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Sieben * Sex And Wildflowers (cd 2003 trisol)

The new cd of this soloproject of Matt Howden (Sol Invictus) is the second one that I got from him. I totally adore “Our Solitary Confinement” (2002) and “Sex And Wildflowers” certainly didn’t let me down. The violin-virtuose Howden made the music all by himself. Still it is full and complex and of course the violin plays the main part. The music is poppy, swinging at times and always very moving. Howden also sings with his very nice Dead Can Dance like vocals, but for the rest the music is not comperable to anything I know. Modern classical mixed with gothic elements, I don’t know how to describe it. I can only say I love it and when you are looking for something out of the ordinary but great, try one of mr. Howden’s cds. <25/10/03><4.5>

Sieben * Our Solitary Confinement (cd 2002 trisol)

I saw this violin-virtuose play in Antwerpen a while ago, I think it was under his own name Matt Howden. I didn’t really know Howden then, only from the usually stated earlier cooperations with different bands. He has released music himself for a while under different names as well though. His show was wonderfull, just him on stage with his electric violin and some effect-equipment. This Sieben cd is less minimalistic though. There is singing in almost every track, guitar, drums and other instruments to make a quite full kind of music. Sometimes Howden’s violin is much on the foreground, sometimes not. All in all something very different from what I usually listen to and it is hard to describe the music. Maybe somewhere between soft pop and modern classical music? Oh well, just give the man a try if you never heard him! <9/11/02><4>

Ostara * Immaculate Destruction (2cd 2005 trisol)

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

Chamber (l’orchestre de chambre noir) * Ghost Stories And Fairy Tales (cd 2003 trisol)

It was a long wait between the cdemo “Pleasure And Pain” (2000) and the first cd “l’Orchestre De Chambre Noir” (the band actually has a double name). The second cd came surprisingly fast. This time Chamber is two men and five females with stringed instruments (violin, cello, contrabass). The music is a mix between chamber music, folky music, gothic and medievalish sounds and around the end of the cd even country and rock’n’roll. Something else than all the neofolk things and also different from neoclassical projects, a real band, real music and a unique sound. The first songs are modest songs, at the end come some more happy-sounding songs. From wonderfull classical music to dramatic gothic songs and crazy ‘fairy whores’. Highly recommanded.