post punk / new wave / goth rock
Heading from Bristol, Naut decided to ignore all current trends and to look back to the dark eighties. Now, this five-piece comes with a baffling debut EP, containing five pitch black goth rock tunes. Influences from bands like Sisters Of Mercy and Killing Joke run rampant and come with the overwhelming energy of post punk acts like The Jesus and Mary Chain. Song like opener 'Disintegration' and 'I'm Here' are destined to fill dark dancefloors everywhere. My personal favorite here is closer 'XVI'. It makes me curious and hungry for more, but for now I'm sure that this EP will be an excellent addition to every post punk / goth rock collection.
doom / sludge
Sheffield doom mongers Kurokuma return with a two track EP, based on the Dope Rider strip from High Times in the 70s. The artwork comes from Paul Kirchner, the creator of the strip. The music is another slab of severe psychotic sludge doom, five and eight minutes long. Part 1 also showcases something industrial, reflected by repetitive, almost methodical drums. Part 2 simply continues to slow but brutal pummeling. Fans of bands like Conan, Dopethrone and Yob can easily trust Kurokuma to deliver the monolithic riffs and fierce vocals they crave so much. So if you want your sludge metal as destructive as a wrecking ball, this EP should do.
post-metal / doom / alternative rock
Several months after the release of 'Serrated', Dutch heavy rockers An Evening With Knives unleash three songs that did not make the album because of the limited space on the vinyl. Yet, these songs were to important for the band to be ignored. Opener and title track 'Fade Out' deals with the death of Marco’s father due to Alzheimer disease. It's a long, heavy and cathartic lamentation, showcasing the darkest side of this band. The other two songs follow that example, be it a bit shorter. They all walk a similar path as the songs on 'Serrated', and thus would also fit perfectly into every sludge, doom and grunge collection. These guys are growing steadily, that's for sure.
electronic / ambient / experimental
An alienating two track EP that will leave you confused and entangled, that is what Soho Rezanejad delivers. Subtle electronics, minimalist drones, gloomy soundscapes and her vocals come together in two lengthy modern day folk songs. I can't help but think about a mix between Zola Jesus and Diamanda Galas, be it a bit less creepy than the latter. Yet, there is emotion, there is fear, mourning, wonder and hope in these two tracks. There is a mystifying atmosphere, one that borrows elements from dark ambient. Yet, above all perhaps, this is a unique piece of work, reminding me of an act like Dark Ensemble. Recommended only for eternally wandering souls.
post rock / post metal / stoner / sludge
In today's post rock scene, new bands pop up like mushrooms. Würzburg residents The Man Within are one of those newcomers. Mostly, that first effort comes with a low production and a careful introduction in what the band really is capable of. Yet, here that results in a full-blown post metal album with seven outstanding tracks. Most of them, including 'Mount Santo', my favorite 'Institution' (that rolling bass is hot!!!) and the massive 'Limitless' can easily entertain audiences far and wide. Although firmly rooted in the post-scene, elements from sludge metal, psychedelic rock and stoner rock are never far away. A great introduction, now let's hope they can confirm this in the near future.
The new brainchild of Nachtzeit, the man behind ambient dark metal project Lustre, comes up with an interesting dark ambient album. Although playful at time, this album takes us back to the mysterious and dark age of the Norse gods. Early in 'Drömmarna' acts like Mortiis (on Cold Meat Industry) and Wongraven come to mind. Synths, soundscapes and dreamy melodies guide the listening on a musical tour of medieval Europe, so it seems, highlighting in 'Löftet' and 'Tårarn'. Strangely, the title track 'Hädanfärden' has an X-Files OST feeling about it, which isn't bad, on the contrary. Fans of old school medieval dark ambient can easily appreciate this album.
alternative rock / hard rock / grunge
Belgian hard rock duo Breakfast At Midnight proves that two is enough to create heaps of noise. On this debut EP they blast seven tracks through our speakers, beginning with the heavy rocking 'Kidi Coke'. From then on, the rock doesn't seem to stop. Inspired by anything between Tool, Queens Of The Stone Age and Stone Temple Pilots, these two feed an everlasting fire. Most tracks drive on sheer energy but in 'What I'm To Say' and in '1813', the band delves deeply into the Pearl Jam version of grunge rock. Here, the vocals are excellent and clean while the other tunes contain heaps of aggressive screams. Not that I mind, this is pure rock 'n roll: raw, rough and heavy.
black metal / death metal
Grab onto something now because Ukrainian trio Goatsperm is about to unload a hellish, chaotic and vulgar EP, loaded with orthodox black/death metal. 'Voice In The Womb' contains three tracks, each one being a pummeling piece of extreme metal, as dark as Satan's butthole but with an ambient breather here and there. Somehow, this trio manages to combine atmospheric passages with sheer metallic terror, something that might indeed make a lot of banging heads turn their way in the near future. Besides, 'Into The Deep Waters Of Catacombs' is one of the fiercest black metal tunes I've heard this year. If you're a self-respecting extremist, you need this.
krautrock / shoegaze / punk
What would have happened if Ramones used My Bloody Valentine's guitar effects? What would a punk rock cover album of Neu! songs sound like? Well, Finnish six piece Teksti-TV 666 might have a decent answer for you. 'Aidattu Tulevaisuus' delivers six high-octane krautrock tunes with the raw energy of punk and the immersive nature of shoegaze. I admit, it is something different from the usual slabs of rock 'n roll that appear here but 'Turbo-Mondeo' and 'Aidattu tulevaisuus' can easily get your behind shaking. My favorite here is the somewhat slower 'Rauhankone', which might be described as a down-to-earth space rock track. Recommended? Hell yeah!
ambient / electronic / experimental
Hailing from Porto, Vitor Joaquim is a sound sculptor and visual artist, active around the strange borders between soothing ambient and otherworldly noise. This new album, 'Impermanence' contains seven tracks, revolving around repetitive soundscapes, almost subconscious loops and immersive musical textures. Here and there vocals samples have been added to increase the narrative nature of the music. That, along with the minimal soundscapes, makes the title track my favorite here but I'm sure that every fan of decent ambient music can appreciate these sounds. Obviously, this comes highly recommended.
ambient / drone / experimental / noise
An even more noisy and experimental variation on ambient sounds comes from Han, a project by Vitor Joaquim and Emidio Buchinho. This album revolves around live improvisation and real time processing, which results in something severely unusual and highly experimental. Yet, behind the gritty freestyle on the guitar, beautiful ambient loops lurk. These seven tracks are weird, immersive in one way, yet restrained and peculiar. Somehow this album feels like the early days of drone experimentation, when artists were exploring the other possibilities of their instruments. In all, this is an interesting release to dive into, but only for experienced avant gardists...
drone / sludge / doom / noise
Outside of your musical comfort zone there is so much awe inspiring music to be found. When you leave the easy-listening surface behind you, you can discover sounds unheard and unimagined. Few people seem to realize that but then again, few people are open to new musical experiences.
Those people usually say "that is just noise" and they're absolutely right. It's delightful noise, piercing your consciousness and ripping your self esteem apart. I do think some people need to be forced to listen to a decent dose of noise music and I got just the album for that.
UK based trio Bodies On Everest does some good noise. Initially coined a sludge/doom act, these guys go way further than that. The album contains six tracks with opener 'unreleaseddeathvideo.flac' being a massive noise tune, nudging towards the Harsh Noise Wall scene. With eerie samples and gritty soundscapes, this track sets the tone for unholy and blatantly dissonant things to come.
'Tally Of Sevens' then comes up with the elements that usually result in sludge metal: intense riffs, pounding drums and screams. However, this is not sludge metal, this is repetitive noise rock that will slowly gnaw on your feeling of wellbeing. There is a tremendous lo-fi atmosphere, resulting in something very uneasy-listening. By now, not even halfway through the album it becomes clear that this is definitely not something for the average (doom) metal fan.
The band members themselves call their sound "dungeon wave" and yeah, if you imagine the cries and supplications of countless of forlorn prisoners in ancient dungeon, that term is quite correct. Besides, the eerie 'Gold Fangs In Enemy Territory' contains elements from the genre I refer to as "dungeon synth". This is haunting music, barely melodic and with an overwhelming feeling of despair and solitude.
I have absolutely no band to compare this stuff with, apart from the many underground noise acts that often intrude my facebook profile. I mean, this is more Prurient than Sunn O))), more Genocidal Organ than Swans. 'Shotgun Or Sidearm' for instance has absolutely nothing to do with metal anymore. Not that this is a bad thing, on the contrary. It's interesting to hear this slab of sheer noise aggression.
'Suspicious Canoe' brings back the basic elements and even raises the tempo but do not expect anything less destructive as the previous tracks. I think I can describe this best as something that resembles and old basement tape from Winter. Suffocating noise punk, so to speak. It just adds to the uncompromising nature of this whole album. This thing must be bad for your health, undoubtedly, but then again, what isn't these days. So check it out, you might find some new favorite noises in here.
electronic / experimental / rhythmic noise
The more I work for this webzine, the more I'm convinced that music has the ability to create parallel universes. Some create beautiful landscapes, some create ancient worlds, some create otherworldly environments. This album surely belongs to the latter.
It's a futuristic, dystopian universe, covered in snow and ash. It's cold, eerie and forlorn. Yet, it is also a habitat, one for people who seem to be on their dead-end. No, there is nothing jolly about this album but that doesn't make it any less interesting, on the very contrary.
Hailing from Taipei, Taiwan, Meuko! Meuko! delivers a harsh, cold reality, aided by icy electronics, broken beats and haunting soundscapes. The album contains seven tracks, five plus two remixes to be exact. '都市念佛法會 Metropolitan Sutra Gathering' mostly serves as an intro, gently offering you a glimpse into what is about to come. Then, '眾神廟 The Temple' kicks of with the repetitive Arabian sounding sounds and the impending beats. Before you realize it, you're caught up in this bizarre world.
'鬼島 Ghost Island' at first seems to follow the current bass-loaded electronic trends but quickly turns into something even Autechre would be surprised about. This harsh IDM track is loaded with elements from breakcore, hard techno and noise. Well, most of this album is. Besides Autechre and 'A Shocking Hobby' era Speedy J, I hear influences from Imminent, Sonar and Iszoloscope, to name a few. 'Dog War' is my personal favorite, a slow but repetitive piece of rhythmic noise to haunt my very dreams.
'希卡公主 Princess Sika' is another brilliant piece of technoir, this time with spooky vocals and soundscapes. This is the soundtrack for a post apocalyptic prison movie. The remix is even less danceable than the original but nonetheless an in-your-face electronic music track. We end with 眾神廟 The Temple (Dutch E Germ Remix), another favorite of mine. So if you like your electronic music to gnaw on your soul, you definitely have to check this thing out. This is a little container of utter insanity and I like it.
Federico Dal Pozzo - Untitled_VNZ
ambient / experimental / noise
Deadsmoke - Forest Of The Damned
doom / sludge metal
Antoine Panaché - Pleasures
experimental / avant garde
Misantronics - Zührpruym
drone / electronic / ambient
Woes - The Coldest Place Is Within Myself
hardcore / crust / black metal
Brass Owl - Brass Owl
psychedelic rock / stoner rock
Dead Man's Eyes - Words of Prey
indie / alternative rock / psychedelic rock
Jübl - Thinking Sweet
dream pop / trip hop
Autger - Eucharistia, Praedestinatio Gemina
dark ambient / neoclassical / dark jazz
Dr Space - Dr Space's Alien Planet Trip Vol 1
krautrock / psychedelic rock
A Scar For The Wicked - The Unholy
death metal / deathcore
Stelios Ventas - Faded Flower
Feelament - Hate Delivery
One swallow doesn’t make a summer. These words remind us of the sad reality that it is to try to change the world without any support... However, if you are the owner of an independent musical label that made a beautiful charity proposal and dozens of talented artists gave support to your idea, a beautiful sunny week will happen! This is the case of the 'Exhibition' compilation, conceived and released by Submarine Broadcasting Company label (UK), where the profits from the sale of all seven volumes (I said that many artists supported the project) will be donated to The Shaw Mind Foundation, an institution focused on mental health. The compilation's theme is folklore, going from local legends to famous Chupacabras. In addition, three colors separate the seven volumes accordingly to their aesthetics!
Red color indicates that the tracks are the most experimental, so be prepared for any kind of music/sounds that artists had imagined in their minds!
Green color is used for sonorities between experimental and radio-friendly, like ambient music and instrumental music with melodic features!
Blue color is for radio-friendly songs, going from rock to pop and electro!
This is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to listen to musicians from different styles/locations around the world, because there are MANY hours of music with a name-your-price payment. When it comes to charity, any money is very welcome, as long as it fits in your budget and be donated with love, like the music made by each of the more than fifty artists who participated in this project! As powerful as immaterial, music in the right hands can make the difference with compassion and brotherly love. This definitely makes me very happy and hopeful with art! I sincerely hope that you feel the same when participating of this beautiful action, whether listening to the compilation or making a donation of any value!
An Evening With Knives - Serrated
post-metal / doom / alternative rock
Autger - God Kissing Carrion
dark jazz / ambient / experimental / trip hop
Lamirāl - This EP Has No Name And It's Alright
Gray Dog - The Deal
Paulie Jan - Yukio (A Brief Sonic Evocation)
dark ambient / noise
Lachrymose - The Unseen
doom / occult metal
Disowning - Battle of Neverness
Gravecoven - Coughing Blood
black metal / doom / death metal
Vandal Moon - Wild Insane
post punk / synth pop
Sense Fracture - In My Escape I look For A Weapon
breakcore / industrial
Richard James Simpson - Sweet Birds Of Youth
alternative rock / blues
style of Tool and quite a bit of grunge - vocals that remind of Cobain included. So go buy this one if you appreciate something that refuses to fit into one box.
Nhung Nguyen – Oblivion
ambient / experimental
drone / ambient / experimental
Several years ago, when I first entered the world of experimental music, I became fascinated with the seemingly endless possibilities of live improvisation. Until then, I had seen many concerts, mostly rock and metal bands performing their pre-rehearsed stuff on a pre-built stage. That was all fine and interesting but I soon learned that there were other concerts too. My first non-stage event was in a backyard, organised by a friend of mine. Then I watched a band in a living room. Later in an old fort, and abandoned factory, somewhere in the woods, a train wagon, a WWII bunker, a basement. Suddenly, live music was possibly everywhere and one-man acts popped up like mushrooms.
The Netherlands are very good at that. There, everything can be a music venue. That is why that country has such a strong and growing experimental music scene. The Dutch gave us groundbreaking noise acts like De Fabriek, Machinefabriek, Kristus Kut and so on and I guess I can easily add Owlbites to that list. This act, formed by Thanos Fotiadis, fishes in the same pool as the aforementioned acts. He as played in the same surprising venues as his colleagues and his music is just as uncompromising too.
The two lengthy compositions on this album have been recorded in January 2018. They are live improvisations, another one of those huge advantages of being an experimental noise act. Frankly, Thanos does whatever he likes, inspired by the surroundings, the reactions of the audience and the array of equipment he brought. The result is an intense and immersive blend of drone, noise and ambient soundscapes, opening with a spoken word introduction on how to fully appreciate the weird and unusual sounds you are about to experience.
While track one, 'The Meditative State', is an hypnotic and often harsh composition, 'Nature Is Satan's Church' seems to take on a more gentle approach, driving on droning strings. The first track feels synthetic, industrial while the other delves into distorted guitars after a while. I can surely imagine this concert as an intense and well-varied musical trip, one that I will definitely enjoy. So yeah, I think it's only natural that I recommend this album to all fans of gritty and creepy ambient music, especially those who often dive deep into the waters of noise.
Objector - Social Intolerance
Chief Roberts - The Hopeless
stoner metal / sludge
RRRags - RRRags
psychedelic rock / stoner / blues
Hellstorm Of Flaming Nothingness - Sattva
drone / ambient
Forte Ruin - Rebuilding the Machinery
death metal / symphonic metal
Postcode - Dandelion Radio Session II
Hypnodial - Aether Alcoves
Dead Neanderthals - Life
drone / noise / ambient
Hiemis - Nachtstücke
Setaoc Mass - Solid Void
Meka Nism - The War Inside
symphonic metal / death metal
Severin - Safe Following Distance
electronic / experimental / breakcore
Owl - Orion Fenix
doom / post metal
Stonemule - Dystopian State
metal / hardcore
Ritual King - Earthrise
psychedelic rock / doom
Wykan - Solace
psychedelic / doom
Soft Science - Undone / I Don't Know Why I Love You
shoegaze / dream pop
Maff - Melañiña
Nostalgist - Disaffection
post punk / new wave
Amusement Parks On Fire - All The New Ends
alternative rock / shoegaze
Grift - Vilsna Andars Boning
Giovanni Verga - Sylphic
experimental / ambient / noise
TRI:.OBYTE - STAR ⠃⠊⠗⠞⠓ KIC 8462852
ambient / noise / experimental
Bloodkry - Dark Paradise
dark ambient / drone
Kloob - Remarkable Events
ambient / electronic
Widow's Peak - Graceless
Cult of Extinction - Black Nuclear Magick Attack
electronic / experimental / ambient
From the very early beginnings on our motto here at Merchants Of Air has been "exploring the regions of the musical universe". And that is true. We have been reviewing everything from modern classical music to avant garde grindcore and from soothing ambient to blasphemous blackened sludge metal.
Quite often we also dare to cross the borders between music and "what is generally not considered to be music". Experimental music and noise certainly have a place on Merchants Of Air, mainly because sometimes something eeryling breathtaking comes along.
Maximilian Latva is a composer from Helsinki, Finland. With a small modular system, two monosynths, effect pedals and toy instruments Latva produces something that gracefully balances on the edge between experimental ambient and noise music. He calls it "electronic chamber music" and I quite agree with that. However, do not expect a relaxing ambient album, this is something rough with unexpected hooks and twists, in more than one aspect more jazz than ambient.
What sets Maximilian Latva apart from many other producers that appear here is his harsh, often unsettling sound. Opener 'Ajatuksesta Luopuminen' carefully lures you in. This track is interesting. It invites you to continue listening. But then, slowly, the cold harshness fades in. In that aspect 'Alkukuvien Sammuminen' is definitely a highlight on this album, a haunting, lingering piece of electronic noise, void of repetition, melody or rhythm. Merzbow or Krzysztof Penderecki fans will undoubtedly love this.
In all, 'Hrön' is a challenging album, one that is certainly not suited for everyone. It is also quite varied for an experimental album. 'Mitättömyyden Kohtaaminen' might be my personal favorite here, an eerie folk tune thriving on the background of dark drones and soundscapes. I will leave the rest up to you, dear reader. I do recommend checking this out, but only if you are prepared to be surprised, shocked and awed. If so, you will undoubtedly find something unique and satisfying.