Category: open up your ears

Sällskapet’s Disparition

last evening we were rummaging about in one of our record shops, when the recommendation section appealed to us through an alluring cover. a black and white beauty showing punctilious geometrical sketches of buildings, strongly inspired by the darkest hours of humanity. a sticker displayed on the plastic packaging revealing the participation of german artist Andrea Schroeder convinced us that the discovery of Sällskapet would be the most remarkable finding of the day. and, as a matter of fact, it was.

founded in 2003 but kept secret until 2007, the brainchild of Joakim Thåström, Pelle Ossler and Niklas Hellberg, seem to have received almost an immediate critical acclaim, at least in their homeland, in sweden. Sällskapet (which may be translated by “a small group of people” or a “small society”) released the very same year a debut single Nordlicht, named after a bar in hamburg, and two ambient-industrial albums respectively entitled Sällskapet (2007) and Nowy Port (2013). it must be said that both of them evinced already a strong appetite for highly-enjoyable dystopian flavours and murky shadows. with 2018’s Disparition published a few days ago via BMG, the band that no longer consists of Thåström who appears however as guest singer, further widens the furrow of desperation and propounds a disquieting suburban wander in an oppressive, uninviting wasteland – served also by Andrea Schroeder’s eerie voice. Hellberg resides currently in berlin and this explains logically the relevant presence of Schroeder on this third album, and the singular hopelessness instilled through the nine meaningful pieces offered by Disparition.

the heart-rending (german) lyrics of this breathtaking songwriter and musician, whose discovery a few years ago had hooked us on for months, pair superbly with Sällskapet’s haunted airspace. together, they collide with the disruptive disappearance of both people and time, the fugacity of our lives that fly away like impatient birds, and the needfulness to enjoy each moment, as they arise.
all this might sound quite distressing and tragic, but the warmth of Andrea Schroeder’s undaunted voice suggests to withstand, even if time remains elusive eventually. in Die Zeit vergeht (time is flying by), the piano and violin notes, and Schroeder’s mellow lalalas magnified by Thåström’s upper voice,  make every effort to soothe the palpable tension but are quickly rejoin by sultry and threatening humming. the end of the song sets clearly the tone anyway, since “es ist zu spät” (it’s too late). an obvious magnificence emanates from this inescapable despair through Ossler’s roaring guitar, which howl acts as a cry wolf in a puzzling winsomeness.

Westerplatte and Tiefenrausch, the both unspoken songs, confirms the inevitability of the verdict in a very beguiling spectral way. this might be the very end, but this is a very beautiful one. with Walzer, Schroeder breathes nerve, shows that all this is bearable, provided that you/she hold tight to someone – “an Dich” (to you), this very you that may be a lover, a friend, a compass, a lifeline, indeed something, someone of upper importance. in Wandler, Andrea Schroeder tells about her stroll in ghostly streets. she dreams about life, about death, she states that this is only a dream, yet it conveys a bitter aftertaste that this is an inescapable loophole.

in the end, it makes no difference whether you understand Goethe’s language or not, because Sällskapet’s music and surroundings, together with Shroeder’s cogent interpretation, speak for themselves and deliver the message intended quite plainly. unquestionably, Disparition is the ideal spacey companion till doomsday and has already entered the competition for the best album of the year. because never before had the quietus been so inviting.
Disparition can be purchased here.


No Natural Order for Pharmakon

conscious that our section dedicated to tantalize your neighbours had been neglected over the past months, we expected a genuine nugget to calm down your desire to scare your neighbours (and friends, and family) to death.

so, the return of Pharmakon may be the best way to enjoy this tremendous pleasure, since the lady announced the forthcoming release of Contact, a new album expected on Sacred Bones on march 31st. the release date of the album will mark the tenth anniversary of Margaret Chardiet’s musical project, who is well-known in the NYC underground experimental scene.

No Natural Order has just popped up and we delighted to share this industrial noise wonder. of course, it is recommended to play it very loud and to orientate your sound system towards your neighbour’s flat accordingly, in order to get the most of her threatening voice and sound.

in case you missed Transmission, the first excerpt of Contact, here is an opportunity to catch up.

Pharmakon’s upper-class doomsday music has also to be experienced live, because Chardiet’s performance is absolutely unique and very, very impressive. her powerful fury is highly spellbinding and beyond comparison. we had the chance to discover her as she opened for Swans in 2014, and this was an outstanding and unforgettable moment.

Pharmakon will precisely hit the road again to europe in april and may, and you may pre-order Contact here and here.

Apr 1, 2017        The Hague, NL Rewire Festival
Apr 14, 2017      Brooklyn, NY Brooklyn Bazaar
Apr 20, 2017     Paris, FR Instantes Chavires
Apr 22, 2017      Berlin, DE Ausland
Apr 23, 2017      Brussels, BE Ancienne Belgique
Apr 25, 2017      London, UK Electrowerkz
Apr 26, 2017      Brighton, UK The Haunt (w/ Blanck Mass)
Apr 27, 2017      Nottingham, UK Chameleon
Apr 28, 2017      Manchester, UK Soup Kitchen
Apr 29, 2017      Bristol, UK The Exchange
May 3, 2017       Lisbon, PT ZDB
May 4, 2017       Madrid, ES La Boite
May 5, 2017       Barcelona, ES Upload
May 6, 2017       Krems, AT Donau Festival
May 21, 2017     Durham, NC Moogfest

Mood Trials

oh, the tigers again. another track from Papier Tigre’s forthcoming The Screw, expected by the end of the month. Mood Trials unfastens with a biting bass line sublimed by raging lyrics and a touch of electronic vibes that, in the end, convey some fake bird-like grace to the track. if you need to explode, this is your very chance to do it in splendour.

Stelle Fisse


after the release of the lukewarm EP1 in 2014, a 4-track-mix of superb terror and darkness (Riots), happy-go-lucky dance (Rise of the Serpent, featuring Otto von Shirach) and joyous threat (Loud Cloud), Aucan kept their fans in suspense via all possible social media before announcing in 2015 the birth of Stelle Fisse on Kowloon Records –a new album that redefines (again) the sphere of musical influence of the band. if it had been admitted for long that the perceptible math-rock influences of their eponymous first album were ancient history, we still hadn’t expected Aucan to undergo such a massive mutation and turn a definitive page to the killing, brilliant Black Rainbow.

with Stelle Fisse, Aucan slide deeper in arid waters with hypnotic, dark sounds. by using both instruments and vocodering voices, and nebulous layers of effects, the band decided to embrace dehumanized patterns and dice with cold, minimalist sounds derived from dub and techno (amazing ErrorsCosmic Dub, Friends, among others). this new orientation toward a tortured, out-of-reach IDM may be disheartening, but it shows again how Aucan are reluctant to be pigeon-holed and to repeat themselves. and the disorientation is only transient. through a panic-like synthesiser and nervous, threatening beats, Disto reminds a little of Aucan’s ‘sound’ –with the exception of some hand-clapping, which actually convey some unexpected, emotional warmth to the song.

so Aucan don’t need to shout anymore to tell their rage or discontentment. no more riots, but a clear electronic singularity, deprived of human emotions. once again a different blast, but a superb one. (4/5)

Europe is (almost) lost

Kate Tempest is one of the most fascinating, if not the most talented, poetesses of our times (“UK’s greatest working lyricist”, as Matt Willkinson put it simply for NME).
with her first solo album Everybody Down released in 2014 on Big Dada, the young lady who started to write when she was 16 sent a strong signal, a discrete but unequivocal sign that a new generation of british poets was born. her incisive and very convincing poetical rap tells stories about people, about society, about our times, well themes that any thinking, compassionate human beings should consider as essential.

i remember the first time i listened to Marshall Law, the opener of Everybody Down, i felt stuck on the refrain that has been accompanying me since then.

It’s true if you believe it.
The world is the world
But it’s all how you see it.
One man’s flash of lightning ripping through the air Is another’s passing glare, hardly there.

Kate Tempest delivers messages that are truly meaningful, pregnant, and contrast with her kind-hearted smiling face. you should see her on her stage, moving shyly but with a very touching grace, rapping her stories with spiritedness and generosity. and when she takes up her gifted pen to open her heart to europe, she knows every word she’s writing about. we just wish her very call for this lost europe were a standard beaver for the presently future. a positive one.


Europe is lost, America lost, London is lost,
Still we are clamouring victory.
All that is meaningless rules,
And we have learned nothing from history.

People are dead in their lifetimes,
Dazed in the shine of the streets.
But look how the traffic keeps moving.
The system’s too slick to stop working.
Business is good. And there’s bands every night in the pubs,
And there’s two for one drinks in the clubs.

We scrubbed up well
We washed off the work and the stress
Now all we want’s some excess
Better yet; A night to remember that we’ll soon forget.

All of the blood that was shed for these cities to grow,
All of the bodies that fell.
The roots that were dug from the ground
So these games could be played
I see it tonight in the stains on my hands.

The buildings are screaming
I cant ask for help though, nobody knows me,
Hostile and worried and lonely.
We move in our packs and these are the rights we were born to
Working and working so we can be all that want
Then dancing the drudgery off
But even the drugs have got boring.
Well, sex is still good when you get it.

To sleep, to dream, to keep the dream in reach
To each a dream,
Don’t weep, don’t scream,
Just keep it in,
Keep sleeping in
What am I gonna do to wake up?

I feel the cost of it pushing my body
Like I push my hands into pockets
And softly I walk and I see it, it’s all we deserve
The wrongs of our past have resurfaced
Despite all we did to vanquish the traces
My very language is tainted
With all that we stole to replace it with this,
I am quiet,
Feeling the onset of riot.
But riots are tiny though,
Systems are huge,
The traffic keeps moving, proving there’s nothing to do.

It’s big business baby and its smile is hideous.
Top down violence, structural viciousness.
Your kids are doped up on medical sedatives.
But don’t worry bout that. Worry bout terrorists.

The water levels rising! The water levels rising!
The animals, the polar bears, the elephants are dying!
Stop crying. Start buying.
But what about the oil spill?
Shh. No one likes a party pooping spoil sport.

Massacres massacres massacres/new shoes
Ghettoised children murdered in broad daylight by those employed to protect them.
Live porn streamed to your pre-teens bedrooms.
Glass ceiling, no headroom. Half a generation live beneath the breadline.

Oh but it’s happy hour on the high street,
Friday night at last lads, my treat!
All went fine till that kid got glassed in the last bar,
Place went nuts, you can ask our Lou,
It was madness, the road ran red, pure claret.
And about them immigrants? I cant stand them.
Mostly, I mind my own business.
But they’re only coming over here to get rich.
It’s a sickness.
England! England!

And you wonder why kids want to die for religion?

Work all your life for a pittance,
Maybe you’ll make it to manager,
Pray for a raise
Cross the beige days off on your beach babe calendar.

Anarchists desperate for something to smash
Scandalous pictures of glamorous rappers in fashionable magazines
Who’s dating who?
Politico cash in an envelope
Caught sniffing lines off a prostitutes prosthetic tits,
And it’s back to the house of lords with slapped wrists
They abduct kids and fuck the heads of dead pigs
But him in a hoodie with a couple of spliffs –
Jail him, he’s the criminal

It’s the BoredOfItAll generation
The product of product placement and manipulation,
Shoot em up, brutal, duty of care,
Come on, new shoes.
Beautiful hair.

Bullshit saccharine ballads
And selfies
And selfies

And selfies
And here’s me outside the palace of ME!

Construct a self and psychosis
And meanwhile the people are dead in their droves
But nobody noticed,
Well actually, some of them noticed,
You could tell by the emoji they posted.

Sleep like a gloved hand covers our eyes
The lights are so nice and bright and lets dream
But some of us are stuck like stones in a slipstream
What am I gonna do wake up?

We are lost
We are lost
We are lost
And still nothing
Will stop
Nothing pauses

We have ambitions and friends and our courtships to think of
Divorces to drink off the thought of

The money
The money
The oil

The planet is shaking and spoiled
Life is a plaything
A garment to soil
The toil the toil.
I cant see an ending at all.
Only the end.

How is this something to cherish?
When the tribesmen are dead in their deserts
To make room for alien structures,

Kill what you find if it threatens you.

No trace of love in the hunt for the bigger buck,

Here in the land where nobody gives a fuck.

Maserati’s Rehumanizer

speaking of space rock, Maserati has just announced the release of Rehumanizer, a new album expected in october on Temporary Residence.


the tracklisting was unveiled by the label as follows:
1. No Cave
2. Living Cell
3. Montes Jura
4. End of Man
5. Rehumanizer I
6. Rehumanizer II

the band has already published Rehumanizer II, a very alluring krautrock tune reinforced by delicious offensive guitars, and will head to the pond in november. yeah!


who would have ever imagined that a land, surrounded by mountains, cheese and chocolate, could both conceal a famous fiscal paradise and a terrific post-rock band called Maïak? what’s more, who could have doubted that an album untitled A Very Pleasant Way To Die wouldn’t arise the frog’s highest attention? indeed this spleen-like, superb title serves decently the pond’s appetite for the underworld and the tragic beauty of existence.

Maïak? Маяк (“lighthouse” in russian)?
33 years before the disastrous explosion of chernobyl’s 4th reactor, mayak’s nuclear plant released innumerable tons of high-level radioactive waste as the plant’s storage tank exploded. known as the kyshtym disaster, this major accident had been hidden (and denied) by the soviet government during thirty years.


nevertheless, since 2010, Maïak –a band from lausanne, switzerland– has been paying tribute to what the band refers to

as the symbolic weight of a catastrophe that arose as the punishment of man’s guilty arrogance in an outburst remained silent.

Maïak are Antoine Froidevaux-Abu Sa’da (guitars), Marc Bettens (guitars), David Dilorenzo (bass) and Stéphane Riederer (drums). four pretty lads fearless to express their melancholy and temper with a remarkable first shot released this year by Fluttery Records.

the album unfolds with a genuine ten-minute beast called Nutributter Green Is People, an almost peaceful and tender track, which opening guitars appeal for a romantic ballad. those very guitars catch you up and bring you at the brink of a precipice along which you stroll innocently, however hesitating between gazing at the infinite landscape or disappearing in the great ocean. as the wind blows gently, the tranquil promenade is troubled (with great delight) by some impatient guitar’s riffs which call clearly for resistance and contained rage. guitars hoot with savagery, oscillate between sweetness and anger until reaching appeasement (or resignation?).

this peacemaking is only a fake secession, as the 40-minute transport of delight of A Very Pleasant Way to Die demonstrate. the tormented blazing guitars of I am a Man, I am a Free Number (a title inspired by The Prisoner) bring us out of a possible reverie with mesmerizing spoken words (probably from fields recordings) and an uncluttered, a very warm bass line which puts a damper to saturated furious guitars, which, in turn, accelerate in an uncontrollable frenzy. the tension is feverish and turns beautifully into hardcore. post-rock melancholy is highly palpable in Maïak’s music but it pairs with a beyond-question appetency for heavy, metalish riffs – as the mammoth final of A Fond Poster Girl for Tatmadaw clearly shows.

still, the most surprising part comes from Sometimes You’ve Got to Take the Hardest –a (thrilling) misleading track which cut-throating, electrifying guitars are (again) rejoined by an amazing bass line. a crazy, complex melody that alternately gets nervous, explodes, quietens down, warm up, savours suddenly the burning sun of an enjoyably desperate desert, before screeching guitars eventually spit their rage out joined by a liberating human howl. this is pure madness, what a staggering rhythm shift!

before Maïak finishes us off happily with We All Live In A Yellow Kursk (a witty nod in the direction of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine), determined guitars show again their irritation before vanishing suddenly on a lively carousel, where we are invited to a joyful pirouette supported by undisguised laughs and glee.

oh my god, this is just fantastic, what a very very pleasant way to live.

PS: Maïak was brought under the spotlights by the pretty essential post-rock reference website, Post Engineering, and we are more than grateful to this post-rock homeland for its existence.


spring is at our doorstep and birds are peeping again. storm-birds like.

Ütopiya is the title of Oiseaux-Tempête‘s second album, which will be released on 20th April on Sub Rosa. the same personnel is part of this new chapter but the first song we are offered by the band shows Gareth Davis’ free-jazz bass clarinet wrestling with Frédéric D. Oberland’s blazing mad guitar. Stéphane Pigneul (electric bass, acoustic & electric guitars) and Ben Mc Connell (drums) join forces with a newcomer, and not an unknown one, but Mr. G.W. Sok (from The Ex among others) at vocals.

on this new eleven-song album, texts are no field-recordings inspired by Greece tackling the economical crisis – as on Oiseaux-Tempête’s eponymous first album –, but recordings from Sicily, Istanbul or Marmara Bölgesi, along with poems by Nazim Hikmet translated from turkish to english.

open your ears to On Living and discover G.W. Sok’s phrasing that comes to rest on the fabulous instruments of these very tormented birds.

GY!BE’s A Sunder Sweet And Other Distress


primitive drums and a communion of savage guitars.
fury and tormented bagpipes along with drone, raging guitars.
be caught,
by counter-attacking strings, which fade into an unexpected unison full of hope.
and sing along,
as if it was a light-hearted popular melody taken from some irish repertoire.
pretend, do pretend,
that you are saved.

but be prepared,
when the strident violin will catch you up for good.

ladies and gentlemen, this is the new Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
A Sunder Sweet And Other Distress will be released on 31st march on Constellation Records.



if you have never seen cowboys playing guitars and singing icelandic, the pond, pardon me, Arte is about to make your day with an amazing concert filmed at 2014 Hellfest of Sólstafir, a no-less amazing viking post/prog-metal band hailing from the frog’s homeland.


on board, you will meet Aðalbjörn “Addi” Tryggvason (guitar & vocals), Svavar “Svabbi” Austmann (bass), Sæþór Maríus “Pjúddi” Sæþórsson (guitar) and Guðmundur Óli Pálmason (drums). being perfect crepuscalar rays (as the band’s name suggests with exactness), these very gentlemen have been officiating since 1995 and have released five LPs, needless to mention a bunch of EPs and demos. considering the incredible critical (and highly deserved) acclaim of Ótta, their last album, we assume that their signature to Season Of Mist in 2011 may have offered them more echo.

although the opening Lágnætti may nonplus a soprano voice aficionado (see why by reading a bit further), it worth giving Ótta a try anyway because this new album is a genuine beauty of awe-inspiring musing. if you observe the landscape of the album artwork properly, you will understand that iceland is a precious source of inspiration for the band. with Sólstafir, soft winds caress your ears occasionally, volcanoes flare up joyfully while an impatient geyser erupts. not to mention lush green parterres and grottos which light changes according to the wind direction and where huldufólk live.

Ótta is a flabbergasted album, made not only of raging guitars. this is a pure jewel of elegant progressive (metal) rock, such as the title track of the album suggests. violins twirl around a banjo and guitars strum gently without aggression. Aðalbjörn’s voice calms down, gets warm and revives the frog’s desire to speak icelandic again. the atmospheric erupting guitars of Dagmái announce a disquieting anger which actually never really pops out. the melodies of this new album shows a clear poetic line, even if Miðdegi reminds absent-minded elves that Sólstafir also draw some inspiring from metal roots. a guitar meows gently in the background, this is remarkable.

a pinch of power roused by thrilling metal notes (Nón) and a soupçon of melancholy stirred by post-rock breezes. a melancholic piano which pairs doleful guitars before violins echo them (Miðaftann) invite to close your eyes and let things go. Ótta terminates with magnificent tempestuous drums and guitars that stress the urgent need to escape and feel the tonic of the fresh air whipping against your face, as your eyes get lost at gazing tormented black waves. this is absolutely beautiful.

to comprehend the grandeur of the album entirely, Season Of Mist gives listeners a precious clue:

The song titles of Ótta form a concept based on an old Icelandic system of time keeping similar to the monastic hours called Eykt (“eight”). The 24 hour day was divided into 8 parts of 3 hours each. The album starts at midnight, the beginning of Lágnætti (“low night”), continues through each Eyktir of the day and ends with Náttmál (“nighttime”) from 21:00 to 0:00. This form of time keeping is more open than the relentless ticking of modern times, where each second is made to count, which turns humanity into cocks of the corporate clockwork.

now, to enjoy your (possible) discover of this powerful heaven music in every respect, we recommend to have a direct insight in the band’s tender repertoire on a KEXP’s session, directed from KEX Hostel in Reykjavik during Iceland Airwaves ’12. be ready to be staggered, for you couldn’t be closer to Sólstafir.