Out on the rather impressively named Culture Vomit Production, is the new album from London’s Pillars Of Golden Misery, called Turbo Necropolis. Another experimental noise project of the very busy Howard Gardner, who is also Non-Bio and a member of Decommissioned Forests.
The lethargy of “The Demon Ray” turns your way, low wave pulsing which continues into the stalking “Ultimate Fighting Claw Death“. The ominous “Big-Time Blade Trader” lumbers with reverberation causing rising internal tensions and this is built on with “Temple Of Catastrophe” as Gardner adds his intonations to the track that is forever doomed to haunt that mystical abode, and this is just a few of the pieces.
For the most part, Turbo Necropolis is an instrumental affair, and as I always say, it is never good to pull apart instrumental albums as they are crafted often to create a mood. Gardner has put together eleven tracks, that paint a picture in sonics of an ancient city inhabited by the dead. The oppressive dark spaces, wind swept halls, temples where possible sacrifices were made and the people that never left.
The chanting in the title track makes me think of the Indiana Jones movie, Temple Of Doom, and the imagery fits so well. A place tainted by blood sprays and screams of the unfortunate, now rendered in shadowy electronic creepiness, as you make your way through the establishment. Pillars Of Golden Misery are inviting you to visit their Turbo Necropolis…..it’s a nice place to visit but you wouldn’t want to live there.
Ner/Ogris is a fairly new project from Germany, but you have more than likely heard of the two guys involved. There is vocalist tinoC from Amnistia and kaiN of Les Berrtas, who is the keyboard player and composer. Their first album, I Am The Shadow, I Am The Light, is full of electronic beats, deep and powerful synths, and raw vocals, released at the end of February on the label Dependant. The guys were gracious enough to talk to us about the album, how it came together, their influences and their shared admiration of Anthony Rother (you lucky lucky man).
Welcome kaiN and tinoC of Ner\Ogris, to Onyx where everything is in balance, which is why we co-ordinate in black.
Neither of you are new to the electronic scene, so what inspired you to create this new project Ner\Ogris?
Ner\Ogris: kaiN had the plan to release a instrumental album under the name NER\OGRIS and sent almost all the to the guys behind AMNISTIA to get some feedback. tinoC had the idea to add vocals to one of the tracks. When kaiN heard the demo he was like “maybe you can give this treatment to some more tracks?”. After about two or three weeks we had 6 tracks ready and it was obvious that we can not name this child a “featuring”… the rest is history.
How do you feel the German dark alternative scene has impacted on how you create music now and what style of music feeds your creative juices?
tinoC: I am in the scene for a long time and I am happy that I can call a some great musicians my friends. I really like the dark music scene and I listen to a lot of old and new music. I don’t like every release of course – that would be crazy, but I know what is going on in the scene and I have my influences there. I try to use my voice in different styles and very likely you can hear this in some of the songs.
kaiN: I was lucky enough to have grown up in this scene. With my other band (Les Berrtas) we had a great time in the early 90s with bands like CalvaYNada or Liederkranz with whom we played some concerts. I can still remember the first EBM nights in Frankfurt. Of course, that left its mark and has continued to this day. Today I think it’s great that younger bands like 2nd Face are taking up this niche again. Even if there are still only a few and the rest are getting older…
Your debut album is titled “I Am The Shadow – I Am The Light” which speaks of duality, for there is no light without darkness. Can you tell us a bit more about the album?
Ner\Ogris: It’s all about contrasts – noise and silence, harsh and soft, instrumental- and vocal tracks. We think the most interesting fact about the album is, that it was not planed. It “appeared” out of the nothing in a very spontaneous way. The music is still like it was before there were words or vocals. We did not change anything on it. It felt right to add the vocals to the tracks. kaiN said on day that the tracks finally made sense with vocals on it.
There are some big beats on the album and contrasts between the synths and vocals in line with the title. Was this conscientious at the time or it was just the way it all came together?
Ner\Ogris: As we mentioned… the music was there and is still like it was. The words and vocals followed the music and they came together very fast.
Do you have any tracks off the album that are particularly your favourites and why?
tinoC: My favourite instrumental tracks are “Pájaro” and “Fiebre Oscura”. “Deepest Fear” and “Reality & Fiction” are my favorites among the vocal tracks.
kaiN: Hard to say … All the songs have somehow been around for so long … Maybe “deepest Fear”, because Vincent from 2nd Face gave the song a phenomenal climax with his co-production. Or Reality & Fiction because of its danceability. But definitely “Faith” from the bonus CD – because TinoC performs awesome vocals to the song.
Do you find working together has brought out relationship that pushes you both to go further?
tinoC: That’s a good question. We will see what happens in the future. At the moment we only know what can happen when I add vocals to finished tracks that were not planned to release with vocals on it. I’m really looking forward to new tracks because I’m sure KaiN’s compositional habits will change a bit when he knows he’s working on a track that will have vocals finally. I really hope he will not lose his craziness for the music because there are parts in the tracks that are crazy and I think that’s great.
kaiN: Yes, we will see what the future brings. TinoC can also write good songs, as he has already proven with TC75 and Amnistia. It’s exciting for me in any case and I’m looking forward to no longer being solely responsible for the music.
How does it feel to be compared musically to fellow Germans, X MARKS THE PEDWALK, circa early 90s?
tinoC: To be honest… I am a big fan of XMTP. I personally think that tracks like “Cenothaph” or “Never Dare To Ask” are some of the greatest tunes of the scene. But I do not see any similarities between NER\ORGIS and XMTP beside the fact that we both are electronic bands. But it’s nice and an honor to know that other people feel that way.
kaiN: I agree with tinoC. I’ve known XMTP since the 90s and they have had a strong influence on the German dark electro scene. It is not the worst thing to be compared with XMTP!
If you could pick any electronic artists (alive or dead) to do guest remixes of the album, who would you pick?
tinoC: Good question! Thinking big is good 😉 I would like to hear Anthony Rother and Trent Reznor remixes from our tracks 😉
kaiN: Anthony Rother is a good choice 🙂 But I would actually be interested to hear what the album would sound like if it had been produced by Rick Rubin.9.
What is in the future for Ner\Ogris?
Ner\Ogris: The album has only been out since February 24th, so there is no new release in the near future but we have some confirmed live dates. We will share them when they are ready for the public. We want to see you all at one of the events and maybe have a chat there.
“Burning Building” is the latest single from Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys, out on Unique Records / Schubert Music Europe GmbH. Kruger was born and raised in South Africa but now calls Berlin home, and the creation of the single is a very international affair with the recording done in Berlin, the mixing in Cape Town and the mastering in Brussels.
The music very much gives you the impression of a stalking cat on the prowl, looking for a cat’s paw, a plaything, while everything around them perishes, but that isn’t their concern. The angular guitars and jaunty rhythm with super sultry vocals make for a very bad-arse track.
If you will, imagine Siouxsie’s Creatures, fused with Sonic Youth and that might give you an idea of the grandiose sound of “Burning Building“. A post-punk aesthetic, married to grungy pop and Kruger’s delightful vocals definitely make this track both sexy and fun. This is the second single to be released off the next Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys’ album, due in April and we are pretty sure that it is going to be hot.
Non-Bio is the most excellent industrial project of the rather busy Howard Gardner, whom is based in London and is also in the projects Pillars of Golden Misery and Decommissioned Forests. Halloween was the release date for his latest album, Monkey Feather.
The first track is also the first single/video, “Island In A Lake Of Spinal Fluid“, and the electronic reverberations are already tingling under your skin. Low and intense with Gardner’s voice adding to the noise, the screaming metal sounds, causing ripples to send those tingles down your back. Rhythmic noise is the order of the day, so with that in mind “Monkey Feather” will not disappoint. The crunchy beats fall over each other with sharp agitation, the vocals almost inconsequential in the scheme of things, as all that matters is the pile driver pushing into your head.
Primal is one way to describe “The Melting Man“, not only with the beats but with what sounds like horns bellowing, before the ancient warriors storm the palisades of their foe. “Pressure” is a slower beast, like an iron lung life support, giving the needed air to a patient who cannot fend for themselves. Inhale and exhale with the pressure of accumulated shadows, death is waiting as the life stutters under the heavy odds. It is almost like a chopped up classical piece, gurgling in the background at times.
The grinding electronics vibrate and buzz, consuming the human you are. This is “Amputate Product“, as each bit of the body is replaced by cybernetics… bringing you closer to being part of the machine. The screeching beats chomp away incessantly. Down in “The God Factory” they are busy, twiddling knobs and generating those miracles of life. Making things to keep you alive for longer, glitching and oscillating, usurping the laws of natural order.
Now one is more cyborg than man, here comes the “Imbalance“. The memories of a life lived different or seemingly flashbacks of another person’s previous existence, which is surely not yours. The synapse pulse within the electrical stream trying to reconcile the loss of what was so readily given up. A sharpness and a metal tinged pain. The last track is an absolute treat. When you get two very capable artists of rhythmic noise….well hold onto your pants. “Amputate Product” the STAHSCHLAG remix, has Sebastian Sünkler taking an already heavy track, winding it up and amping up the existential dread. A monster lurks below the surface wanting to escape.
Yep. I hate to tell you but I think this might be the best Non-Bio album to date. It fair pummels the senses, raw and brooding with Howard’s discombobulated vocals filtering through, a comment on the desire to enhance the body and live longer, though, then is it truly considered living? A Monkey Feather is an incongruous thing when talking of playing God but damn it, so good when Non-Bio pushes that electronic noise.
When things go bump in the night, you are sure to get music to remind you not all is known or seen. October 31st or All Hallows Eve, saw the new EP, Avernus, be unleashed by In Tenebris, upon the world while the veil between the living and the dead was at its thinnest. This is the more ambient product of German electronic musician, Sebastian Sünkler, whom is better know for his power noise project, STAHLSCHLAG.
Something unnatural this way comes, in the form of an ancient “Relic“. The synths waver in high pitch warning and the clash of tones signal there is something that feeds on the darkness, an aberration has become unbound. Sinister electronic overtones, coalesce with slow rhythmic beats… a heartbeat from a demonic being, in the cathodic noise, casting a foreboding shadow for this is the “Dynastic Cult“.
The beginning of “Traits” is almost transcendental, though almost immediately drenched in a claustrophobic pall of dank noises. The ringing, instead of being enlightening, joins the overbearing build up of portent. The final track is “Iconoclast” and the beast waits, no longer in torpor, as the music oozes with sharp edges, stalking so that you can almost feel the fetid breath on the back of your neck, though nothing can be seen through the mists. How long do you have?
Avernus strikes a chord somewhere in your brain that stores your animal ability to sense danger. Something dark and threatening lurks within, nothing like us and with evil intent. The music conjures a myriad of feelings and visions, like a good horror movie, never showing you the monster but rather letting your imagination run away with the subtle suggestion simply in the tone or noises within each track. And each listen will reveal more than you previously heard. Sünkler’s famous crunch is bleeding through a little into this EP, giving the ambient tracks a rather delightful texture and most definitely increasing the menace.
UNFEELING is one of Derek Rush’s projects, a New York electronic artist who has recently been on the road touring. His latest ambient album, VERTICAL SLEEP, is out on the CHTHONIC STREAMS label, created between June to October 2022, on the previously mentioned US tour.
Ever been so tired that you drag yourself around while everything and everyone is conspiring against your ability to shut down? This is the premise behind VERTICAL SLEEP, where one’s sleep cycle is so contaminated, nothing seems real. The music is slow like being caught in a nightmare, every movement laboured.
Even the names of the tracks conveys the near death like state of the subject due to the trauma of not being able to rest. There is “PAROXYSMAL” which is at such a low level of noise, that when there is a change it actually seems like a big deal, to “BAROTRAUMA” slowly pulsates and grows in seeming pressure, from the void, that slowly dissolves into the state of near nothingness.
The burbling and twittering of “SURRENDER” definitely conveys the loss of one’s senses, as the conscious stream goes for a wander due to the inability to turn off, or in other words that unhinged feeling and spacing out. The whole point of this electronic quest is to express how the mind reacts once it has passed the limits of regular sleep patterns, into the realms of mental torture and numbness. UNFEELING might be not as unfeeling as they pass into VERTICAL SLEEP.
HXGNL Sounds is where the single “Saturn” was recorded in Barcelona, by 6ymo. Is it is single? It goes for over 17 minutes but there is only the one track, but this is an album. So, with that in mind we should delve into space and see what this track, released on the 2nd of September, has to offer.
This is an electronic, instrumental, noise track and the beginning loops and pulsates like a cosmic life force. As you travel, there is monumental interference that reverberates and clashes, swooping the flight. This is the music representation of the heart beats of the solar system, solar winds and things we have yet to experience.
Juan Pablo Egúsquiza is 6ymo and he has created this opus experimenting with both analog machines, effects pedals and electronic instruments. The more you listen, the more immersed you become in his world of “Saturn“.
Machina ad Noctem are a fairly new label and their area of expertise lay in electronic music. With this in mind, as of the 11th of July, their first release ever, was in the form of a compilation, titled Dreams Out Of Joint: A Tribute To Philip K. Dick, Yes, this is 26 tracks, inspired by the science fiction genius of Philip K. Dick, who penned many classics including Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, which of course became the movie Bladerunner, that has been a huge catalyst of inspiration for many electronic/industrial musicians. Of special note is the fact that the first half is dedicated to Dick’s short stories and the second to the novels.
With so many tracks, we thought maybe we could give you a taste of this. Edge of Decipher with their track “Frolix 8“, is a cyber journey through realms of space and light, mysterious and a constantly evolving adventure or Chrono 87 doing “2 Weeks On Mars“, light, delicate and with changing rhythm signatures. There is “A.M.O.D” by beepeater with tis tortured experimental electronics, Ran Kirlian unveiling the ambient track “Time Out Of Joint” which is like the final cooling death of a star or ∑V∑RYTHING with “Ubik OpeningCredits” that has a wonderful soundtrack feel to it that suddenly falters in the middle to then pick itself up again.
There are tracks that play for nearly thirty minutes, tracks with beeps and whistles to give you the impression aliens are trying to communicate and other tracks with music so quiet, nearly imperceptible at first until you start to really listen. Soundscapes and beats and everything in between. If you enjoy experimental ambient music or just love old fashion sci fi movies to the more modern, then I think Dreams Out Of Joint might just feed your imagination. The beauty is not always human and we dream of Philip K. Dick.
Just when you thought is was safe to get back into mother nature, a single is carelessly discarded by the lads in DECOMMISSIONED FORESTS and low it was called “Drop Brick“. It was released in January, on the 14th of 2022, ahead of the soon to be unleashed Industry album. I, your humble reviewer decided to cheekily nick this description from their bio…..
Formed around the creative axis of Howard Gardner (Non-Bio,Pillars Of Golden Misery), Max Rael (History Of Guns, Spucktute, Raelism), and Daniel Vincent (The Resonance Association), DECOMMISSIONED FORESTS create music that is dark in outlook and electronic in nature.
Not going to lie, the keys from the beginning bring forth memories of Tubular Bells, but the vocals of MaxRael save us. For the initiated, Rael very well could be channeling Coil’s John Balance, it is truly uncanny and very lucky that Coil is a band that the group are very much into. On much more serious note “Drop Brick” is empathising with a monster. The thoughts that they might go through, pain, loss, anger, loneliness and the hunger to have to what is kept from them. In the end there is no end and only the exhaustion of reality. The synths peal over and over again, cementing the ground hog perception and you feel the heaviness of wanting to pass away.
The more murky sounding “I Can Stop The Noise” is kind of the b-side, filled with a story told in a matter of fact way about a nurse in a psychiatric hospital, whom hates her husband and plans something diabolical. The electronics are so low, you strain to hear them as they dwindle to a slowing heartbeat.
There are no less than four remixes of “Drop Brick” and one deconstructed mix which I think I can safely say where done by all the band mates. The Pillars Of Golden Misery is is all prickly and angry while the Safety Deposit Box version feels like a much more lighter version with it’s cute electronics, that is until the sped up vocals join in like that mantra. The Raelism remix is like a lads night down the pub with the boys that gets thrown into the Twilight Zone. Talking about the weird and wonderful is The DOMH Deconstructed version, giving you Twin Peaks vibes with the vocals running backwards, the swell of electronics in the background that just seem out of reach yet full of promise to swallow you in the noise. The Non-Bio remix is full of the noise and cacophony of buzzing electronics trying to crawl under your skin, as they are pushed to the limit and we wouldn’t expect anything less.
The guys have also included the original demo version of the song which was originally named “Halt Program“. It is a far more keyboard friendly version, the bare bones so to speak, without the vocals but it is still a very compelling piece of music and it is interesting to see how it developed into “Drop Brick”. DECOMMISSIONED FORESTS manage to find the quirk in things and bring them to the fore. The ability to make you listen to what is almost most there or the subtle yet sudden change in direction that takes on a completely different journey. Call it experimental post-industrial or dark electro-ambient or whatever but in the end it is about that journey you take with them and in that process, the visions they can bestow.
Industrial music actually covers a lot of scope, from heavy dance music to experimental, ambient noise and this is where we introduce British band, Decommissioned Forests. So far there have only been singles released by the three men behind the project, though the latest single, “Ants Part 1” will be on their debut album Industry.
From the start you can hear the undeniable homage to Coil in their spoken word phase and Rael’s utterances are uncannily like the late John Balance. Ants Part 1 (Our Last Supper) is just over nine minutes long and is like a dissonant journey that seems pleasant, yet the lyrics are the disembodied oddities of strange and disturbing sequences. The one running thread is the ants running riot over the picnic as they transcend the existence of this plane it seems. The band agreed the track “Functional Programming For Humans” was their favourite to play in the studio.The low tones almost could the far off church organ while the quirky sounds could be firing synapses while the commentary is how not feel any emotion like an automaton unless it is turned on. Grand soundscape with cold barren wept vistas. The last song is “Base” and the first bars start like a droning sea shanty though this drone is sinister and full of loathing as the piano enforces it’s disappointment.
Decommissioned Forests (is) the result of friendships going back to the beginnings of this century and a shared love of the darker post-industrial world of Coil, Current 93, Cabaret Voltaire and Nurse With Wound. In this collaboration, Daniel Vincent (of cult space rockers The Resonance Association) handles the music, ably abetted by Howard Gardner (the multi-media artist behind Non-Bio, Pillars of Golden Misery and Down With Freedom), whilst the vocals are channeled by Max Rael (the lynch pin of post-industrial noiseniks History of Guns) – Decommissioned Forests bio says it better than I can. You can hear those influences so clearly in the music these guys create and there is definitely a passion for the genre. There is a timelessness in a way to Decommissioned Forests, not only the themes but expressions of love, loss, life and always the ants.