Poltergeists: Week of July 25, 2016

Michael

Wreck and Reference - “Powders”

If there is one thing that I have taken away from writing this article twice a month for the last two years, it is that I really value an atmospheric narrative. After the newest Muscle & Marrow came out (and was amazing), I decided to check out some of the other releases on The Flenser label via bandcamp; the artwork for Indifferent Rivers Romance End by Wreck and Reference, which is a collage image with a lot of interesting elements, had me immediately curious. “Powders” is an ideal first track for me because it shows me that this project is going to be strange, genre-bending, and that the lyricist(s) took a lot of time to construct a space for these words to live in. The track takes form in an emotional recollection of a back-and-forth between partners, who have had a rather dramatic separation - but the emotion and the energy put into the retelling of this event escalate throughout the track (to the point of screaming), evoking very honest passages about the author.

One of my favorite passages from this song is “And you said what about the time outside? And I said what about the hours inside crumbling to dust?” because it reminds of the stagnation that can happen in relationships sometimes - when you plan and try to go outside and to be part of the world but just want to stay inside and be with each other (perhaps out of love and intimacy at first, but just out of habit and laziness later). This line is echoed in the last stanza of the song but - like in an argument - escalates to “And I said what about the times we spent rotting indoors, fusing and imploding, casting shade upon our lives.”

The music behind the lyrics, which is also very emotional and fitting to the scene, is a collection of piano, what sounds like a violin, and noise samples. Overall, it is a very cinematically constructed song. There is a tension and beauty to the way the song progresses, adding small things at first - maybe a swelling noise under the softer passage - to a full collection of emotionally driven melodies.     

Wreck and Reference is an experimental noise rock band based in Los Angeles, CA. Their latest album, Indifferent Rivers Romance Ends, is out now on The Flenser.  

Rïcïnn - “Orchid”

Rïcïnn is the newest project from Laure Le Prunenec, who you may recognize from her work with Öxxö Xööx or Igorrr, and is an incredibly vivid showcase of her many talents. I really love the balance of wonderfully operatic sections and growlingly evil moments in “Orchid,” which are set against the doom folk background of guitars and orchestral instruments. The vocals, at times, remind me of the operatic work that Myrkur often invokes in her songs because it is equally dark and beautiful - often adding a deep melancholia to each song. For a debut album, Lïan is a solidly constructed and executed album that belongs in everyone’s library.       

You can pick up Rïcïnn’s debut album Lïan from Blood Music’s bandcamp digitally and in a 6-panel Digipack CD format.

Wes

BLVCK CEILING - “Glass”

It’s been a while since I last visiting BLVCK CEILING, or really any of the bands that came out of the witch house explosion a few years ago (aside from M‡яc▲ll▲and V▲LH▲LL). BLVCK CEILING’s new release is a good reminder of why I had been so attracted to the genre when it first was blowing up, but also shows growth. Trap inspired beats - long kicks and snappy snares - are backed up by a heavy bassline that, while it isn’t overtly aggressive, forcing its presence to be acknowledged through its weight. Unlike a lot of what became the trope of witch house - bass saws so loud you knew the bars were in the red - BLVCK CEILING’s “Glass” feels well balanced. Each of the elements has room to breathe and create its effect without any other pieces forcing it out of the way.

BLVCK CEILING was witch house project; I’m not fully sure how to classify them anymore. Their latest release, Flowers, is available on Bandcamp.

Alter Der Ruine - “There Is No Water”

Oh hey, have you heard the new Alter Der Ruine yet? No? Well, listen, I’ll wait. Okay, you’ve listened to it right? Good. As you just heard “There Is No Water” is an excellent continuation of Alter Der Ruine’s slow and thoughtful evolution of their sound. The poppy, almost electroclash elements that worked so well for them in I Will Remember It All Differently continue, feeling maybe even a little poppier. This is wonderfully complimented by the guitar work of Brandon Neumaier, who picks up the funky elements of bassline and brings it through with sort of a nu-disco set of riffs.Michael Treveloni’s mildly haunting vocals are on point as always.

Alter Der Ruine is the electro phoenix that rose from the ashes of power noise. Their latest release, Gravity Hunts Us All, is available on Bandcamp, as well as this, their new single.

Poltergeists: Week of January 11, 2016

Poltergeists is a biweekly feature in which Michael and Wes share tracks that they have had on repeat over the past two weeks.

Michael

Alter Der Ruine - “Bottom Feeder”

Friends of the site Alter Der Ruine have a great new EP called Gravity Hunts Us All and I chose the funkiest Haujobb-inspired track ever! To me, this track is a brilliant throwback to old-style ADR (sans cowbell), with a splash of Daniel Myer Minimal, and the infectiously unique new sound of their last album I Will Remember It All Differently. The evolution of ADR’s discography boils down to a wonderfully fresh blend of genres that I think is absolutely necessary in today’s industrial scene’s climate.

Her Blood In My Veins - “They Said We Once Were, But We Are No Longer”

Crunch Pod is back with a giant sampler called The Future of Dreaming! There are a lot of really solid tracks on this release. As you can imagine at this point, I gravitated to the deeply emotional tracks with lots of symphonic pads and voicemail recordings. “They Said We Once Were, But We Are No Longer” is the first track that I played on this release because the title grabbed me (I’m the guy who judges books by their covers). This track is deeply symphonic and exactly the type of IDM/glitch stuff that I like. There is a subtlety to the bass elements in this song that plays really well with the piano.     

Wes

Hante. - “Burning (feat Box von Düe)”

If you’re a fan of outrun and of dark synthpop, I think Hélène de Thoury’s solo project Hante. has something for you. The use of synth on this track has a really nice old analogue feeling, which in combination with the big reverbing percussion, gives it a bit of that outrun sort of feeling. The sort of slow, triplet bass line bounces along nicely; I catch myself involuntarily bobbing along with, and it’s not the sort of rhythm I feel like I hear very often. There’s also this really nice little plucky synth that pops in later in the track that really adds a nice little counterpoint to the big spacey synths. I’ll definitely be watching for the full album’s release.

Holly Herndon - “Chorus”

I had a hard time deciding on the second song for this week. There were a lot of runners up. I just really loved the weirdness of “Chorus” and eventually it beat out the rest. The track starts out jumping around; there’s a lot of weird little samples and a lot of weird little silences. Eventually those samples start to dart back and forth, creating a rhythm for the song to start to follow. The percussion comes in, dancing along quietly, waiting as the vocal samples start to sound more and more like a vocal track and less like an instrument. Finally, two minutes into the song, it all takes off. The build up pays off - the percussion finds its speed, the bass starts bumping and the song starts to really move. It manages to be sparse and dense at the same time. To really get a good feel of everything that’s happening, you have to really listen.

Poltergeists: Week of March 23, 2015

Poltergeists is a biweekly feature in which Michael and Wes share tracks that they have had on repeat over the past two weeks.

Michael

Poordream - “Proof”

I have been rocking poordream a lot this week. It was really hard for me to decide which track to choose for this post. I really love the title track “ninetynine” but “Proof” seemed to be a really solid choice for something to get your body moving on that dreary Monday morning. I love all of the elements that come in and out of this track. There is a real somber level of ambiance that flows so neatly underneath the breakbeat that keeps the track in check. The tribal elements are subtle and well distributed. I feel like this is one of those tracks that would play well over many different genres.

2Kilos &More- “après tout”

You know, I go to Ant-Zen because I know that I will love nearly everything that they put out and 2Kilos &More is no exception! I had not heard of this project before checking out their newest release, “lieux-dits,” on the Ant-Zen Bandcamp page. The introductory track is one of my favorite ambient tracks this year by far. The sense of urgency and the build up is wonderful. “après tout” (“after all” in english,) starts with a deep humming bass string and a slow beep and builds quite beautifully into this magnificent collection of noise and rhythm while still maintaining the somber glow of the track’s beginning. I liken it to 100Blumen (also on Ant-Zen).

Wes

Pony Plans - “Future Manuals”

Michael Treveloni, the self-described “unapologetically handsome one” in Alter Der Ruine, is releasing his solo debut on March 30, 2015. While it’s not available yet [ed. Now it is!], I was lucky enough to get a pre-release copy from Mike, and it has been blowing up my shit ever since.  The music somehow manages to be polished, while also be intentionally rough around the edges. You can hear hints of I Will Remember It All Differently’s beauty, but it’s pared back and twisted to meet Mike’s depressive demands. The familiar leads meet crazy and wonderful sax riffs, distorted percussion, and wild tom fills. When this drops next week, I definitely recommend grabbing it.

EASTGHOST - “Wraith”

EASTGHOST is another one of those bands that doesn’t quite fall into goth scene. Hell, I don’t think they would even identify as on the edges of it, as some bands that may straddle the witch house/trap line might. However, within EASTGHOST’s sounds you can easily find elements that definitely play well with goth sensibilities - found sound noisiness, dark piano riffs, and deep, bassy kicks create an undeniably dark tone that would mix well with a slower, witchier set. In “Wraith” these dark sounds are mixed with more traditional trap elements, such as slowly arping plucks and triplet high hats, creating a moody, evolving piece.

Poltergeists: Special ADR Edition! Week of December 29, 2014

Look: we all know that I Will Remember It All Differently was one of the best albums put out last year. As such, we decided to have friend of the show Michael Treveloni from Alter Der Ruine give us a couple tracks this week that he’s been bumpin’ on repeat.

Michael Treveloni

Nite - “I Am Not Afraid”

First time I saw Nite live I knew I had seen something big. A band like this doesn’t exist by accident. Stars aligned or whatever. I know. I saw it in the flesh. Played their album nonstop when I got home and was thrilled to feel the blanket of their live set warming my interpretation of the recorded versions. The album closer “I Am Not Afraid” melts the butter on the bread though.

The power of this song is handled delicately in that on one side the emotional charge is primed to devastate, while the other is rebuilding foundations and looking forward. Its focus and strength through a fragile emotional spectrum of overcoming something, or trying to convince yourself you are removed and ready to rebuild is why it resonates. It’s familiar territory of sorts, but they don’t offer training wheels. Unfolding over gorgeous synth driven music, the song evokes a sense of a vast, lonely expanse, from the comfort of a busy room filled with other voices. Distilled and chilling, but there’s a warmth building and when those glowing hooks come calling they land big. When you hear it under the correct conditions it will haunt you. Glad to have found it for myself.

Prayers - “Gothic Summer”

Prayers is a polarizing outfit to say the least. There’s plenty to mull over. I’m done mulling and onto digging. Simple, honest vocals merge with dark and bubbly synthpop and the combination collides through a space reserved for JCPenney commercials to a neon colored rain cloud drowning a city while a weatherman tells us to bust out our best SPFs cuz there’s a heatwave coming. In other words I don’t really know what it is about this band that really grabs me, but man do they have a grip I can’t shake.

Their songs about growing up on the streets set to dreamy synths paint pictures rarely considered. A perspective on the human front dialed in through some unfamiliar channels. Serrated angles on soft journeys. There is a lot to pick apart. If you’re looking for a jumping off point, “Gothic Summer” is a great place to test the waters.

Regular Michael

Klangstabil - “Pay With Friendship”

I chose this song for Mike T. because he is our best friend from Terminus Festival who we’ve only met once (for 3 days). After the Skinny Puppy show here in Portland, Daniel Myer from Haujobb/Architect/DSTR/everything DJed at The Lovecraft Bar and the first song he played was this crazy noise-hardcore punk-style song by Klangstabil, who I had never heard before. An Ant-Zen veteran, I should have known that I was going to love it. The song I picked is ridiculous in the best way. It is the perfect blend of positive message and joylectro - here is one of the verses for example: “I want to be free, live for today, if you live for interest, someone else is paid. I walk my line, found peace like Johnny Cash, if you are slave to the money, you go down with a crash. But you can call, you can find me anywhere, if you are asking for a friend, just call and I’ll be there, a simple thought, but you won’t understand, it’s the money on your mind and the wallet in your hand.”

Wes

The Acid - “Creeper”

I found this band by complete accident. Someone had liked a remix I put up on my SoundCloud (humblebrag) and I make it a rule to look at the music of every person who likes a track of mine. They had just reposted the album Liminal, and after listening to it, I knew I had to share it.

The song “Creeper” is oppressively minimal; percussion taps away quietly while a sub bass glides uncomfortably below the surface. This minimalism is soon joined by an up front, Elliott Smith-esqe vocal style that fulfills the promise of the song’s title, as well as more forward, snappier percussion elements that frames vocal samples, like aggressive bookends. Much like Gazelle Twin’s “Anti Body,” The Acid manages to create a sense beauty out of its discomfort.