Interview: Yves Schelpe (Psy'Aviah)

“It ['The Xenogamous Endeavour'] describes in words what I want to band to stand for, a marriage of styles, genres and people one wouldn’t expect at first, but does work out well.”

Interview: Joey Blush (Blush Response)

“What I search for in music is unique expression… I am not a fan of genre music. I don't like having rules or ideals about what fits into what scene or genre.”

Review: Alternative 4 – 'The Obsucrants'


Review: Youth Code – 'An Overture'


Review: Godflesh – 'A World Lit Only By Fire'


Thursday, 23 October 2014

Review: In Death It Ends – 'After The Last Frame'

'After the Last Frame'

It isn't often that Porl King lets loose his ambient side, but with the latest release under the In Death It Ends Moniker, he does just that. 'After The Last Frame' is a departure even by IDIE standards with each of the six tracks the result of manipulations & interpolations of the soundtrack to "suicidemouse.avi", a creepypasta story based on a “lost” Micky Mouse cartoon.

The EP harks back to the more experimental beginnings of the project, with more of a fluid form that sees the tracks gently guided as they slowly evolve and reform themselves. Opening with 'Those Thirty Seconds', the emphasis is immediately on dark ambient textures and a cavernous bleak atmosphere as the prominent hanging drones fill the speakers. 'The 7th Minute' on the hand makes good use of a simple repetitive rhythm that continually loops as the synths hum and whir low in the mix. 'After The Last Frame' continues with the simple rhythms but brings the synths higher up the mix to counteract the primitive industrial noises that punctuate the track.

'Lost Episode' is a more recognisable IDIE style of track with a more uniform structure that blends down-beat witch house with cold wave for a deceptively accessible song. 'Upon Leaving the Room' again makes use of a simple repetitive rhythm, however this time the looping melodies add a lighter tone but still in a way that preserves the surreal nature of the EP. The EP is then rounded off by 'Cut Black', which again goes back into more familiar IDIE territory with it's more proto-industrial vibe and grooving bass line underneath a simple rhythm.

In terms of production this is another example from Porl of how to keep the low-fi, underground edge without actually loosing any of the quality. And despite the prolific rate at which King writes, records, and releases work for IDIE, he never falls into the traps of being released half baked, or lacking spit and polish.

The "suicidemouse.avi" is a nice link to internet meme culture and faux-urban legend storytelling that fits the In Death It Ends mystique quite nicely. But when all is said and done, this is another interesting and yet accessible experimental release that will appeal to current fans, as well as those with a passing fancy for dark ambient and more avant garde flavours.  

Information Society re-release '_Hello World' on cassette

Synthpop veterans Information Society have announced the re-release of their most recent album '_Hello World' on cassette. The release follows the now sold out limited edition made available for Cassette Store Day.

The cassette features custom pad-print shell artwork, and also comes with a download coupon for those who no longer have cassette players, and will be available in six separate shell colours: Greeny-grey, Bubblegum blue, (S)Lime green, Pink Bricks!, Caution! Yellow, and Off White.

Track List: 
A1. Land Of The Blind
A2. The Prize
A3. Where Were You
A4. Get Back
A5. Jonestown

B1. Dancing With Strangers
B2. Beautiful World (Featuring Gerald V. Casale)
B3. Creatures Of Light And Darkness
B4. Above And Below
B5. Let It Burn
B6. Tomorrow The World  

The cassette version of '_Hello World' is available now through Artoffact Records. For more information on the band, please visit their official website.  

Noir to release 'RE:MIT:TENT'

Cinematic dark electronic band Noir, headed by ex-Spahn Ranch frontman Athan Maroulis, have announced the remix companion to their début album, 2013's 'Darkly Near'. 'RE:MIT:TENT' will feature 20 remixes of songs from 'Darkly Near' from the likes of ManMadeMan, Assemblage 23, Dead Voices On Air, Ludovico Technique, Decoded Feedback, Die Sektor, Black Tape for a Blue Girl and many others.

'RE:MIT:TENT' will be available to purchase as a digital download only through Metropolis Records on 11th November 2014.

Track List:
1. A Forest (ManMadeMan Remix)
2. Timephase (Nick Brennan Remix)
3. The Bells (Interface Remix)
4. My Dear (Assemblage 23 Remix)
5. My Dear (Ego Likeness Remix)
6. The Bells (Deadliner Remix)
7. The Bells (Lemurr Remix)
8. The Bells (Souless Affection Remix)
9. Timephase (Inertia: The Third Man Remix)
10. Timephase (Asylum Black Remix)
11. Timephase (Ludovico Technique Remix)
12. The Bells (Decoded Feedback Remix)
13. Timephase (Anti-Mechanism Remix)
14. Timephase (Die Sektor Remix)
15. The Tragics (Amphetamine Virus Remix)
16. In Every Dream Home A Heartache (Displacer Remix)
17. The Voyeurs (Metrognome vs Falcotronik Remix)
18. The Voyeurs (Dead Voices On Air Remix)
19. The Voyuers (Black Tape for a Blue Girl Remix)
20. Timephase (PBK & Artemis K Remix)

'RE:MIT:TENT' is available to pre-order now via Metropolis Records. For more information on the band, including future releases and live dates, please visit their official website.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Review: Dreams Divide – 'Tears From The Night Sky'

'Tears From The Night Sky'

On the heels of the excellent single 'Trashed' comes Dreams Divide's sophomore full-length studio outing 'Tears From The Night Sky'. It's immediately evident that the alternative dance duo's time since the release of their début 'Puppet Love' has been spent honing their sound, and where their predecessor hinted at their potential to create serious dance-friendly anthems, 'Tears From The Night Sky' delivers them in droves.

Songs such as 'Our Creation', 'Trashed' , 'The Homecoming', 'Skydive', 'Filth', and 'Heaven Comes To Get You' blend up-tempo dance beats with soaring synth melodies and the heavily emotional vocal styles of both David Crout and Gem Davison into a rich tapestry the recalls turn-of the millennium melancholic futurepop blended with more mainstream leaning dance a pop sensibilities. There is a dark and brooding edge to the songs, but ultimately this is a hopeful and rather joyous album that lifts the spirits.

Being only ten tracks long, the album doesn't outstay its welcome and with the tracks gradually getting longer as it progresses, it builds a sense of structure to the proceedings that gives it a more united sense of wholeness.

In terms of production the album is once again very well executed. It is crisp, clean and modern with the songs aiming to fill the room and achieving it. For a band that is only on their second album, they already sound like they can easily hold their own alongside many veteran synthpop acts.

'Tears From The Night Sky' is a good introduction to the band, and one that will hopefully be a good launchpad for bigger things if they are able to get the push that they deserve. Their mainstream leanings may be anathema to many who like something a little more gritty or avant garde mixed in with their dance music, but there is no doubt that many of these will be floor-fillers.

Review: KMFDM – 'Our Time Will Come'

'Our Time Will Come'

Thirty years and more releases to their name than most bands will ever muster, KMFDM hit back with another slab of ultra heavy beat in the form of their latest studio album 'Our Time Will Come'. The first thing that is noticeable is the band have dropped the five-letter/symbol title theme that they have run with on and off since 1989 and gone for the longest album title since 1988's 'Don't Blow Your Top'. This is of course completely inconsequential though as the standard KMFDM motifs are ever present, from the album cover courtesy of Brute!, to the trendsetting combination of heavy riffs, hard beats and dance synths that the band have pioneered and perfected.

Kapt'n K and the crew kick things off with tongue firmly in cheek with 'Genau' as they roll through a lesson in German in their most club-friendly style. The band then bring things down a little more with the bass-heavy and brooding 'Shake The Cage' as Lucia Cifarelli lets rip on government surveillance. Songs such as 'Respekt', 'Salvation', 'Get The Tongue Wet', and 'Make Your Stand' carry on the up-tempo pace nicely and give the album the accessible and anthemic backbone that we've come to expect. Whilst songs like 'Our Time Will Come' and 'Playing God' are slower and more stripped back to show off the depth of the song writing and really allow the lyrics to drive things.

After thirty years of conceptual continuity, we all know what to expect from KMFDM. The production is great once again and still keeps the old Wax Trax! vibe alive and well, but the band continue to bring new sounds and styles into their arsenal and it continues to work.

The band may not be the cutting edge pioneers they once were but they are a fundamentally strong song writing unit. There are the hits that will get the most club play and space in the live set of course. But what KMFDM are best at is giving you the most bang for your buck, and once again you've paid for ten tracks and that's what you've got. No filler, no pointless segues or instrumentals, just decent KMFDM brand industrial rock. If the stars align there's no reason why they couldn't continue for another thirty years.  

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Review: Chrysalide – 'Personal Revolution'

'Personal Revolution'

Three years on from the French cyberpunk trio's last outing, 'Don't Be Scared, It's About Life', and Chrysalide are back with the unenviable task of trying to top what was considered a very strong offering. The new long-player may see the band moving away from the sheer dissonance of its predecessor, but 'Personal Revolution' is just as forceful in its approach as the band mix old-school industrial structures, with synth-pop melodies, hip-hop beats and dubstep elements for a contemporary take on the genre that will undoubtedly have broad appeal.

There is a strong undercurrent of latter Skinny Puppy running throughout the album which gives every track a fundamental dance-friendly quality, but couple that with the fist-in-the-air and shout-a-long vocals and the album becomes much heavier and anthemic.

Songs such as 'Question Everything', 'We Are Not Cursed', 'Another Kind Of Me', 'Keep Calm', 'Substance Over Style' and 'Personal Revolution' give the album a strong backbone of dynamic dance-friendly cuts that really get under the skin. While the likes of 'Cynicism Is A Poison', 'It Gets In The Blood', 'All Demons' and 'I Had A Dream' keep things interesting with more experimental and deep flourishes that really show the extent of the band's song writing ability and a sense of unexpectedness to the listening experience.

The production is just as solid as the song writing and despite such a number of different stylistic elements clashing, the mix maintains a nice balance while preserving a central core sound which gives the album linear flow. There is a definite old school industrial vibe ever present, but this is fresh and modern in its execution and it sounds just right for 2014.

'Personal Revolution' is perhaps the band's strongest album to date. It is evident that they have taken their time and honed a varied yet cohesive whole. The album shouldn't fail to appeal to a broad selection of industrial fans with its nods to classic acts but always with a willingness to embrace new sounds and get a little experimental. Chrysalide have a future classic on their hands here.  

Swans to release 'Oxygen'

Seminal experimental rock group Swans have announced the release of a brand new digital EP 'Oxygen', which will be released on 24th November 2014 via Mute Records. The song 'Oxygen is taken from the band's latest album, 'To Be Kind', which is currently available to buy through Mute.

The EP will feature an edit of the title track by Mute founder Daniel Miller, as well as a live version from 'Primavera', an early version recorded at Gira’s home, and an acoustic version recorded at StudioMute.

Track List:
Oxygen (Edit)
Oxygen (Live at Primavera)
Oxygen (Early Version)
Oxygen (Acoustic Version)

Swans are also on tour and can be seen on the following dates:

20 October - Prague, Lucenra Music Bar, Czech Republic
21 October - Berlin, Berghain, Germany – SOLD OUT
22 October - Berlin, Berghain, Germany – SOLD OUT
23 October - Leipzig, Schauspiel Leipzig, Germany
24 October - Cologne, Gebaeude 9, Germany – SOLD OUT
25 October - Hanover, MusikZentrum, Germany
27 October - Hamburg, Kampnagel, Germany
29 October - Dresden, Beatpol, Germany
30 October - Wiesbaden, Schlachtho, Germany
31 October - Karlsruhe, Jubez, Germany
1 November - Munich, Feierwerk, Germany
22 November - Utrecht, Mouth To Mouth at Le Guess Who? festival curated by Swans
23 November - Copenhagen, Vega Main Hall, Denmark
24 November - Oslo, Rockefeller, Norway
25 November - Stockholm, Slakthuset, Sweden
26 November - Helsinki, Tavastia, Finland
28 November - St Petersburg, Kosmonavt, Russia
29 November - Moscow, VOLTA, Russia
1 December - Poznan, Eskulap, Poland
2 December - Gdansk, Klub B90, Poland
3 December - Warsaw, Basen, Poland
5 December - Athens, Votanikos, Greece
6 December - Thessaloniki, Bloc 33, Greece
7 December - Drill : Brighton curated by Wire, UK
8 December - Nottingham, Rescue Rooms, UK
27 January - Tokyo O-East, Japan
28 January - Osaka Club Quattro, Japan
21 May 2015 - London, Roundhouse, UK

To pre-order 'Oxygen' please vist the Mute Records webshop. For more information on the band, please visit their official website.  

Mlada Fronta return with 'Polygon' and 'Night Run'

French artist Remy Pelleschi, AKA Mlada Fronta, has announced the project's first new material in nearly a decade through Artoffact Records.

'Polygon' will be released in a six-panel digipak with exclusive 28-page booklet. The album will also have a companion release in 'Night Run' which will be released on 12" vinyl and will be available on black vinyl (200 copies) or collector's orange (100 copies).

Both 'Polygon' and 'Night Run' are available to pre-order now via Artoffact Records. For more information on Mlada Fronta, please visit the official website.  

Monday, 20 October 2014

Screams in the silence: Horror films of the silent era (Part 1)

Lon Chaney as Erik from 'The Phantom Of the Opera'

Horror, more than any other cinematic genre, taps into the deepest and most primal parts of the human psyche. From things that go bump in the night to the plausible terror that the quiet man that owns the motel is a psychotic serial killer, the genre has continued to evolve for every generation of cinema goers.

Yet there was a time before horror existed as a genre. The monster movie boom of the 1930s that started with Bela Lugosi's infamous lines “I am – Dracula.” [...] “I bid you welcome.” first gave Hollywood studios its biggest taste for horror. But what a bout the pioneering films and their icons of the early years of cinema that brought horror to the silver screen? For that we need to step back to a time before sound and into the world of the silent film.

Many early films have been lost or destroyed as the decades have progressed. But those that survive offer a tantalising glimpse into the move from theatrical special effects into basic camera tricks to add supernatural visuals to the stories on the screen. The interplay of light and shadow of German expressionism and the pioneering makeup techniques of the 'Man with a thousand faces' Lon Chaney.

The Early Shorts
With the invention of the cinematograph in the 1890s by French brothers
Auguste and Louis Lumière it became inevitable that the traditions of horror fiction and theatrical plays would find a natural home in the new medium. The medium's inventors saw no future in motion pictures outside of their brief fairground attraction showing very short pieces of footage and turned their attention back to photography. But a fellow Frenchman by the name of George Méliès saw its potential and began to produce a huge variety of short films that ranged from a few minutes in length to nearly quarter of an hour and drawing on everything from fantasy, science fiction and horror. 

George Méliès

Méliès' occupation as an illusionist allowed him to experiment with new ideas to bring his stage magic to his films. Stage effects and automata and basic editing techniques such as double exposure, superimposing images and stop tricks all became industry standards and advanced the technical wizardry of cinema. Although his most well known films are the science fiction cum fantasy adaptations of 'A Trip to the Moon' (1902) and 'The Impossible Voyage' (1904), one of his early creations was the comedic horror 'Le Manoir du diable' (1896) AKA 'The Haunted Castle'. Credited as “the first horror film” 'The Haunted Castle' follows an encounter with the Devil in a haunted house and emphasises creating wonder and astonishment in its audience with its focus on special effects rather than fear. This was something that would characterise all of Méliès' subsequent horror films such as 'Le Château Hanté' (1897), 'La Damnation De Faust' (1898), 'Le Diable Au Couvent ' (1899), 'Faust Et Marguerite' (1904), 'Le Diable Noir' (1905), and 'Les Quat' Cents Farces Du Diable' (1906). Méliès' fortunes waned, and by the time the first world war broke out he was bankrupt. Many films were melted down by the French government for the war effort and Méliès himself burned a number of his negatives. Around 200 of his films survived but his pioneering use of special effects set the tone for cinema until the advent of CGI. 

Outside of Méliès' work there were other willing to dip their toes into darker waters. The Japanese market produced '
Bake Jizo' AKA 'Jizo The Ghost' and 'Shinin no Sosei' AKA 'Resurrection Of A Corpse', both made in 1898, and which are now sadly lost. While a French contemporary of George Méliès named Alice Guy Blache created 'Esmeralda' (1905), which featured the first on-screen depiction of Quasimodo from the Victor Hugo novel 'The Hunchback Of Notre Dame'. While over in the USA D.W. Grifith, who would later find success with epics such as 'The Birth Of A Nation' (1915) and 'Intolerance' (1916), looked to Honoré de Balzac and Edgar Allen Poe for his dark short 'The Sealed Room' (1909). 

D.W. Grifith's countryman, the inventor and industrialist Thomas Edison, who had been the creator of the Kinetoscope peepshow machine – a favourite pre-cinema device around the world
  got into the film business. Although he played no direct role in the creation of the 1,200 films produced by his company, his name was nevertheless ingrained into the annals of horror cinema as it was an Eddison film that first brought the gothic horror classic 'Fankenstein' to the silver screen in 1910.
As with the films of Méliès, the sixteen-minute long production of 'Frankenstein' downplays the horror aspect of the novel and focusses instead on the fantastic and psychological nature of the source material.

The novel by Mary Shelly never explicitly describes the creation of the monster, and while a scientific scene is universally portrayed in subsequent adaptations, the creation of the monster in the 1910 version owes a lot more to alchemy. Also rather than cast any doubt on the scientific endeavour of people such as Thomas Edison, the monster is less of a grim warning but a more allegorical suggestion of the horrors inside the human mind. As such the film lacks the true sense of shock and horror that the later films starring Boris Karloff would bring to the screen. 

The Edison Kinetogram Catalogue featuring a still from 'Frankenstein'

To those familiar with Mrs. Shelly's story it will be evident that we have carefully omitted anything which might be any possibility shock any portion of the audience. In making the film the Edison Co. has carefully tried to eliminate all actual repulsive situations and to concentrate its endeavours upon the mystic and psychological problems that are to be found in this weird tale.” - Edison Kinetogram 2. Mar 15, 1910. pp. 3–4

However the films, according to sources, wasn't well received, perhaps due to the tide of tastes moving towords more dynamic productions with a longer running time. Or perhaps due to the somewhat “blasphemous” overtones to the story. Either way, the film was withdrawn not long after circulation and its survival is owed to a private collector from Wisconsin. 

In 1908 Edison had also founded the Motion Picture Patents Company AKA “The Edison Trust” as it was sometimes know, as a means of controlling copyright and standardising distribution in the industry. The company saw that the domination of foreign films in America end, but also discouraged its members from producing feature length films while collecting fees on all aspects of production and exhibition. The control of the MPPC eventually led filmakers to locate their productions in Hollywood, California away from the companies patent enforcement. One new company that set up in Hollywood was Universal. Started by
Carl Laemmle, Mark Dintenfass, Charles O. Baumann, and others in 1909 the company created Universal City Studios, on a 230-acre site to become the largest studio in Hollywood and would become one of the most dominant producers in films for much of the 20th century. They would also give rise to some of the biggest names in horror.

Lon Chaney as the "Man in the Beaver Hat" from 'London After Midnight'

Famous Monsters
Early cinema generally didn't credit the actors who portrayed the characters on the screen. But by the ti
me Leonidas Frank Chaney AKA Lon Chaney donned the makeup for his portrayal of Quasimodo in Universal Pictures' 1923 version of 'The Hunchback Of Notre Dame' the practice of crediting actors was well established and his depictions of grotesque yet sympathetic characters would cement his legacy as the first icon of horror cinema. Chaney, already a skilled character actor due to his time in Vaudeville and a veteran of dozens of other films, was elevated in the eyes of the public.

'The Hunchback Of Notre Dame' like many of the films before it was not strictly a horror film in terms of plot, Chaney's Quasimodo – the half deaf and half blind hunchback bell-ringer of Notre Dame cathedral – is shocking thanks to his masterful use of stage makeup. He's the first identifiable monster of Hollywood, which set a precedent carried throughout Chaney's other forays into horror and beyond into Universal's cannon of famous monsters. 

The portrayal of Lon Chaney's “monsters” Quasimodo and Erik from his 1925 film 'The Phantom Of The Opera' are undoubtedly horrifying in appearance, but Chaney's ability as an actor endeared them to the audience by filling them with pathos and humanity making sure they lived in the public's imagination beyond the initial shock reveals. Chaney also went beyond the grotesque but sympathetic when playing the mad doctor Ziska in 'The Monster' (1925) with the altogether more conventional looking Ziska harbouring a more monstrous nature. While the lost 'London After Midnight' (1927), directed by Todd Browning ('Dracula', 'Freaks'), sees Chaney's makeup skills get put to good use as the vampiric looking “Man in the Beaver Hat” which is less of a supernatural character and more of a gruesome disguise. 

As Chaney's prototype horror films progressed we see more of the Hollywood conventions come into play that would separate them further from the dramas and comedies that preceded them. The shock reveal of the monster, murder, mystery, the supernatural, nefarious scientists all become tools to instil terror in the audience. 

The most infamous 'Shock Reveal' of silent horror...

Chaney may have been Hollywood's biggest horror icon, but there were still more films beyond his now legendary appearances contributing to the foundations of the horror genre. In 1920, three years before Chaney's portrayal of Quasimodo, John Barrymore took on the role of horror's most famous case of split personality 'Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde'. Already a cinema favourite seeing adaptations in 1908, 1912, 1913, and another 1920 production. The 1920 Paramount Pictures adaptation featured a great initial transformation scene in which Barrymore contorts his face into a foul grimace setting a high bar for the subsequent 1931 and 1941 remakes to live up to. While 1925's 'The Lost World' implants the Dinosaur as the focus of horror sewing the seeds for films such as 'King Kong' (1933), 'Godzilla' (1954) and 'One Million Years BC' (1966).

Hollywood may have been making stars and slowly fuelling the public's taste for horror but it was the work of Europe's own masters of horror that showed Hollywood that scaring your audience is just as valid a form of entertainment as making them laugh or cry. Directors such as Paul Wegener, Robert Wiene, Friedrich Murnau, Fritz Lang, and Paul Leni with actors such as Conrad Veidt and Max Schreck.

That's it for part one. Check back next week for part two as we delve into the shadows of German expressionism and uncover the roots of Hammer and Amicus in Britain's own catalogue of silent films...

Friday, 17 October 2014

The weekly compendium 17/10/2014

Over halfway through the month now, so I imagine there are a fair few of you out there gearing up for the Bram Stoker Film Festival and Whitby Goth Weekends which are fast approaching... Though that double whammy is the signal for the end of the year, there are still plenty of things going on in November and December before Christmas hits, so hopefully you won't spend all your hard earned cash all in one place!

The big news this week was the tragic passing of electronic artist and producer Mark Bell of LFO fame. The announcement came via Warp Records on Monday evening that Bell had died following complications from surgery. His work with LFO as well as a producer, remixer and collaborator with acts such as Depeche Mode, Erasure and Bjork has had a profound impact on electronic music in the UK and internationally. Intravenous Magazine would like to express our condolences to Mark Bell's family at this difficult time.

On the website this week we had plenty of news stories from the likes of Garden Of Delight, Ludovico Technique, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, and Cygnets. As well as reviews of the latest releases from Hanzel Und Gretyl, This Sect, Us Amongst The Rest, and Digitalis Purpurea.

Over on Facebook there was new music courtesy of Inertia. And a lot of videos from Hanzel Und Gretyl, Depeche Mode, L'Ame Immortelle, Naked Highway, and Laibach.

Right that's your lot for this week. To get you going for the weekend here is LFO at their best to remind you what you're missing...

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