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December 2016

Review: Klimt1918 – Sentimentale Jugend

8 years, 8 damn years! That’s what I thought when I first read that the long-anticipated 4th album by the Italian indie rockers Klimt1918 would finally see the light of day on December 2nd, 2016. 8 years had passed between this release and the previous album “Just in case we’ll never meet again”. I reminisced how I first came into contact with this band in 2008, having received a flyer announcing their album with my latest order at Prophecy Productions. I felt intrigued, downloaded it somewhere, burnt it onto CD, and listened to it alone and with friends during my summer holidays at the Lake Millstatt in Carinthia, Austria. Memorable moments! Afterwards, I also got their previous albums, and since then they have been a steady companion throughout my life, with alternating periods of intense listening and sheer ignorance or unawareness.

Needless to say that I have been ardently looking forward to their next release since 2008, but somehow it took them longer than hoped for. In 2011, posts on their website said that the new album might be entitled “Sentimentale Jugend”, and that this album would be Berlin-themed, which rose my interest even more as Berlin is my hometown. But since then, more than 5 years passed until the final release. Good thing is: My expectations decreased by time, so that I was ready for some surprise, which I consider a positive thing as we succumb to our expectations way too often.

But back to the present. Previous to the release, the influences of the album were revealed in more detail, but as I was unaware of the style and mood of David Bowie’s Berlin trilogy, the Cocteau Twins or even Einstürzende Neubauten, this didn’t really give me an idea except of the possible overall mood related to a foggy wintry Berlin in the 70s and 80s. But the music finally clearly did, and that’s what matters.

The first part of this double album, named “Sentimentale”, starts with the song “Montecristo”, which is dedicated to Edmond Dantes of Alexandre Dumas’ famous novel. It is slowly building up walls of sound that sound somewhat uplifting while the story is told. It is an interesting piece to start the album with, it somehow has the character of an intro, but it surely isn’t very accessible or even catchy. In general, while listening to the following songs, it became clear that their style definitely had evolved during all these years. The brightness, the catchiness and the radio-apt lengths of the songs from “Just in case…” are almost gone, and so is the naivety that I connect to the general mood of the previous album. These new two albums are definitely more mature, while also bearing signs of resignation. So these albums are even more personal, intimate than the previous ones, which becomes clear if you read along the lyrics.

The foggy pictures of the albums’ artwork reflect in the music very well. As with the pictures, you have to take a closer look, delve into the fog to perceive all that is there, all the dripping emotions that emanate from the delayed and reverberated guitar walls that dominate this album. Interestingly, the bass and the drums aren’t that distant and distorted, and especially the bass lines make up an important, driving force that leads you through the songs, while the drums make up the beat, “the beat”, as you can hear in a sample in “Caelum Stellatum”. The vocals contribute to the walls of sound, sometimes being in front of them, sometimes simply being a part of them, while always being overlain by effects that make them sound distant. They are always audible, but it is hard to follow the lyrics during the first listens. So take a read. Take your time to listen to this album multiple times to get to all of the details you might miss if you didn’t. And if you do listen exactly, you will hear some difference in the vocals of the bonus song “Lycans”, which is due to Simone Salvatore from Spiritual Front singing it!

I’ve never heard something similar exactly, but I also had my associations, for sure. The build-up of several songs clearly shows post-rock influences, but the atmosphere is different. The Raveonettes came to my mind several times, especially in songs like “Unemployed & Dreamrunner”, and the overall atmosphere resembles that of their album Observator, while being more obscure and less trendy. The Editors also came to my mind, and particularly the songs with highly prominent bass lines like “Gaza Youth” and “Lycans” are a most-welcomed mixture of In This Light And On This Evening and An End Has A Start. During other episodes of this work I felt myself reminded of Alcest’s Shelter and Les DiscretsSeptembre et Ses Dernieères Pensées as well as of a dirtier version of Grave PleasuresDreamcrash album during more post-punkish songs like “Juvenile”.

I particularly like the second album more, because it is faster, more direct, and surely catchier. Somehow these songs resonate more. It also might be due to the use of brass instruments, which are an amazing contribution to the atmosphere, especially in “Resig/Nation”.

If you liked their previous albums very much and hoped for something similar, then you should probably start with songs such as “Sentimentale”, “Juvenile”, “Resig/Nation”, “Fracture” or the new version of their old demo song “Passive”, now called “Sant’Angelo”, before being able to appreciate the new sound, the new depths.

To conclude, this is an amazing piece of music. It is not as accessible as the previous releases, but in the end this is a good thing, because this excessive summary of 8 years of work adds a completely new aspect to their discography, giving them more depth and, hopefully, critical acclaim.

The Raveonettes – Observations

The Raveonettes are something very special to me since I first crossed paths with their song Dead Sound back in 2009, I guess, especially as I did not usually listen to indie rock, garage rock, or whatever, back then. But I had to wait until the release of the Observator album in 2012 to fully appreciate the style they are playing, really hitting me at the right moment of my life. So this album in general means a lot to me, particularly the song Observations. And Observator still is the sole album of The Raveonettes that I can delve into from start to end without some moments that are too trendy or cheesy for my taste. But, well, check it out!

PS: While adding the lyrics to the photograph above, I had to notice that most of the online versions apparently got it wrong at some point. I hope I did a better job;-)

 

Klimt 1918 – It was to be

Today’s song of the day is the 4th song from the new KLIMT 1918 album Sentimentale Jugend.
When I heard it for the first time, I was a little sceptical because of the slow beginning, but just in the middle of the song, when it’s energy increases, something hit my very hard like a sharp piece of dolomite or something similar. It immediately crawled under my skin, and since then, something similar happens every time I listen to this song.

Especially, I am touched by the last four lines:

“How strange is the lot of lovers
who don’t choose to live, who don’t dare to feel
Unmentionable are their faults
The meaning of loss is written in their eyes”

Zitat des Tages: Martin Buber

Fangen wir gleich mal mit einem härteren Brocken an. “Ich und Du” von Martin Buber könnte man auch fast komplett zitieren, weiß mich bislang sehr zu bewegen und faszinieren. Und regt großartig zum weiteren, tieferen Nachdenken an. So auch diese Passage.

“Es gibt Augenblicke des verschwiegnen Grundes, in denen Weltordnung geschaut wird, als Gegenwart. Da wird im Flug der Ton vernommen, dessen undeutbares Notenbild die geordnete Welt ist. Diese Augenblicke sind unsterblich, diese sind die vergänglichsten: kein Inhalt kann aus ihnen bewahrt werden, aber ihre Kraft geht in die Schöpfung und die Erkenntnis des Menschen ein, Strahlen ihrer Kraft dringen in die geordnete Welt und schmelzen sie wieder und wieder auf. So die Geschichte des Einzelnen, so die Geschichte des Geschlechts.”

Besonders beeindruckt mich bei Buber die sprachliche Klarheit, durch die er fast ohne Fremdwörter und sinnloses Hereinwerfen von Scharen an Referenzen auskommt. Äußerste Klarheit und Wissenschaftlichkeit halten sich bei ihm mit Poesie die Waage. Was übrigens auch seine Übersetzung des Alten Testaments maßgeblich auszeichnet.

Der Blitz steuert alles.

 

Haken – Atlas Stone

Today’s song of the day comes from the British progressive metallers Haken. I have to admit that suggesting a particular song of this band proved to be surprisingly hard, because I usually have new favourites with every listen. But I think that their incredible skills and playfulness show perfectly in this song, while not being too hard to access or simply too strange (like The Architect or the Cockroach King, respectively, though especially the former is my personal favourite).

For more infos, please check out their website.

Enjoy.

John Keats – This living hand

I first came into touch with the English Romatic poet John Keats and this particular poem when reading Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos about 10 years ago. In these books, incarnations of John Keats appear, which had a quite intriguing effect on me and inspired a fruitful period of engagement with English poetry.  While Keats’ epic poems with their incredibly emotional and figurative language can be a little… let’s say exhausting… when I’m not in a special mood, this poem was a far more persistent companion during all these years. It is an interesting, beautiful poetic description of the interaction of author/artist and reader/spectator.

This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm’d–see here it is–
I hold it towards you.
By John Keats, 1819

Song of the day: Омела – Премьера (Omela – Prem’era)

Since a few weeks I’m listening to Omela’s new album Khrustal’naya storona. There are many stand-out tracks and it’s hard for me to highlight one as I’ve got a new favourite with every listen. But I finally chose the one below. If you don’t want to see his drumming (which is not that spectacular), click here.

You can also listen to the album in its entirety here. I wish they got some more listeners outside of Russia!

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