Saturday, March 28, 2009

Long Distance Calling - Avoid The Light

Artist: Long Distance Calling
Album: Avoid The Light
Label: Superball Music
Year: 2009

01. Apparitions
02. Black Paper Planes
03. 359
04. I Know You, Stanley Milgram!
05. The Nearing Grave (Ft. Jonas Renkse)
06. Sundown Highway

Although we'd almost given up hope, there seems to be a parallel universe away from anaemic supermarket muzak, restless radio formats and short-lived trends after all. There still is music which allows its listeners enough space for unlimited enjoyment, unfolds all its glory on top of lavish arrangements and takes the liberty of celebrating sounds and harmonic sequences in the elaborateness they deserve. This music is available here and now, thanks to Long Distance Calling, a five-piece from Germany's Münster region. Their second album, Avoid The Light, will be out on 24 April 2009 on Superball Music and promises everything you find yourself looking for without avail in most contemporary bands: an immediate coexistence of depth and exaltation, melancholia and joie de vivre, great gestures and small peculiarities. And somehow there's so much more to discover in Long Distance Calling's music: Avoid The Light opens a big gate which you step through to find a great diversity of moods and atmospheres. The basics consist of instrumental guitar rock with an ambient flavour, an oscillation of psychedelic and progressive rock elements. At the same time, Avoid The Light is an album which requires few words to communicate a lot. Should we call it post rock? Or perhaps new art rock? The label is irrelevant, it's the content that matters. Reactions to Long Distance Calling's debut, Satellite Bay (2007), were unanimously positive: "Off the beaten track, away from the hype fostered by bumptious music publications, away from all fashionable trends and the maundering zeitgeist, without a 3-minute corset but a with a lot of persistence," commented a reviewer in the magazine, Schallgrenzen, by all appearances covering all important benchmark data that mark Avoid The Light. At the same time, the five band members, David Jordan (guitar), Janosch Rathmer (drums), Florian Füntmann (guitar), Jan Hoffmann (bass) and Reimut van Bonn (ambience), impress with an even more open-minded and progressive approach on Avoid The Light. According to the musicians, the six new tracks present "an even wider stylistic range than our debut and are – as a direct consequence of our numerous gigs in 2008, with Dredg, at the Rock am Ring and Roadburn festivals, among others – faster, more haunting and more dynamic. Thanks to the thoroughly positive reactions to our first release, we have generally become much keener on experimentation." In view of the whole album's atmospheric density, there seems to be little point in highlighting individual tracks, yet the impressive opener, 'Apparitions', with its hypnotic flair, 'I Know You, Stanley Milgram!', an expansive number in terms of playing time and style (coincidentally, Stanley Milgram happens to be an interesting character who is definitely worth googling), and the closing track, 'Sundown Highway' with its sophisticated guitar work should not be left unmentioned. As its predecessor, Avoid The Light features – along with the five instrumental tracks – a number with a renowned guest vocalist. While Satellite Bay presented The Haunted's Peter Dolving, Jonas Renkse (Katatonia) recorded the vocal number 'The Nearing Grave' on the latest Long Distance Calling release. "We're all great Katatonia fans, so it seemed the obvious thing to do to ask Jonas." Avoid The Light was produced by Kurt Ebelhäuser (Blackmail, Donots, among others), a true master of his art. "The collaboration with him had a thoroughly positive effect on our sound," observe the band members and can be confident that the transparent production does justice to their fascinating compositional parameters at all times. What a band, what an album …"

Friday, March 27, 2009

Collapse Under The Empire - Systembreakdown

Artist: Collapse Under The Empire
Album: Systembreakdown
Label: Unsigned
Year: 2009

01. Monumental Sequence
02. Sky Falling
03. Innocence
04. The Taste Of Last Summer
05. Quiet Dimension
06. Environmental Obsession
07. Turn
08. Depending On You
09. Further Than The End Of The World
10. Buried In Pieces


Collapse Under The Empire start their newest album systembreakdown with a little electronic feel. Synth-pads cause the obligatory, melancholic mood, whereon the song flows into a mellow bridge-part, until it appears for the first time on this CD: the notorious "wall of sound". A post-rock phenomenon, which has attracted all possible adjectives - from outstanding to horrible. Well, on systembreakdown? The words melodic and tangible might apply the most here. Those are drawn through, from the first to the last second - for 42 minutes.

Creating an album, which offers a central theme, aswell as the possibility to hold the listener's attention for nearly three quarters of an hour is not easy for a band. The both guys from hamburg, however, handle things a little differently. By all means, the listener is allowed to drift away temporarily - sooner or later the band will take you back anyway. Oddly, it's not the hit of the album, which is responsible for this, like usual, but single, crucial and convincing moments of this record. Everyone has to decide on his own, whether it's the climax of the yearningly depending on you, the moody, electronic ambience of quiet dimension or the casual playfulness of the drums on further than the end of the world. The important thing is, that Collapse Under The Empire have built a countless number of these key-moments into their CD - there is one for everyone.
(silence is also a sound)

Official SiteBuy

Monday, March 16, 2009

If These Trees Could Talk - Above The Earth, Below The Sky

Artist: If Thees Trees Could Talk
Album: Above The Earth, Below The Sky
Label: Indie
Year: 2009

01. From Roots to Needles
02. What's in the Ground Belongs to You
03. Terra Incognita
04. Above the Earth
05. Below the Sky
06. The Sun is in the North
07. Thirty-Six Silos
08. The Flames of Herostratus
09. Rebuilding the Temple of Artemis
10. Deus Ex Machina


If These Trees Could Talk return with their long awaited full length album “Above the Earth, Below the Sky.” Recorded during the summer of 2008 under the watchful eye of Tim Gerak (6P7), the album is a dark emotional journey that picks up where the debut E.P. left off. With the roots of the album firmly planted within the industrial boomtown of Akron, Ohio, the Trees have made every effort to evoke the desperation and triumph felt by a city in despair and rebirth. Utilizing a dynamic range of auditory explorations fluctuating from delicate to deafening the Trees have once again provided their listeners a primed and ready canvas upon which they may paint their own visions of chaos and serenity. The types of images only seen when our eyes are closed or when the true nature of a world operating under insanity and irrationality is exposed. -by (


Friday, March 13, 2009

Presence Of Soul - Blinds

Artist: Presence Of Soul
Album: Blinds
Label: Wheel Records
Year: 2008

01. Seven Mortal Sins And Seven Doors
02. Sink Low
03. Lost
04. Whitenoise Snowfall
05. Ephemera
06. Rule
07. Forgiven
08. Tightrope

Japanese group PRESENCE OF SOUL is led by female singer and composer YUKI, who also handles guitars, keyboards and Mellotron. She's accompanied by a guitar player, a bass player and a drummer.
"Blinds" (2008) is a first album to be listened to somewhere between GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR !, SIGUR ROS, MOGWAI and ANEKDOTEN. As a matter of fact, the band was the support act for the swedish musicians during their 2008 shows in Japan.
From the very beginning, PRESENCE OF SOUL proves to be absolutely innovative and mature at the same time: ethereal female vocals create a sharp contrast with guitars fury and drumming power. Sad atmospheres, often enhanced by Mellotron and a great sense of slowliness (Without mentioning softness) evolve step by step, with an increasing violence, reaching its climax in an overwhelming maelstrom. It's a kind of "Progressive post-rock", and one cannot imagine a more intense musical world. You'll surely be haunted a long time after listening...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ghaust - Ghaust

Artist: Ghaust
Album: Ghaust
Label: Purbaharuan Recordings
Year: 2008

01. Day After (Entering Into Peace)
02. Sleep And Release
03. Torchlight
04. Akasia
05. The Wolf And The Boar
06. At Sea (We Are Nothing)


Post-rock, in case you're a neophyte, is a genre of alternative rock defined by the use of common rock instruments for non-rock purposes. Guitars and drums are standard, but the rhythms, harmonies, melodies, timbre, and chord progressions used are not found in the rock tradition.

Basically, your typical post-rock song will consists of long guitar jams that explore layers of sound in order to create a certain mood. It is a genre that requires not only great technical skill, but a strong melodic imagination.

There is quite a considerable number of bands out there in our local scene that dabble in post-rock. Most of them border on only just decent, simply because they lack imagination. There are even fewer bands here that play hardcore post-rock, the darker side of this musical dream-weaving, as this subgenre requires technical mastery and a lucid imagination; which narrows the field of play tremendously.

South Jakarta-based GHAUST is one band, however, that manges to thrive beautifully in this dimly lit alley of post-rock. The nightmares constructed by this collective (comprised of Uri A. Putra (guitar) and M. Edward (drums)) are built with the utmost precision. The layering of instruments, the slow but steady progression of hard chords, the grinding distortions and the calculated drums are dispersed in careful doses that guide the listener through each space of the somber realm of their musical machinations.

After a few online releases, as well as participation in various compilations, this year saw the release of GHAUST's self-titled full length debut LP, available nationwide through Purbaharuan Recordings. This powerhouse of an album is guaranteed to take you to corners of your imagination previously untouched by other bands. This record is truly mind-blowing; as you read, I'm still picking up the pieces of my brain that were scattered across the floor upon my first listen. It immediately gets a place on my list of 2008's Top Five Local Releases.

GHAUST is an experience the listener would never want to, or be able to forget. Their music will seep into the nooks and crannies of your mind and build little grim empires in your subconscious. I am truly curious as to how their sound will evolve in the future. I will definitely keep my eyes on these guys.

Enough of the grand descriptions, you can learn more about GHAUST firsthand and give a listen to their brilliant pieces at Be sure to leave them some nice comments. Their self-titled debut LP is now available. For a complete listing of record stores that sell the CD, check their myspace page. Be sure to buy it! -by (


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Thisquietarmy - Unconquered

Artist: Thisquietarmy
Album: Unconquered
Label: Foreshadow Music
Year: 2008

01. Immobilization
02. Battlefield Arkestrah
03. Warchitects
04. The Sun Destroyers
05. Death Of A Sailor
06. The Great Escapist
07. Mercenary Flags
08. Empire


Thisquietarmy is a solo project of young Canada-based artist Eric Quach. He is also known for being a guitarist in a renowned shoe-gaze band Destroyalldreamers. As Thisquietarmy, he explores never-ending spectrum of guitar ambience and loop drone sounds. From the mellow opening of "Immobilization", through grandiose "Battlefield Arkestrah" and "The Sun Destroyers", gloomy "Death of a Sailor", to closing notes of "Empire", Eric Quach manages to capture the essence of contemporary alternative guitar experimentation while maintaining disturbing but also captivating aural atmosphere.

"Unconquered" presents this musical project as consciously standing among the best artists of this genre, which is symbolized by the guest appearance of Aidan Baker. On the other hand, Thisquietarmy, already on his debut album, looks far into the future and crosses the boundaries, the best sign of which are the clean female vocals of Meryem Yildiz in one of the tracks – something not common in the field of ambient drone guitar music. Eric’s experience in Destroyalldreamers, numerous live performances, brave open mind and genuine artistic freedom allowed him to deliver his first official debut full-length album in a flawless and extraordinary way. -by (

Official SiteBuy

Monday, March 2, 2009

Matryoshka - Zatracenie

Artist: Matryoshka
Label: Novel Sounds
Year: 2007

01. Sink Into The Sin
02. Slowsnow
03. Evening Gleam Between Cloud
04. Viridian
05. My Funeral Rehearsal
06. Tyrant's Miniature Garden
07. Anesthetic
08. Ezekiel
09. Beyond
10. February Lifesaver

Look at that cover. Really look at it. At first glance, you’re staring at a lovely woman. Then you realize that one of her eyes is actually a mouth with blackened gums, and that the back of her head is decayed. Resting gently in her mouth, like an unused reed instrument, is a bone, from which flowers are blooming. A slightly mangled gift bow nestles in her hair. She looks alive, but neither happy nor in pain. Now you’ve got an idea of Matryoshka, a frightening yet appealing blend of cherry blossom and J-horror. This release may be pretty, but it has a scary edge.

Zatracenie may be Matryoshka’s first effort, but in 2007 it captured the Japanese zeitgeist and was named the nation’s best electronic album. Those who follow similar efforts know that the competition was fierce. Vocalist Calu possesses the intonation of the Cocteau Twins (a comparison that is made all too frequently, but in this case is apt), which shines forth in efforts such as the sparkling “Veridian.” Instrumentalist Sen conjures the feel of a mini-orchestra, reminiscent at times of Tokyo mates Mokyow and at other times of Piana. But what stops this release from tumbling into fluffiness is an ever-present sense that something dangerous is lurking in the background, waiting to pounce. Turn your back on this duo and you may find yourself without a liver, or worse.

The industrial drums on opening track “Sink Into the Sin” are an early indication that Matryoshka has more on its mind than producing innocuous, comforting tracks. Album standout “My Funeral Rehearsal” builds to a swirling crescendo before dissolving in cacophony. “Tyrant’s Miniature Garden” begins with orchestral flourishes, descends into pop, and re-emerges as a chamber rehearsal backed by a combination of snow-crunch electronics and military drums. “Ezekiel” is downright foreboding, a cinematic slow-burn that would make Lamb proud.

Matryoshka wears its influences on its sleeve, but instead of pirating the sounds of its predecessors, the group combines them in such a way as to create a distinctive sound. Zatracenie tucks surprises in napkins, dusts corners with strings, washes rusty drums with crystalline lullabies. It’s easy to see how the album won the heart of its homeland: the music is accessible enough to appeal to the masses, but raw enough to woo independent minds. A new album is not far behind; four demos have already been posted for the follow-up, which should emerge in the thinning light of autumn. Fans of the aforementioned groups are advised to investigate without delay. -by Richard Allen (

Buy (sorry, couldn't find it anywhere else!!!)