Review: Tiamat – Amanethes

Monday, 27 July, 2009

tiamat-amanethes“It’s been a long time but we are here again”. This is how “Amanethes” starts and I’m not talking about a white rapper introducing him for the third time. I’m talking about the latest Tiamat album from 2008, which hasn’t come to my attention before a week ago.

It starts out more black/ death since early recordings in the 90ies. But it also have lots of symphonic elements that sound more like other Century Media bands than the unique sound that I will remember Tiamat always gave the goth rock scene. (Note: Tiamat released this record at Nuclear Blast.)

Amanethes is a disappointing record. It sounds like a patriarch that lost its power, now old but still howling. This could be charming, but it’s convulsive. The record has its moments, but all in all its fragmented and missing the killer riffs and / or atmospheric passages from earlier albums.

Although I’m far from impressed, I think “Katarraktis Apo Aima” has a savage rage and Johan Edlund succeeds on the two minute short track to show how vehement and lost he is. And on the other side the a more sad and slow track “Misantropolis ” also provides me with lots of real authenticity . As if Tiamat is in no use of forcing the feelings and melodies forward. Here they are, unpretentious and straight forward. And the greek guitars and drums in the end gives some of the originality which I’m missing on the record in general.

For some reason Johan Edlund continues to sing with a dark voice. To me this makes me think of the Sundown record, where former Tiamat bassist Johnny Hagel contributed. Johan Edlund explains why he sings with the low voice in an interview from 2008:

“It comes very natural for me. I do not have to struggle to sing that kind of songs. That is my natural voice. I struggle a bit more when I have to sing high or to scream, then I need a lot of energy. But the more low vocals I can do anytime.” – quote in Lords of Metal

Well. Sounds kind of boring to me not pushing yourself to the limits. You’ll find a more positive review at Metal Storm.

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Review: Brand Neu – compilation

Thursday, 23 July, 2009

brand-neu-compilationI love the Quietus for having lots of balls, humor and character. In another well-written review the album “Brand Neu” is dismissed as “it becomes clear that the problem with it is (…) the fact that someone thought this album needed to exist in the first place”. Jimmy Martins (The Quietus) continues taking down most of the contributions. It does appear he’s accepting some of the songs to be good, but the context and the reference to be a big misunderstanding.

I did – nevertheless – buy the record. ‘Cause I’m one of those who wasn’t born as krautrock was at its best. I first came to know Neu after listening to post rock acts from Canada. Shame on me, or… So maybe this wasn’t a good album for Jimmy Martin, but I do like bands, which use and update the sound of Krautrock, and thereby gain a repetitive constellation, which is kind of a Bauhaus [architecture] version of psychedelics.

Buying this record doesn’t mean I got 14 new Neu songs. How could they have the same magical sound. As I see it Neu used repetition in a spiritual way, where most bands have difficulties just letting the pulse of the song continue unchanged. But to me there are both interesting and / or loyal pieces on this record.

Favorit track is “Titan Arum”. Foals has a math rock approach when using the guitars to build the texture. It gives a feeling of trance, but keeps having my attention on how it evolves. The song should have been 15 minutes instead of five. It’s also a B-side to ‘Red Socks Pugie’.
Holy Fuck gives it a go and history repeats itself. Nothing new or refreshing here, just pure motorik energy. Grrreat!
Kasabian are somehow at the same spot, but they ‘just’ made a high speed Britpop tune with a drum mashine sounding more like Primal Scream. Primal Scream that on the other hand contributes with the extraordinary “Shoot Speed / Kill Light” from the album XTRMNTR. Spot on.
Other mentionable tracks are Hook & The Twin “They’ll Get your head” and Pets with Pets “We only found this place” (originally from a magazine compilation).

I think Jimmy Martin never did ask the right question to himself, when he listened to the record. Is it a tribute to Neu or is it a representative of where the sound of Krautrock is today? Because Krautrock today is, as Jimmy Martin states, ‘cool’ and has got some attention lately.
At least I think this compilation choose an interesting perspective: instead of making coversongs of the Neu catalogue, the songs are all genuine pieces of the bands inspiration and love for the sound of Neu and the brand that has evolved around Krautrock. And this is actually the reason why I think I’m sitting with a compilation that succeeds. There are so many other compilations out there, where the songs have very little in common. These songs will as Jimmy Martins points out not have the same durability as Neu, but I think it’s a document to the continuous history of krautrock.

Beck.com is the place to be

Thursday, 16 July, 2009

button_plannedobbutton_irrelevantbutton_recordclubThere is really something going on at Beck.com. Mixtapes, interviews and a “record club”, where Beck and friends coveres Velvet Underground & Nico (Andy Warhol/ The banana album) and continues with other records within the next months. Fortunately not Ace of Bace although they were close according to a Pitchfork interview.

Take a look…

kim-hiorthoy-for-the-ladieskim-hiorthoy-hopenessDotshop.se is closing and I just bought a bunch of albums. This also included the two Kim Hiorthøy EPs “For the ladies” and “Hopeness”. I like the Kim Hiorthøy sound very much. It’s both funny and sexy. I know, this doesn’t really describe his music. Maybe the electronica should have the tags light, minimal, melodious and sophisticated?
Hiorthøy debut is from 2000 and he has since recorded a couple of records. Both EPs are from 2004 and this is where the similarities are ending. While “Hopeness” is much like the sound I know from “My Last day”. It’s happy, simple and joyful. On the other hand “For the ladies” is a mess of silence, untouched field recordings and requires more patience than I’m willing to offer.
The artwork is not beautiful as mentioned at Boomcat.
The Milk Factory has a more positive review of the record.

bat-for-lashes-two-sunsThe first time I listened to Bat for Lashes was when I saw the outstanding music video “Whats a girl to do”.
A couple of days ago I bought the new album “Two suns”. It’s promising. She continues to place herself somewhere between Kate Bush, Tori Amos and PJ Harvey without ever being a copy of anyone.
I have also bought Lady Gaga and Lily Allen. Unsurprisingly the albums aren’t good. Lily Allen has a quiet similar way of singing all her songs. But I like the singles. Lady Gaga doesn’t have the crazyness lie in “Poker face”. On the album she reminds me of a copy of Britney Spears.

Best albums first half of 2009

Sunday, 5 July, 2009

DM-Stith-Heavy-Ghostsanimal-hospital-memoryThis is my top 10 list of albums released in 2009 (listed alphabetically).

Animal Collective ‘Merriweather Post Pavillion’, Domino. Finally they made me understand why there is so much hype around them.
Animal Hospital ‘Memory’, Barge Recordings. Varied and layered soundscape par excellence.
Dan Deacon ‘Bromst’, Carpark Records. Unstoppable dance punk electronica.
Decorate Decorate ‘Instructions’, A:larm Music. Yes, they skipped the dots. Read my review here.
Julie Doiron ‘I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day’, Jagjaguwar. A female singersongwriter shows her personality.
Mountains ‘Choral’, Thrill Jockey. Warm, rich, detailed drone.
The Horrors ‘Primary Colours’, XL recordings. Absolutely stunning mix of Joy Division and Neu!
Tim Hecker ‘An Imaginary Country’, Kranky. Dense drone and overwhelmingly captivating.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs ‘Zero’, Interscope. Sexy and rocking with attitude and popular melodies.
Zu ‘Carboniferous’, Ipecac. Read .chrz review here.

I also want to promote a list of the five best albums I bought this year, but was released last year or earlier.

b.fleischmann, ‘Angst is not a weltanschauung!’. Morr Music. Read my short review here.
DM Stith ‘Heavy Ghost’. Asthmatic kitty records. Probably the record I’ve listened to the most. For fans of Radioheads new material.
Kazuki Tomokawa ‘ Blue water, red water’, P.S.F Records. Read my comment on Tomokawa here.
Mugison ‘Lonely Mountain’, Accidental records. Islandic singersong writer. Really nice, calm and lonely.
Paavoharju ‘Yhä Hämärää’, Fonal records. Folk-electronica from Finland. Mysterious and wise.

depeche-mode-parken I never thought I would share a Depeche Mode concert experience with 44.000 people. To me DM is something intimate, which doesn’t go along with thousands of people, who like DM for different reasons.
There were several highlights from the concert. “Question of time” was played with a driven, rusty and “motorhead”-like guitar. Also the visuals were very esthetic. When they played “Enjoy the silence” every single person had their hands in the air. From my spot at the grandstand it was impressing. Hearing “Home” live with Mikkel was a nice experience. And “Personal Jesus” was played in a different version and with great confidence.
I expected Stadium Rock to have a less good audio output, but DM really knew what they were doing. “Peace” and “Stripped” didn’t work and Gahans voice isn’t what it once was. Furthermore the theme “Tour of the Universe” was a stupid idea from the beginning.
Nevertheless it was nice to hear songs I have loved for so many years. (Thanks and love to Tobias for sharing)