Author: Leo Zaccari

Leo Zaccari spent 14 years in radio working at cutting edge stations like WTHG, one of the first Modern Rock stations in the United States. He also spent time at WBJB in Lincroft, New Jersey where he produced the audio documentary Horror: Fiction, Film & Folklore which featured writers Brian Keene, Jon Skipp, James A. Moore, and the music of Bedtime for Robots. He currently teaches history while finishing his first novel.

Labyrinth from Eighth Tower Records

Labyrinth from Eighth Tower Records

Labyrinth is the latest compilation from Eighth Tower Records, purveyors of fine ultraterrestrial dark ambient, drone, and electronic music. With a total of twenty two tracks there’s enough darkness here to swallow the Earth whole.
The compilation starts off with “When the Shadows Come” from Psionic Asylum, a deep, dark ambient track that starts you down the path to the Labyrinth. Some of the standouts are track 3, “Luft” by Monocube, which wades into static like you are waste deep in murky waters of the mind. A train whistle is used expertly to disconcert the listener, sounding much like a plane crashing.
Track 6 brings “The Labyrinth” by Warpness with helicopter sound effects that increase the tension. Track 17 is “Hostile to the Past” by Soliloqua which uses creepy organ music that plants the seed in your mind that perhaps coming here was a mistake.
Track 18 is from Traansmutt, entitled “HehBethKathDaleth” and its packed with plenty of disturbing sounds like you’ve accidentally intruded on some kind of ritual in an old Hammer horror film. Other tracks include “Tre” from Necrophorus, “Verminephrobacter eiseniae” from Stigmate, and “We’ll Return to Our Departed Selves” by IOK-1.
Finally, the compilation contains an interesting passage about the nature of the labyrinth itself:
Mazes must be solved, a left brain activity that involves choices and an active mind and logical, sequential, linear thinking. A maze is multicursal, with many paths. If you don’t pay attention, you can get lost in one. Not so with a labyrinth. It is unicursal – one way in, one way out. There are no decisions, no choices, no thinking required. The only choice is to enter. To walk one is a right brain activity involving intuition, creativity, and imagination, and it requires a receptive mindset. You must trust the path, surrender to it.

      A labyrinth is not a puzzle; it is a mystery. Theologian Diogenes Allen illuminates the difference: “When a problem is solved, it is over and done with. We go on to other problems. But a mystery, once recognized, is something we are never finished with. Instead, we return to it again and again and it unfolds new levels to us. Mysteries, to be known, must be entered into. We do not solve mysteries. The deeper we enter into them, the more illumination we get.”

Track Listing:

1 Psionic Asylum “When the Shadows Come”

2 Sysselman “Submarine” (featuring Radio Feskslog)

3 Monocube “Luft”

4 Necrophorus “Tre”

5 Sonologyst “System: Maze of Control”

6 Warpness “The Labyrinth”

7 Xerxes the Dark “The Omen”

8 Damballah “Syel Lannwit”

9 Alphaxone “Awakeness”

10 SiJ “Few Sounds From the House Near the Sea”

11 Taphephobia “Twisting Journey”

12 Ashtoreth “Uncertain Path”

13 Globoscuro “Dedalo’s Architectural Liver”

14 Stigmate “Verminephrobacter eiseniae”

15 Silent Chaos “Daedalus of Possibilities”

16 IOK-1 “We’ll Return to Our Departed Selves”

17 Soliloqua “Hostile to the Past”

18 Traansmutt “HehBethKathDaleth”

19 Knobstat – Dirac

20 Monica Vlad – Distant

21 vAaristyma – ei muistiinpanoja alkuliemi

22 SKR Project – Death in Nibiru

https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/labyrinth

Review of Go/No Go from Mike Black by Leo Zaccari

Mike Black’s Go/No Go is more science than science fiction, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to listen to. On the contrary, Black creates an entire universe of sight and sound that awaits the most intrepid exploration. New listeners to the world of electronic music will be awed by the electronic ambience and by Black’s ability to craft worlds beyond our imagination; while more experienced listeners will revel in its seamless blend of different styles with deft nods to Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre, and even ELP. This album is as much a sonic exploration of the outer reaches of the universe as it is an exploration of the mind. Synthesizers prod and probe your consciousness with the precision of a surgeon. The beauty of music or the written word is that it can be interpreted many different ways.

The album hits the ground running with the title cut that marches relentlessly forward. The synth on the second track, “Ribbon Zipper”, is graceful enough to call to mind the final minutes of “Lucky Man”. Other standouts include “Down Very Fast” which plays like the electronic version of a fast paced thriller from Grisham or Baldacci. With its dark and menacing synthesizers, much of the album sounds like it could have been taken from an 80s soundtrack, albeit in a more serious and provocative tone. “The Ebb of Night” has a Japanese vibe reminiscent of “Mate Kudesi”.

I would say that “Trans Four” is the album’s masterpiece, but honestly, this album contains more than one. “Trans Four” is an epic sprawling masterpiece carefully constructed like a Mandala and executed with the precision of a virtuoso. In an album filled with gems, this one still manages to stand out. The album concludes with “Dark Rainy Roads” which ventures into the realms of sci-fi and horror, sounding at times like a cross between “The X-Files” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”.

Go/No Go is electronic music at its best, constructed not only by a highly imaginative musician, but also someone who is clearly a devoted fan of the genre.

https://myspace.com/mikeblackgonogo

http://www.mp3va.com/mike-black-gonogo-r190406

Review of Big Sleep Little Death from Bedtime For Robots by Leo Zaccari

Big Sleep Little Death is the latest release from the purveyors of dark electronic music, Bedtime for Robots. This ambitious release comes on the heels of the enigmatic Music From an Undisclosed Location.

The album opens with the sprawling and spaced out electronic horror track “All My Idols Are Dead”. Given the pedigree of disparate musical acts that make up the brain trust behind Bedtime for Robots, this list of idols is undeniably quite impressive. The description on Bandcamp states that this album was inspired by horror and sci-fi films. The album does not disappoint, as one can easily hear certain tracks dropped into scenes of stalking or dismemberment (and who among us doesn’t love a good dismemberment?) But one can also hear glimpses of Junkie XL or The Crystal Method, and even The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, especially in tracks such as “National Lobotomy”.

The album features two centerpieces: the first is the title cut, which features dark electronica that is so sinister it sounds like it belong right at home in a William Friedkin film. The second is the final cut, entitled “Easter”, a bleak post apocalyptic sci-fi soundtrack that will make you think of all the possibilities and could have beens that the world once held while you’re staring at the mutated corpses rising from the wreckage of what was once your favorite record store.

Bedtime for Robots is the brainchild of Michael Ferentino. He was a musician once. You don’t want to know what he’s become now.

 

 

https://bedtimeforrobots.bandcamp.com/album/big-sleep-little-death

Review of Elementals from Sacra Fern by Leo Zaccari

Elementals is a very grounded recording based on the elements of earth, air, fire, and water. The wind plays a major role in this album which is described on their bandcamp page as ritual ambient soundscapes. According their label, Black Mara, Elementals is a “spirit of the Elements”.

“Elementals is a result of working with the subtle world, where the sounds becomes
the key to the unknown, to the mysteries of alchemy. This is an attempt to find the truth of a certain existence in the perceptions and emotions.”

The album is somber, and brings to mind images of autumn and winter, of desolate skies, over fields of rock earth untouched by human civilization. “Place of Force” has a tribal vibe conjuring up spirits of the long dead and forgotten. The centerpiece of the album is creepy sounding “Hole”. Clocking in at ten minutes, this track is by far the darkest and the most likely to be used in a horror soundtrack.

The album is mostly low key, more supernatural than horror, and uses low fi field recordings in place of mechanized synth pop, but it does have a sense of foreboding. Rather than a post apocalyptic world that is the realm of cyberpunk, this album has more of a portent of things to come. Dark things. But it’s a future that is not set in stone. One that may be changed. One that possibly offers hope for humanity.

 

 

https://blackmara.bandcamp.com/album/elementals

The End of the World – Review of Solaris from Antwan Graftio by Leo Zaccari

Antwan Graftio’s Solaris is an album filled with mythological themes and all the dark world ending horrors that come with them. The tracks themselves stand on their own, but when put together they are as pieces of a puzzle that create an amazing tapestry of a story. It is a story repeated in all the ancient cultures of the world, from ancient Chinese folk mythology to the Hindu cultures, to the Babylonians, Egyptians, Olmec, Greek, and Norse mythologies. All cultures used their mythology to make sense of the universe around them, and this album is like its own mythology in miniature.

“Cosmic History of the Earthly World” – works in tribal like percussion to give it a world music vibe with an electro synth cyberpunk feel. “On the Eve of the World Apocalypse” continues the mythological tone of a world in transition from one age to the next.

In ancient mythologies this was called Eschatology, the study of the end of the world. The world ends in a flood mostly because most of the oldest civilizations lived in close proximity to large bodies of water, such as Egypt being on the Nile, Mesopotamia being near the conjunction of the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, and China being near the Yellow and the Yanxte rivers. But in other ancient civilizations, such as the Inca, there are many worlds, or ages, and they end in many different ways, including floods.

“Dead Tree” is another track that continues the mythological symbolism. From the ancient Maya and Inca to the Scandinavian Norse, the world tree is one of the oldest world myths and it is rife with symbolism. The roots that extend into the ground but also the branches that extend outward are meant to symbolize the different but parallel dimensions of this world and the spirit world. If the tree is dead, do the souls of those who have died travel on to the next plane of existence, or are they stuck here to haunt us forever?

“Last Train Cold Winter” is the album’s coldest darkest point, the point at which the old world must be destroyed before it can rise again anew. In both Norse and Mayan mythologies, the apocalypse is preceded by a dark era of lost morals where people lose their humanity. In Norse mythology this is known as Fimbulwinter, and is doubtless the source of inspiration for George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. “Coming Home From Deep Space” has a clockwork feeling to it as well as a more subdued tone. Electronic music lovers might recall the early works of Jean Michele Jarre or Vangelis.

Graftio has constructed an album fitting of a world at the end of an age. An age of Apocalypse is followed by the promise of a new dawn, which brings with it, another album of awesome music.

 

 

https://graftio.bandcamp.com/album/album-solaris-2015