Poltergeists: Week of October 5, 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

We Are The Alchemists - “The Great Voyager”

Architect, Sonic Area, and Hologram_ all on one release! When I saw that this release was being put together, I was expecting a few tracks on an awesome EP. Nope! This is a full 12-track album of amazing tunes from some of my favorite artists. I love this album because you can tell that they had fun with the sounds and composition of each track. When you hear that Architect (Daniel Myer AKA DSTR, AKA HAUJOBB, AKA EVERYTHING), Sonic Area (Arco Trauma also in Chrysalide, and EVERYTHING), and Hologram_ (Martin from Republik of Screens, Cheerleader 69, and Dexy Corp_) are setting out to make an album under the new moniker We Are The Alchemists, you think “These guys could really break music,” and (I am not saying they didn’t) I am just glad that this is a fun mix of a lot of electronic elements. I chose “The Great Voyager” because it is such a peculiar track that reminds me a lot of a Skinny Puppy filler track, which were always my favorite. It is a great track to end the album with.

Fraunhofer Diffraction - “Todesopfer I”

The latest series of releases from Moscow-based Fraunhofer Diffraction have delved deeply into dark ambient territory. “Todesopfer I” (German: Casualty / Fatal Victim) is an extremely morose track that embodies the texture and romance of death in my mind. There are sections of the song that go through a funeralian marching rhythm while the sound of a rainy night bleeds into the background only to be met by beautiful passages of violin and dark pads. Fraunhofer Diffraction have taken all of the elements that I enjoyed about their previous releases and channeled them into a darker undertaking.

Also released this week were Clod#2.5 and Clod#3, which are not quite as dark, but equally compelling. If you haven’t been following Fraunhofer Diffraction, you definitely should!

Wes

Haujobb - “Dark Heart 5 (feat. Zinovia)”

It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for Haujobb. This being the case, I am obviously very excited for the upcoming Haujobb release, Blendwerk, from which this new track is taken.

I love the start to this song; I usually am listening with headphones and there is something about the opening little whirls of sound that always make me double check that my headphones are plugged in. The sound is far away, and when the piano comes in, so present and forward, it marks a beautiful contrast. Speaking of the piano, Zinovia Arvanitidi’s work on this track is great. It provides such a beautiful, natural contrast to the digitized voice and sharp minimalist drums. As always, the beat construction is on point, and the sound design flows wonderfully. I can’t say that I have a single complaint about this track, and I’ve listened to it as many times as Bandcamp would let me on my phone.

Lebanon Hanover - “Saddest Smile”

Taking a totally different tack, I cannot stop listening to this song from Lebanon Hanover’s 2012 Why Not Just Be Solo. I’m not super huge on the more swirly of goth musics, but there’s something about Lebanon Hanover that I really enjoy. Maybe it’s the lyrics: “People say they like me / but how can I believe // when they also like you / and you’re exactly the one I hate.” How can you not love that opening line? I’m sure that to people more versed in this vein of music, Lebanon Hanover may sound a little too much like a prior age, but as someone unversed, I just really love the minimal approach to the music, light vocals, and plucky bass lines.

Poltergeists: Week of April 6, 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

Fraunhofer Diffraction - “Final Feast”

Damn! I had been putting off listening to this album all week because I was super busy and wanted to sit down to spend some time with it to really get into the brainspace and I am so glad I did! The first track on the album Threads of Fate has a nice feel to it. It was familiar and I liked the ambience, but “Final Feast” really sold me on the entire album. This song caught me right away as it builds very quickly from a soft saw with some war samples under it to a big reveal: a catchy saw, some screaming, and a great dance beat. I wasn’t expecting the vocal element to this song but I think that it really makes the track flow emotionally from the verse into the chorus.

Ghost Bath- “The Silver Flower pt. 2”

Black Metal Watch 2015!

Ghost Bath is a band that I found by blissfully searching through and listening to everything that came up under the “Atmospheric Black Metal” Bandcamp tag. To be really honest, it was the cover that sold me first: a creepy black and white picture of a woman with a giant crescent moon for a face with no writing at all (credited as: "La Luna, 1989" by Luiz Gonzalez Palma). It is the perfect picture for Ghost Bath’s second full-length album, Moonlover. “The Silver Flower pt. 2” begins slowly with a really nice, ambient chord progression on a fairly clean guitar. Nature sounds are cut into the background and a bell tolls every few beats. The song kicks in for the first time with a powerful breakdown and that characteristically black metal high-pitched scream that sends waves of Burzumic nostalgia down my spine. This song is really great and if you like it, go back and listen to the first part of the song, “The Silver Flower pt. 1,” which is the perfectly ambient buildup to its second half. This album is still in Pre-Order status, but if you look at the bottom after the tracks, you will see a shit ton of really great reviews and I think that it really deserves it. I recommend it for fans of Dimmu Borgir’s For All Tid.

Wes

Old Gray - “I Still Think About Who I Was Last Summer”

I feel like I had maybe heard this album before, and had forgotten about it. It’s too bad, because it is such an excellent album and I can’t wait to spend some more time with it. This song has so much feeling to it; it oozes emotion, wearing its tears on its sleeve. Ironically, it’s exactly the type of music that I would have hated as a teenager. It seems all my teenage anger has been replaced by something that is at once more gentle and more brutal than any anger. This piece builds and builds, climaxing with pained screams before cutting away to spoken word, gentle guitar plucking an atmosphere away behind the melancholic words.

PROGRAMM - “Soft Shadows”

This is an interesting little piece. In “Soft Shadows” PROGRAMM mixes a lot of different influences. There’s the deep synth basses and repetition that might be taken from some noise or industrial influence, then there is the chorus-heavy vocal samples and guitars that sound like they pull from dark wave, and then layered over the top of all of this are ethereal vocals that sound straight out of some mid to late 2000’s indie electro. On paper, it sounds like these disparate influences wouldn’t mix, but the way PROGRAMM puts them together, it’s hard to not get swept up in the repetition and ghostly sounds.