When you are a weirdo, you build community with other weirdos. So we are putting out the word that online monster munch, electro/industrial magazine, Brutal Resonance have launched their maiden ship of a podcast, streaming into the void of cyberspace, where someone can hear you scream and probably turn it into an epic industrial track.
That long haired hooligan, Steven Gullotta, captain of the good ship BrutalResonance, is looking to bring you commentary, new music, interviews and formatted shows to both inform and thrill the audience… but then, quite frankly, like it or not, this red headed renegade takes no prisoners and you will listen to the ‘good shit’.
Resonance has gone from strength to strength and in the last few years, become a record label as well, signing some very radical acts such as Her Noise Is Violence and HOSTILE ARCHITECT.
Has this peaked your interest because it should have. Knowing Gullotta, there will be screaming, f-bombs and a lot of laughing, along with a tonne of interesting music for you to ingest. So, support the scene and my only piece of advice is, don’t let this man near a didgeridoo…. it’s really obscene………
In our recent interview with X-MARKS THE PEDWALK, in regards to their latest album, New / End, I happened to mention that I was rather drawn to the magical quality of the track, “Sacred Ground“. To my surprise and delight, it has been released as the latest single, out on the band’s own label, Meshwork Music.
There is something unearthly from the first strands of music, while the lyrics that leave ESTEFANIA’s lips are enough to give you goose bumps. The synths create a mood that both draws you in and also leaves you feeling there are things unspoken that need never be said.
SEVREN NI-ARB wrote this track for his wife, after she lost her father and it is about the bonds we have with those whom we think we have lost forever, yet they will always be a part of us. Memories sustain the presence and it is an act of love, which I think can be felt keenly in the vocals. The music is beautiful, slightly sorrowful and yet there is hope. The video is quite stunning as well, set in a forest, with a girl and a gorgeous white dog, set to some equally brilliant synthpop.
New Zealand’s post-punk purveyors, Vietnam, have released their third single off the album, This Quiet Room, accompanied by a video. Many of the members have, since the 80s, moved across the Tasman, to the shores of Australia, so with that in mind, some of “In Another Desert” is filmed in Sydney and other pieces, in their home town of Wellington.
There is the high paced jangle of guitars, matched by the drums. The vocals remind you, you have been to places you never thought you would be, left for greener pasture and ended up in another desert. The lead guitar gives us these most beautiful flourishes, whilst the adjoining guitars build and drop the tension so deliciously with the aid of the synths.
It is such a good single off the album, as it fare flies from the instruments with those gorgeous hues of tone. Shadows from the past, mixing with the reality of the present, incorporating a live sample of a stick countdown, by original drummer, Leon Reedijk, who sadly is no-longer with us. Every time I hear this track, it just gets better and Vietnam are kindred spirits to bands such as The Church and The Chills, and as such, masters of evoking sentiment and memories.
Beauty In Chaos, as a gothic/dark alternate group, has some pretty heavy hitters in the music scene that are members, with Michael Ciravolo as the focal band mate. From this year’s album release, Behind The Veil, the band have dropped the single “Afterlife“, which features Ciravolo’s wife, Tish on vocals and she also wrote the lyrics for this track. The band on this single consists of Michael Ciravolo (guitars and textures), Michael Rozon (bass, synth and drum programming), Dirk Doucette (live drums) and Adrienne LaVey (operatic voice).
The guitars are somber and withdrawn, whilst the synths blow through like a wind of sweet sorrow before the vocals of Tish Ciravolo caress your ears, enchanting you like a siren. It flows like the final breath from your lips and there are the unearthly, angelic vocals of Adrienne LaVey in the interlude.
I hear strains of The Cure in those rivulets of trickling synths and guitar, giving the whole track a dream like quality or as such, a hazy memory floating in that liquid stream. Yes, this is a song about death because as humans, we have always asked, what happens after we leave this mortal coil and where do we go? But also, there are those that we leave behind and we, in some way, are kept alive in memoriam by the ties of love. This track radiates light, just as the sun falls on the leaves of a tree, however the light becomes dappled and darker… this is how I see “Afterlife“, so breathtakingly beautiful and yet that heavy undertow, making it perfect.
French darkwave act, Distance H, have released their debut single “Bitch 16”, as of the end of April and it features Saigon Blue Rain’s chanteuse. Ophelia. She will also be featuring on the soon to be released EP, Intimacy, by Parisian, ManuH, who is the producer behind Distance H, which endeavors to have different female vocalists on tracks.
The guitar chimes out, programmed drum machine keeping the beat and Ophelia’s vocals seductively slipping like silk across the music. darkness and light of growing up, where everything starts off bright and optimistic, then with experience and growth, comes the realisation that life is murkier the more you let people in.
There is a tremendous balance between vocals and music here where one never engulfs the other. The guitar work is delightful, weaving throughout the whole piece, while the vocals capture your attention with Ophelia’s beautiful performance. Really it is a darkwave track, worthy of attention and if the EP is this quality, then it is going to be fantastic release from Distance H!
May 5th dropped the single “Starter” by Portland, Oregon based project Newphasemusic. Daniel Henderson is the man behind Newphasemusic and whom also is a drummer for such acts as Trance to theSun, Tuvan throat singer Soriah, a Cure tribute band called theXplodingboys plus others.
Geodome is Henderson‘s first and original version of “Starter“, the electronic alarms have sounded in this rhythm heavy piece, with the synths wailing lightly in the background. Obtuse, discordant piano keys or is that chimes (?) flutter through, all the while distorted vocals feel like the lips could be, up against you ear. The second version is by Dan Milligan, the lynch pin of the mega group, The Joy Thieves and another drummer by trade. This remix has strut, like it owns the hood with it’s base loaded tones, aggressive guitar and rhythms. The third remix is by SINE’s Rona Rougeheart and ooh…..wubby. It is a little sexy and a little slinky, there is a beat throughout but the concentration is on the electronics as they slide up and down, pulsating.
Kind of trippy listening to these three interpretations. The versions, with drummers, Henderson and Milligan, definitely are classy beat heavy affairs that you can bang your head to, while the SINE mix will probably have your whole body gyrating. This is the not so calm before the album hits us….and even better is the fact that you have no excuse for not downloading “Starter” by Newphasemusic on Bandcamp, as it is name your price.
At The Heart Of The World are a duo from Portland, Oregon dealing up electronic, industrial music and February 18th saw the release of the EP, Inosculate. Seven tracks makes this a solidly packed EP with everything written, recorded and produced by the band, mixed by Derek Moree at Diamond Drive and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege. Special mention goes to Andrew Gomez IV for the wonderfully ghoulish artwork.
From the beginning of “Retroject” you can tell this is going to be a great ride. Screaming aggrotech to transcendental vocals as the electronics lurch forward to ensnare your senses. The low-key swirling synths of “Synchrony“, match the feeling of disjointed dreams and reality never meshing and playing tricks on your mind. The music with its beats is near trance inducing. “Etheric Visions” is slow to start with off sync beats echoing vocals, that grow with angst, then drop away to build again, over and over. It is a sonically wonderful piece.
The manic rhythms feels like it is heralding the dogs of war in “Pain Demands Attention“. Between the booming fuzz tones and synth crunchiness, there are these delightful twittering sounds. When it comes to “Multiply The Stillness“, it is oppressive and cloying, lyrically castrating the living. The beginning of “Reflect/Reveal” could be an industrial homage to Bjork’s, “Army Of Me” but then the only similarity is probably the sentiment of inner struggle. When people judge their worth on being loved and without it, they feel they cease to be them. What better way to finish than being “Mocked By Death” and the vocals skim along the cyber synths, which is joined by some lovely glitching and crunchy electronics. It is absolutely brilliant.
Though the music can be harsh. with pounding beats and growling vocals, the lyrical content is beautifully written, a little like descriptive poetry. It paints feelings and internal torment with a fine brush, all the while using electronics to get you moving to the infectious rhythms. At The Heart Of The World have a mother load of talent so check out Inosculate.
The label Blue FX Records, released on the 13th of May, the album Dying World by Boston project, WrongPath. The previous releases for Wrong Path, have all been instrumental, however, this album comes with the bonus of vocals!
Kicking off with the title track of “Dying World” with the driving guitar and deep vocals that tell you no one cares and are insincere because the world is nightmare. “Transparent Man” has echos of Soundgarden in the guitar work and the low tone is almost akin listening to throat singing. I can hear the resemblance to Motorhead in “Mankind“. Could be in the drums or guitar work but there is definitely something as the vocals roughly grind against the music. You have heard “My Way” and now there is “Fight My Way” and Wrong Path are fighting dirty.
Layered vocals echo over each other, in some psychedelic induced episode in “Break Me“. The change in drums grabs your attention in “My Misery” and the whispers wrap around you, trying to weigh you down in the mire of despair. “Breaking The Void” honestly sounds like a belching demon but then progresses into a black mass seance. The 70s is strong in the “The Truth” with those guitar riffs that Black Sabbath could deploy and there is a general fuzzing tone over the top of it all.
Like Rambo,”Meth Itch 2 (The Return)” is on a mission with rumbling rhythms, fuzzed out and clean guitars. When “Death Is Certain” then breakout the Buddhist ohms because that is going to work a treat in this dirge. Oh, the guitar work hear does remind me of Type O Negative in “Hate Within” and a news report from a British broadcaster which is about riots in Russia and it works together very well. “New Horizons” is the final track at a minute long and unlike the rest of the music, this seems to far more electronic and brighter. so maybe there is hope.
The deep rumbling vocals definitely bring something new to the table and possibly is part of the reason this album has a Type O Negative sound, though for me, it is more so in the guitar work. So bring on the doom and gloom of Wrong Path and a Dying World.
X-MARKS THE PEDWALK for some of us was the music on the dance floor in the early 90s, that was so very attention grabbing. The band has come a long way since then, with their sound changing and maturing, going through future pop, becoming the synthpop power house we have today and with that talent and touch for electronic music, has culminated in the album, New / End. This husband and wife team of SEVREN NI-ARB and the lovely ESTEFANIA, so very graciously gave us a chance to talk to them about family, the music industry and of course the latest album.
Welcome to the dark side of our world, here at Onyx, dear ESTEFANIA and SEVREN NI-ARB of X-MARKS THE PEDWALK.
Estefanía: Hello Adele, thank you for inviting us to Onyx.
The band has in essence been around since around 1987 and seen changes in personnel, style and even been on hiatus. Did you ever think you would still be so well received and still going well over 30 years later?
Sevren Ni-Arb: Until the longer hiatus we had released 5 albums with XMTP. Since the comeback in 2009, 6 more have been added to date. I released another album of my side project (SN-A) and created the soundtrack series “MUSIC.FOR.BOOKS”. I also founded my own label meshwork music and in addition to a few remixes I also produced the two albums of my son Luis Maximilian (LMX). Another one is in preparation. To be honest, no – I didn’t think it would be that extensive. But what we are overwhelmed that we still have such a great fan base and that so many new fans have joined XMTP over the last few years. This is a huge motivating factor.
Your last album, “Transformation”, was released in 2020 and now you have followed it up with the fabulous “New / End”. What has it been like creating and releasing albums during a pandemic?
Estefanía: Especially in the times of lockdown, music was of course a wonderful energy booster and a welcome “refuge”.
Sevren Ni-Arb: Otherwise the production processes have remained the same. With “NEW / END” I was extremely disciplined and efficient with my resources this time.
What is behind the title “New / End”?
Sevren Ni-Arb: “NEW / END” closes the conceptual framework of our last three albums. While “Secrets” is primarily a look inside, something closed and reserved, “Transformation” deals with barriers, people and behaviors that constrict us emotionally. It´s about recognizing one’s own weaknesses in order to convert them into new energy. In “NEW / END” this energy is the core. It´s about determination and personal strength, to make conscious decisions, to shape your life differently. “NEW / END” marks the end of a process of change, to take new directions.
It has been stated that the themes are determination and strength through hardship and loss but would you say, that the common theme throughout this latest album is having faith, whether that is in one’s self or in others?
Sevren Ni-Arb: Yes, above all trust in yourself and your own feelings. Expressing and acknowledging these feelings clearly. This allows you to realign yourself emotionally. Accordingly, there are also melancholic moments of pain and loss on the album.
“Firestorm” is definitely a standout track but I also really like “Sacred Ground” for its sweetness and a slightly magical quality. Are there any standout tracks that you particularly love?
Estefanía: I’m glad you like “SACRED GROUND”. Next to “Yesterdays” and “I’m on your side” it’s a song that’s very personal and touches me deeply. It’s about the death of my father, who passed away last year. When Sevren finished the composition and lyrics, I was surprised. I didn’t expect him to confront my feelings in this way. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to freely sing the song in the studio. But in a way, it’s also part of my grief.
What would be the major influence in writing this album?
Sevren Ni-Arb: I’ve been making music for so long now, I don’t have much time to listen extensively to other artists. So I always go my own way. But sure, we are unconsciously influenced by many things that touch us, move us or leave a mark in some way that is also reflected in the music.
On Facebook, I was reading a thread, where they were talking about how people are still saying that they are surprised your sound is now electro synthpop. Why do you think this is?
Sevren Ni-Arb: We were very successful as an EBM industrial band. We were one of the first bands with this style on Zoth Ommog, the then still young, but later extremely groundbreaking label in Germany. “Abattoir” from 1992 is still extremely popular in clubs. And it’s not the only hit from the past that’s still being played a lot today. We also did provocative live shows that fit the image of a “hard” and “aggressive” band. But I’ve always changed the sound of XMTP. Change is part of XMTP’s DNA. I implemented that in my music sometimes more radically, sometimes more nuanced. If you look at our discography, you will see that from album no. 4 (“Meshwork”) onwards the sound was already extremely different from the Industrial/EBM of the early days. With the releases “Facer” and “Meshwork” I’m considered the founder of so-called future pop – that was back in 1994/1995. That was almost 30 years ago. At that time there were already different reactions. Some were excited, others disappointed. And so the disappointed fans “wake up” every time we release a new album. And that’s fine with me. Luckily, taste in music vary and are allowed to change. I understand that fans would rather hear the early works and wish we would come back to that style again. We’ve definitely lost some fans that way. But on the other hand, we gained a lot of new fans and there are so many that have stayed with us over the years. So many have also gotten carried away by all these changes, by the always new and surprising changes in the sound. It’s the very unique spirit of X MARKS THE PEDWALK.
X-MARKS THE PEDWALK is on Meshwork Music, which is your own label, catering to electronic musicians. Before Meshwork Music, you were also signed to some huge labels such as the now defunct Zoth Ommog, Cleopatra, Metropolis and Infacted Recordings that rose from the ashes of Zoth Ommog. What did you learn along the way that inspired you to create a record label?
Sevren Ni-Arb: When founding Meshwork Music, the main motivation was to work completely independently – not only musically – also to make your own organizational and financial decisions, when and how to invest in production and marketing. It is now my personal money that is used. But I am still in regular contact with Torben from Infacted Recordings in particular. He still has our back catalogue in the program. The time with him was really great! He’s one of those people in the music business that’s really on the artist side. Just a great guy!
Do you do much live touring now and would this be something you would like to do with the new album?
Sevren Ni-Arb: We played our last concert at the Wave Gothic Treffen in Leipzig – 2009. We invested a lot back then and produced very complex stage projections for this show, because we produced a live DVD. Since then there have always been thoughts about a tour or individual shows. We are often asked when we’ll be back on stage. But it is an enormous challenge for us – especially in terms of time. We’re not full-time musicians. I am the managing partner of a digital communications agency, and I have also founded another company in which Estefania is the managing director. I also have my label meshwork music. We have to plan the remaining time very carefully.
Estefanía: There’s our family, our dog, friends… Sometimes we just have to recharge our batteries and we want to spend and enjoy our time as a couple. Not to mention my fear of flying…
Sevren Ni-Arb: … so, there are no plans yet. But there are thoughts again…
I am in awe of your relationship. You are a couple whom have created music together, had a family, chosen to put music on the back-burner to raise that family and then come back to it. What is it like having that other person in your life and not just music plus are you each other’s best friend?
Estefanía: We both known each other for so long – we’ve been together for nearly 35 years now. Before we got together, Sevren was already making music and it quickly became his profession. So I took part in and accompanied all these developments, we made decisions together on how we would like to shape our lives. My involvement in XMTP has grown over time. After so many years we are lovers and best friends at the same time. We have so much in common and are still making new plans for our future together. It’s great and a wonderful feeling that the music has now also become a common part. Even if Sevren can be quite strict in the studio sometimes 😉
Sevren Ni-Arb: But only a little 😉 We have a lot of fun in the studio and when a song is finished and we hear the result together, it’s a great feeling to share this moment with the most important person in life.
I always like to ask about people’s influences, so what do you guys into the industrial/electronic scene?
Sevren Ni-Arb: In the beginning, before I finally launched my first own EBM project (“Scarecrow”) in 1988, there were a few bands and artists who absolutely moved me and played a major role in my wish to make electronic music myself. For example: FAD GADGET – especially “Back to Nature”, KRAFTWERK – especially “Computerwelt”, DEPECHE MODE – “Some Great Reward” – still my absolute favorite album by DM, THE KLINIK (“Memories”), FRONT 242 (“Geography”) , CLICK CLICK (“She´s chewing them”), TWICE A MAN, GARY NUMAN, ALIEN SEX FIEND (“Ignore the Machine”) and of course SKINNY PUPPY.
What or whom do you enjoy listening to these days?
Estefanía: Today we mostly listen to music on the side, while cooking (Sevren’s passion), at dinner, with family and friends… We listen to so many different kinds of music: pop, jazz, classical, swing, electro, dance, soundtracks…
Sevren Ni-Arb: Yes, the soundtrack to “Interstellar” by Hans Zimmer is outstanding! In general, we like to discover music in films.
If you both had to write a lyric or two, for a love song, dedicated to the other, what would be in those lyrics? (It can be anything from you make my day, to you keep my feet warm in bed)
Sevren Ni-Arb: Oh there are love songs on our new album – not that obvious. But “Yesterdays” is dedicated to my sons and my wife. When you listen to the second verse you have the lyrics 😉
Estefanía: … and these could also have come from me. That’s why I was touched from two perspectives when I heard the song and lyrics for the first time.
What is coming up next for X-MARKS THE PEDWALK?
Sevren Ni-Arb: “NEW / END” is on the market for a short time now. The reviews are great. We’re really glad. I’ll think about how to proceed with XMTP later. Now it’s time for my son’s third album. We’re soon in my studio to produce it. But I can tell you this: It’s going to be a great album!
Thank you for giving us your time and the new album is exquisite!
Most people would not expect an electronic Mexican band in Hong Kong, but Deer Mx exists and are giving you the single, “The Farthest I Can Get“, dropped on May the 4th, however, May the 12th, is the release date for the brand spanking new video and we wanted to let people know it is out there. Adriana (vocals, guitar) and Miguel (synths, programming, bass guitar, piano) are Deer Mx and they were joined on this track by AlfonsoRosales on drums and Peter Enderberg playing guitar.
The guitars are front and center, howling with veracity. Adriana’s vocals coming through powerfully, with such overwhelming passion, the drums smash away and Miguel’s synths as the glue holding the form of the song.
The track is about remembering those who have past away from Covid and yet so many seem to be in denial. Part of this, is because, not even the band remained untouched in losing someone dear to them. It is a formidable track and it not hard to hear the ardent zeal in which it is delivered. Please check out Deer Mx because they are well worth your time.