Category Archives: music

2018 Music praise

Last year I reviewed eight releases that I rated four or higher, seven of them were released in 2018. One release got a 4.5 out of 5, the rest 4 out of five:

Every Noise at Once

Replying to a very different question on Reddit, a person who appeared to work for Spotify kept referring to Every Noise. Not knowing what it is, I looked up the website. The name seems to be named “Every Noise at Once” and it is presented like a massive word-cloud with musical genres which is ‘clickable’. You can also use the search function. Once you get to a genre, you have the choice between different Spotify playlists: “playlist” (opens “the sound of <genre>”, “intro” (“introduction to <genre>”), “pulse” (“the pulse of”) and “edge” (“the edge of”). I have not yet found out what these “pulse” and “edge” playlists are supposed to be.

Because only ‘official’ Spotify playlists are presented, I had the idea that “Every Noise” is made by (or for) Spotify and it could give an idea of how Spotify connects different artists. The website is made a group called “The Echo Nest” though, who appear to develop software (or algorithms) for (personal) music comparison. Perhaps Spotify buys the technique that they use for their automated playlists and the like.

The website looks fairly corny. It has fixed width and height so you have to scroll if you use another resolution on your screen. It is (like I said) a word-cloud which starts with musical genres. The size of the text defines popularity. When you click on a genre name, music starts to play. When you click on the >> next to the genre name, a new page opens with artists that fall under this category. There you can choose the different Spotify playlists that unfortunately only open in the browser player. I do not immediately see the logic in the tag or artists cloud by the way.

So, would this be the reason that Spotify thinks that Genocide Organ and Death In June are comparative artists? Let us see. Looking for “Genocide Organ” results in the following genres: “power electronics, industrial, martial industrial, neofolk”. Right…
Death In June then: “martial industrial, neofolk, industrial, experimental, industrial rock, grave wave, dark wave, ethereal wave, dark post-punk, experimental”. Allllright…..
That makes three corresponding genres which are not too well tagged. But sure they will know about “noise” or “death industrial”, right? What do we get when we look for Brighter Death Now? Well: “power electronics, industrial, dark ambient, martial industrial”. At least BDN is not tagged “neofolk”, but the “martial industrial” tag eludes me. What exactly is tagged “martial industrial” anyway? Hmmmmm.

Ok, let us look to a bit more popular music. Kerridge, slow and dark techno music. The found categories are: “mandible, minimal dub, outsider house, dub techno”. I never heard of any of these terms, but the “mandible” playlists have nothing that sounds anything like Kerridge, neither do these other genres. Sure, much is also weird techno, but these genres entirely disregard the atmosphere of the music. Listening to such a playlist is like listening to “dark ambient” and suddenly be presented by a project like IRM (which is here only tagged “power electronics” by the way).

Assjack then, the strange Americana and metal band of Hank Williams III: “sludge metal, groove metal, stoner metal, stoner rock, gothic americana, cowpunk, doom metal, alternative metal, deathgrass, psychobilly”. I would have expected something like “outlaw country” here, but only “cowpunk” and “deathgrass” seem to apply to a certain degree, but if that is the case Assjack sounds just like what Hank releases under his own name (so: not metal). How does that help to find a similar artist?

So what to make “Every Noise”? They themselves claim to have over 2400 genres listed so far and the list is growing. There bound to be many that you do not know and there appears to be automatically generated playlists on Spotify for every genre, so indeed, Every Noise could be a way to find new music.
What annoys me a bit is that the interpretation of genres differs from ‘the usual’ (or perhaps more safely: my own). I listened to playlists with “deep filthstep”, “darkstep”, “minimal dubstep” and the like, they they all result in happy sounding, uptempo “drum & bass” like music, while I would expect slow and more gritty music.
And when Manu le Malin or Hellfish are “speedcore”, Thorofon is tagged with nothing but “power electronics”, Wumpscut and PAL are tagged “power noise” (there is nothing like “rhythmic noise” it seems) and the website even manages to connect Wumpscut to Corvus Corax and Goethes Erben, it will be hard to find the fringes of genres that you already know.

And all that while Last.fm has been quite (but of course not perfectly) able to connect artists based on user-assigned-tags, why are people trying to connect artists to try to define genres and come up with terms that even listeners do not understand?

A nice attempt to classify music, but far, far from perfect.

Zeigenbock Kopf

It does not happen to me often that Spotify recommends me something that I like but did not know. But then there was Zeigenboch Kopf. A project of one of the members of the no wave band The Oh Sees and a style that I would call “industrial disco”, think of Thorofon. There are four releases (not all on Spotify) with mostly a nice and dirty mix between industrial and dance. The only thing I like less about the project are the constant corny homosexual sexual references. That is funny for a couple of tracks, but less so for a couple of albums. Then again, according to Last.fm “the band was a humorous side project”, so I guess that is it.

My musical autobiography playlist

Have I reached that age of starting to look back to what once was? Before I started reviewing on a website, I had quite a ‘musical past’. For one, for a couple of years I was quite a Mortiis fan. Somehow Spotify drew me to seeing what of my ‘old music’ is available and I noticed that Mortiis has a playlist with “strange and not so strange music that shaped my life“. Having corresponded with the good man for several years, it was no surprise to me that this short playlist contains mostly metal.

A couple of years ago I wrote “my early days in dark music” and Mortiis’ playlist got me thinking to see what of my music is available on Spotify and if it would be fun to make a playlist of it. Continue reading

Music 2017

In 2017 I reviewed 12 releases of that year. Three of them got a 4.5 (out of 5) rating: “Kainskult” of Trepaneringsritualen, “The Place Of Dead Roads” of Ex.Order and “The Developing World” of Am Not.

Every time I listen to “Kainskult” is seems to be getting better. So perhaps I should say that this album is crawling to a five out of five. This is certainly the album of 2017 to me. What helps a lot is that it is by and far the best album of Trepaneringsritualen so far. The other two albums that I mentioned are also great, but both Ex.Order and Am Not have releases that are even better.

Wave Gotik Treffen 2016

The first time I went to the Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig, was the disastrous 9th edition in the year 2000. It took a couple of years before I went again. Recent years I went annually. The WGT is so big and varried that there is a lot to see even for me. I have no big interest in the ‘general gothic scene’, the dress-up parties (but I guess when nobody did, the WGT would not have the atmosphere as it does now) and most of the music would never find its way to my stereo, but like I said, there are always enough concerts to visit. So what did I see this year? Continue reading