Tuesday, 26 July 2011

CHELSEA WOLFE - American Gothic

One artist who is currently bewitching our turntable and haunting our evening playlists is LA songwriter, CHELSEA WOLFE, who's 2010 debut "The Grime & The Glow" quite literally chilled our souls with it's dirging resonance of somber doom-folk. Limited to a mere 500 copies and now long sold out, we're very pleased to have this masterpiece in our hands and her follow-up album "Ἀποκάλυψις" which is set for released next month is eagerly anticipated around these parts.

Interestingly, she just completed a west coast tour of the US only yesterday with a full band; in support of Thrill Jockey Records' NYC black metal artists, Liturgy, before she embarks on a selection of the finest Scandinavian festivals next month as a solo performer. And her cover version of Burzum's "Black Spell Of Destruction" is perfection. Delicate, introspective songwriting at it's heart, with a dark, brooding gothic fog throughout. Quite marvelous.

Friday, 22 July 2011

BJORK - Biophilia

The recent internet preview of "Crystalline" from Bjork's sprawling "Biophilia" album has been a long time coming and a cause of much excitement here in the Paradigms bunker. So we immediately delved into the interactive elements as they were launched this week and the whole presentation is one of the most beautifully conceived, organic and rich musical experiences that we have had the pleasure of marveling over...With a digital app for iPhone / iPad as it's central point of focus, this is quite simply spellbinding; unraveling Bjork's upcoming "Biophilia" album as it goes. We eagerly anticipate it's updates and the full release in the Autumn. The Sir David Attenborough introductionary narration is inspired and really sets the tone for the whole project and 'Crystalline' is the perfect first installment to this universal tapestry of sound, spectacularly captured to video by Michel Gondry.

Monday, 18 July 2011

THE SLAVES - New Noise Magazine France

The latest issue of the rather fine NEW NOISE Magazine in France arrived this morning; and all the finer as it features a splendid interview with our very own Portland ethereal duo, THE SLAVES.

THE SLAVES are Barbara Kinzle and Birch Cooper. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, this compelling duo craft a luscious haze of droning, psychedelic and haunting ambient pop soundscapes. Waves of warm, spectral synth, processed guitars and electronics perfectly layered with Barbara's pure, ethereal tones to almost spiritual effect. Pure and beautiful yet somber and melancholic, "Grey Angel" is a monumental release for Paradigms and reminds us personally of those rich 4AD atmospheres, the misty lakeside mornings of Twin Peaks and a contemporary ambience like a totally blissed out Zola Jesus or a celestial Grouper, perhaps.

Check out "Grey Angel" at www.paradigms-recordings.com

Saturday, 2 July 2011

This month's essential reading : LUCIFER BOX and HARRY FLASHMAN

We love books almost as much as we love music here in the Paradigms coven and it was with perverse joy that earlier this year we were introduced to the three decadently witty and wickedly depraved Lucifer Box novels by one Mark Gatiss, who you are probably aware of as a member of The League Of Gentlemen and writer for Doctor Who.

The first book being "The Vesuvius Club", each tome charts the wanton career of said Lucifer Box Esq; portraitist, dandy, wit, rake and his majesty's most dashing secret agent. From the Imperial grandeur of Edwardian London to the underground vice dens of the Mediterranean, Box reduces and seduces his way across graveyards and opium establishments in search of answers to the deaths of leading scientific minds of the day. And all paths lead to the rather risqué "Vesuvius Club".

His legacy continues throughout two further novels, "The Devil In Amber" and "Black Butterfly"; "The Devil In Amber" being our favourite of the three, wherein Box graces the Art Deco sophistication of 1920's Manhattan, the bleak Norfolk coastal convent of St Bede and the snow-capped alpine mountains of Switzerland in pursuit of Olympus Mons, fascist leader of the brutish 'Amber Shirts', hellbent on world domination through occult powers, sacrifice of the illusive 'lamb' and ready to summon Satan himself to fulfill a devilish prophecy. Quite literally all boxes ticked then.

"Black Butterfly" concludes the series, as an elderly Lucifer is sent on his final mission. Now in the 1950's under the new reign of a young Queen Elizabeth II, Box's twilight adventure starts on the seedy streets of London's Soho unraveling the mystery of several suspicious deaths of leading pillars of the Establishment which takes him to the souks of Istanbul and the sun-soaked beaches of Jamaica to finally confront his heinous arch-enemy of yesteryear.

Gatiss' writing is fiendishly clever, inventive and macabre with a way with words that is quite simply unparalleled. Think Oscar Wilde, think Sherlock Holmes, Flashman and H.P. Lovecraft. Gentlemanly deviant reading.

Many reviews of these essential novels have drawn reference to the similarly fiendish Flashman books, so our curiosity got the better of us, and thank god it did. Written by George MacDonald Fraser in 1969, the first in the "Flashman Papers" series, simply entitled "Flashman", begins with the expulsion of Harry Flashman from Rugby School in the 1830's and his gravitation to service in the British army on the frontiers of the Empire. Based upon the caddish bully of 'Tom Brown's School Days', Flashman lies, cheats and romps his way through the boudoirs of Victorian Britain to the erotic frontiers of Afghanistan and India, with luck on his side and buxom ladies on his mind. Hero, coward and always the true nobleman with no honour, the first installment is un-put-down-able and we can't wait to plough into the further exploits of Master Flashman.

Friday, 1 July 2011

RUIN : live at Volksbühne Berlin.

And to complete a Friday evening of esoteric wonders, may we present a stunning live performance from Berlin ensemble, RUIN. We recently effervesced over their sublime "1/2 Skull" album right here on the Paradigms blog and their recent live evocations have proved equally spellbinding...

Gothic Post-Punk Electronica

One of the most stunning new finds / obsessions here at Paradigms HQ must be TROPIC OF CANCER, a shadowy duo of Camella Lobo and Juan Mendez from Los Angeles. The video to 'A Color' is featured below, taken from their third twelve inch single "The Sorrow Of Two Blooms", released on the London based Blackest Ever Black label; which has made quite a name for itself as it delves into the blackened electronic underground for bold, artistic works.

Here TROPIC OF CANCER are at their finest, fusing the haunting minimalism of Joy Division, the bleakness of 'Pornography'-era Cure whilst really refining the production into contemporary black art with nods to sonic adventurers Broadcast and the like. Darkness has never felt so beautiful or sounded so alluring...

This week's big crush ♥ I BREAK HORSES

The Paradigms bunker has been buzzing excitedly recently to the fuzzed out hazy bliss of Stockholm, Sweden based Maria Lindén, here going by the moniker of I BREAK HORSES. She recently signed to the Bella Union label and is about the release a debut 12" this month entitled 'Hearts'. The video of which is below.

It perfectly captures exactly where we're at right now, you know, the way that only music can sometimes. It also really brings it home to us that it's a very, very special time for new music at the moment. To make it even more special, our favourite graphic designer working in the industry, Vaughan Oliver and his v23 studio, created the visual concept for the upcoming record. Highly recommended and then some. Watch out for the debut album coming in August...