Music for escape artists.

Music for escape artists. | Evocative music from the Underworld, the Otherworld and The Abyss.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Review for: Wrekmeister Harmonies - Light Falls (2016)

Light Falls is the latest album from the ever-changing collaborative effort that is Wrekmeister Harmonies. Composer and master collaborator JR Robinson with trusty sidekick Esther Shaw, form the nucleus of the latest embodiment of Wrekmeister which breaks from tradition with a smaller collective of musicians from Godspeed You! Black Emperor and a more typical album structure of seven shorter tracks rather than one or two long compositions. Despite this drastic change in approach; the familiar sounds, themes and textures of Wrekmeister Harmonies remain fully intact while expressing new realms of atmosphere and emotion. This is a testament to the unique and personal approach applied to JR Robinson's compositions and his versatility as an artist.

Wrekmeister Harmonies is known for compelling live shows at unorthodox and fascinating venues such as museums, mausoleums, cemeteries and many other interesting places such as; the Andy Warhol Museum, the Golden Gate Bridge and Chicago's Bohemian National Cemetery which add to the aura and ambience of the music. Along with the unusual locations are the exceptional musicians that have joined Wrekmeister throughout its many transformations including artists such as; Wrest (Jef Whitehead) of Leviathan, Alexander Hacke of Einstürzende Neubauten, David Yow of The Jesus Lizard, Chip King and Lee Buford of The Body, Marissa Nadler, Sanford Parker of Minsk, the cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, Chris Brokaw of Codeine, jazz composer Ken Vandermark and many more.

It is clear that JR Robinson has a certain way with people. He manages to seek out and uncover the vast talents found in the musical underworld and shed light on dark places that others would only dream of. I think people can sense that this guy is for real; he means what he does and he is an artist with a vision that needs to be fully realised with the assistance of others. A perfect example of this rapport with other artists can be found within the VICE Media documentary 'One Man Metal' in which JR is the host and correspondent. The film uncovers the hidden misanthropic lives and gives us glimpses into the fascinating, obfuscated existences of three elusive Black Metal figures; Wrest (Jef Whitehead) of Leviathan, Malefic (Scott Connor) of Xasthur and Sin Nanna (Russell Menzies) of Striborg. Few people (if any) would have been able to gain access to these artists in the way that JR did. To show how far he was willing to go to prove sincerity and gain trust with Jef Whitehead (who is a tattoo artist by day), there is a scene in which JR books a spot at the tattoo parlour where Whitehead works. He requests a tattoo of the symbols displayed on the album cover of the Leviathan album; Howl Mockery At The Cross (2005). Following this, Whithead agreed to feature in the documentary. He even managed to convince a reluctant Malefic to show his face and drop some vocals for the first time on camera.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Album Review for: öOoOoOoOoOo - Samen (2016) | Avant-Garde Rock

Samen is the debut album from; öOoOoOoOoOo ('Chenille' in French or 'Caterpillar' in English). The unique fusion of avant-garde rock with too many genres and influences to list; a total mind-fuck of perfected abstract art, music and naked bodies. Full range female vocals, at times reminiscent of 'Evanescence' and exceptional musical stylings take the listener on a journey through a schizophrenic multi-verse of experimental extravagance.

Where to start with this album...? Probably a good point would be at the beginning.

To be honest, when I first looked at the band name: 'öOoOoOoOoOo', I thought; what? 'Oooooooooo' like a ghost sound or something... that's pretty lame. Then the album cover/booklet with naked bodies awkwardly lying on top of each other with 'tasteful' full frontal nudity, a man with a very 'suspicious' looking chest and odd, unnatural nude poses shot in what seemed to be a art gallery. I assumed this was going to be some overly pretentious, 'artistic' nonsense; like Yoko Ono's (a'hem)... vocal 'performance' in a gallery that I saw on YouTube.

*See here: (but brace yourselves, it's pretty bad; probably worse than bad).

The type of 'art' only appreciated by anal-retentive c*nts who sip on overpriced sparkling grape juice at a modern art show while contemplating the intricacies of a large canvas painted solid black or attempting to uncover the 'hidden meanings' behind a heap of rotting garbage piled up randomly on a marble floor. I was almost not even going to bother listening to it... but for some reason I grit my teeth and dived in with much hesitation; like eating snails or frog's legs for the first time.

Boy was I wrong... this album is a masterpiece! I was thoroughly seduced and taken full advantage of by this album. Now begins the long walk home from an unknown part of town with slight amnesia, a strange sense of accomplishment, several scratches/bruises, a backwards t-shirt, no money, one shoe and someone else's pants.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Album review for: 'Xalpen - Black Rites' (2016) | Black Metal

'Black Rites' is the first album from 'Xalpen'; an unlikely and unholy congregation of both German and Chilean influences that mercilessly expand on the cult of brvtality that is 'Black Metal'.  Short but not sweet, this album seeks to destroy right from the start as the sound of a blade being sharpened creates tension before heavy guitars and explosive blast beats hit you right where it counts. 

Black Metal is a genre that has been used and abused by all manner of mediocre minstrel and relentlessly recycled by oblivious 'posers' and clueless 'hipsters' ad infinitum; even some of the old greats are now walking memes of hilarity, garden variety generic shit and self-mockery. Others have disowned their roots and scoffed at the hoards of weaklings and oxygen thieves that have dared to call their music 'Black Metal'. Despite all this nonsense and Metal sacrilege, the black light still shines through as it did in the beginning, like a black rose growing out of a pile of putrid human waste and excrement.

'Xalpen' is the "Goddess of the Primordial Waters of the Underworld. Bringer of the infernal hosts from the depths of the abyss and opener of the gateways to the spiritual chaos."