Friday, July 10, 2020

Analysis: New Audio And Video Releases

As life continues to slouch forward towards “the new normal” (what reopening phase are we in now? Phase 4 or 14 . . .) the one thing we can all count on is the need for creative types to continue making their art. Musicians who spend a lot of time writing and recording as part of their ongoing routine anyway, have focused on new songs and videos as their primary outlet. The touring and live show performing remains on hold for the present, although after-summer dates and beyond continue to appear on their respective calendars. Once again the joy of deep listen analysis and the words that flow from that are featured here at the DaveCromwellWrites global consortium.

Julian Kerins is a musical tour-de-force and frontman for his own sophisticated indie rock power trio. He is the complete package of songwriter, virtuoso guitarist and polyphonic vocalist with a 6 octave range. Accompanied by bandmates Michael Vetter on drums, and Michael Schuler on bass, a full 10 song album “To Solemn Maia” serves as the current full-length release.

One of the albums many outstanding tracks “Vie” was given a full official video release, and has been racking up an impressive number of views since it's initial arrival. While reaching 2 million views in such a relatively short amount of time is certainly an accomplishment, the intricate songwriting and high-level of musicianship is what truly stands out.

The song and video come right out of the gate in full-flight motion, with Julian's primary guitar riff matched by the bass guitar, as the two harmonize over syncopated drumming. Images of birds splashing in puddles and flying overhead lead into the opening vocal lines. “So sodden the glance, the glimpse” has Julian immediately exhibiting his extraordinary range, going from deep baritone to higher tones through innovative vocal phrasing. More imagery of the band playing in a warehouse alternates with close-ups of falling rain and the city skyline beyond. The chorus is reached, serving as sonic high point (as it should) “on limbs, limber as glass lips” while introducing a more sophisticated jazz-prog feel to it all. That vibe is expanded on when Julian delivers a quick, dexterous guitar solo at the minute and a half mark, evoking the mastery of players like Eddie Van Halen and Joe Satriani. While emphasis is placed on repeated vocal phrase “In days,” the denouement comes with doves released around Julian's primal scream and the band furiously throttling away to a prog-rock quick-cut conclusion.

Watch and listen here:

Follow Julian Kerins on his social media for updates and info on all of his music.

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Internationally acclaimed extreme metal band Lamb Of God have released their eighth studio album and first in five years, choosing to go with no title other than the bands name. Now two decades into their explorations of brutally aggressive rock, this Richmond,Virginia conceived quintet have taken their place alongside contemporaries like Metallica, Slayer and Pantera. An official video for the track “Gears” comes along with the album, serving to add a visual element to the lyrical and musically intense storytelling.

The Tom Flynn and Mike Watts directed video opens with images of computer circuitry, keyboard entry via biohazard-gloved hands and aerial views of streetmaps being combed over with a magnifying glass. Dropping down to street-level, two protagonists enter a building as the bands aggressive shearing guitar chords and throttling snare drumming commence. As the two seemingly bored (and yawning) desk jockeys sit in front of their computers, quick cuts to the band inside a caged ring capture in detail the track's pummeling sound. A poster in the office workers cubicle reads: “Feeling Down? Low On Energy? Call and Make the Change Today! First Treatment is Free!” Vocals begin with the lines “You suffer from a manufactured sickness and envy by design - Pre-calculated status and patterns of desire,” make a clear statement on relentless consumer acquisitions as a hollow measure of success.

As the two “accumulation and adoration” seeking workers who remain “perpetually unsatisfied” seek out the poster-advertised chemical treatment, quick cuts of the band thundering away are paired with that magnifying-glass wielding scientist and his boss watching closely. That boss, by the way, is played by previously reviewed Julian Kerins, who appears to have acting skills as well. While the two office-techs appeared to be rejuvenated by their energy-enhancing stimulation – churning out more supervisor-pleasing work, the songs thundering rhythms and lyrics (“hang it on the wall of your golden cage – tell yourself that it means something”) question this approach to life. It's a scathing commentary on corporate life measured in how many big-ticket items you can acquire. Along with a brilliantly precise guitar solo 3/4's of the way in, comes the inevitable “crash” of those artificially enhanced worker bees. The side effects of unnatural human stimulation can be cruel. The overview scientist and his boss, who have been monitoring their test subjects see first hand how needing “always more” is ultimately a shallow existence.

Check out this ferocious track and video here:

Follow Lamb Of God on all their Socials:

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Back in late April the electronic-music and fashion-forward duo Turbo Goth decided to release a new song at the height of this world pandemic we've all been dealing with. Calling the track “Quarantine Dreams,” they refer to it as “a groovy love song” created for interpretation and reflection on applying your dreams through positive actions going forward once this crisis is finally over. That original track has been given the remix treatment by three creative entities, and are now available to be heard.

The original studio version placed immediately emphasis on Sarah Gaugler's sweetly-sung, straightforward vocals with minimal effects and sparse, twinkling background accompaniment. “Spun on your love, don't wanna wake up from these quarantine dreams – nothing's what it seems” comes on like a lullaby. Trip-hop percussion and deep-bounce-bass soon sets a sensual groove for the combined romantic and mystical declaration, “Bae, you know you're pretty amazing, your supernatural vibe is kinda hard to describe. Our constellations align, but I'm only semi-divine.”

Vocal FX and echo-line layering become more prominent with the dreamy segment that goes “baby I'm trippin' but I'll be saving my love for you.” The hypnotic qualities are apparent, with the soft, seductive vocals more clearly asking “how many days do we have to wait?”  That's followed by a vibrant dreamlike segment where an angelic reverberation is applied to the line “my all, I want to give to you.”

As one might expect, the remixes become collaborations whereby new elements are developed within the previously released track. Onetyla Remix places mellotron-like pulses and dry bass-notes around Sarah's introductory vocals. Higher end synth notes begin to fill in places between vocal lines as the song progresses. The original percussion has been stripped back, leaving open space for a simpler hand-clap approximation. The lyrical line “but I'll be saving my” gets looped and is followed by a muted dance-floor horn. Pivoting back to the original track, the “Galaxies are waiting – no more hesitating - we'll be star gazing under the dark, dark sky” segment is emphasized. An alternate trip-hop percussive groove ultimately makes it's way into the mix, with additional synth and studio enhancements leading the track out via the opening mellotron and clean bass-pop simplicity.

Chan Chanlian Remix makes bright piano chords the dominant instrumental attribute powering along with Sarah's introductory vocals. Along with those power-pop chords, the percussion moves away from the previous trip-hop feel, locking into a softer, bouncier pattern. As with the previous remix, once again “I'll be saving my Love” serves as a catalyst for momentum shift into rave dance fare. While the dominant piano chords return for the remaining segments, clever use of a double-time snare drum pattern creates a sense of urgency under the emotionally-charged lyrical denouement.

EDP Beats Remix initially floats in on waves of looping guitar, creating an ambient dreamlike state before an electronic dance music beat kicks in with Sarah's vocals. Rhythmic fingersnap percussion creates forward movement sensations above the slightly muted vocal reading. There is a more spacious, ethereal quality to it all, with soft voice only delivering the “baby I'm trippin but I'll be saving my love for you” lines. An immediate sonic shift commences with “galaxies are waiting” and return waves of softly-psychedelic guitar loops, deep bass notes and click-snap percussion.  An acid-house feel envelopes the closing moments, where lines “gotta pull me out of this hazy phase,” and “crazy state” are immersed in frothing swells of psychedelia.

Check out these amazing Remixes via this link here:

Follow Turbo Goth via their Socials - Official Site - Facebook - Instagram

Read an earlier Dave Cromwell review of Turbo Goth on The Deli Mag here and included in this sites Best Of here.

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Darkwave artist Cat Hall (aka DISSONANCE) has just released a new single and visualizer clip for her song "Precipice."  Described as a lament of personal struggle, her ability to transcend emotional pain and physical scars has ultimately produced this beautiful work of art.

DISSONANCE emerged out of the early 90's Texas synthpop scene, playing live in many of the popular Dallas venues at that time. Many took notice of the unique vocal quality and angelic style Cat Hall presented, with her harmonic layers creating an ethereal state of mind. Catching the ear of Paul Robb (INFORMATION SOCIETY) who was forming his label Hakatak International, DISSONANCE was signed in 1996. Her first self-titled release, Dissonance, produced by Robb, came out in 1997.

Earlier this year, Cat collaborated with Bug Gigabyte of SINTHETIK MESSIAH on his Split Damage release, providing lyrics and vocals for “Languish.” A full review of that recording can be found on This Site Right Here.

The initial Joe Haze NH Remix release comes accompanied by a “visualizer” clip delivering panoramic aerial views over inspiring majestic natural formations. The tracks audio emerges out of brief, muted textures accompanied by underlying distant percussion before the fully bright progression is revealed. That groove comes on via deep-rumble bass pulses, icy high-end synth blasts and hissing percussion lines formulated by the bands musical partner Justin Burning and remixer Haze's further manipulation. It's dance-floor ready with the requisite beats-per-minute to satisfy any pulse-pounding, fired-up heartbeat rave. Cat's vocal performance and emotional lyrics are cut up and re-positioned somewhat, creating a cooler sensation that fits seamlessly with the video imagery. “Standing on the precipice – kills the hope of my life. Fine lines drawn in my skin,” allow the listener to interpret this sentiment from their own experiences.

Experience the song and video here:

To find out more about Cat Hall and DISSONANCE, follow on Social Media here:

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Documentary filmmaker Matthew Levin recently shared a new episode of his “Translove Airwaves” series titled “Krautwerk Umarmt Liverpool” in a limited run preview setting. With the ultimate goal of producing a full season of shows, this follow-up episode to the initial pilot expands the production exponentially. At the end of 2018, this site featured a live show and source material review of Matthew's initial episode, which can be read and viewed here. The psychedelia motivated producer is now back with an immersive look into two German musical pioneers who have teamed up under the moniker “Krautwerk.”

Traveling to Liverpool, England for that city's International Festival of Psychedelia, Matthew interviewed and captured live performances from two legendary “Krautrock” musicians who had recently teamed up - Eberhard Kranemann and Harald Grosskopf.  Although both men have a long history of influence within the very beginnings of Krautrock's late 60's – early 70's birth (detailed in an excellent piece here on the Translove Airwaves site), the pair did not actually meet until 2016.

While the above-linked piece goes into greater detail on Kranemann and Grosskopf's history, a quick namecheck of seminal bands Kraftwerk, Neu! (who's Hallogallo2010 live show was covered on this site here), Ash Ra Tempel and Tangerine Dream all figure prominently in these two artists backstory.

As one might expect, the two-man electronic band's set up relied on an array of tone generators, effects units, laptops, mixing boards and more, laid out on tabletop stands, next to each other. Visual projections of sweeping vistas and dreamlike states rolled behind each artist throughout the performance. While looping automation was certainly employed, a distinct live-in-the-moment element was clear with Kranemann adding rhythmic vocal thrusts and Grosskopf playing digital drum pads. At times there are zany elements of noise (both vocal scat style and instrumental) added on to the rhythmic undercurrent, bringing to mind the frequent offbeat lunacy of a band like Ozric Tentacles.

Although Kranemann may have begun his musical education studying classical double bass, his subsequent discovery of and love for free improvisational jazz being created by greats like John Coltrane is apparent. During the set he picks up an electronic stringed instrument and takes off on a spontaneous jam while Grosskopf continues to loop rhythms and add percussion.

Check out the trailer for this feature here:

Get more info on the Translove Airways series here:

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