Poltergeists: Week of November 14, 2016

Michael

Living Temples - “Sól

While doing some research for our interview with Liste Noire, I found that Kalle Fagerberg, who plays guitar and some keys in the newest version of Liste Noire, also records under the solo moniker Living Temples. Sól, the opening track to the first EP, is catchy and runs down a line of heady bass, lofi synths, and a great overall vocal delivery. It calls back to the older minimal goth rock that sticks out to me as a direct turning point for the genre - bands like Joy Division and some of the heavier Bauhaus come to mind - and for me, to when I really started to listen to gothic music.

The debut Living Temples EP, The Pickpocket, is out now on their Bandcamp.

Hologram_ - “Thirteen Theorems”

Hologram_ is back with a second full-length album, which is something that I have been anticipating all year, and it is all of the elements that I hoped it would be amped up to their maximum. What made Geometrical Keys great was the sense of rhythm that drove the songs forward and the way that sense of rhythm sometimes broke completely, only to rebuild itself from nothing to an incredibly epic new version of where you thought the song was going. “Thirteen Theorems” is a good example of these elements taken to a new level because it takes some of these glitchy rhythmic elements, combines them with some sawtoothed synths, and then builds the tension. This album is slower in some senses, but also hits a lot harder than the first album, which I think is a good way to progress the sound that worked so well before to a slightly different and interesting tone.  

Hologram_’s new album, Amen: Requiem For Heart Fragment, is out now on Audiotrauma Records and Ant-Zen Mailorder.  

Wes

Darkher - “Hollow Veil”

In “Hollow Veil”, Darkher draws influences from folk and doom to create a heavy and haunting track. There are a lot of little subtle things that Darkher does to build the track’s atmosphere. Underneath the strumming guitar, there are soft trilling string instruments coming in and out; their reverb leaves a soft sort of presence, a sort of silent howl. The vocal delivery accentuates this unsettling sound; not quite a whisper, not quite fully released - the feeling of holding back creates a tension in the sound that makes the heavy guitars and drums that follow it feel that much more impactful.

Darkher is Jayn H. Wissenberg’s doomy folk project. Her latest album, Realms, is available on Bandcamp.

Saor - “Hearth”

This is really a beautiful track. Starting with strumming guitars, fiddles, rolling drums, and a strong atmospheric set of strings swelling in the background, Saor transitions into heavier celtic tinged guitar riffs, before dropping fully into blast beats and tremolo picking. The lyrics, said by the author to be inspired by traditional Scottish poetry, paint a beautiful portrait of someone who cares deeply for their home, but feels lost in it. This melancholy is often echoed by the soft breaks where Saor dips back into slowly strummed guitars and somber strings. They also are a reminder of how fraught listening to black metal can feel; the themes, while universal in feeling, could easily be mistaken for themes used by the apoliteic music of neo-fascist movements. I want to be clear: I don’t think Saor is making that sort of music; it is just unfortunate that so many of these universal themes have been made suspicious by those who are.

Saor is an atmospheric black metal project from Scotland. Their latest album, Guardians, is available on Bandcamp.

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.