Blood Pack Vol. 6.66 released!

It's that time of the year once again! A new year and a new compilation album celebrating our 6th birthday as a webzine.

Review: Various Artists – 'We're In This Together: A Tribute To Nine Inch Nails'

VARIOUS ARTISTS 'We're In This Together: A Tribute To Nine Inch Nails' TRIBULATIONS

Review: Various Artists – 'We Reject: A Tribute To Bile'


Review: Ritual Aesthetic – 'Wound Garden'


Review: Axegrinder – 'Satori'


Tuesday 30 September 2014

Attrition releases 'Narcissist vs One Horse Rider'

Veteran industrial pioneer Attrition, AKA Martin Bowes, has announced the release of a new remix album 'Narcissist vs One Horse Rider'. The album, available through A Two Gods Production, features 26 Remixes of the songs 'Narcissist' and 'One Horse Rider', which are both taken from the studio album 'The Unraveller of Angels'. The album encompasses every genre from dance floor electronics to dark ambient piano and strings, and features contributions from the likes of Angst Pop, Technomancer, Fearpassage, and Zero Corporation.

Track List:
1.Narcissist (ID Mix by Angst Pop feat. Technomancer)
2.Narcissist [Void Prototype remix]
3.One Horse Rider (Man Woman Machine mix)
4.Narcissist (Id Before Ego Mix by ANKST)
5.One Horse Rider (Technomancer mix)
6.Narcissist (Analog Angel remix)
7.Narcissist (Egoist Anarchism mix by Fearpassage)
8.One Horse Rider (do.service mix)
9.Narcissist (Remixed by Pete Every)
10.Narcissist (Ego RMX by DJ Darkside)
11.One Horse Rider (Johnathan|Christian Mix 1)
12.Narcissist (Lagowski mix)
13.Narcissist (Contaminated Intelligence mix)
14.Narcissist (Piano Improvisation By iNsCissorS)
15.One Horse Rider (Soft Riot remix)
16.Narcissist (Zero Corporation remix)
17.Narcissist (Dust Orchestra remix)
18.One Horse Rider (Viy Remix)
19.Narcissist (BBCom Remix)
20.One Horse Rider (Empire State Human mix)
21.One Horse Rider (Acclimate Darda'il mix)
22.One Horse Rider (The Pain Machinery Remix)
23.One Horse, Reprise (the attrition remix)
24.Narcissist (Lagowski deep chamber mix)
25.One Horse Rider (Synthetic Terrorist mix)
26.Narcissist (Noir Magnetik Remix) 

'Narcissist vs One Horse Rider' is available as a free/pay what you want download for 26 days, as well as a double CDr version through the Attrition bandcamp page. For more information on the band, including live dates and future releases, please visit the official Attrition website.  

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Meinhard return with 'Alchemusic I – Solve'

Flamboyant German electro-rocker Meinhard returns from wonderland with a new slice of conceptual creativity in the form of 'Alchemusic I – Solve'. Set for release on CD and digital download via Out Of Line on 31st October 2014; Meinhard sets out to prove his mastery of sonic alchemy with an album combining Folk- and Medieval music, New Wave, Gothic Rock, Prog, Gipsy-Swing, Synth Pop, plus Baroque- and Neo-Classical.

Track list:
1. Blood+Love
2. humunculus:automaton
2. Knight of Gold
3. 667 - The Neighbor of the Beast
4. eXpelled
5. The Sun Sign
6. YSAYKTW (You Save And You Kill The World)
7. Holy Sun
8. Why Do I...?
9. AtTheRiteSite
11. Rhapsody

'Alchemusic I – Solve' is available to pre-order now via the Out Of Line webshop. For more information on the band, please visit their official website.  

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Interview: Yves Schelpe (Psy'Aviah)

The parts you can't see...

“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.”

Psy'Aviah has been a name synonymous with progressive dance-orientated music for over a decade now. Formed by Belgian songwriter and producer Yves Schelpe, the band has released a number of critically acclaimed albums including 'Entertainment Industries' (2008), and 'Introspection / Extrospection' (2011), incorporating genres such as ebm, electroclash, house, techno, industrial, rock and synthpop along the way.
Existing for a long time as a duo alongside vocalist Emélie Nicolaï, the latest album, 'The Xenogamous Endeavour', sees Schelpe return to the original vision he had for Psy'Aviah and calls upon an impressive line-up of guest vocalists to complete the album. Intravenous Magazine caught up with Schelpe to discuss the new album, working with so many guests and what the future holds for Psy'Aviah as a live band.

Intravenous Magazine: The new Psy'Aviah album, 'The Xenogamous Endeavour', is due to be released soon. What has the reaction been like to it so far?

Yves Schelpe: With every release it’s always difficult to know what to expect, even though you might have a good gut feeling or be satisfied with the record, you never know how people will react. This time even more so, because I drastically changed the way I work. So when the first reactions from DJs, fans and magazines came in I was very happy to say the least!

IVM: This album sees a return to the original blueprint of Psy'Aviah of yourself and guest collaborators rather than working with a stable line-up. What led to the decision to approach the new album in this way?

YS: I never really stopped doing the collaborations of course, I always kept it alive as it’s a vital thing for me to find the right vocalist on the right place. I realized though, even before the EP “Future Past” that I wanted to return to the essence and have a lot more freedom in my song writing without making compromises.

IVM: How has the writing and recording of the new album compared to previous ones as a result of this change? 

The very essence of writing the tracks hasn’t changed a lot. I still wrote all the lyrics and music. Recorded vocal demos of them, and then went to a vocalist to work on the track together. In some cases the vocalists do write their own lyrics. The biggest change is that all collaboration work went over the internet, even with guitarist Ben. Everyone has his/her own studio setup, so it’s much easier working that way – they can record on their time and in their comfortable place. It’s just a lot of files that are going over the wire, and a lot of emails.

IVM: Psy'Aviah has always displayed a broad range of musical styles. What and who were your primary influences when going into the new album?

YS: I listen to so much different music. I look up to bands or projects that blend genres as well, such as Moby, Faithless, Delerium, Praga Khan etc.. Those bands taught me that it’s totally OK to mix it up, flip genres upside down and totally make it your own. Of course they inspire me as well, but most of my inspiration for genres come from what I listen during the period of recording. It has been a mix of tracks from the likes of Tove Lo, Röyksopp, Robyn (my god all Swedish pop…), Novastar, Prodigy and so much more... I’m always on Spotify or to discover new things to listen to.

IVM: You've worked with a number of guest vocalist on the new album. Which collaboration has been your favourite thus far?

YS: Picking a favourite is nearly impossible because of two very good reasons I think. One being that if I’d choose one or two favourites I’d have to choose a song I like most, which is something I can’t because I picked all thirteen tracks to end up on there in the end. Secondly, all people are different to work with and all have their fun sides, choosing is losing, and I don’t want to lose either experience. Maybe I can answer the question differently, the song I am most surprised by is 'In Uthenera' – it’s a bit of an outsider, an ode to the game “Dragon Age” and I’m glad I could finally get that cover version recorded.

IVM: Were there any potential collaborations that you wanted for the album but didn't come about for whatever reason?

YS: I never start out with someone in mind. I just write the track and then see which voice would suit it best actually, and if they’re available then yay, otherwise the song stays in the shelf until they have time and energy for it :). But to give some names, there’s some people on the 'Eclectric' album I worked with I’m working with again at the moment…

IVM: In an ideal world, who would be on your list of artists to work with on the next album?

YS: It depends on the songs I have at the moment… But I’m always looking for people to work with, so if you’re reading this – feel free to drop a message to me! Most of all I do like discovering new people and getting in people that normally wouldn’t get in touch with the genres I’m tackling.

IVM: The title, 'The Xenogamous Endevour', is quite an evocative one coming from the Greek xenos (strange) and gamos (marriage). How does that link in to the themes expressed on the album? 

YS: It’s a bit like the album title 'Eclectric' from a few years ago. It 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.

IVM: The album's cover is also particularly striking. Where did that concept come from?
YS: It came from the album title. It visualises 'The Xenogamous Endeavour', blending worlds into one. The tree has a “natural” side to it, and a “technical” side. The theme comes back a lot in the other artwork as well, the backgrounds are curvy on one side and more edged on the other, but they blend in without you noticing at first. And that’s the concept of the music as well.

IVM: The album was once again released through Alfa Matrix. What is the working relationship like with the label and have you been approached by any others?

YS: They’ve given me the chance to release my first album, and I’ve always been treated well – so I saw no reason to continue working with them.

IVM: You released a music video for the track 'Our Common Future' which features Kyoko Baertsoen. Where did the concept for that come from and are you happy with the results?

YS: I wanted to show the beauty of 'Our Common World' – and what better way than to show it through the eyes of an astronaut. I did include Kyoko as well in the video, portrayed on the monitors of NASA & other TV screens to make her part of it as well.

IVM: Your music videos have always been memorable and often try to connect with a message. How important is this medium to you?

YS: Very much. I like images and photography, it has always interested me. It’s not something I claim to be very good at, but it does interest me a lot. I see it as an extension to the message of a song, so for me it’s important that the music video always has a link with the song. Be it a small one or a big story – it will always make sense when you read the lyrics.

IVM: Can we expect any more videos in support of the new album?
YS: Working with a lot of guests comes with a challenge, and one of them is that they live quite far away and recording them isn’t as easy as when you live in the same city or country. So whilst I’m working on music videos, it will take some time, but they will come for sure. Currently working on clips for Long Way (ft. Lis van den Akker), Before I Die (ft. Diana S), On My Mind (ft. Lisa Nascimento) and Our Common End (ft. Mari Kattman).

IVM: Are there any tour plans, and how would you approach playing live given the number of guest vocalists featured on the new album?

YS: No concrete plans to play live, but I do accept live requests. We, being me on keys and Ben on guitars are be the main live members. As vocalists it will depend on the availability on the moment, but I’ve done concerts before with Lis van den Akker on live vocals, so we have experience with that and can make sure the Psy’Aviah songs will be as strong live as they used to be!

IVM: A few years ago you started the Urban Sharing Experiment, where you would leave packages containing CDs in public places. How successful do you feel that was and is it something you're likely to repeat in the future?

YS: It was an extension to the idea behind the music actually. Main idea was to surprise people and get them excited about something that was not in their normal “daily routine”. It was successful in the sense people reacted to it and we ended up having interesting pictures, videos and photos of people finding and unpacking the packages. Exciting to see it, and to read reactions in emails or letters from over the world. Media and “urban / city” blogs picked it up as well, so it did create a discussion – but it was essentially a one off “experiment”. If someone would like to repeat it, I’d highly encourage them to do so, it’s fun to give something to people and to colour the city.

IVM: Finally, what are your plans for the rest of 2014 and going into 2015?

YS: The main focus now is working on the music videos, which will take some time and effort. Meanwhile though I’m actively working on new music and looking for new vocalists, both male or female (feel free to drop me a message). And when a live request comes in, we’ll see whether that will be possible – but that’s not the main priority at the moment.

'The Xenogamous Endeavour' is available to purchase now via Alfa Matrix. For more information on Psy'Aviah, including future releases and tour dates, please visit their official website.  

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Thursday 25 September 2014

Review: Lovelorn Dolls – 'Japanese Robot Invasion'

'Japanese Robot Invasion'

Belgian gothic/industrial rock duo Lovelorn Dolls return with their sophomore outing, 'Japanese Robot Invasion'. Featuring a stronger leaning towards their electronic side, the album is just as dark and twisted as their début albeit in a more focussed and atmospheric way. The dynamic of the songs is stronger, and the duo of Ladyhell and Corpus Christi look to solidify their presence.

The album opens with 'Happy Valentine', with it's simple music box melody counterpointed by the hard guitars and mix of dark and light vocals it evokes a grittier take on The Birthday Massacre with a little Jack Off Jill thrown in for good measure. Songs such as 'The Thrill', 'Japanese Robot Invasion', 'Miss Friday Night', 'Blood Moon' and 'Wolf Inside' follow the formula set out in the opening track mixing the guitars against dance orientated synths to create something semi-dance friendly but nonetheless very infectious.

It doesn't always work though as the lack lustre cover of The Cure's 'Just Like Heaven' goes to show. Lovelorn Dolls are at their best when they don't pull their punches and really push themselves to expand their core sound, such as on the sumptuous 'Jasmina'. Luckily though at ten tracks in total, there are plenty more hits than misses.

The production for the most part is pretty solid. It has an air of the late 90s / early 00s industrial rock sound more readily identified with Kidney Thieves and Orgy, which isn't a bad thing. In fact it gives the album an air of comforting familiarity.

'Japanese Robot Invasion' is a definite step in the right direction for Lovlorn Dolls. When they get that high octane mix of hard guitars, haunting vocals and dance synths going they sound great. There are still a few points that could have used a little more work, but at the end of the day this is a good album that will have plenty of appeal.  

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XP8 announce 'Two Of Three: Albedo'

The second instalment in the Italian ex-pat electro duo's “Alchemy Series” - 'Two Of Three: Albedo' - has been announced for 31st October 2014 via 2393 Records.

The series conceptually follows the three are the phases of the Alchemical process, said to transform the lower metals such as lead into gold, an allegory of the initiatory path from man to Godhead.
“Following the chaos or 'massa confusa' of the Nigredo stage, the alchemist undertakes a purification in Albedo, which is literally referred to as 'ablutio' – the washing away of impurities. In this process, the subject is divided into two opposing principles to be later coagulated to form a unity of opposites or 'coincidentia oppositorum' during Rubedo.”
Track List:
1. We Felt Nothing
2. The Gift
3. Heatwave
4. A Greater Goal
5. Inside Their Heads (Avarice In Audio Dub)

'Two Of Three: Albedo' will be available to pre-order via the band's bandcamp page. For more information on XP8, please visit their official website.  

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Wednesday 24 September 2014

Review: Citizen 16 - 'Temptation'


Harsh ebm / futurepop crossover act Citizen 16 mark their début on Juggernaut Music Group with the 'Temptation' EP. It may sound like an obvious juxtaposition, but the duo of Wolf Neve and NeutrenoP have worked hard to put their own spin on these sounds. Featuring both harsh and theatrical vocals, accompanied by big synth backings and strong dance beats, it makes for interesting, but rewarding listening.

Songs such as 'Temptation', 'Can't Stop Time', 'Angelificatum', and 'Fashion Boy' blend the harsh vocals of terror-ebm, the synth melodies of futurepop, the melancholic clean vocals of electro-goth, and the rhythms of ebm to create tracks that would hold up well both on the dance floor as well as on the stage. While the likes of 'My Friend', 'That Night' and 'Lies Within Beauty' see the clean vocals more dominant to give the songs a straighter futurepop style that will appeal to purists.

Two of the strongest songs on the album though, are the sublime pop-orientated 'M80' (featuring IIOIOIOII) and 'Leaving', which both feature different but more traditional pop vocal contributions to compliment Wolf Neve's theatrical style.

In terms of production, this is ultimately quite a solid offering that has a strong punchy attack and nice bass-heavy core to it. The only criticism is that occasionally the vocals don't seem to quite fit in the mix as well as they should.

'Temptation' is an interesting EP that plays with genre conventions in a subtle but effective way in order to offer something recognisable, but still a bit different. It may note be to everyone's taste, but there is no denying that if Citizen 16 can keep pulling the tricks from up their sleeves they could carve a big niche for themselves. It will be interesting to see where they go from here, and what they will bring to the table for a full-length outing.  

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Review: Surgyn – 'Envy'


Determined to exorcise the seven deadly sins, Sottish electronic duo Surgyn return with their sophomore full-length album, 'Envy'. Building on the success of their début 'Vanity', which quickly established the band as one of the most exciting electro acts in the UK, Sovereign and Veil have added a lot more to their sonic arsenal for their second outing. There are still the big club-friendly dance tracks that 'Vanity' focussed on, but this time round atmospheres and ambience add more engrossing textures to the fabric of the album, while harsher elements sharpen the attack.

The sinister near half-ebm, half-witch house opener 'Artifice' effectively sets the mood with its spoken vocals and brief beat-heavy interludes. The first song proper, 'Limousine', is Surgyn at their finest mixing strong synth leads and a harsher vocal approach for a strong lead track that will undoubtedly become a highlight of their live sets. 'Green Heart' on the other hand is just as an infectious club anthem, albeit in a way that favours a melancholic synthpop style.

The balance of harsh and melodic elements is a constant theme running through the spine of the album on tracks such as 'Stiletto', 'King Of Crows', 'Insidious', and 'Hollywood Death Scene'. The album has just as much dance potential as its predecessor, but that hasn't stopped the duo from getting nice and experimental in places, particularity on the witch house influenced 'Martyr' which provides an unexpected but very welcome centrepiece to the album and really shows how the band are continuing to push themselves.

This is a wonderfully polished and well executed album. The songs have eclipsed the bands origins and are really beginning to set them apart. The production reflects this in a crisp and modern sound that brings out each of the new elements to the bands sound.

'Envy' is a strong follow-up to the bands exciting début. A diversification in their sound while keeping one foot in club-friendly territory has paid off in a big way. If album number three shows a jump in calibre like 'Envy' has, then Surgyn's future looks set in stone.  

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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Review: Red Sun Revival – 'Embers'


Marking the band's first release on Echozone, and the follow-up to their impressive début album 'Running From The Dawn', London-based gothic quartet Red Sun Revival unleash 'Embers'. This slick and punchy four-track EP covers all the bases for what a modern gothic rock band should be. It's dark, dreamy, bass-heavy and memorable, displaying great song writing and musicianship to boot.

The EP opens with the catchy lead-single, 'Mistakes', which fuses Eden House style violins with classic gothic guitars and bass underpinning Rob Leydon's gravely, Nephilim-esque vocal style. 'Broken' follows on with a more sinister atmosphere courtesy of some nice keyboards which counterpoint the jangling guitars nicely and gives the whole song a slight prog-rock slant. 'Surrender' opens up with some lovely piano for a near power-ballad effect for Leydon to channel his inner Leonard Cohen into for perhaps his finest vocal performance on the EP. The track list is the rounded off with the title track, which layers up the keyboard atmospheres and guitars for a slow and dream-like serenade of gothic opulence.

This is a wonderfully crafted album that is produced to a high standard befitting the strong songwriting it displays. It has a fresh and modern feel to it with a dreamy quality, not unlike the recent works of The Eden House, but maintaining the odd nod to classic bands such as Fields Of The Nephilim and The Mission.

'Embers' is a strong EP, but it is a shame that it is only four-tracks long and doesn't feature any remixes or alternative edits. This isn't a major issue really as the four songs are strong enough on their own to sell the EP, it's just that they're so good you can't help but want a little more.

If 'Embers' is a sign of things to come from Red Sun Revival, Echozone better be ready to push the band hard. Fans of guitar-driven gothic rock will want to keep tabs on this band, because if this is what they offer on an EP, it's safe to say their next full-length album will put them on the map.  

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Review: Project Pitchfork – 'Blood'


One year on from the band's sixteenth studio, and German ebm pioneers Project Pitchfork unleash album number seventeen, 'Blood'. The album continues to see the band play with aggrotech and futurepop influences within the framework of their classic ebm sound. Hard beats, catchy melodies and sing-a-long vocals are at the fore of the album, showing that the trio are not in any danger of slowing down any time soon.

Kicking off with the imposing slab of dark dance-fodder that is 'Blood-Line (Never)', the band set the pace early on. Songs such as 'Blood-Stained (Give Me Your Body)', 'Blood-Pressure (Just For My Pleasure)', 'Blood-Game (For You)', and 'Blood-Thirst' follow-on in a similar vein, blending the hard dance beats with some sublime synth work to get the audience hooked. While songs such as 'Blood-Moon (Romance)', 'Blood-Shed (Dark River)', 'Blood-Lust (Mental Island)' and 'Blood Night' delve a little deeper exploring dark electro territory and throwing in some glitchy moments for good measure.

At thirteen tracks, 'Blood' is a good length album, and the band definitely vary things up to hold the listener's interest. Though the three remixes included of 'Blood-Stained', 'Blood-Lust', and 'Blood-Line' feel somewhat superfluous to proceedings as they are at best more club-orientated edits of what are pretty strong dance tracks already.

As you'd come to expect from a veteran act such as Project Pitchfork, the production on this album is excellent. The beats are big and hard, the vocals cut through the mix with great effect and the synths have that big, room-filling quality that makes you want to see them live.

After twenty-odd years in the game, Project Pitchfork are still a band with a lot to offer, and are indeed still at the top of their game. They know their audience well and still continue to push themselves to keep the hits coming. 'Blood' definitely stands up with the classics in their discography.  

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Monday 22 September 2014

Live: Velvet Acid Christ - Elektrowerkz, London

"We shall return" Bryan announced last week, as the frontman and helmsman of legendary Industrial band Velvet Acid Christ came down after a mixed tour in Europe. The penultimate date set in London's alternative hub 'Electrowerkz' and the crew were scepticalof the gigs turnout.
"We picked the wrong time of year; mused Bryan, it's the latter part of festival season and no one will want to come see us. We were in Berlin a few nights ago and they told us not to come across the water, that it wouldn't be worth the effort." 

Boy were they wrong. 

The sold out gig was packed with 300 fans, some from other bands, some from labels, all of whom have had their lives touched by this patriarch of menace. "What's not to like, Giles of Industrial label Armalyte Industries said, it's full of sex, drugs and is full of soul. It's dance music for Serial killers." 

The gig was opened by in-house band D.K.A.G. They were what you'd expect for a warm up band at an industrial gig, monotonous, repetitive and predictable, but just what the crowd needed to get them pumped for the main event. D.K.A.G. will always end up being one of those M.O.R. bands of it genre, offering nothing new to the scene apart from a mindless electro beat to keep the club nights full.

Slimelights' DJ Gass Man provided a much more thrilling set, popping in between acts. Playing Industrial classics across the board in a more appropriate fashion.

By the time VAC entered centre stage the room was alive with fans all waiting to see what Bryan and the gang had in store. "This is the only date on our tour where we shall be playing a 'greatest hits' of a set. We felt it only fair as the fans from the UK have been waiting so long."

Opening with classics like 'Fun with Drugs' and 'Caustic Disco', VAC had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands. Although on a tight time frame, Bryan admitted he does like to chat a lot on stage. What came next was a theatre of hate where he attacked many things in the world he could not abide. Included were other musicians, religion and record label owners who have since retired. All was taken in great jest though, as he bombarded us with other fan favourites like 'Pretty Toy', 'Slut' and an incredible version of 'Futile'. New songs and covers were also added into the mix, which he promised would be released soon after the tour.

It was announced soon after the gig that Bryan planned to return to the UK next year. Here's hoping the fans who couldn't make it this time around get a second chance to see this tour de force on stage. All we shall say is that we welcome Velvet Acid Christ back any time.

Photography by Crestfall Photography

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AR12 to release 'Against Your Better Judgement'

Australian hellektro outfit AR12 have announced the release of their début on UK industrial label Juggernaut Music Group. The band's first full length album 'Against Your Better Judgement' will be released as both a limited edition CD digipak and digital download on 7th November 2014.

The album will also feature remixes from Nitroniuse, Ruinizer and Studio-X.

Track List:

1. Against Your Better Judgement
2. Destroy You
3. There Will Be Blood
4. The Shadow Proclamation
5. The E Lectric
6. Undead
7. Swearengen
8. Light Goes Dark
9. Pancakes And Clusterfucks (Feat. Vindicare)
10.Play Thing (Feat Pete Crane of Shiv-R)
11.The Lone Centurion
12.Content Temporarily Unavailable
13.There Will Be Blood (Nitronoise Remix)
14.Light Goes Dark (Ruinizer Remix)
15.Play Thing (Studio-X Remix)

'Against Your Better Judgement' is available to pre-order now vis the Juggernaut Music Group bandcamp page. For more information on AR12, please visit their official website.  

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Interview: Joey Blush (Blush Response) 

Cutting through...

“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.”

New York's Blush Response is fast becoming one of the most exciting artists in the US electronic scene. A penchant for modular sounds, improvisation, and strong dance grooves evolving from the classic style ebm/industrial sound of début 'We Are Replicants' (2010), through to the more avant garde leaning new album 'Desire Machines' has seen the profile of Blush Response and the man behind the band, Joey Blush, continue to grow. Which has led him to work with the likes of Fear Factory, and most recently with Joey Jordison's (Slipknot, Murderdolls) new project Scar The Martyr.

Intravenous Magazine caught up with Blush to talk about the new album, sound design, and his hardware of choice.

Intravenous Magazine: The new album 'Desire Machines' is about to be released, what has the reaction been like to it so far?
Joey Blush: 
So far reactions have been positive… I'm cautiously optimistic about the record. I'm happy with a lot of it, but it represents a huge shift in direction for me (much like my last did), and with that sort of shift you are always bound to alienate some people. But I'd rather do that than release the same record over again.

IVM: Your previous album 'Tension Strategies' saw a lot of changes to the Blush Response sound, how has 'Desire Machines' followed on from this?
JB: I am always looking for new ways to evolve my sound and keep things interesting for myself. 'Tension Strategies' was a noisy album with hard industrial beats. I made a conscious decision to avoid reusing the same production techniques for 'Desire Machines'. I got really into minimal techno about halfway through writing for the album, and thus just started subconsciously making grooves that were more on the danceable side.

You'd previously been signed to Tundra and Basic Unit, but you're releasing 'Desire Machines' through French label Desire. How did that come about and how has the working relationship been so far?

JB: Desire contacted me a few months before what would have been the initial release of the record on Basic Unit. I mulled it over for maybe a bit too long, but I love what Desire is doing, and they have amazing distribution and press connections. I want this record to be heard, and Desire is a label I've always wanted to be a part of. 

IVM: Looking back at your début album 'We Are Replicants', what are your thoughts on it and would you have done anything different?

JB: I see 'We Are Replicants' as an embryonic expression… I was just trying to write songs as best I could, with little concern for an overall theme or sound. There is a lot I would have done differently nowadays. I have a lot of issues with the vocals and lyrics on that record, but there isn't much I can do at this point. It's a picture of me as I was then. I still like a couple tracks from it. 

IVM: As mentioned earlier you've begun to spread out from your ebm/industrial roots into different styles of electronic music, what led to this desire and how has it changed you as a song writer?
I've always liked all sorts of electronic music, not just industrial. 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. I like the darker themes and sounds behind industrial/ebm, but I don't want to make music that can be described by one word. I am trying to make something new, for better or worse. The electronic artists I really love all take major risks with their sound and never do things 'by the book' so to speak. I do my best to follow that same intention and craft my own unique sound that hopefully sets me apart from the rest.

IVM: Anyone who follows you on social media will know you have some very impressive hardware at your disposal. So what is your studio set-up like, and what synths can you not live without?

JB: My setup may appear larger than it is because I buy and sell a lot of gear at a rapid pace… So it looks like I have over 9000 things when in fact I may have bought and sold something last week, or flipped some gear, or traded, etc…

My current setup includes:
15u Eurorack (Make Noise, Intellijel, WMD, Mutable, Harvestman, Cwejman + more)
Dave Smith Pro2
Elektron Octatrack
Metasonix TM7
Native Instruments Maschine
Eventide H9

The actual list of gear used on 'DESIRE MACHINES' is as follows:

Eurorack Modular
Dave Smith Poly Evolver
Arturia Minibrute
Korg MS20 Mini
Elektron Analog 4
Elektron Octatrack
Elektron Machinedrum
Elektron Monomachine
Metasonix Wretch Machine
Korg Volca Series (all 3)
Serge Animal
Buchla 200e (Borrowed from a friend for the track Reasons)
Native Instruments Maschine

IVM: What items are on your ultimate synth wishlist?JB: Arp 2500/2600, Buchla 200/200e, Serge Modular, Elektron Analog RYTM, Waldorf Microwave Xtk.

IVM: Given the amount of tech at your disposal, how do you go about translating Blush Response to the stage for live performances?

JB: I do my live show with my Octatrack and a small portion of my eurorack. The octatrack handles the main tracks + sequences the modular. I also use vocal effects. I like having a compact setup, and the octatrack gives me a serious amount of control over any audio I throw in with it, so I am able to do a lot of improvisational stuff I previously was unable to do with my computer.

IVM: You also practice the art of sound design. How important is this to you and how does it integrate itself into your writing process?

JB: Sound design is a huge part of what I do. I get bored easily if I try to write a song using traditional sounds that fit, and find that if I have a raw sound that excites me, I can use it to shape a track. I am not a sound purist by any means, so often times I may record a modular take that is cool, but maybe not the right pitch, so I'll pitch it, run it through some plugins, maybe turn it into a kontakt instrument and replay a part, or import it into Izotope Iris, etc… Having new sounds is definitely key to me. 

IVM: You've also been working with the software company Glitch Machines. How did that come about and what challenges does that present to you?

JB: Ivo approached me earlier in the year to do some presets for QUADRANT, an amazing modular plugin that came out recently. He made the plugin with the intent of offering people who don't have modulars a chance to capture some of the sounds they might be missing out on. It was a natural thing for me as I'm always programming sounds anyway, so I just kind of did what I do. I tried to create presets that I would use (and have used) on tracks. If I ever have to design a sound bank things might be a bit more difficult just because of the time and artistry involved (it's almost like writing an album), but we'll see when the time comes...

IVM: You've recently been part of the line-up for Joey Jordison's new band Scar The Martyr. How were you approached for that and how was the experience for you?

JB: Scar the Martyr came about through my friend Rhys Fulber. We've worked together on a few projects over the past few years. At the time, he was producing the STM record and they needed a synth programmer. I was initially going to be writing the synth parts on the record, but they ended up going with Chris Vrenna instead. When the time for tour came about, Chris wasn't able to go and thus they called me since I was second in line. Talk about big shoes to fill! Touring with STM (and on that huge big budget level) was an insane experience. It felt like many of my life's dreams being fulfilled. I have a lot of love for everyone involved with that project, and hope they do well in the future.

IVM: You're no stranger to working with other artists such as Fear Factory, Rhys Fulber and Cristian Castro. Who would you love to collaborate with in the future?

JB: That's such a big question… I could list a bunch of heroes right off the bat, but I'm honestly not sure. Obvious choices would be Aphex Twin, Trent Reznor, Autechre, David Bowie. As for some newer artists… Perc, Xosar, Clouds, Shifted, Sigha, Eomac, and Orphx to name a few. There is so much great music coming out these days, it'd be great to sit in a room, turn on some gear, and see what happens.

IVM: What are your plans for the rest of the year?

JB: At the moment I have a bunch of gigs in the US coming up. The most immediate one is September 16 at The Bowery Electric in NYC, followed by a west coast tour with WMX, Statiqbloom, and Cervello Elletronico, and then a Boston gig solo. My life is in a state of transition at the moment and I may be switching locations soon, though I don't want to announce where until everything is settled.

IVM: Finally are there any European/UK tour dates on the horizon?

Europe is definitely somewhere I want to be. It's been a dream of mine for a long time to get out there and play, it's really up to this record to determine that. I'm hoping Desire's established presence on the European scene will lead to tour dates. I'm trying my hardest to make this happen, so we'll see!

'Desire Machines' and the EP, 'The Drift', are currently available to buy via Desire Records and Basic Unit Productions respectively. For more information on Blush Response, including release news and upcoming live dates, please visit the official website.

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Friday 19 September 2014

The weekly compendium 19/09/2014

It's the end of another week here at Intravenous Magazine and once again here is your quick round-up of what we've had for you...

We kicked things off with a review of Z'Ev's latest album courtesy of P. Emerson Williams. We also had a look at the new releases from CA†HEDRA / MOIS†, Threes And Will & Huerequeque, Cryptic Dawn, Tourdeforce, and Psy'Aviah. We also had news from The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, and Broken Links.

Over on Facebook, we've had a preview from Monomorte. A new music video from Motionless In White. And a new EP from Der Heine on The People's Republic Of Europe's own label Monsters Of Doomcore.

Right, that's your lot for this week. I need to sleep... where did I put my pillow???

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Thursday 18 September 2014

Review: Psy'Aviah – 'The Xenogamous Endeavour'

'The Xenogamous Endeavour'

Belgian electronic act Psy'Aviah have been one of the most consistent and interesting members of the Alfa Matrix roster. Having seen success with the vocal contributions of Emélie Nicolaï on albums such as 'Entertainment Industries' (2008) and 'Eclectric' (2010), the band has now shrunk in size back to principle songwriter Yves Schelpe who is joined by a host of revolving artists and vocalists for the latest album 'The Xenogamous Endeavour'.

Musically Psy'Aviah has always been hard to pin down incorporating pop, rock, emb, trip-hop, electroclash and techno elements in their formula and this is the case for the new album, which offers up a platter of exquisitely crafted electronic music.

Songs such as 'Long Way' with Lis van den Akker, 'Our Common End' with Mari Kattman, 'Deliverance' with Miss FD, 'On My Mind' with Lisa Nascimento, and 'Get Your Tickets' with Suzi Q. Smith, channel Schelpe's skills through laid back pop and into infectious dance territory. But perhaps the biggest testament is that despite the different styles, and the numerous vocalists, it is always identifiably Psy'Aviah... even the Celtic influenced ambience of 'In Uthenera (Leliana's Song)' has that identifiable essence to it.

Yves Schelpe as a songwriter is only getting better with each album. Psy'aviah albums have always been polished and well constructed to reflect this and 'The Xenogamous Endeavour' is no different. It's crisp, clean and always compliment each songs dominant style.

Schelpe may have shook things up in the Psy'Aviah camp, but he certainly has things under control if any long-time fans had any doubts. This is a strong album that balances and twists genres. It is a slick and enjoyable pop record with some arty attitude and plenty of strong dance beats to boost. It is clear that Schelpe is looking to the future, and the future is certainly looking bright. 

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Review: Tourdeforce - 'Jedem Das Seine'

'Jedem Das Seine'

Italian synthpop act Tourdeforce, AKA Christian Ryder, carries on the traditions laid out by acts such as Frozen Plasma, Client and Covenant with his brand of accessible and hook-laden electronica. But Ryder has a few tricks up his sleeve to keep things interesting on his latest outing 'Jedem Das Seine'. Fleeting hints of ambient and the darker innovation of 80s synthpop, and even a little new wave guitar work coupled with a broad palette of subject matters for lyrical fodder really help to draw the listener in. But what is most noticeable is just how good the synthwork is on here. With the project starting back in 2004 it is obvious that Ryder takes his time and really gives every detail his full attention.

This is most evident on songs such as 'John Lennon Was A Warmonger', 'History is Written by The Winners', 'Adolf Hitler Platz', 'Human Geometries' and 'No Other Forms of Life', which show off an exceptional talent for songwriting and a strong ear for a catchy melody.

What is most impressive though is how quickly Ryder can turn the record on its head. Firstly with the divine dark ambience of 'La Nuit De La Enchanteresse' which is an excellent change of pace from the dance-friendly rhythms of the rest of the album. He then pulls another surprise out with the unexpected harsh ebm closer 'Decreptitude' which slowly builds from sinister piano part into a a rather groovy dark tune.

In terms of production, it is as solid as you could want. It's clean and modern with a subtle mix that balances out the dance potential of the songs and their more laid-back pop sensibilities quite nicely. But with songwriting and performance as good as this it would have been a shame if the production fell behind.

'Jedem Das Seine' is a very strong album. One that is respectful to the history of synthpop, but not afraid to shake things up and do a complete 180 into another genre. Hopefully we'll be hearing more from Christian Ryder in the near future.  

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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Review: Cryptic Dawn – 'Old Blood'

'Old Blood'

US-based solo aggrotech project Cryptic Dawn, AKA Matt Havens is rooted in in the themes and lessons of cult TV show Breaking Bad. A strange gimmick, but not not an unusual one with the likes of Finnish doomsters Swallow The Sun's obsession with Twin Peaks coming to mind. Gimmick or not though, the most important thing is that it works. Cryptic Dawn may have a darkly humorous slant to its formula, but that doesn't detract from the fact that this free, five-track EP is rather good.

Kicking off with the title track, Havens gets straight down to business with hard dance beats, Suicide Commando style synth melodies, and heavily distorted vocals. Although this doesn't exactly add anything new to the rule book it does deliver exactly what aggrotech fans will want. 'Guns Up' follows on with a slightly more restrained offering that pulls the melodies in favour of a throbbing bass line that, while nice and groovy, does get lost in the vocals a bit. 'Awake The Demons', which features Imminent Violence, returns the the more bombastic style of the opening track for a nice fist-in-the-air experience. 'El Llamado De la Destruccion' features another guest appearance, this time courtesy of Paranoia Bio Project and again feels a little more restrained, but this time it works better with a more even balance between the music and the vocals. The EP is then rounded off in style with the slow and ambient strains of 'Left To Die', which makes a nice departure from the more blatantly dance orientated structures of its predecessors.

The production is for the most part quite strong, with a nice straightforward style the gives each layer room to move in the mix. The only major criticism is the heavily distorted vocals. They doe have a tendency to hit the ear wrong on faster tracks, and on quieter tracks they are far to strong in the mix.

Yet as a label début, 'Old Blood' is a rough diamond. Musically it's very catchy with some great leads and compelling beats. It just needs a few tweaks here and there to really show off all its features at their best. But for fans of harsh ebm and aggrotech this is definitely a safe bet, and for a free download what more could you ask for?

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Broken Links release new single 'I'll Run Away'

Southampton-based industrial/post-punk trio Broken Links have announced the release on their latest single from the band's forthcoming sophomore album, 'Divide/Restore' due out in early 2015 via Devil Theory Records.

The single is currently available to download via the band's official bandcamp page. For more information on the band please visit their official website

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The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing to celebrate kicking cancer's arse!

London-based neo-Victorian anarchists, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, have announced they will be palying their only headline show of the year at London’s Relentless Garage on November 14th and will be their first appearance as a four-piece since vocalist Andy Heintz throat cancer diagnosis in April.

Billed as a chance to join the steampunkers in celebrating kicking cancers arse’, the band will also debut material from the forthcoming third album, due for release in Spring/Summer 2015.

Joining The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing on the night will be support acts, The Caesarians and Nu, Pogodi.

For tickets please visit Ticketweb. For more information on the band, including details on forthcoming live dates and releases, please visit their official website

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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Review: Threes And Will & Huerequeque – 'Blue Thirteen'

'Blue Thirteen'

Avant garde is the name of the game as Estonian artists Threes And Will & Huerequeque come together to collaborate on their first EP on UK label Blue Tapes. The release features three collaborations and two solo tracks that bridge psychedelia, noise rock and good ol' fashioned disregarded for genre conventions.

Kicking things off is the first of the two solo tracks, this one courtesy of Huerequeque who presents 'Homöopaatiline epopöa' a dissonant blend of rhythm, distortion, a western-influenced guitar line that wouldn't sound out of place in a Tarantino film, and disorientating samples.

The three collaborative tracks 'Amudarja (Ver 1), 'Ikh Khüree', and 'Hullumeelsuse Mägedes' all sing from similar him sheets with a leaning towards southern / stoner rock instrumentation and the occasional psychedelic use of samples aimed to distort and twist into its own melody. The interesting thing is that they all sound some what incomplete. Almost like they were recorded in a jam session while waiting for other band members to turn up. It's minimalistic in places, but it works.

The second of the solo tracks sees Threes And Will unleash the monolithic 'Sea Fourth Pt II', which is a dominating track at ten minutes in length with its simple repetition and drone-doom flirtations.

This is a strong EP release. It's dirty, noisy and intense with plenty of distortion and bass frequencies cutting through the speaker. Hopefully both artists will be quick to capitalise on this with follow-up solo releases to show off what they can do separately in more depth, while keeping the door open for a further collaboration.

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Review: Ca†hedra / Mois† - 'Split EP'

'Split EP' 

Mexico's Ca†hedra and the US based Mois† get together to release quite a fine split EP here. Featuring separate tracks plus a couple of collaborative efforts the EP gives a little more than your usual split release would. With four original tracks each and two quite frankly sublime co-operations the EP is a fine platform for both acts to show off what they are capable of.

Both acts are steeped in the witch-house / drag / down-tempo rave style with Ca†hedra exploring more ambient atmosphere, while Mois† opts for a more minimalist form.

Ca†hedra's contributions are wonderfully dark and psychedelic with songs like 'King' and 'Graveyard' forcing the rave beats to the surface while the seductive 'Suicide', featuring vocals from Shine Brida, is half sing-a-long and half incantation in its delivery. And the opener 'Incantation' is an unsettling and unnerving blend of magikal lecture and atmospheric drones.

Mois† favours more of a recognisable blend of down-tempo rave electronics and industrialised hip-hop beats across tracks such as 'BonePlay', 'Suger', and 'T00thFairy'. While 'Reality' breaks out the heavily distorted vocals and more experimental songstructure.

However the two collaborations 'I Prey' and 'Pain' are perhaps this EPs biggest selling points. The hanging drones and delicate pianos combined with simple but effective beats and melodic synths make this a great chill-out track. While 'Pain' is a more stripped-back and beat-heavy track with a simple and memorable synth lead.

The production isn't amazing, but it does compliment the music. It is rough around the edges but on the whole it is well mixed and doesn't detract from the songs themselves.

This is a very enjoyable EP that shows off some great material from both acts. But it is the points where they crossover that is perhaps the most interesting. I'm sure both acts will build on this strong platform individually. But based on 'I Prey' and 'Pain', it would be a shame if a side-project, or at the very least another split release wasn't on the cards for the future. 

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Monday 15 September 2014

Review: Z'EV – 'A Handful Of Elements'

'A Handful Of Elements'


Armed with decades of sonic material created in the course of his long career Z'EV comes with a meditation on the elements of ancient Greek philosophy and alchemy. This concept in some hands may require the listener to connect sounds and elements, but Z'EV can be expected to take a more esoterically learned approach to this alchemical concept. The elements map the states of matter and spirit, and each of the elements of matter take up precisely the same space – twelve-minutes, two seconds and the fifth ('Spiritus, the quintessence'), twelve-minutes exactly.

'Terra', the centre, the seismic basis moves like the aeonic shifts of the ground beneath the feet of the seeker. In its mutability one finds the eternal essence. 'Aqua', covering, the essence of dissolving, of submersion. This piece is at once evocative of oceanic movement and invokes the esoteric qualities of the element of water. One can feel the presence of the elemental spirits and the life that dwells therein. Sylphs encircle the listener as 'Aer' weaves its disquieting spell. Their voices may be heard from within the track, or it may be the airy spirits whispering, having been summoned by the vibrations. Fire beats and crackles as 'Ignis' takes hold. The atmosphere carries the character of gross matter being consumed and the purity of the flames at the same time. It seems the order of the elements may be intentional, charting the journey of consciousness up the middle pillar from Malkuth to Kether, dust to spirit, each step containing the spirit of all the others. 'Spiritus' rests at the end of the journey, flowing gently in its eternal light.

This is a meditative release, but it inspires a meditation that awakens and occasionally jolts, instead of lulling the listener into a dream-state. 'A Handful Of Elements' is the work of a master that rewards exponentially more for every listen. Ambient music created for concentrated attention.

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Friday 12 September 2014

The weekly compendium 12/09/2014

That's the end of another week here at Intravenous Magazine. And about damn time too! Hopefully you'll all have something fun lined up for the weekend, but if you do get half an hour to yourself, then why not sit down and give this week's articles a read.

We had an interview with Leeds gothic super trio Quasimodo. An editorial column from myself rolling my eyes at the latest Jack The Ripper “Theory”, while Joel used his column to talk about hunting Nazis. We had a little news courtesy of Swans, and reviews of the latest releases from Scarlet Soho, Ventenner, Nightmares And 808s, and Twilight Fauna.

Over on Facebook we saw new music from The Gifted, Brainclaw, and Alterred. While Alter Der Ruin have decided to give their album, 'I told You Not To ListenTonight Didn't I?', away for free. Atari Teenage Riot have a new musicvideo. Psy'Aviah have released a preview of their forthcoming album. And David Bowie announced a new compilation featuring new material!

Right, that was the week that was. I need a cup of tea and a dark chocolate hob nob, so I'll leave you with this.

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Thursday 11 September 2014

Review: Twilight Fauna - 'Hymns Of A Forgotten Homeland'

'Hymns Of A Forgotten Homeland'

Appalachian one-man-band Twilight Fauna is a hard act to define. Sitting somewhere between neofolk and post-depressive black metal. Its a combination that is dark and abrasive yet strangely hypnotic. It will certainly prove to be an acquired taste, even amongst black metal fans, but it is a rewarding listen recalling a range of avant garde black metal acts such as Ulver and Caina in their more primitive forms.

The juxtaposition of the haunting and unmistakably US folk influenced acoustic guitars and the harsh vocals and guitars works well on songs such as 'Coming Home (A Wilted Harvest)', 'Baying In The Hills', and 'Roots Stained By Time' with their sparse use of percussion and long track lengths adding to the atmosphere. While the more melodic and overtly neofolk leaning 'An Autumn Longing' shows off an unobstructed view of Ravenwod's song writing skills.

However the two songs that really get the formula right have to be the final two 'The Wind Chimes Through The Trees' and 'Of River Willows' with both displaying a more succinct and well rounded style.

The production is rough. Very rough. In typical underground black metal style the guitars and scathing and the vocals sounded like they've been recorded on a Dictaphone in a forest. It has the right effect on the songs but at the cost of the overall accessibility of them, which is a shame, because a more spit and polish approach, as on the great sounding acoustic elements, would make all the difference.

'Hymns Of A Forgotten Homeland' is an interesting album that will probably pass a lot of people by. In part because of the obscure style, but also down to the overly raw production. Ravenwood has a good formula on his hands and his lyrics and writing style are very effective. It's certainly one to explore if you are a fan of black metal and neofolk, though perhaps to raw for the casual listener.

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Swans announce biggest UK show to date

US experimental rockers Swans have announced they will be returning to the UK for their biggest headline performance to date. The band currently comprised of Michael Gira, Norman Westberg, Christophj Hahn, Phil Puleo, Chris Pravdica, and Thor Harris will perform at London’s legendary Roundhouse, on 21st May 2015. Tickets for the show go on sale on Friday 12th Sept from, special guests will be announced shortly.

The band will also return to Europe this month, and a recently announced Swans / Michael Gira will curate the Mouth To Mouth festival, part of Le Guess Who? in Utrecht, which will see three days of music (20th-23rd November) culminating in a Swans performance.

If that isn't enough the band will be re-releasing a remastered edition of their 1983 début studio album, ‘Filth’, out vinyl, CD and digitally on 27th October 2014.

Tour Dates:
25 September - Brussels, AB club, Belgium
26 September - Amsterdam, Paradiso Music Hall, Holland
27 September - Paris, LA MAROQUINERIE, France – second night added due to demand
28 September - Paris, LA MAROQUINERIE, France
30 September - La Rochelle, La Sirene, France
1 October - Barcelona, Sala Apolo, Spain
2 October - Madrid, Shoko, Spain
3 October - Durango, PLATERUENA, Spain
4 October - Porto, AmpliFest, Portugal
7 October - Fribourg, FRI-Son, Switzerland
8 October - St. Gallen, Grabenhalle, Switzerland
9 October - Torino, Hiroshima Club, Italy
10 October - Bologna, Estragon Club, Italy
11 October - Roma, Circolo Degli Artisti, Italy
12 October - Milan, Alcatraz Milano, Italy
14 October - Zagreb, Pogon Jedinstvo, Croatia
15 October - Budapest, A38 Ship, Hungary
16 October - Ljubljana, Kino Kiska Centre for Urban Culture, Slovenia
17 October - Vienna, Arena Big Hall, Austria
18 October - Krakow, Unsound Festival, Poland
20 October - Prague, Lucenra Music Bar, Czech Republic
21 October - Berlin, Berghain, Germany
22 October - Berlin, Berghain, Germany – second night added due to demand
23 October - Leipzig, Schauspiel Leipzig, Germany
24 October - Cologne, Gebaeude 9, Germany
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
5 December - Athens, Votanikos, Greece
6 December - Thessaloniki, Bloc 33, Greece

21 May 2015 – London, Roundhouse

Free download of 'A Little God In My Hands' here.
Listen to 'Oxygen' here.

For more information on the band, please visit their official website.

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Wednesday 10 September 2014

Review: Various Artists - 'N¡gh†m∆res ∆nd 8Ø8s Presents: Suicide Serenade'

'N¡gh†m∆res ∆nd 8Ø8s Presents: Suicide Serenade'

The cult of witch-house / drag / dark trap / vapourwave etc. continues to grow with more and more interesting and avant garde bands creeping out of the shadows with their take on the electronic genre. Helping to popularise this growing cult is the YouTube station N¡gh†m∆res ∆nd 8Ø8s with their visualisations added to the music they plug they have carved a niche for the styles they promote with their channel fast approaching 3,000 subscribers.

The first free compilation from the channel 'Suicide Serenade', released via label Nigh† †errors sees thirteen artists come together spanning multiple genre to create a great introduction to the new wave of dark electronics.

Featuring the likes of King Plague, Okkvlt Kʌtt, Fraunhoffer Diffraction, Bleak Amethyst, Stigma, and Strange Powers the compilation encompasses a good cross-section of artists and style from hip hop and trip hop influences, to dark ambient atmospheres and post-industrial grit. The varied styles of the artists should mean that there is something for everyone here, no matter what preference for electronic music they are approaching this from. However the compilation's stand-out track has to be the darkly minimal cover of Nivana's 'Something In The Way' by Strange Powers which rounds-off the album very nicely.

The production is fairly uniform for a compilation with very little noticeable differences in the recording qualities of the songs which helps the flow of the album as much as the smart arrangement of the songs.

If you're new to witch-house and its related sub-genres, '… Suicide Serenade' is a pretty good starting point. It is a compilation that has been curated with care and attention that should provide new and established fans with a few gems to get stuck in to. Hopefully this will be the first of many such compilation albums from N¡gh†m∆res ∆nd 8Ø8s in the future.

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Nazi Hunters: Stranger Than Fiction

The Nazi-hunter has become one of the more compelling cultural echoes of post war history; whether these are real life Nazi-hunters or fictional ones, they continue to fascinate and intrigue. It is relatively hard to imagine now, but for the 50 years after the end of the second world war there was a worldwide scramble to bring the remaining Nazis to justice for the crimes perpetuated during the war and the Holocaust. 

The Nuremburg trials brought large chunks of the Nazi leadership to justice but many more escaped; we now know that many of them did indeed find their way to Argentina and other far-off places in South America, thus proving that many of the old clichés are actually true. The search to find them and bring them to justice was done by real human beings such as  Simon Wiesenthal, Yaron Svoray, Elliot Welles, and Efraim Zuroff; these were not moustachioed swashbucklers in the Captain Kronos mould but their achievements were in many ways more stunning than any fiction.

Our fascination with them is based upon a simple cultural understanding: that Nazism is the universal gold standard of evil. The struggle against fascism united most of the world and virtually all shades of political opinion at the time, and the understanding of the unique nature of the ideology has been the foundation of world history since the end of the war. It was the spine on which we hung the twentieth century. The Nazi-hunter was therefore the only real example of righteous vengeance that we could point to – we knew Dirty Harry was not meant to be considered a role model but what possible objection could there be to bringing Klaus Barbie, Adolf Eichmann or Josef Mengele to justice?

But the cultural portrayal of the Nazi-hunter does diverge somewhat from reality. In ‘X Men: First Class’ Magento is portrayed as man on a murderous vendetta against the men who sent his people to their deaths – and why not? – but his mission of revenge ultimately warps him into an amoral and ultimately malign force (although he still remains considerably more sympathetic than Charles Xavier). The Nazi-hunter of the Magneto archetype is therefore portrayed as a man who is ultimately destroyed by his need for revenge and who turns the anti-fascist slogan of ‘never again’ into a code which has no respect  for human rights nor humanity in general. 

In a way even V from ‘V for Vendetta’ is a Nazi-hunter too (if we expand the term to include other varieties of fascist) and he demonstrates much the same traits – twisted by his vengeance, ultimately alienated from the only person he cares about. Sure he has fun, but the moral of the story is that it’s no way to live. 

The real Nazi-hunters, however, were quite a different matter; these were not sadistic figures overtaken by malice and the need for revenge, but real people with genuine but ordinary human failings. The battle between the forces of good and of evil may take on a cartoonish quality in fiction, whether this is a battle for the Arc of the Covenant or an attack of zombie Nazis in Norway, but it takes place in the here and now and is fought by real people. It pays to remember that the last Nazi that Wiesenthal brought to justice was only convicted in 2001, little more than a decade ago. 
So although the Nazi-hunters of fiction may provide the inspiration for fighting evil, the actual work in the here and now is much more mundane and much stranger too... although all the more worth it for that.

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