After some silence, 2018 has been an active year for Distel so far, a tape on Beläten, a split 12″ on Ant-Zen and now a new full-length.
When I got to know Distel almost a decade ago, the term “angstpop” much applied to the sound. Distel would have fitted well within the Galakthorrö roster on the lighter side of their scale. Over the years the sound seemed to slowly become lighter with some technoish influences here and there. “Wapens” (meaning “weapons” by the way) again has a developed Distel sound. Slow music with some rhythm, strange vocals and some melody with the recognisable organ-like sound. Not much is left from the “angstpop” sound of the early days, but the term still describes the sound of Distel well. It is relatively accessible, but it breathes anxiety. The music is not as dark as it used to be, but it sure did not become happy.
Distel presents another interesting album and keeps developing in style, so every new release is a bit of a surprise. “Wapens” made another nice surprise.
Links: Distel, Ant-Zen
Well well, a collaboration album between three industrial giants: Thomas Garrison, Geneviève Pasquier and Dan Courtman. Their respective projects (that is to way, one of each), are named, so would the result be collaborations, or tracks of each project? I am not entirely sure!
Among the eight tracks it is fairly easy to recognise the different styles. There are wall-of-noise type tracks that remind of Control. There is one Pasquier track which is fairly industrial in sound on her scale, but it is still Pasquier. Some industrial tracks obviously have Courtman’s vocals. Over the entire album, it looks like Garrison had quite some influence. Of course we all know that our friendly Thorofon couple also does not shun sonic brutality. Perhaps the tracks are collaborations after all.
When you like Pasquier and later Thorofon, “Cold War, Hot Love” may be more brutal than you are used to. When you do like the rougher side of these projects, especially when you can appreciate a Control sauce, this album just might be just what you are looking for. I like it, that is for sure! Too bad that it is not released on cd though.
Links: Control, Geneviève Pasquier, Ant-Zen
I have shaped vinyl, even a square, flexible one, but I do not believe I ever saw vinyl which has the music on the outside and the shape on the inside. As you can see on the image that I got from Discogs, there is no material surrounding the arrows. A nice little joke.
Distel usually ends his shows with a Coil cover, but I must say that I am not sure if that is the track that he put on this Coil inspired split 12″. Distel took a stab at “Solar Lodge” and Trepaneringsritualen (on side A by the way) at “A Cold Cell”.
Both tracks are alright, but in my opinion not the best material of either project. The Distel track is ‘wild’ within his discography, the TxRxP track is fairly tranquil within his.
Links: Trepaneringsritualen, Distel, Ant-Zen, Raubbau
When I reviewed “Machine Spirit Transmission” earlier this month, I said that an album on Ant-Zen was forthcoming. Well, here it is! That other album has Idehall’s wonderful dark ritualistic style, but also the more soundscapish side of the project that is not entirely my thing. “Prophecies Of The Storm” opens somewhat uncommon, a bit IDM-ish. That is not too strange though, since Idehall used to make IDM-like music and elements of this style can be found in his music every now and then. The opening track goes over in a more recognisable approach, but not too typical and pretty damn good. The second track is even greater. It is again a developed Idehall track with the known elements of Michael’s voice, a defining rhythm and repetition, but the details on the background and the noisy tones in this track make it another great one.
“Prophecies Of The Storm” contains but small surprises. It is a logical development of Idehall’s style that I like most. The repetitive lyrics are there, the simple yet effective rhythms, together giving a ritualistic feel to the relatively soft industrial. Even though I find Idehall’s music quite unique, my girlfriend asked if I was playing Coph Nia. The link is not too weird. Both projects come from Sweden and have an occultist / ritualistic approach to industrial music. Coph Nia mostly leans towards the dark ambient side (but with industrial elements) and Idehall to a more rhythmical approach with ambient elements (and soundscapes in ‘the other style’), but both projects have clearly different sounds.
The newest album is not as dark in sound as the opening tracks of “Machine Spirit Transmissions”, but perhaps it is fairer to say that “Prophecies Of The Storm” sounds dark in another way. It is another great album and this time there are no tracks in the style that I like less. So, if you like albums suc as “Deep Code”, “Sol” and (to a slightly lesser extend) “Solar Symmetries”, you will not go bad with Idehall’s latest.
Links: Michael Idehall, Ant-Zen
This album showed up in my Deezer “hear this”. It appeared to be a remix album and now I see that there is no physical version of this release. That is not too bad, because even though “Solar Symmetries” is nice, it is not a ‘must-buy’.
Remixes by known and new (to me) projects, a couple of doubles in chosen tracks and usually the remixes come nowhere near the original versions, a few exceptions notwithstanding, the tracks of Hadewych and Alvar.
Links: Michael Idehall, Ant-Zen
Celebrating their 20th aniverary Thorofon reworked some old material. However I thought I was quite familiar with this German industrial project, I do not recognise a whole lot of tracks.
As you can expect the sound on “Roots” is a bit more old-style, more industrial than the recent ‘industrial disco’ type of releases. Recent releases do seem to have more extremities between harsch industrial and more ‘disco’ tracks than “Roots” though. This new album is fairly consistantly industrial, but in the Thorofon style of course.
A nice release from Ant-Zen.
Links: Thorofon, Ant-Zen
A new Idehall. Would it be a ritualistic soundscape or more in the vein of “Sol” and “Deep Code”? Since it is released by Ant-Zen (in collaboration with Beläten), who also released the two named releases together on one disc, I had hopes for the latter. This is not entirely true though.
“No Man’s Land” in one way holds the middle between the soundscape style and the other style of Idehall, but it actually presents something new as well, a development of style, because the music is still recognisable as coming from Michael Idehall. The sound is still ritualistic and somewhat dark, but it got more of a dirty, industrial touch with squaks, noises and rhythm. Sometimes the music is downright noisy. This new sound is good too.
The album opens with a ‘noisescape’ type of track, but the second track “Yoni” has more of the “Sol”/”Deep Code” style with Idehall’s mantra-like singing and a repetative rhythm. What follows next sounds a bit like a very dark IDM track with an odd rhythm, a very interesting track. The title track is a bit like the previous, again relatively tranquil. Then follows a bit of a dark space ambient track with a ‘spacey rhythm’ and ‘spacey sounds’. The next track is actually called “Deep Code” and is again a somewhat softer track with echoing voices and a bit of a spacey ambient sound. Next up is the highlight of the album. “Nightmare” is a brilliant industrial and noisey track with a bit more tempo and distorted vocals. The next tracks are mostly industrial ambient type of tracks with the Idehall-style ritualistic darkness. There are two more rhythmical tracks. Compared to the first half, the second seems a bit less dark.
I think this album may appeal to people who like ritualistic dark ambient with an industrial and noisy edge, perhaps it is not unfair to drop the name of Coph Nia who also uses a ritualistic and magical dark ambient style, but the result is different from Idehall though and Coph Nia rarely gets as dirty as Idehall on this album. When you like Idehall’s previous releases, you should certainly listen to this new one. Be warned that it is a little different though. Personally I still prefer “Deep Code”, but I also enjoy this new album quite a bit. It has a couple of great tracks and a bunch of good ones.
Links: Michael Idehall, Ant-Zen, Beläten
The new Distel is “a compilation of rarities and remixes”. “Zand” (‘sand’) includes the both tracks of the 7″ Mrok/Regn, but in alternative versions, a cover of Suicide and 6 remixes that Distel made for other projects.
What you get is the ‘old style’ Distel, more recently sounding tunes and new sounds. I particularly like the old angstpop sound of the beginning of “Nothing To Mend”, but Distel’s slow and dark dance music in general belongs my preferred sound.
There are a few tracks with female vocals (from the original tracks). Peter’s own vocals are only far on the background of one track. That is a bit of a difference with earlier releases that have the highly distorted vocals. Inspite a large part of the album consisting of remixes, the sound is very much Distel (he really turned other people’s music into his own). So if you (like me) like this Dutch project, “Zand” will not let you down.
Links: Distel, Ant-Zen
All material has been reviewed before, but this of Idehall is so good that I want to bring it under your attention again now that Ant-Zen put both Beläten tapes on one very nicely packaged cd.
The “Sol” tape has been rereleased before with two extra tracks. These are (unfortunately) not included on this Ant-Zen release. The cd starts with the 2014 tape “Deep Code” and then follows the 2012 tape “Sol”. Idehall also makes ritualistic soundscapes which are too minimalistic for my taste, but the music he recorded for Beläten is about the best music I have heard in quite a while. The sound is somewhere between the “angstpop” sound of other Beläten releases and more ritualistic music. Idehall uses his voice a lot, making an impression like that of the earlier material of Coph Nia; dark, chanting, haunting: brilliant!
Should you have missed the Beläten tapes, the Bandcamp versions or the “Sol” rerelease on cd, make sure to get this beautiful version of Ant-Zen.
Links: Michael Idehall, Ant-Zen
In a couple of weeks I am finally going to see Thorofon live. Thorofon is not the main project of the show I am going to though, Control is. I did not really know Control. The name did not really ring a bell and it is hardly distinctive enough to look for music. When I noticed that Ant-Zen releases material of this American power electronics project, I had found out that it is a pretty brutal noise act. “Transgression” starts with a pretty dark piece of electronics, “noisescapes” so to say. There are more of these ‘resting points’ on the album, which is for the better, because when Thomas Garrison lets go, he makes an extremely brutal heap of noise with extraordinary harsch and distorted vocals. The more ambient tracks are good and moody, the brutal parts are a bit too unstructured for me, but also moody in a way sometimes (but I know better ‘wall of sound’ types of noise).
I wonder what Control is like, bearable or ear-cracking. I will know in a few weeks time.
Links: Control, Ant-Zen