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2022-04-26

ROADBURN FESTIVAL 2022 • THE SPARK: Wednesday, April 20th

- Burn your burdens in the Temple of Rebranded Ignition! -

Temple Fang

We all know the thing that happened. It has changed all of our lifes in multiple small, significant and/or dramatic ways. But given that we're all sick of it - and of it still not being over for good - I will skip the potentially lengthy sermon here.

Ultimately we all feel that live music was painfully missing and that especially the last regular - what an inappropriate term here - Roadburn Festival seems to have been lifetimes ago.
Somehow I still doubted that it would happen or that I could finally get the thing too, so it was only when I was in the car, on my way from Northern Germany to the South of the Netherlands, that I truly knew: It's on! Roadburn, fuck yes, Roadburn!

Seemingly the whole inner city of Tilburg is a construction site right now, which also had some effects on the festival venues (there were two new stages and one temporarily moved), respectively the otherwise possible shortcuts between them.

For tonight however it was just three bands on the Next Stage (formerly known as Green Room), the smaller of the two stages in the 013 venue.
That was not the only thing which officially got a new name now, since the successor of the Hard Rock Hide-Out warm-up party in the Cul de Sac bar for some legal reason isn't called Ignition any longer, yet maybe eben more on point: The Spark.







Radar Men From The Moon

The honour of enkindling it was mainly in Dutch hands, starting with one of those bands, which can always surprise you with a new line-up or direction. Tonight Radar Men From The Moon showed up with bass, two guitars, two drummers and a vocalist and delivered a show which followed their last studio album "The Bestial Light" and in a way also their own 2017 collaboration with Gnod, Temple Ov BBV.
It was a massive machine of heavy psych, kraut-o-matik and industrial metal with an agitative punk / hardcore attitude. And just the right thing to thrust all those who might have had a break of many months or even several years long break from festivals or live music in general back into the carhatically pummeling joy of having bass and noise pumped through your whole body.






Maggot Heart

The spirit of waking everybody up was continued with the dry and dirty post-punk hard rock of Linnéa Olssons Maggot Heart. Due to the giantism of RMFTM before, it took me a song or two two fully adjust to the raw rock'n'roll approach of the trio. But when it kicked in, there was no stopping this wild ride, on which all three instruments and the singer's high, somehow piercing and snotty voice seemed to be in a constant fight of who would be in charge of the crop that whipped it forward. Banger!










Temple Fang

The third band on the bill had to cancel due to a positive (you know what kind of) test. Since there is no alternative program on Wednesday anyway, I didn't bother to prepare myself for them at all, so Bad Breeding was the only previously announced band on the whole running order I didn't know and didn't look up anything about before the festival. So while I feel sorry for their situation, I naturally felt rather indifferent to what might have been missing musically now and was instead happy to see the openers of the 2019 warm-up show return.

And boy, Temple Fang are such a headliner now! Driven by the power of a Rickenbacher bass and bonkers drumming, crowned by awesome vocal harmonies and easily one of - if not the - greatest lead guitar performances of the whole festival, the epic jams of the quartet were now driving your consciousness to even more unexplored spaces than they already did three years ago. These guys just sound like a legit rock legend straight from the 1970s in all the best ways. With their show Roadburn in all its glory really began for me.

The only cruel thing about it was to see a copy of their fantastic "Fang Temple" record laughing at me from the merch table, while I'm still waiting for the pre-order. Not the only time this would happen during the festival.





Even though there have been warm-up shows with line-ups which added more variety to the normal Roadburn range (which sounds almost impossible, I know, but just think of the speed metal attack with Speed Queen and Bütcher in 2018!), this was a perfect night to get back into the the swing.

Speaking of that: Tomorrow it's back to work for me again, and I have no idea how to keep all that sweet festival memories from racing through my head all the time, haha. But more about those in the coming reviews of the following four Roadburn days! (Please be patient, there will come other stuff inbetween.)




reviews of the other festival days:

- Tumult of magic, turmoil of transcendence. -


- One day you will find me here
Hiding behind the sun with a thousand loaded guns -


- The call of a thousandfold sounds:
Once upon a time in the Church of Cartography -


- Sinner get jazzy! Jammer get heavy! -





harineweekly 16/52


Here I am back in the real world after a mind-altering Roadburn Festival. I've taken tons of Harinezumi 3.0 pictures there, but those will see the light of this blog later.

So for this weekly series I decided to do something different and also brought my Digital Harinezumi 4.0 with me to record some tourist videos in the dunes nearby my hotel with it. The camera is still broken an thus unreliable; you have to connect it with the power bar while shooting, and the energy is gone again very fast. It was enough to shoot some shaky 360° vids and just randomly stitch them together.

And because it's too boring just to hear the wind on the microphone for five minutes, I dug out a silly old synthesizer 4-track thing called "Übertür", which I had recorded approximately 24 years ago. Damn, it sucks how fast we're getting old.


And I also took a couple of associated pictures:





2022-04-18

CENTRE EL MUUSA - Purple Stones

Moin Misha!

Dies ist also meine fünfte Begegnung mit dem estnischen Allegassenhansdampf. Der Mann deckte in diesem mir bekannten, kleinen Ausschnitt seines Schaffens bereits eine respektable musikalische Bandbreite ab: wilder Garagenkrautrock auf dem gleichnamigen Debütalbum von Centre El Muusa, ein ungleich epischer ausuferndes Windparksonnenaufgangskonzert, spaciger Doomjazz mit dem Estrada Orchestra und einen Mix aus Library Music, Spiritual Jazz, Ambient und Psychedelic Rock mit der Misha Panfilov Sound Combo.

Und was kommt nun?

CENTRE EL MUUSA - Purple Stones (2022)

Fuzzig treibender Psychrock ist auf dem zweiten Album von Centre El Muusa durchaus immer noch ein wichtiges Element, doch gleichzeitig öffnet sich die Band hier weit zu allen Seiten und lässt nicht nur die kreative Befruchtung aus den anderen Projekten Panfilovs und seiner Mitmusiker Volodja Brodsky (Synthies und Wurlitzer), Monika Erdmann (Bass) und Aleksei Semenihhin (Schlagzeug) zu, sondern geht sogar hier und da noch etwas darüber hinaus, was sich z.B. im Country/Western-Einschlag des Openers "Pony Road" äußert.

Super produziert, jedoch immer noch mit dem richtigen Maß an gesunder Dreckigkeit, resonieren einem vor allem die Tastensounds, aber auch Panfilovs Gitarre richtig schön Weltflucht induzierend im Bregen.
Das Debüt fand ich ja schon ziemlich gut, doch diese gereifteren Centre El Muusa gefallen mir jetzt noch eine ganze Spur besser. Allerfeinst.

Und dass die (wie die LP bei Sulatron Records erhältliche) CD-Version drei Tracks des oben erwähnten Extrem-Social-Distancing-Konzerts von 2020 als Bonus enthält, wertet das Ding noch zusätzlich auf. Allein das elektrische Klavier in "Mia" ist ein Traum.

Zum Coverartwork... hmm... habe ich mir ehrlich gesagt noch keine Meinung in Stein gemeißelt. Im Zweifelsfall muss das wohl so. Miles Davis war in seiner funkigsten Phase auch nicht schlimmer, oder?   







harineweekly 15/52


Oopsie, I'm one day late! Or I'm just making the transition for next week easier, since I probably won't be able to post the next installment of this series at least until Tuesday.

But back to previous week! Remember that in the first part back in January I said that I'm going to post one or several Harinezumi pictures every week? Until now it have always been more pictures than one. But I'm working on it. This week my Digital Harinezumi 3.0 only took two pictures at the car wash.

Which reminds me that I still wanted to clean up the interior of the car, before I'll drive to the Southern Netherlands this week. So I guess there you have my celebratory plans for Easter Monday.



2022-04-16

GGGOLDDD - This Shame Should Not Be Mine

Of all the music I have already reviewed this year, the new album of Gggolddd (formerly known as Gold and renamed for purely pragmatically reasons of being easier to find and identified) is surely one of the most anticipated.

It began its life as commissioned piece for last year's online edition of Roadburn and became not only my favorite stream of that extraordinary weekend, but in fact the most played show of them all.

That surely came as a surprise to everyone involved, since a whole performance dedicated to an intimate personal account of sexual violence is quite a heavy prospect and doesn't exactly appear as the greatest possible crowd magnet. On the other hand the relevance of the subject of course is indisputable; and it's relieving to see that honest art of burning matters can resonate with such a large audience. Even if due to a pandemic the audience isn't physically present.

Without Covid-19 and the sudden break from work, touring and regular social life however, singer Milena Eva wouldn't have been forced to face the reality of her repressed trauma in the first place.
"This Shame Should Not Be Mine" above all other meanings you could find in it for yourself, was a powerful expression of the will to overcome trauma.

And now it has been turned into Gggolddd's latest and most significant studio album.
  


GGGOLDDD - This Shame Should Not Be Mine (2CD Deluxe Edition) (2022)

Musically Gold have often been dubbed post everything. Post post rock, post post punk, even post post black metal at times, their hypnotic rock music is catchy and familiar, but also dark, often distanced and hard to grasp with your usual preconceptions.

On "This Shame Should Not Be Mine" Gggolddd changes gears and introduces a lot of bass-heavy, yet very clean and often minimal electronic elements. More than ever the music follows the story and emotions of the vocal performance, so at times, in her most fragile moments, Milena sings in an almost completely abandoned void of isolation. Apart from a minimum of lowest notes or as in "On You" only an alienated alteration of her own voice accompanies her. She is alone.
But when either her anger or her confidence grow, she can rise in a blast of exploding guitar layers or cathartic rhythm, best represented in the finale "Beat By Beat", when she declares that it's time for some healing now and she needs to move her body, before the last storm of the album is set loose.

The electronic part of this song isn't the only instance on "This Shame", where the band is obviously paying tribute to Björk, which was even more undeniable during the live performance, which featured an effective interview sample of the Icelandic icon in "Invisible".

Gold live at Roadburn Redux
It's not a detail I'm necessarily missing on the studio album, but rather one of several differences, which gives both versions their own distinct power and justification.
Thankfully we have all the time in the world to explore and compare or just enjoy them both, since both the LP and the CD are available in deluxe editions with "Live At Roadburn Redux" as a bonus disc.

Among several small changes in arrangements and a different overall sound - controlled studio environment vs. the vastness of the empty live location -, the unmissable biggest difference is that the studio album is one track longer. The title track simply hadn't been finished in time for the show.

Another band I find myself reminded of a lot - be it during the trip hop beats, but also during a lot of the rock music parts and due to the emotiveness and quality of Milena Eva's vocal performance is Archive - or to be more specific Archive, when Maria Q, and even much more so  Holly Martin take the helm on the microphone. So if you're a fan of said collective and especially albums like "With Us Until You're Dead", this might really be something you should check out, even if you're not too accustomed with some of the metal influences in the sound of Gggolddd.

All in all I don't think that it matters much anyway, from which specific background of musical preferences you're coming. "This Shame Should Not Be Mine" is an important meaningful statement, a transcendent, beautifully vulnerable and strong piece of art. And also just a perfectly written and executed rock / electronic music album.

There are more thoughts I could elaborate on. I could compare Gggolddd's approach to thematically related artists like Lingua Ignota, Amanda Palmer or Emma Ruth Rundle and how they resonate in different way, but I don't think that comparison would serve any of these amazing artists.
I could gush over the symbolism of the cover photography, but if it doesn't speak for itself anyway, you're probably blind.

And finally I also just have to leave some room in my head to write about "This Shame" once more soon, because not even one week from now, Gggolddd will perform it live at Roadburn again. This time in another new version with extra string players - and hopefully with myself as one small fragment of a huge bodily attendant audience.











SYK - Pyramiden

Even though it can be challenging from a critic's perspective, since it drastically limits my choice of references - I just love it, when the seemingly impossible happens and I to stumble upon a metal band which has a completely singular sound.

Four years ago that happened on the sadly disbanded Cul De Sac stage of Roadburn with the Italians Syk, who now have finally released the successor to their 2016 album "I-Optikon".


SYK - Pyramiden (CD) (2022)

The instrumental part of "Pyramiden" isn't something which lands on my personal menu too often, since its main ingredient is djent. I'm not hating on the genre in general at all, but I also haven't heard too much bands noticably captivating me either. I guess most of the time that one element which makes it click is just missing.

But back to Syk: Around the ultra-heavy Meshuggah grooves there's also stuff happening which could easily feel at home in a context of post (black) metal oder dissonant death metal. But wherever the band goes, that typical low-string attack of the guitars somehow keeps it in the djent pocket, even when it could also be something entirely else. There is actual bass on the recording, but as far as I know live Syk remain a guitar-only band. And as far as I remember their custom-made instruments had somewhere between seven and twelve or whothefuckknows strings. Yeah, they are really going for that low end.

The high end however isn't left out, and that's also where Syk's real super power comes into play with singer (and also solo electronic music recording artist) Dalila Kayros.

Syk live at Roadburn 2018
I've seen several people compare her voice to Björk, but I guess that's just an idea caused by her singing with an accent and her vocals being bit odd and quirky and mixed very prominently into the foreground. But as soon as you're listening to the seven tracks of the albums with that comparison in mind, you'll realize that not only her tone is completey different, but apart from a handful of loosely related phrasings and harmonies, there are no actual björkisms to be found on "Pyramiden".

No, if we're going for handbook comparisons, Julie Christmas would be one that's far more applicable. My closest approximations however, which also work in regards of the relationship between vocals and music, are two rather obscure bands and their respective singers from the early 1990s:

Syk live at Roadburn 2018
Up to this day noone has ever pulled off to copy that singular blend of doom and prog metal Confessor from North Carolina presented on their 1991 debut "Condemned". It was like Black Sabbath merged with insanely garbled Watchtower mindfuckery. And on top of that those sometimes almost androgynous vocals of Scott Jeffreys made this record widely rejected, beloved and one of a kind.

In the same year Hamburg, Germany witnessed the debut of the progressive thrash metal band Megace, just like Holy Moses one of the very rare groups in the genre with a female singer. Beyond her sick harsh vocal side, Melanie Bock also went for melodies and harmonies.

Both bands combined a very prog, technical manifestaion of their respective metal genre with an unusual vocal style, which resulted in something both times very evocative and unique, yet of the same spirit, which now thirty years later is carried on by Syk in their post djent - or whatever you want to call the style.

Personally I don't care about the categorization. The ideas and performances on "Pyramiden" are what matters. And those are just stellar. A phenomenal album, which was definitely worth the long wait!







2022-04-11

WYATT E. - Āl Bēlūti Dārû

"Composed & performed by Wyatt E. in honour of Nebuchadnezzar II, son of Nabopolassar, King of Babylon, King of Sumer and Akkad, King of the Universe".

Ok, I get it, you want me to shut up. Because truly, what relevant information is there possibly left to add?


WYATT E. - Āl Bēlūti Dārû (black and gold merged vinyl LP) (2022)

Seriously, everything about this record seems specifically designed for me to worship it: Two tracks of mostly instrumental music oozing with orientalisms and a mood similar to the most esoteric works of drone doomers Bong or many releases of Jason Köhnen, especially from his projects Mansur and The Thing With Five Eyes.

A multifariousness of Persian, psychedelic and doom sounds, performed by standard rock instrumentation plus ethnic lutes and drums, cosmic synth and - because you know I cannot for the life of me resist that - the occasional guest saxophone. Everything in highly dynamic, rich compositions and with the mythic Eastern side completely at the forefront.

Damn, I'm almost feeling uncomfortably seen through in the way this music ticks all my boxes. And even though I know that the obligatory Dead Can Dance reference is somehow used up, it's extremely mandatory in this case, because the percussions on this album just sound so amazingly close to "Anastasis" or "Spiritchaser". No, you just can't make that rhythm section sound any more perfect.

Judging from the band members' names the trio seems to come from France, but honestly I don't even want to look up any more information about them, because the amount of myrrh and mystery exuded by "Āl Bēlūti Dārû" right now hits such a fabulously sweet spot.

This is an album approximately as magnificent as an ancient city on the back of a dragon. Absolutely love it!







2022-04-10

DEAD NEANDERTHALS - IXXO

Is it the fact that it's just one and a half weeks from now, until it finally happens again? Or does looking at the stuff queuing in my to-review-lists also help? Fact is: Roadburn anticipation intensifies.

In that spirit let's welcome another great live album from last year's remote Roadburn Redux, the - hopefully once in a lifetime - streaming edition of the festival:



DEAD NEANDERTHALS - IXXO (milky clear vinyl LP) (2022)

There's not much I could write about this show which I haven't aready mentioned before. As always with everything Dead Neanderthals the music doesn't give you many palpable events to elaborate on. It starts and after thirty-five minutes it ends, and the most noticable incident is that right in the middle - conveniently placed where you need to turn the record on the B side - the robotik drum beat takes a two-minute break, before René Aquarius gets switched on again.

Together with Otto Kokke, who we hear on droning synthesizers, he provides an extremely steady, hypnotically automatik backbone on which their two guests for this performance, Aafke Romeijn and Jonge Woudloper provide even more, mainly improvised keyboards.

As parts of my vocabulary have already given away - this is no drone noise or jazzcore, but pure, brain-washingly repetitive krautrock. It wouldn't be implausible at all if this performance was not from these guys, but from bands like Kandodo or Radar Men From The Moon (who Dead Neanderthals' almost alter ego Twin Sister are coincidentally collaborating with for the grand Roadburn finale this year).

It's one of those sonically layered things which after a while makes you question whether everything you're hearing is actually there or just made up by your own head to complement the rest. In other words: kinda trippadelic.

The cute and clever (back) cover artwork - depicting the four musicians becoming one entity by controlling a giant Keiju Jaeger of a Krautbot together - is just absolutely brilliant.
Add some transparent vinyl with the right label on it and you have the perfect physical item to accompany this great piece of music.