Pick of the Week (past/present/future)

 

The Chemical Tapes label offers Various doses of mind altering audio, and two great new additions have recently been added. I’d like to highlight the excellent I am Wolf by Gideon Wolf, an experiment with vocal and electronic textures. The embedded Bandcamp player below defaults to track 4, so skip back to track 1 to hear the whole album.

 

Chemical Tapes can be found on Bandcamp here, and on Twitter as @chemicaltapes

 

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The groovy image above is the cover of the eighth studio album by Hey Collosus, whose sound might be described as psychedelic punk, or something. I was led to discover the band via Kek-W, and am suitably impressed. The whole album can be streamed below.

 

 

I really should start linking to Mixcloud profiles because there’s some great music to be discovered there, and mixes are always fun. I think I’ll start by pointing you towards The Séance, hosted by Pete Wiggs & James Papademetrie. There’s no point trying to define genres with an eclectic show, but if you follow this blog, you’ll know that the strange and wonderful is the kind of thing I like, and The Séance always provides that. There’s a new show posted every week or two here.

 

The Famulus

 

Today I’m releasing the suite of music I composed for the first issue of The Famulus: a Journal of Neo-Fabulism. It was previously only available as a download with the zine, but now is available to download for free or “pay what you like”. You’ll also receive a PDF of my story Raven and the Boggart from the zine, which is a small part of what will eventually be a much larger story.

The Famulus blog can be found here, or on Twitter as @thefamulus

 

The Geek Zone:

 

Vikings

I’ve recently finished watching the first season of the excellent historical drama Vikings, and I just have to gush about it here because I loved it. The series is based upon the exploits of the legendary Viking chieftain Ragnar Lodbrok, as told in the 13th century sagas Ragnars saga Loðbrókar and Ragnarssona þáttr, and was developed by Michael Hirst, best know as screen writer for the films Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and creator/producer/writer of tv shows The Borgias (only seen the first series so far), The Tudors, and Camelot (both of those series being on my list of things to watch).

I found Vikings sumptuous and exhilarating – everything about it resonated with me: the setting, the story, the culture, the design, the landscapes, and the music – which was largely provided by the excellent Wardruna.

 If you like Game of Thrones or Spartacus, you’ll enjoy Vikings too.

The only down side is that it is not the easiest thing to find, as it was broadcast in the US and Canada on the History channel, and is apparently only available in the UK as streaming via Lovefilm. But I do highly recommend you find a way to watch it. Roll on season 2!

 

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Shingeki no Kyojin: Attack on Titan blows my mind. I’ve watched six episodes so far, and it really is superb. A Japanese Anime series, the premise for Attack on Titan is relatively simple: mankind lives within a huge multi-walled city, because outside the walls are primitive giant beings called Titans who instinctively attack and devour humans on sight. The story focuses on the young Eren Jaegar and his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman, who eventually join the military in the fight against the titans when, after 100 years, humanity’s peace is shattered when a colossal titan breaches the outermost wall, allowing the titans inside.

You have to watch to fully appreciate this great story. I’m no anime expert, but this is the best mature anime I’ve seen since the Ghost in the Shell series.

Episodes are available to stream here

 

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Metal Hurlant Chronicles – I’ll let Wikipedia do the explaining:

” Métal Hurlant Chronicles is an English-language Franco-Belgian television science fiction anthology series based on the popular comics anthology magazine Métal Hurlant, known in the United States as Heavy Metal. All the episodes are a self-contained story taking place on a different planet with a different cast, linked together only by the idea that a meteorite, the “Métal Hurlant”, passes the planet in question during the events of the story. The show′s premise originated with Guillaume Lubrano, who put together a self-financed pilot to pitch the show, which was broadcast as the series’ third episode. Lubrano and Justine Veillot produce the show through their company WE Productions. It was largely filmed in BucarestRomania. “

I’ve been a fan of Heavy Metal for many years, and thought this series looked pretty good. To be honest, it’s a “B-movie” series, but if taken in that way, it can be fun. I thought three of the six episodes were good, and at least two of the others pretty good. All in all, if you’re a fan of short science fiction/fantasy tales, this is worth checking out.  The cast is interesting for genre fans, and includes Rutger Hauer, James MarstersScott AdkinsMichael Jai WhiteMichelle RyanDavid BelleDominique Pinon, Joe Flanigan, and, err… Kelly Brook.

I’ve embedded the first episode below, which is not one of my 3 favourite episodes, so if you think this one is ok, you’ll definitely enjoy the rest. I think only the first two eps can be found on You Tube, so you’ll have to find another way to catch the lot.

 

Speaking of Heavy Metal, I’m about halfway through the amazing Requiem Chevalier Vampire (Requiem Vampire Knight) written by Pat Mills and illustrated by Olivier Ledroit, which I first experienced some of in the pages of the aforementioned comic.

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Pat Mills established the legendary British comic 2000AD, and developed and wrote Judge DreddSláine, Nemesis the Warlock, ABC Warriors, Charley’s War, and many other classic stories. It was Pat’s dream to break into the French comic market, and so he formed his own publishing company Nickel Editions to do so. One of his associates in the company being the talented French artist Olivier Ledroit.

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The story is based on a world called Resurrection, where people are reincarnated as monsters, their place in the hierarchy dependent on their sins in their previous life. The more cruel in life, the better rewarded in Resurrection. Vampires are the ruling class, with Ghouls close behind (their sins may have been as bad as those of the vampires, but they believed their actions were for the greater good). There are also werewolves, zombies, dragons, demons, and all kinds of crazy beings.   

The main character, Requiem, was a Nazi soldier who fell in love with a Jewish woman, Rebecca, and that obsession carries over into Resurrection, where he becomes a Vampire Knight and becomes involved in the complicated politics, war, and intrigue of that place.

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Mills and Ledroit really pushed the boat far out into the turbulent sea of bizarre-crazy-awesome on this one. Requiem is a rare treat for the senses, and I highly recommend it. 

 

 

 

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Pick of the Week (past/present/future)

 

I’m stoked about the great music I have to share with you this week, so I’ll delve straight in! 

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The spirit of Syd Barret lives on in Canadian three piece Crosss. With a slightly grungier psychedelia than early Floyd, the debut album Obsidian Spectre is a confidently cut gem that I for one find really exciting.

The entire album is streaming on the front page of telephoneexplosion.com but to add further encouragement towards giving it a listen, I’ve posted all 8 tracks below. 

 

Crosss guitarist and vocalist Andy March is also label head of Youth Club Records and the cassette orientated Craft Singles, both featuring predominantly Halifax and Montreal based bands.

Obsidian Spectre can be bought here.

 

Originally released in 2009 and recently reissued on vinyl (alas now all but sold out), Back to Zero by Australian band The Night Terrors is an accomplished triumph of theremin led progressive synthscape rock, or something. Genres, eh?

 

On to some splendid electronica now – Fourth: The Golden Eagle from UK based Kelpe. The Bandcamp player is cued to track 2, so you’ll have to skip back to hear the whole album.

 

The summer batch of tapes has been released on the brilliant Constellation Tatsu label, and I’d like to highlight this ethereal drift-pop album Drifters Gold from US artist and musician White Poppy.

 

And here’s a curious bit of retro experimental electronica from The Simonsound. Click through the link in the player to find out more.

 

 

Enjoy!