Friday Full-Length: Godflesh, Godflesh

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 26th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

It’s been 33 years since Godflesh released this self-titled EP, and it’s still ahead of its time. That’s utter hyperbole, right? Nonsense. The kind of fluff lazy writers throw out there when something is good and has made an impact. For sure. Until you listen to it.

Godflesh, founded by guitarist/vocalist/synthesist Justin K. Broadrick and bassist G.C. Green following a stint together in a group called Fall of Because, weren’t the first band out there to bring together the sides of electronic music and rock. Krautrock had been doing it for over a decade by then. Ministry were offering up The Land of Rape and Honey the same year, and Skinny Puppy had already been going for more than half a decade, as well as others in the darker/gothier vein. But with Broadrick and Green, the rawness of their presentation became an instrument unto itself, and the repetitive churn of the drum machine they were playing to on these tracks became in itself an emblem of the disaffection, monotony, and emotional malaise the songs were bringing to bear.

They were kids asking “what the fuck?” and this EP became their way of phrasing the question.

The rumble of “Avalanche Master Song,” the echoes and whines in “Veins,” the oh-so-very-very-very-English brooding in “Godhead” and the mechanized discordant noise of “Spinebender” — these songs have a solid emotive base under them, and for all the putoff and bombast one might hear in their crashing, it’s a fragile sound, like the duo were processing trauma as much as drum beats. The guttural dismay in “Weak Flesh” and almost punkish run that ensues there feels with the benefit of over three decades of hindsight almost singular in its expression. Godflesh might not have been the first — much as fellow Birmingham natives Black Sabbath weren’t the first to bring together blues rock and a heavier low-end underpinning — but no one had done it quite like they were doing it, and the sonic persona that comes through on the six tracks of the original Godflesh EP, still just half an hour long, are post-modernism in the form of metallic songwriting. That feeling of abandonment in “Ice Nerveshatter?” Yeah, that’s god being dead.

Lines in that song like, “I am defeated, I gotta walk away/I won’t walk away, let me see/And I needed this you watch me/I’ll bleed to death, watch me,” and the screams and concluding digital wash to which they lead bring a kind of human, personal edge to what seems so much to be a purposefully inhuman sound, Broadrick‘s shouts echoing out into nothing. There are other bands who built entire careers off trying to accomplish the same thing and not doing it nearly so organically.

True, the first sounds you hear on the EP are digitized. It’s almost keyboard grindcore behind a metronome count-in — what today might be a click track with a digital boop — and then a few seconds later, the song crashes in. And I do mean “crashes,” as in, it almost comes across as accidental. In those key first few seconds, Godflesh aren’t trying to make some grand triumphant entrance; “Here we are, you didn’t even know you’d been waiting for us.” Instead, “Avalanche Master Song” godflesh godfleshexcoriates hypocrisy in working class culture — these were the Thatcher years — and unveils a perspective that is urgent, clever, and vicious, which goes on not to spare the self from its own wrath, lashing in and out alike.

Godflesh are of a caliber of band, like Sabbath, like Motörhead, where the influence they’ve had is pervasive and monumental enough that there’s really no way to fairly estimate it. At least two generations of bands across disparate genres have benefitted by learning from their work, whether it was the rise of industrial-tinged metal in the ’90s (for better or worse; some of that stuff was and remains awful), a current wave of same, or the rhythmic cues that a group like Isis took from Godflesh and made their own. Of course Godflesh — which would see reissue through Earache in 1990 with “Wounds” and “Streetcleaner 2” added, to bring the running time over a CD-era’s 50-minute span — would end overshadowed by its successor in the band’s 1989 landmark, Streetcleaner, and yeah, fair enough for the continued relevance that record and the band’s subsequent work has had. But the EP serves as a convenient, potent reminder of how just because something involves synthesizer or keyboard or a drum machine, that doesn’t mean it needs to be void of emotion.

One of the most important aspects to keep in mind when listening to the Godflesh EP — which for context I’d recommend doing without the extra tracks included in the version above, though they serve a different purpose — is how raw it is. It was recorded by the band, and it sounds like it, but that becomes essential to the character of the release. So much of the industrial that emerged in Godflesh‘s wake was chrome-polished. Godflesh sound like they’re covered in rust and oil sludge. In this way, the intervening years not only makes these songs a challenge to the chestbeating heavy metal that was coming out at the time, something that dared to find strength in its own fragility, but a further challenge to those who would cloak themselves in a mechanized veneer to remain human at the core. In 33 years, no one has managed to do this thing as well as this band.

Between 1989 and 2001, Godflesh toured the world and put out six albums, the last one of which, 2001’s Hymns, led Broadrick into his next project, the more melodic and atmospheric Jesu. Godflesh would reunite a decade later and since 2011 have continued to tour and offer releases on their own terms — the 2014 EP, Decline & Fall (review here), was followed that same year by A World Lit Only by Fire (review here), and after several more years of shows, they offered Post Self (review here) late in 2017. It remains their most recent outing, but Broadrick has been active as ever, working under his own name, his alias JK Flesh and releasing Jesu‘s Terminus (discussed here) in 2020 as their first full-length in seven years.

I should note that the above stream comes from the Earache Bandcamp page. The band also has a separate Bandcamp set up with their more recent stuff. I know the label has been involved in a number of contract disputes over the years, but can’t speak to whether or not they have one with Godflesh. I just wanted to make sure you had the link to their newer material as well.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

I need some Advil. Hang on.

There.

I went back to the oral surgeon’s office this week because despite the fact that the molar is now gone — bye bye — the fistula on the side of my gumline was still there and needed to be drained. I’ve done two rounds of antibiotics. I’m thinking it might just be time to have my jaw replaced with a robotic one like whatshisface from The Venture Bros., and yes, I know Venture Bros. because I’m a dude of a certain age.

Anyway, it continues to be sore as well. It’s now been over two weeks but the guy who removed the tooth called the roots “stubborn,” so it’s not such a surprise given the amount of physical effort I saw on his part that, yeah, I’d feel some residual discomfort. It was the pus that sent me back to the office. I saw a different surgeon, who first congratulated me on the size of the original infection in my jaw — “that’s one for the record books” — didn’t take an x-ray, and then told me everything looked good. That was enough to get me out of the office, but on further thought it just seems too easy.

This shit was infected for the better part of 2020 and I just couldn’t do anything about it. So I lost the tooth — I won’t miss it — and had the infection scraped out and the antibiotics and the bone graft, but yeah, it all still seems not-as-complicated-as-it-possibly-could-be-and-therefore-inevitably-must-be. I have my originally-scheduled follow-up Monday afternoon, and I just imagine the guy doing an x-ray, seeing there’s still more infection underneath, and having to go back in, scrape out the first graft, tunnel deeper into the bone of my jaw, which, yes, had a gaping hole in it, and then give me yet another graft at the end of that process. Doesn’t sound likely to you? Welcome to your life not as me.

Speaking of schedules, I’m supposedly getting my first COVID-19 vaccine dose this afternoon. I’ll believe it when they pull the needle back out from my arm. The Patient Mrs. had her second shot on… Wednesday? Yeah, Wednesday. It summarily put her on her ass for the bulk of yesterday, fever, aches. She says she’s a little headachy today but otherwise alright. Seems a fair trade to avoid the ol’ firelung there.

Yesterday morning, I went to Moonlight Mile in Hoboken and recorded vocals on a demo for what might be a new project in the works. We’ll see. It was pretty brutal, and it all came together on the quick. I reached out to them with the idea I think on Monday. In less than 24 hours, there was the demo track (and two more in the works besides) waiting for vocals. I took Wednesday to get lyrics and patterns, then recorded yesterday. As a proof-of-concept, I thought it came out well, but we’ll see. They might tell me to fuck off. Always a possibility. I have never been easy to work with on really any level. You may be surprised to find out I have a habit of expressing opinions. I know, right?

Plus I’m crazy and suck at reading people. So yeah, I try to walk on eggshells, especially starting something new. I get excited and forget myself.

In any case, if nothing else comes of it, recording screams and grows on that one track I did yesterday was the most fun I ever had with a studio experience. If it goes nowhere, I’d be perfectly happy to have that as my last-ever memory of recording. Even with the jaw pain.

I put more logs on the fire in the fireplace. It’s 9AM. It’s been chilly in the mornings as I’ve been getting up, so I light a fire and at least it warms my brain if nothing else. Then I drink coffee and get overheated. Then I drink iced tea and get cold again. Then I type some. And that’s existence.

No Gimme show this week, but I turned in the playlist for the one next Friday and voice recordings. I do more talking on it, which they asked for, in shorter breaks. And most of it is shorter songs. The longest I think was Earthless at 14 minutes. Compared to last episode which only had two tracks, that’s quite a shift.

Busy week as ever. More questionnaires and reviews and streams and all this and that. I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Stay well, stay hydrated. I’ll be around if anyone needs me.

FRM.

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Dee Calhoun

Posted in Questionnaire on February 26th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

dee calhoun (photo by Julya Brown)

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Dee Calhoun of Spiral Grave, Iron Man, author, and solo performer

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

Basically, I’m just a fan who gets to do and create things that I’m a fan of. It all started with music and has branched out from there. My mother would hear me singing along to stuff like Kiss and Sabbath in my bedroom when I was a pre-teen, and guilted/bribed me into entering a talent show at school. I ended up winning, and that set everything in motion. For decades it was only music, but in the past several years that has branched out into writing and voice work as well. It all goes back to mom putting a boot in my ass and telling me not to be afraid to try things.

Describe your first musical memory.

Probably my brother-in-law, who is 20 years older than me, playing me stuff like Grand Funk and Alice Cooper when I was in grade school. The big one was seeing Kiss on TV in 1976. That was the moment when I said “I want to do that.”

Describe your best musical memory to date.

As a fan, seeing Kiss on the reunion tour in 1996. I never saw Kiss in makeup on the first run, so seeing the band that really started it all for me, in full glory, was amazing for me. We had front row center for that show, and when the house lights went out my friend and I were hugging one another cheek to cheek, jumping up and down and crying. It was a moment of pure joy, and moments like that are few and far between.

As a performer, it was when my son joined me onstage at the second Maryland Doomfest. I’ve played bigger sets than that, both solo and in bands, but that’s a moment that I’ll take to my grave with me.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

I was raised in a Pentecostal church, and was taught that things regarding The Lord were not to be questioned. It was my getting into music that made me take a long hard look at some things, and made me realize that things should be questioned. About once a year we’d have the standard “Rock and Roll is the Devil’s Music” sermon, and I would always be sure to be right in front to watch and listen. We’d hear about everything from backward message to what certain band’s names stood for, and I could always look forward to an argument with my parents when I got home. Finally, they realized that I was into this music, and that I was a polite, well-spoken kid (teenager by then) who got good grades, didn’t drink or dope, and wasn’t holding séances. It was a learning experience for all of us.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

It takes us inward, as we search our own souls for the music to record, or for the words to be written on paper. It extends us outward, and we share these things with our audience. It can serve as a coping mechanism, or as a way to celebrate. It can be the conduit to pull something beautiful out of something horrific.

How do you define success?

Being content and happy. I’ve known musicians who were on tour and “living the dream” who were miserable. I’ve also known people whose only musical outlet was playing songs to their kids at bedtime and who were thrilled about it. That’s the name of the game.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

My three-year-old daughter dead on a hospital table. I picked her up and held her. It was the worst moment of my life, but you know what? I’m still here.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I would love to direct a film. I do all of my own video work, and I’ve been involved in some documentary films, and I think creating a film from the ground up would be a wonderful experience.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Release, and the satisfaction of creating something. Even if no one hears it, reads it, or sees it, just the act of making the art is a wonderful thing for the soul. If that art can impact someone else in a positive way, then even better.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

The release of my first novel. After that, being able to hang out with friends again.

www.screamingmaddee.com
https://www.facebook.com/screamingmaddee/
https://www.facebook.com/SpiralGrave/
www.argonautarecords.com

Spiral Grave, “Modern-Day Golden Calf”

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Brandon Gallagher of Trace Amount

Posted in Questionnaire on February 26th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Trace Amount Anna Mrzyglocki

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Brandon Gallagher of Trace Amount

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

Trace Amount is the purest and most direct representation of both aspects of my audio and visual productions. My passion for things usually outlast and outweigh my counterparts, especially in group musical efforts, so I started Trace Amount to fully give myself an outlet that is not reliant on others, until I want it to be for things like remixes, song collaborations, vocal parts, whatever.

Describe your first musical memory.

I can’t pinpoint my exact first memory, but luckily with two older sisters there was always art and music around. A ton of No Doubt and Soundgarden. When I was really little I was obsessed with the Space Jam soundtrack, and also the Spice Girls.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

I’ve got a couple… but I think all time was seeing Nine Inch Nails and The Jesus and Mary Chain at Kings Theatre in Flatbush. NIN’s set was absolutely unreal. More recently seeing HIDE at Warsaw opening for the Soft Moon in early 2019 was an extremely inspiring set as well. Most meaningful? Probably seeing Converge in 2005.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

Stepping away from Old Wounds. It was an extremely hard decision to make. I started the band and put so much energy and effort into every aspect of it for seven long years, but just knew it was the right time to put it to rest. I’m glad I did it but at the time it was tough.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

I think at the end of the day artistic progression is always a journey. Even thinking about what I’m doing now compared to what I was doing five years ago is on a completely different path. I’ve always had a strong passion to always keep creating. I don’t force it or fight it, I just let it happen.

How do you define success?

It’s really hard to gauge success because it’s so specific to what I’m doing. I try to only measure “success” with personal achievements and goals. To me, even *starting* a solo project was a huge success. It’s all up from here.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

I guess I’m either extremely desensitized or extremely sheltered because I couldn’t think of a single thing that stuck with me to that extent.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

A full-length LP for Trace Amount. I’m working on it now.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

I don’t know if one function of art is more essential than the other. Sometimes I need to create, as a form of therapy, other times I’m bored, other times that coffee and weed combo is hitting just right. It is also nice to have both audio and visual forms of art to create, I never really get stuck on one thing.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

The new season of Beavis and Butt-Head. The summer. The mass population getting vaccinated so I can look forward to something that is musical. The next iced coffee.

https://www.facebook.com/traceamountnyc
https://www.instagram.com/traceamountnyc/
https://traceamountnyc.bandcamp.com/

Trace Amount, Endless Render (2020)

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Jennifer Israelsson

Posted in Questionnaire on February 26th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

hot breath

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Jennifer Israelsson of Hot Breath

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

Composing feelings and thoughts, that’s probably how I define what I do. I discovered early on that it was a way for me to get out of all the hard and sometimes difficult feelings and thoughts and leave them there, in the song. Just like therapy with a melody that I can (and want to) share.

Describe your first musical memory.

It’s hard to remember a first memory of something I always somehow lived in.

But one of many strong memories is probably still when me and dad sat in the car a few days a week, on our way to figure skating training (yes this was a long time ago) and listened to the Kiss Destroyer album. Just as much goosebumps every time the intro to “Detroit Rock City” kicked off.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

In today’s situation, it really feels like a luxury problem to be able to barely choose your favorite memory of something you have seen or experienced. But one of my absolute strongest memories is probably when Honeymoon Disease played at Speedfest, in Eindhoven, 2015. It felt so unreal to stand on that big stage and play our own songs for so many people. I can still remember that surreal, but amazing, feeling.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

(Do not know if I understand the question right now, but will try to answer anyway.)

In Hot Breath, we try to challenge ourselves (both in genre and in mind) all the time in our songwriting. One of us may come up with an idea that from the beginning does not feel quite right for all of us, but we test it anyway, and I would still say that in nine cases out of 10 that idea develops into a song or a riff that we can use later on.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Artistic development means everything. I mean, development in any area is important, but of course you always strive to be able to develop more all the time in the form you are passionate about.

How do you define success?

I think success is when you feel happy.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

Interesting question, haha. Can’t think of anything actually, so I probably suppressed it pretty well.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I’d like to create the world’s best ’70s-inspired disco band.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

To be able to express oneself in something completely different than in speech. We have so many other senses that we do not think we can use, but once we do, the expression becomes so much stronger and, in my opinion, much more honest.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

I wish I could be free from work and be able to enjoy a hot, nice summer with my friends.

(A very telling answer for how everything is right now. Just two years ago I would probably have laughed at this answer and I hope for everything in the world that I can laugh at it very soon again.)

https://www.facebook.com/hotbreathgbg
https://www.instagram.com/hot.breath/
https://hotbreathofficial.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thesignrecords/
http://www.thesignrecords.com

Hot Breath, “What You’re Looking for, I Have Already Found” lyric video

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The Mon (ex-Ufomammut) Premieres “Demon Box” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 26th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

urlo the mon

All around horizons, sunrises and sunsets, suns and moons, northern lights and the equator in the middle of the sky like a shooting star, and the man and a monkey, dinosaurs and paper boats, all day and all night, and the rocks above the sea floating above the sky and I saw aeroplanes moving those buried in green fields of silence while I, in the middle of all this, believed, thought, dreamt of being alive. — The Mon, “Demon Box”

The Mon is a new solo-project from Ufomammut bassist, vocalist and synth master Urlo. Born Giovanni Rossi and based in Rome, Urlo is also a member of the graphic arts collective Malleus and has overseen releases through Ufomammut‘s label wing, Supernatural Cat. With The Mon, he pushes further, into atmospheric improvisation, video expression and series, and narrative storytelling. “Demon Box,” the new single from The Mon premiering in the video below, was born out of a story written by Urlo — very much a man-meets-demon kind of affair — and posted to his website (urlothemon.com) that he wound up backing with improvised guitar and a synth track while he recited the tale.

That original improv version of “Demon Box,” with Urlo reading as he plays in what I’ll guess is a home studio, can be seen below. It’s an impressive feat — one thinks of playing guitar and singing in corresponding rhythm and melody as difficult enough, let alone reading a full sentence rather than the lines of a verse while still strumming — but he pulls it off, and though the official video with the creeping bugs and so on brings a more refined mix of the song (such as it is), it continues to hold the exploratory spirit from whence it was made while also showing Urlo as a songwriter one way or the other in the builds and cascades of his sentences. The full clip runs a little under nine minutes, and flows easily in atmosphere and ambience as Urlo seems to be setting up paths leading through what seem like disparate influences through folk, cinematic scoring and short-story writing.

But as ever — and this was always something that made Ufomammut special too — these lines aren’t really there. If you read that sentence in the last paragraph (first, thanks) and maybe imagined a road forking in three different directions, the reality of The Mon is different in that it’s not about one or the other, it’s about encompassing all of it into a multi-dimensional work. “Demon Box,” as a vehicle for this impulse, brings various sides together instead of splitting them apart by category, and that’s something of which other manifestations can be heard in The Mon‘s other recorded work in the 2020 two-songer “The Manure of Our Remains” b/w “Blut (Acoustic Version)” or The Mon‘s previous full-length collection, 2018’s Doppelleben, which purposefully centers around the idea of leading a double-life, who you are and who you become.

I won’t try to predict where Urlo might steer The Mon from this point — what fun would that be? — but at a time when many are being forced to or feeling an impulse to follow new avenues of creativity, “Demon Box” is s consistent in purpose as it is divergent in form.

Please enjoy:

The Mon, “Demon Box” official video premiere

The Mon is the solo project of Urlo, bass player, singer and synth master of Ufomammut.

This song is based on a story written by Urlo a few years ago and titled “Demon Box”.

The story is about a man, staring at an open box seeing a lot of mystical and crazy things happening in his mind.

He sees the history of the world happen, as an alchemical transformation of everything into gold, the search for knowledge and the infinite smallness of the human being compared to Nature.

The man closes the box and goes away.

It is the cruel story of life, as the video represents.

An ant nest, a centipede and a spider cross their paths of life and death without apparent contact, but linked by the surrounding environment.

The song was originally born as an improvisation and then I decided to record it and make it an official release, being a new musical path I never did before.

The song is a sort of “reading” in music.

You can read Demon Box and other stories on The Mon website (https://www.urlothemon.com/site/stories/) and also check the Youtube channel here: http://bit.ly/2O1EDBb

You can buy the song here: https://themon.bandcamp.com/track/demon-box

The Mon, “Demon Box” original improvisation

The Mon on Thee Facebooks

The Mon on Instagram

The Mon on Bandcamp

The Mon website

Supernatural Cat website

Malleus website

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Circle of Sighs to Release Narci June 4

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 25th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

I… uh… I’m on this record. That’s a thing I haven’t been able to say in a while, but it feels oddly good. Released last Bandcamp Friday earlier in the month as a single, the Joni Mitchell cover “Roses Blue” (discussed here) will open side B of Circle of Sighs‘ upcoming second long-player, Narci. I’m interested to hear the rest of the LP, of course, as I dug the crap out of the Los Angeles outfit’s 2020 debut, Salo (review here), to the point that I basically invited myself to sing on a song. A little presumptuous when you think about it, but I’ve always been kind of a jerk.

Metal Assault Records, also California-based, will release Narci in June, and if you get the chance to check out the colored vinyl, it’s gorgeous. I’m not trying to sell you anything here, but if you like pretty records, this is a pretty record.

I do feel bad for the owl though.

From the PR wire:

Circle of Sighs narci

CIRCLE OF SIGHS signs with Metal Assault Records; New Album Details Revealed

Metal Assault Records is pleased to add to its roster an international synth doom collective that is sure to mesmerize one and all.

A few months after featuring on the January 2020 Metal Assault Mixtape Vol. 2 compilation release with their apocalyptic doom opus “Burden of the Flesh” and their first public live performance at the corresponding mixtape release event, CIRCLE OF SIGHS released their stunning debut full-length Salo, which rightfully made its way onto Metal Assault editor’s 2020 albums-of-the-year listicle. Now, Metal Assault Records is delighted to welcome CoS to its own label roster.

MAR will release the second CoS full-length, Narci, on June 4 2021 on limited-edition colored vinyl, digipack CD, and digital download. Pre-orders for the vinyl + digital download will be launched on March 5 on circleofsighs.bandcamp.com. More details surrounding the vinyl, i.e. colors, packaging, etc will be unveiled soon. To coincide with the pre-order launch, the album’s lead single “Heaven in Flames” will also be revealed on the same date.

With great pleasure, MAR is hereby revealing the incredibly vivid artwork that makes the Narci album cover, hand-painted by Nicole Momaney:

Narci
Final Sequence:

SIDE A
01 – Spectral Arms 10:03
02 – We Need Legends 6:06
03 – A Crystal Crown of Cosmic Pain 5:14

Total 21:23

SIDE B
04 – Roses Blue 5:30
05 – Segue 04 0:49
06 – Narci 5:28
07 – Heaven in Flames 5:01
08 – The Man Who Stole the Wind 5:08

Total 21:56

Narci was mixed and mastered by Katie Gilchrest (High Priestess).

https://www.facebook.com/circleofsighs/
https://circleofsighs.bandcamp.com/
https://circleofsighs.com/
https://metalassault.bandcamp.com/
http://facebook.com/metalassaultla
http://instagram.com/metalassault

Circle of Sighs, “Roses Blue” official video

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Timo Ellis

Posted in Questionnaire on February 25th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

TIMO-ELLIS

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Timo Ellis

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I define myself (not too hard!) as an artist, primarily as a musician/ composer/ producer, and then latently, but also sincerely in digital art, writing, poetry, and film/ video. I came to do it intuitively, as a means of transmuting (and frankly surviving) my various childhood psychic and emotional difficulties. + even that seems too narratively tidy?? I think I just did it because I had to, and I could.

Describe your first musical memory.

listening on repeat to the “Really, Rosie” LP by Carole King and Maurice Sendak, at home, in 1975.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

(does this mean a memory of music? or a memory of playing music??) my personal experiences playing music have been so hugely varied, not only musically but also emotionally/ psychologically in terms of my frame of (and clarity of!) mind, that I’m afraid I’d unwittingly sanitize/ edit for effect, or optics, even to myself. However I will say that going full acid/ punk rock drumming 200% balls out with Yoko Ono live across Europe was a peak (series of) moments; that band (with Yoko, Sean Lennon, and Andrew Weiss) was fucking monstrous.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

my moral position on animal liberation regularly gets tested/ nuanced, and ultimately strengthened by the public, as well as by many of my friends and family…however my belief in not mindlessly exploiting/ murdering the Earth/ oceans/ air gets constantly challenged, and mostly complicated/ defeated, by my complicity in still using single use plastics/ buying new electronics/ driving/ flying/ uncritically relying on big oil for electricity, heat and AC.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

back to square one, to the beginning (+ hopefully to fiercer and better art!).

How do you define success?

doing consistently excellent work, and then having a good name/ reputation for decency and compassion (*and of course being able to break even doing it is nice, too.).

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?
in 1980, when I was 10 years old, I saw The Shining in the theater when it came out, by myself, and I think I can safely say that I still haven’t fully recovered from this (hearing Wendy Carlos’s music from this film almost makes me nauseous, even now.).

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

a loving, supportive relationship with my own mind (I’m working on it though.)

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

to illuminate the glory and incomprehensible, ecstatic beauty of consciousness, and of life itself.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

being able to go to the movies again!

https://www.timoellis.com
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Timo Ellis, Death is Everywhere (2021)

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Mos Generator Stream The Lantern in Full; Out Friday

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 25th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

mos generator circa 2007

Mos Generator are set to oversee a physical release of The Lantern this Friday through Argonauta Records. It’s kind of an oddball release, but these are oddball times, and melody soothes chaos, so bear with it. The Lantern, by my pitiful understanding of such things, is a remix/master of songs the Port Orchard, Washington, power trio released in 2007 on a 10″. At the time, it wasn’t The Lantern; it was Tales From the Vault. Seems pretty straightforward.

Now, where this gets confusing is that Mos Generator last year embarked on what founding guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed called ‘The Plundering of the Vaults,’ continuing a long-running pattern of adding to their massive discography by digging through old tapes, hard drives, whathaveyou. So, “tales” vs. “plundering,” but let’s assume it’s the same vaults in question. Reed also put out the religiously-themed “In the Upper Room” as a digital single last summer in varyingly mixed fashion, from the layered final version to completely instrumental. The Lantern, brings that track together with the harmonized leadoff “Dyin’ Blues,” as well as the centerpiece title-track — a mos generator the lanternforward boogie into a Floydian midsection en route to a showoff solo and rousing finish — the more classic-metal-tinged “Nightwolf” (sounds like Dio to me, right up to the fadeout) and the back and forth finale, “O’Cataa,” which shifts between softer harmony vocals and heavier rollout, patient and fluid all the while.

Mos Generator at the time was Reed, bassist Scooter Haslip and drummer Shawn Johnson, and if the Zdzislaw Beksinski cover art to The Lantern isn’t its own excuse for being — and it absolutely is — the release at just 22 minutes offers what might be a surprisingly relevant preview of the progressive mindset that the band has followed in more recent years. They’re due a new full-length sometime soon, but the quality and presentation of The Lantern makes it less just a fan-piece than it might otherwise be. With the basic tracks recorded mostly live over just a couple days, there’s an energy throughout that only adds to the flow between one song and the next. It won’t take up much of your day in the actual listening, but you should be prepared to have a song or two from it stuck in your head considerably longer.

Either way, as someone who didn’t hear Tales From the Vault when it came out, I’m more than happy to dig into these remixed tracks. Since the EP is premiering in full below, followed by some comment from Reed, I can only hope you feel the same.

Please enjoy:

Mos Generator, The Lantern official premiere

Tony Reed on The Lantern:

The Lantern was originally released in May of 2007 as a 10” picture disc called “Tales from the Vault”. That first pressing sold out quick and has remained unavailable on vinyl for the past 10 years at least. I’ve been wanting a re-issue of it for a few years now so it’s great to finally be getting to it. This re-issue has a new title, new mix, and new artwork. why? Because the original release was rushed out in every way. This is a chance to give it the attention it deserves on a vinyl format that that has much better sound quality than a picture disc. The new artwork, by the late Polish artist Zdzislaw Beksinski, represents the religious nature of many of the lyrics, as does the new title. The new mix retains the energy of how it was originally recorded and mixed but with a new focus and punch. Our approach to recording and songwriting for these sessions was a successful experiment and I’m stoked that the results are being let loose into the world again.

“The Lantern” will be coming out as a limited Vinyl edition only, on February 26th 2021 via Argonauta Records, the pre-sale has started at THIS LOCATION!

Mos Generator on Thee Facebooks

Mos Generator on Bandcamp

HeavyHead webstore

Argonauta Records website

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