Review: The belated release of New York industrial ambient crew Black Rain's early '90s soundtrack work in 2011 sparked something in founder Stuart Argabright. It inspired a belated return to the studio and this surprise album, Black Rain's first for 18 years. Given how long they've been away, Dark Pool is a pleasingly accomplished set. Like their previous material, it wades in dark waters, joining the dots between droning electronic textures, skittish, IDM-inspired rhythms, horror chic, industrial noise and bleak electronica. It's hugely atmospheric, of course, but also strangely claustrophobic. It's a brilliant set, all told, but one that shouldn't be taken lightly.
Review: Berlin-based Melbournite Carla Dal Forno, one half of uber cool duo Tarcar and one third of F Ingers, strikes out on her own for the always impressive Blackest Ever Black. Aimed as a taster for a forthcoming solo album, Carla Dal Forno presents two tracks of reduced goth tendencies on "Fast Moving Cars", with her gorgeous vocals backed by a bare bones rhythmic arrangement, subtle synth swells and a raw bassline. Things get even gloomier yet on "Better Yet", where her haunting vocals assist you in drifting away to a dark and lonely place, sounding reminiscent of early Sisters Of Mercy or The Cure.
Review: Blackest Ever Black's unwavering commitment to gracing 2014 with some of the most distinct sounds continues apace as their latest long player sees the return of William Bennett's Cut Hands project. Entitled Festival Of The Dead, this new album feels like the next logical progression in the Cut Hands sound, with the label describing it as "most potent distillation yet" of Bennett's "malign percussive energy". If you checked lead track "The Claw" which was made available to stream when BEB first announced the album, you will no doubt have an idea of what to expect but this relentless, bracing approach shown there is not the only card played by Bennett across the album. Indeed it's the moments where the sonics get twisted and chewed up (such as the suitably named "Parataxic Distortion") that prove most memorable.
Review: Along with Raime, Dalhous are one of the few constant acts on the ever shifting Blackest Ever Black. Originally debuting on the label as Young Hunting in 2011, the duo of Marc Dall and Alex Ander moved from a soundtrack-inspired sound to a more fractured, sample-based electronic palette when they re-emerged as Dalhous at the tail end of 2012. After delivering a fine and rather under-appreciated debut album last year, Dalhous now return with Visibility Is A Trap, and it's seemingly the solo concern of Dall now. Featuring four new originals written and produced by Dall that reflect his "continued interest in the language and imagery of self-help, R.D. Laing and the anti-psychiatry movement", this EP shows a further progression in the Dalhous sound. Karl O'Connor returns for one of his irregular BEB appearances with a Regis remix of "He Was Human And Belonged With Humans" from last year's aforementioned LP.
Review: Ambient explorers Dalhous - AKA producers Marc Dall and Alex Ander - have some intriguing influences; apparently this second full length for Blackest Ever Black was inspired by their fascination with the life and work of radical psychiatrist R.D Laing. Whether this is noticeable in the music is debatable, though there are plenty of varied moods, dreamy melodies, cascading electronics and glitchy rhythms to be found on Will To Be Back. Certainly, it's a thoroughly engaging and entertaining set, far lighter and more melodious in tone and texture than their 2013 debut. There are still droning passages of intense melancholy, of course, but these are countered by sun-bright melodies and beautiful, drawn-out sounds.
Review: Alex Ander and Marc Dall, the two dudes behind the Dalhous project, have pretty much restricted their output to the mighty Blackest Ever Black label, but who could blame them? The label has been one of the most consistent and diverse stables for dark and industrial dance and non-dance music over the last five years, a true pinnacle of the 2010's. This latest work, entitled The Composite Moods Collection Vol 1 / House Number 44 is a beast of an album, nineteen piece of sparse and desolate electronic music that has much more in common with a soundtrack than an ambient album. In fact, the chilling backdrops of drones and electro-acoustic wails that flutter over this work are truly a piece of moody melodica, a times loosely infused with melted beats and a ritualistic form of percussion. It's classic BEB material, and if you're into travelling to sinister, cavernous places, this will surely do the trick.
Luckily I Was Allowed To Get Dressed When I Left The House - (1:04) 159 BPM
I Am Made To Greet Each Guest With A Limp-wristed Handshake - (1:49)
Only Carla - (5:03) 132 BPM
She Is Pretty Strange, The Way She Dresses, That Punky Hair God Knows What She Gets Up To - (0:13) 148 BPM
Jack The Damned - (2:25) 157 BPM
Since I Am On A Strict 500 Calorie A Day Diet With Extensive Exercise & No Alcohol, I Have The Shape Of A Petite Little Woman, & My Wife Has Paid For Breast Implants & Facial Surgery To Make Me More Acceptable - (3:45) 65 BPM
Duck Shall Not Have The Audacity To Request Release Himself. Duck Shall Not Gripe Or Complain About The Duration Of His Confinement, The Length Of Which Will Be Solely Determined By Mistress - (1:01) 123 BPM
He Might Be Able To Earn A Meal Of Slop If He Does Dangerous Work (for Instance - Crash Test Dummy) THUNDERSKINS - (0:51) 144 BPM
To Compensate, While The Average Lifespan Of A Male Will Be About 70 Years, Medical Advancements Will Make The Average Lifespan Of A Woman To Be About 750 Years - (1:02) 75 BPM
When Thanksgiving Approaches, I'm Usually In My Third Week Without Release - (2:27) 123 BPM
My Breasts Were Pierced, So Red Ball Ornaments Were Placed Through Each Nipple Additionally, Each Ear Was Pierced, So A Red Ball Ornament Was Placed In Each Earring Hole My Nipples Were Protruding - (8:36) 152 BPM
Thunderskins London Dungeon - (1:11) 152 BPM
The Grad Student Turned Her Eyes Toward The Closet Where She Had Made Him Hide THUNDERSKINS - (5:33) 150 BPM
Drugs Alan, I Don't Believe It But Somebody Saw Her Shooting Up In The Restroom - (1:07) 123 BPM
Only Tease - (5:02) 110 BPM
Tennis Has Always Been My Life Since I Was A Small Boy In Mexico City My Father Was The Head Gardener At An Estate Owned By A Very Important Man & He Used To Take Me With Him So I Could Hit The Balls On The Court - (0:21) 152 BPM
Wild Spectrum - (3:09) 144 BPM
Credits - (2:56) 100 BPM
Review: Something has clearly stirred at Fernow Towers of late with this collection of material under the Exploring Jezebel name one of several album endeavours from the multifaceted US noise icon due within 2015's first quarter. Dominick Fernow completists will be fully aware of Exploring Jezebel, a project of S&M themed nocturnal transmissions issued on limited cassette format mostly through his own Hospital Productions. It's perhaps the one creative endeavour that shows off Fernow's black sense of humour best, as evidenced on the tracklisting for this Blackest Ever Black album. The label describe On A Business Trip To London as a "dramatic document of curious electronics" and that's certainly the case from what we have heard.
Review: F Ingers is an Australian trio made up of Carla Dal Forno, Samuel Karmel, and Tarquin Manek - a new and exciting outfit dealing in stone-cold electronics. "Escape Into The Bushes" is an opener fit for an apocalypse thanks to its shivery waves of ambience and hymns, while "Mum's Caress After Trip" is sinister and foreboding in a wholly different way, and "Tantrum Time" fully enters the doom with its drugged-out vocals and broken melodic patterns. These are just three of the most chilling sculptures inside, but it's clear that F Ingers will be around again in no time and that BEB have found material fit for their catalogue.
Review: Australian electronic dealers F Ingers - made up of Carla Dal Forno, Samuel Karmel, and Tarquin Manek - return to London's Blackest Ever Black unit with their follow-up to 2015's Hide Before Dinner, which was in itself a sublimely tenebrous assemblage of drones, drums and jaded cold-waves. Awkwardly Blissing Out offers the listener plenty of room for exploration, with its six similarly balanced tunes bouncing from highs to lows at a constant pace; with glorious hints of something Balearic, F Ingers manage to retain a sense of light-heartedness about their cavernous sonics, which upon first impression might come across as dark and crestfallen. In reality, this is an LP about the light at the end of the tunnel, or rather, about hidden moments of euphoria within our every emotion. Excellent stuff - highly recommended.
Review: Pessimist has been releasing drum'n'bass since 2010, but as this, his debut album shows, his music is hard to categorise. That said, a bleakly atmospheric streak runs through Pessimist. Allied with his innovative drum programming and ability to conjure up the most powerful sub-bass tones in electronic music, it makes for an unforgettable work. There are high-speed rollers like "No Matter What" to satisfy his core fan base, but when he moves into less defined areas, the album really shines. "Bloom" is a wild ride, all crashing cymbals and live drums, while the tribal groove on "Grit" is supported by a bass that is so darkly viscous, it could be mistaken for an oil slick. Best of all though are "Peter Hitchens" and "Spirals", where Pessimist creates morose moods over rattling drums and skeletal percussion.
Review: Blackest Ever Black is back with another release by Secret Boyfriend, the solo project of North Carolina's Ryan Martin, also one half of Boyzone and the man behind the Hot Releases label. This is his most recent effort for the label since his 2012 album This Is Always Where You've Lived, however he's had around half a dozen cassette releases on a variety of labels including his own Hot Releases imprint since then. For the most part these are sombre and reflective journeys for inner city introverts where dark ambient merges with shoegaze sensibilities swimmingly. But we particularly enjoyed "Little Jammy Centre" and "Stripping At The Nail" which are dusty, indie-goth gems reminiscent of Faith/Pornography era The Cure. Like pretty much anything on B.E.B., this is highly recommended.
Review: The latest Blackest Ever Black release revisits "Tearing Down Heaven" by Six Six Seconds, a track that will be familiar to fans of the excellent 2012 Downwards compilation and a rare musical outburst from the band fronted by Claude Eden. With the arrival of "Tearing Down Heaven" in two slightly different versions on this 10" comes a bit more information about the origins of the track, with Eden laying down the recording in Berlin in 2012 with the assistance of DNS boss Karl O'Connor. For this new BEB edition, an extended version sits on the A-side, adding a further nine seconds whilst the reprise is a more drastic revision, embellishing the dronish qualities with breath-taking effect.
Review: Carla dal Forno and Tarquin Manek together are Tarcar and they're here to sign off another winner of a year from the now cult-like Blackest Ever Black label. There isn't much that BEB haven't deserved a medal for, and they have yet again amazed us with their ludicrously on-point artistic repertoire! Mince Glace is a true thing of beauty, an album which doesn't give a damn about genre or style, but instead travels the treacherous paths between noise, drone, dub and pretty much any other genre of music! In our opinion, the nuttiest cit on here has to be "Emboldened" for it wavy jazz edge and far-out melodies, but be sure to also check out "Fireball" for a real spin down the wormhole. Lovely stuff from both label and artists. Don't miss it.
Review: To this day, Russia's TSB (????) has only released a handful of EPs for a handful of fledgling imprints making their way up the experimental house and techno ladder. Being called up to serve on Blackest Ever Black, Keiran Black's sublime London label, seems like a natural transition for an artist who is so perfectly poised to embrace the post-industrialist nature of contemporary electronic music, and his debut Sekundenschlaf perfectly bridges the gap between UK breakbeat and Russian 'slow' hardcore. This LP might well be on the strongest BEB offerings in recent years, giving listeners an opening into a new sort of sound, on the fringes of dance music. In fact, this is what we regard as the pinnacle of outsiderism, a curious, enchanting collage of fluid beats, wide-eyed synth shapes, and something we can't quite put our finger on. Highly recommended!
Review: While the label were concentrating closely on post-industrial techno in their early days, Blackest Ever Black are now on more of an ambient tip. Tomorrow The Rain Will Fall Upwards is a mysterious outfit that has released a few EPs to date, and their back now with this new LP, Wreck His Days. While tracks like "Ghost From The Coast" are sparse and hollow in their approach, they still contain enough movement to set them apart form pure drone, and the title track "Wreck Hi Days" itself is a masterful piece of percussive melancholia. We're also digging the jarring sonic landscape of "...And I Tried So Hard", along with the cello-led excursion named "Ay Carmela". This ain't no typical ambient, it's BEB ambient. Recommended.