Váli - Forlatt

2004; 10 tracks

This was one of my first ever purely neofolk albums, excluding some early Ulver. It really is a beautiful example of that genre which produces such lyrical and evocative music, and is usually very intimate.

Váli is a Norwegian one-man neofolk project. The band's first album, Forlatt, features mostly solo acoustic guitar pieces, but occasionally some other instruments make their way into the soundscape. Try this if you haven't heard much neofolk before. This is a very different kind of neofolk than, say, that of Rome, as it is much more nature-based.



Jesu - Heart Ache EP

2004; 2 tracks
This is Justin Broadrick's first album under the name Jesu, a drone/sludge project where he does all of the instruments himself.  

Heart Ache's two 20 minute tracks contain moments of pure, crushing glory, and some of the most beautiful transitions and melodies one will ever hear. That is all I feel I should say, really, because this is undoubtedly Jesu's best release.


Lykathea Aflame - Elvenefris

2000; 11 tracks

Lykathea Aflame was a brutal death metal band formed by Petr Tománek and Martin Corn, of Appalling Spawn. They have only released this album. I'm not much of a death metal fan but Elvenefris is a fucking beautiful album, the only one of it's kind, and not one person who has listened to it will disagree. Phonsie is the one who turned me on to it, and it gave me a whole new perspective on how amazing this sort of music can be.



Darkthrone - Soulside Journey

1991; 11 tracks

For the past few days I've been in a state of near-death sickness, and even now I am still feeling extremely weak. I listened to this album pre much the whole time I was in bed, motionless. I don't know much about whether this is black metal or death metal or something more or in between or none of the above, but it's super great. I became thoroughly addicted from the very first riff of "Cromlech," to which I want to make love for days on end.

tl;dr Debut album from Norwegian band Darkthrone, I'm sure you've heard of them.



Lisa Germano - Geek the Girl

1994; 12 tracks

I have yet to come across an album so full of (wonderful) surprises as this one. Lisa Germano is an American singer-songwriter who used to play as a session musician for artists such as Bob Dylan and John Mellencamp. Listening to this, I was struck by the notion that a voice very much like Germano's had once (or still) spoken in and through me about the same issues and decisions a young girl has to face. It feels as though the quirks and complexities of this album are infinitely enlightening, if you listen closely enough.

"Geek the Girl was both a self-portrait and an allegoric concept. It was both an epic diaries of insecurity and a Dantesque journey into the psyche of a girl."

In the words of Lisa Germano:

"hi, this is the story of geek the girl, a girl who is confused about how to be cool and sexual in the world but finds out she isn't as cool and gets taken advantage of sexually alot, gets kind of sick and enjoys giving up but in the end tries to believe in dreams and still hopes of loving a man that he might save her from her shit life... ha ha what a geek!"

sexy little girl princess

Elysian Fields - Bleed Your Cedar

1996; 11 tracks

Bleed Your Cedar may be one of the most seductive albums ever... to use a phrase my friend often uses, it is "sexy in my ears" :3

This charm is not only due to the magnificently attractive voice of Jennifer Charles, but the variety of music presented in this, the band's first full-length... It is guaranteed you will love it from the first track alone, "Lady in the Lake," which is a catchy (and infinitely beautiful) shoegaze-y/grunge track. The album winds down a tiny bit later on with jazzier tracks like "Star" and "Parachute," but the electric and romantic pulse of Elysian Fields is thoroughly enjoyable to the end.

i'm on the wrong side of the water


Susumu Yokota - Love or Die

2007; 12 tracks

Susuma Yokota is a highly prolific ambient electronica artist from Japan. Love or Die is his third most recent album. Good music to listen to on the train.

"Love or Die appears to be a mixture of Yokota’s work within the past ten years. Though he remains intent on toying with triple metre structures, he reverts back to a form of piano-based loops and melodies that was demonstrated brilliantly in Grinning Cat. Love or Die is certainly one of the most eclectic albums of his career though, as murmurs of synth pads and touches if IDM are prevalent on tracks like 'A Song Produced While Floating Alone on Christmas Day' and 'A Slowly Fainting Memory of Love and Respect, and Hatred' within his usual accompaniments of strongly layered loops and rhythmic patterns."

"Yokota blends soft keyboard lines, strings, warm padded washes and a busy tempo of beats culled from a host of genres - break beats, techno stomp to the soft lilt that underpins the guitar and piano refrain of track four. This prolific artist has a canny knack of taking key elements from modern electronica and dance and melding them into something accessible and unchallenging."



I will become your memory

The loveliness of some things cannot be put into words, as shown by this song. I am reminded of Delicatessen and the spontaneous sadness I feel some days, a joy that is all the more pleasurable when kept secret. That is the key, isn't it? Keeping the happiness to yourself... the happiness that is really sorrow.

友川かずき (Kazuki Tomokawa) - やっと一枚目 (Yatto Ichimaime)

1975; 14 tracks

"Poet, singer, artist, bicycle race commentator, essayist, actor, drinker. An artist who miraculously embodies the romance of the vagabond poet, a rarity in an age where our very freedom means we have forgotten how to live." This is one of the rawest albums I've ever heard in my life. Tomokawa is like... a slightly more folky/melodic (and Japanese) Jandek. This is his first album, and what a debut it is. Here is the tracklisting. I recently found a series of 3 videos from Vincent Moon called "The Take Away Shows #98" focusing on Kazuki Tomokawa. Here is my favorite, one that shows the attitude of Tomokawa's music quite nicely (you might wanna skip along to 2:05):

Kazuki Tomokawa - A Take Away Show #98 - Part II from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.



Johannes Brahms - The Piano Concertos

2006; 2 discs
Riccardo Chailly / Gewandhaus Orchestra
Nelson Freire, pianist

I love the Claudio Arrau / Bernard Haitink recording of these phenomonal works for piano + orcehstra, but Freire / Chailly create such a precise and irridescent rendition (recorded live, too) that it is often acclaimed as one of the greatest recordings of Brahms' Concertos of all time.

The Second Piano Concerto is the product of Brahms' more mature years and one of the most powerfully moving pieces of music you will ever hear, but his First was written before he was 30, a near 22 year gap between the two works.

"... an ardent live version of these works with the legendary Brasilian Nelson Freire and the even more legendary 250 year old central european Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig (Mendelsohn was one of its first Kapellmeisters!) under the baton of its new conductor Riccardo Chailly: an invaluable coupling.

This is pure, vintage Brahms, especially in the hands of Freire and Chailly. The transparency of Freire's performance along with Chailly evoking the response from the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, especially with the dark, earthy sound of the strings, makes this performance so superlative that it seems that one is hearing it for the first time."

Disc 1
Disc 2

Cranberries and Oil - Noise Rock Compilation

2011; 21 tracks

So, this fantastic noise rock compilation was created by my good friend who is actually one of the posters behind Dicksblog, a really nice music blog that covers every genre imaginable. He also made this cover art, which is SO awesome, isn't it?

In this mix you'll find classic greats such as Pissed Jeans and Killdozer, but also some fun and underrated tracks by bands like Strangulated Beatoffs and Distorted Pony. Trust me, if you're not sure you like noise rock, give this a try.

Thanks, S. :3

+Tracks 11, 13, 16, and 18


Opeth - Watershed

2008; 7 tracks

Opeth is one of the most popular metal acts around today, their sound being one of great diversity and richness. They play a distinct style of progressive metal mixed with doom, and their lead singer, Mikael Åkerfeldt, is notable for his ability to sing with clean and death metal vocals, often side by side.

I was a big fan a few years ago, but my interest in doom metal waned after hearing the same thing over and over again. I bought Watershed on a whim and it really has grown on me, the instrumentation becoming all the more impressive and the atmosphere, which often takes on a life of it's own, more gorgeous. The truth is, Watershed is an incredibly beautiful album. Having listened to it on rainy days countless times, I've yet to find anything monotonous or even boring about it. There is a perfect transposition one experiences from track to track, storylines weaving in and out in flawless synchronicity. The passion that rages in one instant gives way to gentle, heart-stopping elegance... much like the actions of the sea.

Just listen.


Morita Douji (森田童子) Discography

Instead of re-doing everything, have a look at this post from the infamous Flying Teapot.

A Boy is one of my favorite albums ever now.


Cherubs - Heroin Man

1994; 13 tracks

The more I listen to this album, the more I adore it. Cherubs is a Texas-based noise rock band from the 90s whose name is a deceptive look into the nature of their sound. They create a tasteful mix of blistering vocals/harsh noise and garage-esque punk rock, rendering Heroin Man, the band's second and final full-length effort, a work of phenomonal noise rock.

"Stag Party" is the GREATEST opening track I have ever heard. In my life. I cannot stop listening to this album. I downloaded it about 2 years ago apparently (long story) due to a recommendation from Phonsie, of all people. He went through this crazy noise/math rock phase and I wanted to copy him but couldn't quite get into it at the time (Shellac, Fugazi, Drive Like Jehu, Arab on Radar, etc.) Well, now I am, so... yay.



友川かずき (Kazuki Tomokawa) - Ore no Uchi de Nari-yamanai Mono

1978; 10 tracks
Kazuki Tomkawa was a Japanese folk singer/songwriter most popular in the seventies, but he still makes music today. A nice biography of the artist can be found here. The title of this, his second album, translates as "Poems that won't stop crying from with me: Nakahara Chuya collection." Chuya Nakahara was an early 20th century Japanese poet and Tomokawa uses his poems as lyrics.

"Tomokawa's style is generally described as edgy, underground folk, which emerged from a Japanese folk revival in the 70s. This studio album, however, features crooning vocals and a rather dated sound, like a hybrid between light disco and traditional Japanese ballad."

This album is a one-of-a-kind acid folk/jazz work, exposing both the tenderly lighthearted and passionately romantic sides of Tomokawa's voice. Also, he is quite dreamy :3



ゑでぃまぁこん (Eddie Marcon) - 綿の煙の招待状

2009; 10 tracks

Absolutely delightful folk/ambient album from Japanese group ゑでぃまぁこん (Eddie Marcon). The title translates as "Cotton Smoke Invitations." Childish innocence and the purity of summer fuse in this beautiful music that is sunny even in the rain.


Belbury Poly - The Owl's Map

2006; 12 tracks

"Chintzy synths spilled into zither and melodica lines; recalibrated samples of hundred-year-old vocals were trapped like an EVP reading of an old English cottage. A little night music - think BBC Radiophonic workshop meets old-school spooky TV programmes."

"[Belbury Poly] is is based on the fictitious 'ancient market town of Belbury' which, according to the sleeve notes, 'is an uneasy mix of ancient and modern': Iron Age ramparts and a 'picturesque 11th century church', but also 'some notable modernist architecture', including the Polytechnic which gives its name to the group. The Owl's Map sounds futuristic and pastoral at the same time, whilst the design is inspired by old school textbooks and Penguin paperbacks.

'The Owl: the perfect Ghost Box bird-mascot, where the wholesome (children's story books from Winnie the Pooh onwards, bird-watching guides, owl as symbol of wisdom, etc.) collides with the umheimlich (spooky creature with ultra-acute nightvision).'

Jim Jupp, the man behind Belbury Poly, says that The Owl's Map concept derived partly from old tourist guides ('You know the sort of thing, murky old photos of Chichester Cathedral') and that the colour scheme for the album was inspired by the 'those brown road signs that point the way to Roman ruins, falconry centres or stately homes.'"



Syzygys - Complete Studio Recordings

2003; 19 tracks

Syzygys is Nishida Hiromi and Shimizu Hitomi, a Japanese avant-garde duo who "play 'microtonal pop music,' specifically just intonation in the form of Harry Partch's 43-tone scale." Not sure what that means exactly, but all the same this music is purely enjoyable and even lovely at times.


Swirlies - Strictly East Coast Sneaky Flute Music

1998; 16 tracks

What an album... Swirlies is an American indie rock band whose lineup seems to be constantly changing, but founding members Damon Tuntunjian and Andy Bernick are here to create a more experimental/noisy side of their usual more shoegaze sounds. Strictly East Coast Sneaky Flute Music features re-mixes of much of their earlier material by various DJs and other artists along with new material.

They're more traditionally recognised as a shoegaze act, and certainly a volume of their earlier material fits that cast very well, but this album is a peculiar hybrid of disjointed electronics, sound-collage, shoegaze and noise-pop. The other album I've heard, They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days in the Glittering World of the Salons, is a shoegaze gem with My Bloody Valentine-esque riffs and spacy drums. This album here, however, is much more experimental and playful. With electronica, hip-hop, and noise, this music is nothing short of intriguing.




I'm rather proud of my charts this week. All the Popol Vuh is mainly due to Nosferatu, of course. Honestly, it might be the most incredible albums I've heard. Ever. And I really, really mean it.

I listened to the new Dornenreich today, but I think I'll have to listen to it tonight before bed once or twice more. It was amazing and more, I just don't know if the mystery I once felt surrounding the band is there or has dissipated. I did love the last track. It felt like it brought me into another world and then back again. I love when bands do that. The only other times I can remember that happening is in Opeth's "The Lotus Eater" and Novembre's "Jules." Both great songs.

Monday is Valentine's Day. I have no idea why that is a holiday, but it is. I like to clean my room really meticulously on that day, usually listening to Jesu's Heartache. I guess it's sort of a ritual. Dust really gets on my nerves.

Well goodnight :(


Yapoos - Keikaku

1987; 10 tracks

Here is an album by Yapoos, a project formed by Jun Togawa. :o


Verdunkeln - Einblick In Den Qualenfall

2007; 6 tracks

I haven't posted any black metal in a while.

Despite many negative reviews, Verdunkeln's one and only full-length album is not bad.. not bad at all. The German band's sound is purely atmospheric, very resonant, with a psychedelic/hypnotic touch. If you like the more creative styles of black metal in the vein of, say, Urfaust, try this out.



Jun Togawa (戸川純)

Jun Togawa creates some of the most innovative, energetic, and wonderful pop music you will ever hear. The truth is, it's not really pop. It's the beyond. Her solo work is not her only work, and she has collaborated with and contributed to countless other projects and works. I'll admit I'm a very new fan of hers, but through this music I have come to know the meaning of true expression.

Tamahime Sama (玉姫様)

1984; 9 tracks

Jun Togawa's first solo album, the name of which means "Princess Ball." Haruomi Hosono, a popular Japanese musician, writes the title track and does some vocals in "Tonari no Indo-jin."


Suki Suki Daisuki (好き好き大好き)

1985; 8 tracks


Kyokutō Ian Shōka (極東慰安唱歌)

1985; 11 tracks

The title translates as "Far Eastern Consolation Songs." The album concludes with Yumemiru Yakusoko in a new arrangement by Hosono (he did his own singing version). That song title translates as "The Dreamt Promise."


20th Jun Togawa

2003; 6 tracks

If I may borrow from my... friend...

"20th Jun Togawa is another more modern piece by the legendary 戸川純. a cover album where she pays tribute to Brigitte Fontaine, Vanessa Paradis, Patti Smith, and other western classics. her versions of the songs covered here are (except for "Comme A la Radio") have very little in common with the originals. Togawa's voice sounds as childlike as ever, particularly on the delightful cover of "Joe le Taxi".

one or two of the songs on this album (for example, the tired 'All Tomorrow's Parties") are worthless in their original form, but somehow togawa manages to fill them with the spark of life."



If you haven't checked them out already, you absolutely must. They are fast becoming one of my favorite shoegaze/grunge rock bands ever.

I've only heard The Dirt of Luck but I plan to branch out to other albums soon...

The drained-out music and her voice are both exquisite and enervating.


Françoise Hardy - Comment te dire adieu?

1968; 12 tracks

God, this album... it is honestly beyond words. Françoise Hardy was a French singer of the 60s, focusing on pop and fashion. On Comment te dire adieu?, which originally had no title, each song is beautifully written and sung, the lyrics from a variety of sources. Françoise Hardy's voice is unlike anything I've ever heard, especially in the realm of French 60s pop singers. Lacking the deep, seductive qualities of Juliette Gréco, but not as sweet and childlike as the voice of France Gall, Hardy seems to float just in the middle with her pure, heavenly voice. My particular favorites are the softer, acoustic tracks, like "Où va la chance ?" and "A quoi ça sert ?" Listen to these two and you'll know what I'm talking about.

"...Tastefully imaginative orchestration, strong melodies, and sexy vocals. It's perhaps even sadder and more sentimental than was the norm for Françoise - she perpetually seems to be singing as though she's gazing out of a deserted château on a rainy afternoon. She largely forsakes original material here (although a couple cuts bear her writing credit), and offers fine, haunting French interpretations of Leonard Cohen's 'Suzanne,' Phil Ochs' 'There But for Fortune,' and Ricky Nelson's 'Lonesome Town.'"

This is the first album I've heard of hers, and it's amazing, but I really want to hear more. Any suggestions? :3



Eric Serra - Léon (The Professional) Soundtrack

1994; 24 tracks

French composer Eric Serra's soundtrack to the hauntingly powerful film Léon (The Professional), by Luc Besson, is just as striking as the picture. It opens with the distant sounds of a war marked by corruption, addiction, and the simple filth of humanity. The foreshadowing portrayed by the rueful strings at the very beginning of the soundtrack sets a dark tone for the film, but not an entirely hopeless one.

Ever present in Léon is a mesmerizing rhythm, almost Einstürzende Neubauten-like in atmosphere, that adds an interesting dimension of urban intensity. It does seem like the vibrant rhythm is the background of much of the film - it comes to symbolize the almost ridiculous antics of the film's divinely psychotic villain (who is, strangely, a figure signifying authority and good), Stan Stansfield. Stan claims to like Beethoven and LOVE Mozart, so in the beginning brutal fight scenes, when Stan goes on a destructive rampage, the music builds into a chaotic frenzy as a sort of "overture" to the rest of the film ("Noon" and "Fatman").

As much as Stan is a figure of evil, signifying good, there is a definite force of good in the film, one that is intended to stand for evil. These dissenters are Léon and Mathilda, an unlikely pair who generate an unimaginably innocent relationship out of loneliness and unaffected trust. This purity is clearly seen in the soundtrack by songs such as "Ballad for Mathilda," "She is Dead," and "Cute Name," which are all my favorites. They are tenderly beautiful, contrasting greatly with the more dark and primitive tracks.

With the more industrial tracks on the soundtrack, I am reminded of a particular level on Crash Bandicoot called "Generator Room." I don't know why. The saxophones and droning bass notes also contribute to a jazzy, 90s feel. The more I listen to the soundtrack to Léon, I am reminded of Badalamenti's score to The City of Lost Children, which I love with all my heart. French film scores ftw.



Johannes Brahms - Complete Organ Works

2009; 15 tracks
Haig Mardirosian

These painfully beautiful organ works were the last works of Brahms' before his death. His reluctance to die is especially haunting as the fifth and last track of the Eleven Chorale Preludes are titled, "O Welt, ich muss dich lassen," or "Oh world, I must leave you."

Aside from the Eleven Choral Preludes, Op. 122, this recording features 2 Fugues and 2 Preludes + Fugues, all of which were composed some 40 years prior to the others.

On May 21, 1896, Brahms' lifelong friend and champion, Clara Schumann, passed away in Frankfurt am Main. Brahms, who considered Clara to be the 'greatest wealth' in his life, was so devastated that he bungled his travel arrangements and missed the funeral in Bonn. Upon his return to Ischl, where he spent his summers, Brahms' friends noticed an unsettling change in his appearance. Physicians at first told the composer that he had jaundice, though they secretly believed he was suffering from liver cancer, the disease that had killed his father. When Brahms left Ischl to 'take the cure' at Karlsbad, it is possible, though unlikely, that he was unaware of the seriousness of his condition; he rarely admitted to having an illness, even if he knew it was the truth.

In was in this atmosphere that Brahms composed the Eleven Chorale Preludes, his first music for the organ since 1857. It is possible that some of the settings may have originated before 1896; most of Brahms' work on the set, however, took place during that year. Brahms may have known, if only subconsciously, that he might not live to see another summer; this may have influenced his decision to set, twice each, the chorales 'Herzlich tut ich verlangen nach einem sel'gen End' (I sincerely wish for a happy end) and 'O Welt, ich muss dich lassen' ('O world, I must leave you'). Indeed, the second of the two 'O Welt' settings contains the last notes the composer ever wrote.



Psychic TV - Roman P / Neurology

1984; 3 tracks

The first track of this release, "Roman P," was written in memory of film director Roman Polanski. I love that track so so much, although it doesn't sound very like Psychic TV at all.

The B-side is entitled "Neurology" and contains a message from Mr. Sebastian, a spokesman of Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth (TOPY). TOPY is an artistic federation of groups such as Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, and Coil. These two final tracks also contain collaged speeches by Charles Manson and Jim Jones which run simultaneously in different stereo channels.


Ludovico Einaudi - La Scala Concert

2003; 2 discs, 21 tracks

Ludovico Einaudi is an Italin classical pianist and composer whose electrifying works have been used in numerous film scores and soundtracks. Sadly, I can't find the words to describe this recording, as mesmerizing as it is.

This concert was recorded at La Scala in Milan, Italy, on 3/3/03, and it features the best of Einaudi's solo piano works.



Espen Eriksen Trio - You Had Me At Goodbye

2010; 8 tracks

Espen Eriksen Trio is a fairly new Norwegian jazz group that focuses, primarily, on the gentle and rainy shades of the piano.

"Fantastic piano trio that combines highly melodic and lyrical instrumentals, with a hint of Scandinavian folk music. Focusing more on melodies and short solos! Very unique & minimalistic."

My friend showed me this, and it really is stunning. Jazzy melodies that seem to flow from another place, perfectly, like a pure liquid. There is an appealing folkiness to You Had Me At Goodbye that isn't too common in much of jazz music (which I truly know little about), but it proves a glistening attribute to this lovely music.