Monday, August 31, 2015
BETTY KOSTER AKA "PHANTASM NOCTURNES" IS A ONE WOMAN POWERHOUSE THAT HAS DABBLED IN VARIOUS FORMS OF DARK AND HEAVY ELECTRONIC MUSIC SINCE THE PROJECT BEGAN IN 2011.IN THOSE FEW YEARS P.N. HAS HAD SEVERAL RELEASES, BOTH PHYSICAL AND DIGITAL SPANNING THE HARSH NOISE, DARK AMBIENT, DRONE, POWER ELECTRONICS, INDUSTRIAL AND DARK ELECTRONICA GENRES TO NAME A FEW.BETTY IS A HUGE HORROR FAN AND HER MUSIC IS THEMED AROUND CULT-CLASSIC HORROR FILMS, SLASHERS, SCI-FI AND JUST ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE EERIE AND SPOOKY.SHE WAS AWESOME ENOUGH TO LET TRAUMATIC STATIC INTERVIEW HER AND TAKE A PEAK INTO THE BLOODSTAINED, GORE-OBSESSED WORLD THAT IS PHANTASM NOCTURNES.
How did a nice young woman like yourself end up in a genre like this in the first place? And what was it about these styles of music that drew you into the dark, shadowy corners of the extreme underground?
When I first started making music I really hadn't had much exposure to extreme underground music, I knew of Gnaw Their Tongues and the artists on Cold Meat Industry, but when I started making music it was just out of curiosity, I had no idea what I was doing, or what was even possible. I started off just putting samples together that came with or that I could buy for the D.A.W. I had at the time which were pretty minimal. Being a big horror fan, I decided I wanted to do horror themed music which I discovered I enjoyed doing very much and eventually decided to post some tracks on soundcloud, which I knew very little about at the time. This is where I started to really discover what was out there in the underground music scene, which led me to more and more great artists. Eventually I figured out how to create dark ambient, industrial and noise, and from there it has been an amazing ongoing learning process.
Being that you, for the most part, are creating Horror themed music, Do you find that the Noise, Industrial and Ambient genres are the best vehicle for such themes.Often when writing reviews I find myself making comparisons to Horror scores and soundtracks.What are your thoughts on this? And what are some of your favorite Horror films and soundtracks?
Yes, I feel these genres work very well for horror and dark themes because they can be very atmospheric either alone, and even more so when combined. I do hear many things in these genres that remind me of different horror scores, and I imagine that is because like myself many of these artists are interested in and influenced by darker themes and horror. Many of the great horror soundtracks from the 70's and 80's were done by electronic musicians or musicians that fused electronics with other styles, and I think that vibe and dark atmosphere has stayed alive in different electronic genres since then. My favorite horror movie soundtracks are Phantasm, Suspiria, Nekromantik, and The Beyond. The majority of my favorite horror movies are from the 70's and 80's -Phantasm, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hellraiser, many of the Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento movies, I also like many movies in the extreme horror genre.
Do you ever plan on performing live as Phantasm Nocturnes or will it always be a studio or home
project only? If so what do you think you could
bring to the live front? If not what are your
reasons and views on live noise performances?
Phantasm Nocturnes will remain solely a studio project. I imagine if I would have started this project much earlier in life it may very well have evolved into a live project as well, but I just simply have too many other obligations at this point to be able to do so. I think it's wonderful that noise artists do play live, and that there are venues and people who organize and support these performances.
Your music spans multiple genres of underground, Electronic music. Ranging from (But not limited to) Harsh Noise, Power Electronics and Death Industrial
to Electro Industrial and Dark Electro to Harsh Noise
Wall and Dark Ambient. Was this something you had set
out to do from the beginning or a natural occurence?
Do you find it hard to blend so many varying genres
into one project? Was there a specific reason for
doing so? E.G. showing various sides of a single
entity or idea?
The idea from the start of the project was to create dark and horror themed music, using whatever style I was capable of, and I felt I got that theme across well.Over time things have just naturally evolved as I've gained more knowledge of different genres and how to create them.
How much of what you create and release is improvised V.S. being thought out and composed? What is a typical recording/writing process like when it comes to Phantasm Nocturnes? And what are the determining factors for whether or not a piece is released or tossed aside?
I really have a very chaotic style of composing, it is usually very improvised, I generally record parts, and then just try combining them, adding effects, or combining them with parts I have recorded in the past, until one way or the other I'm happy with it. There have definitely been times I have ended up with something very different then what I originally intended, but I don't think that's a bad thing, I just end up wherever the process takes me, and for that reason I rarely scrap any track, I guess I get a bit stubborn once I start something.
Female artists are undoubtedly the minority when it
comes to Noise related genres.Much of this music is themed around rape and violence towards women as well as pure sadistic perversions.What is your stance on all of this and what are your views and reasons for not only yourself, but all women who create and participate in this kind of music? What do you think woman can offer to the scene that males can not?
That is a good question, and I guess for me, I see it as being the same as watching a violent movie, or listening to a death metal album, it is entertainment and an outlet. I don't believe that this type of material causes violence, if anything it probably helps prevent some. I really can't speak for other female artists but I would think that if your going to make aggressive music like this in the first place then you're probably not the type that is bothered by violent subject matter. I think females being involved in noise definitely brings more diversity to the genre, and they can definitely create music that is just as aggressive and heavy as a male artist, but really as with any art form it is all about what the individual puts into it and their love for what they are doing. I remember the first year that I was posting tracks on soundcloud, I would frequently get comments like "killer track dude" "dude, this is awesome" I was never upset by these comments, I didn't correct them, I found it funny, and at the same time flattering, I figured if people thought I could do this as well as a guy in a male dominated genre then I must be doing something right.
You obviously have a passion for exploring multiple genres with Phantasm Nocturnes.Are there any other styles you are planning on incorporating into your work in the future? Are there any that you have not yet worked in that you would want to?, And if so what is holding you back if anything? I know you have done many collaborations in the past. How do you feel about collaborating with full bands?, I.E. Black or Death Metal artists as they often share themes with artists in Noise and Ambient related genres.
No there aren't any other genres at this time that I would consider incorporating into Phantasm Nocturnes. I would definitely welcome collaborating with full bands particularly metal bands, I have been a huge metal fan since I was 12 years old.
Are there any specific artists or projects that
you have approached regarding this sort of collaboration? If you could work with anybody
(Alive or dead) who would it be?
No, there isn't.
I would have to say the band Mayhem.
What's next for Phantasm Nocturnes? Are there any
upcoming releases or appearances you'd like to talk
about? Or will we have to wait patiently?
Very soon I will have a HNW cassette released through Sex and Death Electronics named Blood Sucking Freaks(after the movie) and a split cassette with Black Sheet Servitude released through Dungeon Dweller Records. I have a number of albums that will be coming out eventually - a split cassette with Lalemus to be released through Enemata Records, a collab cd with Bride Wore Black to be released through Turgid Animal Records, and a split with Mausoleum to be released through Occult Supremacy Records. I am currently finishing up a collab album with an artist called Druuna Jaguar, and am working on an album to be released through Underground Industrial Records.
That is a lot to look forward to! Thank you for taking the time to speak to us! Any parting words or recommendations?
Thanks very much for doing this interview! And of course a big thanks to anyone reading it! Some recommendations, well let's see... A big release for me this year was ACHERONTAS - MA - ION , also lately I have been listening to Gnaw Their Tongues - Abyss of Longing Throats, MZ. 412 - Hekatomb, there is a really great new noise collab project called Molotov Coffee that definitely deserve more exposure, their self titled album is available for free on Bandcamp. I have also been working my way through some great releases I picked up from Exabyss records lately, definitely a great underground label well worth checking out!
You can check out Phantasm Nocturnes via the links below:
Thursday, August 13, 2015
YEN POX-BETWEEN THE HORIZON AND THE ABYSS-CD
DARK AMBIENT/EXPERIMENTAL SOUNDSCAPES
COMES IN A SIX PANEL DIGI-PACK
YEN POX IS:
MICHAEL JV HENSLEY
I.) THE AWAKENING:
After well over a decade we finally have a new YEN POX full length
and it may very well be their best work yet.Their debut album "Blood
Music" set the standard for Dark Ambient music and with "Between The
Horizon And The Abyss" YEN POX have once again raised the bar considerably.
the appropriately titled "The Awakening" resurrects YEN POX from their long
slumber and takes us into sweeping synths that flow like desert winds over
blistering dunes.A cacophony of chimes rise and settle as thick strings bellow
below.Hissing gusts come like steaming volcanoes awakening from slumber.The sound
of this album is MASSIVE.The production and mixing are top notch to the point of
cinema quality.This not only builds and expands but it will surround and engulf
you unlike anything I have heard before.In the distance what sounds like militant
trumpets are heard as spacey ambiance grows and consumes.There are so many sounds
and layers here that it is increasingly difficult to describe them.The tones and
moods change almost rapidly.One moment is spent in a tranquil and meditative state
and seconds later it feels like a crawling monstrosity is slowly creeping up behind
you.Slight touches of metallic industrial clatter are heard here and there until
they build into spinning turbine blades in a circle of slaughter.From highly emotive
to cold and inhuman.And this is just the opening track.
II.) WHITE OF THE EYE:
Highly treated and processed guitars create otherworldly atmospheres as what sounds
like a waterfall of scrap metal cascades and crashes beneath.Hollow ambiance plays in
a mournful and semi-melodic manner as rusted blades rush around in every direction.
Immense and gorgeous synth strings are executed in a passionate orchestral display
of utter heartbreak.Vibrating currents flow like humming engines from another plane
of existence.The track absolutely gushes and pours in like the overflow of a swollen
river of intense beauty.Listening with good headphones is highly recommended as the
album is presented in a "Full HD Surround Sound" type of manner.What YEN POX are
doing here is incredible and truly unique.Brilliant strings stir as rising winds
ascend beyond the higher heavens.It is hard to believe that this album was composed
by two people.It sounds like a full symphonic orchestra in full swing.Towards the
end of the piece it becomes one of the most deeply emotional soundscapes I've heard
to date.Inspiring, uplifting and crushingly despondent all at the same time.Like
every traumatic experience of one's lifetime rushing back and relived in the form
of a few minutes.The piece ends in a calm and reflective passage that plays with
wondrous notes and tones until the climatic rise of the cold summer sun.
III.) COLD SUMMER SUN:
What sounds like high powered, metallic electrical wires rattling in the winds forms
an oldschool Death Industrial styled rhythm as cold ambiance lingers and hangs like
fog on the face of a cool lake.Insect-like sounds and nocturnal lifeforms gather awaken
and gather.This track is full of movement and feels like a living entity composed of
several others.Death rattles and birds of prey fill the chilled air with their own
particular sounds and speech.Landslides of sonic experience commence as tribal rhythms
are formed out of post-industrial waste.Strange screeches are heard as if primal creatures
are fighting over the last shredded bits of slain prey.Haunting lead notes come like a
siren in the distance attempting to lure us to our own frozen demise.Rock slide rhythms
and clicking percussion's dance as the ghosts of a dead Pharaoh's chamber maids sing an
intoxicating invocation.The whole piece feels oddly ritualistic and spiritual but not
in the way I am used to hearing from a Dark Ambient artist.This is something you'll
have to experience for yourself to truly understand what I'm talking about.
IV.) IN SILENT FIELDS
Thus far, this album has almost been beyond description, And with "In Silent Fields"
that is still the case.This and the two tracks before it have been nearly ten minutes
in length so there is a lot to cover here.Vocal pads and brooding synths take us into
what feels like a hidden world unknown to all but those initiated in some arcane occult
rite.Ghostly vocals haunt every inch of this one as reversed leads glide over deep tones
soaked in reverb.Chaotic orchestrations sound out through cavernous atmospheres.Similarities
can be loosely drawn to artists like FUNERARY CALL or something along those lines but that
doesn't quite cover it.Dismal choirs sing lamentations of utter anguish.It sounds like what
I'd imagine to hear upon entrance into the underworld of Greek mythology.A river of miserable
souls in an endless spiral deeper into the darkened depths of a bottomless nowhere.Roaring
green water rapids pour into an empty eternity.Daemonic choirs moan in a mockery of beauty.
Everything weighs heavy and comes with a sense of discomfort that you can't quite put your
finger on.YEN POX doesn't create music to merely listen to, They create worlds that will
challenge you, Dimensions that will oppress you and symphonies that will free you from the
shackles of everyday existence.
V.) GRIEF RITUAL:
Frantic spirits cry out under an intense orchestral soundscape riddled by anxiety.The overall
tone is intense and anxious.A building pressure that you must escape from.Paranoia to the point
of insanity.Hyper-sensitivity amplified and weaponized.With each track a new strain of audio
sickness is unleashed like a quickly spreading virus that eats away every cell and atom.Feelings
of loss are invoked and funneled out into the open air to hang above you like black clouds of
woe.This track is like a slow death.The kind where the sorrow is too much and you literally
lose all will to live.Pummeling percussive noise wraps around everything like creeping, thorn-ed
vines.Their core contains various layers and textures of dark, sonic experimentation in full
swing.A garden of grief with slight traces of awe and wonder.Terror settles in as well like
a fleeting, shadowy figure that haunts the corners of the room.Rushing winds and ghastly moans
hum before vanishing into haunting, yet melodic passages.There is much to behold here.
VI.) ASHEN SHROUD:
"Ashen Shroud" builds on minimal Death Industrial atmospherics.Screeching sheet metal and
distant junk abuse as dreamy and dreary vocals sing a spectral melody over brooding dark
ambient currents.Again we are treated to the heavy use of "surround sound" style mixing.
Moments of this one are stunningly beautiful while seconds later all becomes a curious
mass of exploring darkness once again.Chimes jingle as droplets fall in mirrored pools
of silver liquid.Chamber strings stir and invoke visions of beautiful phantoms and frail,
pale maidens.For some reason I get this sort of "Arabian Nights" kind of vibe from it.
Enchanting like the glow of the full moon across a sandy sea of dunes.The track feels
very organic as well and "breaths" like a living entity as puffs of air glide like smoke
before being pulled back in again.A very "ebb and flow" kind of pattern.Insects are heard
flicking their glass-like wings as the vocals invite you further in and deeper down.Lush
tones of clean ambiance dance through the track and help to weave it all together.About
as close to perfect as an ambient piece can be.
VII.) TOMORROW IN RUINS:
As we near the end "Tomorrow In Ruins" begins with light gusts and oceanic breezes.Roaring
waves form a suffocating wall of sound as what sounds like very distant marching drums is
heard echoing through some forgotten place in time.Deep ambiance gushes as white static noise
forms a pouring waterfall of sound.Much of the track follows the ocean-like pattern that began
in the beginning, but it feels like we are being carried further and further out to sea.At times
the soothing lull of the synths used here take on an almost Noir-Jazz quality.Meditative and calm,
but at the same time there is a lurking darkness that feels like something is waiting and watching.
Momentum builds like a liquid vortex forming around you.The eye of the storm is relatively still but
danger grows all around you.Brass synth instruments sound off like biblical trumpets as the atmosphere
turns ashen and hazy.The plagues have been unleashed and are quickly approaching.Monolithic ambient
soundscapes to usher in an age of death and darkness.The last minute or so of this one is utterly
beautiful.If you are looking for music with true emotion, this is it.
VIII.) THE PROCESSION:
The longest and final track on the album builds on tense brass synths windswept atmospherics.Dense
and dreadful.What sounds like an assault of paranormal voices from multiple entities is heard in
cyclic patterns.High anxiety ambiance in a dizzying display of doom.Cavernous and subterranean
passages in a place where no man should pass through.A hidden world of secret rites and sacred
ceremonies of bloodshed and mutilation.The door to the abyss yawns wide as eternity opens.YEN
POX conjure sounds that defy definition and description.Deep drones that hit and quit in endless
repetition as high end frequencies scream through distant dimensions.The.The dripping, wet sounds of
grotesque and sickening abominations as they scurry out of the womb can be heard aiding a slow
symphony of festering rot.Total Horror Ambient at it's finest.Things end on a slimy, yet somber
note.Slippery sounds and depressed drones that seem to fall to their demise like blood down the
drain.A perfect end to the track and album as a whole.
THE BEST DARK AMBIENT ALBUM RELEASED THIS YEAR, HANDS DOWN:
Check out videos by: Dominic F. Marceau
by following the links below:
Check out videos by: Dominic F. Marceau
by following the links below:
Sunday, August 2, 2015
STEEL HOOK PROSTHESES/WHITE WALLS - AKTION MEDICAL III - SPLIT 3 INCH PRO CDR
REVERSE RECORDS UK/RRUK026
DEATH INDUSTRIAL/POWER ELECTRONICS/HARSH AMBIENT
COMES IN A PLASTIC ENVELOPE STYLE CASE WITH INSERTS.
ON A LABELED 3 INCH CDR WITH JEWEL CASE AND SMALL INSERT.
WHITE WALLS IS:
STEEL HOOK PROSTHESES:
I.) DEATH NURSE:
SHP have been one of the projects on top of the food chain in the Death Industrial genre
for many years now.Here they seem to have ressurected elements of their earlier sound and
conjured it with a revised or well experienced attitude."Death Nurse" drags us into over six
and a half minutes of blurred atmospherics, down-tuned vocals that come in murky phrases as
if heard while under heavy anasthetics and sparse scrap metal experimentation blended into a
dreary haze of pulsing electronic drones and static like a flickering monitor on the fritz.
Inhuman vocals come through like self-aware machines with a diabolical plot to terminate any
lifeform they encounter.Burried Death-Ambient textures add to the overall sense of impending
doom that spills out like thick ashen clouds.The electronics are as thick as tar and build upon
themselves like frantic captives trapped in a gas chamber.Feedback comes in minimal bursts and
vanishes like a shadowy figure viewed from the corner of the eye.Everything about this track is
hostile and uneasy.Glad to see that after a decade of activity, SHP still sound as fierce as ever.
II.) GAUZE SHROUD:
"Gauze Shroud" is really unique for STEEL HOOK PROSTHESIS and although it's built around their
traditional structures, the tones and atmospheres incorperated here are really different for
them.Fragile ambient chorusus float like air through glass tubes and give everything a surreal
and haunting vibe.Undercurrents of buzzing drones ebb and flow as light winds caress all else
in the piece like phantom fingers.At times there is an almost shoegaze like quality here.
Similarities can be drawn to artists like SKY BURIAL or BLOOD FOUNTAINS although there is still
that element of heavy darkness that SHP is known for.This definately captures what's grown to be
known as the "Malignant Records Sound" but feels like a collaboration between SHP and someone else
even thought it's not.It's this kind of experimentation that keeps a project interesting even after
this many years of activity.Looks like you most certainly can teach an old dog new tricks."Gauze
Shroud" feels like a lucid dream.Fluid drones that move like a slow stream but still filled with
the same old poison SHP inject their albums with.Hints of YEN POX and similar acts seem to have
find their way into this one.I hope to hear more in this direction from Stilings and Kerr in the
III.) ECT - PART I (IL COLPO DI GRAZIA):
Although I am not as familiar with WHITE WALLS as I am with SHP, I have heard some of their work
and was pretty impressed at times.Their side opens with "ECT Part I" where it begins with spoken
medical samples that sound like they are from an old instructional video on Electro Convulsive
Therapy." So right from the start they feel like a good match for SHP.Brittle piano melodies
lead us into bass heavy drones and endless synth strings that add an element of building suspense.
Distant piano recitals play in an ignorant bliss as wretched samples of female screams and samples
of medical procedures fill the air with high levels of stress and anxiety.At times this reminds me
of a 70's era horror soundtrack.Like something you'd hear on a film like House By The Cemetery.We
are also treated to the use of minimal percussive elements that almost have a free jazz quality to
them.WHITE WALLS have an ability to create soundscapes that feel both calm and relaxing as well as
tense and chaotic at the same time.Almost like you are trying your hardest to ignore a horrible
situation and think of something else with little success.Low humming drones and spoken samples
ran through the perfect amount of reverb bring this to a close and prepare us for part two.
IV.) ECT - PART II (CONVULSIONE):
Again echoing samples give lectures in the fields of science and medicine.Treatment seems to
have come with some horrible side effects.Heavy rhythmic synths roll in.Heavy on the bass and
thick as a brick.Stirring string ambiance makes it's way in as machines bleep and bloop like
the monitors you'd hear in a low-budget care facility.Pianos come and go like fleeting memories
of better days as a growing sense that something drastic is about to happen grows stronger and
stronger.Though this is the shortest track on the album (Which isn't very long to begin with
being that it's a 3-inch CDr) it is definately one of my favorites.An excellent closing piece
for a great split release.I am very excited to hear where both projects go from here.
BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE OTHER TWO INSTALMENTS OF THE AKTION MEDICAL SERIES AND ADD
ALL THREE VOLUMES TO YOUR COLLECTION IF YOU CAN.BOTH PROJECTS DELIVER THE GOODS ON