ambient

Light Hazard | Fennesz | Biosphere (cd 2001 touch)

A compilation mcd on Touch showing the ambient side of so called “electronica” music. There is one track from Hazard and I am pretty sure that this is the same Hazard who used to release music under the names Morthond/Morthound on Cold Meat Industry about 10 years ago. Their track starts ambient, but later there is some soft rhythm. The second track is of Fennesz (also see cd reviewed elsewhere) also with an ambient track with a weird rhythm. The best-known act Biosphere could contribute two tracks to this 26 minute compilation and of course this is also ambient with strange rhythms.
I don’t like this ambient electronica too much. It is too monotous for me and nothing really happens. The digipack is beautiful though.

Werkraum * Unsere Feuer Brennen! (cd 2004 cold spring)

I know this band from the recently reviewed ‘Wir Rufen Deine Wölfe’ compilation and this is the debut cd. They are anounced as a new star on the neofolk horizon, mixing “fine neofolk” with “martial industrial […] ambience and neo-classical”. Well, Werkraum makes mostly tranquil neofolk with some drumming. Other tracks are electronic also tranquil tracks. I think the style (but not really the sound) is best compared to Darkwood. Also I like the band about as much as Darkwood, that means, the sound is not too original and the music is not too great, but overal the material is quite enjoyable.

v/a * XII Caesars (cd 2004 somnambulant records)

Somnambulant Corpse got rid off its corpse, but besides the name and internetaddress, everything remained the same. Here we have a compilation with 10 of the labels bands as some sort of record label teaser and first release in the new Somnambulant style. If you follow my music reviews, you will have some idea what to expect. I have reviewed most of the previous releases. “XII Ceasars” has ambient, dark ambient, more industrial ambient and one noise track. Most tracks are nice. Below average are Post Scriptvm, The Great Despisers and Önd, above average is the noise track of Survival Unit. Since Somnambulant releases are fairly cheap, I suggest you just order your own copy and find out. <26/2/04><2>

v/a * The Fossil Dungeon (cd 2000 memento mori)

Dark Age Productions (DAP) was ‘founded’ to make the Cernunnos’ Woods demos look more “official”. This man now runs the Battle Helm heavy metal magazine for which I do the alternative pages When three demos had seen the light of day (94/95/96) “Bard Algol Eriboas” decided to release the demo of another band “Under Crushing Wings” (usa 96) which was more or less the start of DAP growing into a label. Then a folkrock band caught Bard’s ear and he urged the band to go for a more medieval approach and two …The Soil Bleeds Black demos were released. Two of the three members of this band (the Riddick twins) proved to be active music makers who also ran a tape label of their own called “7th Key Creations” that for example released the early Equitant demos (known for playing in the metalband Absu). Later the Riddicks and Bard decided to work together and more later sir Prosciptor MacGovern (also of Absu) joined the ranks and DAP from then on consisted of three “Towers”.
The three towers more of less independantly released their material under the DAP banner and still all releases were limited to about 100 copies in most cases. Of the 20 releases before the split of the towers, I only miss two items. The full discography is (with all other information) in the booklet of The Fossil Dungeon.
Somewhere in 1996 Cernunnos’ Woods was asked by the Swedish cultlabel for a cd on a to be founded sublabel “Cruel Moon International”. Roger Karmanik also showed interest in …The Soil Bleeds Black (in my ears always the best DAP act). Things didn’t exacly go as planned.
In 1996 DAP released a red double 12” of Prosciptor called “The Venus Bellona”. This would be released on cd by Cruel Moon being the third DAP act on CMI. CMI not only released the cd, but also a vinyl version that more or less made the DAP vinyl superfluous. Other problems caused the third act (Prosciptor) being the first Cruel Moon release, the second act (TSBB) the second and Cernunnos’ Woods was released after two long years. Plans for an Equitant on CMI were never carried out.
Profane Grace also became quite well-known, but more in the dark industrial scene, releasing cds on the same label who made this compilation possible (and for who Michael Riddick does the artwork).
As you probably know …The Soil Bleeds Black was the fastest rising star of the DAP firmanent. After the cd on CMI, they released two cds on Draenor Productions (a sublabel of Napalm Records from Austria) and now they are on the notorious World Serpent label.
The tracks on “The Fossil Dungeon” as mostly taken directly from the mastertapes for the demos. 4 Tracks are exclusive, Cernunnos’ Woods, Profane Grace, Prosciptor and …The Soil Bleeds Black. The music ranges from medieval, to atmospheric and extremely dark ritual industrial.
Because of the ‘strange’ and mostly pretty good music, DAP was called the “American CMI”. After several years of activity, changing interests, quarrels and maybe a lack of things to be released, caused the demise of DAP. The second Prosciptor cd “The Serpentine Has Risen” was released after the break-up by Prosciptor himself. “The Fossil Dungeon” may be regarded as DAP 022, the final release of the label.
The Riddicks have plans to continue DAP as a new sublabel of CMI under the name… The Fossil Dungeon.

v/a * Steinklang Industries II (2cd 2006 steinklang)

The second cheap promotional compilation of the Austrian Steinklang label. One cd with industrial, noise and order harscher music and a cd with (neo)folk, ambient and martial music. Most tracks are good (especially in the beginning of the cds) and overall this cd is surely worth its few euros. A good overview of a varried label and most tracks (and even some bands) where new to me so…

v/a * Somehow They Knew… (cd 2006 vrihaspati records)

Vrihaspati is the label of Peter Savelkoul of A Challenge of Honour. The cd promises “various artists”, but however there are a lot of bandnames on this cd, there are really only four artists on this album. Under the monickers The Arkwoods, Laharis, Praetorio, Staight Mental Instutution, Un Defi d’Honneur, Comtesse du Nord, A Challenge of Honour, Ex.zero and Code 243, S. Arkwoord, J. König, P. Savelkoul and I. Getrouw present their different projects (Praetorio is I. Getrouw, the rest is the rest). Most tracks do not sound too good to me. Minimalistic, repetative, too much focussed on a single (folky) sample. The Praetorio tracks is the best, a soundtrack-like orchestral industrial soundscape with a good atmosphere (I will have to listen to his split with ACOH). On a few tracks (under which ACOH), ‘the other side of Peter Savelkoul’ (who is also a drum’n’bass DJ) comes out, which resulted in a more technoish sound. Code 243 is danceable industrial, quite a break with the rest of the cd, but a nice break. Overall, nothing too special…

v/a * Neo-Form sampler 1 (online compilation 2005)

Many years ago you had to buy demos and compilation cds to get to know new bands. Nowadays the internet is stuffed with mp3s for free download. Now there are more and more online compilations, so new bands can present themselves together with known bands but still for free. The German magazine Neo-Form (of which I had never heard) now presents a new of such online compilations. 17 Contributions which are all “exclusive in this form”, whether a new track, an old or new version or a live-track. There are a few established bands to be found: Cawatana, Volksweerbaarheid, Von Thronstahl and Belborn. Then there are a few bands that you may have heard off, such as Langemarck, Laufeyiar Sonr or Herr. The rest are (to me) new names: Culture Of Darkened Fires, Rose Rovine E Amanti, Shava Sadhana, nA, Werra, Solblot, Gruenland, Stein, Sagittarius and UR. Most of the music is neofolk -and not the worst even-, but there is also more avantgarde and industrial music to be heard. Another very nice free compilation!

v/a * Letters From The Front (cd 2006 the eastern front)

The Eastern Front from Israel is a relatively new label from Israel. With this release they literally turn the scene upside down. First: “”The Eastern Front” dedicates this tribute to their glorious grandmothers and grandfathers who fought with great valour as soldiers and officers in the Red Army and laboured selflessly in the Soviet rear during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945)”. An honour to those who “resisted the Nazi power” and “dedicated to 61 Anniversary of Victory in WWII”. A release investigating ‘the red side’ of WWII instead of the brown. Secondly. Whereas many releases include ‘Schlager’ songs for enjoyment and amusement, this compilation cd is almost completely filled with ‘Russian Schlager’ (of course this is a very bad term!). The cd alternates speeches (such as those of Stalin, Molotov and Levitan) with a great many songs from the period and only here and there are ‘songs from the scene’. The bands Silence & Strength, Westwind, Storm of Capricorn and Neon Rain mostly contributed tranquil, rather ambient, sometimes a little bit martial tracks, accompanying what I described before. I like the idea. The execution is rather well done too. Sometimes the 1940’ies songs tend to become too much, but when the Russian choirs set in, my attention is drawn back. The tracks of the four bands are not the greatest pieces performed in the scene, but they go very well with the traditional sounds and speeches. The compilation comes in a highly limited 244 edition with a magnificent cardboard ‘poster’ folded into a triangle. A wonderfull release for sure!

v/a * Immortal Legends (2cd 2000 arborlon music)

This is the third cd that is compiled by Thomas Wacker of the German Black Magazine. The first two has as theme “The Dark Ages” and now all tracks are about “Immortal Legends”. This cd features 26 bands that can roughly be divided into three groups.
The first group are industrial/ambient/ritual/soundscape bands. The names here are Ildfrost, Axon Neuron / Vagwa, White, Dream Into Dust, This Morn Omnia feat. Yasnaia, Profane Grace, The Sword Volcano Complex, Psychonaut, 4th Sign Of The Apocalypse, The Unquiet Void, Anima In Fiamme, Ah Cama-Sotz and Heid.
Further we have folky bands, being: Darkwood, Pilori, Remora, Orchis, Dawn & Dusk Entwined and …The Soil Bleeds Black.
And the rest are mostly bands somewhere in between the previous two groups or atmospheric or gothic of sound: That Summer & Rainier Lericolais, Bleeding Like Mine, Hollenfurt, The Machine In The Garden, In Winter Bleeding, Stay Frightened and Nothvs Filivs Mortis.
Unfortunately most tracks aren’t really that good, with the exeption of 4th Sign Of The Apocalypse with a very brilliant and strange track. Further the contribution of Nothvs Filivs Mortis is different than I expected (hoped), but surprisingly and strangely quite nice.
The conclusion can only be that this is just another compilation that is not too good and which didn’t bring much surprises. A good point is that there are bands on that I didn’t yet know.
The package is pretty nice, an A5-booklet in which the bands tell why they choose a certain “immortal legend”, or tell the story of it.

v/a * Hopes Die In Winter (cd 2005 beast of prey)

Four young bands that I did know, but not because I have much of their music. H.E.R.R. from the Netherlands opens with a few nice tracks, spoken words with orchestral music. Then follows Der Arbeiter with their typical ‘dance folk’ style, repetitive music with folky influences and dance-beats, at times reminding of Allerseelen. Then Storm of Capricorn is up with martial ambient and the last band is Ghosts Of Breslau with some tranquil tones. I especially like the first two bands, the other two are alright. The cd is released by the small label Beast Of Prey, comes in a simple, but nice package, but is limited to only 107 copies so be quick! <24/8/05><3>