Poltergeists: Week of February 20th, 2017


ESA - “The Hold (Tight Grip Remix by ESA)”

Negative Gain Productions have a pretty consistently awesome set of releases and I tend to check in on what they are doing often. This release, though, needs no introduction! ESA (Electronic Substance Abuse) is a project that I can count on to be both dance beat heavy and emotional. Jamie has a way of making even the danciest tracks very dark and this EP is no exception! “The Hold (Tight Grip Remix by ESA)” is an epic, and yet somehow more thumpy, version of the original track - which features vocals from Valeriia Moon. The cello intro to the track is great - it has a wonderful dark folk feel and sets the stage for the pulsing, semi-tribal beats that are to come. There is an iVardensphere remix on this EP, but I didn’t review it because Scott is too cool for school and the Tight Grip mix had clear and wonderful cellos.

ESA (Electronic Substance Abuse) is the (mostly) solo project of Jamie Blacker and is one of those bands you should see live if you have the chance!  

Threads - “Words That Rhyme With Loneliness”

I have been getting into really minimal lo-fi atmospheric black metal recently. The emotions and the atmospheres are so sincere and mesmerizing. “Words That Rhyme With Loneliness” is one of many great tracks on Thread’s 2016 release As The Pale Chorus. A lot of the tracks contain a lo-fi spoken word section in place of vocals that I highly encourage you to translate if you have a minute. The writing is beautiful and tragic; it passes from hopeful life to a dark and lonely death. Here is a short passage translated from Spanish to English via Google Translate (sorry): “Let us share the same dream and in eternity we will float to the end. We will change our skin into more grayish pigments and we will feed on joy.” It is not just the spoken word that brings me to this song though. There are many different guitar parts playing off each other deep in the background, swelling and evolving to set the tone.

Threads are a lo-fi blackgaze band from Guanajuato, Mexico and you can find their album As The Pale Chorus on their Bandcamp page.


HØUNDS - “Transfiguration”

HØUNDS sounds, to me, like what you would get if Author & Punisher suddenly got into future bass. “Transfiguration” is the clearest example of this I think. You start with a simple vocal sample, and that sample is turned into a rolling, distorted sort of instrument. Then, you have the almost sludgy doom metal pace of the drums - the weight of every hit of the “snare”, the way the kick ducks the heavy bass. The bass itself, and the way it rolls and is glitched, reminds me of something you might hear from a Saturate artist. I missed this album when it first came out in 2015, and I would really love to hear what HØUNDS is doing now.

HØUNDS is an electronic project from Los Angeles. Their latest album, OUR LOVE, is available on Bandcamp.

Grebenstein - “Black Hatch Dive”

Making an eight minute techno track that doesn’t get boring is quite the feat. There is something about the rolling of the deep bassline that has a gravity to it; it pulls you in with wave after wave. The track is almost hypnotic in the way that it moves - at times, all the percussion fades away, leaving you with that pulsing, rolling bass, and right as you almost forget that the percussion had been there in the first place it drops back in, amping up the energy of motion in the song. The changes as you move forward are small and subtle, but have a significant impact on the feeling of the track. Little clicks pop in a little past halfway through the track, and suddenly the feeling shifts from the hypnosis to almost a frenetic, panicked feeling to the sound. These clicks give way to a sort of high pitched whine that creates a feeling of unease in the listener. All these little changes in the emotional timbre of the track feel completely intentional, and the results are excellent and endlessly listenable.

Grebenstien is a dark techno project from Kassel, Germany. Their latest release, Gloss, will be available on Bandcamp 24 February 2017.

Poltergeists: Week of November 30, 2015

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


Electronic Substance Abuse (ESA) - “Men Will Only Break Themselves”

Electronic Substance Abuse (ESA) has been an artist that I have followed since the iVardensphere/ESA/W.A.S.T.E. tour some years ago. Penance is a wonderful addition to the Themes of Carnal Empowerment series. It goes without saying that ESA has a very firm grip on technical programming and noise. “Men Will Only Break Themselves,” the introductory track, brings an entire ensemble of samples and elements into its structure for a meticulous payoff. At six and a half minutes, the tension breaks into a hypnotic dance beat that had me going pretty hard in my chair at work. I try to keep it together at work, but this is one of those songs that, when the break comes, you lose yourself.  

Lingouf - “Pierre Noire”

I am one of those people who judge a book/album/movie by their cover. This is not my favorite cover and I am embarrassed to admit that I skipped over this album for a few weeks. This was a big mistake and I consider it a lesson learned. Oeuvre au Noir is a chaotically wonderful album. “Pierre Noire” is a track that I think most accurately previews the entire album. There are moments when I have no idea what is going on, or how it is happening in the song. These moments are followed by incredible breakdowns and rhythmic breaks that bring me right back on board with the song. For fans of: early Chrysalide, Twinkle, or 100blumen.

[Fun fact: “In Yourcenar's own words, ‘In alchemical treatises, the formula L'Oeuvre au Noir, designates what is said to be the most difficult phase of the alchemist's process, the separation and dissolution of substance. It is still not clear whether the term applied to daring experiments on matter itself, or whether it was understood to symbolize trials of the mind in discarding all forms of routine and prejudice. Doubtless it signified one or the other meaning alternately, or perhaps both at the same time.’ " (via Wikipedia)]


Chrysalide - “Anger Is A Show”

There’s a few albums that I always return to; the Good Life’s Album of the Year, Deafheaven’s Sunbather, and this, Chrysalide’s Don’t Be Scared, It’s About Life.

Lately, I’ve been returning to this album a lot; it was a very important album for me when I found it. It’s slow, brutal pacing, synthesized guitar sounds, texutres… it totally reshaped how I viewed the music I was listening to, and the music I was making. I didn’t think you could make music feel so aggressive without being fast, but Chrysalide’s heaviness showed me that aggression and anger could be shown another way. It could walk you down and crush you instead of coming in blitzes. It’s a weird sort of destructive beauty, this album. If you haven’t checked it out, please give it a listen, front to back.

Keluar - “Instinct”

I think I first became aware of Keluar through Zoè Zanias’ contribution to DSX’s Shifted EP. That EP led me to search out Zanias’ other work, which led me to this great set of tracks. I love the minimalist construction of the songs. It reminds me a bit of Haujobb the way it feels like the songs were stripped back until only the bare necessities were left behind. And even though it feels so pared back, you still have a strong beat, wonderful little plucks, and interesting textures carrying you throughout the song. Zanias’ vocal delivery feels like it fits perfectly with the underlying music as well; it haunts the melody with its mood.