BERLIN ATONAL 2019

Berlin Atonal returns this August for its 2019 edition, beginning on Wednesday 28. August and ending on Sunday 1. September. The festival spans five days and over a hundred performances and art projects, including the usual heady supply of specially commissioned audio-visual shows and world premieres in sound, video and performance. All events and activities will be held within the container of the Kraftwerk in the center of Berlin.

 

Intro | ARCTANGENT

Well, since Brexit was announced, I thought it would be better to use my EU freedom to visit England before it becomes an isolated island in the ocean. I decided then to fly there and see how English make festivals, checking Radar and, the week after, ArcTangent.

In particular, those guys are so nice to welcome me as a REAL journalist, that is something I really appreciate (I mean, the fact that someone is nice to me. I know I can’t call Pandemia a real online magazine, since it is now a bunch of things that I like and collect, but I will try to do my best to cover it).

So, what is ArcTangent? It is one of the cool place to be between 15th and 17th August in Europe, of course. The festival is taken place in Fernhill Farm not so far from Bristol, and it counts 61 bans in 3 days and 5 stages.

For the 2019 editions, Coheed and Cambria, Battles and Meshuggah are headliners, together with Russian Circles, Cult of Luna, Zeal and Ardor, Caspian, The Ocean, Toska and many more.

For more information, check the website. Here below the official playlist of the event:

 

RADAR FESTIVAL

First edition of Radar festival and here I am, planning this out of nothing one month before the event, and thanks to a Facebook ads. Which is not bad, by the way, since I am quite thrilled to see together Monuments, Agents Fresco, VOLA and Animals as Leaders, but as every new festival, you never know what it will happen. There will be band cancellations at the last moment? Roadie will put the system on fire due to an unexpected short circuit? Police will come and shut down at 8 pm? Only time will tell.

 

Introduction

The first editions was held in Guildford, in the Surrey, at one hour by train from London. A quite place medium-size city in the countryside, with a crazy car traffic in the center and a mild nightlife. I did like it much more then London, with its fairy-corners and 16th century old houses:

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Guildford, UK

The festival itself was in a very creepy place called Corner House, that looks like a striptease place. Which is something doesn’t bother me so much – I saw much worse in East Germany – except the fact that I felt in cage all the time. So, when you enter in the main stage, the space is quite large – and the bars (2) are located a little bit separated, which is nice for avoiding drunk people throwing beers on you while are trying to stand still. The problem starts when you go to the second stage, when the entrance is a narrow stair that goes into a basement almost full with the stage and the bar at the opposite side. Luckily there is also a space on the right, but instead to be a chill out place (full of couches and seats) this area is left to the merch area and the Long Branch records stand. Another thing I don’t like (but I saw it unfortunately in many indoor festivals) is to refuse re-admission to the venue after a certain. Probably a rule made by the city government, deeply hated since I get easily annoyed when there is only an active stage and the band there is not interesting at all.

 

Secret Act, Heart of a Coward, Monuments

Anyway, we are there in this place forgotten by God and I am on time on Friday to see the Secret Act advertised in the timetable. I was hoping to see Arch Echo, since they are about to tour with VOLA pretty soon, but I was not really disappointed to see this NNN guys. What I liked about them was how they built their show, using different tricks to engage the crowd and make a crazy party, and they did it with a music that looked for me a mix between Marylin Manson, Combrichrist and Rammstein, with some reminiscence of dirty rockabilly.

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NNN with weird apocalyptic crazy guys

After the Secret Act, I did not find any interesting band until Monuments. Sumer was really boring for me, while Heart of a Coward, despite was giving tons of energy to a responsive crowd, was in my opinion a standard deathcore band (with a progressive structure of the songs, but still the style is pretty ‘core). I was also quite surprised I did not like Toska, since they are part of the instrumental prog that I use to listen a lot in this period. Maybe because I did not know the songs at all? Maybe.

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Toska

Regarding Monuments: I should admit that one of the reason I went to Radar was to see Chris Barretto performing, and I was quite disappoint when I read he left the band one month before. Still, I was curious to listen his replacement, Andy Cizek, a talented Millennial that makes video on Youtube singing covers of famous songs. Well, I can tell that this guy knows how to sing. I could see that he really prepared himself for this challenge he tried to do his best to sing on vocal lines that were not made for him. I did appreciate the efforts and I believe also the public did. For me it was the best show I have seen since the one in Wacken on 2016, the one in which I felt in love with them.

After the headliner I run out of the main stage even if there was the afterparty ongoing. The reasons I did this were two: first, since I woke up at 5 am to catch my flight to go to the festival I was really tired. Second was the tremendous heat created in this hell of a nightclub, in which there was no airflow system and most of the doors were kept closed in order not to make too much noise outside. Which for me was ridiculous, since it was weekend and every pub around us was noisy. At a certain moment on Saturday, the air was so warm and smelly that I was able only to stand closed to the smoking areas, the only place where to take fresh air since it was outside.

 

VOLA, Agent Fresco, Modern Day Babylon and Animals as Leaders

Speaking about Saturday, I had a very nice start of the day with VOLA, which I discovered last year and I love since that moment. These guys are growing professionally and their fanbase is doing it also at the same pace. Most of the time people were singing their songs and the main stage was really packed, even if it was only 5 pm.

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VOLA during a break between songs

I do not have so much to add about Car Bomb (also pretty packed), Rolo Tomassi (that I definitely removed from my personal list of band to follow, since their music doesn’t tell me anything) and other bands of the night except 3: Agent Fresco, Modern Day Babylon and Animals as Leaders.

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Agent Fresco – with security guy and photographer

Finally I got to see Agent Fresco after the disappointing live I saw in Eindhoven while touring with Leprous. It was one of the last shows and the sounds was terrible, so I really appreciated the fact they gave 110% on this 40 min. Even if they said they were having technical issues, I did not notice big mistakes during playing Destrier (because they are basically doing this, over and over, and still promising to release the next album even if they said was due this summer). Also here, the public was so into the songs and involved until the end, when – as always – Arnor took his long cable for the microphone and just into the crowd singing The Autumn Red and greetings the people around him. Quite a standard gig for an aficionado as me, but still worth the price of the ticket.

At the last two bands of the night I was really tired and the heat was almost unbearable. I got to see almost all the Modern Day Babylon set, that was also extremely powerful and followed with the passion by the small public of the second stage, but when I went back to the main stage I had a moment of despair. For the last band of the night the place was completely packed of people. From my perspective there was no place available, and taking pictures of Animals as Leaders from my side was not possible. I was not even able to see the band until the last two songs – which was fine since I was waiting Physical Education, their most famous closure. Surprisingly the crowd (one of the most proactive I have ever seen) sang even this instrumental piece.

 

In conclusion, I must say that this was a successful first edition of the Radar festival, mainly due to two reasons: the line up and the public. It seems there is a quite active and connected scene in this area – even if small – ready to support this kind of activities. Let’s hope they will keep it up.

 

The Underground | ART POP

Art pop (also typeset as art-pop or artpop) is a loosely defined style of pop music influenced by pop art’s integration of high and low culture, and which emphasizes the manipulation of signs, style, and gesture over personal expression. [Wiki]

SENKETSU NO NIGHT CLUB

What is more fascinating than the movie world? So many universes collapse behind a screen, so close and so distant at the same time, and they let us to dream things that will never happen in our lives. Movies are an escaping moment for millions of people, but have you ever though how much important is the music that surrounds them? Without soundtracks some movies are without charm, without emotion. Sometimes the soundtracks themselves are the main character of a celluloid project.

We consider these melodies always entwined with a movie, however have you ever tried to listen some of them alone? Some of them are so magic that you don’t see any image to complete them, as Senketsu No Night Club shows in the 50 minutes of its first self title album:

 

 

I suggest to listen to this full-length with eyes closed, and picturing what the music tells you: because it is not possible to imagine a story behind the project of Adriano Vincenti (Macelleria Mobile di Mezzanotte, Cronaca Nera), one of the most influential and prolific musician of the folk/noir/ambient Italian scene.

Inspired by the extreme Japanese cinema, in Senketsu No Night Club soft jazz melodies lay next to tracks that remind relentless chasing; memories of Blade Runner atmospheres are closed to harsh noise intermezzos, when the whole album is soaked in a noir shadow of mystery, a signature of Adriano Vincenti‘s production.

A quite specific project, an original way to re-write the concept of soundtracks in the experimental panorama music.

ROADBURN | Day 4

It has a been a long time since I visited the Roadburn, but finally my story is going to an end.

Sunday was a beautiful day. I managed to take some rest during this crazy crazy weekend, and I was almost full of energy to live the last day of the festival. In general I also like Sunday because, even if the quality of the music remains constant, the atmosphere here is more relaxed, also because of less people wondering around the venues. Most of them leave to come back to their countries: I actually read that most of the fans (I believe 75%) that attend the Roadburn are from outside the Netherlands, and definitely from outside the Tilburg region. For me this is a quite peculiar fact…

 

MJ Guider

The first band I saw was MJ Guider. The band itself plays an electric echoing of synth/guitar/bass mix that creates a sort of foggy 80’s fine atmosphere. It feels like we are drowning in the blue-colored air of the Green Room. There is not so much crowd, so it happened to me to assist at the concert without being pushed and in a place with a very nice view, so I enjoyed the complete experience.

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Stuck in Motion

After listening a little bit of Daughters in the Main Room (only to kill the time for me next band I was interested with, since those guys are not doing anything that can shock me or give me reason to stay, even if their work is quite valuable) I come back to the Green Room to check Stuck in Motion. Those Swedish guys are quite interesting, considering the fact that are three and seems that everyone is able to play every type of instrument, not mentioning the singing part. They entertainment us with pure psychedelic pieces, shifting from dynamic synth solo to romantic ballads, and they do it enchanting the public.

 

Thou

Another concert I really enjoyed is Thou‘s. There is so much destructive energy in this band, that the whole Main Room is simply mesmerized by vibrations are coming from the stage. One of the visual choice (as you can see from the picture, the three crosses) is so powerful when is accompanied by their sludge. The impression is people are so focused on it that look like statues from where I sit:

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Ulcerate

Well, I admit it. Thanks to the fact on Sunday there were less people I intentionally spend most of the time in 013. But in the case of Ulcerate, it was ages I wanted to see them live: and for this performance I could see the crowd in the Green Room. Not for nothing those guys are monsters in their sludge-death. The energy level is maintained quite high, and few people left the room, at least until I was there.

 

Bossk

The last I heard during this Roadburn is Bossk, a real nice post-rock project. Their songs are fresh and bring the listener to enjoy every nuance of the composition and astonishes him with the violence of the lead voice, that seems so distant and also so close with the essence of the song, that just give a sense of confusion.

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Here we are, at the end of my journey. It is a long story of my four days that could have been longer and with more bands on my personal running order. However, I do not think that the Roadburn is only a place to go to hear some cool music, or better is not only that. I believe that Roadburn is an experience, a rite of passage through a new music concept and mind paradigm. Roadburn is a gathering with who, like us, is doing this changing, and it gives the opportunity to even expand it. Roadburn is, basically, the spiritual trip into music that everyone that loves the underground needs to do.

ROADBURN | Day 3

After a quite short Friday a rich weekend started. I managed to arrive around 3 at Het Patronaat to see Turia, and of course arriving just when the show begins is not a good idea. I had to spend 30 min in the cold (with little bit of snow) before I got into the venue

 

Turia

I saw Turia last year in Little Devil (another venue in Tilburg, specialized in black metal mostly), and I was positively impressed by them. As I mentioned in the previous post, I listen black metal but I get quite bored unless the idea behind the project is different than the standard I am used to. One thing I like about the band is the female screaming, that I find more fascinating due to the pitch; but also the intensity that the band radiates. I must say their concert looks like a ritual, which can tell you a lot about the performance.

 

Break

The second band in my personal schedule is Sumac, but I got disappointed when I arrived at 013. One of the two corridors next to the Main Stage is closed because of the crowd, and in the other people are so packed that going inside the room is not an option. I decided then to walk to the Koepelhal, to take a coffee and to wait for Mourne.

At the Koepelhal I tried the Koffie & Koek, a cute bar made inside a train wagon. Even if their philosophy of using bio products is something I quite like, I did not enjoy the coffee so much (but I am Italian, and I always say that each coffee I take beyond the Alps tastes like dirty water, so…).

With my warm drink in the hand I started wandering inside the building, finally having time to check the painting exhibitions by Marissa Nadler and Emma Ruth Rundle, as I mentioned in the live report of the first day. I also gave a sight to the Full Bleed area, where the Roadburn poster artists could show and sell their own products.

I believe that the success of the Roadburn is based on two main pillars: one is – of course – the captivating mix of underground and cool music, while the second one is the astonishing graphic design. Not for anything the festival t-shirts tend to finish quite early, almost the first day of the event!

But let’s come back to the program.

 

Mourne

Morne is an American band hailing from Boston, that plays a damned atmospheric doom metal. I enjoyed their concert, the music was nice fresh air, but I found them not really involving the public. Basically: nice to listen in the car or while chilling at home, a little bit less to see on stage.

 

Glerakur

After dinner I went back to Koepelhal to see Glerakur, that became my personal best band in this edition.

Let’s start with the stage: imagine my surprise to see three guitars, two basses and two drums. Normally, when I see this kind of non-standard band compositions I immediately think that the project is shit. You know, apparently a lot of ‘musicians’ think that if you have something eccentric in clothes, stage effects the music doesn’t need to be special. But this is a different story for Glerakur.

I personally love ambient and post rock. It is difficult to state which one I love the most, however I can tell that in this case there is no point to make comparison. The band is a right mix of the two genres, with an hint of melancholia in the songs that makes everything….perfect?

Sadness and wonder are the words that give the immediate feedback of the band, and together with the visuals made the performance great.

 

Agrimonia

After this concert I was bored of the station area (Koepelhal and Hall of Fame were previously train storage buildings) and I came back to Main Stage. I gave a quick look to Sleep (main event of this Roadburn 2019) and as the same speed I went away. Not because the band was not good, but simply because I didn’t find anything more interested than the average stoner sludge metal. Considering the age, they probably invented the genre, that is the reason why so many people are fulfilling the Main Stage in 013, but I am more interested in new sonority.

I think that this is the Koepelhal edition for me, since most of the bands I decided to see played there. Last band of the night (for me) was Agrimonia, a swedish-black-female-fronted metal band. Nice to hear (also, I love extreme female fronted bands, I think it is obvious) but nothing special to record, except for the energetic and funny singer.

I gave up the night after them because of the unsustainable situation at the moment. Indeed Saturday is the day that has the highest participants at the festival, as you can imagine (headliners, weekend night, etc.). This brings problems in the classic venues, considering the small capacity of the 013 and Het Patronaat. I reached a moment in which I was trying to figure out which band it was more convenient to see, instead of to choose respect to what I wanted to listen, which made me kind of angry against the festival and made me take the decision to go home.

ROADBURN | Day 2

I know I should take vacation when I decide to follow a festival as the Roadburn. As I admitted in the previous post, it was a matter of luck I go the ticket, then it was too late to call holiday. The result was that on Friday I arrived even later than on Thursday. What did I have the chance to see then?

Svalbard

From the train station I directly start to walk to the Koepelhal, the biggest venue of the Roadburn, to see Pijn, a sort of angry post-metal band. I was too late to spend some time to other concerts in the classic venues (take in account the time you need to queue) but to early to just sit in the Koepelhal and get bored. I decided then to quickly go and see Svalbard in the Hall of Fame, the fifht venue placed next to the skate park. Still, I was not enough in time to have a good spot there, so don’t ask me how the musicians looked like. I can tell you that the person was screaming was a girl, that’s all. For the rest, it was something that I normally define post-punk, quite atmospheric and good for me for maximum 20 minutes.

Lingua Ignota

When I was going out from the Hall of Fame, I noticed that something was happening at the skate park. I still don’t know if it was scheduled or it was a sort of secret show, but for me it was completely a surprise to see Lingua Ignota again, this little girl (that for me look a little bit like Lady Gaga without make up) try to connect her keyboard a the amplifiers when kids are skating around her. I waited for her performance, and finally I got the chance to see her (I finally had a nice spot) singing in a microphone with a light hanged on it. Well, in a completely dark room makes its effect, but after a couple of songs I left: it was the same set of the day before.

Drab Majesty

I have been interested to Synth Pop lately. ( I hope I can release the compilation soon in the year, but you already see my productivity level). For this reason I put on my to do list  Drab Majesty, an American duo which a quite peculiar apparence.

This is the year of Marriages apparently: on Thursday I saw Emma Ruth Rundle play in her solo project (and exhibit her art) and on Friday was the turn of the drummer, and its electonics with a touch of 80s atmosphere. I did not have the chance to live this decade, however I have the feeling that the white wigs and the crazy glasses come exactly from that period.

L’Acephale

The last band of the day was for me L’Acephale, that is not an ritual French band, but a more complex American black metal project. The band doesn’t hit me particularly: the music they play has quite of variey but there is nothing that can shock me or make them remind me in the future. I am pretty peaky with black metal, not because is my favorite genre. It is because for me is all much the same that I struggle to find new interesting proposals: to be captivating they must have something that really differentiate from the other projecs in the panorama.

Click here to see Day 1

ROADBURN | Day 1

Here we are with the 2019 edition of the most interesting and experimental metal festival in Europe: the Roadburn. Also for this year we will assist a never ending names of astonishing bands, such as – just to say the most important – Heilung, Mono, Myrkur, Thou, Tryptykon, At the Gates and Sleep, that comes back after 27 years to celebrate their music path on the Main Stage of the 013.

Introduction

I must admit that I didn’t even plan to come to the festival this year: I made the wrong decision to wait until January to buy the ticket, and I realized it was too late. On the other side, I could expect it: the Roadburn is an indoor festival, which means that the capacity is strictly limited due to logistics reasons, and at the same time is THE place in which every metal fan would like to be (or at least, every elitist). The ticket race is therefore unavoidable.

Anyway, I got lucky and a friend of mine managed to find me an entrance. For me was a big surprise and I saw it as a reward for all the good actions I do lately (I am joking, of course). I also though it made even more important to  write about the festival, and let the people were not able to make it feel a little of the Roadburn magic through my humble words.

For this reason I studied the running order and I made the clever plan to see as many cool bands as possible. This turned up catastrophically, as the decision of taking my camera and try to pictures my experience via first-hand photos.

Lingua Ignota

On Thursday I managed to go out from work soon enough to arrive just in time for Lingua Ignota. Behind this moniker there is the performance artist Kristin Hayter, a tiny super blond American girl with an amazing strong and expressive voice. She performed in the Green Room that, as I should know in advance, was so packed that at the beginning of the concert I am not even able to see stage. This is not really important, considering that Kristin is actually playing her piano in the crowd, in front of the stage mix.

The songs are shifting from one to another, without any stop, and this make for me difficult to understand if every piece has a particular style or is a mix of different influences. In this hour of music I could hear machine noise, heavy loops, vibrato voice and even the romantic and dark cover of Jolene, one of the most famous US song that I know.

Emma Ruth Rundle

After the claustrophobic atmosphere of the small stage of the 013 I went to Koepelhal to see Emma Ruth Rundle. This artist is not only a musician, but also a painter, and during this Roadburn edition she exhibits some of her works in the Koepelhal itself:

What appears to me when I listen to this young lady, is a sort of Cure type of songs, which I like a lot. Her music is dark and dreamy, but the difference compared to the giants of the 80s is the roughness of the guitars.

Territoire

Coming back to the 013, I decided to sneak inside Territoire concert. I did not have the chance to hear them more than 10 min, however I did like a lot the atmosphere, the breaks of silent, low and high volume sounds, the slowness of the performance and the use of distortions to elaborate the human voice.

Heilung

Another project I told myself I surely wanted to see was Heilung. I have heard a lot about them and I needed to see if they were so unbelievable as people told me. I did not dive into their music before I reached them at the Main Stage, and I was expecting a traditional folk viking band, but when I entered the hall doors I saw the first extravagant thing: the members of Heilung were standing in circle, silent, hand in hand, in something that looked like a pray. They basically ignored everything that was going around them until the moment they had to start to perform, and even in that moment, there was the impression we were looking at a ritual and not a concert.

Just imagine a bunch of inhabitants of Northern forest during some primitive middle ages singing and making music to thank their Gods, using historical instruments, bones and drums. Extremely fascinating, but for me more a theatrical piece that actual music.

Bliss Signal

I left the room quite early to grant my spot in the Green Room to see Bliss Signal. I have a ‘musical’ crush for James Kelly, since I had the chance to see him performing his WIFE project. Which I consider one of the most brilliant experimental artifacts I have encountered recently. After that, I discovered Bliss Signal also casually, wandering in Cloud 9 when this duo was performing during Le Guess Who? festival. If you tell I like WIFE you can easily say I madly love Bliss Signal, so you can imagine my excitement when I say Kelly wandering around the small stage of the Green Room, checking every cable was in his view. Quite a perfectionist? Maybe, consider the fact that everything was ready in no time and the only things he needed were the cable connected to his pedal. I am joking of course (such a funny girl eh?), but this was something impressed me, together the awkward taste of his clothes.

I do believe that, due to the sound management at the mix, the show was not so powerful and inspiring as the one at the Cloud 9, which made me a little bit disappointed, however I was happy to see this duo playing again on stage.

ZERO23 | Songs from the Eternal Dump

Classical music was always a mystery for me. Maybe is because I never learnt the basic rules, maybe because is something we are not used to listen to anymore. However, when I approach contemporary classic music (or something that for me seems like it), I am always intrigued and fascinated. It is quite interesting to hear a project like zero23 releasing such mosaic of electronica and cello music as in Songs of the Eternal Dump.

The title of the album has a double meaning: from one side it refers to the society as a whole, where the eternal dump represents human dynamics and contemporary society; on the other side, it refers to the sound, since both the electronics and guitars are intentionally made into a scratchy, dirty sound.

What really catch my ear is the designed presence of silence – not just between the tracks but also with a meaning in itself. Every note, every noise seems to have a specific space in the time frame of a track, that is elaborated deeply in the artist’s mind. Sounds can be seen as  brush strokes on canvas, to create a piece of Informal art.

Broken Souls is the track I like the most, since it blend magnificently loops and melody. It is something that keeps me awake and vigilant, but at the same time it sends me in catatonic mode.

It is interesting to discover the different facets of this complex music: it seems like the seeking of the unrevealed.

PANDEMIA | A year later…

Dear Music Lovers,

It has been a year since Pandemia became alive. Many thinks happened, and I would like to summarize it in a brief post.

First of all, I cannot tell how I was amazed to get in touch with interesting bands, labels and projects all around the world. I was lucky enough to get in contact with extremely creative people and I had the privilege to expose their way to see their artistic life on the ‘pages’ of this website.

I would like to thank again all the labels, such as Cryo Chamber, Unsigned and Hjordi-Britt Astrom, to give me the time to discuss about their view on the current panorama. I am grateful to Euroblast that let me to participate at their festival as a reviewer. I am really happy about the opportunities that VOLA, ØKAPI and Common Eider King Eider gave me to discuss about their music and share their thoughts on the webzine.

My posts would not be so cool without photographs, made by Andre Symann, Marvin Ruppert, Heiner Bach, Mats.L Photography, Blumina Live Photography, Niels Vinck,Susana  Martins, Paul Verhagen,Quinten Quist Konzertphotographie. Without them the stories I told would have not been so bright and vibrant.

If you did not do already, just have a check on our first compilation, made with the best underground Post Rock artists you can find in Internet, like Soonago,
Dwaninungka, False Horizon,
 Oh Hiroshima, Nanaki, we.own.the.sky, Empty Yard Experiment ,
Dawnlit, Molecules to Mind, Cats Never Die . They lend their music to me to make the first official Pandemia compilation and I am deeply grateful for it.

It was not the most productive year, and honestly I regret I didn’t have more time to spend on Pandemia. However, the plan is to go forward and try to develop this platform.

I am still searching other Music Lovers to be able to cover more genres and artists. If you are interested, contact me via this website on via our other channels (check the Contact page).

I am still searching other Music Lovers to make this website grow and be able to cover more genres and artists. If you are interested, contact me via this website on via our other channels (check the Contact page).

I wish to all an energetic start of 2019, and keep checking Facebook or the Pandemia website, we are coming back!

HJÖRDIS-BRITT ÅSTRÖM

tIn this period I am working on the new Pandemia compilation and I am checking quite a lot of projects and labels, trying to find the best of the underground music is out for the genre I decided to pick up (which is a surprise until I will close the list of artists that will participate). During this research I stumbled on a Russian-based dreampop/indie/shoegaze/ambient called Hjördis-Britt Åström. I had the change to ask few questions to his found, Dmitry Gruber.

Hi Dmitry, thank you for being here on Pandemia. Can you tell us a little bit more about the story of your label? Is there a specific meaning behind the name?

Some years ago I was joking that my label is like my audio diary. But now — it’s a Grimoire. And it’s not so fun anymore, for different reasons.

The story began in 2013 when I met my soulmate Marianna Diakova. I heard her solo project Diakova at Soundcloud and I fell in love with those songs and her voice (for me it’s still one of the best sounds in the world). I offered her to make music together and we recorded a lot of great songs. She was the vocalist and I was making the music.  I hate to work with somebody and I’m not a team-player, but we understood each other perfectly. I’m still missing this time. It’s ridiculous, but I never see her in real life, only in Skype. For years we were sending music files each other for making songs, and fantazising about to meet and to get drunk together, but we never had the chance! But one day this will happen.

Sometime later we released our first works at different labels but after that I decided to make and run my own. It was supposed to be a home for our music. After a little more time I started to release the project of my friend Mike, called Fortune 600. And over time, I began to invent and produce my side-projects/aliases with other vocalists such as Galatée, Hectana, Mostly Unknown etc.

Hjördis-Britt Åström is the name of a Great Spirit, the Goddess of mystical hazy lands and strangest dreams. I found it in my imagination, so why not?

Hjördis-Britt Åström collects artists that goes from raw-ambient to indie-dreampop, flowing through 80s-synthetic vibes. Is there a common line between the artists you decided to take into consideration?

I’m the author of most projects (except where specified otherwise, for example: Camille Paulette-Odell) and I don’t know which is the connection point between them. I just can say that all the music at the label is from similar worlds, we have a similar attitude.

You define yourself as a Music artist. How your creativity is deployed, or in general connected, with the scope of the label?

Label is the home for my music. I can do everything I want and sharing it with people who love it. My music projects have different names because are different, but they are  single parts of the main concept.

Which is your personal process to scout bands/projects?

I’m not looking for talents, I’m not searching for music or musicians, I’m not the part of any music scene, I’m not connected with any music cultures (but relate to some of them). My label is absolutely a self-centered system. Sometimes I receive demos from another artists and every time I don’t know what to say to them. I don’t want to criticize, but their works are their works, it’s not a part of my story, it’s not a part of my music world. Moreover I don’t know how I can help them. I’m not a famous person and my label isn’t famous (or I don’t know about it, haha).

I don’t know how some one can join the label. It will happen only if it will happen. There’s no common logic.

Do you also support your artists in other ways (for ex., organizing gigs, promotion work,…)?

I never do any promo. Maybe it’s my biggest mistake. Almost everyone says to me that I need to promote music everywhere. I don’t want to do that. People who are looking for such music – they will find it.

Regarding gigs, I have no activity at the moment. Diakova stopped her project and as I know she doesn’t want to do concerts, but she’s interested in making music for theater/cinema/fashion shows. Fortune 600 playing sets sometimes. Galatée is my the most troubled project, in many ways. Maybe I need a help with music touring/booking and management, but I can’t ask for this.

How is the relationship with your public/label network? They do interact with you and the artists often, participating actively to the development of the label, or is more a one-way ‘relationship’?

If you’re asking about the audience, I communicate with some my listeners, we chat about non-music themes. I’m not very happy to talk about music, for many reasons. Also, I don’t want to do posts about my life or share my super-important opinions about super-important events. And I never do photo-sessions with gear and other stupid things. I have a lot of stories that I would like to tell. I do it in music, not in posts. So, maybe it’s more a one-way relationship. Or I just need a SMM-specialist, haha.

 

ONTERVJABBIT | Torture Garden

From space to abyss, this full-length from the Slovenian artists Ontervjabbit gives a lot of inputs to think about. What is noise, what is music? The two things are so entwined in Torture Garden, that is not possible to define them accordingly to the classical standards. Is it music something that gives pleasure, or is more an organic way of presenting human emotions? Is it noise the manifestation of nature (made by living beings or machines) or is a manifesto of rebels?

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In Torture Garden a linear composition of the songs is not granted, however moments of beautiful harmony and disharmony are brought to the ear of the listener. This album is  a collection of sophisticated sounds that evolve into a cinematic story, a distorted narrative that culminates in white noise and riverbed loops.

There is no fear to experiment in this album; the strength of this composition is the use of multiple tools and effects, voices and synthesizers, in a series of tracks that have nothing is common to each other. A beautiful but fearful garden of vibrations.

EUROBLAST 2018

Photo by Euroblast. All credits belong to the respective photographers.

Almost one week passed, and I will try to put some of the ideas are going through my mind related to Euroblast, the best progressive/technical indoor festival in Europe. This year was the second time I went to Essigfabrik and I decided to leave the experience in full, staying there three days. The overall impression that I had – besides the music – is that the place seemed more a big gathering of old friends, and not because people knew each others – some of them for sure – but because the atmosphere was so warm that looks like you are going to meet the family that you were not seeing for some time.

This was really a nice edition, with a beautiful weather that gave us time to enjoy the outside spaces and socialize, a relaxed atmosphere and the possibility to hang out with some of band members, that were possible to see around the stage exit. Another good point is definitely the nice line up was organized for the 2018 edition. As I wrote in this post, Monuments were again headliner for one of the 3 days, and there is no true Euroblast if no Monuments, Textures or TesseracT are there. And thank god we had them, since there are just few singers that can lead the stage and the crowd as Chris Barretto. I don’t really know where he finds such energy that guy, seriously. People can just look at him and fell in love because of his charisma and vocal talent. Not just a singer, but also a showman.

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Photo by Andre Symann

It was also nice to see again our friends VOLA, that seems are going to conquer the hearts of the progressive community all around the world. Those guys are really promoting themselves in the best way as possible, giving their music the attention it deserves; I realized it when I saw how the public knew them very well even if their presence was not so massive on social and concerts (but they chose a group of nice festivals to show up, as the Complexity in Haarlem and the TechFest in Newark). Or Caligula’s Horse, that has different type of charm when you see them indoor respect into the sun of Barcelona at the Be Prog! My Friend, but still they maintain their peculiar epic aura.

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Photo by Marvin Ruppert

But if I need to talk about my discoveries, I need to talk about two German bands: Long Distance Calling, a prog/post rock band from the region that inflamed the end of the festival with their instrumental vibrations, and Lake Cisco, about I liked a lot its ethereal and kind of romantic atmosphere explosive melodies.

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Photo by Heiner Bach

For the rest, many good bands run on the two stages, from the funky style of Sordid Pink to the tech black-death of Humanity’s Last Breath, making enough variety during the day and keep the interest high. A good location, an interesting line up and amazing people: Euroblast didn’t betrayed us also this year.

Click on the image to find the playlist of the line up for 2018:

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Leave a comment below about your favorite moment at the festival. Everyone was there this year probably heard the battle cry of ‘Cookie dough’ at least 10 times per day, and is probably one of the funniest moment I had, especially the last day in which people were so tired to hear it that they buy it. What about you?

Meakusma Festival 2018

What a wonderful pearl I discovered – by chance – in the middle of Europe. The Meakusma festival is a place where the sound itself is the main character, without any border or preconditions, celebrated for what it is, the basic pillar of many forms of art.

I don’t know if it was the beautiful weather that welcomed me, or the vibes of the Meakusma community, or the shock to see such impressive underground artists, but this festival will stay in my heart for a long time. It is amazing how the organization made everything so cozy and exiting at the same time. In this weekend I can say that I was never bored, listening to so many different projects in different stages.

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Meakusma is a festival at its 3rd edition, and takes place in Eupen, one of the few Belgium-German-spoken cities at the border of these two countries. The main venue of this gathering is the Alter Schlachthof culture center, placed not so far from the center of the town, the first weekend of September.

Personally, I cannot say if there were big names on the line up, I am not really into this world, but I will give some impressions about the musicians I had the chance to see and hear:

  • Brötzmann | Leigh: this duo brought on the scene a magnificent exhibition of free jazz using a variety of sax/clarinets and a pedal guitar (that I have never seen in my life on a live stage). The density of the performance was palpable and people were genuinely fascinated by the intensity of Peter Brötzmann combined with the loveliness of Healther Leigh‘s sound.

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  • Bruce: how can I define Bruce‘s work as not as collage dance music? I really cannot find a standard definition for what he plays. It doesn’t mean that it cannot be sensational thou: the atmosphere inside the Halle (the main room of the Alter Schlachthof) was intimate and concentrate, but was still shacking people to dance.

  • Am Vision | Lambert Duchesne: these AM Berliners performed in Kesselraum a mix of digital and electronic music, telling a prophetic story towards the images of a video screen. The show was very peculiar and sometimes extremely powerful in the message it was bringing.
  • Ben Ufo: one of the curator of the Festival, Ben Ufo had his moment at 23:00 in Halle, with a huge crowd ready for his original contemporary dance music. Unpredictable and dynamic, Ben‘s idea of rhythm is quite fluid, but it never let us down.
  • Hinosch: when Osaka meets Düsseldorf, Japan meets Germany, Asia meets Europe, then a synthetic-unsyncronized sound decorates the air thanks to the experienced engineering hands of Hinosch and their performance in Kesselraum.

  • Radian: amazing experience with the Austrian trio and their music, a sort of minimal rock drone, extremely dense and theatrical. In the Kühlraum those guys made the public silent and few people dared to leave the room:

Other interesting facts about the festival:

  • the Alter Schlachthof was in principle a slaughterhouse; however it doesn’t really look like a place of death, since the building are beautifully realized at the beginning of the XX Century;
  • the festival hosted one of the work of the Belgian artist David Helbich, a transcendent and meditative audio guide to listen while walking around the culture center;
  • a beautiful installation from Floris Vanhoof is made hanging geometrical metal structures with gongs that vibrate when the wind passes. It is amazing to walk in the street and listen to this unexpected music.

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A festival created for the music, but not just made of music. A really nice small event that it should be followed, since it hosts such fascinating avant-garde and experimentation. The exact opposite of what the uncritical mass of our modern society likes: and also because of this, a reason more to visit it next year.

Photos are kindly shared by Meakusma Festival

Discoveries | DADAISM

In painting, Dadaism is defined as a movement who rejects the logic, reason, and aestheticism of modern capitalist society, instead expressing nonsense, irrationality, and anti-bourgeois protest. Masterpieces of the ’20 show bizarre situations, dreams and nightmares brought on canvas, and no direct meanings can be extrapolated from the observation of a painting (however they are full of deep statements hidden inside). It is possible so to describe them as a immense charming mess, and I believe that the music I am describing now is fitting this definition.

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In 2017 Igorrr release his second full-length, Savage Sinusoid, and it captivated not just experimental music fanbase but also a big group of metalheads, touring Europe and participating to quite a lot of important festivals. But Igorrr is not the only project of Gautier Serre: in his production you will find also past experiences under the name Corpo-Mente (with the partnership of his female vocalist Laure Le Prunenec – that also has a solo project called Ele Ypsis) and Whourkr (in which is possible to recognize Laurent Lunoir‘s voice, also in Igorrr and black metal/male counterpart voice). Gautier also featured with RubyMyDear for the release of Maigret (and if this title doesn’t ring you a bell…) and I must say that all the projects listed here have in common the characteristics of a crazy composition of their songs, that looks like more a collage of different type of songs organize randomly, but even in this configuration they are able to move feelings and bring strong messages. Not for nothing, Gautier is described as Dadaist from the critics.

Today we would like to share with you these bands that share this approach. Except Gautier’s projects, Pryapisme, öOoOoOoOoOo and Daexic are added to the list as other members of this music community. Some of them have more influences on hardcore and death metal, others on classic music and rock, however they share common traits of unpredictability and madness. No one said music should be equal to order: a such important form of art should be completely free to develop itself as it needs.

 

 

Vol. 1 | POST ROCK

After months I worked on this project, I am finally able to release the first official compilation of Pandemia. This time we focus on new proposals in Post Rock.

download here

Post Rock is defined as a genre in which the band structure is similar to the one shown in classical rock (bass, guitars, drums) but it uses them in a different way, mixing with traditional sounds other genres like ambient, noise, pop and punk.

In this compilation 10 artists are presented. They are from different countries, with different influences and at a different stages of their music career, however each of them bring something really peculiar to the compilation. Something that make me decide to have them on this blog.

In the page linked you can download your copy of the compilation (in mp3) and read more about each song.