Archive for the Instrumental Category

Klaus Schulze – Another Green Mile

Posted in CD, Experimental, Instrumental with tags , , on 30th November 2016 by izaforestspirit

Klaus Schulze
Another Green Mile
Released 30th November 2016
Experimental Electronica, Ambient
Released via M.I.G. (Made in Germany) Music

Another Green Mile’ was originally released back in 2002 as a part of a very limited edition and long out-of-print 5CD box set known as ‘Contemporary Works vol. I & II’ by the German electronic artist Klaus Schulze (ex- Tangerine Dream). This is a re-issued version of that album featuring the bonus track ‘Voice’n’Harmony’ (which was originally released on ‘Contemporary Works II’ CD 10 – ‘Adds & Edits’.

The music on here is primary instrumental comprising a mixture of acoustic instruments: an oboe, a cello, a guitar and the electronic, ambient sounds of a synthesizer. There are three vocalized tracks: In The Streets, in the Rain, The Story Does Unfold and Vox’n’Harmony; all featuring operatic-style vocals from Julia Messenger. Her beautiful singing is precisely the reason why these songs caught my attention. Her range is very versatile, comfortably hitting the high notes as well as the more mellowed-down, tranquil whispers to match the speed of the music. The complete absence of the lyrics means that the vocals’ sole purpose is to convey emotion and add emphasis to the ambient music.

All the songs have this serene and atmospheric quality creating a calming effect on the listener. This this the kind of music that you might encounter at an art gallery or a lounge. The instruments, especially the synthesizer and the cello, have this sombre yet strangely soothing tone to them. I just wish that the performance itself was a bit more energetic. This just sounds like a soundtrack to an Sunday afternoon stroll in the park.

Overall, ‘Another Green Mile’ is a very atmospheric and tranquil ambient album. Some might find this type of music relaxing but personally I found it challenging to adjust to the slow pace. It’s all very melodic and emotional but ultimately it is quite purposefully low on energy.

3/5
Iza Raittila

Advertisements

Allen Weber – Hot Shock

Posted in Experimental, Instrumental with tags on 7th May 2014 by Paul

Allen Weber
Hot Shock
Released: Summer 2013
Self-Released

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Allen Weber’s Hot Shock’s music gives the impression of peacefully bobbing along the ocean, just offshore of some tropical island. What a shame I had to listen to this during a dreary British winter. The band’s eclectic style includes: Jazz, Caribbean, Funk, Blues, Rock and R&B, which they have managed to form into a pleasantly cohesive sound that benefits from all these influences by never becoming boring or stale.

You can see that certain songs have a particular leaning to a style. For example one song might focus mostly on Jazz whilst another may adopt a more funk orientated sound, but fortunately the music casually blends from one end of the spectrum to the other making it feel more interesting. They call this “Sandunga Jazz Fusion”. I can imagine seeing this band perform in a city centre on a sunny day or perhaps in some cool restaurant. The music totally suits a laid back afternoon – it speeds up, slows down, and sometimes goes off on some interesting tangents as the listener is taken on a journey through funky riffs and bluesy solos.

There’s still plenty of energy too, though far removed from the more intense sounds usually featured on Valkyrian Music. It’s a fun album and just about every song is worthwhile and earns its place on the record. This is a good effort from a talented band.

4/5
Paul Gibbins

Angelspit – The Product

Posted in Instrumental, Punk Rock, Rock with tags , , on 13th April 2014 by izaforestspirit

Angelspit
The Product
Released 30th March 2014
Industrial Rock/ Electro Punk
Released via Black Pill Red Pill

 photo angelspit-tp-cover-600_zpsd7f51cdd.jpg

‘The Product’ is the new album from the Australian industrial group Angelspit. This latest brainchild of Angelspit’s mastermind ZooG Von Rock is the follow up to their 2011 release ‘Hello My Name Is’. This album features several guest musicians including Helalyn Flowers, Miss Ballistic, Steve Jones (Agent 13) and Adam Newman (Lab4); each of whom leave their own unique mark on the songs that they contribute to.

Now, my previous exposure to this band is limited to watching their surreal music video for the song ‘Vena Cava’ and listening to the remixes of ‘100%’… So needless to say that I had some catching up to do.

Angelspit has a very unique sound which is incredibly hard to classify. There’s some strong punk-rock elements in there along with some industrial synths as well as raw industrial noise with distorted guitars and vocals. Yet it’s the bizarre vocal style which truly makes these guys stand out. Take the track Because God for instance, the chorus featuring Zoog and Miss Ballistic’s shouting duet in making them sound like the leaders of an angry mob who are out there to cause havoc in the streets. Fight Dirty is a disturbing mix of heavily distorted electro-rock guitar, synths, glitchy noise samples with punk-style shouting vocals and melodic vocals from the Italian Goth Rock duo Helalyn Flowers.

Then there’s the eerie sounding, industrial noise instrumental Creeper (Featuring Steve [Agent 13] Jones) which is true to its namesake. The synth solo really did remind me of the some of the machine noises that you would expect to hear inside a factory. Velocity comes off as a bit of a surprise as it sees Zoog attempt a softer, more melodic and somewhat “cleaner” vocal style. The same vocal style is also present in the ultra creepy, slow-paced industrial rock track Walking In the Woods (Featuring Teknocracy) which is definitely one of the highlights as well as one of the most unique souding songs on this album.

Overall ‘The Product’ features an unsual mixture of different styles but still manages to retain its true identity as an Angelspit album. It takes a few listens to get into it and even then some of the tracks will leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth. Whilst I have no doubt that their existing fans will enjoy it, their music is a little too quirky and experimental for my liking.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

Katatonia – Dethroned And Uncrowned

Posted in CD, Folk, Instrumental, Metal with tags , , , , , on 9th August 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Katatonia
Dethroned And Uncrowned
Released 9th September
Ambient/Atmospheric
Released via Peaceville Records

Kings of the Swedish metal scene, Katatonia have been regarded by many as the forerunners of doom with last year seeing the release of the band’s ninth studio album Dead End Kings, which was praised throughout the metal community. A year on and Katatonia are ready to release a new and redefined version of their ninth album: Dethroned And Uncrowned.

The dreary vocal lines and misery-soaked pianos begin The Parting which is made by entrancing by the rainfall of acoustic guitars, gently easing their way through the song. The subtle orchestrated passages add to the strength of the emotion that flows throughout the track. The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here features a hypnotic vocal melody that glides with a certain mystique and elegance alongside the haunting pianos and tides of acoustic guitars. The piano sections in Hypnone are truly spine-chilling,  whereas as the guitars add an element of warmth to the song which is countered by the could vocals.

The Racing Heart is a slow, emotive song displaying the staunch use of vocals clearly, mixing them almost breathtakingly with the orchestrated sections and guitars. Buildings and Leech sail down similar routes, over subtle waves of misery and other emotion. The vocals on Ambitions sound colourless compared to the other tracks but this adds to the forlorn sound of the guitars and piano. The destitute soundings of Undo You show a change in the album whilst staying in the same vein of the album as well, something that is carried on by Lethean.

First Prayer sound eerily upbeat when played against the rest of the album but there is still that twang of despair that screams through the guitars and the album comes to its dreary finish with Dead Letters, which like the preceding track, is more upbeat in comparison to the other songs. The vocals prove to be at their most prominent on this final track, injecting new life into the album.

Dethroned And Uncrowned creates an atmospheric yet dark tranquillity, allowing for ambiance to create and set new moods and stir new emotions. It’s an interesting change in direction for Katatonia but one that have no difficulty with following and no that has breathed new life into their sound.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Katatonia online:

http://www.katatonia.com
http://www.facebook.com/katatonia

 

Hot Shock – Hot Shock Demo

Posted in Experimental, Instrumental with tags , on 16th July 2013 by Paul

Hot Shock
Hot Shock Demo
Released: Summer 2013
Jazz Fusion
Self-Released

Sometimes on a sunny afternoon, Heavy Metal just doesn’t cut it. Instead, something jazzy and bluesy goes down better. Hot Shock describes their music as Jazz Fusion infused with Latin, Caribbean, Funk, Blues, R&B, and Rock. If this sounds like an enjoyable musical cocktail to you, you’d be right. This laid back sound makes for the ideal chill out track, with vague flourishes of each of the previously mentioned genres fading in and out naturally. Neither style dominates any song, but Jazz is indeed the underlying style that drives each song forward. The music here is instrumental, and the band aren’t afraid to take their time, with most of the songs gleefully meandering beyond the five minute mark. Not the most complex or inspiring music, but then again that’s not the point and it’s difficult to dislike music in which the musicians are clearly enjoying what they do. I look forward to hearing more.

3.5/5

Paul Gibbins

 

b.o.s.c.h. – apparat

Posted in CD, Instrumental, Rock with tags , on 11th May 2013 by izaforestspirit

b.o.s.c.h.
apparat
Released 24th May 2013
Industrial Rock/ Metal
Released via Dust On The Tracks Records

 photo bosch-apparat-Cover-scaled_zpsbb9ef1aa.jpg

‘apparat’ is the second album from the German industrial rock band b.o.s.c.h. The band regard themselves as part of the Neue Deutsche Härte movement and cite Rammstein, Prodigy, Nitzer Ebb among their influences.

Ok, this time it looks like my instincts were correct. Let’s just ponder over the following terms for a second and think of what bands pop into your head. “German industrial” …. Neue Deutsche Härte… hmmm… I’m thinking… Oomph, Rammstein, possibly Eisbrecher to start with. Oddly enough that’s precisely what b.o.s.c.h. sounds like – a combination of each of these.

Take Engel for example, I doubt that the name choice is a coincidence, even the keyboards sound similar to Rammstein. Each track features a mixture of heavy metal guitars, pounding drums, industrial/techno-esque keyboards and aggressive vocals. The aforementioned keyboards offer a sharp contrast to the abrasive vocals and the metal guitar riffs which are especially audible on tracks such as Amok. Then there’s harsher, metal sounding Schwarzer Sonne which reminds me of the early works of Rammstein. Another noteworthy track is the melodic ballad Der Sturm which features a duet with female vocalist giving the song a somewhat Gothic tinge.

Sadly for these guys, their album has fallen into the hands of an avid Rammstein fan. Whilst I like their sound, there are way too many similarities to their famous countrymen for the music to stand out.

3/5

Iza Raittila

Cradle of Filth – Midnight in the Labyrinth

Posted in CD, Instrumental, Metal with tags , , , , , on 24th April 2012 by tobiasgray

Band: Cradle of Filth
Album: Midnight in the Labyrinth
Release date: April 21st 2012
Genre: Orchestral/Soundtrack
Label: Peaceville/Nuclear Blast

One of Britain’s most successful and controversial bands of the last twenty years return with their first full length album since 2010’s Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa.

Never a group to rest on their laurels, Cradle of Filth have meandered through various facets of metal in their long career.  From the early gothic and epic ‘black’ metal, to later thrash and conceptual themes, Cradle have never been afraid to experiment.  This time they have delivered yet another surprise with orchestral reinterpretations of tracks from their first four albums, stripped of guitars, drums, keyboards and the trademark higher register shrieks of the incomparable macabre poet – Dani Filth.

Midnight in the Labyrinth‘ is a two CD collection, with disc one containing 10 tracks, narrated by Dani (in his low, gutteral, spoken voice), and with the welcome return of Cradle of Filth operatic vocal goddess, Sarah Jezebel Deva.  Disc 2 contains the same tracks, sans vocal narration.

Cradle of Filth don’t make it easy on their fans.  Oldtimers reminisce about the earlier raw, yet highly structured works up to and including ‘Cruelty and the Beast‘.  While passionate newer followers, introduced to the band from ‘Midian‘ through to ‘Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa‘ maintain their major label, commercial success.  This bold release unfortunately fails in its ambitions however…

Epic orchestral scores have freedom throughout their creative process.  Themes can be introduced, teased, then unleashed as the music ebbs and flows. Harmonies and counter melodies are woven through the supporting instruments, and important moments can be ‘suspended’ to increase their dramatic impact.  It feels as though Mark Newby-Robson (Mark de Sade) has been constrained with just how much freedom he was allowed to change these classic tracks.  The structures are identical to the originals and so supporting sections, where the vocals should be the focal part, drag into repetitious themes.

The arbitrary ‘narrations’ serve to guide lost listeners as to where in the track they are up to, but drop in sporadically at random intervals.  The recording is excellent and familiar riffs played on strings is interesting to hear, but I was disappointed that more harmonies and counter melodies could not have been introduced, or the song structures edited to provide a more stimulating overall production (ie: ‘Funeral in Carpathia‘ at close to nine minutes!).

That being said, when the experiment works – it works well.  Opener  “A Gothic Romance (Red Roses for the Devil’s Whore)” has the variety to really engage the listener.  Memorable riff after riff is thrown at you and the note perfect accompaniments of Sarah Jezebel Deva raise the music to euphoric heights.  Other classics such as “Summer Dying Fast” and (album highlight), a blistering, energetic rendition of “Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids”  truly demonstrate what this genre is capable of.  The sublime vocal talents of SJD lead me to wonder how these tracks would sound with operatic lead vocals, though a Cradle of Filth album with Mr Filth is arguably not a Cradle of Filth album at all!

‘Midnight in the Labyrinth’ is an album Cradle fans, especially those already familiar with the first four albums, owe it to themselves to listen to.  A vastly different proposal, and more effective as background or ambient music than something that demands your full attention…but if that’s what you wanted – listen to ‘Dusk…And Her Embrace’ instead!

Ambient – 4/5

Metal – 2.5/5

Tobias Gray