Reviews

Breath of the Heart

Breath of the Heart  
by Krishna Das
Karuna, 2001
(see below for ratings)

 

If my Momma had told me a decade ago that I would ever have the patience to sit through almost sixteen minutes of the Hare Krishna theme song, I would have taken her Mothers’ Day gift back to the mall. Ah, unemployment and a paying freelance writing gig make strange bedfellows.

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Songs For the Lost

Songs For the Lost
by Icarus Witch
Cleopatra Records, 2007

 

Melodic metal gets no respect. Its hummable headbanging is scorned by those in search of maximum church-burning corpse-mutilating cat-sodomizing Drano-gargling Eeeevvviiillll. Meanwhile, emo kiddies, hipsters, and the Arbiters of Cool run screaming from the scent of Velveeta and hair mousse. It’s almost enough to make a girl give her stonewashed jeans to Goodwill. Thankfully, Icarus Witch single-handedly reinvigorates the genre with Songs of the Lost.

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Black Ships Ate the Sky

Black Ships Ate the Sky
by Current 93
Durtro/Jnana (UK), 2006

 

Few bands are recognized for their overt interests in Thelema, chaos magick, and Hermeticism. Current 93 is one of them. Others include Psychic TV, Throbbing Gristle, Death in June, Nurse With Wound, and Coil. All of the aforementioned are interrelated, and members have worked together in the past. Their songs speak of magick, reality, and emotion, and all are appealing to Witches and magicians of all types.

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Blessings

Blessings  
by S.J. Tucker
Skinny White Chick Records, 2007

 

Religious records are tricky. At best, such music elevates both artist and audience; more often, it deteriorates into God/ess-shouting. Even so, music captures spiritual feelings better than almost any other medium. When an artist moves beyond pious clichés, the results can be …which Blessings often is.

Tucker’s music has always had a Pagan lilt, and Blessings brings that element to the forefront; this album is a love note to modern Paganism. Several songs ― especially “Come to the Labyrinth,” “Hand-fast Blessing,” “For Love of All Who Gather,” (both versions) and “Witch’s Rune” ― work best in ritual context. Others, notably “Rabbit’s Song” (the album’s weakest cut), use earth-spirit influences for conventional songs. Several songs were composed for rituals in which Tucker took part, and these songs ― “Labyrinth,” “Rune,” “For Love of All Who Gather/ Spirit Call,” “Handfast Blessing,” and “In the Name of the Dance” ― are the album’s strongest cuts.

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Cold Memories & Remains

Cold Memories & Remains  
by Violet Tears
The Fossil Dungeon, 2008

 

Can an album be joyfully morose? If so (and I’d say “yes”), than this is one such album. A lush example of the Ethereal Romantigoth style, the band Violet Tears mixes English lyrics with their native Italian to craft sensual soundscapes of misery.

Recalling the Cocteau Twins (with more coherence), Black Tape for a Blue Girl (less emoting), and the quieter moments of The Gathering, Violet Tears originally recorded Cold Memories back in 2004. Recently, the album was picked up for US distribution by The Fossil Dungeon — a label whose eclectic darkwave sound includes Sol Invictus and The Soil Bleeds Black. For fans of Projekt Records and Cold Meat Industry, I highly recommend this label. They do good work with intriguing artists.

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Vesta

Vesta   
by Lovespace
Lovespace Music, 2007

 

As tribal fusion bellydance grows in popularity, the artists associated with that style blossom. One such artist is healer/ dancer/musician Diane Gardner (formerly Kirkland), an English composer who forms the foundation of the music-healing project Lovespace.

Trained in bodywork, dance, and musical arts, Gardner has assembled a handful of backing musicians to accentuate her sensually spiritual compositions. The majority of the work in Vesta, though, is Diane’s. An entrancing collection of sound-scapes woven around the idea of a “new divine femininity,” this album glides from New Age ambiance to engaging bellydance beats. The latter tracks (“Dance for the World,” “The Silk Road … Within,” and “In Exile”) present many of Vesta’s strongest moments. Several of the ambient cuts (especially “The Hag” and “The Dark Feminine,” neither of which seems ominous enough to suit their titles) meander into synth-y whooshisms reminiscent of early Kitaro.

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