Tuesday, December 5, 2017

TimeCop1983 And The Evolution Of Electronic Music

TimeCop1983 And The Evolution Of Electronic Music
By Bill Gallagher, PO BOX 125 HACHITA NM 88040
2900 Words

      Any music that has been electrically recorded or amplified is electronic music.  That goes back quite some time, to the 1920s, or even before.  As a basic definition of Electronic Music this works fairly well, even clears the air a little, because there are some Rock N Roll people who have really looked down upon electronic sound synthesis, all the while loving their electrical instruments, amplifiers, and recording automata.  These strict instrumentalists seem to have a hard time realizing they too make electronic music, it is just a matter of coloration, really, a matter of degree.  Overall, the "Pure" Rock instrumentalists acted very spastic about the marriage of the personal computer with the modern sound synthesizer, and believe me, it was quite a thing to see. The word "DISCO!" was screamed repeatedly like an indictment.  A lot of times speeches by these opponents of synthesized sound included things like foaming at the mouth, throwing objects in anger, stamping of feets, foul language, even squealing like pigs.   Yes, its ugly but true.  Many otherwise sane musicians became agitated in the extreme by the sound synthesizer and what it meant.  Anyone would be able to make music!  Anyone could be a Prodigy! It was devolution!

     Incredible as it may seem, an informal movement composed of those hillbillys, er, I mean Sound Purists, began to form in America during the 1970s and 80s, openly disparaging use of keyboards with computer processing capabilities.  Two basic camps formed, really.  In the first group were the aficionados of electronic music, we who perceived it as a type of rock n roll, we who actively sought vinyl by Isao Tomita, Vangelis, Carlos, and Kraftwerk, not to mention Finitribe, Skinny Puppy, Grinning Plowman, Tones On Tail, DEVO, Front242 (Front to Front, Front Line Assembly), Oingo Boingo, Ministry through Revco, and many many more;  we were like the earliest British rockers, who eagerly awaited the latest blues and other releases from America, except we awaited the Electronic Music releases from where ever they happened.  Some of it was quite expensive and hard to get.  One of my Tampa buds vacationed near Chicago where his girls family lived, and he hit some good record stores while in that area, bringing back hard to find vinyl discs that could one day, after they wore out, be softened with hot water right out of the tap and handcrafted into nice little pots for growing marijuana on windowsills.  Hopefully a digital master or at least a cassette recording was made before the vinyl became a pot pot, but not always.  Seriously, we could never get enough electronic music back in 70s and 80s, liking it loud and intricate, hoping to see what it would become someday, but not really able to see it then.  We knew we were riding the front of a wave though.  Some of what we listened to was classical musix redone on early sound synthesizers.  Mammy dearest tossed my earliest collections while I was in the US Air Farce during the late 70s.  Support The Troops, right.

     The second group in American rock with opinions on Electronic Music was composed of the aforementioned musical elitists, I believe I also referred to them as "Hillbillys", a moniker well deserved imho.  These pseudo-anti-technologists sought a glamorous approach to Rock N Roll, aiming for a very hairy mass appeal; rock groups were promoted on TV and FM radio like football teams, and rock concerts were events rivaling the Super Bowl.  David Geffen comes to my mind when I think of people who would rather not hear a lot of synthesized sound, or perhaps it is more fair to say that he would much rather hear and see a group of men playing real instruments, versus music created by one person doing everything.  There were and still are many who adhere to this outlook.   Not to worry, Electronic Music is now coming into its best time, and it is a monster.  Never has such creativity been manifest.  Anybody who wants to can make music!  Anybody could be a Prodigy!

     It is EVOLUTION!

     In America the modern synthesizer really crept in as an "Electronic Keyboard" duplicating sounds a piano or organ made.  Those new electronic keyboards were a lot easier to lug around than even the smallest piano, so a good number of 60s and 70s rock acts made use of the earliest commercial synthesizers because of that.  Even though use of electronic keyboards increased steadily through the 80s, 90s and to present, until very recently, almost all keyboardists supported a band.  I've even seen a video where a very young Trent Reznor is playing a keyboard in a local band on an Ohio TV station, just like that, before Nine Inch Nails.  Hardly any musicians that specialized or were heavy into electronic sound were allowed popular airplay on American rock radio, The Cars being one early and rare exception.

     Over time experimentation transpired with those earliest keyboard instruments; their limits were constantly pushed and newer electronic synthesizers became ever more sophisticated, finally being incorporated into personal computers as software, nearly 50 years after debut.  It was during the 80s, I think, when Eddie Van Halen got his first sound synthesizing keyboard, a Christmas present, and he taught himself to play it in a matter of weeks.  Interesting times.

      Today Electronic Music is not just a genre of its own, but is also composed of many sub-genres.  Synthwave and Dreamwave are just two of the categories within the sub genre called New Retro Wave, meaning music emulating an earlier time, say the 80s, which is when electronic music really began taking form in the dance clubs of America and Europe. Techno and Industrial musix reigned supreme early on, but because of that vibrant and alive dance club activity there was a lot of international exchange going on too, in spite of the total lack of FM airplay, when FM airplay was all there was.  Thank goodness those corporate dick head days are over.  The vampires have to feed elsewhere now, wall streets just full of them.   FM disc jockeys are finally starting to look as ridiculous as they are.  

     The dance clubs of the 80s became the Raves of the 90s and 2000s, and in spite of Raves being outlawed in some places (Tampa, FL, others), electronic music continued to grow and gain acceptance at the grassroots level in America.  One thing I noticed early, as an avid observer of the Electronic Music Scene: there did not seem to be any type of taboo operating in Europe concerning electronic music, no hillbillys, and use of the synthesizer was wanton there from its earliest inception, especially in middle and northern Europe with Hardcore/Gabberhouse a good example.  In America there was a late 80s early 90s American synthesizer scene, with excellent pioneering groups like Controlled Bleeding, The Neon Judgment, and 3 teens kill 4, but none of it got any airplay to speak of, anywhere, so a lot just remained local.  Forever.  Then, finally, came the internet.  The fact that a lot of the earliest electronic bands are being "Rediscovered" on youtube now lets everyone know the music has always been there, its just that mass market control is a must if one is to maximize profits, one being the corporation, of course.  And perhaps that is my favorite part of modern electronic music, it is becoming controlled by musicians not stockholders.

     I recall living in Tampa Florida during the 1980s, the rock and roll stations had the Glam Rock and pre-Grunge markets locked up tight, we are talking about millions of dollars a year in ad revenues from a captive audience, and those FM zombies actively discouraged even American electronic acts like Ministry and the rest of the Wax Trax groups.  For one short period of time during the early 80s they were selectively playing some electronic music like Thomas Dolby, but it was very short lived, perhaps due to local outcry: there are a lot of hard head instrumentalists in Tampa Rock N Roll.  In Tampa Metallica was God.  The older stuff I mean.  Being a Tampan may not mean being number one, but we are way up in there.

     I once played Ministry's "Over The Shoulder" for some non-rocker African American friends of mine at a college art show in Tampa, and they dug it a lot.  Ministry had one radio hit in the early 90s, "Jesus Built My Hotrod", because things were starting to loosen up a little in rock radio, mainly due to there being a boatload of change in the wind.  Those changes were just beginning and there was no end in sight.  I used to do a little jig just thinking about it, my friends and relatives thought I was possessed.  Really, rock was beginning to show the pressures it was receiving from other popular FM categories, who were using a lot more electronic music, and heaven forbid were gaining market share!  There has been very active and ardent use of sound synthesizers in Rap and other forms of modern music outside of Rock in America, which is nice, but it was the internet and only the internet that finally pried the cold dead fingers of Rock radio from the throat of electronic music. 

     The college affiliated radio station WMNF Tampa played an hour or two of Techno-Industrial every week on special 1 hour shows during the 80s and 90s, and they were listened to avidly by some of us, it was heavy with Wax Trax stuff.  Trent Reznor broke into the mainstream fairly early, but remained the token synth solo guy in American Rock for a long time.  His first big problem was producing the same sounds live onstage as he did on his sound synthesizing computers.  He is a stickler is Trent, and it took a lot of practice to make him happy (if there is such a thing) but he said it was one of the most satisfying achievments of his career, creating a true likeness onstage, with a group of people.  Snagging Jeordie White from Marilyn Manson helped a lot.  And Atticus Atticus Ross Ross...

     Trent Reznor was the Original Real Wild One in electronic music, bucking the record companies, and succeeding, but not without dark moments and dreadful days.  I remember where I was when I saw the music club advertisement for Pretty Hate Machine, and I bought it, sent away for it, not vinyl, a cassette, and I wore that thing out and bought a couple other copies over my life, next of course was the CD, and when it got too beat to use I bought another one.  After Reznor  "Discovered"  Marilyn Manson (Artist Brian Warner), electronic weirdness took on new meaning and reached the mainstream hard.  Do we get it? NO.  Do we want it? YEAH.  Adrien Sherwood came into his own as a producer, and Al Jourgensen continues to make music to this day from his El Paso ranch, along with his role at Wax Trax.

     As a long time fan of all electronic music I can honestly say that one of the highlights of my lifetime has been listening to a nearly surreal synergy develop between the electric guitar and the modern computerized sound synthesizer, though a lot of music today is being done sans instruments of any kind, strictly computer generated.  Some listeners believe that electronically generated sounds are more perfect, more pure than those created with strung ligaments and stretched skins.  There is a much greater variety of sound and nuance, thats for sure.  It is becoming impossible to tell electronically generated sounds from their mechanically produced counterparts, except, of course, when computer sound synthesis exceeds parameters, parameters which have always been defined by mechanical equipment, but no more.

     It is like we imagined as teenagers, back in the early and middle 70s: artists are taking total control of their music through sound synthesizers and by managing themselves in the music market.  It seems even more than evolution, it seems like freedom.  The internet facilitates this wonderful synergy, and kick ass tunes abound, because artists work best when they do not have to answer to drones and their bean counters.  If a musician is happy and healthy and free from worry, that is manifest in their music, and the crowds gather to listen.

     One such solo artist is TimeCop1983, of Eindhoven, The Netherlands.  There is one word that describes TimeCop1983 very well, and that word is: Phenomenon.  The music that shines from this young man has called to many people, and continues to do so more and more every day.  Media where Timecop1983 has found success includes the internet, digital video games, satellite radio and film (Netflix production Coin Heist and You Get Me, others).  I found TimeCop1983 in March 2015, and have been enjoying his music via youtube for well over 2 years now.  The music is what can only be called eminently listenable.  The musician himself describes it as romantic, cinematic and dreamy.  He actively attempts to achieve nostalgic feelings and evoke memories of earlier times with the music, and his success in doing so is pretty evident, though newer projects find TimeCop1983 ranging out (Division - 2083 EP released in June), looking at musical possibilities akin to some of his contemporaries such as Carpenter Brut, and Perturbator.  Other influences cited were FM-84, The Midnight, and Electric Youth.

     TimeCop1983 admits he was surprised by the success of his music, even though he has been at it a long time for someone so young.  It was at the age of 12 when he obtained a program called "Scream Tracker" and began recording snatches of song, the little pieces of music that arrived from the ether, but it was quite some time before the pieces of music became songs.  The aging of that early music did not hurt it at all; the mental cooking of those early ideas and pieces has made TimeCop1983 adept at creating original and highly listenable music based on thematic musical types; his well constructed and orderly audio-electrical fields of duration, his songs, are like sculptures for the ears.   He and his music have gained wide fandom quickly.

     The name TimeCop1983 was something invented on the fly, while he was signing up for one of the online band sites.  TC83 admired the band Futurecop! so he quickly cobbled together a name incorporating his birth year with words along those lines.  He says he wished he had thought more about it, and even thought of changing it but did not.  It was not until later that he found out there was a movie with the name Time Cop.  One of my initial questions asked if TimeCop1983 believed in creative reincarnation, in other words was he a for-real time cop?  But I scratched it at the last minute.  Theological considerations are sometimes like exit ramps from the highway of Reason, leading right into Hillbilly Circus.   Instead I simply asked about the origin of the name TimeCop1983 and got the truth, now revealed with taste and accuracy to you dear reader, thanks very much.

     TimeCop1983 is adamant concerning his access to communications with people in general, and he considers that aspect of his career one of the real perqs of self management.   He also has a degree in event management which has assisted him well in his musical endeavors.

     TimeCop1983 draws collaborators of the highest quality on a very consistent basis, and likes to keep the avenues of possibility always open, operating smoothly.  He loves to work with Dana Jean Phoenix because, in his words "She is just so good".  I myself remember the first time I heard Tonight, featuring "Back in the Future", another of the collaborators who contacted TimeCop1983.  I was really floored but mistakenly took the song to be a new one by Robbie Robertson!  When I found out the real musicians, I went "Whoa thats TimeCop!", because I was familiar with some of his music already, but had not heard that song yet.  It was quite a nice surprise, and I really gained a whole new perspective, a perspective incorporating the amazing collaborations which are happening in music on the internet today.  It is one of the loveliest things I have ever seen.

     A sense of humor became evident when I asked the musician if any of the vocals on his works were his own.  He said that if he ever put any of his vocals to the music, people would listen exactly once, so no, the answer is no.  The only lament I heard during our conversation was that music has taken up most of his mountain biking and road racing time; he would like to get back to those activities a little more in the near future.  Another plus in the life of this self managed musician is travel, which TimeCop1983 eagerly embraces.  He likes to stay extra days after a concert to see the various places he plays, if it is possible.

     No matter the self management though, or even the internet;  no matter any of that if the music is not there.  I say that TimeCop1983 is the latest installment in the evolution of Electronic Music, and a fine one at that. 

     The music is most definitely there.


Upcoming concerts
Saturday 25 November 2017
Timecop1983 with Sung, Neoslave, and 2 others
Le Batofar, Paris, France

website: https://timecop1983.bandcamp.com/

Discography from Discogs:  Timecop1983;  9 Releases. 3 Albums, 5 Singles & EPs, 1 Miscellaneous
Childhood Memories Playmaker         2014        
Journeys (Timecop1983 Self-released)     2014        
Reflections (Timecop1983 Self-released) 2015   NewRetroWave                 
Singles & EPs
Waves EP (Timecop1983 Self-released)     2014        
Synthetic Romance - Future City Records 2014
We Are The Future!     WATF003     2014        
Running In The Dark ‎(7xFile, FLAC, EP)     2016 (Timecop1983 Self-released)            
Lovers Part I ‎(7xFile, FLAC, EP)     2016 (Timecop1983 Self-released)             
Lovers Part II ‎(7xFile, WAV, EP)     2017 (Timecop1983 Self-released)       
Daydreaming ‎(3xFile, MP3, EP)        

Bandcamp: timecop1983.bandcamp.com

YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/Timecop1983

iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/artist/timecop1983/id827647533

SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/timecop1983

Facebook: www.facebook.com/timecop1983

Twitter: twitter.com/Timecop1983

Authors personal experience and observation
Email Interview with TimeCop1983
New Retro Wave (NRW) youtube.com
What Does the Future Hold for Timecop1983? Published July 1, 2015April 30, 2017 by Aaron Vehlinggo in Features
Rolling Stone: Van Halen synthesizer
On Art and Aesthetics
Marilyn Manson, Trent Reznor, The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell,  MM Autobiography, various articles
David Geffen, Playboy Interview, Observations
Conversations with Sonar Bonar

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Music Review, Voicians: A Matter Of Time

Music Review
Voicians: A Matter Of Time
The Music Of Daniel Voicians (And Friends)

     The music of Daniel Voicians is a rare hybrid of many styles.  Orchestral, Rock, Electronic Dance Music, Industrial, Techno, Dub Thingies, and perhaps one or two others I do not know about at this time.  One thing that does come to mind when I listen to Voicians:  Melodic Intricacy.  Yes, the music is intricate, level upon level all hooked together like a masterful 3d chess game, into an almost super wholeness.  To me Voicians music is sculpture in sound, and I have really never heard anything like it before.  Excellent.

     For the record: I initially tried to buy the music at fixtstore.com.  It meant signing up to one more site, when all I wanted was to buy the music.  I may have tried to sign up even, and been rejected, because later I got an email from fixtstore.com itself,  Subj: Was There A Problem?  Oh yeah madam and sirs the site was hard to use and wanted too much information, fyfi.

     Too true.  But now we have it all fixt @ fixtstore.

     Anyway, I was able to contact Daniel himself online, he keeps close eye on his Youtube account, and he communicates through facebook too.  Search Voicians.  I obtained a folder of his work digitally from him, including the latest "A Matter Of Time".  I have spent several months listening to it all.  I am listening to it right now, actually, a song called So Clear, one of my top ten favorites by Voicians.  I have the volume up loud.

     The mass of people hip to Voicians seem to favor the song "(This Can't Be A Dream, Because) This Pain Feels Real", and it is a good one, but let me tell you, when you buy the music of Voicians you are getting MANY good songs, and will most likely have a hard time choosing a favorite.  I have a top three, thats as far as I can get, but I also have a top ten too.  So you see, intricate begets intricate.   How nice.

     Daniel likes to make music for many reasons.  A lot of his stuff is perfect for video, and he actively pursues those ends.  I myself made a music video using his song "The Construct" to illustrate some work I have been doing for the international magazine Lost Treasure, published in Grove Oklahoma.  Daniel is generous, and a lot of his music is perfect for extreme sports videos.

     Some of Voicians pieces are short, they are prequels to whole songs perhaps, or more bits of intricate, to be plugged in where needed at a later date.  Some are actual kernals, seeds or seedlings, of future work, also called works-in-progress.  Right now he is taking the song Hidden And Divine, and expanding it full length, and like all the others, it is awesomely listenable, plus plus.

     Daniel Voicians seems to struggle a bit with the commercial issues surrounding his music, as he tries to exempt himself from being eaten alive by the monster which the band Zeromancer explains in their song "Industry People".  Daniel Voicians does most of his work at a home studio, electronically, and even his collaborations, of which there are many, take place by electronic mail.  He is a collaborator with Klayton aka Celldweller, (Harpcore) Martin Harp, and some others, even though the one T-shirt he has for sale at fixtstore.com says this:


     I sent Daniel a link to an article via his facebook page which was an interview featuring long time master of sound Michael Oldfield, who therein explains some of the pitfalls of the music world (And much more), which are of course magnified by our present day digital technologies.  I hope Daniel takes that information to heart because I believe Voicians could be every bit as influential as Mr. Oldfield is in music, across the many years to come. 

     Try to never get into anything you cannot easily get out of.  A good rule in this world.

     Daniel Voicians insists on his independence in music, a worthy outlook, and one that can only lead to greater creativity and output down the line.   But he also understands the need for collaboration, and he likes it too.  So there is evolution happening, and its really cool to see.  I can feel the blood coursing through my veins, and it feels good.

     Pick up what you can get of the music of Voicians (And friends) at fixtstore.com, just search Voicians, it comes right up.  Contact Daniel at facebook for more information.

Some Of The Best Full Length Songs From Voicians:

This Pain Feels Real
The Contruct
Touch Me Hurt Me
Being Someone Else
Goodbye (Featuring Martin Harp) Celldweller Cover
Birthright (Featuring Martin Harp) Celldweller Cover
Urban Shooting
Routing Her Synapses
So Clear
Come Closer
Mephisto Dub

Check out Voicians music at Youtube.com as well.

My Video using "The Construct" by Voicians: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptBL1EZdps8





As soon as I find the Review that goes here I will post it...thanks.....b

Music Review: Blue October, Foiled

Its always a treat to find a new sound, especially one that gets your ear on the first listen. Thats the way of it with Blue October, at least as far as I'm concerned, and I bet it will make you perk right up too. The CD that introduced me to this Texas band is their fifth, entitled Foiled. Foiled seems to be the charm for them, as it climbs quickly toward platinum and beyond, spawning multiple favorites in several genre. Also among the variety of musical candy on this CD is an excellent dance version of my personal favorite by Blue October (So Far), the song called: X Amount of Words.
The thing that hooked me as I listened to Blue October for the first time was the voice of Justin Furstenfeld: he not only has a rare vocal quality, but an excellent talent for presentation as well. Justin is not afraid to use the tools of his craft, electronically embellishing with perfect sense and taste, though never overdoing it. Maestro is Justin, and the rest of the band are perfect addition to the avatar. Blue Octobers music is fun, and meaningful, and different. A treat indeed.
Blue October has been hard at work for over 10 years, providing their followers with electric live performances that have become their initial reputation, while giving the band members the ease and familiarity with each other that is both evident, and necessary, for the quality of music they purvey. In total the band numbers 5, and as one listens to Blue October it is sometimes difficult to believe that all that killer noise is coming from a quintet. The band roster with duties is as follows: Justin Furstenfeld casting spells with guitar, piano, and vocals; Jeremy Furstenfeld (Justin's older brother) on drums, Ryan Delahoussaye on violin, mandolin, keys; guitarist C.B. Hudson, and bassist Matt Noveskey.
Other than the voice of Justin Furstenfeld, what I like most about Blue October are the lyrics of the songs. Written largely by Justin, the words to Blue Octobers songs seem to possess an emotional/intellectual elasticity, alongwith what I like to call The Big Stick. Within the songs of Blue October one will find both a charming innocence blending well with stark realities, encompassing everything from Love (Congratulations, Its Just Me, What If We Could) to Recovery (X Amount Of Words, In the Ocean) and more. The lyrics of Blue October are poignant, evocative, occasionally bizarre, but never nonsensical. Each song is a story, with attendant attributes thereof, including closure. Do not be surprised to find revelation and even inspiration here. These musical works of Blue October are accounts of life that everyone can relate to, pulling sharp, clear imagery out of your brain via your ears, to then wave those images in front of your face with rhythm and tone. They do it nicely though, it is not an intrusion or a slap, it is pure magic, and makes you want to dance.
Within the music of Blue October, I hear many influences, clueing me to the fact that they are long time students of what works. This alone is a rare quality, and very evident in their beauty as a group. Yes, there are many sounds and beats within the music of Blue October which I have heard somewhere else before, but it is the startling and welcome freshness of this band, coupled with their particularly unique and energetic construction of the sounds available to them, that will make me remember their versions above others, and which make them majestic, to say the least.
Don't miss out on hearing the next great thing. Pick up Foiled, by Blue October, and hear the magic for yourself.
Track Listing:
You Make Me Smile
She's My Ride Home
Into The Ocean
What If We Could
Hate Me
Let It Go
X-Amount Of Words
Drilled A Wire Through My Cheek
Sound Of Pulling Heaven Down
Everlasting Friend
18th Floor Balcony
It's Just Me [Hidden Track]
Foiled (For The Last time) ~ 2007
Foiled ~ 2006
(Brando/Universal Records)
Argue With A Tree ~ 2004
(Brando/Universal Records)
History For Sale ~ 2003
(Brando/Universal Records)
Consent To Treatment ~ 2000
(Universal Records)
The Answers ~ 1998
(RoDan Entertainment/Scoop)
Contact Blue October at their Myspace page:
Review By Bill Gallagher

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/874945

REVIEW: EP -- Demon Haunted World -- Brighter Than A Thousand Suns

REVIEW: EP -- Demon Haunted World
by: Brighter Than A Thousand Suns
Formerly Self Made Soul

One of the coolest things about the internet is this: not only is
there really good music here, and lots of it, but you can also see
what other people are listening to.  Hearing new music is no longer a
matter of being subjected to some Little Tin DJ whose uncle is a big
record company exec, or whose mommy owns the radio station.  You know,
like the thousands of daily schleps who only play certain tunes over
and over again, because the price is right and the FCC says so.  Those
days are going away finally, and we do hope its forever.  Independent
Music is here to stay, and that is a wonderful thing.

Yes, things are really shaping up here on the net, and I sometimes
compare the world wide web to a favorite bay or lagoon, where I can go
and fish and listen to music, and relax and listen to music, and
occasionally visit and do commerce with others, all the while
listening to good new music. I have a few places I regularly throw my
digital fishing line, as I angle about for stimulating sounds, and
these virtual lily pads or underwater structures where the good fish
hang out are my favorite spots, places which usually produce something
new and interesting, even exciting, and on occasion positively

One day recently I was fishing about over at Myspace, and one of my
regular fellow-listeners added some stuff to his playlists.  I pay
attention when he does that, because he has turned me on to some
really good things in the past.  I checked out a couple of his
recommendations and found one I kept close.  The groups name is
Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, and though it was somewhat a departure
for me, I was into it immediately, and loving it all the more because
of its newness.  The band seems really young, and their listeners too,
and though I am not of the age group, the cohesion of the sounds, the
intricate beginnings, and bodies filling the void with orderly
completeness and melodic meat, which finalized with near perfect
closure...yeah, I am into all that, and became a fan immediately. I
bought the bands EP "Demon Haunted World" and its been in my personal
listening stream ever since.  When those songs show up I smile.

Perhaps the best thing about Myspace is that you can actually contact
many of the musicians with questions or kudos.  I wrote to Randy,
leader and spokes person of Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, and told
him I would like to review the work.  Randy is not just a very
talented musician but a really cool guy, and smart too.  He is being
kept very busy with the response from Demon Haunted World, and also
with a very tight schedule.   I found what I needed in the several
videos done by this band, and the BTATS blog at MySpace.  What you are
reading is a synopsis of that information, along with my personal take
on it all.  What a lucky reader you are, too.

Brighter Than A Thousand Suns began as a band called Self Made Soul,
which, early in its existence, had experienced a rather fluid line-up
except for the two founding members, who are Randy and Alex.  These
two young men had met during High School, and have been performing
together ever since.  Randy plays lead guitar for the band, and he
does it with accomplishment and a confident attitude that is a joy to
hear; and Alex plays bass guitar and sings.  Alex' vocals are
exceptionally good sounding, and were the main vocals until the band
gained Angelika who calls herself Angel.  It was discovered that
Angelika has quite a talent for screaming vocals, which are a growing
part of modern music, and she was therefore moved to the front, with
Alex as secondary vocals.  Angelikas voice is signature though not
restricted to just really hard screaming output:  her regular,
ehhhhh...shall we say "Normal" voice is very good too.  The final
line-up of Brighter Than A Thousand Suns fell into place with Matt on
drums, and together these four people make a nice, compact, and highly
mobile engine of unique and powerful music.  Yes, engine.  Thats the
best word for it, I think.  En. Gine.  Power.  Full.  Imagine a really
large motor.  Or, as the Japanese are known to say: Power Plant.

The bands original name, Self Made Soul, was derived from a work of
literature by Ayn Rand.  The change to Brighter Than A Thousand Suns
came about just recently, and in my research I see that this term has
been used in Music before.  The band Killing Joke, a favorite of mine,
produced a CD by that name, and the band Iron Maiden had a song by
that name as well.  The earliest reference I came across was a book
entitled Brighter Than A Thousand Suns which was a personal history of
the first Atomic Scientists, published in English in 1958.  Be all
that as it may, this band which hails from Connecticut USA has a sound
that is at least as bright as a thousand suns, so the name is apt and
truly descriptive.

The self admitted high points the band Brighter Than A Thousand Suns
strives for are integrity, and honesty, and this shows in their
lyrics:  "Take this burning home, our blood runs hot, but our hearts
are cold:  These blackened skies and poison seas stain our souls, yet
our hands are clean...This is our legacy?  Money matters most, to buy
us demons, to turn us into Gods, but if money mattered most, our
bottom line should buy us hope; Instead we leave you all alone, to
take this burden off our fragile bones, we hand down this mess, to the
heirs of our indifference, we pass this torch with shame, for you to
put out the flames...." From: The Inheritance.

The information is lucid and significant, and yes it is loud.  Perhaps
this is why this band has had real opposition to their music.  The
worst setback the band has suffered, not to mention the inevitable
tour gruel and hardships on the road, was when they recently had their
band trailer stolen; it was loaded with their equipment and gear, and
its been extremely difficult for all of them in their attempt to get
back to the point where they can make their music.

Not only are Brighter Than A Thousand Suns extra adept at what they
do, and appealing in a big way, but their message is one of importance
and strength.  They have won several awards and musical competitions,
and done a lot of hard work which really comes across in their audio
demeanor, their bearing.  They have not lost the ability to keep it
going and they remain relatively unscathed in spite of sometimes
diabolical turns in events.  That is the sign of their true strength,
their determination and basic ability to deal with whatever it takes
in order to make their music.  In one of the videos by Brighter Than A
Thousand Suns it is illustrated graphically how a message of great
importance came to them, in a very odd way.  The way does not really
matter.  The message does:

"How people treat you is their karma.  How you react is yours."

Words To Live By.

Expect great things from this band.  You will not be disappointed.

Go here: myspace.com/brighterthan1000suns
To hear Demon Haunted World

BRIGHTER THAN A THOUSAND SUNS is...?Angelika: Screams, Clean Vocals
Alex: Bass, Clean Vocals?Matt: Drums?Randy: Guitars, Programming

Some videos:

Self Made Soul - Artist Of The Week

Self Made Soul Update March 2010 Brighter Than a Thousand Suns

Walls Made Of Glass

Interview Part 1
Interview Part 2


Review By Bill Gallagher

Music Review: Daniel Graves' Aesthetic Perfection

It is not a comment on society. It is not a forum for philosophy.  It
is not your new voice. It is not a revolution.  Without form, without
ego or intention, Aesthetic Perfection is music without a cause.
Influences are combined, songs composed. Audio is recorded, edited,
arranged and mixed. Music designed without purpose.

Daniel Graves.....Aesthetic Perfection

Far be it from me, as a listener and reviewer, to nay say the above.
I am not even going to say But.  Yet.  Though I am going right now to
look up the word confrontational.  Ah here it is.  I am
confrontational too, I see.  I think I am slightly less
confrontational than I used to be though.  Thats probably because I am
a lot older than I used to be.  OK. I will just deal with it, and be
glad thats out of the way.

I have listened to a lot of crap in my life, though most times I am
not so forthcoming about it.  I do not want to ever foil, discourage,
or Gott verbieten, even kill art.  No, I would never do that.  But the
effort is sometimes a lot.  A Lot.  Its just my little cross to bear,
here in this funny place where I exist, whose entrance was a vagina,
of all things.  I doubt if I will leave here in as good a position as
when I came in, either.  Too.  Whatever.

Reiterating: I will never ever knowingly knock anything that even
resembles art, and besides, there are many really fine artists @
Earth, its just that I listen to the really good ones so much I burn
out on them.  I am in the process of doing that now, with the music of
Aesthetic Perfection, who is Daniel Graves, and who reminds me, as a
talent, of Trent Reznor.  Mostly because he is one guy, and only uses
other talents live.  Understand this too: when I first listened to
Nine Inch Nails, it was very very different music.  When I bought
Reznors Pretty Hate Machine all those years ago it was a total gamble.
 I liked the name of the cassette (!) and I liked the name of the
group, but there was no listening ahead of time, no internet, and
certainly no pre-exposure by the insane clowns in mainstream media.
I had to be one of the very first customers of NIN, and I was going
out on a limb because there was just nowhere else to go; even back
then I was totally fried on the nepotistic mediocre repititious
redundant anti-intellectual BS pushed on the listening audiences of
the world I lived in.

Yes that sux, it sux bad, but I fight, and I put as much effort into
my fighting  as I do in encouraging art.  It literally takes pieces of
me, gobs of flesh, to do this at times, is what I mean to say.

What else is there though?  Nothing.  No Thing.

Please do not confuse my reference to Nine Inch Nails here...there may
be some similarities between Reznors first effort and Violent Emotion,
the second CD of Daniel Graves, aka Aesthetic Perfection, yes there
are a few, but Aesthetic Perfection is so new and good sounding to
these tired old ears that I am sitting here writing about it.  And the
test of tests:  I BOUGHT the cd!  I do not do that much anymore.  Most
times I am happy tracking down the things I like, which, because of
the really crappy physical media over the decades, have all gone to
heaven a few times at least.  Mom dumped all the vinyl years ago, my
Hawkwind, my Isao Tomita, my KRAFTWERK for Gotts sake...and then of
course I fell into the trap,  the literal PIT which anyone my age fell
into, the ever present and ever deteriorating years of cassettes and 8
track tapes.  What a joke.  I don't even want to think about all that.
 It is the most embarassing experience of my life.  I sometimes pray
MUD ???  Just another little cross to bear, here in the land of
cruci-fiction and Fox news.

Back to Aesthetic Perfection, the band, and the CD "A VIOLENT
EMOTION".  I hear many oddly familiar things here too, things that
were almost there 20+  years ago, but still growing: foetus, Boris
Mikulic, 3 teens kill 4, Controlled Bleeding, Tones on Tail,
Finitribe, SP, TKC, you get it...all the once exciting stuff which I
now know verbatim; the music that has become some sort of jaded
calliope, which is now just the background music in my dreams. Daniel
Graves adds another twist to this, a clarity and brightness which has
been a long time coming, but no less powerful for all that.  He has
learned his lessons thoroughly, and his ear is professional and
creative.  He evokes and he elicits and he knows how and he does it

I'd been surfing youtube.com, a perfect place to hunt the kind of
things I am looking for, and I was just doing the lists, giving songs
15-20 seconds to impress me.  Hardly any did.  Then I got an Aesthetic
Perfection.  I let it play.  I played another, then watched the video.
 It was The Great Depression.  Then I heard Living the Wasted Life.
That was the one.  I went right to I-tunes and bought the CD, didn't
think twice, been listening ever since.  It is bad ass, It is sick, It
is the Illest, I cannot get over It.  There are only two tunes I don't
care for, and they are a nice contrast to the otherwise Buddha Bear
Skunk Kind which is what the rest of the work reminds me of.  There is
just none better right now.  And I know.  Believe me.  I know.  The
whole damned thing fills me with a glowing Schadenfreude I did not
even realize was possible at this stage of the game.  It is
anti-despair.  Thanks D,  I don't care what it is or isn't, it is
strength and you are generous.  Keep Going.

Aesthetic Perfection is more than just rain in the desert,  more than
just food to a starving man: it is like having a friend jump into the
fray as I am getting my butt kicked by 12 or 13 faceless stinking
zombies all wearing nothing but puke green t-shirts emblazoned with
two letters in dark purple -- FM.    The only negative to Aesthetic
Perfections  "A Violent Emotion" is the fact that the cd glaringly
highlights the...ehhhhh.....mediocrity to which my ears are generally
subjected, and thats unpretty, but I am used to unpretty here in La La
Land.  It is the normal state of things in fact.  Fortunately there
are Deviations occasionally.

A Violent Emotion
        1.      The Violence
        2.      Spit it Out
        3.      Schadenfreude
        4.      The Siren
        5.      A Quiet Anthem
        6.      Living the Wasted Life
        7.      The Great Depression
        8.      Pale
        9.      Arsenic on the Rocks
        10.     The Ones


Industrial to Indie Rock, New Wave to Black Metal, Folk to Gothic,
Rock to Gansta Rap.
Sounds Like
Everyone else... but different...

Review by Bill Gallagher

CD Review: Making Monsters by Combichrist

I like writing about Combichrist because I can say things I want to
say, without worry of offending anyone.   People reading about Combichrist are well acquainted with the way the world really is, and are fairly careless about a little harmless profanity for fun.  If I do happen to offend someone, which is about the slimmest possibility in the world, I don't
have to apologize, I can say what I really feel, express my real
feelings, as it were. Something along the lines of:  Hey Buckwheat,
Fuck YOU, get a fucking life.

And I can smile while I do it.

Among many other things, the music of Combichrist is liberating, and
the latest compact disc by them, Making Monsters, is no exception.
Making Monsters is allllllll about liberation, a very good thing,
because as far as I am concerned liberation is most important in this
world, especially now, with almost everyone jumping to the puppet
strings of God Dollar, begging for TV and pennies.  <PUKE>.  Life is
too short to do what other people want.  Do what YOU want.  That is
the message from Combichrist, and the message is most worthy, in fact,
the message is worthiest.

The first song I ever heard by Combichrist which really grabbed my
head and stretched it like a rubber band was Get Your Body Beat.    I
sent the link to that video to a friend with the note:  THIS IS ME.
have heard the majority, if not all of Combichrist' music, and the
rest of it is also Me.

Just as loud as I can make it.

The CD Making Monsters takes all that to new levels, because it
posesses a musical wholeness that I have found to be very rare.  There
is nothing lacking, in fact. Combichrist is what I always imagined
Industrial music would be: fulfilling in a riotous sort of way; busy
and intricate, smart and meaningful.  I would love to take the CD
Making Monsters into a nice quiet church full of misguided people
praying on their knees to the tortured man, and play it loud enough to
snuff all the candles, and make the statues do the fucking jitterbug.
I think it would be delightful to witness the shock, and trembling
awe, that a deed like this would precipitate;  I imagine the annointed
scurrying hurriedly away, with more than a few running around in panic
stricken circles, frantically waving both hands above their heads.
Frightened glances and indignant snorts would no doubt accompany this
exodus, as the alarmed herd animals, imagining smoke and crackling
flames, flee en masse the musical conflagration which is Combichrist.



And yes Jesus Loves me.  The bible tells me so...heh heh hehhhhhhhhhhh.

My favorite song from the Making Monsters CD is "Just Like Me", though
I can honestly say that all of the songs on the CD hold certain allure
and definite attraction for me.  There are none I dislike.   I think I
like "Just Like Me" because of its basic kick-ass Rock n' Roll sound;
its like the greatest rockers of all time channeling their combined
efforts, nuance and blatant, together, into the mind of Andy Laplegua,
who is the front man, originator, song writer, and vocals for the band

Andy has repeatedly stated that this newest CD of his, Making
Monsters, is the most personal work yet from Combichrist, most of it
being written on the road, versus in the studio, and the live
presentation of the band has begun to reflect a more personal facet as
well.  There is somewhat less dressing up like zombies, and more
presenting as actual people during performances, although the show
must go on, and the theme and flavor of the bands costuming seems to
depend somewhat on the venue, and the type of crowd in a given area.

Either way, Andy Laplegua has major style, and though I think many of
the lyrics would have to be toned down for mainstream success
according to record companies and Radio Stations,  I don’t know if
thats in the overall Combichrist program.  Everyone wants more money,
but Laplegua has always held the music closer than most, its what he
lives for, and I really don’t know if the mainstream definition of
stardom is what he is after.  In fact, I hope it is not, I hope he
holds out and makes independent promotion work for himself and his
band, because whoever taps that initially, really taps it, will blast
way beyond the so-called mainstream and there will be large chunks of
All media available, because there will be new leaders, new movers and
shakers, and the world will never be the same. This will all take
place rather quickly too, a tsunami of change, as the status quo
unravels, and Light Happens.   I can’t wait. It is starting to happen
now I think.  Making fucking Monsters indeed. I see this possibility
more with Combichrist than any other band at this time.

The second member of the group Combichrist goes by the name of Z Marr,
and he is is an industrial electronic keyboard player of almost
incomparable caliber.  Z Marr seems to let his music do the talking,
and that works just fine.  We got it man, and thanks a lot.

Also, Wes Borland, guitarist from the group Limp Bizkit, has joined
Combichrist on tour and in the studio during 2010.

The other two members of Combichrist are Joe Letz, and Trevor
Freidrich, both drummers extraordinaire, who are also becoming well
known for their exploits on tour which are highlighted in the
Combichrist blog here: http://vampirefreaks.com/journal/combichrist

On the CD making Monsters I have detected some similarities to other
music I know and like.  I heard things which remind me of Skinny Puppy
(Through These Eyes Of Pain), and of Nine Inch Nails (Reclamation).
On the track "Trail of Blood" the bands Pantera and Sepultura come to
mind, but overall these musix still definitely belong to Combichrist,
again, because of the aggressive complexity and structural integrity
inherent there-in.  That to me is the hallmark, the real signature of
this band, and most other groups, even the most popular industrial
bands everyone knows, do seem somewhat lacking in comparison.
Combichrist is the next level.  That is plainly clear.

Though based out of Atlanta Georgia, Combichrist has had a much
greater success touring in Europe, and thats probably because Europe,
to their eternal credit, is more hip to certain good music, and pretty
much always has been.  This is witnessed in many ways, not least of
which being the fact that Europe generally spurns the intellectual
cadaver known collectively as Country Music.  I mean country music is
not real popular there in the Old World, and that says a lot about
Europes overall mind set.  This shunning of hillbilly shennanigans
throughout most of the Eurasian continent highlights the fact that
musically and perhaps socially they are a more advanced people,
although this makes Americas love affair with ignorant slimy tripe
that much more embarrassing.   Oh well, and yee-hah, you all.

Combichrist has been working with the group Rammstein in Europe, and
their fan base there seems to be large, appreciative, and growing.
They are touring Australia as this is being written, and getting ready
to tour more in Europe soon.  It seems Combichrist are on the cusp of
breaking out large in the USA, and the fact that some of their music
is finding its way into film work is a definite indication of upcoming
ascendency here.  That can only mean good things all the way around.
Pick up the Making Monsters CD.  See for yourself.  You will not be

Making Monsters (Available at iTunes and from Combichrist online)
Track List

Follow The Trail Of Blood
Never Surrender
Throat Full of Glass
Fuck Machine
Just Like Me
Slave To Machine
Through These Eyes Of Pain
Monster: Murder: Kill

Combichrist Online