2:54 – 2:54 (2012)

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Tracklist:
1. Revolving
2. You’re Early
3. Easy Undercover
4. A Salute
5. Scarlet
6. Sugar
7. Circuitry
8. Watcher
9. Ride
10. Creeping

Recently, I tried to disengage from my usual listening habits and listen to music way more concentrated. And to give the same release more attention in terms of listening to it several times before heading to the next album. I believe that was one of my biggest problems because I felt like missing a whole lot of potential brilliant releases just by giving them too little attention.

The self-titled debut album from 2:54 was one of these albums that I discovered in this process. It is very well executed, builds a melancholic, sometimes eerie atmosphere and let’s my thoughts drift – that’s what I like about music the most. The vocals of Colette Thurlow reminds me of Shirley Manson’s of Garbage at some places, which is a fairly good thing. You can also hear distant influences of some post-punk and shoegaze although they proclaim themselves as alternative rock. My favorite tracks of this release are ‘Sugar’ and ‘Creeping’ but essentially there are no bad or mediocre songs.

Recommended If You Like: Garbage, Exitmusic, Tamaryn

United Kingdom, 2012
Alternative Rock, Shoegaze
Website | Listen

4.5/5.0

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Ulrich Schnauss – Goodbye (2007)

Ulrich Schnauss - Goodbye

Tracklist:
1. Never Be The Same
2. Shine
3. Stars
4. Einfeld
5. In Between the Years
6. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
7. A Song About Hope
8. Medusa
9. Goodbye
10. For Good

In the last few weeks I especially enjoyed low-key and relaxing music, kinda to compensate the fucked-up heat. Because that’s a genre I never had much contact with (apart from some post-rock acts but none pure-electronic artists) I stumbled across a whole bunch of musicians via Spotify. German electronic music producer Ulrich Schnauss was one to make a lasting impression on me, especially his 2007’s album “Goodbye”. Schnauss excels in composing soothing ambient landscapes that simply don’t bore the listener. It’s a constant up and down in tension and an overly dynamic record. Absolute highlights are the tracks ‘Stars’ and ‘Goodbye’ because of their appropriate usage of vocals and catchy tunes. If you’re in search of chillout music that doesn’t necessarily just ripple away in the background, I can clearly recommend all of Ulrich Schnauss’ work.

Recommended If You Like: July Skies, Lights Out Asia, Hiatus, A Shoreline Dream, Tycho

Germany, 2007
Ambient, Chillout
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4.25/5.0

Implodes – Recurring Dream (2013)

implodes-recurring-dream

Tracklist:
1. Wendy
2. Scattered in the Wind
3. Sleepyheads
4. Necronomics
5. Zombie Regrets
6. You Wouldn’t Know It
7. Ex Mass
8. Dream Mirror
9. Melted Candle
10. Prisms and the Nature of Light
11. Bottom of a Well

Implodes are a fairly new band to me, although they’ve been around for quite some time. Thus little expectations did I have. But regardless whether you already know this band or you haven’t ever heard of them: “Recurring Dream” is a very pleasant album to listen to. At least if you like very drawn out, reverb heavy shoegaze music (yeah, even for shoegaze) with some drone influences. Especially the second track ‘Scattered in the Wind’ is absolutely astonishing and definitely one of my all-time favorite songs in this genre (and quite suiting for road trips). The whole album has a very interesting psychedelic feel to it that enables the sometimes repetetive songs to sustain tension. All the while it’s very soothing and invites the listener to some daydreaming disgress. Well, what more can I say… time for you to see it for yourself.

USA, 2013
Psychedelic Drone/Shoegaze
Website/Listen

4.5/5.0

Arvorar – Fragments of Solitude (2012)

Arvorar - Fragments of Solitude

Tracklist:
1. Diffuse Winter Sun
2. Esquecimento
3. Forlorn
4. Trepidation
5. Angústia
6. Last Tree
7. Aimless

In the last few days I’ve been listening to a lot of black metal and ambient with a certain space feeling. Darkspace, Alraxis, Cold Womb Descent and stuff like that. During my research for new material I stumbled upon a split release with Arvorar, Carcharoth Λ.V. and The Descent of the Sun (“And The Stars Obtain The Beauty Of The Forlorn”). The opening track of Arvorar (‘Distante Obscurecer’) immediately caught my attention because of the excellent blend of harsh black metal and soothing ambient music. Curious as I am, I started searching for other releases of the band and finally found “Fragments of Solitude” on the label’s Bandcamp (Domestic Genocide). Although this release doesn’t have the same vast, eerie atmosphere as the aforementioned track, it’s overall a pretty damn good album. The songs are very melancholic and longing, mostly thanks to the very well used synthesizers. The guitars and drums create a very fuzzy and monotonous soundscape whilst the synths add nuances of melody without sounding cheesy. Also, I really like the pure ambient tracks that support the overall atmosphere. “Fragments of Solitude” is a very solid release but unfortunately it is not much more than that. It lacks some really outstanding tracks that make you go “Damn, I want to listen to that song again!”. Nevertheless a clear recommendation for anyone who likes atmospheric black metal with an ambient touch (e.g. All the Cold, Paysage d’Hiver or Karg).

Brazil, 2012
Atmospheric Black Metal/Ambient
Website/Listen

3.75/5.0

Starkey – Orbits (2012)

starkey-orbits

Tracklist:
1. Renegade Starship
2. Command
3. G V Star (Part 1)
4. G V Star (Part 2)
5. Thugs
6. Lzr
7. Synchronize
8. Dystopia
9. …and then God built the Cosmos
10. Crashing Sphere
11. The Shuttle
12. Magnet
13. Distant Star

First, I have to admit that I’m not overly acquainted with electronic music apart from genres like Ambient or Vocal Trance (well, those days of childhood…). I became aware of Starkey when strolling about on several music blogs, finding both cover and description quite appealing. Of course I didn’t know what to expect – which can be quite refreshing, because in my opinion expectations often blur the listening experience – so it struck me rather by surprise when hearing the first tunes. Starkey manages to blend harsh drum/bass patterns with melodic and incredibly catchy, freaked out melodies in a really satisfying way. It’s an overall very good release, but ‘Command’ and ‘…and then God built the Cosmos’ really stand out. Well, because I lack the fitting terms to describe this kind of music… listen to Orbits by Starkey since it is an unlikely entertaining musical release.

USA, 2012
Dubstep, Grime
Website || Listen

4.25/5.0

Khoma – A Final Storm (2010)

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Tracklist:
1. Army of One
2. From the Hands of Sinners
3. Harvest
4. Osiris
5. A Final Storm
6. Inquisition
7. The Tide
8. All Like Serpents
9. In It For Fighting
10. By the Gallows
11. Mist

Hailing from Umeå, Sweden (birthtown to lots of talented bands such as Cult of Luna or Meshuggah) it seems somehow predestined that the guys of Khoma also create some very intense and beautiful music. And you won’t be disappointed when listening to their 2010’s release A Final Storm. Immediately after the first track kicks in, you can sense a very strong instrumental influence of Cult of Luna. Sludgy, memorizable riffs combined with progressive and propulsive drum patterns build the musical fundament. But then it’s these incredible, expressive and sometimes haunting clean vocals that really make the difference and shift the impression from ‘Oh, a mediocre Cult of Luna ripoff’ to ‘God damn, that’s some serious stuff.’ I would love to recommend you a specific track on this album but alas, I can’t. It’s just too amazing overall. If you enjoy music in the vein of Cult of Luna, Callisto or Junius (the symbiosis of heavy and dreamy, ‘poppy’ parts so to say) then you should definitely listen to Khoma. No excuses.

Sweden, 2010
Atmospheric Post-Rock
Website || Listen

4.75/5.0

Lunar Aurora – Hoagascht (2012)

Hoagascht

Tracklist:
1. Im Gartn
2. Nachteule
3. Sterna
4. Beagliachda
5. Håbergoaß
6. Wedaleichtn
7. Geisterwoid
8. Reng

Lunar Aurora has been one of the first black metal bands I seriously listened to. 2007’s ‘Andacht’ opened my mind to this obscure genre (at that time I used to make fun of it a lot) and paved the way to let it become one of my favorite music genres of all time. So you can probably imagine how much I connected to them and how stoked I was when I heard about the release of their newest effort ‘Hoagascht’. Completely written in the upper bavarian dialect it’s a quite unique album with such an intense and haunting atmosphere (yeah, you probably noticed that for me, music’s all about the atmosphere). I won’t bother describing how almost every song (apart from Håbergoaß; I don’t know why, but I just can’t remember it) is able to let me immerse into the Bavarian Woods and makes me feel deeply enthralled. The music itself relinquishes complex song structures but its this simplicity combined with the superb use of the keyboards that creates an almost trancelike mood you can sink yourself into. I recommend this album to everyone who has even the slightest interest in black metal or metal in general. Personal favorites: ‘Sterna’, ‘Beagliachda’, ‘Geisterwoid’ and ‘Reng’.

Germany, 2012
Atmospheric Black Metal
Website || Listen

5.0/5.0