Friday, July 30, 2010

Cthulberg - The sonic pioneer

Interviewed by Batcheeba.

"For me music is intensely personal, mostly because much of what I label as music is not really music at all, but sonic expressions and as such rejected by most people around me" Cthulberg.

Cthulberg, probably the most elusive man in the norwegian music scene, carries a breath taking number of projects to his name. From legendary live concerts to obscure sound experiments in derelict factories, Cthulberg is maybe best described as a legend, a sound wizard and maybe most of all a creative genius - both with regards to his music as well as his surreal art. With his genuine, and at times maybe autistic fascination for sound, he has has left so many of us, puzzled and amazed over his vast talents and fascinating, and at times brutal, inspirations.

In this interview Cthulberg shares some of his wonderous thoughts on sound and music in general, taking us back to when it all started back in 1990. In his own words he describes some of the process in putting together this exceptionally complex music, and reveals some of his future plans.

In addition to all this, he gave us a free download (!), with some tracks never released. We actually almost fainted when presented with this material. It's pure gold. From the mysterious Vhulhva to C.C.D.D. Metacübin, and the more well known Atropine and Pogrom Synod to name a few.

If Cthulberg is a new name to you, I could not dream up a better introduction.


Q: You have been involved in several projects in the Norwegian scene such as the late (?) Atropine, Mauled By Sloths, Epilektrician, Pogrom Synod, Anstalt and more. Do you see any consistency between the various projects?
A: First off; Atropine is never late (!) – in fact we’re planning our 20th anniversary which is to be marked with an evening of concerts of various projects we’ve been involved in over the years. Should be nice. I would advise to start checking with us again as 2012 approaches. Anyway, to the question. All of the projects you listed above have one common denominator; they are all based in electronic music roots. Some may be “industrial” or harsh and some again may be more pleasantly inclined. To me there is no either or, we take inspiration from any source and incorporate it with most genres. Making something to conform with someone elses preconceived ideas of what EBM should be, for instance, would be creative suicide more or less. With all of these, if you view them against each other, Atropine can be seen to relate to Epilektrician even if it is hard to find a way to link Atropine with MBS – you’d have to do that via Epilektrician. Then it all makes sense. Also it should be taken into consideration that Alx is not involved directly in programming Epilektrician while Iz-Holo is not a creative member of Atropine/Pogrom Synod – while I make an effort in all these projects, leaving my dirty fingerprints all over the place.

Q: In many of these projects you have been a vocalist, where do you find inspiration for your style of writing? We are in awe of your. lyrics.
A: Thank you! Well, initially I looked to the convoluted way mister Ogre of Skinny Puppy writes. Much of the lyrics are time-based and gives alternate meanings depending on how you choose to read them. Later on, in Pogrom Synod, I’ve been working with confrontative writing – perhaps inspired by Whitehouse/Sutcliffe Jugend/Intrinsic Action. I never meant for any of the lyrics to make sense at all, but somehow they do. I am still able to find new meaning in some of the lyrics, which had escaped me even after years of listening, recording and performing. Other than that I am always reading a lot. The Penguin edition of L’Autréamont’s “Maldoror and Poems” is a huge source of inspiration as is books such as Stokoe’s “Cows” which is thoroughly disgusting. Science-fiction, horror, Dadaist poetry, the pataphysical, lettrism, phonetic literature etc. etc. Words are extremely important to me.

Q: Epi is pretty hard to define in terms of genre, how would you explain to the readers what kind of landscape and tradition Epi is in?
A: Epilektrician is heavily based around various percussive elements and the rhythmical, with strict ways in which the time-signatures are applied to the project. Some sounds and loops which seem to have no time-signature to speak of are forced to have one to blend it with the rest of the sound material. I’m deliberately attempting to bridge some gaps between genres making it hard to gauge – and that again makes it impossible to get record deals as people usually don’t understand what the hell we are doing. There are elements of IDM/Braindance, “industrial”, musique brut, NDW and EBM but also throughput of less obvious personal interests such as easy-listening and noise. As far as I am concerned there is no limit to the kind of sound-sources used, but for the most part Epilektrician stays within certain parameters, making it distinct and possibly even self-consistent.

Q: You are also a an accomplished visual artist with a distinctive style, how does this inform your music?I am thinking of tracks like "Vasarely vs Stapleton".
A: Well, the “Vasarely versus…” series of tracks (which is up to its sixth incarnation now) started out as a track programmed by Iz-Holo called The Vasarely Splicer. The sounds therein are especially well-wrought so I took it upon myself to expand it further. It’s been remixed and reprogrammed many, many times and always it manages to become something else entirely. The seventh installment will hopefully be ready for the 12inch MLP on EtchWear which we are currently working on getting released. Visual arts has always been important to me as well, but so far most of the effort has been made towards making the covers of the MBS CD’s look as freaked out as the music within. With Epilektrician there is no such need, but creative photography is something we do dabble with on occasion. Art and music is closely linked, as it should be.

Q: Is there a link between the creative world and your everyday life with a family and a job? Or are these very seperate spheres for you.
A: Sometimes there is a link, but for the most part the two are kept strictly separate. For me music is intensely personal, mostly because much of what I label as music is not really music at all, but sonic expressions and as such rejected by most people around me (even Alx and Iz-Holo). On average I listen to at least 7-9 hours of music every day and I never tire of it. My job at a general hospital as a digital archivist is an important source of inspiration as well, but usually not directly applied to the music. Again there is the wealth of specific and technical language which is a treasure trove begging to be altered and manipulated into unheard words and sentences. Come to think of it, regarding links to real life. On the track [irrigate and suture] – which was named by Gird_09 btw!! – there is an extended close harmonic sample of a recording of a long dead cat of mine called Oscar, purring. It’s one of those rare occurrences where I use familiar sounds other than my own voice to make music.

Q: With regards to "much of what I label as music is not really music at all, but sonic expressions and as such rejected by most people around me". Does this mean you want people to translate those sonic expressions the same way you do as in a form of communication, or does that mean the understanding and appreciation from others is unimportant to you?
A: Hmm, that’s a really good question to which there is no easy answer. As Epilektrician I try to insert a lot of random elements into the overall soundscape, some of which may be extremely abrasive. If I then proceed to blend that properly into more accessible forms of musical expression it may be that people’s tolerance of music which is difficult gets higher. An extremely good example of someone doing this way before me is Holger Hiller, who managed to take dischordant chaos and compress it into a form which made it edible for a large audience and in the process ending up as a main remixer for Mute. Whereas MBS is directed more or less solely for people with special interest in afflicted musics, Epilektrician is attempting to make a more listenable experience arise from very divergent forms of sound, mainly the rhythms employed make it more musically oriented. Other people’s opinions about our projects matters a lot of course, but I would never let “you should make some gabber kinda sonic ultra terror” or “why don’t you try making commercial music” type statements dictate what I do, as generally speaking I am taken where the sounds lead me and believe me, I find sonic beauty in the oddest of places. As for the communicative element, I guess that there is no real message we’re trying to convey. With Atropine this is somewhat different, but Epilektrician has to make do with pure sound. Mostly, I try to make each track distinct and different from the previous/next, an entity of its own basically. Even when remixing or reproducing older material.

Q: How would you describe the music scene in Norway today? I know you are a hermit so to speak, but from a musical point of view, is there a positive or negative development in the Norwegian music scene in the sub culture genre? Does this inform Mauled By Sloths and Epi in any way?
A: Like you say, I tend to work in a vacuum. That makes things reach me very slowly, but eventually I pick up on things. I had a much better grasp of the Norwegian experimental music scene in the 90’s simply because I was much more active in the execution of my own music with concerts and so on. I follow the Twilight Luggage label though, which is brilliant and carries a lot of artists I have much respect for. As far as pointing out positive/negative aspects of the underground in Norway today, I’m hard pressed to be a qualified judge of that. One thing I like though is that a few of the real old-timers seem to be refurbishing their projects again, such as Anstalt and Industrial Heads, while it is good news for all the rest of us that Kant Kino managed to land a deal with Alfa Matrix, even though the Endzeit Bunker stuff really is not my cup of tea on a daily basis. Being a person who plays around with sound to experiment, I am not usually influenced by the music directly, but I do get inspired when someone manages to do something important – like Batcheeba issuing music on Inner-X. That’s awesome and admirable to say the least and I am really honoured to be even a miniscule part of that recording.

Q: With regards to you first musical experiments, how were they carried out and how would you say they inform your later creative efforts?
A: In the summer of 1990, on the very same location where Union Scene in Drammen is today, there was a derelict factory which had been standing empty for many years. A lot of the tools and machinery was still present, so we brought a tape-recorder and some horns etc., and started to record. Live. No reharsing. Completely improvised stuff. We called the project C.C.D.D. Psilocübin on a whim and I guess we got like 90 minutes on tape during three different sessions. Of the three people on those recordings I am the last to still make music. One of them was also a prominent contributor to Wulh’ouah (the precursor to MBS) for a couple of years and I still use samples from his taped contributions for just about anything, so yeah I am still highly influenced by that early effort. C.C.D.D. Metacübin surfaced in 1994 for the first edition of Tarjei Krogh’s Psychoactivated series of compilation CDs, but then it was completely programmed and based around various samples we’d recorded on DAT. Even before all that I used to prepare my fathers piano with various objects to get weird noises from it and those sounds are still with me on occasion and what with him being a professional hornist I’ve had free access to a lot of strange wind instruments to explore.

Q: What is next in line for Epi?
A: I’m still sampling as much as time allows to be able to start programming Epilektrician’s “Central Stasis Volume”, which is a massive cut-up/montage/mash-up project featuring around a thousand artists. This will eventually be self-released (as usual) with some help from Thee Brad Miller getting it out on the dubyadubyadubya I hope. The physical edition of this will be very limited. I’m sad (and glad) to say that this project keeps demanding more and more. Currently looking at around 3000 samples which will be triggered a total of close to 50000 times over the course of an hour. Things keep changing though, and I cannot really predict how it will turn out as so far the entire project is lodged within my brain with no means of escape until all the samples are prepared and I can start sequencing them. I’m really looking forward to this, even if it really is a nightmare assignment, because quite simply it will be a completely unrepeatable audio experiment. I’ll never again have the resolve to focus my activity like this again I think, and regardless of how it turns out I will have the satisfaction of having inflicted this enormous misdeed upon the (musical) world :D. Alx will be mastering it when it is done, as I want a real computer and a professional musician to handle it. Usually I do everything myself, but this project has taken so much of my time that it needs proper treatment.Second, we’ve got an agreement to release a 12inch vinyl mini-album on the Oslo label EtchWear. We’re still working on that, our chief problem being converting the music into a valid concert format. We’ve also recently participated on EtchWear’s “Conspiracy #2” 12inch single with lots of other great artists and the unique artwork of OEP.
Thirdly, there’s the issue of “Symmyriad” which is another of my concepts for Epilektrician. I’ve been working on and off on the sounds for it since last year and recently discovered that I needed more time to complete it than first thought. Symmyriad is all to do with high energy particle physics (HEP) and draws heavy influence from that alien world of unpronounceable words and incomprehensible mathematics. So far it looks like it will be from 15-20 tracks of various experiments of which five are currently at the demo stage and more or less ready to be completed and mastered.

We thank Cthulberg so much for taking the time to talk with us, and we are sitting on needles waiting for what comes next!

"Crossection" a Mordisco/SutureSelf compilation:

01: Atropine - The Second Culling [Ancient Versions]
Two old demos of 2nd Culling joined together. 1997

02: Anstalt - Strüch 9
From The Re-Incarnation Of The Sun compilation. 1994

03: C.C.D.D. Metacübin - Formaline Fetish [Vocal Mix]
From Psychoactivated - Phase 1. 1994

04: Wake - Nival Transition

Secret project. 1995

05: Mauled By Sloths - Robert Miles' Last Record
From "Blurts". 2002.

06: D/A Ailment - Infusoria
From "Emit". 1997

07: Atropine - Lost Faith
From "Angels Pass By Open Sewers" cassette. 1996

08: Epilektrician - Collider Phenomenology Of Gauge-Higgs Unification Scenarios In Warped Extra Dimensions [ext. remix]
Outtake from "Symmyriad. 2010

09: Macrohelion - Permafrost

Secret project. 1994

10: Die Pleite - Flesh
Pre-Anstalt song. First track made. 1992.

11: Vhulhva - The Bilious Imperative
From "Bilious Oats" cassette. 1997

12: Pogrom Synod - Blindside

From "Syphilosophy". 2008

Red Fog A: "Atropine live at Betong 2001"
Atropine Wrinkler: "Cthulberg @ OSF 2000"

Please follow these links for more:




Atropine - Retch Trigger

Cthulberg Youtube

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Choronzon – Vox Inferni : dark ambient, ritualistic, drone

Reviewed by Gird_09

Let's just say it straight away, cos it certainly is the most striking feature of this three track release: It's fucking long! The trt is close to five hours, and something tells me it is the longest release I'll ever review. Something like this could only emerge in the digital world where physical media restrictions no longer matter.

However, don't think that this is one of those slowly building minimalist ambient things, from the beginning it is evil as fuck and ritualistic and occult and everything cool. I'd like to say satanic, if that didn't carry connotations of idiots and infantilism. But as the project name suggests it is demonic in ever sense. Opposite of most releases of this type it build down rather than up, and each consecutive track is more ambient than the last one.

Track one, Maanelys Skygge [moonlit shadow in english, or moonlight shadow if you're in that corner] is made up of distorted voice over landscapes of subtle drones and other suggestive and restrained sounds with buckets full of reverb. It's like the more atmospheric portions of Evil Dead II turned into music. The vocals truly sound like they are either from another world, or invoking something you don't want to encounter. Or maybe a blend between the two. At times the voice is invoking, at other times singing lamentations, and always with this ominous soundscape in the background. The music is like an aural counterpiece to Bosch's visions of hell. Old school hell in fact.

Track two, vox, is more ambient and contains more musical elements. The voices are still present but they are subtler and less distorted. Where Maanelys Skygge was a vision of hell this is something of a respite, or perhaps a possibility for meditation. A chance to stop and listen to the voices, and perhaps discover some shards of truth floating around in there.

Track three, Inferno, is the longest of the three tracks, clocking in at nearly two and a half hour! Inferno is also the most minimal of the tracks, and so low one can hardly hear it. The music builds so slowly you hardly know it's there at all, and it becomes indistinguishable from the wind outside the window. Then the music starts to come creeping out at you, more distorted and mutated than ever, but still very ambient. When the two and a half hours of subtly shifting voices and strange sounds leave you, it still takes a while before the sounds in your head ceases.

It is fascinating to see how Choronzon can work within such a narrow spectre of music, over such an incredibly long release, and still wind up with three quite distinctive tracks.

Choronzon is a three member project, according to their myspace page. The members are P. Emerson Williams, Demimonde Mesila Thraam and last but not least Choronzon himself - whose job it is to destroy the ego. The music is based in enochian magick and demonology by way of modern chaos magick and Uncle Al. The music is also inspired by electronic voice phenomenon, in the sense that those distorted voices are suggestive and the message they put out might change over time, and subject to point of view. This is not just about goofing around with some sounds and reverb, it has intent. I love intent. I worship intent.

I've reviewed Emerson's music before, here and here, but this experience is something entirely different from Veil of Thorns. Choronzon is less like traditional music and carries a rough similarity to Void ov Voices or Sunn O))), but with a much more frightening and occult overtone. It's also much more layered than any of those two projects. Though eminent they might be, I'd rather listen to Choronzon.

The release is ambitious as little else, and it pays off. At first I was frightened by the length of the release, but the music is so relaxing and monotonous that you can just slap it on in the background and listen to it without much concentration. The sheer length of the music is bound to get you into a trance like meditative state, and I believe that is the intention. The music is occult in the real sense, NOT in the posy sense that is true for most bands. I wouldn't suggest trancing out to this if you're having a stressful day or if you're worried about something, as the music could also be used for sonic torture, and I guess that is the point. Choronzon is like a cheese grater slowly scraping away at your false sense of self, with 333 knives.

1 Maanelys skygge
2 Vox
3 Inferni

USA, Inner-x-musick, free download, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mauled by Sloths – Pataclysm : Experimental

Reviewed by Gird_09

Mauled by Sloths (mbs) is one of the strangest musical projects I have ever come across. It is the brainchild of Cthulberg, also known from such projects as Atropine, Pogrom Synod and Epilektrician.

MBS' music mostly consists of displaced and severly manipulated samples nailed together in a soundscape so mangled nothing can live there. It ranges from naive pop tunes to utter inhuman confusion, but usually elements of both are present. MBS bears comparison to nothing else, but if you can imagine a collaboration between Nurse With Wound and Severed Heads you're approaching some semblance of understanding.

Fragments of jazz, classical, conversations and micro manipulated oddities float in and out of attention, with steady beats providing the only semblance of sanity. Still the music is strangely melodic and can even be soothing once you reach the proper mindset. All in all MBS provides you with beautifully dislodged pieces of popular culture, altered to the unrecognizable by a very overactive imagination.

Admittedly, upon first hearing MBS my mind couldn't process the music, and it gave me a head ache trying to understand what the hell I was subjected to. I had to learn how to listen to it, and pataclysm is no exception. Listening to the record is very similar to reading William S. Burroughs. Just listen to it without trying to make heads or tails of it, and your mind will start working little by little.

The title, Pataclysm, is a reference to the imaginary science of pataphysics, which I am not going to try to recount here, suffice to say it is linked to dadaism and that this element is evident in the music, as well as in the track titles.

All I can say is really that MBS is not for just everyone. The music is challenging, but not in the trite "blowing your mind out with 260dbs of pissing on a dead cat", and you'll either hate it or you'll love it. Maybe even both. Give it a try anyway. You might find your conceptions are altered by the experience.

Pataclysm was originally released way back in 2001 on CD-r, but has now been made available via by Thee Brad Miller on his blog Because God told me to do it. Go there to download it.

Stay tuned for interview with Cthulberg tomorrow! It promises to be enlightening.

1 Pataclysm (edit)
2 Reet Petite Repeat Repeat
3 Doctored Udderveins
4 Aural leprosy versus damaged muezin
5 The Flaw that Blinds
6 Polarity Wreck
7 Patatarakt (waterwaist mix)

Norway, 2001, File Download, Mordisco recordings,

Booby Mason - Huge Cock Canyon : Experimental, Dark Ambient, Noise

Reviewed by Gird_09

I have to admit that a title like "huge cock canyon" makes me a bit sceptical, and I was expecting some kind of ear shattering noise – based on the title's connotations to Gerogerigegege or Rectal Anarchy. However the music is a far cry from any of my expectations. Rather than extreme noise we are served a bit of highly texturized ambient made up of random sounds and shitloads of echo, and everything filtered to sound decomposed. It's a perfect soundscape if you plan to hang out in disused ammunition factories hunting for ghosts of former employees. The music is eerie and haunting, and old school in that really analogue way. I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out that everything is done using tapeloops and analogue effects. That's the way it sounds to me anyway.
The second track is a bit more noisy than the first one, but it never approaches the level of discomfort. Well, maybe my mother's but not mine.

I don't really know what more to say. The release is a good piece of ambient music conjuring up images of desolate cities after some terrible cataclysm, with a few remaining russian troops here and there. It's music you want to listen to in the dark, alone. Certainly not party music.

If there's anything that detracts from the release it's the length (and of course the rather infantile title). It could bear to be longer. Once you get into the music it's over. I hope future releases will be atleast twice as long, in order to really build a good mood, and keep the listener there for a while. However if I were to chose between too long and too short I would chose too short, so it's not really a big detraction. The release confirms that Russia really is the place we need to keep our eyes on these days. There's alot of good stuff coming from our neighbour to the east now, and hopefully for some time to come.

1 Huge
2 Huge Cock Canyon

Russia, File Download (free of charge), HTP records, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Monte Cazazza - the Cynic : Industrial

Reviewed by Gird_09

Monte Cazazza. The man who coined the term industrial music. If you don't know his name, you have a world awaiting discovery ahead. The repertoir of blatant insanity and transgressions this person is responsible for is worth looking into. When I heard he had a new album coming out I though I was hallucinating, dreaming or having a psychotic episode. Thankfully I was in fact lucid.

And lucidity is what the album is about, as the title "the cynic" implies. The cover contains the following quote from Ambrose Pierce's "the Devil's dictionary".
"CYNIC: A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision."
And Cazazza's work has always been about just that. Seeing the world as it is, like a dog might see it – which is what cynic (kynikos) actually means.

The first track, "Interrogator", sets the stage with deep droning analogue strings. It is dark and moody, and certainly a fitting soundtrack to images of dead afghani children butchered by joystick wielding drone operators. But Cazazza has not lost his humor, despite being a cynic. "A gringo like me" is a cover of an old track by Ennio Morricone, from the film Gunfight at Red Sands, and concerns how only dead people are trustworthy and that you need to keep your weapon ready at all times. The lyrics are delivered in that unmistakable Cazazza style, with soft voice and no distortion. Killing, and dying, with a smile.

The Cynic is an update of the style Monte Cazazza had on his earlier music, while retaining the general musical philosophy of the industrial movement. The instruments might sound newer and some of the tracks are very different from the primitive, nearly infantile, obsceneties we all remember so well, but it is what it is, and I'm glad for it. I wouldn't want an album where a legend tries to recapture the days of his youth. Monte Cazazza is certainly not about nostalgia. The album ranges from guitar and singing, to techno, dark ambient and other less easily defined styles. Highly eclectic, and not catering to anyone's tastes – unlike what some other "legends" do. Personally I don't care much for the techno tracks, as they seem a bit like filler and somewhat uninspired, but the presence of tracks like "Interrogator", "A gringo like me", "Terminal" and "Birds of Prey" well makes up for them. I do miss the poorly veiled sociopathic threats from tracks like "To mom on mother's day", or the fascination with mondo aesthetics, but like I said: this is not about nostalgia or catering to anyone's tastes. I also have a distinct feeling that this is one of those albums I will like better and better for each listening.

Also worth mentioning are some of the other people who contributed to the album. Production, mixing and additional programming was done by Lustmord, while Fred Giannelli supplied guitars and sitar, and Lydia Lunch co-wrote the lyrics for "What's so kind about mankind?".

The album cover is fittingly low tech. It's a digipack with extreme closeups of a dead rat being eaten by flies on the front and back, and a single page of credits inside. Not over designed in any way. The focus is on content.

As far as I have been able to figure out The Cynic doesn't have any sort of distribution, which is very sad. This album deserves to be in your collection if you're at all interested in the original industrial movement. It's easily available from however, both for ordering or download.

So now I guess we'll just have to wait another 28 years for his next album...

1 Interrogator
2 A gringo like me
3 Break number one
4 Terminal
5 Venom
6 What's so kind about mankind
7 Birds of prey

United States of America, Blast first (petite), 2010,

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Kaytwo - Trash art

Reviewed by Batcheeba.

I worked with a young man suffering from schizophrenia a few years back. He was a street artist, and was madly obsessed with wild style graffiti and chemical formulas to name a few. His graffiti is the only style I can compare to Kaytwo's. Kaytwo has the same crazy lines in his work, this fucked up, unstable and unpredictable theme. His work makes me imagine the whole world being pulled into a maelstrom. Everything is dissolved, chaotic and sickening. Our mind is programmed to recognize and categorize everything into the big black box. Kaytwo will make you question conventions, and I can just picture him smiling.

Kaytwo is not fine art by any means. His work will never be exhibited at some posh upper class gallery, and not everyone will enjoy his style and technique. He is not a classical painter, I would categorise him as an illustrator and I doubt he's had any schooling or classical training. This is underground style, and his style of art must never leave the dirty city walls or underground galleries. That is where Kaytwo belongs, and I'm sure he is more than content.

Kaytwo works in different mediums such as paintings, graffiti (started out in 1982), sculptures, logos and CD covers. He explains he is very much interested in textures, which I see as the main inspiration for my own work. So cred for that. His paintings and graffiti share a common factor: organic compositions and the constant flux of everything. His wild style graffiti is out of this world and unlike anything I have ever seen before. He is exceptionally talented. I honestly don't feel worthy of giving his graffiti pieces a review. That takes someone a lot more knowledgable than my self.

What strikes me with his paintings is that many of them have propper art quality, while others have this fantasy art quality which I personally don't care for. The quality varies more than I have seen in most creative persons before. I find that strange, but fascinating. I love the dissolved paintings that are like Kaytwo puked some memory onto the canvas, and then blew it all up with a shotgun. They have this really interesting and strange composition and they make me wonder for ages. What the hell is going on inside Kaytwo's head? They have a dissociative quality, confusing and hard hitting but at the same time they have an occult and mythological vibe. It's a very curious mix. His painting certainly confirms the impression I have of Kaytwo himself, and I am completely fascinated. My fav pieces are by far "Rox", "Tits Squish" and "Phood for the phoenixxx". He certainly shares some qualities with Dave McKean. McKean on LSD that is. His paintings are both figurative, non figurative and abstract. Often they contain faces,and dissolved bodies and shapes. I can see references to Giger as well, but more as a homage - and more organic where Giger is bio mechanic. He has a unique way of creating depth to his paintings, and some of his works has a hazy, milky transparency adding to the layering. Kaytwo also has a very distinctive way of mixing colors one would normally never use.

He works with a large variety of materials, from the stuff he finds in dumpsters, to blood, oils, water colors, aerosol cans, garbage and more. Kaytwo's art thrives on what most people would overlook or be disgusted by, like dead animals. Kaytwo says, however, that no animal used has been killed by him. He states "There is as much beauty in death as there is in life". He gives life to inanimate objects that has lost their purpose. In some strange way Kaytwo is actually creating urban necromonicons.

The industrial world, with it's waste and treasures and it's run down concrete walls is Kaytwo's perfect playground. Thankfully this fucked up world will never run out of material for Kaytwo to force into his own creative mental blender.

This review is an intro the the works by Kaytwo. We will post a follow up interview with in depth details. Stay tuned.

For more on Kaytwo

Friday, July 16, 2010

Verfallssymptom – Written in Blood : Industrial ambient / Power noise / Electronic Black Metal

Reviewed by Gird_09 and Batcheeba

We have no idea what kind of equipment he's used to produce his album, but it really takes us to countless hours spent in various basements with fasttracker II and other primitive equipment. Old school. In addition to the minimal electronic beats and phrases Verfallssymptom utilizes vocals very reminiscent of black metal in portions of the music. (And in fact black metal inspiration can be heard on several tracks.) This combination could easily land you in endzeit hell, but not on this release. The most similar music I have heard would be K.I.F.O.T.H.'s two first album, but certainly much more minimalist, less EBM-like, more scrapy and less disco friendly. But the comparison is certainly good.

The production is notably lo-fi, and one might expect Verfallssymptom to sound muffled and grungy, but he has a talent for finding sounds that fit together without turning into porridge. The drums carry the music steadily and with enough punch that the rest of the music can ride on top. The music is very introvert and doesn't ask for anyone's approval. It's not over produced in any way, and the focus is more on emotion than sound construction. While the two don't need to clash there is no doubt that if we have to chose we'll go for emotion any day. Especially when the content is as interesting as this. There is nothing we hate more than over produced trite.

There are two things we miss on this album though. There could have been more vocals, as Verfallssymptom's vocals really fit the music and adds depth. The instrumental tracks are certainly good on their own, but the vocal tracks were the best of the bunch. The other thing is that there are too many tracks on the album. At certain points we find ourselves losing concentration because some of the tracks are a bit similar to each other. Each single track is a killer track, but as an album it tends towards monotony in some portions. This is mostly a problem with the midsection of the album however, as both the first and last thirds of the album is one interesting track after another.

The coolest tracks on the album are definately on the last third. Abstraction, with its intensely noisy beat and drudging arrangements is a hard hitter and heavier than most anything we've heard. It has layers of distored sounds, noise, beats and all the while retaining Verfallsymptom's melodic sense. Inspiring. This one is certainly going to be played over and over. The track is followed by Stacheldraht and Written in Blood, which are ambient black metal tracks with electronic sounds. The vocals are intense and the melodies subtle, as well as the beats. Still it's consistent with the rest of the album. This is what Aphex Twin would sound like if he was into black metal. More of this! We beg you!

Verfallsymptom is kind enough to release his album free of charge through thee Brad Miller's Kill Your Godz (a blog we will certainly return to from time to time here). If you're sceptical to people who release their music for free, perhaps because you expect it's not good enough to meet the "high standards" of a record company, you should download this release and let it dispel any disbelief you might have.

1 Bigotte Hybris
2 Kollaterale Hysterie
3 Agapes Jahwist
5 Homogene Kontradikturie
6 Polyaeon
7 Todeskandidat
8 Abstraction
9 Stacheldraht
10 Written in blood
11 Gefilde der Tristesse
12 Misanalog

Germany, self released (file), 2008

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dangerkoma - Modern surrealist collages

Reviewed by Batcheeba.

Let Dangerkoma show you the world as it really it. This cultural terrorist, this misantrophic anarchist, will not wait until your mind is ready. His art functions as a two dimensional traumatic experience, and once you've looked, you will never see the world the same way ever again.

Welcome to the world of Dangerkoma. This man from California is a visual genius on a mission. He masters the art of collage like few others in modern time, both in technique and content. He has the one thing most art today is so desperately lacking: intent.

Dangerkoma knows what he wants, and he goes about it with a vengeance. He uses his scissors and glue, to cut up and reshape both beauty and the grotesque. He is a cut up artists in the truest sense, worthy of standing side by side with Genesis P-Orridge, William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin themselves.

Dangerkoma's intention is not to confuse. Nor is his purpose to enlighten the people who don't understand. The world he portrays is not surreal to me, on the contrary it's a familiar world. It might be surreal to those who are not able to understand his work, but that does not make Dangerkoma's work Dada. It only makes him an elitist.
Stylistically however, I would place Dangerkoma more in the vein of surrealism, his work depicts internal landscapes and fragments of the world around us, filtered to make them more lucid.

Dangerkoma speaks through his art directly to his own choir, and his work is a message to the people he detests: The capitalists, the ignorant, the followers - and he is brutal in every sense of the word.

He only cares about the reaction he creates - even if it is only hate. He creates anti-apathy - and that is to me the core of his work. It's seething out of every collage he's made: it's an intelligent hate, focused and directed. It's intended. Hate is not a valid emotion in our day of age. Dangerkoma states he "hates responsibly". I stand by that statement.

There is so much beauty in his work, most of his pieces are in constant motion, with perfect golden ratio and perfect composition, and while looking your eyes are led through this motion picture of impressions, colors, sensuous shapes and textures. Dangerkoma is in control and drags you, be it kicking and screaming, through this traumatic battlefield of imagery. His work comes alive before your eyes and taps into your brain, then starts working on a whole different psychological level. Dangerkoma's work is the perfect mind drug. It takes a certain someone to see the stunning beauty in say skulls and dead animals. You have to be able to see the beauty in the grotesque, and since that has been one of my mantras for years, his work really hits home with me. His colors varies from rusty dirty brown, red, yellow, black onto crisp and cold, clean and bright, over into black and white. He covers it all, leaving nothing out. His lighting is perfection, in many of his pictures it's hard to understand that it is in fact a collage as they are seamless and technically perfect executions. Dangerkoma is in short, old school.

His works are also filled with magickal references, symbols and religion with references to both Christianity and occultism. The human body is often combined with skulls or other symbols of death, dead animals, skeletons and bones. Baphomet is referenced in several of his works, while others contain iconography lifted from secret societies and mystic religion. His work captures the dream and the nightmare all in one.

I see humor in his work, sarcasm and tongue in cheek irony, and I see playfulness. Sometimes it seems like the shapes and/or patterns themselves triggered his collage, not only anger, hate and social critisism. And I appreciate that because it is yet another stamp of quality. A true artist can lose him or herself in textures, colors and shapes just because thar is what gives them pleasure, and it also is a true form of escapism.

Dangerkoma has clear references to the Renaissance, his collages are sultry, pompous and in lack of a better word: grandiose. His collages employs a drama we recognize from masters such as the medieval surrealist Hieronymus Bosch, both use the surreal and the potent imagery of religion, death, politics, sin and evil. Even though Dangerkoma depicts a world that is unmistakably contemporary, he manages to make use of a sensibility that has more in common with the old masters. His work is so vibrant one can almost taste it, it literally makes me short of breath to study his art. It's a very bodily experience. We know grand architecture can cause people to faint due to the massive impressions, and I certainly feel faint hearted in the house of Dangerkoma.

To see more of his work please follow these links:

Veil of Thorns – Necrofuturist: Electronic industrial / Industrial Ambient

Reviewed by Gird_09

I recently did a review of Veil of Thorns' Salon Apocalypse for Heathen Harvest, and I hope this is not the last time I get to do it. Veil of Thorns is P. Emmerson Williams' project since 1991, but the project also includes a long list of other musicians who are clearly adept at their various instruments. Williams is an experienced musician who's worked on a number of projects in different styles, as well as a very skilled visual artist. This is his first release on the legendary label Inner-X-Musick, recently resurrected after a lengthy absence.

The foundation for Necrofuturist is something in the vein of Skinny Puppy's more ambient tracks, firmly rooted in electronic industrial soundscaping, but without the emphasis on sculpting through samples from various media. The focus lies more on dense layers of instruments and skillfull arrangements. The album contains elements of a flurry of genres, even hip hop, blues, jazz and country and a consistent foundation in experimental rock music. Track six, Wailing Glass (perfect title) even conjures up a hint of funky off beat italian prog ala Goblin, with a touch of pure California surf riding on top. If there is such a thing as progressive industrial it has to be Veil of Thorns.

I have said it before but one element that really makes Veil of Thorns stand out against any background is Williams voice. The disparate landscapes form a backdrop for his strange disharmonious singing. He manages to convey a clear sense of confusion and alienation, and his vocals are more reminiscent of David Bowie than the common post industrial fare. In addition deft instrumentation and production makes every Veil of Thorns release worth listening to – and we certainly hope there are still many of those in store.

All this adds up to just what the title promises: observations of a dead future. Debris of western civilization, both plundered and home grown, floats around in a rusted cityscape of sounds for the listener to observe, almost as a time traveller of sorts. Necrofuturist is something like an archaeological account of the current state of affairs, at times comforting, at other times claustrophobic and harrowing. Pure underground gold, which is exactly where gold is found.

It's impossible to review a Veil of Thorns album without atleast a passing mention of Williams artwork. The cover for this release fits the genereal theme of the recording, with its stylized skull and trademark red and white colors. Hopefully we'll get to do an exclusive review of some of Williams other artwork in a future update here at Kaliglimmer, so stay tuned for that.

1 Thought Pollution Evolution
2 Through the Fire
3 the Vandals Exquisite Corpse
4 the Lifeless Trio Kept Planning
5 Wailing Glass
6 Waltz
7 Pleasure in Nightmare
8 Giving Ascent
9 Dancing Revelation
10 Let Loose Into That Good Mourning
11 The Reflection
12 Deny Fascination
13 The Only One Left
13 Die as One
14 Entertainments Subsume Concern
15 Head Up Get Out
16 the Dead Channel

USA, Inner-X-Musick, 2009

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hadewych – Hadewych : Neo folk / Dark Ambient

Reviewed by Gird_09 (Image courtesy of Hadewych.)

Hadewych is a dutch collective working in the no man's land between neo folk, post industrial and dark ambient, with a heavy emphasis on rich ambient atmospheres. This release took me by surprise when it shifted quite suddenly from low fi synth atmosphere to industrial drums, heavily distorted guitar and slow brooding vocals, and then back to ambient, to folk, to massive rock and soundscapes, all without losing track of its original vantage point. And that is exactly what this release is about. The tracks are vowen together like parts of a whole, and the various arrangements and instruments work together towards a total experience. I actually couldn't imagine playing this album without playing all of it - and that is what good ambient music is about.

As for totality, the hand made cover is a story all to itself. The cd comes packaged between two thin slabs of wood, lined with red fabric - along with several picture inserts. The cover image depicts a person, presumably a band member, desperatly grasping soil and leaves in his fists, and true to this concept, the cd comes packaged with dried maple leaves! Impressive and consistent are keywords here. (Evidently the leaves are even Norwegian, and dried in incense. No details are random here.)

This also reflects further on the textures, tonality and instrumentation of the album. I don't know if it makes sense, but there is a certain feeling of mildew to the sound. That is to say something damp and slightly dissolved. While the instruments, samples and vocals are crisp and clear they are expertly filtered to convey an advanced state of decay, albeit a very soft and comforting decay.

It is hard to compare Hadewych to anything. Certain portions remind me of ambient music released by Origo sound back in the nineties, such as Neural Network and Dystopia – or even Biosphere. But then there are other portions that are more akin to tribal ritualistic music or industrial music with references to Coil or neo folk. There's even a touch of late period SWANS in the mix. And just when you think you have it all figured out, they hit you with something you didn't expect – but somehow still feels and sounds perfectly natural. I don't really know what to call it, but I do know I want more.

Finally I need to tell you that the album is pure contemporary mythology. Not necessarily in the sense that it deals with myths on some level, but in the sense that it contains a rootedness in nature and spirituality which it manages to convey marvelously. There's atleast twenty bands to a dozen who attempt this without managing to do what Hadewych does – seemingly with ease. The album makes you feel alive and connected in a very special way.

1 Broon
2 Ava
3 A forest for Riss
4 Prone
5 Bordun
6 A forest for Wyrd
7 Gentle Art of Incarceration
8 Dwaling, Star of Moth,
9 A forest for far
10 Gentle art of incarceration reprise, asrequiem,
11 Rike
12 A forest for eoh.

Holland, 2007, Self released.