Poltergeists: Week of August 8, 2016

Michael

Vinterriket - “Nächtens”

I have to admit that I stole this amazing find from Heathen Harvest this week - Patrick from Heathen Harvest has a really nice album review and brief band history up on their site now that I definitely urge you to check out - but I have a few things to say about the style of the track “Nächtens” from Vinterriket’s newest release Hinweg. There are so many classic influences in this track that are subtle and still very unique to the album. Dimmu Borgir’s debut album, For All Tid, has one of my all-time favorite opening tracks to an album - it is slow and pragmatic at times, taking on different forms through a few short minutes while still embodying one solid motion of sound - and I think that this track is the closest thing that I have found to that style of early symphonic black metal. The tone of the strings and the subtlety of the track, with a few short phrases - almost spoken - stands out against the signature ambient texture in “Nächtens,” and largely throughout the album. While there are more complex acoustic-guitar / traditional-folk driven tracks on the album, I believe that “Nächtens” really sets the tone for Hinweg, and the project.

Vinterriket’s newest album, Hinweg, is out now on the Russian label Kunsthauch and you can purchase it in many formats from their Bandcamp.

VALHALL - “Тили Тили Бом/Tili Tili Bom (ЈѴѕҬ ВӠӋӀЍЭ ҮѺЦ Edit)”

a Russian lullaby

VALHALL is rad as hell and you should buy everything they have out this very second, including their full length out on Storming the Base.

Wes

Makeup and Vanity Set - “Great Leader Has Fallen”

I don’t know how I haven’t already written about this; I’ve been listening to Makeup and Vanity Set’s Brigador, Vol. I over and over for a while now. While the whole thing is a lot of fun to listen to I really like the feel of “Great Leader Has Fallen”. The fast moving arpeggios at the beginning set up the tone of the song wonderfully; there’s a little bit of darkness, a little bit of nervousness. This tone is shifted by the pads and leads that follow, which add a sense of hopefulness - there is still that nervousness but it is tempered. The song drives you forward, and as you move forward the sense of hope builds and the dark, while still there, takes a back seat. I’ve noticed that one of the things I enjoy about synthwave acts is that despite whatever darkness the tracks carry, there is always this sense of triumph to the music, a sense of pulling through despite the odds; “Great Leader Has Fallen” carries that feeling through the bulk of the track as well.

Makeup and Vanity Set is a synthwave project from Nashville, Tennessee. Their latest release, Brigador, Vol. I, is available on Bandcamp.

S U R V I V E - “A.H.B”

I gotta say, with all the Stranger Things hype, it is nice to see other people getting as excited by SURVIVE as I am. I think much of what I said about SURVIVE before continues to hold true in “A.H.B”. The song is crafted beautifully; there are a all these great little transitions from phrase to phrase that move so seamlessly it almost feels improvised. The little plucks and pads meld together wonderfully - the sense of triumph mentioned in the above track continues through here. The elements are pared back to the necessities. Nothing feels unnecessary in “A.H.B”. Every swell, every hit of the metallic, almost trashy snare, feels carefully throughout.

S U R V I V E is a synthwave project out of Austin, Texas. Their latest release, RR7349, is available for pre-order on Bandcamp through Relapse Records.

Poltergeists: Week of February 9, 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

Aviator - “There Was a Light (It Went Out)”

“I will not be swayed from curiosity.” I feel such a huge wave of wanderlust sweeping over me, as I start a new path in my life, and strive to make a place for my own personality again after so many months of feeling bummed out and stuck by the scene that we all rant about - not to mention my own life decisions. This song encapsulates everything that I am feeling at the moment. I feel old. I feel like I have stuck myself in a chair, looking out the window at a bright world flashing by in seconds. It makes me want to get up and leave in the best way that I could ever imagine.  “I want to see myself that way just one more time.”

Cœur de Pirate - “Pilgrims on a Long Journey”

I found Cœur de Pirate (Pirate Heart) by searching the “French” tag in Bandcamp because apparently I have francophilia lately. I really like the soundtrack quality of this somber piece. The entire album is like this. It is really beautiful music and I feel a strong connection with it. I would encourage you to take a listen if you really like instrumental pieces or soundtrack music.

Wes

S U R V I V E - “Hourglass”

I kind of got off my outrun kick a while ago. The genre seemed to be getting overinflated with boring cyberpunk tracks that all sounded like too close of variations on a theme, and not enough original, interesting takes on the theme; alternatively, it was going hard on Stallone, when I wanted Carpenter.

I don’t think that S U R V I V E self labels as outrun, and maybe that’s why their music seems to speak to me a little easier that most outrun these days. The beat is constant, unflinching four on the floor, with just these little plucks of bass and lead playing away at your ears. There’s nothing aggressive about it, at least not aggressive the in way that Carpenter Brut or Perturbator might be. It just pulls you along with its little plucks and morphing pads, rife with analog drift. “Hourglass” is night drive music at its best.

L'Enfant De La Forêt - “The Birth of All Evil”

Speaking of Perturbator! It was always clear to me that James Kent had some very clear industrial influences in Perturbator, and through his side-project L'Enfant De La Forêt he is letting those influences show through a little more.

“The Birth of All Evil” is an excellent example of Kent’s talents at building atmosphere; this talent, I believe, is the key to his success with Perturbator, and it arguably shows through more evidently in L’Enfant. When you strip away the outrun excess of Perturbator, you’re left with haunting textures morphing into each other. It gets you moving to the edge of your seat, waiting to hear what happens next. If Perturbator is a soundtrack for a Johnny Mnemonic style thriller, L’Enfant De La Forêt is more Bladerunner; it gets into your head.