6/26/2018

Black Moon Circle - Psychedelic Spacelord


This review suppose to be different. I planned to write about guitar techniques, about harmonies, melodies and other boring stuff. But I made my life bit more complicated week ago. Well in fairness I made that in September but it was last week when my wife brought to this world our second daughter. I'm busy, I don't sleep well and my back hurts. And that's how I finally understood this album...


Black Moon Circle are from Norway and since the beginning are dedicated to improvisation. They just sit and play music. We could discuss on how broken drums here lead violin solo through the title part of the album (title part, as there are no tracks here, it's one long jam session) or how hammond organs point accents in the other part. We won't. Album's name basically explains what we can expect from it. It's gonna be psychedelic. And very spacious. But somehow we can consider that piece in terms of ambient too. It's a recording of some process but also a trip. As band themselves said, it's all about the trip, the melodies, cool ideas and time they spend together.  It's all about the trip...


There is something magical in improvisation. Well Keith Jarrett is a master of it but he is there on his own. He got idea in his head and just play it. Its about one mind drifting away. When band is jamming there is multiple artists trying to find same path, follow same melody even though they never heard it before. And this is how melody rises from the chaos like a phoenix from the dust. It is somehow similar to looking after two babies. It's a try to control the chaos. But it is just a try. Nothing works, everything falls apart you slowly loose your mind. And then in one moment most ridiculous thing become best solution to calm the baby. It works just fine and all chaos turn into harmony! But in real life baby won't stay interested in one thing for long and that's when it all fall apart like a house of cards and you have to start from the beginning. That's why improvisation is so amazing and so interesting and unique. Black Moon Circle recorded this session in March 2017, violins and vocals were added later. But these are just details. Core of the music was improvised and it is simply stunning. Relaxing and disturbing in a same time. Spacious and psychedelically trippy. 


Psychedelic Spaclord was released as CD and as vinyl. Vinyl is coloured as red marble and looks fabulous. It is really well pressed and sounds good too. There is CD included in this release so you can easily compare both versions. I found vinyl softer which is only in plus for this album. We also got a gatefold with beautiful graphic inside. If you'd expect Spacelord's portrait on the cover you will be disappointed. It's at the back. Pointing at you. Wearing motorbike googles, so it seem he invites you for a motorbike trip. It's all about trip...



6/12/2018

Ghost - Prequelle


On Instagram community it was one of the hottest premieres in a long time. Fourth Ghost's long play, Papa Emeritus III is gone, now it's time for Cardinal Copia... 
OK, let's start more from the beginning.


Ghost is a Swedish metal band, however "metal" is quite wide term here. It is anywhere between Black Sabbath and Kiss. What do we know about metal in general? It worships devil of course. So Ghost is as satanistic as it can be. But it's hard to treat it all very serious. Since the first releases they were quite enigmatic. No one knew who really is behind the project. All information we had was that it is sung by Papa Emeritus I and accompanied with Group of Nameless Ghouls. On second album we noticed Papa Emeritus I was replaced with Papa Emeritus II. On third album... well, yes, you guessed it. Band leader was masked and wore dark pope robes and coronet, Ghouls wore tuxedos and mouthless masks. In five years from debut "Opvs Eponymovs" to last "Meliora" band become large metal stars, playing tours across the globe, while still staying anonymous. And then something happened. Few former member sued Tobias Forge, head of the project,  for money of course. World get know the real name of Papa. Since the beginning music of Ghost was very melodic, with retro style heavy guitar riffs. As long as the debut was a bit rougher than following two records, we could say whole discography was very consistent. Something had to change now. Tobias said he won't stop and band will become even more theatrical. Few months ago on group's Facebook we could find few videos where we could see how Papa Nihil (new dark pope) was stepping away to give leadership to younger and more vital Cardinal Copia. Just before world premiere of fourth record Ghost hosted press conference where they displayed glass sarcophaguses  with dead bodies of all three Papas. And with the first day of June we got "Prequelle".


It is probably even more melodic then ever before. Some could say it's almost pop-ish? In a same time new songs are more progressive, with all orchestral parts, there are even two instrumental tracks! In some way it's less dark too. From the intro we got bunch of great, juicy riffs, full of energy. But with B side music slows down and even though it is very melodic it becomes melancholic. Amazing "Witch Image" turns into instrumental "Helvetesfonster" which turns into final "Life Eternal", the whole which left me with mouth wide open. Tobias did it again. He gave the world brilliant metal parody with absolutely beautiful music. I think that is the whole power of Ghost. Ridiculous story behind it, staying in role all the time, but it is all reinforced by best metal melodies ever written. Prequelle has the spirit of previous pieces and even though it's more progressive and modern it still reminds me of these wonderful times when rock and roll turned slowly into heavy metal. It is a heritage of Black Sabbath, Kiss, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Manowar! 


Ghost always knew how to please fans who buy records. Every album had few variants of vinyl, which are now quite expensive. First single "Elisabeth" was released on 7" only and some versions  of it are going up to €1000. "Prequelle" on the premiere day was announced in over 30 variants including limited colorful vinyl, CDs, cassettes and even 8trackers! I got limited to 5000 copies red translucent with black smoke vinyl record. This version also has same red 7" with two tracks including Pet Shop Boys cover "It's a sin" (sic!) and a poster, but most importantly it is so far the only version with lenticular 3D cover! I'd love to show you the picture of it but I just can't snap it with one lens. I just can't! You have to believe me it looks absolutely stunning. Record sounds really good however I've seen some complaints on it. Well, at the end of the day it was pressed in 5000 copies, some of them will be made with wore matrix plates. This version would be the perfect one of only it would be in a gatefold but when you make so many variants you just can't make one as ultimate! Still though, straight to the top of my fav records of all times! 





6/03/2018

Emile's Telegraphic Transmission Device - Lost in the Ether



I like Emile's Telegraphic Transmission Device. There is number of reasons for this. 
First of all it was one of the first projects which vinyl records I got to review. 
I like the name. Not only a transmission device. Telegraphic one. More technical language, even if we don't necessary know what that exactly means. But this particular device was made by Emile. Not professor Emile McGowan. Just Emile. There is so many stories behind this name. 
I like the idea of new romantic genre in XXI century. It was always bit out of the box, not very loved, not commercial... Different. 
I also kinda like the fact it's so underground. It has 30 followers on Instagram. My record collector's dream is to find out one day, totally unknown band became very popular and I got their first releases which are now very rare and extremely valuable.
I respect Dan Williams, head of the project, for his stubbornness in what he is doing. Band's videos on YouTube has silly number of views. Dan still writes new material. Still records it. Still releases it. I would probably give up. I would doubt in myself. I'm sad if my Instagram picture doesn't gather likes. But not Dan. He believes in his music. 
And finally, most importantly really, I do like the music. It's real. It's true...


When I made up name "Record Book" I started making YouTube videos about records. I gave up as it was to much hassle. Many days listening to albums, making an opinion. Whole day of setting up the lights, camera, then finally recording it. Another couple of days to put it all together. After weeks of work I had 100 views and a music copyright claim from a guy who sent me his record for review. I gave up. But I made an episode featuring Emile's Telegraphic Transmission Device. 


I loved that dreamy sounds from the beginning. I liked idea of creating something retro in so deep meaning it was like a time travel to 80'. I made this video almost two years ago. Many things changed. My daughter grew up and she is running everywhere. I get bit fatter, then get a gym membership so I get some guns. My second daughter is almost here too. Dan released another album a year ago, but nothing more changed there. He is still not pictured next to Dave Graham, there was no Emile's name on Longitude list... Time to change it.


I was spoiled with a copy of new Emile's Telegraphic Transmission Device album long before its premiere. It's called Lost in the Ether and well... It's brilliant.
First impression is there is less sounds here. Less music. It is minimalistic in many ways indeed. It is also brighter and more spacious cause of that. We are not overwhelmed with it. We got some samples from NASA archives, with the voice of Stephen Hawking giving us a lecture about life in universe. There is a whole track with greetings from Earth in every language. There is more changes to previous albums too. Melodies are very simple but beautiful. That makes this album very even from the first track to the last. But most important thing is Dan doesn't try to be someone else anymore. It's not a synth pop in a style of this or that artist. It's a fully grown up, considered material in a Emile's Telegraphic Transmission Device style. And without a doubt it is his most important creation which should bring him international fame and glory.


Album will be released in August in few different formats. There will be vinyl, as you can tell by the picture above, but also a cassette and obviously digital version. There is not much change to way Dan likes his vinyl records. Disc is very neat, well pressed but also very well mastered to this format. Sounds great and way more spacious than digital. Simple sleeve. Back has titles of tracks and that's it. Front is stunning though. Keeps all the theme of the album. Yes, it's a map how to find planet Earth. It's probably my favourite cover Dan ever released. Simple but so meaningful. It's like the music he wrote. Synthesised. Synthesised synth pop. 

Brilliant piece of music, melancholic yet comforting. Round and tasty. I love it! You can preorder it on the link below the review and wait for August but I guarantee, it is worth it!

And follow Dan on Instagram for fuck sake!