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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Goth Box – Various Artists [#540]

R-427454-1292370992.jpegHad I started this project at “G” back in 2012, at this point we would be at Gothic Compilation Vol 342. But rather than shed even more readership, I opted to weed out those compilations and reduced them to  the selection that follows.

Today’s album, four volumes, G, O, T and H. In a box. Goth Box. Genius. Made up of four volumes, it is a showcase compilation of gothic artists from Europe featuring artists such as Inkubus Sukkubus, Big Electric Cat, Bauhaus, Mephisto Waltz, Lycia, Love is Colder Than Death and Black Tape for a Blue Girl.

I really like this compilation. It scares me like all good goth music should, in that I’m not entirely sure what it is I like about it all. It’s a compilation that I dip into for a bit, then quickly dip out of. The arrangement features gothic music from most of the goth subgenres including cybergoth, fluffy goth and neoclassical goth across the decades. There’s something for every wanna be goth, though there are exceptions and omissions that I, personally, would have included had I been compiling the compilation.

The compilation is massive, coming in at a whopping sixty tracks long and would make the perfect gift for any wannabe goth or moody teenager looking to discover their own identity.  Rather than list the tracks and artists featured,I’ve opted to let you discover the album yourself through the wonders of Amazon. 

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Ghosts from the Darkside II [#519]

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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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Forever & Ever – Fields of the Nephilim [#487]

R-571075-1165231721.jpegMore brooding beats from the cadaverous cowboys that are Fields of the Nephilim taken from the soundtrack of their video release Forever Remain.

I suspect after Ginger Chris’ cassette finally drove the music industry into an irretrievable spiral of descent, my enthusiasm for music waned too. As I wandered around the global car boot sale that was the early internet of 2004-2010, I would pick up remnants of forgotten things called albums from the digital flotsam and jetsam and store them for humanity on my hard drive. If it wasn’t for my actions I’m fairly certain the music industry would have been completely destroyed by home taping.

Forever & Ever is a rip of a live video album and features many of FONs “greatest hits”, all favourites of mine. I could have quite happily left my appreciation of the band there but subsequent releases enticed me in with the promise of good music. I suppose by then, the zeitgeist had leaked from the loosely sealed bottle of life and I began to realise that the new rules and flavours brought about by the demise of the music industry were bitter and unpalatable.

 

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Fairytales of Slavery – Miranda Sex Garden [#456]

Unknown-3We’ve met Miranda Sex Garden on the music project before; Medieval Baebes’ Katherine Blake’s other band and their weird mix of ethereal a cappella and dark wave. I’m always surprised by how much I enjoy listening to MSG. Often I approach them with a soupçon of trepidation but I always end up having a good old shoegazey shuffle.

Fairytales of Slavery is MSGs penultimate release from 1994. It is not as finely honed as Carnival of Souls and you can almost detect a bit of lethargy in the overall production but it still rewards the listener with an interesting sweep across the dark wave genre brought to you via Blake’s unusual showcase of talent.

Probably very popular with Whitby Goth Festival goers.

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Disintegration – The Cure [#375]

DIRTY+DANCINGDisintegration – The Cure

Steelrattus here again, with the fourth of my guest posts in this seven day run.

Oddly, I’ve already encountered this album twice in the last week. Firstly, it was mentioned in the latest episode of Mr. Robot. Secondly, it features in a bizarre scene in the film Ant-Man. If I were superstitious I’d probably cross myself with a black cat as this is the third time the album has crossed my path this week. But I’m not superstitious, so I shall just marvel at the coinsequences.

Disintegration is one of the two albums in this seven day stint that I am already familiar with. <Anecdote>1989. I was at Sixth Form College, probably my happiest time while being edumacated. Finally I was surrounded by intelligent charismatic peers. The only problem for this historic recounting is that I’m not certain how I ended up buying Disintegration. I do remember that there was a guy in the year above us who I locked onto, from a distance, as a bit of a role model. He was classic-80s-guy, with a chiselled jaw, and blow dried Don Johnson hair. And I remember him wearing Cure t-shirts, which seemed at odds with his look. So it was perhaps due to this guy and curiosity that I ended up buying the CD – yes, I had owned a CD player for 1-2 years at this point, and this must have been one of a few albums that I owned by 1989.</Anecdote>

I still feel much the same when I listen to the album as I did when I first listened to it all those years ago, and was blown away by the sound. The album opens with the epic and strident Plainsong, with its rumbling powerful sound. This then launches into the heartbreak of Pictures of You, which became a “favourite” breakup song of mine. There are echoes of Plainsong in Closedown, another dark powerful song. This is followed by the much more upbeat Love Song – yes it is, listen to the lyrics – although The Cure somehow still seem to make love sound mournful. Then seemingly back to darkness again with the much more abstract Last Dance. This is followed by the most famous of the tracks on the album, and arguably The Cure’s career, Lullaby, which is more abstract again, and clearly not drug influenced. For me at this point the tracks begin to blend a bit, with the dark sound of Fascination Street, Prayers for Rain, The Same Deep Water as You, Disintegration, Homesick, and finally the close out track Untitled. This is not to belittle these tracks, they are all excellent, but just don’t stick as individually in my mind as those that are earlier on the album. They almost feel like a themed B-side, although I’m not sure offhand whether they would have been the literal B-side to the album.

As a sufferer of depression, Disintegration feels like the quintessential depression album… my quintessential depression album at least. I can’t think of an album that oozes depressive feelings quite like this album, and I have to be careful listening to too much of it, particularly the latter half as it can crash my mood. It’s no surprise that Robert Smith, the lead singer, lyricist, and co-producer, was suffering from depression and a crisis-of-age at the time the album was written. This aside from problems within the band. Despite this though I feel the album is a work of genius from a band that was at its peak.

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