American industrial/EBM is alive and well, with the prime example, Slighter, also known as Colin Cameron Allrich. This accomplished musician and producer is based in Los Angeles and can be found on the Confusion Inc. label.

In May, Slighter brought forth his latest album call Automata which can be found on Bandcamp and most recently released a deluxe version with ten extra tracks.

SLIGHTER

There is nothing more memorable than a heartbeat and “The Shadows” has this familiar rhythm. This is a quiet and retrospective feeling number about things now passed and how the past can repeat itself to start off the album

In isolation, there is a loss of identity and the ability to be forgotten. Oscillating electronic tones with the vocals droning over the top of “Isolate”. This is serpentine in the way the music flows. If you can’t guess by now, this isn’t going to be the happy joy album…

“Give Me” is a solid EBM track. This features Craig Joseph Huxtable on vocal duties, who is best know for the Vancouver bands, Öhm and Landscape Body Machine. It has those wonder low vocals and heavenly ‘oooohs’. This isn’t the first time Huxtable has a dalliance with Slighter, as seen on the Erode album with the song, “Lights Out”.

The dark, atmospheric piece, “Survive”, is made even more delicious by the whispered lyrics. Colin’s enunciation is brilliant and so very crystal clear, so you can see the darkness reflected over and over again, accented with that solo guitar.

“Imbalance” is a spoken word observation about the destruction humans have caused our planet and that the Earth will go back into equilibrium without us in the end. Kadin Contois is the featured voice, speaking at us in a monotone, matter-of-fact way. Contois is an industrial musician from Virginia, formerly known as Pseudocide..

Not much is known about Floridian vocalist, Christy Hannon but her sweet tones ring true from the start of “Walls”. A hint of a swelling musical build-up and growing beat, yet this is deceiving, as the song does not get any faster.

Moris Blak is a Bostonian industrial powerhouse on the Australian label, Blind Mice Productions and can also be found on the track, “The Hunt”. Allrich gives us a much bigger vocal presence which might be influenced by Moris Blak’s heavy, moody bass beats. This is great. It’s seedy, bold, dangerous and could be picking its nose but you wouldn’t dare tell them to stop. Well worth looking for the Moris Blak Industrial Bass Edit on SoundCloud.

“Undertow” is a great gradual building, almost symphonic sounding piece. Not symphonic because of an orchestra, rather the vastness of the sound. It is so simple and yet so huge in its concept. Maybe this is also the link to tidal waters… A drop is nothing but a sea is deep, mysterious and powerful. All this is managed with simple electronics and vocals

If “Undertow” wasn’t good enough to set the hairs on your neck on end, then “A Moment of Inexplicable Clarity” just might. This is so ambient and thick with delicate vocals and synths that wouldn’t be amiss on Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. American author, Rachel A. Desilets lends her hushed tones to her husband’s masterpiece. It has to be said, these two numbers compliment each other so very, very well.

The final track for all intent and purpose, is “Static on the Line”. This is slow and grimy, like you are stuck in a greasy, dirty hotel room, with a phone against your ear, dealing with the grainy reception.

On the deluxe version, there is a reworked version of each song, from darkwave to techno/trip hop. Soundscapes through to dark electro but it never feels disjointed or at odds with itself which is an artform.

There is a reason Colin C. aka Slighter, is featured on television programmes such as Bones and True Blood. Simply put, he is quite the evocative musician. If you like to not only hear your music but also see and feel it, then you should definitely give Slighter an opportunity to get into your ear and maybe even introduce you to some talent you may not have had the delight to be entertained by yet.

https://www.facebook.com/slighterofficial/

https://confusioninc.bandcamp.com/

The Odyssey is a grandiose tale by the Greek writer Homer but it is also an album devised by far more modern Greeks, whom are no lest dedicated to the art of story telling in the form of Dark Awake, while Regard Extreme is the French connection in this collaboration.

So we are onwards “Towards A Long Journey” and it is slow and steady with each classical instrument getting it’s fair turn. This flows like deep water and oozes ancient charm of the mediterranean as our hero Odysseus leaves the Trojan Wars to head home to his kingdom.

“Polyphemus (A Trick Against The Cyclops)” has a gorgeous string ensemble which breaks in and out with horned instruments. You even get to hear the cyclops as the music goes from light and laid back to more intimidating, building. His enraged yells as he has been blinded in his one eye, calling on his father, Poseidon.

And so we enter the “The Land Of Laistrygones”, the seriousness is expressed which the deep menacing tones of this dirge as Odysseus and his fleet land on an island, only to find man-eating giants who hurl boulders at the unsuspecting fleet, sinking all ships bar one.

Odysseus must make the trip to see the dead and blind Theban, “Teiresias (Prophet In The Underworld)”, seeking advice. The music reflects the other worldliness and the unnatural, as the living invade the realm of the dead. This is far more electronic but suits well.

Whilst on the way back Odysseus and his men, land on an island belonging to “Circe (Metamorphosis)” who is a goddess of magic and a nymph as well as a daughter of Helios the Sun God. She turns all the crew into swine and Odysseus promises to live there for a years if she reverts the spell, which she does. The strings are hesitant and the heaviness is palpable and a single female soprano can be heard. Circe has gotten what she desired.

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The most famous part of The Odyssey is of course “The Sirens (Fascinating Song)”. Their song lures the unwary sailor onto the rocks so that all hands may drown, consumed by the sea. A lilting female vocal rises and falls like the sea swells, enchanting and mesmerizing with such clarity backed by a piano played discordantly, a foreshadowing that not is all as it seems.

A single violin and chatter herald in what sounds like giant horns announcing battle. Travelling within a confine with enemies on both sides, waiting for something to happen. “Scylla and Charybdis” literally means to have to choose between two evils. A strait of water they must travel has Scylla on one side and Charybdis on the other. Two monstrous females that consume all that come past them. Scylla with her giant toothy jaws in 6 heads or Charybdis whom acts like a whirlpool sucking all within.

Soon our adventurers make their way to “The Island Of The Sun God (Helios)” where everything is fairly nice, the beautiful Helios has a chariot to draw the sun across the sky and he has a herd of immortal cows. The music is light with female singers giving pleasant intonations. This seems a sweet reprieve from the ominous pieces previously. One dead, blind Theban seer had warned them not to eat the cattle of Helios but no, the daft crew just had to eat them, enraging Helios into asking Zeus to take vengeance.

The sounds of water dripping within a cave. “Ogygia (Calypso’s Island)” is Odysseus’ next landing alone. Here he is met by the nymph, Calypso who has fallen in love with Odysseus and wishes to marry him. He refuses and holds him there for 7 years until Zeus intervenes, then she gives him a boat supplied with food and wine. The music wends its way, wary and building and reprising like an argument but constantly writhing seeking resolve. Then it becomes stark and grey with the voice of a goddess. Is this Calypso asking to be loved? Synths make this slightly deranged feeling that lingers.

Telemachus was Odysseus’ son and his education had been left to the wise old Mentor. “Mentor (A Message From A Goddess)” is about Athena taking the guise of Mentor to instruct Telemachus to go find his father before his mother remarried. It is etherial, light and unearthly as the visitation of Athena should be. Whispers and vocal exclamations heighten this sensation of light.

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“Ithaca (Return Of The King)” is fair self-explanatory. An unrecognizable Odysseus participates in a show of strength and then kills all the suitors. After convincing his wife it really is the King, all is set to right. Dark and brooding with almost industrial banging, maybe the impending death knell. Though it doesn’t sound like the happiest of returns but then slaughtering all your enemies is like that.

This is indeed a music interpretation of the Odyssey. Musical visualizations of important pieces of this two and a half thousand-year old poem. It is evocative and poignant. If you love neo-classical music or have a great love of the Homeric poem, then I highly suggest you check this out. They say beware of Greeks bearing gifts but in this case it’s a good one!

 

https://darkawake.bandcamp.com/album/the-odyssey?fbclid=IwAR1TCMTiY9MWU5UCD7GJ6Bkv46JDjPZDRbgktSrhz5gRiT4t4A5i7NnnuQM

https://www.facebook.com/pages/DARK-AWAKE/189786207738223

https://www.facebook.com/regardextreme/