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Apoptose * Nordland (cd 2000 tesco)

Another descent Tesco release. Not the usual Tesco sound though, because “Nordland” is very tranquil. The music is very ambient, often atmospheric, sometimes a bit darker now and then with some drumming and mystical samples. 7 Long tracks making a cd of 51 minutes. Not too long though, just like my reviews of today. Anyway, the digipack looks very nice and the music sounds very nice as well. I can recommand this to CMI fans and anyone who enjoys tranquil ambient. <31/10/00><3>

Antony and The Johnsons * s/t (cd 2000 durtro)

I got to hear this album by accident, since it was a filler-up on a tape that I received. Apparently a cd released by mr David Tibet and distributed by World Serpent, which combination may give you an idea of the musical style. No, not neo-folk, but strange troubadour-like musical experiments with a high silliness factor. The only comparison that I can think off is Tiny Tim, but I am not really familiar with this kind of music, nor do I like it very much.

Anima Mundi * Another World II. (cd 1999 old europe cafe a.v.s.)

This Czech project has released a tape in 1997. This tape was made available by the deleted electro-label Crew Zine from the same country. “Somnium” already showed that Anima Mundi is not just an average atmospheric ambient act. Two years later a cd is released by the notorious Italian label Old Europe Cafe. Listening to “Another World II.” you’ll be surprised constantly. Anima Mundi is mostly compared to Raison D’Être, but there’s really not that much incommon between the two projects. Okay, also Anima Mundi makes both atmospheric and dark ambient and uses gregorian samples, but that’s about it. On this cd you’ll not only find ambient, but also industrial (both lighter and harscher), a little noise, but mostly striking: dance! At times you’ll even have the impression that you’re listening to some popular trance-ambient cd. Even a name like Enigma sometimes comes to my mind. But that’s not all. There’re also strange dance-like experiments and a lot of tribal drumming. Long samples with speaking, flutes and weird sounds to complete this strange soundscape. Even though not all tracks are equally brilliant, this cd is pretty damn good! <31/12/99><4>

Anenzephalia * New World Disorder (12″ 1998 tesco organisation)

Lucky me. I found a piece of this 12″ that is even quite a bit older than I expected at Staalplaat from Amsterdam. Tesco gives this title as sold out, which is quite logical, since it is almost three years old and limited to 750 copies.
Anyway, as you probably know Anenzephalia is a real Tesco project in the ‘old Tesco style’, which means noisy industrial. The noise that you get here is not too harsch and definately not the high-pitched noise that I hate so much. Actually even I find this kind of noise quite agreeable and even though this 12″ is no masterpiece in my ears, I definately want to try and hunt down more of such Tesco releases.
Contact Staalplaat if you are interested in this title, maybe they have a few more copies left.

A Murder Of Angels * While You Sleep (cd 1999 middle pillar)

In a pretty strange digipack comes the (I think) first cd of A Murder Of Angels. This is an American act consisting off Bryin Dall (Loretta’s Doll, 4th Sign Of The Apocalypse, Thee Majesty) and Derek Rush (of December and Dream Into Dust). Together they’ve been making music under the monicker Of Unknown Origin. A Murder Of Angels is dark ambient, but very ambient and not really in the CMI vein. There are a lot of samples and strange sounds, so maybe ‘soundscapes’ would be a better description of the music. The problem with this kind of releases is that they are too monotous for my taste. It’s pretty good, but not enough happens to keep my attention. The same goes for A Murder Of Angels. Actually this kind of music only does well as background music to me. People who like the sound of bands like Genitor Lvminis, I Burn, Alio Die or Ora should give this cd a try as well.

Ah Cama Sotz * Terra Infernalis (cd 1999 hands)

In a “smartpack” comes this cd of the Belgian Ah Cama-Sotz. “The darkest ambient, the loudest beats” said the list where I ordered this from. Okay, there’s dark ambient and there’s industrial, but neither are as extreme as I expected. The industrial is even quite danceble. Not that I don’t like this, but it’s nothing really special to me.
Hands * PO Box 1701 * 90707 Furth * Germany

Aghiatrias * Ethos (cd 2006 epidemie)

I knew this project from the website of Vladimir Hirsch, whom you probably know better as Skrol. I have listened to the mp3 snippets on the mans website and I think that his projects (Skrol, Zygote and this one) sound a bit too much alike. Still, this “Ethos” cd isn’t bad (neither is the rest btw.). Aghiatrias you can place somewhere halfway between Skrol and Sophia. “Ethos” is pretty dark and bombastic, of course orchestral and has some pretty loud outbursts here and there. Overall the atmosphere is threatening and oppressive, so this album sure ain’t no boring listening. <3/4/07><2.5>u

A Challenge Of Honour * Seven Samurai (cd 2005 divine comedy)

However it seems that Peter Savelkoul has shifted to other activities (no more website, founded a small label, became a tekno-DJ, etc.) ACOH releases keep being made. The nice part about ACOH is that you can no longer know what to expect. Whereas early releases where bombastic industrial, now you can also get more neofolk-oriented, dark ambient or industrial music. Or of course orchestral! “Seven Samurai” is a very orchestral album, with mostly tranquil songs, but with here and there a martial touch. If you like the (also Dutch) band HERR, you will also like “Seven Samurai”. The album is put together very well and what I noticed immediately is that much more care has been taken to the sound. Older albums sometimes had strange sloppy elements (samples that cut too early, elements that seem out of place; this did get better as ACOH evolved though), “Seven Samurai” not only lacks these little points of annoyance, but it also has a crystal clear sound which really lifts this album above everything ACOH has done before. The artwork is beautiful and very atypical for the scene (and I hate clichees, so this is a compliment), so I can rightly say that ACOH has released a great album. <5/12/05><4>

A Challenge Of Honour * Monuments (12″ 2005 steinklang industries)

From the early days of this Dutch act, I’ve been following ACOH and I have most of the early material. Then it seemed to get a bit silent around mr. Savelkoul, but also some more very limited releases have been made available on various small labels. (This 12″ comes in 500 copies which are relatively many.) This makes it hard to keep up. Besides, ACOH experiments with its own sound. This is good of course, but doesn’t always result in something that I like a lot. The early releases where mostly orchestral bombast, then followed more dark industrial / ambient releases which are still very enjoyable. I am not too fond of the neofolk elements. This time ACOH sticked to a more tranquil pace with nice orchestral tracks, a terrible ‘poppy’ track, but also a very nice neofolkish song and a wonderfull dark orchestral track towards the end.
The (like this 12″) long delayed “Seven Samurais” cd seems to be available, so I suppose I will have my copy soon. I wonder what that one will sound like. Always a surprise! <4/6/05><3>

A Challenge Of Honour * Oradour Sur Glane (10″ 2004 divine comedy records)

Much later than planned ACOHs last part of his trilogy about the madness of mankind. This time the story is about Nazi soldiers who commit genocide in the French city Oradour sûr Glane. There are five tracks on this 10″ that give the story of each of them well. The 10″ opens with a tranquil track (‘morning’) when nothing was wrong yet. Then a bombastic and slightly militant track anounces the coming of the Nazi troups. The next track tells what happened in the village and the other what was done to the people who were driven into the church. The last track is the evening, quiet again, but of course everybody was dead. ACOH sure developed in style and this 10″ is another fine release of this Dutch act. Now we have to wait until the new cd that was anounced for januari of this year. <21/5/04><3>