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Thomas Nola and O Paradis: Supergroup Paradise

Posted by Aaron Detroit, August 4, 2009 04:00am | Post a Comment

Les Paradisiers
is a musical power-marriage between American underground musician, author, and film director Thomas Nola (et Son Orchestre) and Barcelona-based Mediterranean-Neo-folk artist Demian, aka O Paradis. The duo’s first aural offspring, More Tales From The Garden, was recently released on LP with Free Digital Download Card via Nola’s own Disques de Lapin imprint. The LP features a dozen dark, uneasy and psychedelic trips through Thomas and Demian’s exotic and anachronous universe, where humid locales not only house jungle birds and cats, but also early 20th Century European speakeasies hosting American Vaudeville and Spanish Cabaret acts with 1980’s Goth sensibilities.

Tales’ atmosphere is helped along by the fact that it was birthed into one being in two very separate places-- Demian’s parts were recorded in Barcelona and Thomas’s contributions were captured in Boston, MA. Therefore, the album is also a bilingual affair, split between American English and Peninsular Spanish.

However, much like O Paradis’s collaborative efforts with the now-defunct Austrian neo-cabaret act Novy Svet, Nola and Demian are actually a logical pairing. Both artists are popular among fans of the Neofolk genre but neither of them carry or are weighted-down by any of the problematic dogma that exists within it. The pair’s main respective projects seem to strive to weave new surreal worlds out of the pieces and tatters of this one, rather then anchoring their songs in a particular part of real world history. Where many of their peers’ albums are academic in nature, Nola and O Paradis’s output is usually looser and takes itself less seriously. Les Paradisiers doesn’t stop this trend. 

On a Nola-led tune, “Don’t Be Afraid of Paradise,” a near-standard neofolk arrangement of martial drumming and samples suddenly shifts and then glides into an Exotica-swing complete with a croaking bassline and the gentle call of:

“Where are you little birds of paradise?
Doesn’t the moon get bright?
Are you stuck to the ground,
Are you in flight?
Don’t be afraid of paradise.”

By the time the subtle-but-catchy synths kick-in a third of the way into the track, it’s hard to believe Nola isn’t trying to inspire at the very least a wry grin out of the listener, if not an actual laugh.
On “Oui Oui, Je Suis un Paradisier,” Nola dryly declares, “I think I’ll dye my ascot black.” That isn’t to say Les Paradisiers is all playfulness and no bite. There is a languid cover of Death In June’s “Runes and Men” with its purposefully queasy production and uneven harmonies. On “A Little Moonglow,” the bird calls and jungle sounds that seem so impish at the beginning of the album turn ominous and the bird of paradise’s “wings are clipped.” There are also darkly blissful moments, “The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady” has Velvet Underground and Nico-Haze with a vocal melody cribbed from Nick Cave’s “Into My Arms,” whilst the slinky rhythms and sleigh-bells of “Mirame Otra Vez” are accompanied by the closing chant of the album: “We are so happy, we’re already dead.” Paradise Here and Hereafter, indeed.

More Tales From The Garden LP (+Digital Download Card), as well as catalog tiltes by Thomas Nola et Son Orchetre and O Paradis are available now from Amoeba Hollywood.

Video: Les Paradisiers Album Trailer, featuring album outro track "Ornithophilia."



Amoeba Hollywood’s Goth/Industrial Section Featured New Releases:


Cold Cave - Love Comes Close LP/CD [Heartworm] 
Brilliant scourged synthpop with heavy currents of Joy Division / New Order in its veins. "Supergroup" featuring Wes Eisold [Give Up The Ghost, Some Girls], Dominick Fernow [Prurient] and Caralee McElroy [Xiu Xiu].

6Comm - Like Stukas Angels Fall: Retrospect 1984 -1990 CD [Kenaz]
Re-recorded album of classic tracks featuring songs from the early 6comm period and also a few tracks from his previous work in Death in June. Electro - Folk - Classical- Martial- Experimental -- 16 great songs,
including new versions of "Torture Garden" and "Carousel" with new vocal sections. Nice gold foil blocked Digipak!

Black Sun Productions - Somwhere Between Desire & Despair CD [Torurette]
Awesome full-length new collaboration between
Black Sun Productions and Val Denham! Recorded live at the Transformer Festival, Biel, Switzerland, March 31, 2007!

Jessie Evans - Is It Fire? LIMITED  LP/CD [Fantomette]
Former Subtonix/The Vanishing/Autonervous member finally goes solo. Features appearances by Budgie [Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Creatures] and Toby Dammit [Swans, Iggy Pop]



In Next Week, Amoeba Hollywood:

Sprung Aus Den Wolken - Dub & Die plus CD [Klanggalerie]
Originally released in 1981 as an untitled mini album, it was the first release by this German Avant-garde/Industrial group that was once a member of the "Geniale Dilettanten" movement. Like a more structured early Einstürzende Neubauten. Expanded deluxe release with a set of bonus tracks.

Magas - Violent Arp
12" + Digital Download Code [Punch Records]
Transparent Red vinyl in special outfolder/cut cover. Limited edition of 333 hand-numbered copies. Violent Arp is exac
tly what the name implies. 6-song mini LP. Arp riffs, 808s and tough, surreal vocals with a hard rock sensibility. Dark ultra-minimal techno to vintage hard rock., Magas comes barreling toward you! Includes coupon for free mp3 download of entire album!


Still Fresh...

Nachtmahr - Alle Lust Will Ewigkeit CD [Trisol]
L'ame Immortelle mastermind Thomas Rainer's industrial project's new album.


Tor Lundvall
- Sleeping and Hiding Limited vinyl LP [Dais]
Dais is flawless! Not a bad release in the bunch! Dreamy bliss in the vein of Talk Talk’s later stuff and Slowdive’s Pygmalion.

Rome - Flowers fr
om Exile CD [Trisol]
Great New Full-Len
gth at DOMESTIC price!


Coming Up...

Der Blutharsch - Everything's Alright! LP [SOON!]
Clan Of Xymox - In Love We Trust
[August 18 2009]
Informatik - Arena [August 18 2009]
Death In June - Black Angel Live! Picture Disc LP+CDEP [September 8]
Psyclon Nine - We The Fallen [September 8, 2009]
Assemblage 23 - Spark (single) [September 22, 2009]
Suicide Commando - Die Motherfucker Die [September 22, 2009]

 

Asteroids in animation, games, movies & television

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 30, 2009 04:26pm | Post a Comment
Asteroids have capitivated the imagination ever since rocks first looked into the heavens and asked, "Are we alone?" The entertainment industry has shown asteroid fields to be a place to hone your space navigation skills and target shooting and rogue asteroids as hell-bent on destroying humankind. As far as threats go, to me the gigantic, silent, soulless killing machines arouse a similar fear to that inspired by sharks. And now, as announced in the Hollywood Reporter earlier this month, Universal has acquired the rights to the classic Atari game and plans on adapting it into film. Matt Lopez (Race to Witch Mountain and Bedtime Stories) pitched the idea and found himself at the center of a bidding war between four studios. From Wing Commander and Double Dragon to House of the Dead and Hitman, films adapted from video games are generally quite good.


Although the chart above shows the existence of many real life asteroids, the entertainment industry almost always portrays fictional or just un-named space rocks.
 
ASTEROIDS IN COMPUTER & VIDEO GAMES

     
Final Fantasy IV   

The aformentioned Asteroids is the best known example of a game focusing on asteroids. Descent, The Dig, Final Fantasy IV, Homeworld, Millenium 2.2 and The Orion Conspiracy all feature un-named or fictional asteroids to various degrees.

ASTEROIDS IN ANIMATION

   

Danny Phantom's "Phantom Planet,Futurama's "Love & Rocket," and the anime Metal Armor Dragonar (Kikō Senki Doragunā) have all got some asteroids in 'em too.

ASTEROIDS ON TELEVISION


           

In "The Wandering Asteroid" espisode of Space Patrol, the crew must destroy an asteroid on a collision course. On Star Trek's "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky," a group of aliens live on a spacecraft disguised as an asteroid. On Buck Rogers's “The Golden Man,” in the name of accuracy one of the crew at least points out the dense field is the densest he's seen. Red Dwarf features several references to asteroid mines, which are also mentioned on Battlestar Galactica's “Scar.” Although often described as a documentary, the BBC's depiction of a near catastrophe by the Pegasus spacecraft in Space Odyssey - Voyage To The Planets never actually happened. Stargate SG-1’s “Failsafe” features the common "Asteroid on a collision course" theme.  
 
ASTEROIDS IN MOVIES


             

In 2001 - A Space Odyssey, realistic asteroids are seen as Discovery One approaches Jupiter. The Green Slime, also from 1968, was slightly more fanciful. Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back followed Atari's depiction of asteroids as densely flying in all directions, randomly exploding and providing navigational challenges for space pilots. In Revenge of the Sith, Luke and Leia are born on an asteroid colony. In 1979, Ronald Neame had a go at the fadingly popular disaster genre with Meteor, which was about an asteroid, despite the title. Though nearly universally reviled, it was practically remade by the campily enjoyable Deep Impact and the truly inept, J.J. Abrams-penned Armageddon. A year earlier, Starship Troopers had featured aliens wiping out Buenos Aires with an asteroid weapon.


REAL ASTEROIDS IN FICTION

Although un-named, un-specified or otherwise imagined asteroids appear far more often on the screen than their real counterparts, the real-deal-asteroid-fields have nonetheless made appearances here and there.

Ceres, a dwarf planet located within the asteroid belt, is the subject of a separate blog.

 

Pallas was the second asteroid to be discovered, in 1802, by a German. It's named after Pallas Athena. One of the largest asteroids in the belt, it may contain 7% of its total mass. In “The Shrinking Spaceman” episode of Space Patrol (1962), there is a sonar beam transmitter located there.

asteroid 1997

Eros
was discovered in 1898 and was the first Near Earth Asteroid discovered. It's believed to be even more massive than the impactor that created the Chicxulub Crater in the Yucatán that wiped out the dinosaurs and led to the evolution of the Voth (as seen on Star Trek - Voyager). Eros was featured in the 1997 TV movie Asteroid.

   

Juno is named after Juno, "the one unique," the wife of Jupiter. It was originally considered a planet but is too small, although it may contain 1% of the entire mass of the asteroid belt. In Mobile Suit Gundam, it's relocated to Earth's orbit and renamed Luna².
 

Hygiea is named after the goddess of cleanliness, health and sanitation in the Greek religion. It's the fourth largest object in the asteroid belt and was discovered in 1849 by an Italian. It has thus far provided the setting of no known films, games, TV shows, &c. Hopefully it'll show up in Asteroids.

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Jessie Evans, The Vanishing Lady, Returns To California

Posted by Aaron Detroit, July 23, 2009 11:23am | Post a Comment
Greetings and Salutations!! Welcome to the inaugural post of Amoeba’s Black Light District, a new weekly(ish) blog where we shall traverse in the darker realms of the musical & subcultural universe (i.e. Death Rock, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Transgressive Fiction, Dark Wave, Apocalyptic Folk, Goth, Black Metal, B-Movies, Doom Disco, Synthpop, Ethereal Nu-Gaze, Neo-New Beat, Death-Twee, Infernal Drone and all manner of night-friendly sounds and darkly delights! *cue Evil Doctor laugh). Come forth, for we own the night!

This week, California’s prodigal dark queen,
Jessie Evans, jessie evans is it fire?returns for shows in San Francisco and Los Angeles to promote her debut solo LP, Is It Fire? (Fantomette Records). Jessie spent nearly a decade in the California Punk and Death-Rock scenes honing her chops singing and wailing James Chance-style on her trusty saxophone (as well as a few other instruments!) in bands like The Vanishing and the now rather legendary Subtonix.

The Vanishing relocated from San Francisco to Berlin in 2004 but split up soon after, leaving Jessie free for new ventures.
Autonervous, initially a solo project, blossomed into a collaborative project between Evans and Bettina Koster (of the '80s German band MALARIA!). The duo released an LP and toured in 2006. Autonervous marked a heavy shift in direction for Ms. Evans -- her songwriting became more sultry and less incendiary, her lyrics more minimal and focused. Also bubbling under the dancey beats was a new sense of joy. Egads! Her grimace was turning into a smile!

On Is It Fire? that smile has turned into full-on laughte
r, and audibly s
o! It’s not an evil-kind of laughter either, on the interlude track “Micheladas,” Evans can be heard clinking glasses and laughing joyously. The album is indeed a celebration of dark glamour, love and sexuality, from the daring come-on of "Scientist of Love" and the House-y statement of intent, “Let Me On,” on to the horn-y swing of the Autonervous re-take “Golden Snake” and the dark and dreamy sway of “Black Sand” with its chant of “It’s time to get into your body.”

Evans didn’t party completely alone though; in fact, she brought in some heavy-hitters, literally. Both
Toby Dammit (Swans, Iggy Pop), and Budgie (Siouxsie & The Banshees) share time behind the drum-kit on the album. Evans’ arrangements focus heavily on beat and rhythm, which adds greatly to the primal and sexual mood of the album, whilst Budgie ‘s presence definitely lends to some Creatures-esque moments. Also under Evans' employ is horn-blower Martin Wenk (Calexico), and an International Children’s choir. This lady throws one crazy shindig!

Half of Is It Fire? was recorded at home in Berlin while the other half was recorded in Jessie’s newest beloved city, Tijuana (Evans pays tribute en Español on 3 tracks). Evans’ ridiculously long list of credible contributors gets longer with production and mixing duties handled by Thomas Stern (Einstürzende Neubauten, Crime and The City Solution) in Berlin and Pepe Mogt (Nortec Collective) in Tijuana.

Regardless of its more famous contributors, Is It Fire? at the end of the day is still Jessie’s party. Her vocals are steamy, not screamy, and her saxophone is booty-shakin’, not siren-screechin’. Is It Fire? stands (so far) as Evans’ crown jewel in an already stellar back-catalog.





Jessie Evans is bringing the Fire party (with Toby Dammit in-tow!) to the Eagle Tavern in San Francisco tonight and to Los Angeles’ Silver Factory Studios on Friday. Don’t forget to bring your party-hat (and/or mask) and dancing shoes!

LIMITED copies on CD and LP of Is It Fire? will hopefully be on the shelves by next week at both Amoeba SF and Amoeba Hollywood!


Also next week, Amoeba Hollywood should be getting very limited copies of Cold Cave’s debut LP Love Comes Close. Look for a review of that right here next week, but consensus around the Hollywood Store for those that have heard the LP is that it’s a heavy contender for Album Of The Year.


Amoeba Hollywood’s Goth/Industrial Section Featured New Releases:

Rome - Flowers from Exile CD [Trisol]
Great New Full-Length at DOMESTIC price!

Les Paradisiers - More Tales From The Garden LIMITED vinyl LP + MP3 card [Disques De Lapin]
Awesome full-length new collaboration between Thomas Nola and O Paradis! Swinging dark cabaret!

Tor Lundvall - Sleeping and Hiding Limited vinyl LP [Dais]
Dais is flawless! Not a bad release in the bunch! Dreamy bliss in the vein of Talk Talk’s later stuff and Slowdive’s Pygmalion.

Death In June - Braun Buch Zwei CD [Neroz]
(Digitally remastered edition was the bonus CD accompanying the 20th Anniversary Stone Circle Edition of DIJ’s seminal Brown Book album issued in 2007, and contains 7 songs from the original album coupled with 7 remixed, re-recorded and rare versions of the remaining songs. Basically, it’s Brown Book II. The completely recycled paper booklet and 'Repak' is brown with black 'Ultra Coated' images and runes featuring never-before-seen photos from the period.)

Dense Vision Shrine - Unwinding The Inside LIMITED CD [r.a.p.]

Njurmannen - Terror in The Dollhouse [Old Europa Cafe]

Naevus - Truffles of Love (Remastered Reissue) [Old Europa Cafe]


In Next Week, Amoeba Hollywood:

Nachtmahr - Alle Lust Will Ewigkeit CD [Trisol]

Cold Cave -
Love Comes Close LP [Heartworm/Insound] (Limited Copies on This!)

We.Got.this.Far -
Bluntforcevolume CD [Spiral Chords]


Coming Soon:

New Minimal Wave Titles!

Hot Used Section Tip: Amoeba Hollywood has a few copies of the excellent Rhino 4-Disc box set A Life Less Lived-- full of goodies by The Cure, Siouxsie, Sisters of Mercy, et al. 3 CDs of 53 Goth Essentials and 12 iconic Goth videos on DVD packaged with an extensive book in a faux-leather lace-up slipcase! Used for only $29.99 !

Untouchable Records - down wid it cuz we bound to get it

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 27, 2009 01:15pm | Post a Comment

Untouchable Records was one of the many New Orleans rap lables that sprang up in the early nineties after the advent of bounce. A small label with a roster of musicians that, for the most part, came and went as they pleased, they nonetheless featured some of New Orleans' biggest, most notable talents. It was
started by Al "Rock" Capone; he also handled some of the production of the mostly downtown roster.
Most of their production was handled by Gary "Ozone" McKee, as well as the Tombstone-associated Merrill "Real Roc" Robinson, and even Cash Money's prolific genius, Mannie Fresh.

 

1994
The first release on the label was Raw II Survive's West Syde Gz, produced by Merrill "Real Roc" Robinson, L.O.G. and Swift. With titles like "Crippin' in da Darkness" and "West Syde Gz," you might assume that it has a west coast sound. Rest assured, it's unmistakably New Orleans. It's also solid but not especially memorable, perhaps hampered by its very low budget sound. 

Also released in 1994, 9th ward rapper Pimp Dogg's Forever Loaded (produced by Double O, San Quin and L.O.G.) is the winner of the two. I'm not sure who influenced who, but it's got a gangsta bounce sound at times very similar to Fila Phil with the dynamics of Mr. Ivan and 6-shot.

1996


211's
Hustlin' Pays the Bills was produced by Ozone with several tracks by Mannie Fresh and T-Bone.
It's mostly gangsta bounce with some straight up West Coast sounding tracks. Meanwhile, Pimp Dogg already took off, releasing his next record (Who's That Aggin) on Hollygrove Records.

1997


In 1997, one of the greatest rappers, 9th Ward's Fila Phil followed up his classic debut at Slaughterhouse with Da Hustla Returns on Untouchable. The result, produced by Ozone, Real Roc, Carlos Stephens (of Beats By the Pound fame), Mannie Fresh and Sean "Solo" Jemison and the result is another classic. Another 9th ward (CTC) rapper (and former member of The Bally Boyz with Fila Phil), L.O.G. released Camoflaged Down. It's another good record, mostly produced by Ozone and Real Roc with contributions from Al "Rock" Capone, XL, T-Bone and Mista Sinista. Ms. Tee was formerly responsible for singing a lot of the hooks at Cash Money, where she also released solo albums. After coming to Untouchable, she released Hot Girl.

Continue reading...

Skweee - the sound of young Scando

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 17, 2009 03:36pm | Post a Comment

Skweee is a stripped down, barebones, (mostly) Nordic and Finnish, minimal synthfunk. The songs sound like old midi files and karaoke soul music that's the perfect soundtrack to Leisure Suit Larry getting his mack on. The scene's been around for a few years and I can't remember when I first became aware of it... it may go back to the myspace age. Actually, this blog entry has been around a long time so I thought I should wrap it up. Vinyl is the medium of choice for this example of what can happen when your country pays you to advance their culture.

Check out these label sites if you're interested:
Flogsta Danshall, Harmönia, Dødpop, Disques Mazout and Titched.













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