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DALILA KAYROS + DANILO CASTI live onboard the MS Stubnitz, Hamburg (June 20th 2023)

Long time no see. My first show on the MS Stubnitz since Acid Mothers Temple in November, and also the first one with the new gangway. I was almost a little bit disappointed that I could still hear my steps and other noises while coming aboard, but yeah - it's definitely not as loud as the old one. Which had been one of the main complaints of the gentrifying neighbours.

To my surprise my ticket didn't need to be scanned, because I was fifty percent of the totality of visitors with pre-ordered tickets anyway. Guess you can check that just by counting to two. Luckily more listeners than that would find their way onto the ship, so maybe a good two dozen people gathered during the performance of the Italian vocal / Electronic artist Dalila Kayros.

I congratulate each one of those to their decision to come. For me it was a no-brainer. I had been waiting to see Dalila Kayros for a while and my pretty safe expectation was that show would either turn up on the line-up of Roadburn or - a little bit more likely - on board of Hamburg's main venue for weird avant-garde stuff. And here she finally was! The singer, who I had last (and first) seen live back in 2018 with her band Syk, was backed up by knob turner / sound magician Danilo Casti and performed mostly songs from her fantastic album "Animami" plus some unreleased newer material.

The venue was the ideal playground for their mixture of booming Electronic beats and noises and Kayros's crazy multi-octaves experimentalism. From sky-high siren wails to harmonic smoothness, restless breaths and aggressive (not Death Metal, just to be clear) grunts, the singer impressed with a an amazing arsenal of sounds. And no matter if she was drenched in effects by her own or her congenial partner's doing (and maybe also playing synthetic percussion on the side), or if she just stomped on the ground and sang into the room without a microphone - it was always a spectacle.

Aided by both Dalila's charismatic presence and the ship's acoustic absolutely playing in the duo's favour, this show became much more triumphant than one would have expected beforehand. The scarce audience may have been scattered in the belly of the boat, but during the applause it seemed to magically double in size. Rightfully so, because this was an awesome performance - not as atmospherically tight as Otay:onii or Lili Refrain (yet), but for sure sporting equally breathtaking vocal skills and a similar spirit of artistic adventure. I loved it!


IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT and AUTHOR & PUNISHER live at Hafenklang, Hamburg (June 20th 2023)

I'm feeling a little bit headachy and under the weather since yesterday morning. Probably caught some minor virus. But if Tuesday night has anything to do with it, I'll say it was worth it. A couple of days of suffering (hopefully not more!) for two phenomal club shows seems like a fair trade.


One of the first things I noticed was: Hey, I just met that guy in Denmark, at the last music event I've been to! Didn't know that the Ecstatic Vision front beast Doug Sabolick was also aiding Tristan Shone on his long-time solo project Author & Punisher on guitar. What a small world. And quite a different kind of gig.

It had been six years ago (also at the Hafenklang venue, but upstairs) since I had seen Author & Punisher the last time. The man/machine symbiosis of this Industrial act is still amazing. The sounds emerging from the self-built cyborgy apparatuses still sound like extractions from a mind of someone with a teenage obsession over Godflesh's "Perfect Skin Dub". Which I can ultra-heavily relate to. But the human-robotic touch gives the sounds a new original twist.

With the added guitars the sound of Author & Punisher has become broader, and to keep speaking in Justin Broadrick terms, the new songs are more Jesu than Godflesh. Or they are Portishead. Literally, because the set included a cover of their 90's hit "Glory Box". (Thankfully we have the internet, otherwise the chorus would have hunted me for days without me ever assigning it to the right artist.)

Only for the last track Shone went back into his older - harsher and weirder - self on his own, closing a great show with the only flaw that it took the Hafenklang crew painfully long to understand that the band didn't want the house lights on.


Not even a year ago, also reporting from this very location I concluded an Imperial Triumphant live review with the statement that "there are no better alternatives of being busy on a Tuesday evening". I guess that still stands.
But not being a fan of what happened to the band soundwise at this year's Roadburn show at all, it wasn't a no-brainer that this would always work, and I was in need of some serious redemption.

And holy moloch, I got that! Since the band is still touring "Spirit Of Ecstasy" and they just are the Avant-Garde Black Death Jazz Dissonantians they are, it was technically a very similar show, including gimmicks like the "champagne" shower and the insane bass solo in the crowd. But this time the sound was better than on both last encounters, so that the only thing which could have improved this show was the kind of majestic metroplian light show, which the Hafenklang just cannot provide.

But who cares if this abrasive music is presented so perfectly? When a band shifts from cataclysmic cacophonous light-speed brutaliy to smooth Jazz breakdowns and makes the audience listen carefully until it's really over, before someone dares to start the applause, then you know that the stars have aligned. As always the stoic golden masks were a crucial part of the performance, adding a comedic note and underlining the ridiculous ease in which the trio was racing through the high-performance sport of their material.

Yes, this was one of the most important Extreme Metal bands of the present exactly how you want to experience them. Full points. Perfection. Praise the Imperial Triumphant!


Fuzztival Haul feat. ECSTATIC VISION and KANAAN

I just laid my to-do-list of reviews on the garden table and waited for a bird to shit on it. The poo landed on this post Esbjerg Fuzztival merch haul, which luckily - at least for this occasion - was quite overseeable with just the official festival shirt and one record a day.

KANAAN - Downpour (LP) (2023)

Buying the new Kanaan album from the merch table had always been the plan. And secretely I had also hoped to maybe see a surprise leftover copy of one or two other desired objects here, which were missing in my collection of the Norwegian power trio, because prices, shipping and taxes from outside of the EU aren't the cheapest. Well, at least I got this. And this is of course something!

As expected this album doesn't follow the epic cosmic exploration of the "International Space Station Vol.1" sampler, but rather continues on the heavy and ultra-fuzzy path of their 2021 release "Earthbound". Yet beside the gnarliest evolution of Blues, which opens the record with "Black Time Fuzz" and the Rock guitar ecstasy of "Amazon", which features the amazing Hedwig Mollestad, the instrumental band also goes back to the Jazzrock influences of their debut, not only with the odd santanaesque lead guitar here or there, but especially with the title track. Driven by super fast, sometimes almost chaotic drumming "Downpour" is a feverish Fusion fest, which goes through all stages of smoothness and heaviness Kanaan can offer. Loved this live in Esbjerg and absolutely dig the studio version as well.

Did I say this album is not that weltraumy? Ok, screw that, here comes side B with the "Psunspot" interlude and pulls out the analogue synth sounds. "Orbit" still mostly remains a maximum fuzzy Stoner stomper though.
But "Solaris Pt.1" actually is an elevating Psychedelic Rock trip, before "Pt. 2" closes the album by bringing all its krauty and blackholy elements together in one satisfying banger.

Yeah, these guys just always deliver.

ECSTATIC VISION - Live At Duna Jam (Yellow-Brown-Orange vinyl LP) (2023)

What a scenery! No wonder that Ecstatic Vision are offering their recent live album not only in this absolutely beautiful limited vinyl version, but also on BluRay. And it's also no wonder that after their crazy performance on the Esbjerg Huset stage, this was the record I just couldn't resist buying on Saturday.

With a very similar setlist this is probably as close as I can come to reliving that show in Denmark, even though the a small room full of Psychedelic projections is of course a different beast than a Sardinian sand beach in summer. But no worries, the high Hawkwind energy is defintely present at this rather exclusive Desert Rock tourist event, too. Rumbling bass, screaming saxophone, a never tiring beat and a manic frontman, ready to scream the waves back into the sea.

Ecstatic Vision are as rowdy and rapid as Psychedlic Rock can get. And the quartet knows how to make people "Come Together" for a party for sure. Short but sweet killer live album! 

And yes, yes, to complete the haul... Here's the Fuzztival shirt:

Hope you're happy now.


København 88

Denmark (capital) meets Ukraine (camera) meets GDR (film). After the turquoise colour pictures here's one more tourist roll from Kopenhagen in May 2023, this time black and white square medium format, shot with the heavy Kiev 88 and Volna-3 2.8/80 lens on Orwo NP20 (expired 10/1991).


cassette craze chronicles XXVI feat. EYES, OTAY:ONII and WHERE MERMAIDS DROWN

Tapes, tapes, tapes! This is a post (or rather inbetween) festivals edition with three cassettes I bought at the merch table of A Colossal Weekend and one, which I did not buy at Roadburn, but at least the artist played my favorite show there this year.

OTAY:ONII - 夢​之​駭​客 Dream Hacker (2023)

But while the performance of Elizabeth Colour Wheel singer Otay:onii was an absolutely breathtaking experience unlike anything I've ever seen before, it was all about her previous album "冥冥 Míng Míng" and didn't feature one note of this recent work yet, which in parts goes into more pop-affine, easier accessible segments, but on the other still disturbs those with droning, noisy or just plain "weird" electronic experimentalism.

Instrumentally as well as vocally a lot of different exciting things are happening on this collaged album. So if you're listening to this tape - which is available with a transparant shell or in Aegean Blue - for the first time, you might not even notice that both sides feature the same half hour of adventurous artistic expression. And you won't mind at all enjoying this fantastic stuff twice.

For a more detailed description please check out the review I did as part of Veil of Sound's pre-Roadburn special! [MY REVIEW ON VEIL OF SOUND.COM ]

EYES - Congratulations (2023)

Speaking of Veil of Sound: I still have to get back at that sneaky son of a... Thorsten there! Just one day after I set the record for the shortest introduction paragraph ("No way, Norway!" for Wizrd) he started his Eyes review with "Congratulations." Admittedly that's the obvious low hanging fruit. But I'm going to take that shortest introduction title back again, promised!

At least the Danish Post Hardcore commando deserved those congrats, because the album is a killer indeed. Not as deadly as watching their full craziness unfolding on stage live, but still a pretty maniac teardown, which flies by incredibly fast.
Of course "Congratulations" only has a total playing time of half an hour. But then most of its tracks are two and a half minute Hardcore bangers with several little sprinkles of Mathcore and Noise, so that's absolutely fine. This fucks!

WHERE MERMAIDS DROWN - And The Raging Winds Do Blow (2021)
WHERE MERMAIDS DROWN - Reminisce (2023)

Admittedly it is a bit weird to talk about "And The Raging Winds Do Blow" as an EP after just calling the same half-hour length an album in the cases of Otay:onii and Eyes, but it probably depends a lot on the music, what kind of format you feel it to be be. For the brand of epochal instrumental Post Rock Where Mermaids Drown are playing it certainly is short. But at least you can rule out the risk of being bored from the start.

Not that the music would give you any cause for that, because the beautifully layered, very dreamy and elevating sound of the French group, which effectively utilizes voice samples to underline its score nature, sits comfortably between the likes of Mono and Bruit  and has enough profound substance to easily carry you on its waves if you let yourself fall into it. Unless you're a mermaid of course.

"Reminisce", the first full album (which actually isn't that much longer, but who cares) continues right where the splendid EP left off. The careful yet determined exploration of atmospheres, prolonging self-control to build tension, bursting into mountainous climaxes... It's all still here, with even refined love to detail and put into shorter, yet more numerous tracks, putting it a little bit closer to the works of Wang Wen for me, but that's probably only because my resources of references within this field are still rather limited. Or I'm just not thinking hard enough. I can assure you though, that Where Mermaids Drown are premium players in their scene - of course not in terms of renownedness / popularity, but the class to justify them getting more attention is there in spades.

Both releases are beautiful items. These tape shells are among the loveliest in my collection. One should also emphasize that the band sells them with download codes, which is always a plus in my book and sadly still not the accepted norm.
All in all Where Mermaids Drown definitely keep the promise of their live performance, and vice versa their studio work makes me want to see them on stage again. Luckily there's a good chance that I can do that at a small open air festival pretty close to home next month.