As I'm sure regular readers are aware by now, I absolutely love music when it's soaked in ominous dread. Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words, Ondo and Raison d'Être are three artists that come to mind when I consider the niche and now I can add the Danes Svartbag to the list. The Rump label has put out a bunch of interesting electronica - Badun, Karsten Pflum, Snöleoparden, etc - but Svartbag's self-titled debut is by far the best of the bunch. Opener "Black Capricorn" is all slow-creeping darkness, the kind of stuff that backs you in a corner before consuming you completely. That the track is so obviously guitar-based is kinda surprising too, especially since so much of this stuff seems to traffic in sounds so heavily processed they end up resembling vague dark shapes. The low-end buzz grumbles and moans as the drums endlessly cycle and taunt, all gradually building and eventually rumbling to a stop like a freight train. Call it dark-ambient, evil shoegaze, whatever you want, it's all good, I just know I like it a lot. Be aware, it's a mighty big download (15mb), but man oh man, is it worth it.
Svartbag - Black Capricorn
The playlist for my radio show this week:
01. Paper - My life is going under
02. TALK 1
03. Mr. Suitcase - You don't smile anymore
04. Camouflage - Violetta du
05. Majessic Dreams - Black out
06. TALK 2
07. Amorphis - Towards and against
08. Beyond Dawn - Among the sedatives
09. Don't Be A Stranger - Perfect problem
10. TALK 3
11. Totalitär - Nej vi ska inte ha nåt
12. Miss Li - I'm glad I'm not a proud American
13. Tiger Lou - A lucky escape
14. Oskar Schönning - Fraid
15. TALK 4
16. Karsten Pflum - Draworder
17. Anna Ternheim - Lovers dream
18. Front and the Factory Lies Beneath - Drown in misery
19. TALK 5
20. Midaircondo - Could you please stop
21. Pg.lost - Yes I am
22. The Perishers - Carefree
23. TALK 6
24. Pistol Disco - Upside down
25. Nasum - The system has failed again
26. Sweatmaster - Mystery
27. The Second Band - The modern age
28. Träd, Gräs och Stenar - In kommer gösta
29. TALK 7
30. Ultralyd - Low waist
31. Ambulance - Forever friends
32. The Social Services - Up in arms
33. TALK 8
34. Barra Head - Overseas
35. Sivert Høyem - Exiles
36. Viola - Imaginary times
37. TALK 9
38. Kornstad - Turkey, Texas
Karsten Pflum, or Dane Jacob Helverskov Madsen's latest release is thoroughly quirky, but only for those of you who enjoy forays into the frontiers of musical weirdness. To really get into this album, appreciation of minimalist techno is a must as Madsen's arrangements can get particularly tedious (as is the case with the majority of experimental stuff). There are moments on "Idhax" where the music begins to make sense, such as an unusually fully constructed beat towards the end of "Impulse 11", reminiscent of the animated psy-trance of Shpongle or Infected Mushroom. This is, however, a rare moment on the album, which is less a gem of talented composition and more a rambling, haphazard journey from one electronic beep to another. Madsen himself summed it up nicely by naming one of the tracks "No target".
- Jude Ainsworth
Danish minimalist electronic artist Karsten Pflum on tour:
09/24 - Golden Pudel, Hamburg (GER)
09/28 - Phono Festival, Odense (DK)
10/04 - Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen (DK)
10/13 - Zentrale Randlage, Berlin (GER)
10/19 - Musikcaféen, Aarhus (DK)
10/21 - LAB, Copenhagen (DK)
10/27 - Pitstop, Kolding (DK)
10/28 - Altes Wettbüro, Dresden (GER)
10/29 - Kapital, Chemnitz (GER)
11/11 - Plex, Copenhagen (DK)
Check out this site to watch the new European version of "In the Shadows" from Finland's The Rasmus. And after twenty record-setting weeks on the MTV Nordic's UpNorth chart, they have decided the retire the single from further competition so as to give other acts more chance for exposure. In other news, the band was supposed to be supporting Evanescence on their upcoming German tourdates, but those shows have unfortunately been cancelled by the headliner. They still plan on going out and doing promotion in Hamburg and Berlin regardless.
Randy has posted a bunch of new pics from their recent European tour.
From thearkworld.com comes yet another live video. This is one is "Tell Me this Night is Over", live from Stockholm.
Ebbot hurt his back after drinking too much and failing to navigate some stairs so, under doctor's orders, he's had to cancel the scheduled Soundtrack of Our Lives show at Roskilde.
C.Aarmé just put up a couple videos on their homepage. They also report that they will be entering the studio on July 7 to record 'at least' 15 new songs.
Bear Quartet has put up an old mp3 of "Guilt Jazz/High Noon" from a live Luleå radio broadcast in 1995.
One more band has been added to the Uppsala Hardcore Fest: Parade. They'll play Tuesday at 18:00. See previous days news for more details.
Denmark's Ravonettes will appear on 'Late Night with David Letterman' this coming September 10. Obviously, the previously announced date in July will not be happening as planned. The band also will be supporting Beck at the Brixton Academy in London on August 21.
The band Dechas won the Emergenza demoband fest and they now get to play at the Taubertal festival in Germany this coming August. More on Dechas here. More on Taubertal here. Other bands playing the fest include The Cardigans and HIM.
The latest edition of the Brainwashed Brain reviews Ulver's "1993-2003: 1st Decade in the Machines", among other fine releases.
Kiss frontman Paul Stanley is working on a new solo album with Swedish songwriter Andreas Carlsson due out sometime early next year. Andreas' previous credits include working with artists such as Celine Dion, Def Leppard, Celine Dion, Backstreet Boys, N*Sync, Bon Jovi and Britney Spears.
Here's an update from Borknagar drummer Asgeir Mickelson concerning the recording of their forthcoming album and other current activities, as posted on their message board:
"I've recorded all the acoustic drums. I still have to do some V-drums stuff on one of the two Lars-instrumentals (don't know what to do yet...), and I'll spend a couple of hours going through all the drum tracks fixing small errors (like when I hit the snare or a tom a little bit wrong I can replace it with a better take, or move the bassdrums if they're not dead on the snare). Lars has recorded all keyboards (very happy with the sounds!) and Hammond (different one than last time - even more organic sound), but still have to record the grand piano in Fagerborg studio. Andreas is doing all his vocals next week (starting tomorrow). Øystein recorded most of the rhythm tracks in April and will continue recording his endless amounts of guitars the same week as Andreas is doing the vocals. Tyr was supposed to record bass this week but had to postpone it to the second week in July due to not getting his new fretless bass in time."
"Other news is that we've chosen to release the album early next year. We have way too much material so we'll probably save some songs for a Japanese release or something else. We still haven't found a title for it, but it's decided that I will - as usual - do the cover design + this time shoot the band pictures (the problem with being in front and behind the camera at the same time is solved with a remote control and then some hours with Photoshop...). Other reasons for releasing the album next year is that we need more time to find and record "the snacks". We want it to be better produced - more sound effects, more intros/outros, whatever... We have found a possible session guitarist to replace Jens, but still need to learn him the songs before playing live. Looks like we will have to cancel the (only) two scheduled shows and come back stronger next year. Who knows, maybe it's worth the wait..."
Some of the bands confirmed for the upcoming 4th annual Norbergfestival for modern electronica which takes place in Norberg, Sweden on July 24-26: Pan Sonic (FIN), Philip Jeck (UK) & Jacob Kirkegaard (DK), Gert-Jan Prins (NL), Mikael Stavöstrand (S), Björn Svin (DK), Håkan Libdo (S), Karsten Pflum (DK), Bauri (S), and Wäldchengarten (DK). More info: www.norbergfestival.com
Via pHinnWeb, comes these pictures from a recent Pan Sonic show in Russia.
In what is being billed as a 'knight to remember', Sweden's power-metal superstars Dream Evil will be playing the Camden Underworld in London on September 27. Dream Evil features Studio Fredman owner/engineer Fredrik Nordström and ex-Mercyful Fate drummer/Notre Dame frontman Snowy Shaw and have two albums out. Fellow Swedes Falconer open, and as the press release says, "Prepare to do battle against false metaaaal with thy sword held on high!!!"