Monday, June 27, 2016

Parzival - "Casta" [2014]

Artist: Parzival
Title: Casta
Genre: Neoclassical, Martial Industrial
Country: Denmark / Russia / India
Release date: 2014

Track List: 
  1. Kalachakra
  2. Kurushektra Purana
  3. Himagni Purana
  4. Airyanem Vaejah Purana
  5. Uttara Purana
  6. Navadi Purana
  7. Ayo Purana
  8. Rudra Purana
  9. Yavashtra Purana
  10. Andra Purana
  11. Regnabit
Parzival was founded in 1999 by Dmitry Bablevsky, who was a member (initially a drummer, then a vocalist known for his unusually low-pitched voice) of several rock bands in late USSR, one of which became popular enough that its members managed to move to Denmark in 1989. In 1992, Bablevsky started a new project called Stiff Miners, which played industrial techno in the vein of "Kapital"-era Laibach. After Stiff Miners have released two full-length albums, Bablevsky decided to abandon the futuristic industrial sound in favour of more medieval neoclassical music. Thus, Parzival was born.

I've read several quite disparaging reviews of early Parzival albums, according to which, the band started as a pretty poor clone of Laibach. However, this album is quite solid, and doesn't sound like plagiarism of Laibach at all. It's a concept work dedicated to the Hindu tradition and the Indian classical music, made with the help of guest musicians from India:

Allerseelen - "Terra Incognita" [2015]

Artist: Allerseelen
Title: Terra Incognita
Genre: Neofolk, "Industrial Folklore"
Country: Austria
Release date: 2015

Track List: 
  1. Steingeburt (2015)
  2. Fliegerlied
  3. Böses Blut
  4. Ikarus
  5. Flamme (2015)
  6. Totenschiff
  7. Thule (2015)
  8. From The Emptiness
  9. Grünes Licht
  10. Neunmondmesser
  11. Sturmlied (2015)
  12. Wir Sind Schwäne (2015)
  13. Panzergarten (2015)
  14. Was Wissen Wir Vom Licht
  15. Schwarzes Vinyl
As you probably know, I rarely go to concerts, and there aren't many ones worth going to where I live. The one and only neofolk concert I've been to was the performance of Allerseelen, Otzepenevshiye and Sal Solaris, which took place in one of local theaters in 2007. Unsurprisingly, the attendance wasn't huge, but Allerseelen's performance was great, even if wasn't too familiar with his studio works at the time (the only his song I've heard before that concert was "Sturmlied 2.0" on some neofolk compilation).

Now, after I've listened to the whole Allerseelen discography, I can saafely say that this relatively new album is one of the best. I'm not too much into the occult/esoteric aspect of Allerseelen's works, but I love the music (which goes far beyond withing the borders of neofolk and even incorporates some elements of jazz and flamenco). While I can't find this particular album on Bandcamp, it can be found on dark-world.ru. There's also a very good detailed review of "Terra Incognita" on Heathen Harvest.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Vàli - "Forlatt" [2004]

Artist: Vàli
Title: Forlatt
Genre: Neofolk, Acoustic
Country: Norway
Release date: 2004

Track List:
  1. Naar Vinden Graater...
  2. Dypt Inne I Skogen
  3. Et Ensomt Minne
  4. Nordlysets Dans
  5. Lengsel
  6. Sorg
  7. Skumringens Omfavn
  8. Her Ute I Moerket
  9. Taake
  10. Doedens Evige Kall 
One of the most beautiful works in instrumental neofolk, which is now (deservedly) considered to be one of the classics of the genre. I personally like Vàli more than other similar projects (Tenhi, Nest). Unfortunately, the musician hasn't released anything else until 2013. Haven't listened to his sophomore release it, but I can only hope it to be as good as this one.

Amethystium - "Autumn Interlude" [2000]

Artist: Amethystium
Title: Autumn Interlude
Genre: Ambient, New Age
Country: Norway
Release date: 2000

Track List: 
  1. Ilona
  2. Arcana Voice
  3. Calantha
  4. Meadowland
  5. Autumn Interlude
The debut EP of the Norwegian project that needs no introduction to most fans of ambient and new age music. It was released on CD-R (250 copies) around the same time when Øystein Ramfjord was uploading his music to mp3.com (yeah, I'm present on the internet long enough to remember the "old" mp3.com, which was probably the most popular music hosting service in the early 2000), which eventually led his project to worldwide recognition. I don't listen to new age music that much, but I really like this EP, which in my opinion is one of the best in Amethystium's discography. It's mostly instrumental like the rest of Amethystium's works, with some beautiful female vocals performed by Joyelle Brandt. Of course it's available on dark-world.ru too.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Sophia - "Herbstwerk" [2001]

Artist: Sophia
Title: Herbstwerk
Genre: Neoclassical, Martial Industrial
Country: Sweden
Release date: 2001

Track List: 
  1. Miserere
  2. Herbstwerk
  3. March of Strength
  4. Winterflame
  5. Inner Turmoil
  6. Copper Sun
  7. My Salvation
  8. Prost!
"Herbstwerk"is one of the first martial industrial albums I've ever heard (in mid-2000s, thanks to Noisebunker), and it left a significant impression on me at the time. It's quite standard in terms of sound, yet very qualitative, as correctly pointed out in this review:

"Pete Pettersson-Bjargo was one of Cold Meat Industry's prodigies during the 90's, doing a fine job ripping off Dead Can Dance circa 1985-87 with his project Arcana and even finding recognition amidst official metal oriented press, such as Terrorizer magazine, in the process. By the turn of the decade the prodigy decided to extend his reach into the militant realm, and thus, Sophia was conceived... Not that Pete was necessarily all too concerned with ideological mumbo-jumbo (Arcana seemed to be pretty apolitical back in those days), though who could really tell but him. Nonetheless, Sophia keenly observed the chosen stylistic margins... Sophia's debut disc exhibited significant doses of dark ambient influence, alongside patches of medieval and gothic sentiments transferred over from Arcana, which were visibly downsized on a pair of EP's anticipating "Herbstwerk". This sophomore effort, then, in retrospect, really is the most traditional, by-the-numbers martial and neo-classical full-length in the project's oeuvre and, thus, the most *traditionalist* in its aesthetic..."

I tried to find this album on Sophia's official Bandcamp page, but found only the best track from it, "March of Strength" (nevertheless, dark-world.ru always comes to the rescue...)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Somnare - "Bellum Esse" [2015]

Artist: Somnare
Title: Bellum Esse
Genre: Neoclassical, Martial Industrial
Country: Spain
Release date: 2015

Track List: 
  1. Ruhig
  2. Bellum Esse
  3. Passages of Melancholy
  4. Desertum Infinitus
  5. Humanitatis dormit
  6. The Earth Slave
  7. Ego
  8. The Sun carved my tears
I usually don't review anything I receive via my contact form, not only because it isn't intended for demo submission, but mostly because the bands who send me their music apparently are interested only in self-promotion, not in my blog or me as a person, and I really don't like it. That's why I make only very rare exceptions for the artists I already know and like, such as Tamás Kátai.
I decided to make an exception for this Spain-based duo too, because they seem to be genuinely interested in my blog, their music is good, and I don't hear about new Spanish industrial or neofolk projects that often. Anyway, Sonmare are a duo consisting of the cellist/vocalist Pilar Molina and bassist/vocalist DP Rey, formed in 2013 and based out of Madrid:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Funker Vogt - "Aviator" [2007]

Artist: Funker Vogt
Title: Aviator
Genre: EBM, Electro-Industrial
Country: Germany
Release date: 2007

Track List:
  1. Welcome To Destruction
  2. Paralyzed
  3. Child Soldier
  4. City Of Darkness
  5. My Fortune
  6. Hostile Waters
  7. Thanatophobia
  8. Frozen In Time
  9. One
  10. Darwin's Nightmare
  11. Blind Rage
  12. Babylon
I decided to post this album on here after I stumbled upon this review, which in my opinion is spot on:

"The biggest knock on Funker Vogt (aside from the ridiculous lyrics- it seems they were written in German and translated word for word into English) has been their repetitiveness. If you have heard one Funker Vogt song, you've heard them all. Well with Aviator, they have put together an excellent album. The pace is varied and the lyrics, though simple, can be thoughtful at times. This disc is solid from start to finish"

Indeed, the earlier works of Funker Vogt seem to be too repetitive for me (can't say much about the lyrics, since I'm not a native English speaker myself), and a lot of people don't like the direction which the band took recently with their new vocalist Sacha Korn (which himself is a controversial figure), but this album features a lot of very catchy tracks ("Child Soldier", "City Of Darkness", "Hostile Waters", "Darwin's Nightmare") which are among my all-time favourites in EBM/electro-industrial. The atmosphere is great as well. I personally prefer the extended version with 3 bonus tracks ("Deathmachine", "Lost In Translation" and "Snow Was Falling") by Metropolis Records, but it isn't as easy to find as this basic one.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Einstürzende Neubauten - "Kollaps" [1981]

Artist: Einstürzende Neubauten
Title: Kollaps
Genre: Noise, Percussion Industrial
Country: Germany
Release date: 1981

Track List: 
  1. Tanz Debil
  2. Steh Auf Berlin
  3. Negativ Nein
  4. U-Haft Muzak
  5. Draussen Ist Fientlich
  6. Hören Mit Schmerzen
  7. Jet'm
  8. Kollaps
  9. Sehnsucht
  10. Vorm Krieg
  11. Hirnsäge
  12. Abstieg & Zerfall
  13. Helga
  14. Negativ Nein (live)
The famous "inaudible" debut album of E.Neubauten, which is widely viewed as one of the most radical (more radical than punk) and shocking releases of its time. Although it's certainly much noisy than their releases from 1990-2000s, it doesn't sound much harsher than Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music" - but, compared to "MMM", it features vocals (well... sort of) and much broader range of sound/noise sources, including various found objects.

Definitely not an album for everyday listening, yet it's an extemely valuable document from the early days of mighty German industrial scene. I don't own it on any physical media, yet I have the "Strategies Against Architecture 80-83" CD which features mostly (but not only) the live versions of the tracks from "Kollaps". Of course, it can be found on dark-world.ru too.

Monday, June 20, 2016

:Wumpscut: - "Bunker Gate 7" [1995]

Artist: :Wumpscut:
Title: Bunker Gate 7
Genre: Harsh EBM, Electro-Industrial
Country: Germany
Release date: 1995

Track List: 
  1. Open Gate
  2. Torn Skin
  3. Dying Culture (Second Movement)
  4. Bunkertor 7 (German Texture)
  5. Mortal Highway
  6. Corroded Breed
  7. Die in Winter
  8. Bunkertor 7 (Reprised)
  9. Capital Punishment
  10. Thorns
  11. Tell Me Why
  12. Close Gate
Another classic album that was recommended to me roughly 10 years ago, along with "Burn Process" by Tactical Sekt: "From what I know about your musical tastes, these two albums will blow your mind!". Indeed, this one has instantly became one of my all-time favourites. I love all Rudy Ratzinger's works from the second half of 1990s, but this one is certainly best of the best, with such killer tracks as "Die in Winter", "Mortal Highway", and of course, the title track, "Bunkertor 7". These tracks exactly represent my idea of harsh electro-industrial sound. It isn't hard to find such well-known album on the net, but if you have trouble with that, dark-world.ru is helpful as always.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Front Line Assembly - "Civilization" [2004]

Artist: Front Line Assembly
Title: Civilization
Genre: EBM, Electro-Industrial
Country: Canada
Release date: 2004

Track List: 
  1. Psychosomatic
  2. Maniacal
  3. Transmitter
  4. Vanished
  5. Strategic
  6. Civilization
  7. Fragmented
  8. Parasite
  9. Dissident
  10. Schicksal
My blog won't be complete without at least one album by these legends of Canadian electro-industrial scene. I chose "Civilization" because it's the first album by FLA I've ever hear (when I bought it on a cassette ~10 years ago), and it's still my favourite in their whole discography. I'm not a big fan of their later works (from "Artificial Soldier" and so on), but "Civilization" offers a perfect mix of their classic sound and more mainstream, chillout-oriented sound in the vein of their side project Delerium. I couldn't find this album on Bandcamp, but it isn't hard to find elsewhere (including on dark-world.ru).

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ayria - "Debris" [2003]

Artist: Ayria
Title: Debris
Genre: Synthpop, EBM
Country: Canada
Release date: 2003

Track List:
  1. DOS
  2. Horrible Dream
  3. Had Something
  4. Mercury
  5. The Radio
  6. Red Shift
  7. Sapphire
  8. Disease
  9. Start Again
  10. Debris
  11. Substance
  12. Beta Complex
  13. Kiss Me Goodnight As I'm Falling Asleep
Since I've posted Ayria's "Flicker" on here, let's post Jennifer Parkin's debut work too. It's slightly less interesting than "Flicker", yet it's one of my two favourite albums by Ayria, and I surely prefer it to her late works. From the release notes of her recent new release "Paper Dolls": "Long gone is the young girl from 2003 starting a solo project and exploring her sound". Well, I think I'm missing that young girl from 2003, because while her sound indeed has become more mature with age, every new album after "Flicker" turned out to be less interesting to me than the previous one. Still wouldn't say her 2010s albums are bad, but they just doesn't have tracks as great as "Red Shift", "Disease", or "Horrible Dream"...

Ayria - "Flicker" [2005]

Artist: Ayria
Title: Flicker
Genre: Synthpop, EBM
Country: Canada
Release date: 2005

Track List: 
  1. It's Been Fun
  2. Counterblow
  3. Selling Rebellion
  4. My Revenge On The World
  5. Pink Dress
  6. St. Edith
  7. Infiltrating My Way Through The System
  8. Be Me
  9. Post Apocalyptic Girl
  10. Cutting
  11. My Device
  12. Flicker
  13. Lovely Day
As I've said a couple of times before, Ayria was the first foreign artist whose concert I've been to (in Moscow late autumn 2006). I had a chance to meet Jennifer Parkin in person after the performance, and even managed to explain her with my shitty English that I had to travel more than 400km to see her on stage. She was presenting her second album "Flicker", which, after nearly 10 years, still remains my favourite in her discography, and generally one of my favourite albums in female-fronted electro (certainly not for the fans of more aggressive genres like harsh EBM/DE, though).

V/A - "Синти-лето: Техноромантика" [2016]

Artist: (various)
Title: Синти-лето: Техноромантика
Genre: Synthpop
Country: Russia/USSR
Release date: (various)

Track List: 
  1. (intro)
  2. Arrival - Простые Слова (1991)
  3. Вальсирующие Псы (as-Touch & Go!) - Фея Вчерашнего Дня (1997)
  4. Опиум - Танец масс (1991)
  5. Закрытое Предприятие - В ночи (1987)
  6. Био - Трамвай (1991)
  7. Альянс - На заре (1987)
  8. Кофе - Зеро (1986)
  9. Диссе - Мой Мозг Наполнен Тобой (1991)
  10. Фомальгаут - Город Неоновых Огней (1992)
  11. Братья По Разуму - Ну, как не запеть (1986)
  12. Биоконструктор - Телетуризм (1987)
  13. Дядя Вася - Помните о живых (1988)
  14. Депеша - Поздно (1991)
  15. Вениамин Поздеев - Утешение (1992)
  16. Месмер - Прозрение (1992)
  17. Кибернетическая Дивизия - Воин (1994)
  18. Духовный Коммутатор - Дай мне знать (1992)
  19. Вечер На Рейде - Боцман (1993)
  20. Примус - Спортивная семья (1985)
  21. Алексей Вишня - Холодильник (1992)
  22. Центр - Тревога (1988)
  23. Action Directе - В Поисках Рая (1991)
  24. Холодные Отношения - Навстречу Мечте (1987)
  25. Бламанж - Новая реальность (1994)
  26. Органическая Леди - Органическая Леди (1991)
  27. Танцы На Воле - Телевизионный Снег (1997)
  28. НРГ - Весь мир (1989)
  29. Прикладное Искусство - Muenster, Danzig (1992)
  30. Ночной Проспект - Мини-бар (1985)
  31. Родник - Счастливый День (1986)
  32. (outro)
There's a vk.com community specializing in searching and unearthing various obscure Soviet and post-Soviet independent music (mostly post-punk, industrial and synthpop). As expected, the lion's share of the content there is subpar post-punk, but there's a lot of real forgotten gems as well.

As of now, they're also making mixtapes, one of which I'd like to present on here. It features 30 Soviet/Russian synthpop projects from 1985-1997, a couple of which were already mentioned on here. Not all tracks on there are equally good, but generally speaking, it still sounds much better than the pop music of today. Proud to be born in the 1980s: the decade when even the most commercial music generally sounded good...

By the way, the Polyvox synthesizers similar to those on the photo are still used by many bands that want to re-create the spirit of 1980s in their music (especially the Eastern European "cosmic rock" sound, best represented by the bands like Solaris). Even if these synths were already outdated by the end of 1980s, their sound was unique, as well as their appearance.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Mammane Sani et son Orgue - "La Musique Électronique Du Niger" [1979]

Artist: Mammane Sani et son Orgue
Title: La Musique Électronique du Niger
Genre: Ambient, Minimal Synth
Country: Niger
Release date: 1979 (2013 re-release)

Track List:
  1. Lamru
  2. Salamatu
  3. Kobon Lerai
  4. Lidda
  5. Bodo
  6. Tunan
I think it'd be safe to say that most of us don't know much about Niger: "It's one of the poorest countries in the world", and that's pretty much all. The Wikipedia page on Nigerien music confirms that it has had little international attention, yet there still are some interesting acts - mostly rap and Touareg blues. While the whole "desert blues" scene is very fascinating and I definitely will return to this topic some time later, this time I'll tell you about the only Nigerien electronic musician I know - Mammane Sani. This album, recorded in 1979 and re-released on vinyl in 2013 by Sahel Sounds, is an examlple of a masterpiece created with a primitive electric organ and not much else. While Mammane Sani's works certainly are grounded in Nigerien folk music, the end result is far from folk or so-called "world music", but the fans of early (mid-1970s and earlier) experimental electronic music would enjoy it for sure.

A description from Sahel Sounds:

"Mammane Sani Abdullaye is a legendary name amongst Niger's avant garde. A pioneer of early West African electronic music, for over 30 years his instrumentals have filled the airwaves. The instrumental background drones of radio broadcasts and instrumental segue ways of TV intermissions borrow heavily from his repertoire. The dreamy organ instrumentals drift by sans comment, yet are known to all.

Mammane first found the organ in 1974.

Mammane's composes in technique that can only be called minimal, relying on the simplicity and space. It is a remarkable manipulation of sound that uses the silence to invoke the emptiness - a metaphoric desert soundscape. Unsurprisingly, his source material is folkloric Nigerien music, and many of the compositions on this record are reproductions of ancient songs brought into the modern age. Interpreting this rich and varied history of Niger's dance and song for the first time in contemporary musics, Mammane electrifies the nomadic drum of the tende, the polyphonic ballads of the Woddaabe, and the pastoral hymns of the Sahelian herders. Accompany this repertoire are a few compositions, such as Salamatu, the deeply personal love letter to an unrequited romance.

His first and only album was recorded in 1978. Mammane stepped into the studio of the National Radio with his organ, where it was transposed and overdubbed in two takes. In coordination with the Minister of Culture, the album was released in a limited series of cassettes showcasing modern Niger music. The cassette project unfortunately did not progress as planned, and merely a handful were released. Today his cassettes are rare objects, highly sought by fine art connoisseurs and experimental music collectors in Niamey"

Закир Шахбан - "Куңел Кузе" [1996]

Artist: Закир Шахбан
Title: Куңел Кузе
Genre: Folk
Country: Russia (Tatarstan)
Release date: 1996

Track List: 
  1. Себер татарлары җыры (татар халык җыры)
  2. Бавлы тавы
  3. Карап калам кошлар артыннан
  4. Әнкәй синең куллар
  5. Бик сагындым газиз әнкәемне
  6. Идел буе каеннары
  7. Миләшләрем
  8. Каеннар шаулый
  9. Керим әле урманнарга
  10. Әнкәм сузе
  11. Герман көә (Татар халык жыры)
  12. Кичер мине әнкәй ачуланма
  13. Ала карга
Now here's something that wasn't posted anywhere else before (at least not to my knowledge). Thanks for this rip to one of my friends who owns several cassettes with obscure Tatar pop-folk from the 90s, and decided to make an mp3 rip of one of them after he saw the "folk-pop" section of my blog.

I don't know much about this performer, beside a couple of interviews I managed to find. According to them, he's blind since birth. He was born somewhere in Siberia, where he was "discovered" by one of popular Tatar singers in 1995, and lives in Kazan since then. Now he might be around 50 years old. On this album, he's singing songs in traditional Tatar folk style, accompanying himself with an accordion. The music in general sounds much more "oriental" than the Finno-Ugric folk I've posted here before, even if it comes from pretty much the same region. I personally liked the track #7, as it stands out on the whole album for being quite catchy and featuring some female vocals. The rest of the cassette (side A, at least) is a bit monotonous.