Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Gothic Erotica – Various Artists [#543]

41821Z2JRZLAnother gothic compilation. This time with a sleezy kink feel to the songs. Or so it’s suggested by the albums title. I’ve been more aroused sat at the back of the 81 bus than the music in this compilation.

That aside, it’s not a bad compilation. Lots of old and new favourites turn up to the mix including Mephisto Waltz, Nico, The Mission and Bauhaus. There are also some good covers too, Brix Smith does a version of Bowie’s Space Oddity, Ghost Dance do a version of the Yardbird’s Heart Full of SoulBauhaus’ Bela Lugosi’s Dead is given the Electric Hellfire Club treatment and Patti Smith Group’s Because the Night is reimagined by Beki Bondage.

Some songs in the compilation I can do without but it’s not something I could delete at this moment in time.

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Goth Stuff – Various Artists [#542]

This is an unusual compilation, and it is one that guided my ears in the direction I took when exploring the genre. It’s an unofficial compilation and, like all good music, not available in the shops. More of a mix tape someone put out onto the wibbly wobbly web back in the nineties.

The first track is Hoquetus I-VII by an unknown composer and by the third track, a Saltarello  also by an unknown composer, it starts to become clear that the compiler is trying to take the listener through their interpretation of goth music through the ages. Soon we hear Minstrel Hall by Blackmore’s Night. Not exactly goth but dabbling with medievalism, nicely leading us into track two, 18th Century Gypsy Music by Bubak and Hungaricus. Layers of folk influences building up. By the time we reach midway point, we are already being tricked into believing that Ataraxia’s Canzona is a faithful reproduction of a old classical piece.

Of course it’s not. But by this time you don’t care. Further tracks of the acoustic, goth, medieval theme float past including Eld’s interpretation of Death in June’s Death of the West, songs by Ordo Equitum Solis and Eden  also don’t seem out of place. The cherry on the top being Bauhaus‘ King Volcano. 

I’m still fond of this compilation, even though, in all honesty, I am missing a number of tracks from  the original compilation. Moreover, this album also saw me eager to discover more about bands like Ordo Equitum Solis, Blackmore’s Night  and Eden. Bands I would never have heard of if it had not been for illegal downloads of music from unregulated sources.

Of course, like home taping before it, downloading music illegally was the death of music and we know today how empty our lives have become because  music was killed.

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Go: Music from the Motion Picture – Various Artists [#529]

Go_1999_filmGo is one of those films that tried to capture the zeitgeist of the innovation created by Tarrantino’s Pulp Fiction. Three entwined stories about young people involved in a drugs deal.
While not a fan of the movie as such, I appreciate the stylistic  90’s celluloid portmanteau vibe, but I did like the soundtrack. Not only does Len’s enigmatic Steal My Sunshine feature, but so does Natalie Imbruglia, Fat Boy Slim’s Gangster Tripping  and Air’s Talisman (from their album Moon Safari) which, although mostly used to death in “teen” films of the time, do still get the toes-a-tapping.

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Ghosts from the Darkside II [#519]

R-570247-1150308479.jpeg
A compilation of highlights of Goth, Darkwave and Dark Electro bands.

During my exploration of usenet newsgroups, specifically the goth-industrial binary group, I happened upon a whole treasure trove of gothic compilations (as you will hear about a few weeks later on in this project). In an effort to grow my “repertoire” with goth music I would download compilations as a way to find new bands.

Ghosts from the Darkside II is pretty hard going. I’d heard of a few of the bands featuring on this album through other explorations, such as Inkubus SukkubusBlack Tape for a Blue Girl and Blutengel so it was natural for me to give it a go. However, I’d not really heard of any of the songs in the compilation either. There are quite a few German bands in this compilation so I suspect this is an album aimed at people who attend Wave Gothik Treffen.

After several listens I’m still not enamoured with the album. Perhaps it’s because I’m older now and I’ve reached “Full of Goth” or perhaps it’s because I just don’t like what I’ve heard.

Tracklist

1-1 Swartalf Invocation 4:03
1-2 Non Compos Mentis Without Bloodshed 6:10
1-3 Ikon (4) Fatal Attraction 3:17
1-4 In Extremo Ai Vis Lo Lop 4:02
1-5 Morthem Vlade Art Beyond Sorrow 5:19
1-6 WeltenBrand The Fall Of Trisona 6:35
1-7 Diary Of Dreams Drop Dead 7:11
1-8 Nekromantik Girlstickboy 4:05
1-9 Blutengel Beauty Of Suffering 6:13
1-10 Fiction 8 Second Skin 3:32
1-11 Girls Under Glass New World Order 4:20
1-12 Das Zeichen In The Garden 3:58
1-13 Theatre Of Loneliness Holocaust 4:16
1-14 black tape for a blue girl Given 4:20
1-15 Hagalaz’ Runedance When The Trees Were Silenced 2:45
2-1 Exovedate Ego Sum Mons 4:30
2-2 Untoten Gothik Years 5:54
2-3 Chaos God Judgement Day 5:36
2-4 The Dust Of Basement God’s Own Fairytales 5:28
2-5 The Second Sight Answer 3:29
2-6 Die Form Spiral 2 4:12
2-7 Vespertina De Profundis 4:20
2-8 Inkubus Sukkubus Starchild 4:44
2-9 Sanguis Et Cinis Nicht Mein Schicksal 5:33
2-10 The New Creatures My Child Queen 4:53
2-11 This Burning Effigy Exquisite 4:58
2-12 Hexedene Only Human (Original Mix) 4:30
2-13 Attrition The Thin Veil 6:12
2-14 Louisa John-Krol Alexandria 5:30
2-15 Summoning Angbands Schmieden 3:28

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Flake – Sugarplum Fairies [#479]

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 11.45.41Right back in the days of Windows Millennium, I was given a CD with a stack of music on it in a new exciting format; MP3. The music was from new and exciting bands, most of which were unsigned and were using the new technology of the Internet to get themselves known. They did this by using a publisher known as Peoplesound. One of the artists appearing on this compilation was Sugarplum Fairies. I immediately fell for their low-fi sound which, at the time, was new, innovative and yet to be copied by the likes of The White Stripes.

Flake is Sugarplum Fairies first album, and was released in 1999.

I love this album. It makes me feel warm, lazy and wrapped in brown corduroy while supping coffee on a lazy Sunday afternoon, pretty much what the lyrics refer to.  Lyrically, the songs on the album refer to troubled lovers, shoe gazing and wistful yearnings and Silvia Ryder’s distinctive vocals bring a layer of pining and toned down introductory elements of Amanda Palmer without the anger.

Sugarplum Fairies were hipsters before hipsters were invented and continue to show them how to do it right.

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Fear of Fours – Lamb [#465]

440px-Cover-fearoffoursAs if in contrast with the previous entry, Fear of Fours is an album by a band that I was told I “should” like.

“All the cool people and those that know about culture and shit like Lamb. Lamb were doing shit before shit was shit and yadayadayada” said the cool proto-hipster to me one evening over a jam jar of poncey Euro-lager. Of course he was being ironic and Lamb are actually shite. Never the less, just in case I am mistaken by my conjecture, I have continued to hold this album in my collection just in case some Road to Damascus moment strikes me and I alight the staircase to eternal coolness.

Complete with beard and half-mast trousers.

 

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Eye of the Hunter – Brendan Perry [#446]

Eye of the HunterHi there! Steelrattus again, on day 8 of his 10 day guest stint.

I’m not familiar with Brendan Perry, but I am familiar with Dead Can Dance, a band he formed with Lisa Gerrard in 1981, when he was 22. Perry has followed what seems to be the roots of most musicians, that is starting in one genre, and moving to a completely different one. In his case he formed a punk rock band in 1979, before forming the markedly different Dead Can Dance. Dead Can Dance split up in 1998, which is a year before his solo effort Eye of the Hunter was released, although they did reform twice subsequently.

After listening to Eye of the Hunter I would have filed it under alternative 90s Americana. I got the date vaguely right (1999), but Perry’s a Brit – not to say of course he can’t write songs in the genre, although Wikipedia describes it as folk rock, dream pop (?!). The album title comes from a lyric in the second track, Voyage of Bran. The fourth track, Sloth, has featured on a Dead Can Dance compilation album, curiously. The fifth track, I Must Have Been Blind, is a cover of the 1970 Tim Buckley song.

I liked the album in a 3/5 way. Not exactly my favourite genre, and it got rather repetitive for me. As always, YMMV.

Here’s the opening track, Saturday’s Child…

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Everything Picture – Ultrasound [#439]

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 06.56.24Hello! It’s Steelrattus guest posting again, this time on a 10 day (10 DAY!) stint, while Stegzy is away. I should preface this stint with a warning that some of these posts might be a little brief, as trying to juggle work, kids, and daily album reviews might be pushing it. But I’ll try my best, and it will depend on the album.

I can also reveal that I only somewhat know two of the albums out of the ten, so will be coming to most of these fresh.

So, Everything Picture by Ultrasound. For those who don’t know (like me), Ultrasound were a band active for three years at the end of the 1990s, and again from 2010 to present day. The band first released a couple of singles, during their 1990s phase, which were received favourably by the music press. Everything Picture is their first album, but it wasn’t received so favourably, albeit it got to to No. 23 in the UK charts. An acrimonious break up followed, caused by severe tensions in the band. The band reunited in 2010 for a charity concert, and following on from that decided to make a new album, Play for Today released in 2012.

It’s often a bit odd listening to music cold, that is for a purpose other than just the pure listening experience. I’m not sure if it helps you be more objective, or means you have less chance of connecting, or a bit of both. I suspect this will become a theme over the next few days! Everything Picture is an unusual album, in that it has 10 fairly standard length tracks, followed by a final track that’s almost 40 minutes in length (although said track does end after about 20 minutes). I heard similarities to various artists throughout, including The Cure, The Beatles, and Pink Floyd. I would describe the overall genre as rock, but there are some odd flourishes throughout the album that mean it’s not just a straight rock album. Indy Rock is probably a better description. It was an interesting lesson, but I didn’t connect with it.

Here’s the track Stay Young, which was one of four released from the album…

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Ecliptica – Sonata Arctica [#414]

SonataArctica_EclipticaFinnish metal heads rejoice! Sonata Arctica are here to add power metal tones and poorly pronounced English lyrics to the music project. Hurrah!

I first came across Sonata Arctica when they were included in a compilation I’d sourced from Usenet. Suitably impressed by the one song, I did what I usually do on such occasions, download their entire back catalogue. This was a foolish move as I ended up with a hard drive so full of Scandinavian  metal it was hard not to think I was some sort of visiting viking.

Anyway, as is usual in such situations, I ended up liking about 2 albums by the band. This one and another, which is a live set featuring many of the songs that are on this album anyway. I’m sure they’ve got better over time, frankly I’m too busy to care….They do have a distinctive sound and possibly have faster fingers than Steve Vai. Though I’m sure many might argue otherwise.

 

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Cruel Intentions – Original Soundtrack [#329]

Cruel_Intentions_SoundtrackA film about two well to do toffs, the kind of people that need a good old balaclava wearing slap in the woods, doing bad things to people lower down the socialite spectrum at their school.  Only one of the toffs falls for the lower down socialite and ends up in a pickle.

Serves him right.

Soundtrack is good though. Oh and theres a bit where Sarah Michelle Gellar snogs Selma Blair. But that’s not on the sound track. Instead there are treats from 90s bands like Blur, Aimee Mann and, of course, The Verve.

I liked the film so I downloaded the soundtrack as is my way. Like film = get soundtrack, as you will see through the progress of this music project.

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Atopos – Love is Colder Than Death [#104]

Atopos - Love is Colder Than Death Atopos by Love is Colder Than Death

Some time ago, somebody tried to trick me into thinking that Dead Can Dance had a new album and line up. I was given a CD with a load of songs on that sounded DCDish but actually turned out to be a collection of stuff by Love is Colder Than Death (LCTD) and some other band whose name escapes me.

Being a bit of a nerd I was able to actually find out that LCTD was one of the bands and that the majority of the recording was copied from this album.

It’s easy to hear how someone might get mistaken that this is DCD. All the elements are there. Middle Eastern and Asian influences, nonsensical chanting with some hard to decipher lyrics and the occasional use of uncommon instruments like hurdy gurdy and sackbuts.

If you’re a DCD fan then LCTD is one to give a go of.

 

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A Collection – The Doors [#26]

A Collection – The Doors

I remember seeing a film about this woman who collected plaster casts of famous people’s knobs. On the film Jim Morrison was having his knob cast. Whenever I hear The Doors, I think of that film.
But for me, the Doors will always be the band in that film with Val Kilmer. The film with Val Kilmer that I watched round at Beanhead’s place with Regzy.

This album is 3 hours long and feels like every song Jim Morrison wrote. I’m not a huge fan so I couldnt say if it is or not. I can say that it does have my favourite Doors songs on it: Riders on a Storm and Break on Through.

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Music Project Album #12 – 25 Jaar Na "Waterloo" – Abba

25 Jaar Na “Waterloo” by Abba

I am a firm believer that when someone breaks John Lennon’s rose tinted spectacles, historians will realise that the most influential band of the past 50 years was not John, Paul, George and Ringo and was in fact Abba. No. You will fail to convince me otherwise. I won’t hear it. Every record collection of people born in the 1970s should include at least one Abba single or album. Everyone knows an Abba song if not an album. Every family gathering since 1978 has had a cheezy disco with at least one Abba song or melody playing.

Hell, Bjorn and Benny have not stopped with Abba and have continued to exude their musical talent in areas you probably wouldnt believe. Their mix of cleverly crafted lyrics and joyous pop tell dark and sinister stories of unrequited love, collapsing relationships and even underage sex. There is nothing more disconcerting than watching old Aunts cheerfully caterwaul along to an Abba song, blissfully unaware what the true meaning of the lyrics are.

I can see you will need convincing.

Listen to  Take a Chance on Me and tell me that the lyrics are not those of a stalker. Dancing Queen – a story of a leering pervert. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! – the wanton desires of a nymphomaniac. Chiquitita – the story of someone taking advantage of someone in dire romantic straits. The Name of the Game – about prostitution.  Knowing Me, Knowing You – the story of a failed marriage and the fallout of a truly disastrous argument, the consequences of which are self uncertainty and depression further supported by Winner Takes it All which is clearly the vitriolic outburst of the spurned spouse. It’s weird watching people dance, stomp away and sway joyfully at songs with such deep and dark meanings. It’s kind of like watching your gran sing along to Radiohead’s Paranoid Android. Wrong on so many levels.

25 Jaar Na Waterloo (aka 25 Years Since Waterloo) is a compilation album from the Netherlands. I don’t need to tell you what it sounds like as unless you’ve been living in a soundproof booth for the past 40 years you will know Abba. It’s a good mix of Abba favourites, maybe not for all the family, but certainly for those that like them.

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