With Halloween past and the weather getting dreary, its nice to know that music will always be there to boost your spirits, warm your blood and be with you when you just want to stay in bed all day and say fuck it to the world.
Eis brings us black metal from Germany in the form of Wetterkreuz. Each track begins with the sounds of wind in high places, relating to the themes of the album. There is a majestic quality to the combination of guttural vocals, slow keyboards and sweeping guitar chords. There are slower breaks in the songs where vocalist Alboin takes to spoken word and the rhythm changes are also quite progressive in nature adding to the dramatic arrangements. For the most part though Eis will cause you to headbang like a man possessed.
Australasia are an Italian duo that use black metal as their musical base (for the most part) and on Sin4tr4 they go places previously unheard in any genre. On seven instrumentals the duo mesh metal, electronica, jazz and lush ambience into a sound that is thrilling and invigorating. Antenna starts out slow with beautiful liquid guitars, adds pounding drums and a trilling guitar workout before coming down to a calmer mood with vibes and layered guitar strumming. Spine opens with a darker feel as the duo break into a metal segment, then a slower part, lulling you into a thoughtful melodic section before taking you to the heights of fast-fingered guitars and pummelling drums. After all these highs and lows Spine fades out with chugging guitars, synths echoing and a fuzzy bass sound. Apnea utilizes a woman wordlessly vocalizing to lovely effect as the drums crunch and electronic effects take you to a cloudy headspace. Satellite reaches even higher for a spacey yet mellow mood piece with vibes, echoing and decaying guitar and keyboards treatments. Retina gives the impression that Australasia are two parts of a metal band searching for a whole, they also prove they can make compelling metal all on their own. In three minutes Gian and Rico take us on a journey through dynamic chord progressions and building drum tempos to hardcore time changes and trilling guitar melodies. Sin4tr4 closes with Fragile, a singular track of vibes, sampled sound effects and chilling keyboards. The guitars and drums take center stage to introduce a layered guitar arrangement that will stick in your head for days and months to come. As the guitars and keyboards swell and sink back into the ocean of sounds you’ll be lulled into a place you’ve never been before. Australasia is for fans of Pelican, Isis, Cynic and those searching for cathartic and experimental new sounds.
Transitions is the latest from Southern California instrumental duo El Ten Eleven. Kristian Dunn plays the doubleneck guitar/bass and Tim Fogarty lays down the acoustic and electronic drums. Dunn uses multiple looping pedals to create intricate, layered sounds on his guitar/bass making El Ten sound like the work of a full band. While the whole of Transitions is captivating, many of the themes on the album reflect the duo’s love of New Wave music including Dunn’s Peter Hook-meets-the-Cure-style deep bass leads as heard on Thanks Bill. Tiger Tiger is a reworked version of a Duran Duran instrumental that sounds like seagulls squacking over a jazz fusion lounge party in the sun. While Fogarty has fun with playing twenty different drum patterns and tempos per song and experimenting with hip-hop and dance beats to enjoyable effect, Dunn exhibits a deep understanding of micro tones and the interplay of chords and melody much like the neo-classical compositions of Steve Reich (Different Trains, Music for 18 Musicians). The songs display a joy of life, a mesmerizing interplay of played sounds, a thrill of finding so many voices in the strings and skins that you won’t be able to stop smiling, dancing and thinking good thoughts when hearing El Ten Eleven’s Transitions.
On A Form of Change, Simian Mobile Disco craft textured and intelligent electronic music that is equally satisfying on the dance floor or grooving to with headphones. Taken from the Unpatterns sessions, This EP opens with the title track, bringing to mind some of the same multi-layered mesmerism of early Seefeel without so much of the bass-heavy dub elements. Yet once the percussion kicks in you’ll be transported to a blissful psychedelic world of acid synth warps and snapping beats that rise and rise some more until you’re high on sound. Unfixed is centered on a 4 by 4 beat (pretty standard MO) yet the duo of James Ford and Jas Shaw drop in enough twinkling and chirping loops to keep your ears interested. Breaking Time builds on a solid synth bass melody and shuffling percussion, raising the tempo and your heart rate with multiple keyboards repeating and evolving the central motif. Everyday is a a soulfully grooving number evoking subdued yet richly colored lights, people dancing as the air gains humidity and the moon gives the sky over to the sun. Simian Mobile Disco is taking their tunes into a live setting, so check their site for info on where you too can dance the night away to their progressive house music.
(by Bret Miller)