Lagos, Sagres, Portugal: Travelblog #2

If you visit the Algarve, you should visit more of it than one place. There’s a beauty to this region and a strange emptiness when you go just before the season. Some options I explored here.


Faro is an interesting town on its own, but there’s much more to see in the Algarve. One would say that public transport is a bit chaotic, messy or untrustworthy, but it’s not that bad at all. Sure, you need to have a certain amount of patience but that’s public transport itself.  everywhere.

It’s not like there’s a dense network of public transport options. There are busses, mainly travelling to and from the hubs, and there’s the train, which basicly has one track going east and one to the west. There’s also the track from Faro all the way north to Lisbon. This line really ends in Faro. The train is a bit more expensive compared to busses and the track to the west ends at Lagos. From there on you need a bus.

Sure, you can rent a car, which greatly widens the range of options for touristy visits of cool places, beaches and whatnot. There’s no airco that can beat the heat though and the travel times are quite long, so just being able to sit back for a few hours is really well worth it.


One of those places is the town called Lagos. It’s a 2,5 hour train ride from Faro through a stunning landscape (even when you’re in a wagon full of screaming children) and at the end of the railroad track. For me, that’s always going to be  strange feeling, to be at the end of the railroad.


If you walk into the town from the station, you immediately enter the Marinara, the harbor and when you cross the bridge you’ll find the bus station and the center. African sellers are lining up their bags and belts on the sidewalks, while smoking some cigarettes and vendors try to sell you a trip out onto the sea.

Traditional food, in a small tavern.

The town was important during the seafaring days, when it also was the capital of the Algarve untill it was destroyed by a earthquake. Walking down the promenade, it feels very clean and open, which might have to do with how it was rebuild. The streets are beautiful and even in early pre-season swarming with people. We found a great place to have a simple, hearty Portugese meal and walked around through the town, enjoying its architecture and vibrant atmosphere.
Downside: Lagos is a haven for Brittish sun seekers, which means you’ll find little authenticity when it comes to bars, restaurants and such, specially around the Marinara. Lobster red elderly Brits are looking for shade in one of the ‘happy hour’ bars and watch the horse races. Home away from home I suppose.


Source: Worldeasymap

It takes an hour or so by bus to get to our destiantion, which feels like literally reaching the corner of Europe and staring out onto the atlantic. Sagres is a sleepy little town around noon, for which the sweltering heat is one great explanation. The high cliffs offer a wonderful sight onto the sea and the gorgeous beaches, which are hidden from view unless you reach the edges.

Main attraction is the old fortress, which has served as an academy (allegedly) and looks over a beautiful bay. The town has been linked to prehistorical religious practise and throughout the ancient era as well by the Romans, Phoenicians and others. That always gives a peculiar aura to an area, specially this strange plateau on which the school/fort was supposed to have been. You can walk around there and picture yourself the folly that gripped man’s mind in the early age of Portugese discovery. Sailing out into the unknown. An age long lost it seems.

Sagres, land's end.
Sagres, land’s end.

If you are a surfer, Sagres is definitely the place to be I’ve heard, so check it out.

More places

We did skip visiting Albufeira, due to the long travelling time, but we lingered in Lagos a bit. Albureira is possibly the most touristic location on the southern Algarve and has some amazing parts to show, where millionaires build there houses and such. If you have the time, it’s definitely a place to either stay or visit at in the Algarve. Portimão is together with Faro one of the biggest towns and therefor a hub for the economy of the Algarve (during the off-season). Like Faro, it looks to the sea for a large portion of its income.

Going more inland is an option if you have your own transport, but it is very lowly populated. That might be your reason for going into it ofcourse. I guess bringing plenty of water is the best advice there.  From Sagres on, going up north seems like a great drive as well, though some preparation might be useful too.

Travel around

If you are not in Faro for very long, you can still see a ton of places. Make sure you bring a good book, always have a bottle of water and enjoy the train rides. You can also go east ofcourse, towards a more tempered climate and if you have the time even to see 3 countries.

Silence will fall

I’m sorry! I’ve been extremely unproductive lately when it comes to writing. I do work on some longer pieces, some reviews and such but I’m so completely empty when I get home that falling on the couch and just watching a film is all I can do.

That’s a shame because I’m writing a biography (not of myself) and really have some good ideas for it. It’s going to be really cool. I don’t know if I’ll put snippets of it up here, maybe I will. It’s going to be in Dutch so writing AND translating is going to be a bit much.

Anyways, what I have been doing is listen to a lot of podcasts. I’m interested in entertaining and captivating podcasts. Obviously I started with Wil Wheaton’s ‘Free Burrito Radio’, but Wil is not always in the best mood. He is when his wife is joining him, but without he can be quite moody. That being said, since my girlfriend is gone for a few days I’m a bit lost and moody myself.

What can I do about it? Luckily I have the cats… They offer me so much entertainment.

DSC_0080Yeah that didn’t upload the way I wanted it to…

Anyways, stay tuned!

Sounds of the Underground #22

A new series of sounds from that good, old underground with this time Myrkur (sure, I’m the metal hipster), Heisenberg (yes…), Bròn and Aokigahara.

Myrkur – M

source: bandcamp

You can’t pass up on all major releases, specially not this project by Danish multi-instrumentalist Amalie Bruun. Produced by Krystoffer Rygg (Ulver) and supported by Teloch of Mayhem and Øyvind Myrvoll of Dødheimsgard, this is one magical release. The sound is full, eclectic and unpredictable. It’s essentially a one person release, but much more than just a black metal album as which it has been put down. It contains new age, classical, ambient and folk elements in a blend that is so potent, that a listener may easily be overwhelmed by it.

Angelic singing by Bruun (or should that be another word due to the clearly pagan elements on the album) over some effect creates a dreamy atmosphere of tranquility with an edge of unrest. The guitar work is usually dense and full on, creating walls of tremolo guitarplay and thunderous rhythms. This record is not made with the intention to sound grimdark, evil and cold, it’s a calm and eerie beauty. A passage into the otherworldy, where the black is more black and the white is more white, everything is more intense on this record. That’s what makes it great, trying to write about it as waking up from a lucid dream. It’s bewildering.

Heisenberg – Heisenberg

Source: bandcamp

I’m usually pretty enthousiastic about the bands I write about, but I’m not going to praise this one very highly. After hearing the dreadful Okilly Dokilly (the Ned Flanders HxC band) I stumbled across this on bandcamp and was like…Hell no! I did not watch ‘Breaking Bad’, which makes this even worse. It means that I can not even bring up the little bit of fanboyism that might be required to experience this band in the way it intends to be enjoyed.

I’ve never bothered saying I know my shit when it comes to death metal. It just is not my cup of tea in a general sense, though I can enjoy quite a lot of this. I do think it is a funny idea and someone had to do it, but it kinda starts to put the gimmick in metal and truly… that’s something it’s already choking on. If you happen to be part of that small niche of people who dig both death metal, gore and Breaking Bad (talk about niche marketing), this is your band and this is your album. Enjoy. I’ll pass… The bit where you hear Pantera is good though.

Bròn – Fògradh 

source: Bandcamp

It takes some digging to find out what this project really is. The man behind this atmosferic black metal project is Krigeist, who is also active in Barshasketh,, CathedraBlood Of The Moon and Belliciste. It’s one track of almost half an hour. The intro part takes a bit of the shimmering electronics of Jean-Michel Jarré it seems but then the black metal part hits. The production is not perfect, which makes you really pay attention to hear what is going on. Interestingly, the black metal never takes the forefront on this recording.

It’s a bit like synths are being played loudly over a tape deck playing the black metal tracks in the background, which makes them gently merge into the streaming, clean sounds. Harsh vocals are barked here and there, but the mix of the two elements is just off. That is what creates a unique ambiance of warmth, with a tiny hurrican in the bottom of the streaming sound.  An odd tremolo guitar playing follows later, taking away the continuous flow of synths for a short while, creating another odd part, where the fog is momentarily broken by sunrays. The sound is very warm and pleasant, but with a tone of remorse. An intriguing record for sure.
Aokigahara – _ Aokigahara.

source; Bandcamp

I might have an eclectic taste, but atleast I’m not putting this stuff out there on a regular basis in order to torment people. It’s electronic music, but the first couple of minutes of this Costa Rica based band are samples, noise and  weird screaming. Named after the famous suicide forest in Japan, this is obviously a DSBM record. I don’t really check that stuff out for fun by myself, because some of it really makes me feel fearful sometimes. This band is no exception. There is virtually nothing to be found about these guys.

The music just gets more eerie and uncomfortable as the record progresses. Cold tones, grim chittering in the synths and then your eyes are drawn to the bondage image on the cover. A funny note is added with the final track, titled ‘Costa Rica Is The Happiest Country In The World’. I never really know what to say about records like this, but to convey feelings of unrest, crawling under your skin is a talent not to be underestimated. I think its worth giving this a spin. No surprise that its out on Ukrainian label Depressive Illusion Records by the way.

World of Warcraft is a feeling #2

Warcraft returned to me with the second incarnation of the game.  That took some time, because to be honest I never had that first edition on my ow pc. I had to go see my friend for that.

I think the way I got the game Warcraft II is already rather iconic for that time. Remember that glorious days when the internet was still rather new and far off? My dad would go to computer nights to get software. Basically, he would let me tag along and everyone was waiting for the guy with the Twilight discs. Remember those? If you had acces to them in that time, you were the bomb. I managed to get my hands on one at some point in time, which had GTA London on it.

Sourcce: Wowwiki, artwork by Chris Metzen, instrumental in sparking ones fantasy

So we were scrolling through lists of installable content when my eye caught the glorious title I needed (I wasn’t looking for it, but there it was): Warcraft II and Warcraft II: Beyond The Dark Portal. The game was installed on our PC and the glorious quests to defend Azeroth could finally start from our own home.

The story of Warcraft II becomes more dense and coherent. Characters emerge and re-emerge, like the fabled Lothar and ofcourse the newly introduced Paladin class with Uther The Lightbringer at their head. More units, more complexity and also much more fun. What I liked most were the heroes, that gave more depth to the story, the variation in terrain and the possibilities to persue air, water or land battles.

Names like Terron Gorefiend, Korgath Bladefist, Ogrim Doomhammer and many more sounded great. I love how they all sometime in the future would show up again, but it sparked my interest and imagination. What I liked particularly much in this version of the game, was the ability to create your own levels. This was also a feature of the later Starcraft, which allowed you to deply hero units (not hero’s as in WCIII, more like unique characters) and all sorts of special stuff. Ofcourse, the levels I build were shit and not at all fun to play when it came down to it, but no matter. The ability to be part of this world and create in it was enough at the time.

We played it together, in turns or just watching eachother play it. It was discussed with my close friends even. The story was kinda being made up on the spot. The story telling was not that clear as yet, but we were fighting Orcs! With Knights! It was epic.
It’s hard to explain today with the old footage why it got to me so much. Why this game defined my gaming experience for the next decades and why I still rarely play other games. It was the epic quality of the music, the grand story and the ability to be in control of all that. It’s  the complete product that Blizzard creates, which is so important in teh experience you have as a player. It was awesome.  Warcraft I captivated me, but it was Warcraft II and that amazing expansion ‘Beyond The Dark Portal’ that cemented my love for this game.

I don’t often dedicate a post to someone, but I’d like to dedicate this one to my brother. He was, is and always will be a better gamer than I am, but has never shied away from taking the time to take me along on his quests. I’m very grateful for that, for sharing the magic, even today.

Sounds of the Underground #21

Some underground music to fit in with the failed summer days with Self Defense Family, Hope Drone, Dope Smoker and Lluvia.

Self Defense Family – Heaven is Earth

Source: Bandcamp

I’ve found out about Self Defense Family about two years ago, through my relentless interest in the works of the Deathwish Inc. label. This strange band was in the middle of the new releases with a bunch of 7″s. I guess this album number two from this experimental group under this moniker, where they previously listened to the name End Of A Year. The group consists of a large amount of members, spread out over the USA and the UK, who compile music together, which leads to an intriguing product.

The sound is different, playing with styles and influnces to create an eclectic different feel to punkrock with a political flavor to it. The rhythm can be tribal (‘Ditko’) or mellow (‘Everyone wants a prize for Feeling’), it’s never the traditional punk but applies the raw, edgy elements in vocals and drive. The melancholic, weary sound is catchy and emotionally laden. Musically the band can go either way they want within their concept, which allows a lot of creative freedom. That makes this album so much more than just a punk album, this is good stuff!

Dope Smoker – Dope Smoker Vol. 4 

source: Bandcamp

Where the other Dope Smokers are all about sand, processions and stonerrock, these take on a slightly different approach. The herb remains the same though for these guys from South-Wales. Yes, thats the one in the UK. These guys are inspired by that herb and surfing, which can be deduced from the water-filled album covers of the band over their last four volumes. Slightly more wet, but still as sleazy, slow and heavy as its supposed to be.

Buzzing bass lines cracklen and chafe down your earholes the whole records, while high vocals rip through this continuous cascade of bass sounds. The band approaches their stoner sound from a more surflike origin, sounding soft and warm, almost grungy at times. The vocals are one moment like Ozzy, the next more like the Beach Boys. It’s that interesting tension that keeps these guys sounding a lot like the character of the sea itself. Always strong, but sometimes oddly calm. It can break up any minute though. Good record for those whol love heavy and fuzzy.

Hope Drone – Cloak Of Ash

source: Bandcamp

There’s the black metal album to blow away all others for 2015, that’s atleast what I experience while listening to this new Hope Drone record for the first time. It’s the third full lenght from these Australians, on which they combine black metal with hardcore and sludge into a feisty mixture of pitch black tar and ashes. The sound truly envelops you with bleak, droning guitar buzzing and eerie electronics, creating that despair you were hoping for.

The vocals are almost howled, a mad barking at the heavens filled with fury and remorse. The tremolo guitar play surges and creates a feeling of utmost urgency, that has a compelling beauty to it as well. The continuous, throbbing layer of rhythm is always present, harrowing and beckoning the listener. It’s like a lake, misty and muddled in your vision that lures you in, like spirits of fairy tales and myths. The lyrics deal with the intensity of these surroundings, the glaring sunlight, the deep emotions  with a ferocious intensity. The band also plays the long game, with slowly reverberating guitar riffs, echoing and gripping, building tension by creating a feeling of stasis. This band is amazing.

Lluvia – Eternidad Solemne

source: bandcamp

Mexico, not the country that springs to mind when you hear black metal, but that would be missing out on things. Lluvia hails from León in the southern country, filled with more than enough of its own mysticism to create a particular black metal sound. The band describes their sound as Ritual ambient black metal and that feels very correct. The name means ‘rain’ in Spanish, a theme that comes back in the samples used on the album, pouring down grief and hatred in a metaphoric sense.

The sound is slow, droning black metal, that sounds ceremonial and melancholic. The venomous attacks of the guitar and vocals get blunted by this languid, streaming sound. The racked screams get smothered in this eerie stream. Now and then this ebbs away, leaving room for folk instruments, that add more lugubrious elements to the songs, with the slight echo to the recording. After the climactic track  ‘Divinidad’, we return to an outro with trisful classic parts and the rain. The eternally flowing rain is still there.

Faro, Portugal: Travelblog #1

So I totally had forgotten about my trip to Faro, Portugal (it was cool), by which I mean that I never wrote about my stay in Faro. Due to some issues in our personal lives, me and the misses decided to go on a quick trip to the most southern point of Europe this far for us.

Sometimes the motivation to go somewhere is very simple: money and time. We didnt have the time we wanted to go see what we wanted, so we just wished to get away for a short spell. Five days of Faro was a cheap option so we took it. Originally we hoped to also see Porto, but well. I guess that makes the motivation bigger than the budget in this case.

Faro has some marvelous city gates, full of nestling Storks.
Faro has some marvelous city gates, full of nestling Storks.

We stayed in the New Faro Hostel, which is a small, quiet hostel with one of the most helpful and friendly (and chaotic) owners I’ve ever met. The building was across the street from the train station and had the air of an old house, of which kind you see many in the transit town Faro. For travelling its a hub, it connects the whole Algarve to the north and has its own airport. It may seem small and a bit run down, but Faro has a charm of its own, holding a university and some beautiful beaches.

The endless, empty beach on the deserted island, just off the coast of Faro.
The endless, empty beach on the deserted island, just off the coast of Faro.

There’s a clear flavor of history to the town, though it probably never was as significant. It’s the surrounding nature that holds the most interest, specially the Ria Formosa, a wetlands region, which is also a protected nature reservate. It feels like you are in the Mississipi delta (I haven’t been there, don’t judge me), when you go through it on a pond to the ‘Illa Deserta’ to lie on the almost empty beach. The zone is a joy to watch and teaming with life. Only this makes it worth to stay in Faro for one day. On the island itself, you can walk around it to end up on the beach. You can see the town from there and a wide view, with many birds nestling on the island.

The typical way of prepping seafood in the Algarve.
The typical way of prepping seafood in the Algarve.

The town itself offers plenty of locations where the thirsty or hungy traveller can indulge his or her wishes. The hidden Academic restaurant is one well worth visiting for no-nonsense local food, fresh from the ocean. Sardines will always be a struggle, but life is a bit like that. You make do, whatever way you can. Make sure to try the local fish cuisine if you ever end up there. You can smell the ocean, so you better be sure to taste it there, specially made in a Cataplana. This is a copper, shell-shaped pan that betrays the Arabic origins of many of the traditions in these regions.

Enjoy a glass of wine or a craft beer in the lovely little bar next to the harbor and just enjoy Faro. That’s what I did atleast.
There’ s a tiny chapel of bones in Faro too. Here’s a picture:


Sounds of the Underground #20

New music for the people! A batch from the underground with Khemmis, For Giants, Les Attitudes Spectrales and Benoît Pioulard. Good music for your ears, this is.

Khemmis – Absolution

source: bandcamp

Though the name is not ringing any bells yet, the cover of the new record by these doom lovers reminds me of 70’s fantasy and immediatly attracted my attention. A big sounding band with a classic influence. Towering riffs and majestic solo work. The Colorado band has only been around for a short while, releasing their debut on 20 Buck Spin. Production was in hands of Dave Otero (Cobalt, Nightbringer). This promises much for the future of these young men, since their sound is that kind which has a quality that doesn’t tie itself to certain decades.

Six monumental tracks of clean vocal doom, sounding mournful but still keeping an energetic pace that works pretty well from your lazy chair. It has pretty much everything going for it. A fancy cover, good production and the sound of earthy catacombs. Lyrically the band is in love with grandeur and dark themes. How else would you like to have it? There’s a certain pop sensibility to the sound of this band, that makes the music very accesible. I would argue that this is a good thing for what they are aiming to do. Doom traditionally has that element and these guys put it to their best use.

For Giants – You Are The Universe 

Source: Bandcamp

Nothing beats a good bit of atmospheric, instrumental rock music. Specially if it masterfully sets down a mood and tells a story on its own without using words. This continent spanning American project has produced a couple of releases over the last few years and this is the most recent album, number two if we were counting. The sound is a clean, sharp and spacious. It feels a bit like an outer space adventure sonically.

The feeling this music gives can be described as a bit of Ayreons grandeur (call me crazy if you will) and The Mars Volta’s experimental zoning out. Add a bit of that good old Devin Townsend weirdness and I guess you got a bit of the vibe these guys offer.  The clean, soaring guitar parts take over where you’d expect vocals and do so rather succesfully. The band themselves put their sound between progressive, djent and metalcore and that seems pretty much fine as well. It’s a good listen, thats for sure though.

Les Attitudes Spectrales – Floral Wreck

Source: Bandcamp

Maybe its a personal thing, but a noisy/experimental French/Latvian duo that is being compared to the White Stripes is for me reason enough to check some music out. The result is a psyched out, primitive, jangling series of pop tunes featuring drums and guitars from the duo. There’s a certain weary drag to the sound that is slightly remniscent of the more dreamy and hypnotic psych bands of these days.

The unpolished, raw sound of the band is in fact the greatest charm of their sound, which is natural and free in shaping itself. Labelling it as compost rock or ghost punk seems rather fitting. The lo-fi sound only adds to the charm of the band, which has been performing in the Baltics mainly. Truth be told, I feel this is a worthy candidate for next years Eindhoven Psych Lab. The sound is much more adventurous, daring and yet minimal to the almost primitive with a good dose of weird.

Benoît Pioulard – Stanza 

source: Bandcamp

Thomas Meluch decided to take up an artist name with Benoît Pioulard for his organic work. It’s music and photography, and the two seem to have become intertwined somehow. The soothing, fuzzy sounds are like the nature pictures accompanying them. Free of human intervention, clean and pure. Meluch is extremely productive and every other month another record appears to be released on his bandcamp. A good thing, if you ask me.

The seven songs of this record are not action packed tracks. They embrace a sense of tranquility, calm and atmosphere like the sunrays through a forest on a summer morning. Life is slowly awakening and things are still quiet. Slow droning sounds quiver in the air, sounding a bit distant as if its a concious lo-fi recording to create more ambience. The record is intended as a companion piece for the LP ‘Sonnet’, but I’m fairly sure it stands strong enough on its own as a soothing piece of ambient.

The source of happiness (for an anxious, pessimistic idiot)

Happiness, it’s a tricky concept and the title of a very depressing film.  Happiness can be achieved in many ways and I’ve found that there is more happiness in my life, since I let it in. But what is it that creates happiness?

Google ‘happiness’ and you’ll learn that it involves jumping in the air and stretching out your arms. You’ll also be entertained by the horrible cliché quotes that are representing the mental state of happiness.

I listened to the Smodcast by Kevin Smith today, where Smith and Scott Mosier (allegedly) get stoned and discuss stuff. They discussed a little video of George Lucas, talking about happiness. Happiness, he says, can be achieved through either joy or pleasure. Pleasure is an intense rush, like a drug infusion to your system, that gives momentary happiness… and eventually sadness when it wears of. It’s self centred as well, it’s all about you. That makes sense. I used to be satisfied with one Kinder Bueno, now I need five and then I feel depressed due to my stomach ache. It’s a silly metaphor, but you always want more of the things that give you pleasure.

Joy however, is a persuit that last forever. It’s something you can recall, it’s giving something to another from yourself, its compassion. It’s much smaller and a choice. I chose to persue happiness in the happiness of persuit. So where do I take my joy from these days? He was being true to his creation of Yoda there, very much so. Giving a shard of wisdom in a humble and traight forward way.

The world looks very nice
I had a strong tendency to look at the world as a grimy, grim place full of people that were evil. Seriously, that is a hard way to go through life if you aren’t playing Skyrim (even there compassion only sometimes bites you in the ass). Something changed though, I can see things differently now. Today I was feeling joy at things I saw around me. I was cycling and listening to this podcast, passing by the bus station. I saw a bus driver with his son. He had dreads, that looked very good, like he really took care of them. He greeted his colleague and walked through the bus. It sounds sad, but the fact that two people with different skin colours actually say hi makes me happy and hopeful these days. He proceeded, while smoking a cigarette, while instructing his kid to open the bus and get in. That was nice, a dad showing his kid the ropes. I enjoyed that. A little later I cycled over a small bridge. A man in dress shirt, carrying a brief case walked over it too. He stopped and turned towards the water, his face relaxed and he stood there enjoying the water. It was nice to see. This is the beauty I see around me now.

My greatest joy comes from interacting with people. It’s still a conscious thing sometimes to show empathy and ask those helpful questions, but more and more it goes automatically. It feels natural and I enjoy giving these small amounts of good to others. I love nothing better than cheering someone up, helping them out or succesfully arguing about some point. Not in the manner I used to, where I’d be aggressive, impatiant and defensive, but calmly and openly.

All in all I enjoy the world around me a lot more and I feel much calmer and more patient. Still, that’s all on a good day. I have more good days then I ever had before I think. Still, there are days when there’s all this noise, this distortion in my head and I can’t get to those good parts, where pleasure is my happiness.

Let me try to explain what that noise is. I have a lot of anxiety, so much that I have decided to try and really work on that. Now, everyone feels anxious sometimes, but why does it become noise? Well, simple. Imagine that anxious moment, where you worried everything would go wrong and the worst possible outcome was waiting for you. Everyone has such moments. Got it? Now imagine having that pretty much about anything, worrying and preparing for the worst all the time. It creates a lot of buzzing noise in ones head. Sometimes enough to not see the beauty around you anymore and the good side of people.

Source: Abdol Rauf

So what is the point? Well, Karma.
So what am I really saying there about happiness? Well, even though I still struggle in my persuit of joy, I am finding it and through it happiness. George Lucas is spot on, unlike with Jar Jar Binks, with his statement. This persuit is well worth it and has improved my life a lot this far. It’s all about Karma, what you give you get. If you invest in your happiness by giving, you’ll receive. I can tell you that much. I’m not there yet and I certainly had to ask for help many times along the way.

Surely, I don’t have the final answers. Just an uphill struggle and my experiences with that. I’m trying to give that little bit to anyone who is willing to appreciate it. That’s enough for me.

Sounds of the Underground #19

This time I listened to underground sounds by  sound artist Honda, ambient warriors Elador, black metal knight MoonKnight and the mighty Krallice. Plenty of stuff you should check out too.

Honda – Bells Beach

source: Bandcamp

I use a lot of means to find music, but rarely the search option on bandcamp. Today I did and I picked the ‘devotional’ category. I was expecting Jesus stuff. I got this wonderful minimal/ambient recording. It has two sides and is made by an artist named Celer, actual name William Thomas Long, who lives in Japan. It was made with a Roland MC-202 Microcomposer and field recordings. It feels like a travel record, a description of landscapes in an aural way.

Side A feels minimal, just little bells in a wide landscape where the wind is blowing. Playful moments are exchanged with mild ambient noise and gentle wavy sounds. The sound appears to be blowing away a little bit now and then, adding tot he organic feel of the music. Side B has those astral projection like synth rays, remniscent of krautrock and Jean Michel Jarre. Buzzing drones and twinkly keys fill the sound up, on this much more energetic and vibrant track. This record feels special, warm and pleasant. A recommended listen for late night reading or enjoying a drink without the TV on.

Elador – Expanses of Syrim 

source: bandcamp

Well, I’m a fan of Skyrim so I was intrigued if any concept band had been working on that theme this far. Sometimes you find the odd death metal band picking up on a thing like this. I found a load of covers or rip offs (some Vietnamese guy claims to be Lindsey Stirling). This Russian project is from Egor Morozov, who is inspired by epic ambient/medieval projects like Mantle Of Dust, soundtracks like those by Jeremy Soule (yes, Skyrim guy) and other similar projects. The logo’s used do show an influence from the black metal scene. Think Clanned, think Burzum… You’ve got it.

The soothing music feels cold at times, depicting the landscapes of Skyrima nd specific regions. The languid tones are nordic in atmosphere and other sound effects breathe life into the music by Elador. The gloomy ‘Folgunthur’ stands our for me, for its minimal and dark atmosphere, where the other tracks feel mildly playful. The trickling sound of ‘Snowfall in Winterhold’, the wavering of ‘Dawnstar’ and the gentle feel to the track ‘Rivenwood’, it all paints the landscape in aural perceptions. The latter makes you feel the gentle look, the simple habitations and the wind rustling through the trees. Elador captures Skyrims essence beautifully in this tribute.

MoonKnight – Valinor

source: bandcamp

This obscure one-man black metal band provides the listener with a particular dirty and grim type of black metal. MoonKnight is the project of Roach (James L. Brown) from Kentucky. Claiming to be influenced by Akita, Bone Awl and Ildjarn, this is the third full lenght from the project, after a series of splits. The sound is gritty, distorted and hazy. As if hearing music through a hail storm. The vocals therefor come from afar and the listener is challenged to really embrace the sound, entering the storm on opener ‘An Initiation’. It only clears up a bit when the intro notes of ‘Aconitum’ soar in, feeling cold and sharp.

The trebly, high guitar tones on ‘Helplessness’ create a cold atmosphere. The screeched vocals filled with despair, raging against that torrent of grainy sound that feels very lo-fi. The drum is just a rumble under your feet. Then there’s the warm rain of the title track, creating a strange after effect, following the bleak songs like ‘Broken Blade’ and the bludgeoning ‘Pleasure Funeral’. The slow epic final song is a crescendo to this powerful record. No need for tons of extra effects, synths. A one man metal band that knows how to make limitations in strenghts by not overdoing it. Thats why this is such a good record.

Krallice – Ygg Huur

source: bandcamp

Sure, I was going for somet different sounds this time, but then I came across thenew Krallice album. I used to think of Krallice as too fierce for my tastes, but the new Yorkers surprised with this new record. I always have a hard time with the word ‘hipster metal’. I feel it makes no sense when you deal with a band that creates atmosphere like the best of them. The sound is more clean, but just as harrowing. The jagged pace, keeps tensions high and creates a vibe of discomfort.

So, I couldn’t get into what they were doing before. I guess it was too smart, too complex and lacked a certain feel to it. That’s no what you get on Ygg Huur. Razing fast guitars, tremolo picking are enriched by deep emotions of despair and untamed wiredness. Blistering speed and incredible atmospheric wavering tremolo parts, generate an unheared of like vibe. Sudden assaults after seemingly ethearal calm. This is one amazing album. Clocking only 35 mins, nothing is overdone on this release. Everything in balance and fuck that hipster tag. Krallice know how to make a great record and put black metal on the road to recovery.