Alexander Leonard Donat... teacher, marathon runner, musician, man behind the label Blackjack Illuminist Records, co-conspirator for several musical acts, driving force behind his own project Vlimmer and very possibly a crime fighter by night (just saying Vlimmer man has a certain ring to it!). November saw Vlimmer’s second, full length album, Menschenleere, enter the watery light of day.

The first tastes of forbidden fruit came our way in the form of the two singles, the rhythm filled darkwave tendrils of “Erdgeruch” and the wondrously 80s inspired eccentricity of “Kronzeuge“. There are such gems hidden within, such as “Mathematik” with its giddy synths that remind me so much of the electronic trailblazer, John Foxx, even more so for the fact his backing band were The Maths.

Noposition” has a magical trance like quality within its warm embracing beats, while “Schwimmhand” leaves you not only amazed by the sheer brilliance but also experiencing tingles through your extremities. Even the title track has an ancient feel, whilst playing with time signatures. “Menschenleere” is vast and echoing in the chamber of what might not be a pained reality.

Yes you can dance to Vlimmer, but for me, there is something akin to multiple storylines. Each track is crafted just so, this one with a more science fiction vibe, another with more sombre tones and yet another with a spinning glorious shoegaze vision. All held together by Donat’s vocals, be they happy, sad or even imploring.

Vlimmer is the centre of this world he has created, and has the knack of spinning his musical tales that capture us up into this web of darkwave delights. Even better is the fact that Alexander touches back to the styles that have influenced him but he never let’s them consume him, rather experimenting to create tracks that encapsulate his music journey. Beautiful, fragile and ashened songs to drink, dance to, and watch the moon…Menschenleere (Deserted)

https://blackjackilluministrecords.bandcamp.com/album/menschenleere

https://www.facebook.com/VlimmerMusic?mibextid=ZbWKwL

https://www.facebook.com/Blackjack.Illuminist/?mibextid=ZbWKwL

I am not sure what is going on in Portland, Oregon, but I feel a little disturbed. Why disturbing? Because there seems to be a wealth of good acts from this one place. Brought to my attention is this band called Darkswoon, with their single, Eaten By Wolves, released on May the 27th in the form of an EP, which is off the soon to be released album, Bloom Decay. The single is accompanied by three other tracks, one off a soundtrack and the other two, remixes.

The title track, “Eaten By Wolves” has this beautiful flow that reminds me a little of Ride, though far more electronic, with the drum machine keeping time as the vocals, so gorgeously clean, cleave their way across the music, while the synths vie with the guitar.

Ruin(2020) is such an oddity. It is about waiting for the one who will complete you but also seems quite dark when mentioning the fact when they die, their family will get the body….though I found it rather amusing as well. It is an uptempo sounding track, with the swirling shoegaze guitars and entwining vocals, that drag you away to another place.

Really like the electronic start to “Human Faults“, mixed by experimental electronic Portland act, We Are Parasols. Heavy and light tones invaded by the altered ghostly vocals. This has an amazing soundscape feel to it, stretching out into the buzzing aether, married to a danceable rhythm.

Final song and it is another cracker of a dance mix. “Fireplace“, the Sn<che mix, is pure joy, in the vein of Boy Harsher. A cacophony of sound with those marvellous staccato vocals that fold into soaring melodies, which fade into a mist filled end.

Holy crap. I love it. Darkswoon, where have you been hiding? Synthpop grace, coupled with shoegaze wisps and emotion filled vocals. In a word, sublime and the remixes are utterly on point, really rounding out the EP. After listening to this, you might want to be Eaten By Wolves.

Eaten By Wolves EP | Darkswoon (bandcamp.com)

https://www.facebook.com/darkswoon.pdx/

Music | We Are Parasols (bandcamp.com)

https://www.facebook.com/weareparasols/