BLOOD ON THE DANCE FLOOR
Lately I’ve been made aware and am enjoying music by the likes of Perturbator, GosT and Dan Terminus, all artists on the Finnish label Blood Music. I’ve watched genre movies since a kid, starting with Godzilla and moving on to Universal Studios horror movies and the low budget horror of the 80’s. But I never bought the soundtracks and scores. It was movie music. But all those creepy synths and pounding drums and blasting horns and sweeping strings got into the heads of a group of musicians that I’ve just recently started following. There’s a whole bunch of them out there! What is it they do? They make electronic music that is influenced by genre movies. I’ve mentioned GosT, Perturbator and Dan Terminus, but there’s labels putting out more and more great music that I’m just cracking the surface of.
It’s all great fun, very thematic and dramatic and mostly danceable. Imagine a mashup of Vangelis, Giorgio Moroder, John Carpenter and techno and you’ve got a decent idea of what to look forward to. The artwork is hilarious with homages to slasher, sci-fi, action movies, all done with a wink and a nudge. You need no previous knowledge of the source inspirations, but if you’re like me, it will bring back warm and fuzzy feelings of a dark theater or TV room, shutting out the rest of the world to see what Freddy or Jason or Michael Myers was up to or being on the edge of my seat hoping Sarah Connor escapes the Terminator’s metal clutches and Ripley kills the slimey aliens.
GosT is the dancefloor filler: his compositions are mainly aggressive, along the lines of The Prodigy, with 4/4 beats, plenty of keyboards, popping bass and drums, there’s probably a keytar in there somewhere. Most of the music is synth rock with soundtrack ideas. From the latest album Behemoth comes the instrumental Genesee Street showing GosT can do mainstream and appeal to fans of M83, Chvrches and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. He knocks it out of the park with the insanely catchy Without a Trace, featuring NZ singer Hayley Stewart.
Perturbator is more thematic and retro, and while some of the music is space rock and synth rock and dancey, he’s more into Tangerine Dreamy sounds, he also is quite good at forays into dramatic themes, getting dark and scarey. The artwork is awesome too. I Am the Night has the song Hard Wired featuring Memory Ghost’s Isabella Goloversic, a dark and atmospheric number that’s warm and sexy.
Dan Terminus plays bouncy, loopy 4/4 beat synth pop and rock with often crunchy synth leads. On his latest release The Wrath of Code the track Restless Destroyer is a fun, fast and catchy, and Death by Distortion would have fit right in with the Industrial and Darkwave played at the Goth clubs in the 80’s.
GosT on facebook
Blood Music label
Blood Music on Bandcamp
Blood Music on Facebook
Aphasia on Bandcamp
I’ve been getting some strange genre-blurring bands in the past year. Some of them are truly difficult to explain or review, but I’m going to try to tell you about some of the latest batch of strange music I’ve received lately.
DESTRIER BY AGENT FRESCO (KSCOPE)
Agent Fresco is an Icelandic band that wants to be both progressive rock and soft pop like Coldplay. Does it work? Sometimes but I’m not a fan of the soft side of this band. On their new album Destrier The’re certainly inventive but I’d prefer the rockier side, then they fit in with a band like Cynic that are smart and can ROCK. When you hear a song like Pyre, with Arnór Dan Arnarson’s high and sweet vocals, the stop and start rhythms of drummer Hrafnkell Örn Guðjónsson locking in with Vignir Rafn Hilmarsson’s upright bass and Þórarinn Guðnason’s guitars it becomes something magical and enthralling. Howls sounds like Moving Pictures-era Rush with Arnarson’s amazing vocals and forward moving rock feel as does the second half of the otherwise light Autumn Red complete with cathartic locked groove guitars and rhythm section. Damn, this album is a grower. See Hell gets angry and bluesy, Arnarson putting some real emotion into his singing.
ALL BURN BY THE RECEIVER (KSCOPE)
The Receiver is a duo from Columbus, OH. Brothers Jesse (drums, vocals) and Casey Cooper (vocals, bass, synthesizers) started The Receiver in 2005 and play what could best be described as progressive dream pop. Imagine The Engineers with more electronic dance rhythms or an emo Zombi or M83 mixed with Genesis. On their KScope debut All Burn the duo could fit right in with fans of label-mates Steven Wilson and Marillion.
THE LONG GOODBYE BY AN AUTUMN FOR CRIPPLED CHILDREN (WICKER MAN)
An Autumn for Crippled Children are being called blackgaze: sort of a mix of black metal and shoegaze. On the opening title track of The Long Goodbye they fuzz out one layer of guitars, craft a wall of sound with the fast bass and percussion and then let the keyboards and lead guitars ride a wave of melody over it. The death rasp vocals add another level of energy to the song. On A New Form of Stillness the group sounds a bit like Sonic Youth from their Daydream Nation album, just the sense of wonder and dynamics, of arrangements that mean something tangible. There’s so many epic songs on The Long Goodbye and you’ll uncover new surprises at every listen. The Long Goodbye is out now on Wicker Man.
TEATIME FOR PUNKS BY MORGLBL (LASERS EDGE)
MORGLBL are a trio from France with a wicked sense of humor, they play goofy, groovy and rocking arrangements along the lines of Joe Satriani, Frank Zappa, Primus and Steve Vai with an extra helping of jazz and fusion in the mix. Their new album Teatime for Punks (Lasers Edge) is great fun and will have you banging your head and laughing at the humorous motifs and melodies Morglbl spit out.
VOYAGER BY SPECTRAL LORE (STELLAR AUDITORIUM)
Ayloss is a Greek musician know to make black metal but as Spectral Lore he is working in the space rock and electronic genres as heard on Voyager. He delves into the ambient electronic worlds of Pete Namlook and his FAX label, mesmerizing compositions from the Silent label camp and their Unidentified Floating Ambience and From Here To Tranquility compilations, and the likes of Biosphere and Higher Intelligence Agency as well as Pink Floyd’s quieter compositions. All the tracks share a space exploration theme in their titles. We begin the journey with Experimental Spectroscopy (Light Years Ahead) where waves of synths crash against the beach and electronic blurbs and loops crawl into your psyche. Voyager (Mission Launch) build in intensity until drums come crashing into the mix and synths whistle and whoosh around your head. Asteroid Mining (Abandoned Space) sounds a lot like Canadian duo Legion of Green Men with their plucky synth leads but Ayloss adds meaty bass and those spacey sounds to make this track his own. Closing track Sun Drone (Warriors of Light) slips in guitar textures along with the tonal blending of the synthesizers for a rousing climax to Spectral Lore’s musical journey.
UBERMENSCH BY OROK (SIGNAL REX)
Orok‘s Ubermensch is four tracks of atmospheric Black Metal from Portugal full of buzzing guitars, ominous synths and double bass drums and buried vocals, they excel at both noise and quieter passages, telling a story of dark people in dark places rising above it all and becoming supermen.
There’s other bands like Midnight Odyssey and their dark and fantastic metal, or Minsk and their take on metal with dark themes and affinity for A Perfect Circle and doomy influences.