Friday, 24 December 2010

Paradigms at Christmas

Firstly, we'd like to wish all of you a fantastic holiday of feasting and merriment. The beers will be coming out here shortly and a rather large goose is currently being prepared for the oven.

And in true Paradigms tradition, we're releasing two exclusive special editions today to celebrate the coming of Yuletide. So when you get a moment between sherries and revelry, have a little look at where we have just uploaded audio tracks from both releases and more information.

The editions in question are the VENA 'Nomadic' CDEP and the BOOK OF SAND 'Destruction, Not Reformation' CD album. Absolute exquisite soundtracks for the festive season by way of Oslo, Norway and Minneapolis, USA. We've been raving about both over the past few weeks and seriously recommend you check them out as both really do encapsulate where Paradigms is at right now and how excited we are with great new music that continues to amaze us.

It's been such a great year in music and we truly believe that Paradigms is developing creatively into something more than we could possible have imagined, so thanks to everyone for all your interest and support over the past year and let's drink to wild and wonderful musical explorations into the new year.

All the best to everyone and see you on the other side.

Paradigms Recordings
Christmas Eve 2010

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Paradigms Recordings : Albums Of The Year 2010

Here are our top 20 favourite albums of 2010 that have been exciting, driving and inspiring us throughout the year. No explanations needed, just absolutely stunning music that fuels our souls.

PARADIGMS RECORDINGS - Albums Of The Year 2010

1. CELESTE – Morte (s) Nee (s)

2. PANTHA DU PRINCE – Black Noise

3. KVELERTAK – Kvelertak

4. SILJE NES – Opticks

5. SHINING – Black Jazz

6. DEATHSPELL OMEGA – Paracletus

7. JONSI – Go

8. ZOLA JESUS – Stridulum II


10. SERENA MANEESH – S-M 2 : Abyss In B Minor

11. JAGA JAZZIST – One Armed Bandit

12. CRYSTAL CASTLES – Crystal Castles II

13. JOHAN JOHANNSSON – …There Came The Sound Of Bees

14. YEAR OF NO LIGHT – Ausserwelt

15. MANTRIC – The Descent

16. THE KNIFE – Tomorrow, In A Year

17. WITHERED – Dualitas

18. AGNES OBEL - Philharmonics

19. IHSAHN – After

20. ANTONY & THE JOHNSONS - Swanlights

BOOK OF SAND 'Destruction, Not Reformation'

Also due for release alongside VENA on Christmas Eve is the staggering new album from BOOK OF SAND. 'Destruction, Not Reformation' is a visionary work of outside Black Metal. Gamelan influenced, atmospheric, hazy cello driven modern classical chamber Black Metal if you will. Epic. Check the Paradigms Recordings website over the coming weeks for audio samples and exclusive ordering.

The stunning artwork design for 'Destruction, Not Reformation' features a commissioned painting by John Martin Bell and is debuted below.

VENA 'Nomadic' cd artwork unveiled today

VENA 'Nomadic' cd cover unveiled - we're pleased to preview the artwork for the upcoming cdep from Oslo's VENA today.

Released on 24th December and designed in-house by Holy Mountain Media. One of our finest Paradigms releases to date too - beautiful shoegazey, textured indie heaviness with gorgeous girl vocals for appreciators of Cult Of Luna, Wovenhand and early Ride perhaps. Really excited about this, so watch out for more information and audio samples debuting exclusively on the Paradigms website over the next few weeks.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Design Studio Launch : HOLY MOUNTAIN MEDIA

Today we're proud to announce the commercial launch of our design studio, HOLY MOUNTAIN MEDIA.

Over the past few years of creating the in-house design for Paradigms Recordings and undertaking various freelance projects, we're fully launching our bespoke design services for print, web and production this month. Please feel free to contact us with all your design needs and spread the word, if you will, as we're keen to get involved in new projects both large and small.

We specialise in developing bold esoteric graphics and aesthetics, design, typography, illustration and photography in both 2D and 3D media and are starting to work on animation concepts too, primarily in the music and entertainment industries but we love to get involved in any interesting work internationally.

Our fully updated portfolio is online now at

Thank you

Holy Mountain Media
London. England.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

A postcard from Norway

After several trips to Norway over the past few years, Oslo has become one of our favourite places in the world, so it's been a pleasure to spend most of this week over here enjoying the harsh arctic winds and sub-zero temperatures; barely getting any higher than minus five degrees celsius during the days and plummeting much lower into the evenings. Very nice indeed if you have the right clothing...

This time around we finally got to visit the Viking Ship Museum at Bygdøy where three ships are displayed. The Oseberg ship is absolutely stunning, dating back to 800AD and built from oak, it's carvings and structure is a wonder to behold. The other ships discovered at burial mounds in Gokstad and Tune are also fascinating, as is the selection of accompanying grave goods on display. Highly recommended

Managed to get away from the city for a while for a trek into the mountains before returning to spend too much money at the highly recommended and very friendly Tiger Records store. Then watched the sun go down over the freezing fjord whilst listening to Supersilent's sublime new album. Quite an experience, I can assure you and a perfect end to a perfect day.

Thanks to all our amazing Norwegian friends old and new. Thanks to drunken nights at the Mono Bar and The Garage and stumbling into Elm Street for that one last beer...

And to finish off a great Scandinavian week, we got to see the new MOOMINS film on it's opening day here in Norway, which was a truly beautifully crafted little film.

Oslo, we will miss you, until next time.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Paradigms Recordings vs Aquarius Records SF

We're very happy to announce that the ever mighty Aquarius Records store in San Francisco has named MURMUÜRE's self titled Paradigms debut as their 'Album Of The Week' this week and also their 'Black Metal Album Of The Year'.

Many thanks to Andee and all the fine folks over there. Always strong supporters of Paradigms right from the start and true bastions of pioneering independent music, we salute you.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

NEW RELEASE : SEPVLCRVM - 'Hermeticvm' out on Paradigms this week

Paradigms Recordings is pleased to announce the release of a very special project today - the debut from Italy's SEPVLCRVM entitled 'HERMETICVM'. The haunting soundtrack to your final spiritual ascension. Due to the esoteric nature of it's hidden knowledge, this arcane item is strictly limited to 100 copies only, presented on pro-manufactured cdr with screenprinted disc, beautifully packaged cover art and inner sleeve, printed on textured and recycled papers and board.

'HERMETICVM' is a journey of mystical-spiritual ascent - drawn from primordial understanding and interpretation of ancient sacred texts. A sacral process of pure, uncontaminated improvisation intent on releasing inner spiritual energy from physical form to set one free on the path to the inner circle of true universal wisdom.

"Hermeticvm" is now available through the Paradigms store so check it out here. And you can sample a track from the album on the Paradigms audio player.

A triumphant work over 3 acts in 60 minutes - hypnotic, occult guitar drone, chiming prayer bells, trumpets, xylophones, organs, choral chanting and a whispered monologue evoke vast cathedrals of sound on a truly transcendental trip in search of the Eternal. Enlightenment is ours!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


Deathspell Omega is Black Metal. Black Metal is Deathspell Omega.

Granted, we're preaching (most likely) to the converted here but after submersing ourselves in the new Deathspell Omega 'Paracletus' album this week, we thought that you can never praise true greatness too highly.

So, it is also a given that Deathspell Omega's body of work over the last ten years has been absolutely faultless -- a rare thing to be able to claim of any band or artist and we've been possessed by their blackened metaphysical genius since procuring a copy of 'Inquisitors Of Satan' from Northern Heritage back in 2002.

France too has become the undisputed breeding ground for relevant, forward-thinking and genuinely experimental extreme metal over the past few years (Blut Aus Nord, Stagnant Waters, Decrepit Spectre, Celeste, Murmuüre, BORGIA, even Gojira and obviously Deathspell Omega to name just a few), and on the strength of 'Paracletus', France is delivering what Norway's Moonfog scene never quite managed to realise over a decade ago; true, theological high art in extreme metal.

'Paracletus' makes pretty much ninety nine percent of all contemporary black metal completely redundant. With the still ever mysterious Deathspell Omega in the world, there is little need for much else - ever technical and played with absolute precision, it relentlessly drives like Thorns, drifts in psychedelic twists like Virus but is still pure Deathspell Omega. Beautifully balanced, organic and textured throughout, 'Paracletus' is a modern masterpiece of biblical proportions.

Er, yes, you may gather we like this quite alot....

Deathspell Omega / Norma Evangelium Diaboli

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Paradigms Song Of The Day : "Lay In A Shimmer" by PANTHA DU PRINCE

Already been raving about the "Black Noise" album here on the Paradigms blog a few weeks ago and will definitely feature in our albums for the year list for 2010. Anyway, thought we'd stick one of our favourite tracks from the album up here as it makes our day and it might just make yours too, if some rather fine minimal German techno / electronica / IDM is your thing.

...more stunning animation for a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon

We'd also encourage you to investigate some of the decadent, glorious and mindboggling genius from the modern-day artisans at the The Black Heart Gang animation studio. Here's 'The Tale Of How', part of an on-going series of some of the most inventive, visual storytelling that we have seen in a long while.

Jóhann Jóhannsson and Marc Craste

Icelandic composer / musician Jóhann Jóhannsson captivated our imagination a couple of years back with his quite sublime 'Fordlandia' release on 4AD. This truly beautiful, arctic modern classical composition / electronica chills our hearts and transports our minds into a long-lost dreamworld; all of his work being pretty much essential. So we were obviously excited with the release earlier this year of a soundtrack he'd composed for a Marc Craste animated film from 2008 called 'Varmints'.

Like most of his work, 'And In The Endless Pause There Came The Sound Of Bees', as it is entitled on cd / vinyl, is isolating in part, delicate and subtle - working perfectly as a soundtrack to the masterful animation but also is powerful enough to stand on it's own as a commanding music piece.

And this rather incredible album has introduced us to Marc Craste, London based master animator / director and key player of UK animation studio, STUDIO AKA. We were actually aware of much of their work already, with various stunning spots for the BBC and iconic animation for advertising - however, it's in award winning short films where his unique, dark fairy tale vision really flourishes. Check out the aforementioned 'Varmints' if you get a chance and check out a full version of one of our personal favourites 'Jojo In The Stars' below. Enjoy.

Monday, 25 October 2010

LURKER : Mourner & Murmuüre - first reviews online

A very nice way to start the week: the first reviews for new Paradigms Recordings releases by MOURNER and MURMUÜRE just went live on the fantastic LURKER online underground music resource / blog.

Check it out here

There's also a great MOURNER review at Aversionline here too.

It's always very gratifying when our work finds appreciative ears and like minds.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Oh yes, it's the VENA - 'Nomadic' cd masters on the doormat!

So there it was on the doormat this morning. A package from Magnus Lindberg from Cult Of Luna with the audio masters for the upcoming VENA cdep which will be released on Paradigms over the next few months.

It's always quite a scary yet exciting moment when you get the masters through for a record you're about to release, especially when you haven't heard any of the studio recordings before that.

Fortunately I have a very big smile on my face right now and it's at these times when I realize why I love doing Paradigms the most.

Anyway, VENA are from Oslo and 'Nomadic' is their debut cdep. 4 tracks over 25 minutes. And what a majestic twenty five minutes it is. Super hazy, lush heavy indie shoegazey stuff with the most amazing girl vocals. It drifts, the bass lines twist and weave and it's heavy like a crashing wave. Totally beautiful and if you're into Wovenhand, Cult Of Luna, Ride and such, then this might well be your new favourite band.

Can't wait to get this out there before the end of the year. More news to follow shortly!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

A Week In Music (Part 1)

Autumn is our favourite time of the year around here at Paradigms HQ. London is getting cold right now. Darkness is creeping in earlier and earlier and we've been spending the nocturnal hours losing ourselves in more music old and new.

The Union Chapel - Islington, London (18.10.10)

We had the pleasure on Monday evening of experiencing Anja Franziska Plaschg (aka SOAP&SKIN) perform with a full ensemble at the intimate Union Chapel. Her debut 'For Vacuum' last year was a bit of a revelation and her brooding gothic overtones, haunted wails and frantic piano captured something rather unique and foreboding. Maybe falling somewhere between Bjork (for her leftfield quirkiness perhaps) and a young Diamanda Galas. With strings, trumpet and the chill of the chapel, the whole atmosphere was a triumph whilst her knowingly awkward and naive stage persona and delivery erupted on the Marche Funebre finale. Blissful blackness to start the week. Perfect.


Elsewhere, we've really been digging the ECM and RUNE GRAMMOFON stuff (as usual) this week, continuing our exploration of contemporary Norwegian jazz; what with the Nordic scene surely being hands-down the most potent and exciting right now. TRYGVE SEIM's 'Sangam' album from 2004 on ECM Records and ARVE HENRIKSEN's 'Chiaroscuro' from 2005 being current favourites. Atmospheric, dark and more in common with modern classical composition, both are rather restrained works. Arve Henriksen's muted trumpet especially reminding us of Miles Davis on 'Sketches Of Spain', but played against a vast, ethereal ambience. Quite beautiful. And on an Arve Henriksen side-note, we're super excited about the new Supersilent record which is released next week too...


DIRTY PROJECTORS from NYC and their 'Bitte Orca' album from 2009 on Domino Records have also been getting some heavy rotation here this week. Their euphoric, obtuse pop music which recalls the songsmith genius of David Byrne and the Talking Heads at their most energetic; layered African rhythms, krautrock percussion and seriously spellbinding, off-kilter guitar playing. As has the new ANTONY AND THE JONHSONS 'Swanlights' album. I must admit, his unarguably fascinating voice and rich songwriting has never really appealed to us, however this new album sees Antony Hegarty take a more expanded, vangardist approach to his songwriting. It's haunting, sad, spooky, decadent, intimate, beautiful and it just works. This will be played alot this Autumn.


So, our favouritist favourite new record of the moment must be the second album from Norway's SILJE NES. 'Opticks' was released last month via Fat Cat Records. Oh so beautiful, so delicate Scandinavian warmness. It buzzes with that rare kind of haze that Mazzy Star were so renowned for, Silje's gentle voice reminding us of Stina Nordenstam perhaps. Shimmering melodies which sound like they were played on tiny little instruments. Xylophone, viola, electronics. A bit indie, a bit 'post-rock-y', a bit electronica-y, totally Norse. Those underlying bass-lines make us smile. Oh, we love this record SO much!

Silje Nes on Myspace

And finally, two of the electronic records that have been enrapturing us lately and are well worthy of your time if you are so inclined. Hamburg's Hendrick Weber (aka PANTHA DU PRINCE) delivered an absolute minimal German techno / electronica classic in 'Black Noise' earlier this year. Rich, intelligent, organic and glacial, this is one beautiful sound. On an experimental angle, the recently released new album 'Mimikry' from ANBB is a wonder to behold. Anbb being the collaboration between German electronic composer / visual artist Alva Noto and modern day renaissance man Blixa Bargeld (Einstruzende Neubauten / Bad Seeds). Musically it's minimal, rhythmic, it glitches, it clicks, it drones, it roars in walls of static noise and is all round quite mesmerizing. But it's the dialogue, drive and tone of Bargeld's voice that really does make this complete. Quite amazing. The previous EP 'Ret Marut Handshake' is well worth tracking down too.


So, we've been getting all excited about the Norwegian Jazz scene, left-field pop records, Norwegian girl singers and German electronica / IDM, but TOM G WARRIOR has been fueling our metal this week. Always one for a commanding vision of music working closely with bold aesthetics, the new TRIPTYKON video for 'Shatter' is no exception. Personally, Triptykon could never eclipse the epic genius of CELTIC FROST's 'Monotheist', but this video is a visual wonder. Thanks and enjoy.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Unearthly Delights #3 - Introspective Improv Chamber Jazz

Columbia Records 1963

We love records that scare us. And records that we can't stop listening to but don't actually know why. And this quite unassuming looking avantgardist jazz album from clarinetist composer Jimmy Giuffre and his trio is one of those records.

The one thing that distinctly sets this apart for us from the vibrant improvised / free jazz scene that was gaining momentum around this time is that whilst the majority of Giuffre's contemporaries were forging a bold, energetic path forwards, FREE FALL was dark. Pitch black infact. Claustrophobic in places, arranged very much in introspective chamber music form. Minimal, stark, intense; it really does come to life when clarinet, piano and double bass find their way back together and feed a heavy melody before dropping back into atonal soloing.

The album heavily references ancient norse mythology, with Giuffre linking the base qualities of music to the source of all knowledge and the great tree Yggdrasill. Either way, this is one insane, restrained noise and Jimmy Giuffre, Paul Bley and Steve Swallow were one extraordinary trio blazing a rather unique and personal vision. And even more wild that this rather difficult album found it's way onto Columbia Records.

And as a side note -- if any of this sounds of interest, I'd also recommend checking out Ken Vandermark's FREE FALL trio and their 2005 album, 'Amsterdam Funk' on the always special Smalltown Superjazzz label out of Norway. Influenced not only in name by Giuffre's classic, Vandermark utilises the clarinet, piano and bass trio to powerful effect, although maybe not as dark and brooding.

This is one heavy scene.

Unearthly Delights #2 - Haunted Victorian Music Halls

SILBERNACHT - Liebe Und Verfall
The Ajna Offensive 2008

The best thing about a record collection is every once in a while rediscovering a really powerful work that you've somehow neglected for some time. We seem to unearth SILBERNACHT every couple of months from the archives and marvel in awe at it's spectral haze.

Released by The Ajna Offensive in 2008, this is the work of one Frank Esser from Germany. But this cinematic wonder is not made by a contemporary mind -- the ethereal organs drift like a somber fog over an errily deserted old seaside pier. There is something rather uneasy about it's ambience, which could resonate across an empty, haunted Victorian music hall or accompany a decadent 1920s German expressionist film, to which it would be the perfect soundtrack.

Absolutely essential for occult headphone listening or candle lit evenings with absinthe and Ouija boards.

Investigate SILBERNACHT here

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Unearthly Delights #1 - CELESTE 'Morte(s) Nee(s)'

CELESTE - Morte(s) Nee(s)
Denovali Recordings 2010

CELESTE from Lyon, France deliver here what is hands down our favourite record of 2010. Without question. Just as their previous album 'Misanthrope(s)' was in 2009 and 'Nihiliste(s)' back in 2008. Pure jet black art has never sounded so urgent, forward thinking or oppressive. The sheer intensity of this power unit is unparalleled and we've never heard a band before who can maintain such an energy on one level for forty minutes without reprieve - in the hands of lesser mortals this music would verge on monotony but Celeste perform their sonic alchemy to epic perfection.

Driving walls of colossal, hypnotic heaviness break in wave after wave against the venom of the rasping vocals to transcendental heights. Truly awe-inspiring. The 'black metal' tag has been used as a key reference in various reviews for this new album especially, however I personally can't see it -- to these ears their razor sharp, calculated sound bears more reference to the potent mid nineties European sounds of Bremen's Per Koro label, especially to the pioneering work of ACME and Systral, yet somehow making a unique noise completely on a new level. This ranks right up there with Sweden's Breach and their flawless creative output.

And what makes CELESTE such an all encompassing proposition is the distinct, refined and bold design concept that adorns the cd and vinyl packaging of each release, 'Morte(s) Nee(s)' being no exception, with it's stark, beautiful and almost religious imagery and clean typography as cold and alluring as classic Factory Records or 4AD layouts.

It is so reassuring to be enraptured by such nihilism, I can promise you. And if one band wrote music especially for me, this is the band. No one else should listen to them, they are just simply too good...

But back in reality we would sincerely urge you to go to Denovali Records where you can download 'Morte(s) Nee(s)' for free, along with the previous two albums as well. Then we would urge you to buy all the stunningly presented cds and vinyls. Pick up a couple of shirts and a Celeste bag whilst you're at it too. Embrace the CELESTE. Just a bit gutted that we will not be there to see them lay waste to the Denovali Swing Fest in Essen later this week.

CELESTE on Myspace

Sunday, 3 October 2010

New cds from MURMUÜRE and MOURNER out this week!

MURMUÜRE - "Murmuüre" CD - OUT NOW

Sometimes a record comes along that blows our minds so much and we're very proud to say that the self titled debut from France's MURMUÜRE is one of those records. Causing quite a stir with our good friends at Aquarius Records in San Francisco, this is already their black metal album of the year! But when we say black metal, we mean 'heavy, fuzzed out, psychedelic and weird as fuck' (AQ). Crackling, hissing and blissed out genius, bombastic drums and glitchy, abstract electronica. Something really unique is happening here - kind of imagine avant French black metal akin to Blut Aus Nord, laced with Abruptum, Cocteau Twins, the retro electronics of M83, Godspeed, Alcest and other outsider wonders. Absolutely perfect, celestial black pop.


Now this is one monolith of an album - total crushing down-tempo bleakness from Nashville, Tennessee. MOURNER summon a haunting 40 minute soundtrack of downtuned, glacially slow blackness, laced with witch-rasping vocal incantations, crashing percussion and an atmosphere of foreboding dread. Isolationist funeral doom has rarely sounded so claustophonic, epic, beautiful and harrowing all at the same time. Three cursed hymns presented here - The Death Posture, Still I and Still II. A monumental piece of misery for appreciators of Burning Witch, Khanate, Godspeed You Black Emperor and the like, whilst dragging it's own unique and heavy path through the oppressive mirk.

Both are now available exclusively from
Strictly limited to 500 copies each