Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Hecate – Ordo Equitum Solis [#581]

R-436890-1421008785-2640Further darkwave caterwauling from the Franco-Roman musical union of Ordo Equitum Solis.

It is with this album one is clearly able to distinguish the influences from bands like Dead Can Dance, Miranda Sex Garden and Coil woven throughout the album’s fabric. Like a dusty tome, the album is often difficult to digest in the wrong setting. This isn’t something you might want to accompany you while you do the vacuuming or brass polishing, nor is it the ideal setting for a children’s eighth birthday party unless, of course, you are fostering future gothlings. Instead, this is the kind of album you’d probably want to burn some incense sticks with while donning one’s floaty hooded gown following a healthy manicure for those extra long nails of yours and drinking large amounts of dark red wine while lasciviously doing the dance from Kate Bush’s music video for Wuthering Heights.

The album is split into at least four sections, an introduction, Songs of the Man, Songs of the Fool and a coda which kind of suggests to an old Prog fan like me, that this work should be listened to in its entirety with attention paid to the liner notes or the song titles. Sadly, I don’t have any liner notes. All I have is song titles and from them, I conjure up mental imagery of sordid sexiness of the hooded variety in vaulted cellars filled with wine and incense smoke. Which probably says a lot about my own psychology than anything else…

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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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Heaven or Las Vegas – Cocteau Twins [#576]

Cocteau_Twins—Heaven_or_Las_VegasOh dear me. Scottish shoe-gazing shenanigans with the band’s 1990 release Heaven or Las Vegas.

There I am, at that futile point in ones life where you are dabbling with new scenes, trying to find a genre you identify strongly with. At the same time, I am exploring cinematography, in particular the works of David Lynch, and watching cult TV series typically featuring 90s yuppies shagging and dinner partying; the media’s way of saying “hey your life is mediocre, this is the life you want”.  When what do I hear? Only Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser wailing away on some incidental music.

Later I discover that this Fraser woman is the same woman singing about Pearly Dewy Drops on the Uncut 4AD Sampler CD that I have (it was my very own 4AD3DCD) and on the This Mortal Coil CD I was gushing over.

I happened to mention this to a hipster friend. He was such a hipster, he didn’t have a beard or wear half mast trousers, because beards and half mast trousers would be on trend ten years later and he was too cool to lead a trend so far in the past. Hipster friend pointed out that I “should” like Cocteau Twins and that I should use “arcane internetery” to “obtain” their back catalogue, not just for myself, but to also pass to him so that he could survey the same and ensure that it was truely safe for my delicate ears to digest.

Heaven or Las Vegas is Cocteau Twins’ sixth album. A much more developed sound than their earlier albums and not as abusive to the ears. You could quite happily drive across somewhere like say, Scotland or Ireland, with this on your car stereo without it feeling out of place. Indeed, Fraser’s mumblings are a little more intelligible and soothing than before. Of course, as with most of the albums in my collection, I came to it too late to enjoy the excitement of watching a band grow and blossom. Instead I came to Cocteau Twins at the end of their career, too timid to venture beyond their greatest hits and in a different situation from one where I could sit, chill and absorb at leisure as I could in my twenties.

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