Jason Forrest is also known as DJ Donna Summer under which monicker he makes ADHD mixes between techno, breakcore, soul, jazz and whatever he can lay his hands on. A few years ago Forrest decided to form a one-man-band under his own name. “Shamelessly Exciting” is a complete novelty (as far as I know) in the music bizz. Forrest mixes fucked-up breakcore beats with poprock guitars, punk samples and towards the end the album gets a bit pop-idm-jazz-like. Eh? Hard to describe, but energetic, fresh and magnificent.
It is funny. I learned about Ostara when Richard Leviathan sent me an email when the first cd was released. I found Strength Through Joy just alright, so I hadn’t heard “Secret Homeland” yet. When I did, I didn’t like it, too progressive or something. The album proved to be one of the few that grew on me. Usually I immediately hear if I like something, “Secret Homeland” became a good album after various rounds in my player. Then there were “Whispers To The Soul” (2001) and “Kingdom Gone” (2002) which are the best Ostara recordings in my opinion. With “Ultima Thule” the progressive and folky neofolk sound (which has already set new standards for the scene) was replaced for a more poprock oriented style. I like the album, but I already expected that this was probabaly the last Ostara album that I would enjoy. When “Immaculate Destruction” was released, I listened to a few mp3-snippets and decided that this album is not for me. Now I have the whole album and my conclusion stays. The first cd contains rather straightforward poprock, the second cd is a bit more experimental, but still not too much of my liking. u
This is the third cd of Ostara and so far all have been ‘shocking’ in some respect. First too accessible neofolk, then too poppy neofolk but Ostara gets away with it and after a while the first albums proved to be brilliant. Then a year ago, mr. Leviathan ‘warned me’ that the new cd could contain some metal elements and as the year 2003 continued ‘rumours’ said that the new cd would be more ‘rocky’, so when “Ultima Thule” eventually DID come out, I waited a while before ordering the cd… So… the cd indeed opens with who a whole range of rock songs and around the end more songs that would have been the more ‘natural development’ for Ostara. Musically it is still Ostara, but different. The melodies, Leviathan’s vocals, rhythms, samples and the keyboards are still recognisable, but these electric guitars… I have heard the cd several times now and I start to hear the recognisable elements, but I am still not used to the rocking guitars…
I don’t buy most neofolk cds, but of course there are also bands that I do like and Ostara is one of them. If you follow the band a little, you will already have 5 of the 12 tracks of this cd, which is a bit of a pitty. “Kingdom Gone” opens with the brilliant “Bavaria” that we of course already got from the mp3.com page. “Hammer Of Ages” is new and nice. “The Trees March North” was already available on the 10″. “March Of The Rising Sun” is an experimental ‘industrial’ track showing that Ostara means to continue to push the boundaries of the genre. Songs 5 and 7 (“Overworld” and “Never Weep”) were already available on the picture 7″ and 10″ and also 10. “Divine Wind” comes from the “Whispers To The Soul” 10″. The new songs 6. “Sword Of Reverie”, 9. “Life’s Symmetry” and 11. “Transsylvania” are very beautiful (especially the last), quite melancholic actually. And speaking of pushing boundaries, 8. “Talenokai” is some kind of techno/trance like track that is nice, but a bit too long. The closer is a slightly darker track “Kingdom Gone”. Overall resulting in a wonderfull cd of almost an hour.
The back had the well-known photo of Richard Leviathan and Timothy Jenn, but Leviathan will continue Ostara alone with guest musicians.
At last there is a new DID cd. It was a long wait since the masterpiece “The World We Have Lost”. A less interesting (but still nice) 7″ and compilation contributions in the meantime and now a new fulllength. Derek Rush released it himself and did the wonderfull artwork himself as well. Musically DID has evolved but is still obviously DID. A strange but magnificent mix between tranquil electronic music, industrial, rock, acoustic guitars and the vocals of Rush and time also a violin. The cd is fairly melancholic and tranquil, but not without some harscher industrial sounds. 52 Minutes of great music of one of the best and most original bands from the scene.
It’s really about time that this US gothicer got some recognition! For years he’s been making the most wonderous music under the monickers December and Dream Into Dust. His releases have always been hard to get, mostly only through his own Chthonic Streams label. Now Derek Rush has been picked up by the English Misanthropy label. Their sublabel Elfenblut alread re-released the December 7″ “River Of Blood” and now there’s the first cd of Dream Into Dust. Both with December and Dreams Into Dust, Derek makes a marvelous piece of gothic music. Really tranquil music with industrial-like sounds, Derek’s warm vocals and his peculiar (bass)guitar-playing. There’re a lot of orchestral themes and for this cd he even used violins and chellos.
Derek’s also very active on the internet, making the homepages of various underground bands. Check out the Chthonic Streams homepage to find out.
On friday 21 april I saw Der Blutharsch live in Antwerpen. This is supposedly the farewell tour. Der Blutharsch became a 5-man-band with a drummer (Bain Wolfkind), a guitar player, a bassist and mister and misses Blutharsch. They played mostly metal or rock versions of Der Blutharsch tracks. As usual, there is a limited (2000 copies) one-sided 7″ which can be bought ‘only’ during the tour. The track is a slow rocky song with a wah-wah guitar and singing. Nothing special really, but since I own most Der Blutharsch material and the band may cease to exist after the tour, a nice thing to have.
AFT were formed in 1997 and released their debut cd themselves in 1998. This cd was also released by the band itself in 1999 and it is now re-released by Dark Symphonies from the US. In the meantime, the band has changed style and their name became “Brave” and what I understand from the bio, their music moved more in a metal direction.
So what about AFT then? Well, this music sounds very poppy to me, atmospheric pop rock so to say with very nice female vocals. There are not too many electric guitars to be heard on “Before An Audience Of Stars” and the music is mostly very tranquil. I am not too familiar with the discography of The Gathering, but I think the atmosphere of “Before…” is comparable to that of The Gathering of a year or two back, experimental atmospheric rock music with female vocals.
And about the quality level, I am rather much in doubt. However it sounds nice and very well done, I don’t like it too much.