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v/a * Riefenstahl (compilation 2cd 1999 vaws)

As far as I know the second compilation by Vaws dedicated to ‘controversial’ artists (see Thorak below). This time Leni Riefenstahl, filmmaker, photographist, dancer (in younger years), etc.
A nice orchestral opener by Voxus Imp. is followed by a tranquil industrial track of Von Thronstahl. Then Vaticans Children are up with an alright industrial track after which we hear some magnificent orchestral tunes of Forthcoming Fire and also a great track by Allerseelen. Less interesting songs of Nothwende, DIJ/Kapo bring us to a few guitar sounds. First a horrible track by Ruckgrat (pre-Orplid), a nice technoish track with guitar samples by Forthcoming Fire, a horrible dark ambient/industrial track with guitar samples by Nothwende. Then soft industrial by Preussak (another project of Josef K.) which is not too good. Neither is the atmospheric track of Andromeda Complex. Lady Domino has a nice track with a pulsating beat, gregorian samples and singing and the worst track of this compilation is for Projekt Blauland with a gothic song. Then Von Thronstahl with a funny technoish track and Josef goes even more techno with Preussak after that. Another horrible gothic song by PP?, again a no good track by Andromeda Complex, Tombstone with some boring dark ambient and Swirling Swasticas with a lousy industrial track.
This compilation starts off alright, but ends badly.

Sopor Aeternus & the ensemble of shadows * Songs From The Inverted Womb (cd 2001 apocalyptic vision)

This is already the seventh cd by Sopor and the last three came fairly close after eachother. “Songs…” again comes in a box, a normal cd and on vinyl, but the box is not an A5 box like the “Dead Lover’s…” cds, but more one like the “The Smell Of Blood…” cd by The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud (cd box sized) with a seperate booklet and a disc-box-slider like the Ataraxia and Arcana cds on CMI inside.
But to the music. “Songs…” opens with a few terribly sad songs which are more or less in the ‘old’ Sopor vein, a bit medievalish darkwave. As the cd continues the songs become a bit ‘lighter’, more chamber-music-like (as on “Dead Lover’s”), but this time they took the drumkit out of the cellar. Around the end you can hear a couple of brilliant ‘happy’ Soporistic sounds which results in a good feeling at the end of this cd.
However the title explicitly refers to the most ‘famous’ Sopor theme, the lyrics do not deal (much) with transsexuality (“transpersonality”), but more with ‘spiritual matters’ like we have seen on earlier cds as well. Of course also references to the ‘greater Sopor story’ and EA Poe and what also seems to become part of the evolution of this project, the texts become longer and longer.
So once again Anna-Varney received another magnificent album from her Ensemble Of Shadows.

Sopor Aeternus & the ensemble of shadows * Dead Lover’s Sarabande (face two) (cd 2000 apocalyptic vision)

Pretty soon after the previous cd (“Dead Lover’s Sarabande (face one)” (see archive)) comes a new Sopor cd. Again as a normal cd, a box and a double lp, but much more expensive than last time. Musically “face two” is quite similar to “face one”. It is again pretty sad, but it also has a few medieval-sounding and a lighter tones. Visually Varney’s driving to the extremes. On first sight the artwork doesn’t differ that much from the previous album, but when you’re looking through the booklet it’s obvious that the pictures became a bit more extreme again. Face-piercings are more obvious, but mustly striking are the two ‘nude’-pages. The pictures are too vague to see if Varney really lost his genitals, but it doesn’t really look feminine down there either. But, to the music. As said it’s mostly sad. Remarkable is the use of copper. All in there there’s the usual double bass and violin, but also cello, tuba, oboe, trumpet, trombone, bassoon, car anglais, e-guitars and acoustic guitars. However I must say that I haven’t heard the cd really properly when I write this, I think that “face two” isn’t as good as the previous and I prefer the more medieval-sounding cds anyway. Another strange thing on this cd are the lyrics. Sometimes I get the idea that there’re much more lyrics than displayed in the booklet, but there’re also various instrumental tracks. The lyrics that are printed are about loneliness, mortality, love for the dead and some roleplay kind of thing. All in all a good cd, but not as good as other Sopor cds.

Sopor Aeternus & the ensemble of shadows * Dead Lover’s Sarabande (face one) (cd 1999 apocalyptic vision)

Everyone who thinks that Sopor became too cheerfull after the debut, can now obtain Anna-Varney’s saddest album to date. This is the fifth album (plus a mcd) which comes as a double 12″, a box and a normal cd.
As I said, this new album is very sad, but still in the new Sopor vein, not as primitive as the debut.
Is there anyone who never heard Sopor? Well, the music is darkwave (vocals, drumcomputer, basguitar) based on medieval and folky melodies. Vocals are by the andonygous mastermind Anna-Varney and very varying. From warm male to opera-like female vocals, tortured and screaming or whispered. Anyhow, this time there’re a lot of classical influences and there even was a real ‘ensemble’ involved too. Generally speaking, this is a new masterpiece of one of my favorite projects.
Apocalyptic Vision * Ahornweg 19 * 64807 Dieburg * Germany

Sopor Aeternus * Ich Tote Mich Jedesmal (cd 1994/1999 apocalyptic vision)

I suppose this is somewhat of a gesture to all Sopor fans and believe me, there are many of them in Europe. This is the debut cd of Sopor Aeternus which was released in 1994, but there are 7 songs added from the three demos. Many people say that they like the debut, but after this the music became too cheerfull. I particularly like everything after the debut, which I find rather primitive. I don’t think the later albums are very cheerfull either, maybe that’s just a way of looking at it. Anyhow, the demos of this one-(wo)man project were naturally even more primitive than the debut-cd. I bought this one, even though I have the limited first edition of the original cd, just to have it. I think this will be the case for many Sopor freaks in the world. The package is more or less the same as the original, but the interior of the booklet differs a lot. There’re old pictures (lots of grime) and the picture which came with the limited first edition (the only difference from the later version is that picture and a seperate text-sheet) the texts are now also printed in the booklet, in the unreadable calligraphs of Anna-Varney him/her-self.
Generally, I think this is only a must-have for the fans.
Apocalyptic Vision * Ahornweg 19 * 64807 Dieburg * Germany

Goethes Erben * Gewinn Fur Die Vergangenheit (video 1999 zeitbombe)

Recently several Goethes Erben videos have been released. This one contains a 96 concert in Germany. People who like GE but have never been able to see them live, get a good idea of what a concert is like watching this video. There are also interviews in between, but all in German and without subtitles…