Tag: darkwave

new Video: German Dream Pop Act Seasurfer Release a Gauzy Cocteau Twins-like Mix of “Drifting”

Hamburg-based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Dirk Knight is one of that city’s grizzled scene vets, who can trace his career back to the 90s: his previous band Dark Orange was a pioneering act in the Heavenly Voices scene — and as a result, he collaborated with Cocteau Twins‘ Robin Guthrie.

amburg-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist started his current project  Seasurfer back in 2013, and interestingly enough, the project finds Knight eschewing the traditional rock band set up and collaborating with a rotating cat of vocalists and musicians. His first two critically applauded Seasurfer albums saw Knight work with members of acts like Trespassers William, Whimsical, Jaguwar and Last Leaf Down. 

Seasurfer’s third album Zombies was released last year through Reptile Music. The album saw Knight simultaneously refining and expanding upon the sound that has won him and his collaborators attention internationally. While still retaining shoegazer textures, there’s a much larger focus on cold wave and dark wave influences with the material employing an increasing use of synths, motorik grooves and beats to create what Knight has dubbed “electrogaze for dancers and dreamers alike.”

ritten and recorded during pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, Zombies thematically paints a picture of a society on the brink of annihilation. As a result of the pandemic, Zombies is the first album that features Knight playing and recording all of the material’s instrumentation and even contributing some vocals. The first part of the album features vocals from singer/songwriter Apolonia.

As the story goes, as the pair were finishing the album, they had the distinct impression of living in a world that was completely losing its mind: Naturally, there is constant fear and uncertainty inspired by the pandemic; but there’s also the increasing numbers of self-serving political leaders hellbent on power, greed, corruption and lust. And let’s not forget the looming global climate catastrophe that will likely occur within our lifetimes. It shouldn’t be surprising that the pair frequently felt as though they were like zombies struggling through a lost and dead world.

Shortly after the vinyl and CD releases of Zombies, the Hamburg-based act reworked album single “Drifting.” “Drifting” is a fan favorite on the album and as a result, Knight and Apolonia came up with an alternate mix of the song. Interestingly, the alternate mix is centered around gauzier textures while retaining the glistening synths and brooding air of the original. In some way, the alternate mix manages to gently push the song towards a Cocteau Twins-like sound.

For me ‘Drifting’ is the song with the coolest bass of the whole album Zombies,” Seasurfer’s Dirk Knight explains. ” For the first time I recorded all the basses by myself and learned to love playing this instrument. Basses are extremely important to us and determine the harmonies and melodies, similar to how Simon Gallup (The Cure), Peter Hook (Joy Division, New Order) and Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins) are doing it. For the single and the extended mix we let the drums run straight through to make the song even more mesmerizing.”

The recently released video is a trippy mix of nostalgia-inducing Super 8 shot footage of a young child going on a cruise on the open sea, projected over Apolonia’s face, as she sings the song’s lyrics.

“Drifting (Single Mix)” appears on Seasurfer’s recently released Drifting EP, which features a 12 minute, extended single mix, the previously unreleased track “Ghost Children” and remixes of “Drifting” by Spanish dreamwave duo STEREOSKOP, Russian shoegazers Life on Venus and French electronic artist GIIRLS.

Houston-based post-punk/darkwave act Victorian Death Photos are purposely shrouded in a cloak of mystery: Featuring two anonymous artists, a man and a woman, who publicly go by He and She, the mysterious duo’s latest project can trace its origins back to their previous multimedia collaborations together. Interestingly, Victorian Death Photos was initially meant to be a metal album — but the best laid plans of mice and men, and they say.

Once they started working on original material together, they wound up zeroing in on a “haunted synthy post-punk electronic sound,” which wound up comprising their Victorian Death Photos debut, The Basement Tapes EP released earlier this year. “We went with it,” She says in press notes. Interestingly, the mysterious Houston-based duo’s latest single “RadIum Girls” is the first batch of new material since the release of The Basement Tapes EP. And as the duo explain “Radium Girls” is based on a true story: In the early 1920s, female workers in watch factories, painted watch dials with radium paint. The women were repeatedly told that the paint was harmful. But after being around and ingesting massive amounts of radium, the female factory workers wound up contracting severe radiation poisoning: the end result was teeth failing out; bone deterioration in the jaw — to the point that they’d have to have bones removed.; stillborn babies and eventually death.

Centered around thumping boom bap-like drumming, buzzing bass synths and guitars fed through reverb and delay pedal, She’s ethereal vocals and a rousingly anthemic hook, “Radium Girls” evokes a slow-burning and creeping sense of unease and dread, while sonically bearing a resemblance to Garbage‘s self-titled debut and Version 2.0.

New Audio: German Darkwave Act NNHMN Releases a Feverish Visual for “Special”

NNHMN (pronounced as “nonhuman”) is a Berlin-based darkwave duo featuring Lee and Laudrag. Last year, the German darkwave duo released Shadow in the Dark, a six song album that received attention across darkwave and synth music circles for a sensual, propulsive and deeply emotional take on darkwave. Initially released digitally throughk-dreams records, Shadow in the Dark recently saw a vinyl re-released through Oraculo Records.  

To celebrate the vinyl re-release of Shadow in the Dark, the duo released the album’s latest single, the club-banging, early Depeche Mode-like “Special.” Centered around shimmering and rapidly oscillating synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, sultry vocals and an enormous hook “Special,” according to the duo tells the story of a borderline personality, who struggles with expressing love. 

Produced and edited by the members of NNHMN, the recently released cinematic yet feverish visual for “Special” draws heavily from Philipe Garrel’s 1972 film La Cicatrice intérieure, which features a similarly damaged main character. 

Best known for stints as a member of post-punk acts DTHWBBA and White Fawn, the Halls Head, Western Australia-based singer/songwriter and producer Greg Weir has gone solo with his latest recording project UIU. Detonic Recordings commissioned Weir to provide two singles — “Wild and Innocent” and “Like A Doll” as the  fourth single in their Minimal Viable Product series, a monthly release featuring up-and-coming artists releasing A side and B side singles. At the end of the year, the entire series will be released as a comprehensive compilation. Interestingly, Weir is the first Australian to take part in the series so far — and that shouldn’t be surprising, as Weir’s UIU finds him drawing influence from  the likes of Futurisk, Suicide, Gary Numan, The Human League and others; in fact, the A side single “The Wild and Innocent” is centered around industrial-like drum programming, droning synths, a motorik  groove, a trippy yet ethereal sense of melodicism and  John Carpenter soundtrack-like cinematic bent.

Adding to the overall dark and murky vibes created by the sounds, the song thematically tells a tale of murder, loss and hopelessness from a woman’s perspective — but filtered through a murky, Blade Runner-esque lens.

New Video: Introducing the Brooding and Cinematic Sounds of Chicago’s Well Yells

Patrick Holbrook is a Chicago, IL-based electronic music producer and artist, and his darkwave, synth-based solo recording project Well Yells has received attention both locally and regionally for a spectral sound paired with surreal, dream-like lyrics that draws from much of the music he had admired and learned to play bass following along to  — in particular, Joy Division and Bauhaus, and the fragments of music he could remember from his dreams. Although unsurprisingly, his work has been compared to The Cure, Depeche Mode, John Carpenter, The Legendary Pink Dots, and Clan of Xymox among others.

Holbrook’s latest Wells Yell album Skunk was released earlier this year, and the album’s latest single “Near” is a brooding and cinematic track centered around layers of wobbling and arpeggiated synths, submerged vocals fed through layers of effects pedals, shimmering guitar chords and subtle, industrial clang and clatter. Sonically, the song manages to evoke a slowly unfurling and inescapable, existential dread.

As Holbrook told me through an email, the recently released video for “Near” was directed and shot by Toupee’s Mark Fragassi, and a segment of the of the video was shot at “. . . the Steelworkers Park on the South Side [Chicago], which have these really uncanny ruins of a steel mill — the walls are all that remain, but they’re 1/4 mile long!”