernando Valley, it help shaped who we are today. All the music, all the movies, the people, the experiences of youth, they all took place in the San Fernando Valley. We have always been in love with where we’re from and decided it would be amazing if we could make an album that would be an homage to that place and pay our respects to the place that influenced us in so many amazing ways.”
Read the rest of this massive interview here:
Pop Go The Witches – An Interview With Heretics
Armed with brooding sawtooth synth bass and just enough reverb to create an expansive sonic space for their songs to unfold, Heretics bring strong songwriting uncommon in witch house. At the same time they deliver songs with an organic, dark atmosphere that is all their own. As flowers will bloom in the cracks of the most desolate parking lot, so does art in the bleakest of times. The aforementioned flower may not be a deliberate protest against the pavement, but it demonstrates eloquently the unstoppable nature of life and creation. Since their inception in 2010 Heretics have seductuve black blooms in the dark light of post-punk, synth pop and witch house. I got the opportunity to ask Heretics’ David Whiting a few questions.
Heretics have been and will continue to find themselves on the bill with many well established and popular acts including Xymox, Method Cell and the upcoming show with She Wants Revenge. I ask what the reception has been like from the audience of very popular acts. “It’s been surprisingly good actually. There’s something intrinsic to audiences in the Goth scene which you don’t get it a lot of other circles, where people are really open-minded to hearing something new.” A good thing to hear, and an encouraging contradiction to the charge of musical conservatism sometime lobbed at the goth scene. “As Heretics is the first music I’ve been involved with which fits into that scene”, David continues “it’s been really nice to have so many people listening to what you’re doing and judging on its own merit.”
Read the rest here:
Tongue – At the Beginning…
AF-MUSIC/Zorch Factory Records
Opening up a short release with the entire “I’m mad as hell” speach from the movie Network might be a little excessive, but the tone of defiance it sets is backed up by six high energy tracks that match the sentiment. Tongue, being from the Czech Republic, may not have seen the clip as many times as some of us in the States. Not a day goes by without one of my yank friends posting the clip. We’re mad as hell over here, but we’re taking it…
Read the entire review here:
A Rainy Day in Bergen – S/T
I grew up in Bergen, Norway and I can attest to their rainy days in Bergen. Many rainy days. It has been said that one day there was a surge of reports of UFO’s over the city. Upon investigation it turned out people had seen the sun showing faintly through the cloud cover. One might not expect that it is an Italian band that goes by this name, but each song would fit very well with the kind of video that has the singer declaiming head up, arms out in pouring rain.
Read the entire review here:
Pwin Teaks And The Children Of The New H – Kosmische Puppen LP
Formerly known as Pwin ▲▲ Teaks, a moniker emblematic of Witch House’s Twin Peaks fetish. Twin Peaks references are manifest in sound and image in many a Phantasma Disques endeavour, but have shown a much wider set of interests over the course of past releases. In their best moments their combination of hazy soundscapes, pulsing delays and spoken word cutups can bring to mind early experiments of Nurse With Wound or Seven From Life, though largely simpler, and easier to digest.
Read the entire review here:
MATER SUSPIRIA VISION - Inverted Triangle III LP
You drop the tab and as you feel the first lift the clockwork elves appear, pour you a drink. They chatter playfully and wind up the music box. You hear a soothing voice you can’t quite understand and then the clockwork elves seize you and open up your third eye with a long, narrow dagger. Your surroundings once so familiar that you no longer noticed any part in detail is now populated with figures of haunting and haunted glamour. Mannequins seem to be sentient and eyes of living people betray no conscious thought. There is something terrible lurking beyond vision and sound. This thing that can not be described is not a beast out of Lovecraft, nor is it the usual petty and violent criminal figures of fear. The journey into the world of Inverted Triangle III has begun.
Read the entire review here:
A huge thanks to those of you who have downloaded this album and sahred it with fiends & foes. We’re proud to find that as of this week, more than 6,000 of you have downloaded it. (Not counting the music blogs and Russian file sharing sites. They use their own uploads and we have no way of knowing how many downloads, or even how many sites are hosting this release by now.)
NOISE COVERED WORSHIP
INCREASINGLY BIZARRE POLITICAL THREAT RITES
PROCESS PRODUCT PROPOSITION
DE LEGE MOTUS
A CRAVEN SLAVE DESIGN
SACRED THOUGHT OBSTACLES
ELECTRONIC VOICE PHENOMENA
GRAVE PECULIARITY RECEIVED
APPARITIONS OF ART
PROGRAMMERS BELOW SIGHTS OF THE OPERATIONAL SECRET
A NON-EUCLIDEAN FUTURE
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ALL DAY PARTY FEATURING A PERFORMANCE BY NEW INNER-X-MUSICK ARTIST, THE POSTPUNK BAND GRIMEWAVE. ..AND 2 SLEEPCHAMBER SHOWS!
This is truly some great stuff. Stark, but atmospheric. I’ve played HTRK many times on the Necrofuturist Transmission and will be continuing to do so.
My article this week for Dominion Mag pointed out a new appreciation for things goth, darkwave and generally creepy and went into some questions that arose as I looked the situation over. Some answers presented themselves as I wrote, more from reactions to the piece and this acknowlegment of dark creative endeavours contiues to spread with no signs of slowing down. Later this month, the ICA wioll gather boffins together to dissect gothic manifestations of culture in their two day meditation Template for Terror: The Revival of the Gothic.
Quoth the ICA event page:
From Dracula and Frankenstein to Twilight and Shaun of the Dead, contemporary culture continues to appropriate the stock themes of the eighteenth and nineteenth century gothic novel. This weekend of panel discussions, presentations and screenings will explore the societal impulse that draws us to the darker side of life, looking at the influence of the gothic in contemporary art, literature, film and music.
Well, dip my balls in sweet cream and roll me in flour if this doesn’t bring to memory other times Big Art deigned to cast an eye for a brief moment to what the outsiders are doing. Back in the -90′s as the US was climbing slowly put from another foray into the financial ditch, art consultants were traversing the Deep South in search of «Outsider Art», which they would buy in bulk for a song and sell to galleries, collectors and corporate collections for a many-fold profit. When the establishment art world goes on a tourist jaunt to the realms of chaos where things develop and thrive without their patronage, they either clear the land and scorch the earth or colonize the territory. Does anyone remember Altermodern? The conceit was that cultural colonization was coming to an end, both between fine and popular art and between first and third world art.
I addressed this in a post on the kkoagulaa blog:
Hmmm… The Market As Performance Art, Art As Commodity, taste makers seeking for a raison d’etre, journo’s and commentators whipping themselves into a froth. Case in point: Altermodern: Tate Triennial 2009, an event, a declaration and a curator that have the art press twisting themselves inside out. Postmodernism has died a thousand deaths, but we do wait for curators at large institutions in visionary and creative stasis to tell us when the nightmare is over before we accept it.
This connects with an article I posted to Alterati.com around the wild and wooly entertainment spectacular that was the 2008 US election. Admittedly, I held the thing together with spit and duct tape, but those protest didn’t turn out to be more than the prisoner’s last meal before execution, did they? A couple day of noise and the livestock went back to their pens and accepted whatever was handed to them as slops.
What is this all about?
Well, what is presented by living artists at such edifices as the Tate is art sanctioned by the moneyed classes, it either confirms or showcases their control and soothes their sensibilities, or is “edgy” and “provocative” in the same way the jesters filled that function at court. The middle-class identified are often thrown a bone to keep them coming, and to move them to pledge to institutions in the US. (“Middle-class identified includes the actual middle class, but also those who are not middle class financially. There are those groups of low wage earners who don’t get their hands dirty in their work who are encouraged to identify as middle class to keep them on the hamster wheel, as well as retail management proxies who kept the appearance of financial comfort by buying into the credit ponzi scheme which has been the illusion of prosperity from Reagan up to the recent bank and credit collapse.)
That ponzi scheme is being wound down as the dungeon masters of that game are gathring up their pieces and going home. The resulting devastation may have something to do with the appeal of darker forms of expression. Consumers and underground cultural efforts may join the “Useless Eaters” when it all shakes out, but we’ll be making sweet music of the night in our encampments.
Now, I do remember finding Mick Mercer’s Hex Files: The Goth Bible in the anthropology section at the Harvard bookstore. Where this connects for me with the artists emerging outside the established goth scene and outside entities covering them and to varying extents covering the scene is this same establishment way of dealing with outsiders. Where goth promoters, writers and dj’s may be accused of ignoring the new non-scene artists, (n accusation I’m not sure lines up with the actual situation, but it doesn’t hurt us to discuss the matter), when tastes change in our favour, the romance will always be a one-night stand. Whomp, yog-sothoth, thank you Goth…
I want to be clear that I may have come across sharper than I intended on some points. I pulled a quote from The Sky’s Gone Out blog about the commercial peak of goth in the -90′s to point out two of the releases referred to were not goth, though the artists (Peter Murphy and The Sisters), certainly were.
…it was the only time I can remember when music of this particular pedigree was taken with any degree of seriousness by college radio, MTV, or the music press. Instead of The Cure, Siouxsie, Murphy, and the Sisters opening doors, Goth quickly vanished in Grunge’s wake (and a very different sort of earnestness reigned). The commercial torch, if one could said to have been passed, went to Nine Inch Nails, and Manson, who were working from a different angle.
I will give him that point very happily, and I think we largely agree on most points covered on his end. I follow his blog on tumblr because what he writes is very insightful and thought provoking. His conclusion that the scene will be with us for a long time is correct, and I think this crop of dark indie bands and witch house artists offer more promise than the aforementioned NIN and Manson. You should read the rest of the entry and follow his blog if you have any interest in the topic.
Hand-wringing over «Mall-Goths», EBM, or any temporary fling with the greater world of filthy commerce is something we’re strong enough and have genuine enough intentions to safely ignore. But sometimes there are windows of opportunity that should not be dismissed out of cliquishness or fear of being co-opted. The relationship between the noir rock bands and the goth scene bands will develop.
What may transpire at the ICA, I can’t say. I’m interested to find out, and reserve the right to point and ridicule any scholarly misinterpretations I may see.
Linkature on the blinkature:
The armies of the dark returned last year. Really. The goth aesthetic, dark sounds, grabs tastemakers by their smug throats as silhouettes of hipsters can be seen, dancing among the graves as the world heats up and economies wobble on their precarious perches. The Quietus, Pitchfork and Stereogum are directing a surprisingly unironic gaze at artists waving an undeniably gothic banner. Post-punk is invoked in descriptions of more ‘band to watch’ blogotronic hosannas than one could reasonably keep up with. The thing about this return is that it’s news, to those of us who have stayed with the scene, that it ever went away.
Cognitive Dissonance Phase III
Further dissection of the sounds. I had some radio signals coming through the guitar as I laid down the tracks, and I’ve made liberal use of them here. Unlike the album itself, I layered, layered the layers and added extra layers to boot.
I think my machines feaked out and became possessed in the process.
We will be bringing you works in progress from the next Veil of Thorns album “Salon Apocalypse” and mangled wrecks thereof soon. We can’t say just yet if we’ll run the full cycle of revisiting the Cognitive Dossonance sessions or if they may intersperse with the Apocalypse podcasts and sketches.
A special one for this dark and cool evening. Click the picture for to download.
I made this outta the bass tracks from the album. Mostly you’re hearing one track of bass with no layers but the real-time FX, though there are a couple points where the cello creeps in.
A few inexplicable voices emerged that weren’t recorded by me. If it fits as a soundtrack for your evening, I want to hear the story.