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10 Records with Don Anderson (Sculptured, ex-Agalloch)

Episode 39 - with guest Don Anderson (Agalloch, Sculptured) - Curated by  Mirai Kawashima (Sigh) - I Hate Music | Lyssna här | Poddtoppen.se

Musician and songwriter Don Anderson is better known as the lead guitarist of Portland based atmospheric metal band Agalloch, one of the most interesting musical outputs coming out of the metal universe at the end of 90’s and active until 2016.

Started as a studio project, Agalloch’s initial goal was mostly experimenting with melancholic music, taking influences from here and there and melting them into a unique sonic experience made of doom, black metal, early post-rock, neofolk, post-industrial, krautrock, psychedelia and progressive.

Agalloch is probably the best example of a band outside genres and speaking of Don in particular he has a very distinctive approach to his instrument providing very melodic metal guitar solos perfectly mixed with a classic rock attitude (that Gilmour/Pink Floyd influence on The Hawthorne Passage beautiful solo is evident) and folk sensitivity (the hazy EP The White (2004), the acoustic parts of The Mantle (2002), and in particular the track A Desolation Song completely written by him). His style was also complementary with John Haughm’s (the other guitar player and singer) way of playing that was more post-punk/Fields of the Nephilim inspired with some loud post-rock/GY!BE moments too (Limbs).

But Don Anderson’s music is not just Agalloch, his solo project Sculptured is another impressive band worth to listen. Started as a 90’s melodic extreme metal band with the first album The Spear of the Lily Is Aureoled (1998), he later enriched the band’s formula with some more epic and cinematic elements on the second Apollo Ends (2000) and finally destroyed all with the weird and abstract technical prog of the last album Embodiment (2008).

I’m very happy to have Don Anderson as guest for this new article, showing his personal 10 records list, which consist in albums that had a particular impact on him and his life, as a musician and as a listener.

Former Agalloch Guitarist Don Anderson on 'The White' & 'The Grey'  Reissues, Repairing His Relationship with John Haughm and a Live  Performance Video With Panopticon's Austin Lunn | Decibel Magazine

Buy Rising Force [180 gm black vinyl] Online at Low Prices in India |  Amazon Music Store - Amazon.in

Yngwie Malsteen “Rising Force” (1984)

If it weren’t for Malmsteen, I wouldn’t be playing guitar. 

The first record I heard was actually Trilogy, but this was and still is my favorite. 

To those who think Malmsteen is just a shredder, listen to the track Icarus Dream Suite Opus 4; so much feeling and a highly underrated vibrato.

Death: Human [1991] | RockWorld.vn

Death “Human” (1991)

As I gradually got into death metal I knew the music could achieve a high level of musicianship, but I didn’t really find it until I heard this record. 

I came from a formal musical background and although I loved the speed and extremity of both thrash and death metal, I really wanted a band that also had chops. 

Death was that band.

Original …And Justice for All Producer Explains Why He Didn't Work With  METALLICA

Metallica “And Justice for All” (1988)

This was a gateway album for me. 

My introduction to truly heavy music and thrash generally began with the gradual volume swell of the track Eye of the Beholder. That riff sounded so incredibly heavy to me.  It changed my life and musical trajectory. 

I stopped exclusively listening to guitar heroes and began to seek out other bands like Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, Sepultura, and soon after death metal and black metal.

J.S. Bach “Orchestral Suites” played by The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields with Neville Marriner (1971)

Bach was also a gateway composer for me. It was his music that showed me polyphony and how multiple melodies work together. 

It also helped that Malmsteen constantly talked about him. 

These suites are so powerful and perpetually revealing, as all of Bach’s music is.  After Bach I went straight to the 20th century and listened to Stravinsky, Shostakovich, and the experimental ones like Xenaxis, Nono, Cage, Ligeti, and Penderecki who I all love. 

But, if you were to ask me about the composer that matters the most to me, it’s J.S. Bach.

Maurice Ravel “String Quartet in F Major” played by The Emerson String Quartet (1990)

Yet another gateway work. 

As I said, I went from Bach to the 20th/21st century and skipped all the classical, romantic, and late-romantic composers. I wrote many of them off as too “ornate” or “excessive” in their lush orchestration. 

Honestly, I was just being close-minded and overly dogmatic about contemporary classical music with its atonality, inaccessibility, and difficulty.  But, this string quarter is simply brilliant. The 2nd movement with the plucked strings is the most famous part and for good reason. 

This led me to devour all things Ravel like the piano works and especially Tzigane. In his music I can hear the work of many 20th century composers like Reich and Glass; he really is a red thread leading to the minimalists of the 20th century. 

From Ravel, I finally opened up to Debussy, Saint-Saens, Borodin, and others.

Cover of ELP Brain Salad Surgery Album - Keep Contemporary

Emerson, Lake, & Palmer “Brain Salad Surgery” (1973)

And this record was my gateway into progressive rock. 

I was a music theory student in college when I discovered ELP and found in them, as I did with Death, the perfect combination of musicianship and rock music. There was also enough weirdness to captivate my rebellious side as well. 

From here I discovered Van Der Graaf Generator, all the great Italian Prog bands, and finally prog from Germany, France, Belgium, Scandinavia, and South America.  I became a total prog-head.

The Royal Scam: Steely Dan: Amazon.it: Musica

Steely Dan “The Royal Scam” (1976)

The title track is a doom song.  I could see Bell Witch covering it. 

But, more importantly the guitar solo in Kid Charlamagne is easily one of my favorite guitar solos of all time.  Larry Carlton’s note choices and intervallic relationships are always surprising and pure ear candy. 

I’m a huge fan of the Dan with their precise recordings, hip lyrics, and again, incredible chops. They simply sound like no one else.

Various Artists “Grindcrusher: Earache Records Sampler” (1989)

So, to risk sounding like an old man… “back in the day” we didn’t have the Internet or the ability to literally hear anything, anywhere.  And if you were a 12–16-year-old kid, you didn’t have much money. 

So, I spent my money very carefully which meant maybe buying a tape a week.  Having access to a sample like this one allowed me to hear a whole lot of bands for the price of one cassette. 

So from here I got into Carcass, Entombed, Nocturnus, Carnage, OLD, Naked City, and many others.  This comp is so important to the history of death metal simply because it offered an affordable way for people to hear all these crazy bands.

Charles Mingus - Mingus Plays Piano LP - Superior Viaduct

Charles Mingus “Mingus Plays Piano” (1964)

Everyone knows Mingus as a composer and double-bassist, but not enough folks talk about how great of a piano player he was. 

I don’t think he played the piano that much, but this record reveals just how intimately connected he was to the piano. 

What you have here is an incredibly personal recording of Mingus improvising on the piano.  It’s captivating and inspiring.  Along with all the other great Mingus albums, this one remains in my top 3.

Current 93 - Of Ruine or Some Blazing Starre Lyrics and Tracklist | Genius

Current 93 “Of Ruine or Some Blazing Starre” (1994)

During the mid to late 90s, I was really exploring outside the confines of metal. 

Current 93 was a group that wildly expanded my idea of experimental music, especially with the combination of electronics and acoustic guitar. 

I was also taken by David Tibet’s whole worldview: the combination of religion, the apocalypse, the occult, and childhood innocence. 

From here I explored what me and my friends all referred to as the “World Serpent Family” which was the label/distro at the time that released groups like Coil, Nurse with Wound, Legendary Pink Dots, and many others.  That whole post-Industrial scene was really inspirational.

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Liste in Italiano People's Lists

10 Records with Marco Soellner (Klimt 1918) (ITA / ENG)

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With their unique blend of decadent post-rock, emotional shoegaze and goth rock recalls, Klimt 1918 is with no doubt one of the most innovative and interesting bands active nowadays, contributing to enrich with impressive records the already wonderful roster of german label Prophecy Productions.

Born in Rome in 1999 by musicians who already played in several local metal and rock bands (the brothers Marco and Paolo Soellner with bassist Davide Pesola), Klimt 1918 have started crafting their own musical formula initially with an interesting demo (Secession Makes Post-Modern Music), but above all with the foundamental following albums Undressed Memento (2003) and Dopoguerra (2005), where they paints a cinematic world made of melancholic and nostalgic feelings evocated through excerpts of 80’s and 90’s music, liquid guitar soundscapes and enthrallic melodic vocal lines.

The formula is enriched and never repeated in the same way on the following record Just in Case We’ll Never Meet Again (2008), where they added a solid and consistent dose of post-rock nostaliga and then on the mastodontic double album Sentimentale Jugend (2016), where Klimt shows a darker, louder and even more dreamy side.

On this article, written in both italian and english, it’s my pleasure to have founder, composer and singer/guitarist Marco Soellner here to selected 10 records that had a particular impact on him, as an artist, as a songwriter and as a person.

Songs from the Big Chair: Tears for Fears: Amazon.it: Musica

Tears for Fears “Songs From the Big Chair” (1985)

Songs from the big Chair fu la prima musicassetta che io e mio fratello comprammo quando eravamo bambini. Ricordo che mio padre verso la metà degli anni ottanta cominciò a spronarci ad ascoltare musica che piacesse a noi, diversa quella che potevano scoprire nella sua collezione. Ci dava ogni tanto una cifra destinata appositamente all’acquisto di dischi, così comprammo questo album i cui singoli (Shout, Everybody Wants to Rule the World e Head over Hill) erano in heavy rotation su Videomusic. Ascoltammo questo disco tutti i giorni per mesi e poi per anni imparando ad amare anche brani intimisti meno conosciuti come The Working Hour, I believe e soprattutto Listen che è una perla assoluta, a metà strada tra synthpop e dream wave malinconica. Riascoltandoli dopo 35 anni mi sembra evidente che abbiano avuto un’influenza determinante nel mio modo di scrivere canzoni.

Songs from the Big Chair has been the very first cassette that me and my brother have ever bought when we were kids. I remember that my father around mid 80’s started to encourage us to listen to music we liked, different then the one we could discover from his collection.
Sometimes he used to give us some money intended specifically for the purchase of records, so we bought this album whose singles (Shout, Everybody Wants to Rule the World and Head over Hill) were in heavy rotation on Videomusic. We listened to this record every day for months and then for years, learning to love also lesser known songs such as The Working Hour, I believe and in particular Listen, which is an absolute jewel, halfway between synthpop and melancholic dream wave. Listening to them again after 35 years confirms to me in a very clear way that they had a decisive influence on my way of writing songs.

Blade Runner: O. S. T. -Blade Runner: Amazon.it: Musica

Vangelis “Blade Runner OST” (1982)

Un tempo ascoltavo questo disco per sfuggire all’insonnia e immedesimarmi in una dimensione remota, un futuro/passato bloccato tra i ricordi della mia infanzia e la malinconia per il domani che non ha mai trovato compimento. Continuo ad ascoltare la colonna sonora di Blade Runner nel cuore della notte, a bassissimo volume, quando non riesco a dormire e non trovo altra soluzione se non quella di aggrapparmi ai synth monofonici di Vangelis; anche se ora è come percorrere tutte le strade perdute delle mie aspirazioni. Blade Runner Blues, la canzone che più di tutte evoca la nostalgia lacerante per il non vissuto attua in me una sorta di disconoscimento: un Marco diverso, in un luogo diverso, in una città diversa, un lavoro diverso, persone diverse attorno a me come se da qualche parte nel passato, la linea del tempo fosse stata deviata in una tangente creando un oggi alternativo. Quella tangente è l’unica realtà percorribile, adesso. Del mio vero futuro rimane lo spettro, un aura ectoplasmatica, il segno di un quadro lasciato sul muro per decenni che non mi ricordo di aver mai appeso.

In the past I used to listen to this record as an escape to insomnia identifying myself in a remote dimension, a future/past stuck between memories of my childhood and melancholy for the future that has never found fulfillment. I still listen to the Blade Runner soundtrack in the middle of the night, at a very low volume, when I can’t sleep and I can’t find any other solution than holding myself to Vangelis’ monophonic synths; even if now it feels more like walking all the lost paths of my aspirations. Blade Runner Blues, the song that most of all evokes the piercing nostalgia for the unlived, implements a sort of disavowal in me: a different Marco, in a different place, in a different city, a different job, different people around me, like if somewhere in the past, the timeline had been deflected into a tangent creating an alternate today. That tangent is the only viable reality now. Of my actual future remains only the specter, an ectoplasmic aura, the mark of a painting left on the wall for decades that I don’t remember ever hanging.

Dead Can Dance – Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun | Just Direct

Dead Can Dance “Within the Realm of Dying Sun” (1987)

Within the Realm of Dying Sun è un sogno ombroso, una suggestione neoclassica fuori dal tempo. Ha il potere di astrarre l’ascoltatore dalla realtà che lo circonda e proiettarlo in una dimensione di sospensione e rarefazione. Ogni volta che lo ascolto mi sento come un archeologo che trova nel terreno le tracce di un antico dromos sepolto sotto le radici degli alberi. È tangibile la tensione verso il disseppellimento e il rinvenimento. Come se la musica fosse una discesa nella terra, fino alla soglia di una tomba ricavata nel tufo vecchia di tremila anni.

Within the Realm of Dying Sun is a shadowy dream, a timeless neoclassical suggestion. It has the power to abstract the listener from the reality he’s surrounded by and project him into a dimension of suspension and rarefaction. Every time I listen to it I feel like an archaeologist who finds in the ground the traces of an ancient dromos buried under the trees’ roots. The tension towards excavation and discovery is perceptible. As if the music was a descent into the earth, up to the threshold of a tomb carved into three thousand years old tuff.

The Story Behind The Album: Secrets of the Beehive, by David Sylvian

David Sylvain “Secrets of the Beehive” (1987)

Secrets of the Beehive è uno di quegli album usciti nella seconda parte degli anni ottanta che diluivano l’esperienza new wave nella sperimentazione cameristica, come stava succedendo all’altrettanto seminale Spirit of Eden dei Talk Talk. Un terreno sonoro che poi avrebbe dato i suoi frutti post rock all’inizio del decennio successivo. Sylvian lo registrò quasi per caso mentre stava collaborando con Holger Czukay dei Can a Plight and Premonition l’album ambient che i due fecero uscire alcuni anni dopo. Si tratta quindi di un’opera discontinua, scaturita dall’improvvisazione e da un’incessante ricerca. Lo considero difatti un album di appunti di viaggio. Una sorta di collezione di oggetti sonori raccolti qua e la, ognuno impregnato di sapori diversi ma accomunato dalla stessa aura malinconica e nostalgica. La splendida copertina di Vaughan Oliver che ritrae un arenile marino dove giacciono oggetti trasportati dalla risacca, ha poi indubbiamente influenzato questa mia percezione.

Secrets of the Beehive is one of those albums released in the second half of the 80’s that diluted the new wave experience into chamber experimentation, alongside the equally seminal Spirit of Eden by Talk Talk. A sound ground that would have then created the roots of post rock at the beginning of the following decade. Sylvian recorded it almost by accident while he was collaborating with Holger Czukay from Can on Plight and Premonition, the ambient album that the two released a few years later. It is therefore a discontinuous work, resulting from improvisation and incessant research. In fact, I consider this an album of travel notes. A sort of collection of sound objects taken from here and there, each imbued with different flavors but united by the same melancholic and nostalgic aura. Moreover Vaughan Oliver’s splendid cover, which portrays a seashore where objects transported by the surf lie, has undoubtedly influenced this perception I have on the album.

Fields Of The Nephilim, Elizium, Beggars Banquet,Vinyl LP , CD

Fields of the Nephilim “Elizium” (1990)

Ho ancora i brividi se penso alla prima volta che ho ascoltato questo disco, ormai 25 anni fa. Quello che mi ha subito colpito di Elizum è il lavoro straordinario svolto dai due chitarristi Paul Wright e Peter Yates. Le canzoni sono infatti disseminate di feedback, loop concentrici di tremolo, droni ambient e rumori che rendono il sound dell’album tridimensionale e affascinante. La lunga coda di At the Gates of Silent Memory è magia pura: una sorta di liquida, ripetitiva oscurità sovrastata dalla voce indimenticabile di Carl McCoy che declama testi criptici influenzati dalla mitologia sumerica. I brani poi sono tutti collegati tra loro, fusi in un unico stream emozionale. Nascono e muoiono in lunghe scie soniche. Trip totale.

I still have chills when I think about the first time I listened to this record 25 years ago. What immediately struck me about Elizum is the extraordinary work done by the two guitarists Paul Wright and Peter Yates. The songs are in fact soaked with feedbacks, concentric tremolo loops, ambient drones and noises that make the album’s sound three-dimensional and fascinating. The long At the Gates of Silent Memory is pure magic: a sort of liquid, repetitive darkness dominated by the unforgettable voice of Carl McCoy who declaims cryptic lyrics influenced by Sumerian mythology. The songs are also all linked together, merged in a single emotional stream. They are born and die in long sonic trails. Total trip.

Mark Hollis, where are you? I Talk Talk e la legge della sottrazione -  Limina | Rivista Culturale Online

Talk Talk “It’s My Life” (1984)

Ho amato tutte le incarnazioni dei Talk Talk: dal synthpop romantico degli esordi, passando per la svolta acustica intimista, fino alla definitiva destrutturazione post rock. Ma il mio disco preferito rimane It’s My Life forse perché mi ricorda l’infanzia negli anni ottanta e poi il periodo dei primi anni universitari in cui cominciavo ad approfondire seriamente la conoscenza dell’universo new wave. It’s My Life è sostanzialmente un album pop concepito per dominare le classifiche. Eppure in esso, come anche nel precedente omonimo debutto sono presenti in nuce tutti gli elementi che avrebbero poi contraddistinto la proposta musicale di Mark Hollis e Paul Webb, ovvero accordi minori, lirismo malinconico e un certo sotterraneo rifiuto dell’edonismo ottantiano.

I loved all the incarnations of Talk Talk: from the early romantic synthpop period, through the intimate acoustic turn, to the definitive post rock deconstruction. But my favorite record remains It’s My Life, perhaps because it reminds me of my childhood in the 80’s and then the period of my first university years in which I began to seriously deepen my knowledge on the new wave universe. It’s My Life is basically a pop album created for dominating music charts. Yet in it, as well as in the previous homonymous debut, all the elements that would later distinguish the musical proposal of Mark Hollis and Paul Webb are present in a nutshell; namely minor chords, melancholic lyrics and a certain rejection of 80’s hedonism.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 1999 - Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada -  PSYCANPROG

Godspeed You! Black Emperor “Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada” (1999)

È sempre arduo preferire un album nella discografia dei GY!BE. Io li amo tutti e non smetto mai di citarli nei miei ascolti. Stavolta scelgo Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada, un EP uscito nel 2000 che contiene Moya quella che io ritengo la loro più bella canzone di sempre. Si tratta di una reinterpretazione della terza sinfonia (Symfonia pieśni żałosnych) di Henryk Górecki sviluppata su un unico, imponente crescendo. Alla fine del settimo minuto, dopo un lungo climax il brano esplode in una cavalcata epica e tristissima. Uno dei momenti più alti del post rock cameristico. Come tutti i prodotti Constellation anche SRFNZK ha un layout semplice ma elegantissimo con scritte e disegni dorati su carta nera opaca color antracite. In copertina è riprodotto il Tohu VaVohu (Senza forma e vuoto) un passo/pittogramma della Bibbia tratto dalla Genesi, nel retro invece lo schema per la realizzazione di una bomba Molotov in italiano. Una sorta di sistema simbolico sulla condizione umana compresa tra la creazione e la rivolta, ovvero il suo momento culminante. La commistione di citazioni religiose/spirituali e politica militante è un tratto della poetica dei GY!BE che ho sempre trovato molto affascinante. Trovo completi la dimensione ieratica e solenne della loro musica.

It’s always hard to choose a favourite album from GY!BE’s discography. I love all of them and I always mention them when I talk about my listenings. This time I choose Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada, an EP released in 2000 that contains Moya, which is according to me their best song ever. It is a reinterpretation of Henryk Górecki’s third symphony (Symfonia pieśni żałosnych) developed on a single, imposing crescendo. At the end of the seventh minute, after a long climax, the song explodes into an epic and very sad section. One of the highest moments of post rock chamber music. Like all Constellation releases, SRFNZK also has a simple but very elegant layout with golden lettering and drawings on matt anthracite black paper. On the cover there’s a reproduction of the Tohu VaVohu (Without form and void) a passage/pictogram of the Bible taken from Genesis, on the back instead there’s the scheme for the realization of a Molotov cocktail in Italian. A sort of symbolic system on the human condition between creation and revolt, in other words, its climax. The mix of religious/spiritual quotes with militant politics is a trait of GY!BE’s poetic that have always fascinated me.I think it fulfill the solemn dimension of their music.

A SILVER MT. ZION He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace  The Corner Of Our Rooms reviews

A Silver Mount Zion “He Has Left Us Alone but Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms…” (2000)

Nati da una costola dei GY!BE, gli A Silver Mount Zion hanno sviluppato nel tempo uno stile più punk e sperimentale rispetto a quello della band madre. Nonostante tutto, però questo disco, che rappresenta il loro esordio discografico, risulta ancora legato alla matrice post rock/cameristica anche se con qualche eccezione/divagazione vocale, che poi diventerà l’elemento caratterizzante degli album successivi. Mi riferisco soprattutto a 13 Angels Standing Guard ’round the Side of Your Bed, un brano costruito su delle tracce di cantato fatte suonare al contrario che donano alla composizione un atmosfera fantasmagorica assurda. Forse la canzone più spettrale e malinconica che abbia mai ascoltato.

Started by three members of GY!BE, A Silver Mount Zion have developed over the time a more punk and experimental style compared to their parent band. But even so, this album, which represents their discographic debut, is still linked to the post rock/chamber style even if with some exceptions/vocal digressions, that will later become characterizing elements of the following albums. I am referring in particular to 13 Angels Standing Guard ’round the Side of Your Bed, a song built on vocal tracks played backwards that give the composition an absurd phantasmagoric atmosphere. Perhaps it is the most spooky and melancholic song I’ve ever heard.

EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell  the Truth Shall Live Forever reviews

Explosions in the Sky “Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever” (2001)

Sono molto legato a questo disco perché l’ho ascoltato per la prima volta di notte, in treno, mentre tornavo da Parigi nel lontano 2003. Ricordo che all’improvviso il convoglio si è fermato in mezzo alla campagna e il personale ci ha fatto evacuare a causa di un incendio. Ho ancora chiara in testa l’immagine delle fiamme altissime che si sprigionavano da una delle carrozze e illuminavano i campi avvolti nell’ombra. Io avevo ancora le cuffie con Those Who Tell the Truth che girava nel cd player portatile. Mi sembrò quasi un segno del destino, una sorta di predestinazione aver ascoltato per la prima volta una band con un moniker così perfettamente armonizzato a quella visione assurda e affascinante.

I am very attached to this record because I’ve listened to it for the first time at night, during a train travel, on my way back from Paris back in 2003. I remember that all of a sudden the convoy stopped in the middle of the countryside and the staff evacuated us due to a fire. I still have a clear image of the towering flames rising from one of the carriages and enlightening the fields shrouded in shadow. I still had headphones on with Those Who Tell The Truth running through the portable cd player. It seemed almost a sign of destiny, a kind of predestination to have heard for the first time a band with a moniker so perfectly harmonized with that absurd and fascinating vision.

Burzum - Filosofem Lyrics and Tracklist | Genius

Burzum “Filosofem” (1996)

Scelgo di inserire Filosofem nella mia lista per due motivi: per testimoniare la mia lunga appartenenza al movimento death/black metal, iniziata nei primi anni 90 e conclusasi due lustri più tardi, e per ricordare a me stesso come quell’esperienza dello spirito non sia stata casuale ma invece legata a un preciso modo di stare al mondo. Qualcosa che non si perde mai del tutto con il passare degli anni ma si trasforma in una sensibilità differente e complementare. Burzum testimonia molto bene questa circolarità. I sui riff sono concentrici, come droni che catturano il pensiero e lo fanno girare e focalizzare sul trascendente. In virtù della sua natura meditativa questo black metal è eterno. Si è adattato a stagioni diverse della mia vita e continua a fare parte delle mie giornate. Brani come Gebrechlichkei e Rundgang Um Die Transzendentale Saule Der Singularitat sono scivoli verso l’infinito, strade di accesso alla religiosità, anche se si parte da solide basi laico materialiste. Non mi sono mai preoccupato di approfondire troppo la poetica norrena di Varg Vikernes. Non mi interessa il suo modo di vedere il mondo. Non ho mai considerato il suo personaggio politico/messianico. Ascolto da 25 anni la sua musica unicamente per foraggiare la mia personale, privata psichedelia.

I decided to include Filosofem on my list for two reasons: to testify to my longtime membership in the death/black metal movement, started during early 90’s and ended two decades later, and to remind myself how that experience of the spirit was not random, but instead linked to a specific way of staying in the world. Something that you’ll never completely lost over the years, but that becomes a different and complementary sensitivity. Burzum testifies this circularity very well. His riffs are concentric, like drones that capture thoughts and make them spin and focus them on the transcendent. By virtue of its meditative nature this black metal is eternal. It has adapted to different seasons of my life and continues to be part of my days. Tracks like Gebrechlichkeit and Rundgang Um Die Transzendentale Saule Der Singularitat are slides towards infinity, access roads to religiosity, even if everything starts from solid materialistic laical basis. I’ve never been interested to delve too deeply into Varg Vikernes’ Norse poetics. I don’t care how he sees the world. I’ve never ever considered his political/messianic persona. I have been listening to his music for 25 years solely to feed my personal, private psychedelia.

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Liste in Italiano People's Lists

10 Records with Giuseppe Emanuele Frisone (ITA / ENG)

Heliogabalus

First article from this new format which consist in 10 influential/important records lists made by guests.

This time is the turn of vocalist and songwriter Giuseppe Emanuele Frisone, also known as Heliogabalus or G.E.F., known among the italian underground to be mastermind of several projects with a very strong and particular conceptual imaginery, which is a trademark of his musical creations and artistic awareness.

If you don’t know his bands i can’t forget to mention Thecodontion and their pretty good album Supercontinent released last summer, which is a very original and unique project with a concept based on prehistoric geology, palenthology and jurassic creatures; and i don’t even already mentioned the musical side, which is extreme metal with only bass and drums and no guitars at all, with a few strong and inspiring atmospheric passages (i don’t remember to have ever heard bass guitars to sound so spacey and melodic).

In this list you’ll find 10 Records that had a particular significance on him both as artist and as person, that, mentioning his words, don’t necessarily correspond with his absolute favourite records of all time.

A last thing to add about this article is the fact that i was initially planning to write it in Italian (my first language), but since this artist is making music for an international audience, i will keep both italian and english versions; next times for personalities known in Italy only i will probably keep the whole article in italian.

Patriots - Franco Battiato Tracklist, Copertina, Canzoni

Franco Battiato “Patriots” (1980)

Ho sempre amato Franco Battiato e i suoi brani li ricollego alla mia infanzia e ai viaggi per andare dai parenti. Di lui mi piace sia il periodo sperimentale sia quello più pop, ma ho scelto in particolare l’album Patriots perché è pieno di citazioni e riferimenti a posti reali, fatti storici, elementi culturali, e penso che questa cosa mi abbia influenzato particolarmente. Oltretutto pur essendo un disco già del periodo pop l’ho sempre trovato molto sperimentale e innovativo.

I’ve always loved Franco Battiato and i usually link his songs to my childhood and the travels i used to do to reach my relatives in that period. I like both experimental and pop period from Battiato, but i’ve chose the album Patriots in particular beacuse it’s full of quotes and reference of real places, historical events and cultural elements; i think this component influences me in a solid way. Moreover, even if this record is already part of his pop period, i’ve always considered it a very experimental and innovative album.

Non Al Denaro Non All'Amore Ne Al Cielo: De Andre' Fabrizio: Amazon.it:  Musica

Fabrizio De André “Non al Denaro Non All’Amore Nè al Cielo” (1971)

Per De André vale un po’ lo stesso discorso fatto per Battiato, dal momento che anche lui lo collego alla mia infanzia. Scelgo Non Al Denaro Non All’Amore Nè Al Cielo perché contiene le canzoni di De André che mi sono rimaste più impresse e in cui secondo me la sua espressività narrativa è al culmine.

For De André is basically the same of Battiato, since i link him as well to my childhood. I’ve chosen the album Non Al Denaro Non All’Amore Nè Al Cielo because it contains his songs that have been stucked with me the most; i also consider them the highest point of his narrative expression.

Hammerheart: Bathory, Bathory: Amazon.it: Musica

Bathory “Hammerheart” (1990)

Hammerheart è il disco che mi ha fatto capire che amo il metal, mi ha sempre fatto emozionare come un bambino e ricordo ancora oggi la prima volta che l’ho ascoltato. Da quel momento ho anche avuto una fascinazione per i vichinghi che negli anni è andata un po’ scemando, ma nonostante questo riesce sempre ad esercitare la stessa magia su di me.

Hammerheart is the album that made me realize i love metal, it has always been able to move me like a child and i still remember the first time i’ve listened to it. Since that moment i also started to have a fascination for vikings, which has been fading through the years, but beside that i still always feel the same magic.

Sonic Youth - Dirty Lyrics and Tracklist | Genius

Sonic Youth “Dirty” (1992)

Ho conosciuto i Sonic Youth dopo i 20 anni, quindi non ero proprio piccolissimo. Con Dirty mi si è aperto un mondo, perché è stato il primo disco dei Sonic Youth che ho ascoltato e da lì sono diventati rapidamente una delle mie band preferite. Tra l’altro su Dirty c’è Theresa’s Sound World che è praticamente un brano antesignano del post-black metal (e sì, è del 1992) e questa cosa mi ha sempre affascinato.

I’ve discovered Sonic Youth after i turned 20, so i wasn’t that young. Dirty was the first album from them i’ve ever listened, it really blew my mind and they started to become fastly one of my favourite bands. Among other things on this record there’s the song Theresa’s Sound World which is basically a precursor track of the post-black metal genre (yes, it’s from 1992) and i’ve always been fascinated by this fact.

Outre | PORTAL | Profound Lore Records

Portal “Outre” (2007)

Quando ho iniziato ad ascoltare metal estremo, amavo il black metal ma non il death metal. Se oggi ho cambiato idea una buona parte del merito è di Outre dei Portal, perché mi ha offerto un’idea differente su come concepire il genere. Da lì in poi ho riapprofondito il genere e sono riuscito a capirne meglio le fondamenta, tanto che oggi preferisco il death al black metal.

When i initially started to get into extreme metal, i was in love with black metal, but not with death metal. If today i’ve changed my perspectives it’s because of Outre by Portal, that gaves me a different approach to the genre. Since then i started to get more into it and i started to understand its form of expression, so much that now i prefer death metal than black metal.

Treasure // Cocteau Twins | Copertina, Musicale, Musica

Cocteau Twins “Treasure” (1984)

Quando ho ascoltato per la prima volta i Cocteau Twins mi sono innamorato della voce della cantante Elisabeth Fraser e delle loro atmosfere eteree. Sono stati loro a dare il la per farmi conoscere meglio il dreampop e lo shoegaze, proprio con Treasure.

When i’ve listened for the first time to Cocteau Twins i immediately fell in love with Elisabeth Fraser’s voice and their ethereal atmospheres. It’s because of them and their album Treasure that i started to know more about the dream pop and shoegaze genres.

Primus – Pork Soda Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

Primus “Pork Soda” (1993)

Come strumento mi ha sempre affascinato il basso. Quando ho ascoltato i Primus per la prima volta non avevo mai sentito il basso venire utilizzato in questo modo, con un ruolo così da protagonista. Ma non è tutto qui perché Pork soda mi ha saputo trascinare con le sue canzoni che ho sempre avvertito come strane, diverse in tutto e per tutto.

I’ve always been fascinated by bass guitar. When i’ve listened to Primus for the first time i had never heard before a bass guitar used in such a lead way. But there’s more, since Pork Soda has been able to fascinate me with its songs that i’ve always considered weird and different than everything else.

Ved Buens Ende – Written In Waters | Black Metal Ist Krieg

Ved Buens Ende “Written in Waters” (1995)

Sin dai miei primi approcci con il black metal mi piaceva l’idea di andare oltre, di capire se un genere così estremo ed oltranzista potesse essere fuso con altri elementi. Written in waters è stata la prima risposta che ho ricevuto, che mi ha fatto avvicinare al cosiddetto avantgarde black metal, con le sue forti venature progressive amalgamate con la violenza del black metal.

Since my first approaches with the black metal genre i was fascinated by the idea of going over and mixing such an extreme and uncompromising genre with diverse musical elements. Written in Waters has been my first answer regarding that and it started to drag me into the so called avantgarde black metal, with its strong progressive vibes perfectly merged into the brutality of black metal.

Big Black - Songs About Fucking (1987, Vinyl) | Discogs

Big Black “Songs About Fucking” (1987)

Discorso simile a quanto fatto per i Sonic Youth. Ho conosciuto le varie band di Steve Albini solo negli ultimi dieci anni, e tra queste i Big Black mi sono rimasti impressi soprattutto per Songs About Fucking. Mi ha stupito il connubio di noise e punk e le tracce intrise di nichilismo fino al midollo, insieme a un’interpretazione singolare di The Model dei Kraftwerk.

With Big Black my approach has been similiar to Sonic Youth. I’ve discovered Steve Albini’s bands only during the last ten years, and among them, Big Black impressed me in particular with their album Songs About Fucking. I was astonished to hear this mix of noise and punk and this tracks totally steeped in nihilism, there’s also a very singular interpretation of The Model originally by Kraftwerk.

Behemoth - Demigod (2004, CD) | Discogs

Behemoth “Demigod” (2004)

Non ascolto più i Behemoth da diversi anni, ma con Demigod c’è stato il mio primo incontro con il metal estremo. All’epoca non ritenevo possibile che potesse esistere della musica così “malvagia”. Questo mi sconvolse e mi mise quasi paura ma al tempo stesso anche fascino: fu proprio da quel momento che decisi di approfondire quel tipo di musica, per cui a distanza di anni rimane un album indimenticabile.

It’s several years i haven’t listened to Behemoth now, but with Demigod i got in touch for the first with extreme metal. At the time for me was impossible that such “evil” music could exist. This shocked me and i was almost scared, but fascinated at the same time: It was in that moment that i’ve decided to get more into this type of music, for this reason after many years this is still an unforgettable record.

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Other LIsts

10 Discouraging songs regarding love

Love is without any doubt the most inspriring feeling for all the arts, having a particular visceral empathy with cinema, and music. Saint Valentine’s Day is usually considered the celebration of the most obvious, mutual and happy side of a feeling that actually has way more facetings that are still intense and pure, but which may include desperation, sorrow or just misunderstandings; giving birth to very genuine music pieces and lyrics sometimes permeated by heartache, pain, rejection or nostalgia for a lost love, but also nihilism or skeptciism.

This list contains 10 discouraging songs about love, exploring it in in an opposite way of its joyous stereotypes.

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Radiohead “True Love Waits” (A Moon Shaped Pool, 2016)

The song is basically a tormented soft ballad accompanied by hypnotic synths in the case of the studio version and acoustic guitar in the case of the recorded live version, both are undoubtely great and intimate, but maybe the dreamy and abstract feeling of this one fits in a more interesting way with the lyrics. The main topic of the song is remaining young and trying to not grow to keep a loved one and consequently the pureness of the feeling. The main refrain “don’t leave, don’t leave” shows a strong fragility and a real need of someone’s company, while the verses “i’m not living, i’m just killing” are the clear rapresentation of a self-destructive abandonment sometimes relatable to a desperate love.

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Princess Chelsea “I Love My Boyfriend” (The Loneliest Girl, 2018)

Probably most known for her super catchy song Cigarette Duet, Princess Chelsea from New Zealand is surely one of the most interesting names of modern art pop around today.

I Love My Boyfriend is a baroque ballad with some incredibly addictive melodies, especially the ones played by the harp on the chours and the heavenly vocals singing on it; probably this is not intentionally a discouraged song about love, but through its story illustrates a really more than common scenario present in many long time relationships, which demolish the “eternal mutual love” tale we have always heard about.

The song is about a girl in a 10 year relationship feeling something special for another guy, but too confused to admit it. Even if it’s obvious she really wants the other, she tries to convince herself that her boyfriend is the only one she loves. That’s very interesting how the verses where she convince herself that her boyfriend is the one she really loves don’t describe any feeling and they simply remark the fact that “he’s a good man” and “takes care of her” while the ones about the other guy are clearly showing a romantic interest (“everytime he looks at me I get electric shocks, In my brain and in my heart”).

The naive way the narrator denies her feelings to herself is surely spontaneous, but so confuse to show immediately their real nature to the listener, and that’s essentially what makes this song’s lyrics so well crafted.

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Hatchie “Bad Guy” (Sugar & Spice, 2018)

Taken from her wonderful debut EP Sugar & Spice, this is the highest moment of the whole record.  Starting with a beautiful and touching guitar arpeggio the song soon evolves into an ethereal and nostalgic ballad with Cocteau Twins-ish angelic vocal melodies and ends by reaching the loudest and most emotional point in its finale. If it’s not already obvious, Hatchie from Australia, takes inspiration from 90’s british dream pop with a very delicate touch of shoegaze.

This song may have several meanings, but it is essentially about a complicated relationship (not clear if it’s a broken one or not), with the narrator feeling bad and blaming herself for being so much into someone who has clearily made her suffer multiple times.

These lyrics shows in a very mellow way all the frustration of being not understanded by someone you care abuot more than you should.

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Deafheaven “Unrequited” (Roads to Judah, 2011)

Before confimring theirself as one of the most acclaimed bands of the last decade in the world of extreme and alternative music, in 2011 Deafheaven have released this debut album through Deathwish Inc.

The californian ensemble shows immediately a very strong emotional and melancholic touch in their shoegaze-y black metal formula made of very long post-rock overtures and aggressive sections with neverending blast beats, high pitch shrieks and razor distorions.

In terms of sound and lyrics this 9 minutes song describes exactly the tormenting feeling of loving someone who dosen’t respond to your feelings. The deep and desperate feelings expressed in this poetical lyrics are absolutely real and touching, describing a persistent thought impossible to earase (“I feel so worn, quartered, and torn. Hung from the post where my brothers once sung. Cut from the tie where my sanity binds. Stuck in Winter’s Hell, with just you in mind.”), a thought that makes everything else impossible to be done (“I can’t move on, because I can’t shed the weight of myself. There is no such thing as the past, present, or future. There just is, and it never goes away.”), and a lacerating sense of grief accompanied by self blaming thoughts for being unable to stop it (“I thought about you for the rest of the day. Catching my head turning to find you again. I hated myself for it.”)

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Carly Raep Jepsen “Your Type” (Emotion, 2015)

Yes, she’s the same girl behind the addictive summer hit Call Me Maybe we’ve been hearing all day long back in 2012. Althought the undoubtely mainstream pop nature of her music, is always fun to mention that due to a positive review on the versatile music channel theneedledrop, her third album Emotion has started to be surprisingly appreciated by people from completely different musical backgrounds ending up with Swans and Death Grips fans enjoying listening to Carly’s record even if it’s still pure pop.

Beside that funny story, it’s worth to mention that this song is a really honest and well working 80’s inspired track in the same line with the whole album, gathering extremely catchy songs oftenly layered with electro pop synths and pleasant melodies.

Your Type is probably the best track from the album showing a really cheerful and somehow happy atmosphere even if the lyrics are about the hurtful feeling of being in love with someone that consider you just a friend.

The consequences of the situation on the narrator includes self-blaming thoughts for having no control on her feelings (“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I love you, I didn’t mean to say what I said

I miss you, I mean it, I tried not to feel it, But I can’t get you out of my head”) and also an annoyed complain toward her crush’s behaviour for ignoring her love and living normally his relationship (“I bet she acts so perfectly, You probably eat up every word she says, And if you ever think of me, I bet I’m just a flicker in your head”), but in hamrony with the musical aspect there is no negativity and she’s seems to accept in a rational way the situation.

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LowCityRain “You Are Everyone, You Are Everywhere” (LowCityRain, 2013)

After the release of three incredible albums with his main post-metal output Lantlos, in 2013 the german multi instrumentalist Markus Siegenhort decided to released an album with a new solo project named LowCityRain.

The intent is exploring a completely different musical dimension and the result is an absolutely impressive post-punk record with elements of electronic pop, shoegaze and dreamy atmospheres.

You Are Everyone, You Are Everywhere is the opening track of the album and despite the very short lenght it’s incredibly intese, touching and moving; It starts with one of the best guitar lines written in the last decade, clearly The Smiths inspired, and it’s accompanied by a strong rhythmyc and leaded by angelic female vocals.

Lyrics seems to be about a desperate and unreachable love, impossible to remove from your mind even if you’re losing yourself across the monotony of growing grey urban landscapes.

Risultato immagini per carcass heartwork cover

Carcass “No Love Lost” (Heartwork, 1994)

Formed in Liverpool during the 80’s by Jeff Walker and Bill Steer, Carcass are, alongside their friends Napalm Death the undisputed fathers of grindcore, a genre created mixing wisely devasting metal riffs with hardcore punk elements and insanely fast passages.

After two albums of pure grindcore the band introduced the swedish guitarist Michael Amott from Carnage, with which started to incorporate an impressive amount of melody in its sound borrowed from swedish death metal and classic heavy metal. The monumental album Heartwork is probably the perfect synthesis of this formula, showing a unique massive sound and an amazingly perfect songwriting. No Love Lost is for sure one of the most acclaimed and memorable tracks off this record.

Behind the sour poetry of the words in the lyrics there seems to be a strong scepticism regarding the feeling of love, usually overrated by people, involving theirselves in emotionless relationships made of fake feelings and fake illusions (“The low cost of loving, Amorous travesty, Human frailties and weakness are easy prey, How your poor heart will bleed”), trying to follow an ideal romantic cliche that dosen’t really exist (“Without emotion, your heartstrings break, Snapped and severed to the tune of a tragic, sad cliche, No love lost, When all is said and done, There’s no love lost”).

Risultato immagini per cure didintegration

The Cure “Pictures of You” (Disintegration, 1989)

There’s no better song to describe nostalgia than this, with its soft melodies and beautiful atmospheres accompanied by a deeply suggestive vocal performance.

Even if it sounds a bit obvious it is worth to mention that The Cure symbolizes the essence of gothic rock and dark music in general, with their melancholic and sad inner poetry, the band leaded by Robert Smith have painted the portrait of a generation who lived its tormented youth during the end of the 70’s and throughout the 80’s.

Disintegration (1989) closes The Cure’s golden decaded and it’s an absolute masterpiece and an iconic record that all of us should have listen at least one time. If there is a central theme on the whole album, that theme is nostalgia, from the missed “kiss of treachery, The shameless kiss of vanity” and “The soft and the black and the velvety up tight against the side of me”  of Disintegration to the harsh memories and the heartbreaking regret of what has gone wrong (“If only I’d thought of the right words I could have held on to your heart”) while contemplating those Pictures of You.

This song is about that sad, but in the same time beautiful sensation of remembering something that will never return, a specific moment, a feeling or whatever related to a lost love. the lyric’s verses are hurtful and sad, and they show a really touched and still vivid love toward someone that even if it’s not anymore in your life, will be never forgotten till the end.

“There was nothing in the world

That I ever wanted more

Than to feel you deep in my heart

There was nothing in the world

That I ever wanted more

Than to never feel the breaking apart

All my pictures of you.”

Risultato immagini per darkness permission to land cover art

The Darkness “Love is Only a Feeling” (Permission to Land, 2003)

The band that more than anyone else has brought back calssic rock at the top of the charts at the beginning of the 2000’s: The four piece ensemble from London leaded by Justin Hawkins takes inspiration from giants such as Led Zeppelin, Queen and Def Leppard and they’re probably the last successful band that intended rock’n’roll attitude in its purest form, but with a unique energy and an irresistible sense of humor.

This song off their most acclaimed album Permission to Land is about nothing more than its title: love is certainly overwhelming and incredibly powerful (“The state of elation that this unison of hearts achieved, I had seen, I had touched, I had tasted and I truly believed”), but it’s really nothing more than just a feeling.

This interpretation of the song is clearly described by Justin Hawkins in a 2003 interview: “”When we wrote that one, I was thinking, ‘People always say that it’s more than a feeling.’ It really isn’t. It’s just that: it’s a feeling”.

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Have a Nice Life “I Don’t Love” (Deathconsciousness, 2008)

Released in 2008, Deathconsciousness is the debut album of the Connecticut based duo Have a Nice Life, It is a deep travel across human subconscious, melancholy, nihilism and tragedy spreaded on a musical tapestry made of gothic rock, post-punk and drone layers.

It’s very interesting how the album gained a strong popularity among the underground alternative community, becoming a cult record still very acclaimed after more than 10 years. Of course it’s not the kind of album you immeidately get into, especially if you’re not in the right mood; it is described by the the band theirself as “the most depressing album in the history of music”.

The song I Don’t Love is probably much more than its title; love is the feeling that moves our exisences more than any other: loving means living and refusing love means refusing life, indeed behind a clear delusion toward love’s condition (“I don’t want to do this anymore, but there’s nothing else to take. I don’t love”) there is a global sense of dissatisfaction and abandonment (“I don’t want to live like this, Lord. I don’t want to live at all”) permeated by a persistent nihilism (“I don’t feel anything where this love should be”).

Musically speaking the atmosphere has a beautiful and calm overall mood that makes the sense of abandonment evocated through the lyrics a sweet experience. The vocal lines are pretty much addictive, it’s impossible to not sing them along after a few listens and their lo-fi sounds fits very well with the fuzzy guitars and the enthralling melodic bass in the background.

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Album Lists

10 Great records of 2019

2019 has been a year full of interesting albums and longtime comebacks from bands and artists of every kind.

This is my very first article written fot this new personal blog, said that, i think it’s important to point out that this list (and all the others that i’ll post in the future) is not intended to be a chart with a first and a last position, it’s just a selection of 10 really good 2019 albums accompanied by a short description i’d like to recommend to everyone who opens this page.

Alcest “Spiritual Instinct”

Follower of Kodama (2016), this new record is a really good comeback for the french duo leaded by Neige and it’s the first one released by the colossal metal label Nuclear Blast; But beside that it dosen’t show big changes in the band’s sound and the fewest new things are all well managed like the heavy distortions that recalls a really massive post-metal sound in the vein of Neurosis and Russian Circles balanced with super rock Emma Ruth Rundle-like moments (Sapphire is the best example and it shows an almost perfect and genuine songwriting).

It’s always good to see projects that started from the very underground like Alcest getting always bigger and mainting a very honest and coherent artistic identity.

American Football “LP3”

With a strong excitement from the band’s die hard fans, the new American Football’s wait has been undoubtely worth. Anticipated by the hypnotic Unconfortably Numb with the special contribution of Hayley Williams from Paramore, the album gives the same relaxed, sleepy and emotional atmosphere of this single track for its whole duration. Beautiful, thirlling, quite and very intense, perfect to enjoy during a train/car/whatever travel when it’s dark outside.

Blanck Mass “Animated Violence Mind”

With its weird aesthetic, the new Black Mass’ album is a disturbing travel across very catchy tunes and more aggressive outbursts. Love is Parasite’s videoclip is a true gem of weirdness and its scenes seems taken from David Lynch or David Cronenberg’s movies accompanied by perfectly crafted melodies.

Giving a listen to this albums means diving into a very eclectic electronic sound that switches from EBM moments with harsh screams to piano driven cinematic soundscapes with overwhelming singing (listen to House vs House if you want a proof of what i’m saying).

Blood Incantation “Hidden History of the Human Race”

If the previous Starspawn was one of the most well realized extreme metal albums of the last 5 years (and believe me it was), with this new one the four piece band from Denver has been able to reach a higher level with impeccable songwriting and hypnotic passages. The heavy parts still shows a massive and almost perfect approach to guitar driven outburst, but with a totally unique taste for experimentation. The whole album sounds like a cosmic trip across astral planes in a semiconscious state.

A special mention goes also to the cover art by 70’s painter Bruce Pennington that gives the album a sci-fi and Philip K.Dick-esque aesthetic (interesting fact – there are two other albums around using this cover: Agony’s Apocalyptic Dawing and Alec Empire’s Hypermodern Jazz 2000.5, both released in 1995).

Elizabeth Colour Wheel “Nocebo”

After a series of really interesting minor releases, the US based 5 piece band has finally released their debut album Nocebo, one of the most interesting rock albums of the outgoing year.

Elizabeth Colour Wheel is with no doubt one of that bands that sounds like nothing else already existing with a unique formula made of shoegaze sparks, noise rock outbursts, metal oriented parts with fast drumming, slow heavy passages and cinematic epicity. If you want to hear explosive guitar distortion accompanied by a unique and super flexible female vocal work you’re going to discover one of your next favourite bands and albums.

Liturgy “H.A.Q.Q.”

Here we go, it’s been 4 years from The Ark Work’s release and the quartet from Brooklyn leaded by Hunter Hunt-Hendrix is finally back with another impressive record. Even if a first listen will suggest a comeback to the roots this is not entirely true, for sure black metal screams are back and many atmospheres from the Aesthetica/Renihlation period can be felt, but the fine use of electronica made of glitches and MIDI sounds started with the Ark Work is still present and it’s perfectly matched with the rest.

Also the massive use of classical instruments such as harp, strings and piano (there are even some exotic instruments like hichiriki and ryuteki) takes Liturgy’s music to another level of high quality composition exploring new musical horizons and strange a-rhythmic sections accompanied by the usual philosophical tables and concepts that makes the “Liturgy experience” so characteristic.

DIIV “Deceiver”

After two almost perfect albums was not so easy to make a new record on the same level, but the new Deceiver is without any doubt a strong confirmation of the band’s ability to write impeccable songs.

Following the usual direction halfway between shoegaze and post-punk this release is a pure concentration of 90’s alternative rock euphoria, from the harsh pop lines of Skin Game to the beautiful melodies sorrounded by fuzzy soundscapes of Lorelei. DIIV also confirms their impressive ability to switch from massive bass driven fast parts to slow and dreamy moments full of chrystalline guitars and ambient backgrounds.

If you don’t know this band and you’re into My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth or The Cure you should definitely take a listen to all their three albums.

Ştiu Nu Ştiu “Sick Sad Love”

Dark, sad, hypnotic and gloom are just a few ways to describe the incredible experience offered by this album entitled Sick Sad Love which is an overwhelming experience across the sound of madness and melancholy.

The band, Ştiu Nu Ştiu, is an obscure and underrated project from Sweden crafting a very original sound that takes inspiration from post-punk, darkwave, gothic rock and a few metal moments taken on a very high level. The album is a true hidden gem and it’s full of very various but always impressive songs, check the incredibly beautiful post-rock melodies of Sick Sad Love, the hypnotic heaviness of Sibirien or the massive experimentation of Slack Fyrarna to get an anticipation of the whole experience, you’ll find some of the most intense and well made songs recorded in 2019 you could listen to.

Of course also the rest of the discography is highly recommended to check, there are two other impressive album on the same level of this new one out there.

Sadistik “Haunted Gardens”

With his very unique experimental hip-hop, Sadistik (stage name of Cody Foster) has always been one of the most interesting and talented outputs offered by the genre.
This new Haunted Gardens is a beautiful mix of dreamy and depressing atmospheres with poetical lyrics, fast rapping and aggressive beats.

The instrumental work is nearly perfect, confirming this album as one of the most intense things released this year you could find out (try 8/12 or Pet Sematary if you wanna drown into synth layers), and if you listen to it with lights off and calm around it will swallow your heart.

Lyrics are also incredibly well made offering very emotional, reflective and mindblowing verses:

“A thousand people surround us inside of me’s only lonely
The fireflies used to visit to sit on my skin I miss it
When mystery dissipated you drifted into the distance” (taken from the song Eden)

Drab Majesty “Modern Mirror”

The previous The Demonstration has been my absolute favourite album released in 2017 and impressed me with its synthwave perfection; well, the new Modern Mirror is another masterpiece, confirming the direction of the previous record adding a distinctive dramatic emphasis to the slower moments (Oxtocyn, Noise of the Void) and addictive vocal lines impossible to forget in a very 80’s way (The Other Side, Elipsis).

The Los Angeles-based duo is showing album by album an unbelievable ability to create with its music a dreamy place where guitar and synth lines are perfectly merged as one, combining flanger arpeggios and spacey catchy melodies as a unique breathaking and chilling experience.