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Book discs

Cinema FantasticLeft For DeadLast weekend we were in Antwerpen and while looking around a massive shop with sellout prices for cds and dvds (of course all crap), my eye fell on a booth with what seemed to be comics. There were a variety of book on the shelves with a strange format. Apparently they contained cds or dvds, so when I had the “Cinema Fantastic” in my hand, I had the idea that this was a book about music and fantasy films with a dvd with examples. There were also books about jazz and things I couldn’t quite make out. I decided to just buy two (they were cheap, so…) and I went home with “Cinema Fantastic” and “Left For Dead”, since most of the others had French texts. Well, the “Cinema Fantastic” is indeed a comic with some information about classical music used in fantasy films and contains two cds with parts of scores. “Left For Dead” is not really a comic, but a story about the suppression of the native American culture by the imported culture. There are some drawings, but mostly text. Also here two cds and however I expected (Amer)Indian music, there is actually a variety of some kind of 70′ies progrock, jazz, blues and soundscapes and here and there alternated or mixed with traditional Indian singing; not really bad actually, but there is always the monotous speaking voice with pro-Indian and anti-American texts.
There seem to be a lot more of such books available, about individual artists, but also about subjects. The website of the publisher has these releases as “BD”s, contrary to “CD”s or “DVD”s, so I guess the idea is “book disc”. Quite an interesting development, especially when you think of it that I only paid 5,70 euros for each book, while Nocturne.fr has them for 14 euros or more.
I have been thinking if I should include these two items in the musicreviews section, but eventually thought that that is not quite the right place.

Flairck

Did you ever see a double acoustic guitar? I don’t remember I did, but I am sure that I never saw two men playing it together!
Flairck is a Dutch band that is almost as old as myself and they have an ever changing line-up, safe for one person. Since the band is this old, I have known them for many years, but never really bought records or visited a show. Yesterday there were in a theatre not too far away and my girlfriend got a discount, so we decided to see what Flairck is all about. The music is losely based on folkmusic from all around the world and has a folky/medieval touch sometimes, but the band never just plays traditional music as far as I know. Currently the band consists of the band’s heart who is an aging guitar virtuose who brings a lot of instruments to his shows. Then there is another guitar virtuose, but this time from Mexico, also bringing several instruments, under which an acoustic bass guitar and some really weird-looking guitars. An old and new member seem to play any wind instrument, from the tiniest flute, to a massive bass fagot, a ’super German flute’ and several clarinets. Then there was the young, good-looking academic violin player. Each musician gets plenty possibility to show that (s)he is top-of-the-class (I think auditions are held for new members). Then there was a gigantic wind-organ played by a laptop (”an old one”). These people can surely play and make a party on stage with some very odd humerous (to even silly) elements. “Stoomwals” (”steam roller”) surely made a nice Thursday evening! This tour is almost done, but there are 22 cds (just rereleased in one box) you can listen to and the band lives from touring, so undoubtely they will be on the road again sometime soon.
Link: Flairck

Current 93 live #2

Well, mr. Tibet had put together a varried final day of the Roadburn festival which resulted in a nice, varried audience. The day was not sold out, but the big venue of the 013 was pretty crowded. The sunny day started in the big, dark room with Baby Dee. This proved to be an artist that I expected to come with Current 93. One person behind a piano making strange music that reminds music made in American ‘night pubs’. Every song some bandmembers entered the gigantic stage. Baby Dee doesn’t really make my kind of music, but there were a few nice songs. The awfull Skitliv (some black metal like project of one of the Mayhem singers) gave us some time to have dinner in Tilburg and halfway Hush Arbor we were back. One guy on the stage with a guitar and supersoft popmusic, kind of boring. Because one band had to cancel, Current 93 gave a show of almost 2 hours. It went as expected. Weird and dramatic, with not too great music and a few magnificent songs. I didn’t know any of the songs played, even though I have four or five albums of C93, but it seems that almost the entire new album was played. The room was stuffed and it sure was nice to see this live some time. The last band Æthanor, gave away some metal-soundscapes, not interesting enough for long, so we were home quite early. I took quite some pictures and tried the film function of my camera, but I haven’t had the time to copy it all to my computer. Maybe I will post something in this little story some time.

Current 93 live

I have know Current 93 for a great many years, but besides a few good albums (the ones made with Douglas P.), this is not really my music. Still I sometimes have the idea that I would like to see David Tibet live some time, but every time he is around, I am in doubt, usually about the ticket price. I skipped a show in Antwerpen a few years ago and about two months ago friends said that Tibet would play at the Roadburn festival in Tilburg. This is actually a rock festival, but Tibet is asked to “curate” the last day and this includes a show of Current 93. Me and my girlfriend were just in the process of buying a house and making plans to move, the ticket price is way above what I usually pay for a concert, but how many more chances would I get? So, I ordered the tickets, had (or better said: have) a busy time moving and coming Sunday is the day. It seems that there are still tickets available, so if you are interested in a day of Current 93 and friends, go to the Roadburn website for more information.

2007 Tops 5

This time of the year everybody seems to be looking back and all kinds of lists are made with the best films, records, whatever. I thougth that it would be funny to see what such lists of my own would look like. I figured making a top 10 of 2007 cds, but I found out that there were not 10 really good records released this year, so this had to be cut to a top 5. As for films, I usually don’t see films in the year they are released, so also in this case it is a meagre top 5 (which is more like a top 3 with two alright films on 4 and 5). Let me start with the film list:

1) INLAND EMPIRE by David Lynch (of course);
2) La Antena by Esteban Sapir;
3) Beowulf 3D by Robert Zemeckis (seriously);
4) Bug by William Friedkin (a nice film);
5) Klimt by Raoul Ruiz (also a nice film).

Music releases then:
1) Rome * Confessions d’Un Voleur d’Ames;
2) November Növelet * Magic;
3) Ex.Order * Corporate Control;
4) Von Thronstahl * Sacrificare;
5) Sistrenatus * Division One.

(Almost on the list were Cosmos Enthropy and Wrong Number, but I couldn’t make it to 10!)

Batcave night

Last Saturday I have been to a ‘batcave night’ in Dynamo, the famous local ‘youth centre’. Indeed, this is the Dynamo of Dynamo Open Air, but these two organisations are not as closely linked these days as you may think (I believe). Dynamo got a completely new building a few years ago and however I have spent my Saturday nights in the old one for a couple of years (in my metal period), I hadn’t been in the new building. Then I heard that a friend of a friend organizes gothic nights there, so I figured this was a good occasion to ‘hit two flies in one blow’. “Gothic” nowadays mostly refers to girls in big, black medieval dresses listening to Marilyn Manson and Within Temptation. Learning that the band Götterdämmerung would play that night, I had guessed that this wasn’t going to be such an average teenagers gothnight. On entering the tiny cellar of Dynamo (even smaller than the cellar in the old building) I was immediately struck by the amount of 80′ies gothrockers with black mowhaws and other ‘traditional gothic’ appearances. DJs Dood and Ghost were playing music that is probably too old for me and when Götterdämmerung entered the stage I realised that for years I had mixed them up with another Dutch band that I saw with them on the same night many, many years ago (Gail of God). Götterdämmerung gave away a lengthy and lively show on the tiny stage with two dozens of classical goths dancing. This really isn’t my kind of music, actually I never really listened to goth (I went from metal to dark ambient and industrial), maybe it was the beer (too much) or the atmosphere, but this was a very enjoyable evening. It seems that there is a small but active “batcave” scene in the Netherlands and after Den Bosch, a few of them give them a haven for a monthly gathering and that in a city that always seems to have been deprived of a goth scene, but maybe I missed something else too. Not something that I will go to every month, but should you be interested and able to come to Eindhoven, pass the multi-cultural audience of the rest of Dynamo to go straight down to the batcave, check out the following websites for more information:
DJ Dood @ Myspace, Dynamo announcement of the december party (if you are later, look for “Dood” nights under “indie/alternative” in the calendar).

Pagan Folk Festival

Yesterday there was a so-called “pagan folk festival” in Utrecht. The order of performance was exactly the other way around from what I expected, but it soon became clear why. I personally found the combination of the bands a bit strange: In Gowan Ring, Sieben and Faun. Sieben isn’t exactly a “pagan folk” band and isn’t Faun from a different scene? We entered Tivoli Helling (I had never been there) and the place was stuffed with people. Judging the variety in the audience (young, but much old, gothic, but much not-gothic) I figured that Faun has brought a big audience to the place. With this in mind, it wasn’t so strange that the evening opened with In Gowan Ring. Their half an hour set was nice. IGR isn’t exactly my band. Their folky music is nice, but a bit too soft and sweet for my liking. I am glad that I got the chance to see this band though. Next up was mastermind Matt Howden. He gave away a superb show almost as good as when I saw him in a theatre in Antwerp years ago when I didn’t know the man yet. I love Howden’s music, but the way he works (’loop machines’) brings a structure to his music that takes away some of the variety that could be there, so I don’t buy every album he makes. The new tracks were great though, so I may consider buying the “Spunge Bob Nudie Pants album” anyway. Faun is a German medieval band with modern influences (dance beats and electronics). I don’t like their music and didn’t stay to watch their show. It was obvious that the larger part of the audience did come for Faun though! Oh well, at least we got to leave before the rest of the crowd and be home at an agreeable time!

Music

It is a bit ‘on and off’ with my use of P2P networks. Currently I have ‘an on period’ and of course I am listening to a variety of music. With the discovery of Dogpop and Thorofon (see music reviews section), I ran into Geneviève Pasquier. This is a strange formation around a woman, making some soft industrial dance-like music, which reminds me a bit of a girl group from an entirely different corner: Vive La Fête. So I have been looking around for some Geneviève and Vive music which both sound nice and funny. I usually don’t really look for anything because most of the time I cannot find what I am looking for. Most things that I run into is accidental. In this way I stumbled upon a terrible cd of Dies Natalis (Strasen Voller Staub) and a not too great compilation dedicated to Sol Invictus (Sol Lucet Omnibus). In an entirely different corner I found an album of the Dutch “breakcore” act Bong-Ra (Soldaat Van Oranje), a nice cd with “breakcore”, a great drum’n’bass track and surprisingly, Dutch-spoken hiphop; not bad at all! A much weirder “breakcore” act proves to be Scissor Shock. This is an extreme collection of sounds and rhythms which lacks every structure and is (in my ears) a not too pleasent listen.
There is so much music out there to enjoy!

Weblabels

I never really gave it a thought that besides online compilations, there may also be online labels with free online releases. Just so you didn’t either, here are three such labels that may be of interest:
Decisive Sound Records with releases varying from IDM to extreme noise.
Darkwinter.com mostly with dark ambient.
Enough Records anything from noise, industrial and dark ambient to postrock and “glitch”.

All free for you to enjoy.