Sunday, April 4, 2010

Dark Suites Music Reviews

Collection 1975 to 1989 (1995)
Review by Nickolas Cook

This is the seminal collection from the single most important band in all of horror.
Yes, all you horrorheads, that's right: I'm talking about Goblin: Collection 1975 to 1989. And if there is a more important horror soundtrack collection in the history of horror, please let me know, cause I gotta have it!
This album is comprised of no less than 27 compositions written and performed by the Goblin boys. Everything from their lesser known works (at least lesser known here in the USA) such as Chi?, to their genre making classics such as the themes for Suspiria, Tenebre, Dawn of the Dead, Deep Red and Phenomena. There are tons of outtakes and demo tracks as well, but for us diehard Goblin lovers, it's finally getting a chance to hear the complete themes for such lesser known horror greats as The Church and Wampyre (known in the US as Martin) that makes this an indispensable album. This goes from rockin' prog tracks to ambient beauties, made up almost entirely of electro beats and keyboards.
Seriously, if you don't own this collection, can you really be that much of a horrorhead? Don't even get me started on Keith Emerson's awesome solo soundtrack work for Argento on Inferno or his weirdly sensual work for 1981's The Burning.

1. Profondo Rosso (Main Title)
2. Death Dies - M32 [Original Film Version]
3. Profondo Rosso - M15
4. Profondo Rosso - M31
5. Wampyr (Finale)
6. Chi, Pt. 1
7. Chi, Pt. 2
8. Patrick - M 32 Bis
9. Patrick - M 1
10. Patrick - M34-34 Bis-35
11. Suspiria (Main Title)
12. Via Della Droga - M 1 IV
13. Via Della Droga - M 2
14. Via Della Droga - M 6
15. Via Della Droga - 31
16. Alba Dei Morti Viventi
17. Buio Omega - M6
18. Buio Omega - M25
19. Buio Omega (Main Title)
20. St. Helen (Love Theme)
21. Contamination - M 3
22. Contamination - M 8
23. Tenebre (Main Title)
24. Bass Theme
25. Phenomena - M 12
26. Phenomena - M 15 [Alternate Version]
27. La Chiesa

Visit Goblin’s Official Website for more news and tour info

--Nickolas Cook

The Secret Song (2009)
DJ Spooky (aka That Subliminal Kid)
Review by Nickolas Cook

The newest release from one of music's most exciting and mercurial artist: DJ Spooky-aka That Subliminal Kid is just as exciting as his other releases. With The Secret Song, he swings full force back towards his hiphop roots, constructing a strange combo of hardcore and triphop beats and mishmash, sprinkled liberally with all those awesome ear bending little tweaks and twitters which his diehard fans (myself included) love about his albums. One can never be bored with DJ Spooky's compositions, as he does an instrumental cover of the metal classic Dazed and Confused and then offers a blissful electro dub song and then a song rapped in Mandarin Chinese! Seriously, who else in the Western world would even think to do such? Guests artists this time around include Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and The Jungle Brothers and more. If you like the eclectic stylings of groups like The Gorillaz, you'll dig on The Secret Song.

1. Intro- The War Of Ideas
2. 5 Million Ways To Kill A CEO- feat. The Coup
3. Multiphonic- feat. Rob Swift
4. Dazed And Confused Dub- feat. The Golden Hornet Project
5. Measure By Measure- feat. George W. Bush
6. The Secret Song- feat. Jing Zhou
7. Myxamatosis
8. Where I'm At- feat. Zimbabwe Legit and Mike G. of The Jungle Brothers
9. L'Autre- feat. The Golden Hornet Project
10. Heliocentric- feat. Peter Gordon
11. Azadi (The New Complexity)- feat. Sussan Deyhim
12. Composite Refraction Drum Solo
13. Pax Per fidem- feat. Post Modern jazz Quartet
14. Iago's Lament- feat. Vijay Iyer
15. Known Unkowns- feat. Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and Mike Ladd
16. Salt Satyagraha- feat. Abdul Smooth
17. Point- Counterpoint
18. No Quarter- feat The Golden Hornet Project
19. Cognitiva- feat. Emah Fox , The Golden Hornet Project
20. Duality

Visit DJ Spooky’s Official Website

--Nickolas Cook

The White Arcades (2003)
Harold Budd
Review by Nickolas Cook

Harold Budd's The White Arcades is another elegantly melancholic treasure of minimalist ambient music from one of Brian Eno's best collaborators and production studio mates. Their tear inducing work on The Pearl has been a fav of mine years, and led me to explore Budd's solo works. I found his The Room to be one of the best produced albums of ambient. And I fell in love with his music after that and went on to collect all of his albums. The White Arcades is just simply beautiful to listen to and is guaranteed to get you mellowed in short order. But be warned, as with all of Budd's music, there is a dark and forlorn thread within its weave of slow piano and broadly reverb-ed and sustained electronic soundscaping. It is music by which to swim slumber's blissful tides for a while.

1. White Arcades
2. Balthus Bemused by Color
3. Child with a Lion
4. Real Dream of Sails
5. Algebra of Darkness
6. Totems of the Red-Sleeved Warrior
7. Room
8. Coyote
9. Kiss

Visit Harold Budd’s Official Website

--Nickolas Cook

Plastic Beach (2010)
Review written by Steven M Duarte

My favorite animated band, the Gorillaz is back with a follow up to their multiplatinum Grammy award winning album Demon Days. It was after the release of Demon Days that lead singer Damon Albarn stated there would not be any new Gorillaz releases. Well fast forward to 2010 and Albarns words were not true as the Gorillaz return with more pop/hip hop goodness.
Demon Days is a very tough act to follow. Pretty much every track on demon days is really good or at least decent which allows for multiple listenings with no track skipping from start to finish. I had very high hopes for Plastic Beach as I expect an album that will either match or surpasses Demon Days.
Well good news is the album matches the greatness that is Demon Days. Bad news is it just barely matches its predecessor. Anytime I review a group that I personally enjoy I always hold them to a higher standard than a group I may only listen to from time to time. So what issues did I have with the album?
For starters one of the guest vocalists that Gorillaz have included on Plastic Beach is none other than the Doggfather himself Snoop Dogg. While I don’t dislike Snoop I do feel that he is a bit out of place for the Gorillaz. The Gorillaz have always had a hip hop vibe and have shown this side over their previous albums. One ongoing theme they have had in the past is featuring either true hip hop or indie rappers. They have never really had any mainstream rappers in the past. De La Soul has worked with them before but I consider them more indie and more true hip hop. Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach featuring Snoop just doesn’t feel like it should be on a Gorillaz album.
On the plus side they do include the great lyricist Mos Def as well as indie rappers Bash and Kano. De La Soul also makes a return on the funky Superfast Jellyfish. Plastic Beach also makes use of Orchestra’s on White Flag and Sweepstakes. Plastic Beach incorporates a little more electronic sounds than Demon Days which results in a more techno dance sound. Some standouts on the album include Stylo, Empire Ants, Some Kind of Nature, and Rhinestone Eyes. The album begins to lose a bit of steam towards the end.
While Plastic Beach is not exactly Demon Days, it still is a very well made album and a decent effort from the Gorillaz is way better than the best effort from most other acts out right now. There are no real bad songs on the album, I just don’t think the songs are as memorable as the tracks on Demon Days.

1. Orchestral Intro
2. Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach
3. White Flag
4. Rhinestone Eyes
5. Stylo
6. Superfast Jellyfish
7. Empire Ants
8. Glitter Freeze
9. Some Kind of Nature
10. On Melancholy Hill
11. Broken
12. Sweepstakes
13. Plastic Beach
14. To Binge
15. Cloud of Unknowing
16. Pirate Jet

Visit The Gorillaz Official Website

--Steven M Duarte