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