This month I wanted to share three recent EPs that I rate all the same as far as quality. They are quite different from one another, but, yet, they might share some elements of darkness and atmosphere. Read out to find out about Mariusz Duda, Lore City, and Aythis.
I’ve been meaning to review this EP for months, actually. Mariusz Duda, known to most as the vocalist/bassist for Riverside and the mind behind Lunatic Soul, released a trilogy of electronic albums over the last few years called the Lockdown Trilogy. Kscope decided to publish a physical version, complete with all three albums and a fourth disc that contained an exclusive EP called Let’s Meet Outside. I received a copy of the immaculate CD book release, and have been a little lax in talking about it.
First of all, the product itself is amazing. The four-CD collection is made very well and contains many pages of artwork from the various albums. I know that some fans had complained of the quality and content of the recent Porcupine Tree CD book, but rest assured that this is a fantastic buy and has loads of terrific images and artwork. I was impressed more than I typically am by products of this nature.
Secondly, the new EP is a wonderful epilogue to the Lockdown Trilogy. These albums have taken us through dark places, celestial journeys within our minds, and a burgeoning renewal of the creative process. Let’s Meet Outside feels like fresh air and light and socialization. It has more of a beat than the other albums, and seems a little spunkier and quirkier, too.
The EP has six songs and lasts about 23 minutes. The real meat of this release can be found in “Lockdown 90-92”, “Offline Reverse”, and “News from the World”. The other tracks are fun and bright, but these three tracks get down to business quickly. “Lockdown 90-92” is one of my favorite tracks on any of these albums. It has an infectious piano melody with plenty of effects and muted cinematic flair, and I just love it. “Offline Reverse” has a steady beat and plenty of Tangerine Dream in its synth work. I like how it feels backwards. “News from the World” is an eight-minute journey that quite literally feels like we are taken through various environments and happenings. It transitions through multiple levels of sobriety and brightness, all held together with a beefy bass line.
Mariusz Duda’s electronic work, I am finding, isn’t always going to win over fans of his rock output. But for those who know electronic music and appreciate it, I think there is a world of beauty and nuance to discover here. This new EP presents this in a truncated, yet visionary form.
Lore City showed up in my inbox recently. They have no presence on Facebook or Instagram, but I did find them on Twitter. That reserved attitude definitely extends to their music and their new two-track EP called Under Way. The band consists of Laura Mariposa Williams (vocals, keyboard) and Eric Angelo Bessel (percussion, keyboard, guitar) of Portland, Oregon.
It’s difficult to nail down the sound that Lore City espouses. They offer nuanced, atmospheric, slightly Gothic sounds that are surely injected with a dose of 80s pop. In fact, their style of Gothic is pretty 80s, as well. So, they have a rich, luxurious, poetic darkness within them.
The EP has only two tracks and lasts about 11 minutes. The first song has vocals, and the second does not. “Animate” is a deliciously shadowy song with wonderful vocals and a deeply burning passion that never quite erupts. I consider that a good thing, though, because the way it floats and hovers for its six minutes is simply addictive. “Very Body” is a layered, ambient track that is void of melody, yet makes up for that in texture and belonging. It has a nascent flame within it that makes the track feel focused and ominous.
I don’t know much about this duo, but this EP has convinced me to hear their earlier works. In just two tracks, they have shown me that they can strap on personality and beauty one moment, and intellectual chasms the next. Give this a try.
I’ve been covering Aythis for a few years now. The name behind the project is Carline Van Roos, also of Lethian Dreams. You may recognize her from ISON’s latest album, as well. In both Aythis and Lethian Dreams, she has recently been releasing EPs with new songs and also rearranged older tunes. I like that sort of thing, especially when it improves the original song. The new EP is called Samhain and it contains one new song and two new arrangements.
Aythis offers an atmospheric style called doomgaze, or something close to it. It has all the darkness of doom, but leans more into creating dark auras and melodies than riffs. Her music, then, is ghostly and spectral, feeling like a foggy forest of possibilities and entities. Her music is always beautiful to its core.
I like this EP. The new song, “Animate” is the very definition of lush as it floats gracefully and cautiously. Subtlety courses through its veins, certainly, and abstraction. The next track is a rework of “Le Temps d’un Voyage” from her 2009 release Glacia. It has more of steady rhythm and folk vibe, and I find that the central melody has lodged itself into my mind securely. Finally, “Wolfsmond” from the 2011 album The New Earth is reworked into an acoustic beast, and I love it. It has such a haunting heft to it, even in this form, that it marches and emotes powerfully. I love the chorus and find it very catchy.
Aythis deserves more attention. I really like Lethian Dreams, but I might appreciate Carline’s solo works even more. I love how tight the melodies can be, while also existing within music that is spacious and shapeless in some mystical way. This new EP is a great introduction to her music.
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