Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Heavenly Voices Parts 1 – 3 – Various Artists [#578-580]

A bumper three albums on a Friday with a most peculiar acquisition, Heavenly Voices.

Much like how Looking for Europe does for the Neofolk genre, Heavenly Voices does for the dreampop/ethereal wave genre by way of the artists on the Hyperium record label. Here we have, in effect, three distinctly glorious compilation albums featuring a whole range of talent from artists like Eden’s Sean Bowley and his side project Sunwheel to fully functioning bands like Bel Canto,  Black Tape for a Blue Girl and Miranda Sex Garden.

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[#578] Part One is possibly the most accessible of the three. A little catawauling here and there but a nice build up towards (and what was my introduction to) Ordo Equituum Solis‘  Playing with the Fire.

Dreamily swimming onwards through Die Form’s Cantique and culminating in Winter Moon Descending by Annabel’s Garden

hev[#579] Part Two takes a different approach. The songs here have a much more floaty dreamy kind of feel with a slight dash of hauntology. This album was my introduction to the whole Heavenly Voices trilolgy and as a result not only are there many artists who have appeared previously in the Music Project, for example Collection d’Arnell Andréa and Black Tape, but also many who are yet to come. Possibly my most favourite tracks from this album are Sunwheel’s Walk Upon the Grass (which, incidently, I was intending to shoot a music video for but couldn’t find a willing person to film in time! Maybe a later opportunity will arise) The Sea is My Soul by 24 Hours and the haunting 56 in 81 by Eleven Shadows.

 

11K190SNXWLFinally Part 3 [#580] copies of which are currently changing hands for around £300. Featuring a much more accessible approach to the genre with more familiar artists like Miranda Sex Garden and Bel Canto. Again, this album introduced me to many artists and it is easy to see why people prize it so highly. Emerging from Part 2’s forest of floaty vaginas into a dystopian landscape of industry like a stumbling ninny, the listener finds Part 3 rips up the leafy glades of Part 2 and drills deep concrete foundations of industrial darkwave right into your mind.

Legend has it that there is actually a part four and a part five compilation. Rumours, whispers abound.  Sadly the Hyperium label closed shortly after the death of its founder in 2002, but many of the acts continue on in the worlds of Darkwave and etheralwave.

 

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Fairy World 3- Various Artists [#454]

Unknown-2A sampler compilation of a variety of European artists which I received for free when buying some forgettable obscure music during the end of my exploration of the European Darkfolk genre.

Nothing memorable and apart from Collection d’Arnell Andrea appearing, I’ve never heard of any of the other artists.

Disappointing.

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Exposition, Eaux-Fortes et Méandres – Collection d’Arnell Andréa [#444]

Exposition, Eaux-Fortes et MéandresHi there! Steelrattus again, on day 6 of his 10 day guest stint.

I think today’s album must have the longest title of all those I’m reviewing. Collection d’Arnell Andréa, a French darkwave band, have been around since the mid-80s. Curiously, Pascal Andréa left the band before their first gig, but they kept the name. The band currently consists of 7 members, that play a mix of cello, synths, keyboards, viola, and of course the lead singer. Apparently their live performances are known for featuring much larger ensembles.

Exposition, Eaux-Fortes et Méandres is Collection d’Arnell Andréa’s eighth album, released in 2007. The concept is based on Modest Mussorgsky’s 1874 Pictures at an Exhibition piano suite, which I can’t say I’m familiar with, but apparently contains ten piano tracks. Exposition, Eaux-Fortes et Méandres is mostly based on darkly themed 19th century paintings. The album cover, and title track Les Méandres, are based on a 1999 painting though, by Richard Boutin.

I listened to the album without knowing any of the above, and after making it through a few tracks I thought, “here’s a goth band from the late 80s/early 90s”. OK, so the date was a bit out. It’s definitely all rather dark sounding, against a backdrop of what sound like cheap synths. Not really my sort of thing, but I found it just about listenable to. As always, YMMV.

Here’s the aforementioned title track, Les Méandres…

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