September 4 is one of those Bandcamp Fridays where the company doesn’t take its normal commission in order for the artists to either make a bit more money or donate it to the cause of their choice. Though well over 1,500 releases flooded by email inbox today, there was one which came to me from a dear friend of the blog, Raffaele Pezzella (owner of the incredible Unexplained Sounds Group, whose compilations never fail to impress.
This one is a second batch of Iranian dark ambient and experimental music composers, featuring such maestros as Xerxes The Dark, Reza Solatipour, Force Ignore and a host of names which are not only new to me, but who have managed to capture my interest rather quickly.
Today, of all days, is a fine one to introduce yourself to a fresh batch of music from Iran’s dark ambient wellspring.
It’s nice when I get to tell one group of friends about another. When I was young, my brother and many of our mates would go to what we knew then to be “industrial dance clubs.” These were fun times, but the music was what I remember most. Stark, brutal, with quasi-militaristic beats, perfect for stomping up a floor with your heavy boots. My old friend Ryant Takai has continued mining in this field, and his latest project, Pyroclastic, continues on that nasty, thudding, beat-heavy tradition. As someone who was working with electronic body music during the late 1980s, it is fair to say that he has been continuing hitting that perfect beat for the past 30 years. If anyone can go 30 more, he can.
As someone who appreciates Italian horror, giallo and other such film genres, receiving an email from this band made me excited to hear what they have to offer. They did not disappoint. From the band themselves:
Horror Italiani is a new project between swiss dronoise explorer BRTHRM and Brazilian dark ambienoise master Silvio Novelletto, their shared love towards classic giallo cvlt movies has brought them to start Horror Italiani with a goal in mind: rescoring their favourite movies with dark ambient tones, in between careful composition and free improvisational approaches, Torso is the first release and it’s brought to you by Antistandard Records, a label from Milan, Italy.
Torso is an erotic slasher movie directed by Sergio Martino, this tribute by Horror Italiani follows its full length with black ambient tones stained by glitchy noise and an overall feeling of unsettledness.
I am pleased to see someone referencing Italian horror movies and producing bleak, black ambient inspired by such things.
This year will be booming for new releases, and this one, in particular, has me very excited (I’m excited about all new music, but this…).
First, about Automat:
Automat are guitarist Jochen Arbeit (Einstürzende Neubauten, Die Haut, amongst others), drummer Achim Färber (Phillip Boa & The Voodooclub, Skip McDonald amongst others) and bassist Georg Zeitblom (known for his solo work and his collaborations with Fred Frith, John Zorn, Arto Lindsay, J.G. Thirlwell, Pyrolater, as well as others). Since 2014, the trio has released the three studio albums »Automat,« »Plusminus« and »Ostwest« and collaborated with several central figures from the world of experimental music, amongst them Genesis P. Orridge, Schneider TM and Max Loderbauer. For their album »Modul,« released in 2019 through Compost Records, they have again worked together with Loderbauer and invited Paul St. Hilaire aka Tikiman, Lydia Lunch and Mika Bajinski to contribute vocals for the record.
I don’t think you could have a much more stunning introduction than this. The three of these musicians have so much history in improvisational, post-Industrial music, dub and Darkwave that a book might barely be enough to document.
The beauty of this record is the deep, dark, yet thoroughly relaxed groove. This is crisp, precise, focused groove, not the sort of thing one would find in Lee “Scratch” Perry’s wilder moments. Think more along the lines of Adrian Sherwood. The vocals are nearly magical, hazy, and you still manage not to get too lost in the moment.
Compost Records is known for putting out records that are consistently as close to perfect as you can get. They can be very proud of adding this one to the canon.
Reza Solapitour is a dark ambient musician based out of Tehran, Iran, discovered by the best ears in experimental music, Raffaele Pezzella of Eighth Tower Records.
The album is booming, eerie and spacious, as though one had the sensation of floating in a cave. Quite a powerful release.
Our friend and compatriot Raffaele Pezzalla (the legend behind Sonologyst, Unexplained Sounds Group and Eighth Tower Records) has made yet another masterful compilation, bringing together such acts as Rapoon, Michael Bonaventure and Daniel Williams to pay tribute to one of England’s quirkier periods – that of witchcraft in the British Isles.
I see the history of witchcraft from both a Christian and historical point of view which differs from what the liner notes say, but be that as it may, the compilation is solid, and I only regret I didn’t review this about two weeks ago, as it makes for great Halloween / All Souls’ Day listening.
This release bridges the not-so-large gap between genres, connected by Heldon guitarist and loop master Richard Pinhas, and perhaps the most prolific post-Industrial composer of all time, Masami Akita (under his performance monicker Merzbow).
This is a live recording performed live during the Sonic Circuits Festival, September 24, 2010 at La Maison Française [The French Embassy] in Washington D.C. The sound quality is superb, and as one would expect from two masters of their respective fields, their instruments of choice (guitar and loops for Pinhas, computer for Merzbow) ebb and flow into each other effortlessly. This is a powerful release, and I hope it is the beginning of a long-term collaboration between both.
JOHN 3:16 are among the most powerful bands in dark ambient and drone music today. Philippe Gerber continues to amaze with his catalog, but this release is particularly special, as I never had the chance to delve into their early catalog.
This release combines the first two albums by the band onto one cassette. Both releases remind me not just of dark ambient music, but of the middle period post-Industrial and experimental music I grew up with.
Favorable is not a strong enough word to rank this release. It’s quite powerful.
Alessio Antoni is a friend of the blog, having made a previous appearance with his disc The NHART Demo[n]s in March of 2018. His latest release surpasses even that dark masterpiece of a debut, partly because he continues to explore the depths of sound, and partly because he was a few guests adding a few jewels to his crown. Read on those guests who are participating in this recording. They are the best of modern dark ambient music. Alessio deserves to be held in the same esteem. We look forward to see what he has next for us.
From his Bandcamp site:
NERATERRÆ’s debut album “The Substance of Perception” (out on Cyclic Law records) is a daring collaborative work featuring some of the finest artists from the Dark Ambient, Drone, Cinematic and Ritual Music scene: Northaunt, Alexey Tegin from Phurpa, Treha Sektori, New Risen Throne, Flowers For Bodysnatchers, Taphephobia, Ugasanie, Xerxes The Dark and Infinexhuma.
The sound palette shifts between both stark atmospheres, melancholic ambiance and dense claustrophobic drones. Alternating between obscurity and light and oscillating between the ineffable detachment from the tangible and the relentless transmogrification of the self.
30 tracks of pure post-Industrial brutality put together by Sobaki Tabaka; dark ambient and atmospheric soundscapes, and this one features friends like JOHN 3:16 and
Philippe Petit. A sublime compilation.