So I'm writing for a horror webzine called "The Bloodsprayer." My buddy Wes contacted me to see if I wanted to do a piece on 70's Italian prog for their 2nd Annual "Italian Week" that they ran at the beginning of August. Shortly thereafter, I was asked to be a contributing writer for them to expand their pallet into music fit for horror movies, but avoiding the usual Rob Zombie/Misfits/Psychobilly schlock that usually passes for a music section in most horror zines. My first piece is sort of a complete rewrite of what I had written some years ago about the 1979 Univers Zero album, "Heresie." Check it out here, and if you are a horror fan, check out everything on the site. They have a lot of great writers and are constantly doing giveaways and contests as some of the writers are pretty tied in to the horror merch industry.
Univers Zero piece
Friday, July 15, 2011
Darkthrone to play the reception. Yeah, you heard that right. No lie. Fenriz and Ted are flying over to play their only show EVER since 1990 and it's going to be for my fucking wedding. I love her that much that I make the impossible possible. Move heaven and earth? Fuck that, I got Darkthrone to play my wedding reception. What's grandma gonna think? Fuck her. She can think "En Vind Av Sorg" for all I care. You wanna do the cupid fucking shuffle? Fuck you too. You can dance it to "Summer Of The Diabolical Holocaust" just fine. This is a wedding singer's revenge for all the stupid fucking dreck I have had to learn, play or suffer through in the 4 years I've been doing it. They're going to pull that corny "surprise move" and have a "special guest" join them onstage too... and it's gonna be the groom... ME! I'm gonna play guest cowbell on "In The Shadow Of The Horns" and yell NOCTURNO CULTO! real loud right before Nocturno Culto starts singing. I'm really gonna yuck it up too, in exaggerated comic reference to the Saturday Night Live skit. I'll be really drunk and inconsiderate at that point, and will likely fall over onto Ted's microphone stand and it may chip his tooth. People kept asking me "Did you hire your own band to play your reception?" and I've been pretty evasive about answering that question. Well, the answer is no. I hired a band alright, but it's the most important band in the world since the Grateful Dead. It's fucking Darkthrone and they will bring the house down with 2 decades of True Norwegian Black Metal. I've even asked them to play some of the later "punk" stuff and their 2nd set will be a cover to cover performance of "Transylvanian Hunger." I figure since it's all in one tempo, people will just assume it's disco. I had to tell the parents and grandparents that "They're like a cross between the Everly Brothers and the Average White Band." They bit. If anyone's curious, Nocturno Culto chose the prime rib option and Fenriz ordered the salmon for dinner.
I digress. It's been a very good year. My girl and I have both grown by leaps and bounds over the past 2 years and this couldn't come a moment too soon. I am still astounded that someone puts up with me and all my dumb CD's, guitar junk and endless blathering about obscure funk or death metal. If you could all see the state I keep "The Mancave" in, you would know it could only mean love. I have little faith in the concept of "the soulmate." I think there are alot of people in the world and it's all by accident of birth or circumstance to whom we are born to, who we meet throughout life and who works best together. She and I just happened across the best combination in each other and marriage is such an insignificant step in the whole process of life. We've been married for so long at this point, it's just a formality to us... a rather expensive formality. We've both gotten into and out of and back into the spirit of things a few times. I'm just happy to get it taken care of and I am happy that everyone is happy about it. I'm happy she hasn't killed me. I'm happy her cats like me. I'm happy my band hasn't fired me for being an insufferable stress maniac for the past 3 months. I'm happy about all the wonderful developments in the past few years for me. I'm happy my father and I get along and almost understand one another. I'm happy to get to Buffalo and get to meet my newborn niece for the first time. I'm happy my entire family will be at my wedding. I'm happy my fiance's family is actually making the drive as well (we live 5 hours from Buffalo, they live at least 7 hours.) I'm happy all this stuff is working out that I never assumed in my wildest dreams would ever work out for my hopeless clown ass.
...All except that Darkthrone bit, but a boy can wish can't he?
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Seance didn't make it's way onto my radar until after their second album, Saltrubbed Eyes was released. Prior to that, it was pretty tough to make one band out from another in the great deluge of death metal releases that flooded the market between 1989 - 1992. Saltrubbed Eyes, much like Samael's Ceremony Of Opposites, is one of those albums that will always stand alone for it's completely unique production style. The bass is so forward in the mix, you almost can't make out the guitars at times. I don't know if it's a result of EQing, shelving or a distortion pedal or what, but it absolutely works in the mix and makes for a kick ass album that sounds like it is going to rip your throat out 100% of the time. I heard it on the college radio station around here and NEVER forgot the sound of that album. I wore out a cassette copy and by the time I got a CD player, it was pretty hard to find. It was one of the first albums I downloaded when I figured out how and it has always remained at the top of my list. I strive to write riffs as heavy and as gripping as the opening of "13th Moon."
Seance's debut album, "Fornever Laid To Rest," at the time was a pretty unremarkable release, just because it was one of a hundred records that year all trying for the same market share. It featured the same Dan Seagrave cosmic horror thing going on for the cover and in the US it was damn near unavailable. I think I saw one copy of it once and I don't remember seeing anything in any magazines about it. I wasn't able to actually listen to it until I could download it some years later. I eventually scored copies of both CD's on Ebay and they will have to be pried from my cold dead hands. Surprisingly, they were NOT $80, more like $10 apiece. Maybe no one was looking that week? Either way, this album quickly rose to the top of my heap of favorites of early 90's Swedish death. At the time though, it didn't have a weird production job or anything really to make it stick out of the pack, and that's a shame because it is a completely merciless album. I don't think it's as heavy as Saltrubbed Eyes, but it should have been further ahead of the pack than it was. I think it may have had more to do with the fact that Black Mark probably didn't have much in the way of distribution in the US, or much cash to promote it. Around that time, Seance was probably hoping for table scraps from the label in the wake of the release of "Hammerheart." Still, both records (and 2009's "Awakening Of The Gods") are completely unfuckwithable death metal albums that should get WAAAY more attention than they do. I've uploaded both of Seance's 90's albums in one .rar for your pleasure. Hopefully someday they get their fair due, or at least a nice reissue. ...And yes, that's no typo, the first album is actually called ForNEVER Laid To Rest.
Friday, July 8, 2011
I'll spare you the indignity of re-reading what the Aquarius Records guys had to say about it. For once, they were right on though. This is a fantastic little labor of love on the part of an anonymous auteur He does not identify himself, but he does not keep himself hidden either as there is a blogspot and a website for this project. This lone 2009 release has been in print twice both as a cassette and a CD and is about to be in print again on vinyl. I just discovered it recently and it's a stunner. Somewhere along the way, it got classified as black metal, but it really isn't. It's more along the dark industrial soundscape path, but it's no "dark ambient" snooze either. There is an evident black metal influence, but it's really only through the sparse guitar work which was sourced from a single improvisation that was recorded in 2006. Beyond that, it's just dark music.
I am an avid appreciator of stuff like Einsturzende Neubaten, Throbbing Gristle and early Laibach, but it's not really stuff I can get into on a regular basis. I enjoy the adventurousness of it, but it rarely comes off as "successful" to me. I guess I just don't get it. I'm not ashamed, I just think it goes nowhere and people who really think they understand where guys like that are coming from are just assholes, especially if you were born after 1988. Music like this is not made to connect with an audience, it's there for the benefit of catharsis for the artist. This seems to be successful, at what, I am not sure. There is a sense of satisfaction I get listening to it that I just don't get from many other "sound collage" type artists. I still don't understand it, but I don't have to, I'm just lucky enough to get to enjoy it.
There is a musicality to this project, unlike any of the comparisons that have been thrown at it. The closest musical cousin I can find to it would be early COIL or This Heat, only without vocals. It's a pastiche of dark sounds that work in collusion together to make some of the most gripping music I have heard in a very long time. In total, it's 28 minutes of music and it will probably be the first, last and only thing that Murmuüre ever releases because it took so much for him to complete it. I would not begrudge him that. If this is the only recorded legacy of this project, at least it's brilliant. I would begrudge him, however, if this was never to be released again aside from on the extremely limited run releases. Hopefully it has a long life through the internet.
Murmuüre may be an anonymous project, but it's far from hidden. The album can be downloaded from the bandcamp page and you can provide a donation for what you think it is worth. I found a download link and will be making a donation in kind at some point myself simply because this isn't some faceless record I am only going to listen to once.
listen and download it here, and don't be a dick about it.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
The hungry child worships... no more
Friday, July 1, 2011
Schizophrenia is a high water mark of the later 60's Blue Note catalog. Blue Note was slipping sales wise by this point. The entire jazz community was losing steam behind the rock output of the era. Jazz, as a whole was also losing face with the record buying public behind the "free" explosion. Albert Ayler and Ornette Coleman had already made their greatest statements almost 8 years before and lots of "legitimate" players decided they would grow their hair out and wear a dashiki and release a few skronky records to keep up with the young lions. In 1968, it was a little risky for Wayne Shorter to be sticking closely to rhythm and chord changes, but he held to what he loved doing rather than jump on some freaknik bandwagon and Blue Note records supported whatever decision their artists made, cuz they were righteous. Not that Shorter didn't have an ear towards the freer, as one could deduce from portions of albums like "The All Seeing Eye" or bits of the last tune on this album, Playground, where the band seemingly flies totally apart at one point, only to slam back together in perfect time. More evidence that musicians back in the day were just THE BEST. I guess when you didn't have video games to play or blogs to tend to, all there was to do was to get super rad at an instrument and then go to a studio where the engineers only had to push record and mix.
I love this guy. I've even own his biography. I could never get behind Weather Report, (and as a bassist, believe you me, I tried. I could go off about how I think fusion sucks, but I'd rather spend my time on this blog writing about what's awesome) but still, his body of work is just amazing. Schizophrenia stands up tall next to his earlier masterpieces like Hear No Evil and Juju. I jacked that link from a google search so if you have to use a password, tough nuts. I have other things to do with my day than babysit Mediafire.
This is an album I fell in love with some years ago. We were making dinner the other night and I got struck by the urge to listen to it again for the first time in a long time. It always has the same affect on me too, it makes me bummed that it's over when the last song ends. It's just one of those records. For my money, that is the PERFECT album length too so I am not complaining. Better than a demo or an EP, but not some 70 minute sprawl that just drags on and on. Brevity is the goal when it comes to instrumental music. This is for fans spaced out math rock like Slint, Tristeza, or maybe some later EARTH or My Bloody Valentine? There is also a heavy black metal influence in the songwriting. Don't expect blast beats, but I know the guy who writes this stuff and he is all over some Alcest/Amesoeurs, Peste Noire and Leviathan. This ISN'T metal though. I was in the band for a short time when the mastermind behind the group moved to town to house-sit over the summer of 2008. An attempt was made to create a live lineup for the group and it failed for various reasons. There is an entire second album of material that has been recorded too that has not been released. It's being RE-recorded now by the original lineup of the group, who also failed for various reasons. At this point, the band hasn't played live in several years. I may have been present at the last actual live performance that was given at a basement show some years back. It was ten degrees below zero outside and said mastermind was loading his equipment into the house and wearing flip flops. How grim is that?
I haven't updated this blog in months. I probably haven't even looked at it in 2-3 months. I just haven't had time. I don't know how some of those blog guys post stuff 3 or 4 times a day. Good for them I guess. I've got alot of stuff on my plate right now. I'm getting married in 3 weeks, so that is keeping me really busy and broke. My 2 jobs are running at full steam right now. I have the first original band I have played with since June 2010 coming together too. Super excited about that. I won't leave you with too many details, but it's headed towards being the best project I have ever been a part of. There's 3.5 songs so far. It's dark stuff and it's not metal. We're hopefully gonna be recording in the next month or so, as soon as we decide we have enough suitable material for a 12" EP. Looking towards pressing vinyl with download and all that rot. Still no band name or anything like that. As soon as we get all that stuff together and a bandcamp page, I'll post all that stuff here.
I keep saying I am going to post more stuff here, and I swear I will work to be a more active blogger.
For now, you get NESH