Friday, November 30, 2012

Gig announcement: Mono, Dirk Serries' Microphonics


"Resetor booking & promotions" strikes again. When they first contacted me about doing promotion for this concert I instantly got the biggest smile on my face. Although the gig is happening in a number of months, I'm already extremely excited about it.

"Mono", simply reading this name is enough to get your head spinning, your heart warm and to skyrocket your determination about going to this event. After almost three years since their previous show in Belgrade, the grandiose post rock quartet from Japan is back once again. Leaving people breathless and stunned for an impressive twelve year lifespan, the band is determined to conquer Europe in the name of their newly released studio album, "For My Parents". The band will be on the road for five long weeks, so you can keep an eye open for updates on their website found here.
Following the world-shattering sound of "Mono" will be "Dirk Serries' Microphonics", a one man project from Belgium. With just a guitar in his hands, various effects in his pocket and a keen sense of improvisation, Dirk Serries will unleash brooding, melancholic soundscapes upon the audience. Be it in the form of industrial sounds, tribal-like melodies or a soothing ambient, this part of the evening will surely grasp all the attention it deserves. A glance at his work can be cast here, more than enough to make the listener tremble.
This wonderful event will take place on 11 February 2013 in "Club Fest", a venue covered in a gig review found here. Ticket pre-sale begins on Monday, 23 December 2012, directly at the venue and in the "Felix Shop" in Belgrade. You can also reserve tickets, by leaving your full name and phone number, via the following e-mail: kartemono AT gmail DOT com

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thirty Dollar Bill

This is a post I've been intending to publish for a very long while now and have been quite reluctant to do so. Sadly, personal life has pressed me heavily for an extensive period of time and I've been basically forced to fend as best I can. I'll keep the write-up brief and I'll try to be direct.

As some of you might know, either from knowing me in person or from following my tumblr, I've been trying to make something happen with my writing for ages. Like all other artists or writers, it has been really tough making ends meet, especially without having a job or steady income. I've been jobless for almost two years now, not because I'm not looking for one but because I can't get one. Many factors are involved, obviously both personal and economical, but I presume that those reasons aren't really for public eyes.
So the reason why this post is being written is that I am desperate and hoping that this blog and its dear readers can help me, in essence, to survive. I've always despised the usage of advertisements and similar banners on blogs, so I will definitely keep my own page clean of such pestilence. Thus, I have decided to add a donate button instead. Maybe a few dollars or euros might not mean much to some of my readers, but right now to me it would mean the world.
Now I know that many will meet this move with a frown on their face, but hopefully people will realize that I am doing this out of pure necessity and not greed. I love this blog and the only thing I can do now is try to rely on it a little. I've been through a lot with this project and not everything has been pleasant. Still, after all the good things and even those bad, I keep pouring my heart and soul into this and it is my only hope that it can somehow make me go forward through these particular harsh times.
Soon enough, namely in a day or two, I will publish a longish post concerning updates which will happen here, as well as info on some future writing projects of mine, as a way to reach out to all of you and to make your stay here more comfortable. Thank you for all the attention and all the support you have showed me thus far. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cutthroat Convention - Peeling the Sea (2011)

I planned to post something else today, but somewhere along the way I got severely sidetracked. Hopefully tomorrow, or otherwise as soon as possible, that post will come due to the fact that I find it rather important. In the meantime, here is another release review and I hope you find it enjoyable.

Not long after the "Ludovik Material" write-up, comes yet another out-of-the-ordinary band for this blog. "Cutthroat Convention", a UK-based quartet, began bringing weirdo noisy experimental tunes to the masses back in late 2008. Three releases later, "Peeling the Sea" came out in June 2011 in association with a label called "Doubledgescissor >8<". It is worth saying that the project didn't stop with this release, since while I'm writing this there are two more of their outlets floating around.
First of all, you have to keep in mind that this is in no way your everyday band and it definitely desires a specific type of mood. That doesn't mean the band is bad, on the contrary. Once you get there, this is something that is bound to twist your brainwaves in all sorts of crazy ways.
Okay, so grab your mixing pot and add the following ingredients: vocals, bass, drums, stir and spice it up with a score of various electronics, samples and effects. And a tiny violin decoration on top.
So where to begin with describing things? The human element, namely the vocals, consists out of a whole spectrum of audio shapes. There's anger, whining, screaming, talking, singing, something that I would label as squealing, frustration, fast reciting... you get the idea. The changes are subtle and flowing, so you basically don't realize that the style changed until it already did so like five times.
As for the violin, it managed to bring extreme amounts of eerie factors to the music backed up by the equally strange howling of the electronic section. Those two elements combined added several really creepy song moments. In contrast to that the bass playing bounces between being quite heavy, a la industrial noisy, and melodic in a (post)punk manner. It really stood out for me and in all forms it proved to be highly enjoyable.
Now I thought that the drums will be the only firm part of the band, but apparently I was severely wrong. Like every other piece of this band, drumming also comes with a score of surprises. Either through bouncing out of rhythm, sharply changing pace or just being inarticulate, the person holding the sticks definitely aided the maddening melody behind "Cutthroat Convention".
The tracks, in general, are almost impossible to describe due to the fact that it all seems like either a really wicked acid trip or a journey through the mind of a raving madman. Thus I'll try to focus and talk just about the song construction and composition. Like I mentioned above regarding the vocals, everything is constantly changing in some weird way, all too subtly. If we would mark the song progress with a line, then these tracks would have the shape of some illiterate doodles of a schizophrenic. Nothing makes sense, yet everything seems to be in order. Songs have wild ups and downs, they get slow and stretchy, then they become faster and spastic. At times things are peaceful, while in other moments you are faced with a nerve-wrecking wall of noise. Although you might feel like there is almost no consistency in this chaotic carnival, there is a fine layer of melody and mood crawling under it.
As mentioned above, this EP has been supported by "Doubledgescissor >8<", a diy label and promoter of experimental projects settled in London. I've received the "Cutthroat Convention" CD in a really cool self-made cardboard envelope which has the label logo spray-painted on the cover. The package looks so well that I decided to keep it as a part of the CD itself. Wrapped in a plastic bag, "Peeling the Sea" comes with a rather minimalist design, with a two page gatefold cover of sorts made of really thick paper. The disc is also spray-painted with both the band's and label's logos. Overall, quite simple, but effective and nice. Additionally, you can get this release, as well as their older and newer material, for free on the band's bandcamp page, found here.
Personally, I find this a really cool release. It is not my usual cup of tea and something completely out of the ordinary, but in the right mood I find it great. I am yet to take a listen to all of their previous and newer recordings, which makes me rather excited since I am curious how much their style fluctuates between releases. The band is still pretty much alive and active, as you can see on their facebook page found here. Definitely check them out, you're in for an eerie ride.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Black Hole of Calcutta - S/T #2 (2012)

For the past couple of days I've been stuck with music which is somewhat outside of my usual norm. I guess that I get distracted way too easily, like a dragon and shiny objects. Needless to say, you should thank this band for putting me back into my rightful place, since if it weren't for them who knows when I would muster the will to write for the blog again.

Today on the blog there will be nothing but despair, rage and violence. "Black Hole Of Calcutta" comes crawling forward from Portland/Seattle, spreading darkness and chaos. As much as I've seen on the internet, there is various information regarding this project, so I'm uncertain what is the exact year of its birth, but presumably it is somewhere during 2010. Thus far the band already has an impressive amount of releases behind its back, including splits with names such as "Wojczech", "Human Error", "Lycanthropy" and "Bloody Phoenix", to name a few. Given that the band is still somewhat young, their already lengthy discography definitely deserves praise. Additionally, a little bit of info that will surely tickle your interest is that both Ian and Jesse, the strings (vocal and otherwise) and drum players respectively, also contribute to the project known as "The Makai". Aside of them, I'm not sure who else is in the band. The record sheet says that they are a duo, but elsewhere online I saw that they have four members. For the sake of the review, this is one pissed off two-piece.
So as I said in the intro, I've been distant from my music lately, but "Black Hole Of Calcutta" was just the kick I needed to push me back into my usual habits, with a complete frenzy might I add. This release is interested in nothing else other than punching you in the gut and leaving you on the ground either fighting for air or smearing yourself in your own puke.
The opening track "Myth Of Progress" starts off the album with a sludge-like rhythm, dragging around and spewing a nasty melancholic mood. One minute and some seconds into the song you are faced with a rather sharp turn in the dark corridor, since the band jumps at you and starts beating your ears into a pulp. What follows is an angry thrashy hardcore, powerviolence, crusty, dear mother I can't breathe monstrosity. From that moment on, it's all about extremely fast riffs, pounding drums and exerting your lungs to their maximum. Imagine "Masakari", "Enabler" and "Wojczech" having a tea party, then in the midst of it comes "Black Hole of Calcutta" to smash everything.
Once the five minute opener is done, you are continuously faced with short, violent outbursts of madness until the very end. Only two songs barely manage to exceed the two minute mark, so everything happens fast and you have no idea what just hit you. Basically it took me a couple of hours to take a listen to the entire record, since I kept replaying each song a dozen times due to all of them being so catchy and energetic. The thing that really caught my ear is that, despite complete mayhem going on around you, the band manages to insert an exquisite amount of jammy melodies and even flowing, melodic punkish tunes. Shortly put, this band is a whirlwind and at times you are given less of a beating, depending on where the wind throws you.
This record has been released by mutual efforts from two different labels. Release and distribution for Europe was handled by "I Feel Good Records", while "Give Praise Records" took care of the USA. You can check out both of these labels on their websites here and here, respectively. The design is simple, yet effective, as you can see from the cover. The back of the record is done in a similar manner, black with white letters showing the names of the twelve tracks. I have to say that I loved the insert from the very second I saw it. Two drawings are present and they are done in an interesting style which goes so well with the font used for the lyrics. The said font is also really plain, hand-written, but it looks so damn good. A very interesting and appealing record all around.
"Black Hole of Calcutta" managed to throw at us one truly powerful record. Excellent composition, superb production and just a massive sound featuring so much uniqueness, thus I sincerely have no flaws to attribute to these guys. I do feel sorry that I discovered them so late after many of their records, but I will definitely keep an eye out for them from now on. Check them out on their bandcamp page found here and shower them with support, you will definitely not regret it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ludovik Material - Passion For Red (2012)

These last couple of days I've been sorting out through all the submission I got in physical format, as well as finally replying to a bunch of late e-mails. I have also been writing and preparing a rather important post which I want to publish for quite some time now, since the need for it is pretty urgent. What makes me so slow at times is my overall perfectionism, so the blog always comes to a grinding halt until everything is done the way I imagined it in my head.

On today's repertoire we have something that is quite rare and out-of-the-box when it comes to genres  posted on this blog. "Ludovik Material", a trio from Slovenia, is a carrier of a strange mixture of sound. Add an ex-trance producer, a drummer, a female singer and what you get is a a weird experimental stew. The band is still very young, initially forming in May 2011, and they already have a turbulent biography. Quick tour of their home country, a demo and just one year later they managed to release nine songs in the form of "Passion For Red". 
Most probably I would never stumble upon this band by myself, but "Kapa Records" showed up once again to lead the way. In case you forgot, this label is responsible for two bands already featured on this blog, those being "The Canyon Observer" and "Coma Stereo". Both of those reviews you can read here and here.
What first came to mind while listening to this band was "The Animatrix" soundtrack, in the sense of having as much different sounds as there are songs. All three parts of the band twist and convulse throughout the nine featured tracks, ranging from being moody, slow, repetitive, heavy, inarticulate, exploding and everything in between. The intro song caught my attention instantly, lashing out with truly mesmerizing drum playing, gloomy electronics and rending, yet melancholic, strings. An excellently placed song, which as an opening lures you into the album with its near post rock feel. Soon enough comes track number two, which has the same name as the release itself, carrying a sort of tribal-like atmosphere that features interesting drumming and lots of crackles and noise. "Made In" comes third, lashing out with provocative vocals and savage electronic sounds, in general being aggressively catchy and body moving. And later on during the album you are faced with a song like "Come", a really slow and easy going tune with extremely gentle electronic work. So as you can see, song construction and the very style of execution varies with each song. Each song manages to stand out from the rest and, although this seems like a neat feature of an experimental album, in the midst of that variety resides a tiny flaw in my mind when I think about this band.
My one and only complaint would be the vocals, since I found a certain dose of inconsistency in that field. The spectrum of sounds produced goes from singing, screaming, wailing, talking and even moaning, which I think somewhat shatters the overall feel of the album. When the instrumental section is so diverse, the vocals need to be a strong chord which will bind the band together otherwise you end up being all over the place. I can absolutely see the desire to introduce extreme amounts of variety on the album, but there is also a need to tie it all in a solid package. Sadly, it fell on the vocals to be the wrapping paper, since the album viciously opens in an instrumental manner. At times I got myself lost into thinking that I'm listening to more than one band, which again makes me think of the above mentioned soundtrack. That being said, my preference goes toward the more coarse and aggressive form of the singing and screaming as heard on certain instances in "Made In" or the more plain, megaphone imbued talking style from "Almighty". This is more of a personal opinion and I stick to my guns, but I assume that the vastness of sounds coming from the throat will definitely find its crowd. 
"Passion For Red" comes in either digital download or CD format, both available on the bandcamp page found here. The CD has the standard plastic packaging, but it features a really nice and thick booklet with lyrics and artwork. Each right page is filled with lyrics while the left pages are decorated with appropriate drawings corresponding with the words. There's definitely nothing nicer than opening an album and finding lyrics and other information inside, so many thumbs up for this.
Once again Slovenia managed to spew out something interesting on the scene. If we put the small album inconsistency aside, which isn't a true flaw at all, this is a really catchy release and definitely something with which you can take a break from your other daily bands. The band is still pretty much alive, so maybe soon we will be able to hear something new coming from their practice room. Hope you enjoyed the read.