doktorjohn.com

New Dark Age – June 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn June 20, 2019 @ 12:31 pm



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May 2019 NEW DARK AGE

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn June 5, 2019 @ 2:13 pm

New Dark Age May 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn May 22, 2019 @ 7:51 pm

Johnny Marr at the Wellmont

May 1, 2019

Prolific singer-songwriter Johnny Marr is was born John Maher to Irish Catholic parents and raised in Manchester England where he began his musical career at age 13. The area surrounding Manchester is dotted with numerous American and British Army and Air Force bases that were established during and active after the Second World War. The exposure to American blues, rock and country & western music had an intense influence on the young people growing up in that vicinity, and the number of world-renowned bands coming from the area is legion. Opening with the unbelievably rousing anthem, “Tracers” from his third solo album, the “Call the Comet” (2018) Marr set the stage for an emotionally intense and enthusiastic show. He followed with the Smiths’ “Big Mouth Strikes Again” with characteristic 80s sound from the Smiths’ album “The Queen Is Dead.” Next came the brand new composition “Armatopia” then he returned to “Call the Comet” for “Day In and Day Out,” which Marr described as a dealing with the issue of obsession. Several more tracks from that new album were interspersed with Smiths songs, most especially the revered “How Soon Is Now?”

So it went, alternating between more from “Call the Comet” and iconic Smiths songs, right through the encores which were represented by two from each category, concluding with the powerful “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet.”

Besides Marr’s famous work with Morrisey and the Smiths, he has played and collaborated with such well-known bands as The Pretenders, the Crib, Modest Mouse and the supergroup, 7 Worlds Collide. Marr’s jangly and unique guitar style has had incalculable influence in the alternative music scene.



NEW DARK AGE – April 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn April 22, 2019 @ 11:43 pm


Darkside of the Con – March 29, 30, 31 – 2019

There are almost countless “fandom” conventions that cater to one or more pop culture phenomena. Prime examples include the Comic Con, Steampunk Con, Dragon Con, and the cons devoted to Anime, Manga, Star Trek, gaming and many more. Most fandom cons include a significant component of darkside interest. E.g., the first con I ever attended was Goth Con in New Orleans in 2001.

For the past three years, under the auspices of his online community, Vampire Freaks, impresario and producer Jet Berelson (Jet VF) has hosted an increasingly popular, annual convention that caters to the fans of dark entertainment and interest – those generally known as Goths.

Jet Vampire Freaks & friends

Darkside of the Con 3 was a three-day convention held at a castle-shaped, luxury hotel, the Sheraton in Parsippany NJ. Its scope, as in two previous iterations, included everything dark and creepy, whether musical or fashion related, especially those morbid phenomena with a sly, tongue-in-cheek aspect. Goth – as the subculture labels itself – is a “big tent” phenomenon, built around post punk, electronic and industrial music, its adherents identified by predominantly black attire.

The Long Losts on stage


Performances by some eighteen bands, including such famous acts as Stabbing Westward, Aesthetic Perfection and Assemblage 23 were held in a Grand Ballroom. Beloved local and indy bands filled the bill. Renowned deejays from New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia spun appropriate tracks for late night dance parties, balls and nightclub-themed events, including Cybertron, Stimulate, The Red Party and QXT’s. Naughty burlesque performances and costume contests featuring outrageous and diverse characters took place. Some contestants wore incandescent and LED-illuminated total body garb. Others appeared as villains and victims of sci-fi, fantasy and horror fiction. A live theater troupe performed the action of “A Nightmare Before Christmas” simultaneously while the movie itself ran on the big screen behind them.

Some costume contestants

Panels and lectures/workshops abounded with such interesting and useful subjects as Goth Parenting, the Paranormal, Rope Bondage, Gothic and Horror Literature, Mask Making and Elders of the Goth community. Live action role playing theater invited attendees to participate in the action. Artisans of all ages got to paint in a workshop, and an introduction to making electronic music was held for aspiring composers. History buffs got to learn about the Original Goths and How They Shaped the World.

A lecture and demonstration of live bats was presented in a side room by state licensed wildlife exhibitor “Batman” Joe D’Angeli. Joe’s background as a singer in a 90s glam metal band and as a frequent presenter at Chiller granted him a certain theatricality in addition to his take on conservation science.

Hallway beauties


The halls were lined at all times with vendors selling artworks, jewelry, garments, accessories, literature, and more.

Vendor stands

Those same halls were replete with the most astounding and alluring eye-candy that this subculture can put forth. Both scantily-clad beauties and decidedly overdressed models, some in steampunk, outlandish or fetish attire strolled the corridors displaying their costumes, corsets, headdresses, footwear, horns, studs, spikes, armor and the like.

Mr Haunt and friends

Not only does Goth flaunt the norms of mainstream culture and society, but encompasses numerous subdivisions and outliers that go against the norms of Goth itself!

Sights in the corridors


No one, not even Jet VF himself – who was omnipresent, seeing to the smooth running of events – could take it all in. Without intending to slight or overlook many of the fine and fabulous participants, I offer my own observations on those few highlights I was able to attend, given the fact that I was confined for most of the three day schedule to my table where I was vending artworks from the opening hours on Friday night right up until the closing on Sunday evening.

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Panic Lift on stage


At around 10 pm Friday night, one could attend a screening of the original “Dracula” (1931) starring Bela Lugosi. Friday’s lineup in the Grand Ballroom included Jersey boys Panic Lift, who wed electro-industrial to melodious song, sometimes sung full-throat, sometimes delivered in a distorted growl. A video of their performance at Darkside is linked on their Facebook page.

Stabbing Westward

It is not a shortcoming, but a virtue that Friday’s headliners, Stabbing Westward, rest upon their laurels that go back more than thirty years, because this is music that never fails to excite. The industrial rhythms, the recurring hooks, Chris Hall’s plaintive scream and mantra-like lyrics constitute a formula that is hard to beat for sheer musical enjoyment. Their performance was followed by a show of voluptuous beauties on stage as the Darkside Burlesque.

Around the same time, and going on into the night were two party events. The Red Party hosted by Sean Templar et al. ran a night called “Stay Sick” playing Deathrock, Goth and PostPunk. A few doors over, Cybertron teamed up with Stimulate to host an industrial dance pajama party.

One of several dance parties


Saturday performances in the Grand ballroom started at 2:00 pm with Lorelei Dreaming, an electro-EBM group with a bewitching female lead. Also on the playbill was the horror-rock couple, the Long Losts, who spiced their act up with a sexy dancer/contortionist. Later Rexx Arcana’s FGFC820 performed harsh EBM as a lead into LA-based industrial/pop trio Aesthetic Perfection, just before another round of costumes and burlesque.
Meanwhile in the various salons were panels on Gothic literature, on “What the Hell is Goth?” and on Dark Visual Arts. A panel of Elder Goths brought their combined life experiences to bear on the issues of the Goth subculture and the Goth lifestyle as they relate to personal values.

Elder Goths Panel

The evening ended for many with a QXT’s-hosted dance party at which one could stomp to Sisters of Mercy, Skinny Puppy and Covenant.
On Sunday, those wishing to participate could wake up to morning yoga. There were panels dealing with race issues in the alternative music scene, on polyamory, on Gothic horror in cinema and a conclave of the Iron Garden community. Kids were entertained in a salon that offered Spooky Story Time, Spooky Coloring and the chance to paint a ceramic skull with or without supervision.
Stone Burner performed a violent, primal kind of tribal rock music in the Grand Ballroom. Andy Deane’s singing solo with the backup of percussion as The Rain Within was nothing short of spectacular and not to be forgotten.

Andy Dean of The Rain Within

At 5:00 pm the festivities ended with EBM favorites Assemblage 23, and the vendors closed down amidst last minute impulse sales.
Happiness, a sense of community and a feeling of exhausted satisfaction prevailed as attendees, participants and the staff brought the festival to a conclusion.

Play It Loud – The Instruments of Rock & Roll

The Metropolitan Museum just launched a mega-exhibition entitled Play It Loud – Instruments of Rock & Roll, co-organized with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This is the first time a major museum examines the instruments of Rock & Roll. It’s impossible to overestimate the influence of Rock & roll on 20th century culture. The instruments have had a profound impact on the form that rock music has taken.
Guitars and bass guitars make up the essential bedrock of the exhibit, and include the first ever Fender from 1949, Les Paul’s early “Klunker” (1942), “The Hoss” Telecaster, the Stratocaster, the Gibson Southern Jumbo (1944), Rickenbacker’s Twelve-String and Eddie Van Halen’s “Frankenstein” composite electric.
Radical designs include such novel shapes as the “Flying V, the skewed Explorer and the SG by Gibson. But the collection also includes a petite grand piano, a Tama drum set, an upright bass, the Aztec 5-string, and a bass violin.
The Hammond organ is represented along with the Moog synthesizer and numerous compact electric keyboards. The venerable saxophone made the transition over from jazz and blues to rock & roll, and is seen in the collection along with such special items as the autoharp, Brian Jones’s Appalachian dulcimer, the Rolling Stones’ violin. Trumpets, trombones and the Sitar and even the Theremin are on view.
Rigs, amps and Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP piano with custom housing round out the music-making machines.
But there are also stage costume garments and iconic posters that demonstrate the rock & roll sensibility in graphic arts. Many show wear and tear as well as actual destructive abuse, The term “Loud” in the title refers not only to the sound but to a whole style and attitude.
All in all there are 185 objects that make up the exhibit, and there are both a catalog and a photo book available for purchase.
The exhibition is free with Museum admission.

Album : “Invocation” with image of Bulgarian “kukeri”

Dead Can Dance
Dionysus – Act II: The Invocation
Back in October last year we reported that Dead Can Dance was releasing their ninth studio album. It went on sale in November 2018. Now they have released a fascinatingly beautiful video of “The Invocation,” the second movement of the Act II of this album, “Dionysus.” It was directed by a Bulgarian company and contains breath-taking imagery including Bulgarian folk dancers – called “kukeri,” in colorful, exotic costumes. They perform ancient Balkan ritual dances as a form of exorcism to ward off evil in a tradition that is believed to date back to the cult of Dionysus, the Greek god who is also the title and the subject of DCD’s album. Mingled with the dance sequence are magnificent time-lapse landscape and skyscape sequences that are the signature style of video artist Ron Fricke, previous videographer for DCD and responsible for “Koyaanisqatsi” (1982) and “Baraka” (1992).
Above all, it features the glorious and blissful music of Dead Can Dance and vocals by Lisa Gerrard that are of surpassing beauty. It’s easy to access and view on Youtube by searching for it under the title and Dead Can Dance. DCD will tour Europe in May and June of this year. They haven’t announced an American tour yet.

New Dark Age March 2019

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,New Dark Age Monthly,Uncategorized — doktorjohn March 20, 2019 @ 11:24 pm

Necropolis Attendees

Mandana Banshie and Sean Templar with portrait

Ashley Bad enjoying sitting with Chloe Alexis at Necropolis

Adorns on stage at the Red Party

DJ Glenn Maryansky and host DJ Sean Templar at the Red Party

NEW DARK AGE February 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn February 18, 2019 @ 5:03 pm

Sanctuary Magazine 5 Year Anniversary Party
QXT’s, Newark

On Jan 12, QXT’s hosted the Sanctuary Magazine 5 year anniversary with much festivity. Attended by models, including magnificent Ashley Bad, the event included participation by fashion designers and entertainment by The Iron Garden, an act by shibari artist Flame Hel and live performance by electro-industrial duo Hot Pink Satan. Owing to the fact that Sanctuary Magazine features photography of glamorous, gothic and fetish models, interviews, profiles, and articles relating to underground lifestyle and events, dark, mysterious, intriguing and seductive night creatures filled the club.

The Iron Garden put on The Dark Banquet, which involved a procession of candle-bearing models in Goth attire, followed by a reading by Madame X, then the undressing of two sacrificial “victims” – one male and one female – who got down to their barest minimum of body coverings before reclining on the centrally-placed altar and undergoing ritual cleansing and sham sacrifice.

Next, their supine bodies were strewn with various fruit, including bunches of grapes, etc. A call to various pagan deities was issued by a celebrant in honor of the passing of a successful year of the magazine. The procedure concluded when the on-and-off stage participants came up, picked and devoured the fruit while ominous music played. This process can be viewed by searching “The Dark Banquet” on YouTube.

Live musical entertainment for the night was provided by Hot Pink Satan an aggro-industrial duo out of Pittsburgh, featuring an incredibly gorgeous and wanton vocalist, Clea Cutthroat, in heels, fishnets and electrical tape pasties but not much else, except a blond wig that came off midway through the act revealing a black Mohawk, and theatrical blood, which got generously smeared on her statuesque physique, also, midway through the performance.

Clea Cutthroat of the band Hot Pink Satan while still “dressed”

And what a performance! guitar accompanist Jeremy Creamer blasted out beats, noise and hooks while dancing singer Clea Cutthroat released vocal hellfire. The otherwise unflappable audience stood in shock and awe. It proved to be a musical act that transgressed many norms and rules of civil society, even for QXT’s, the headquarters of gothic, punk and industrial culture in the metropolitan area. Keep an eye out for the next time Hot Pink Satan passes through the tri-state area and, if the description herein appeals to you, make every effort to attend their performance.

at Windfall NYC

Sean Templar (left and center)admiring his portrait by Doktor John (right)

Feb 2, the first Saturday of the month saw a recurrence of the immensely popular dark dance night Necropolis at its usual location, Windfall on 39th St in Manhattan. Host deejay Father Jeff was at the turntables early on, although from time to time he did turn the music over to his associates, Angel, Patrick and Templar. The last of these, Sean Templar, was basking in the attention he was getting from the same-night unveiling of his painted portrait by yours truly. His better half, Mandana Banshie, had propped the oil painted canvas featuring his likeness at the entrance desk to draw the attention and admiration of all comers. When questioned as to the choice of subject, the artist responded that few subjects had the similar level of celebrityhood or good looks.

When not in the booth, Father Jeff greeted arriving attendees at the desk. Some distinguished guests included off-duty deejays V-Christ and Arsenal; Sir William Wells of web directory New Goth City; Jorge Obando of the band Lost In Echoes; and Derrick Hussey of Hippocampus Press, publishers of sci-fi and horror literature.
The crowd was well turned-out and included some eye-catching goths and cyberpunks of both genders. Windfall’s host, Chris Savo oversaw the festivities with dutiful attention to comfort and safety.

Celebrity guests at Necropolis

Housekeeping note: The coat check at Windfall has been moved upstairs from its prior basement location, making it easier to don and doff outerwear in the winter season. Clean and convenient restrooms remain at the basement level, where there’s now less traffic owing to the removal of the coat check to upstairs. One more note: Chris Savo is exploring the possibility of a “drink and draw” night at Windfall for those artistically-inclined within the gothic/punk/industrial scene. Keep an eye on this column for further developments.

QXT’s So80’s Nite

Friday Feb 8 saw a special edition of QXT’s recurring “So80’s Nite,” this time featuring a celebrity guest deejay appearance by DJ Kurt Harland, singer for the band Information Society. In addition, it served as an afterparty for birthday celebrations of two Iron Garden luminaries, namely Madame X and Denise Ericksson, who transported their festivities from an earlier gathering at Lee’s Hawaiian Islander in Lyndhurst to the Newark Nightclub.

Fanged celebrants – Photo by Dario Valdivia

Regular deejays Damian Plague and Ash filled the bill and the air with apropos iconic dance favorites from Pet Shop Boys, The Cure and Joy Division. It was a particular pleasure to pound the pavement to rarely heard Joe Jackson masterpiece, rapidly cadenced “Steppin’ Out.”

Mercury Lounge NYC

Spear of Destiny

On Feb 9 the monthly Red Party provided exception live entertainment this night in addition to the select dance atmosphere for which it is famous. Not widely known this side of the Atlantic, British band Spear of Destiny features original founder, lead vocalist Kirk Brandon on rhythm guitar. It is presently a quintet with five-string bass, a lead guitarist, drummer and keyboardist. Founded in 1982-83, they have fourteen albums including seven in the 80s/90s and seven post turn of the millennium.

Coming on shortly after midnight, Spear of Destiny, on the first stop of their North American tour, put on one of the most memorable performances ever featured in a small venue like the Mercury Lounge. Led by Kirk Brandon, whose vocal skills are nothing short of astonishing, they put on a set of folk-infused hard rock that was so exhilarating that it provoked a spontaneous slam-dancing mosh pit.

Rumbling bass, explosive percussion, a versatile and creative lead guitarist and keyboards that ran the gamut from synthesizer to organ to electric piano backed and supported Brandon’s vehemently rendered singing and rhythm guitar. His vocals were clear, and full-throated, articulating serious lyrics in a forceful, emphatic but melodious fashion. Virtuoso guitar and drum solos added depth to the tight and captivating arrangements as did backup vocals from the entire band. The manner in which Spear channeled British/Celtic folk music was in a manner reminiscent of U2.

Dance music before and after the live performance was curated by host Sean Templar and by his consistent Red Party associate, Jarek Zelazny as well as by guest DJ Jose Frances of Dark Dance Radio.

Museum of Sex
Leonor Fini: Theater of Desire 1930 – 1990

Until March 4, 2019

Leonor Fini – Self-portrait

It is a disgrace and a genuine outrage that this uniquely talented visionary artist is not a household name. Leonor Fini, (1907 – 1996) was a prodigiously talented, multidimensional artist and forceful proponent of the feminist outlook in her paintings, her designs, her statements and – above all – in her life. Italian-Argentinian, Fini settled in Paris where she became acquainted with Max Ernst, Picasso and Salvador Dali. She had no formal training, but she became an accomplished painter through association with established artists, and by her own spectacular talents with a brush and by her unorthodox compositions. In addition she wrote novels, plays and did designs for theater and commercial items. Her iconoclastic views on life, sex and gender provided rich inspiration and material for her artistic expression.

Fini’s paintings, drawings, and costumes will leave visitors with the fineness of her work as well as the explicitness and the allure of the disturbing subject matter. Self-portraiture, human subjects, full frontal nudity and sexualized situations, all executed beautifully, cover the wall and fill the glass cases on two floors of the Museum of Sex. Women – and Fini herself, for she declared that she was the subject in which she was most interested – are portrayed as warriors, powerful, sexy, and iconic. Men – Fini had two male live-in lovers all her life – appear as objects of desire – passive, beautiful, androgynous and under the gaze and protection of a woman, usually Fini in self-portrait.

Two paintings by Leonor Fini

A slide-show is ongoing in an entrance foyer and features photos of her posed in various environments plus quotes and observations about her by friends, critics and lovers. Her own statements declare her denunciation of tradition, conventionality and the commonplace in life, the arts and sex. Two videos are on giant screens showing her theatrical performances and dazzling costumes. On display are explicitly erotic drawings and illustrations she did for such publications as Petrarch’s “Satyricon,” “The Story of O” and works by Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, Jean Genet and the Marquis de Sade.

In her lifetime, Leonor Fini was featured in the “Fantastic Art, Dada & Surrealism Exhibition” at MoMA and the “International Surrealist Exhibition” in London. She was sought after as the portraitist of choice for the rich, famous and glamorous and even featured in LOOK magazine. Yet somehow, all that has not been enough to place her at the level of fame of Picasso or Dali. The only explanation appears to be outright discrimination on the basis of sex, because – for originality, creativity, diversity of talents and utter quality of her work – Leonor Fini stands at the highest level among the other artistic giants of the 20th Century.

Le Ceneri di Heliodoro
Rome

Trisol Music Group (Germany)

If you haven’t heard of ROME, or of singer-songwriter Jerome Reuter, stop whatever you are doing and check him out without delay. New Dark Age first encountered this unique music experience at the Dark Alternative Music festival in Poland’s Castle Party in 2017 and again at Wave Goth Treffen in 2018. Defying classification, Rome has been called “industrial folk” and “neo-folk” because of its blend of high-cultural references, profound themes and ingenious blend of poetry, traditional song-writing and unusual acoustic/industrial arrangements.

On “Le Ceneri di Heliodoro” one will be mesmerized by Reuter’s melancholic baritone and simple, sincere melodies combined with chant, electronica, bombastic interludes, to say nothing of the industrial and ambient sounds. Twelve tracks are presented, starting with the momentous “Sacra Entrata,” followed by emotionally-wrenching “A New Unfolding,” in which ominous male chorals accompany Reuter’s plaintive call. The next several are heart-wrenching, melodious, acoustic guitar pieces that deal explicitly and painfully with Reuter’s pessimistic commentary on America, Europe and the world.

Creative use of samples and a backup chorus prove to be powerful adjuncts to rich, hypnotic guitar and vocal mantras that together make up a spectacular musical collage. Track titles are in Latin, Italian, German and French, but Reuter’s impassioned lyrics and those of his male and female vocal accompanists are in English, even as they reference Roman legions, philosophical issues and life-and-death questions.

Six other albums are available from this astonishing artist, but the latest, “Le Ceneri di Heliodoro” is a great place to start for those willing to explore the opus of this wondrous and extraordinary musical genius.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductions 2019

Hall of Famers – The Cure

Congratulations to The Cure, the sole representative of the Post Punk movement in this year’s class of inductees which otherwise included metal’s Def Leppard, pop stars Janet Jackson and Stevie Nicks, alternative music giants Radiohead, and classic 60s rockers The Zombies.

Just for the record, the Cure started out in 1976 as The Easy Cure, soon evolved from their earliest New Wave beginnings into icons of the gothic rock scene and by 1992 had been accepted into the mainstream as cited in Pitchfork’s video “A Brief History of Goth.” They secured their status, having won countless awards and having been nominated for two Grammys and numerous MTV awards. Led by frontman Robert Smith they produced over a dozen CDs and 29 world tours, with their most recent stop-off in the NYC area in 2016 to sold out crowds at the ma

Wave Gotik Treffen (WGT 2018) Handbrotzeit

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,My Art,Uncategorized — doktorjohn September 27, 2018 @ 3:13 am

This was a scene in a courtyard outside Taubchental in Leipzig during Wave Gotik Treffen

Oil on canvas 16″ X 20″

New Dark Age — August 2018

Filed under: Goth Stuff,live music,Movies,New Dark Age Monthly,Recorded Music,Uncategorized — doktorjohn August 6, 2018 @ 4:01 pm



Necropolis

This month’s edition of Father Jeff’s Necropolis truly lived up to its name by hosting an official book launch of Hippocampus Press’s “New York State of Fright,” an anthology of horror stories by NY authors featuring stories set mainly in and around NY.

Before the first music began , there were readings, book signings and trivia discussions. Then, after the first set of dance tracks, Windfall manager Chris Savo called a pause. Brooklyn horror author, Teel James Glenn, attired in tuxedo, manned the temporary podium and read a creepy, humorous vampire short story with an unexpected twist to great approval by the necropolis crowd.

Also in attendance was film director Jonathan Berman, visiting NYC for the premiere of his documentary about the UFO-cults of the 20th century, “Calling All Earthlings.”

Despite the heat, the humidity and the absence of numerous scene sustainers who were away in Ireland, Father Jeff and Patrick pulled off a rockingly successful episode of Necropolis with the assistance of DJs Joe Hart and TJ Lepore.

QXT’s Aug 3, 2018

Newark dance club, QXT’s nightclub hosted a free admission night called “2080” dedicated to 80s New Wave, Synthpop and Synthwave, at which DJs Ash and Damian Plague served up the requisite fare from 10 pm to 3 am the following morning. Heard was the softer stuff on which the crowd grew up like Depeche Mode, The Cure, Duran Duran plus Synthwave giants Lazerhawk and Dance with the Dead. About midway into the night, Damian concocted a beautiful mashup of Filter’s “Hey man, Nice Shot” and NIN’s “Closer” which set the dance floor into ecstatic frenzy.

Cabaret Voltaire


Cabaret Voltaire
Industrial Demos 1974 – 1976
Mataram Music (2018)

Cabaret Voltaire, the English industrial music pioneer group, formed back in 1973 before the era of digital media. Experimenting with cut-up technique, using audio tapes, sound samples, loops and the like, they introduced the world to a radical alternative to the conventional music based on rhythm and melody and helped create the industrial genre.

Still active in both performance and recording (although the personnel members have evolved) they just released a collection of their do-it-yourself works from the mid-70s entitled “Industrial Demos 1974-1976,” containing ten tracks from the era when they were musical icons of the Dada art movement. As far as I can tell, each of these have been released before amidst the myriad studio, live, remix, and compilation albums and numerous singles and EPs.

This album starts with “The Dada Man,” an erratically cadenced series of speeded up tape squeaks, metallic banging and sci-fi noises. The next track,“Ooraseal” has no recognizable rhythm and plays with vocal samples run backwards while an electronic chirp drones on. “A Sunday Night in Biot” features distorted, tinny vocals that pierce the waves of synthetic roars, beeps and burbles. The sound of a kazoo breaks in now and then.

“In Quest of the Unusual” is a brief piece that produces a chaotic wall of sound with clicks and snaps occurring without any regularity. Echoic roaring sounds and vocals are heard through the rhythmic, percussive “Do the Snake.”

“Fade Crisis” utilizes echoic, foghorn-like samples to create a spacy, faraway feel without anything resembling rhythm. “Doubled Delivery” is characterized by a double-speed marching cadence that is relentless, over which are layered synthetic burps and buzzes.

“Venusian Animals” is the track that most resembles the soundtrack of an early sci-fi thriller with loopy mournful electronica and sweeping wind-like noises. “The Outer Limits” falls into the same category but employs a painfully high-pitched drone behind the repetitive sound of a machine sloshing through an electronic swamp toward some remote destination.

The album concludes with “She Loved You,” an eight-minute largely empty track with sparse pounding sounds, backwards recorded voices and quiet blasts of synthetic growls and horns.

Credit where it’s due – this group took what limited technology was available and put it through every conceivable operation, thus helping open our minds to a new auditory experience that led to where we are now. It was more noise than music, but it served its historic purpose, and from it has flowed industrial, techno, electronic, EBM and more.
All these tracks can be accessed on Youtube.

Panic Lift


Panic Lift “End Process” 10 tracks
Metropolis Records

This is Panic Lift’s fourth album, released this Aug 24, two years after, “Skeleton Key.” There are ten tracks of essentially industrial electronic rock with elements of symphonic, synthwave and Linkin Park-like rap. It opens with an electro-industrial track that has interjected spoken word, The next several tracks contain some nice, melodious singing that alternates with harsh, hissing vocals, always to a compelling, rapid beat. Several tracks are at a slower, more moderately pace and feature eerie strings and hypnotic, synthetic arpeggios. Staticky voice samples make an occasional appearance setting a post-apocalyptic mood. Some of the electronica has a pseudo-aquatic, New Age feel even as it leads into a mechanized cadence and pleasant full vocal singing. Belching guitars form a frequent element that places the overall category of the album into hard, symphonic rock.

Sometimes the lyrics (all of which can be read on the included cover art) have an angry, accusatory sense, issued in a gravelly voice, but James Francis’s versatility is that he can switch to mellow crooning within the same track. The music is always inviting, pleasing to the ear as well as conducive to the dance floor. The appeal of this album was such that on first listening I was able to find each track immediately satisfying.

Panic Lift is on their “End Process” tour in support of this album.

Rated A
Beautifully brutal

The Ink Bats


The Ink Bats
“Loss”

The Oakland, CA-based Ink Bats are touring the West Coast in support of their nine-track 2017 disc,“Loss” and to promote the Youtube-accessible video of the album’s sixth track, “Caves.” The album starts right off with a rocking number with a driving beat and mournful, high-pitched wailing vocals. The pace slows a bit with the second track, but the beat is still compelling and vocals more controlled, though no less anguished. The third cut features a drawn-out, elongated electronic guitar droning and plaintive masculine vocals that evoke Fields of the Nephilim over a snappy cadence, The fourth track opens with an eerie, eloquent sample of a British patrician that contrast with the long instrumental intro and beautiful choral vocals supported by prominent drumming with – again – a driving rhythm.

By the fifth track begin to wonder if the Ink Bats are going to keep up the irresistible verve you have been listening to, and they succeed admirably. Luscious female vocals of rhythm guitarist Josie Dot have an operatic quality as they rise above accompanying mean-sounding instrumentation and male backup. Judge the deliciously dark sixth track, “Caves” yourself, by checking it out on Youtube. Rather than stand out above the other tracks, it rather epitomizes the richly textured gothic, PostPunk style of the rest of the album, which itself is a stellar entry into that beloved genre.

The last three tracks are three, four and five minutes long, respectively, and each presents a unique, work, consistent and well-situated within the traditions and conventions of the Goth Rock style. Except for the percussive elements, any of these ten tracks would make suitable soundtrack entries to mystery or horror cinema.
Find the album which is available via Bandcamp in digital download, on CD or even in vinyl edition, and don’t fail to check the “Caves” video on Youtube.

Cyborgs Among Us


Cyborgs Among Us (2017) 1:45 documentary

This film takes a serious look at the increasing interaction of humans with technology, with particular emphasis on implanted electro-magnetic and mechanical devices. The opening sequence seems, at first, to be a fantasy in which a young man with an antenna arising from the back of his head narrates his bizarre perception of the sights, sounds and aromas he experiences in a natural as well as urban environments. Shockingly, and amazingly, it becomes apparent as the narrative progresses, that he is in fact a real person, not an actor. Born without any color perception at all, he lived – prior to the implant – in a world of grays, blacks and whites. He had a real antenna surgically connected to his brain that allows him to experience the colors of the world – as well as electromagnetic wavelengths such as ultraviolet and infrared – in the form of sounds of different pitch and timbre. The implant collects colored light information and converts it to sound perception in his brain.

This is only one astounding example presented in this real-life documentary. A worker who lost his right arm in an accident is shown having had a high-tech, incredibly versatile arm connected to not only the remaining bone of his arm’s stump, but the actual nerves that allow him to control the movements, – some of them quite complex – of his elbow, wrist, hand and fingers – and to actually feel the touch and weight of objects he is handling!

Shown is a sort of Olympics of paralyzed and amputated individuals with devices that replace and/or augment their ability to ambulate, control artificial limbs and perform tasks.

A deaf gentleman who has had cochlear implants to restore hearing directly to the auditory area of his brain discusses the versatility of his sound perception, and the options it provides him to focus on various sounds, to filter out unwanted noise so that he can understand conversation in loud environments and to shut out sound completely when he chooses to do so.

The film turns to a workshop run by a small group of piercings-adorned cyberpunks who are engaged in high-tech body modification: the surgical implant of electronic devices into their hands and fingers that enable them to operate electrical sensors and devices and to perceive electromagnetic fields.

Finally the film calls attention to the growing political movement and in particular Mr. Zoltan Istvan, sometime-presidential candidate of the Cyborg Party, who expounds on his belief that immortality in some form or other will be coming soon as advances in technology make replacement parts and computer storage of brain functions a reality. The future – this film reveals – is now!
This film can be accessed on Amazon Prime and other sources.

Nico, 1988

“Nico,1988” (2017)
Written and directed by Susanna Nicchiarelli

Manhattan’s Film Forum held the US theatrical premiere of “Nico, 1988” – an unsentimental docudrama about the last years of punk-cultural icon, Christa “Nico” Päffgen. Model, singer, actress and Andy Warhol-designated celebrity, Nico gained recognizable status singing with the Velvet Underground on their 1967 debut album, “The Velvet Underground & Nico.” Prior to that she had been a model and had acted in Fellini’s classic “La Dolce Vita” and Warhol’s experimental film “Chelsea Girls,” roles earned in no small measure by her lanky 5’10” supermodel frame and exquisite, chiseled features. Musically, she is credited with a role in initiating both the punk and Goth-rock scene.

This movie is not about those joyful years of celebrity and triumph, but the sordid last couple of years, when Nico expressed violent objection to nostalgic attempts by interviewers and fans to reawaken those memories. Sometimes she even tried to reject the stage name Nico and demanded to be called by original name, Christa. Except when the need to finance her costly heroin addiction forced her to revive her chanteuse performances before rock music-thirsting fans in Italy and in Eastern Europe.

Danish actress Trine Dyrholm masterfully portrays Nico – aging, dissipated, hoarse from chain-smoking and booze, numbed with Methadone and hard stuff, reviving the stage persona that was Nico again.

We get a view inside her bitter decline during interviews and when she is interacting with her tour crew and her devoted, late-career manager, Rick, convincingly portrayed by Scottish actor John Gordon Sinclair.

The plot includes bizarre experiences touring in Italy and in dilapidated, police-state Eastern Europe. It shows her causing disillusionment of naive, nostalgic fans and making quick, necessary getaways from the law. It peers into the pathetic relationship she had with her estranged son. Thrown in are a couple of kick-ass, out-of-control and drug-infused band performances. Altogether it is a lurid story line that serves as a vehicle for spectacular, stirring acting and brilliant cinematic direction.

“Nico, 1988” acquaints the post-Millenial generation with an historic cornerstone personality from the countercultural 60s, as she coasts twenty years later into her final demise.

NEW DARK AGE – July 2018

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,live music,Movies,New Dark Age Monthly,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn July 3, 2018 @ 9:00 am


Das Ich Besucht Amerika

STIMULATE
at St. Vitus/ QXT’s
Brooklyn/Newark

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

Satanik Germanic
Hanzel und Gretyl

New Dark Age – June 2018

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,live music,New Dark Age Monthly,Uncategorized — doktorjohn June 27, 2018 @ 10:06 pm

2018

General Information

The world’s greatest festival of Goth culture takes place in Leipzig, Germany, during 5 days leading up to the Monday of Pentecost that follows Easter by 40 days. Wave Gotik Treffen begins on the Thursday and concludes on that Monday, which is an official holiday In Germany. Leipzig is an ancient city, a traditional commercial center since the Middle Ages, rich in European history, art, music and architecture, boasting famous medieval churches, two grand opera houses, ancient and modern town squares, the oldest restaurant in Europe and countless museums, music halls, cafes and entertainment establishments.

Attendees at WGT have to resign themselves to the fact that they will only be able to catch and enjoy a tiny fraction of the vast array of entertaining and educational experiences that the festival offers. This report is based upon our hectic experience in trying to see and do as much as humanly possible during the five-day festival.

The central theme of WGT is music. Although Post Punk, Goth and Industrial are the main agenda, dark electro, experimental, classical, baroque, opera, chamber music, church organ, folk, world, variety, modern dance, ballet and cabaret are all presented. Performances number in the hundreds. There are around thirty music venues, big and small, some of which have multiple spaces within, such as the fortress-like multilevel stronghold, Moritzbastei or the cavernous Agra. In addition to the massive music hall, Agra also contains a huge shopping mall where items of clothing, costumes, fetish accessories, footwear helmets, headdresses and the like are for sale. One of the great delights of the festival is to stroll through this section browsing and occasionally succumbing to make purchases of unique items. It also contains an ongoing exhibition featuring grotesque works of explicit art.

Besides standard music venues, there are churches, parks, theaters, restaurants, cemeteries, hotels, monuments, and even ancient ruins that serve as attractions and performance spaces, hosting exhibitions, lectures, films, shows and presentations. There are around ten participating museums to which there is free access for attendees ranging from fine art to Egyptian to a museum documenting the activities of the secret police, the Stasi, during the Cold War era of Communist domination of East Germany, the DDR. Even the main train station hosts opening events and concerts.

In addition to brochures outlining the many venues and participating institutions, and an exquisitely illuminated hardcover program book, there is an extremely helpful smartphone app that presents the entire schedule, lists the artists and the performances, providing samples of the music at each event and directions on how to get to each venue. Public transportation is free to WGT attendees wearing their identifying wrist bands.
Festivities began with welcoming parties at Moritzbastei, the multilevel complex very near the town center and other venues on Thursday May 17, the night before official opening of the festival. Free entry to the various museums also became available that day.

A nice place to ease into the WGT scene is the Absintheria Sixtina, a friendly bar that is open 24 hours a day and features a small menu of beers and wines, but over 250 types of absinthe and a near infinite variety of cocktails derived from them. One afternoon we sampled some absinthe while a rock band, Nietzsche and the Wagners, performed on the small indoor stage. Outdoors, in back of the bar is a yard where beverages bratwursts and similar fare are served at tent-covered picnic tables.

Performances and Events

Victorian picnic

On Friday things got serious. That afternoon we attended a massive gathering of thousands of festival-goers, with a sprinkling of tourists and local gawkers gathered at the Clara Zetkin Park for the annual Victorian Picnic. Participants wearing their finest appropriately-themed attire settle in groups on blankets to socialize and dine in highly civilized fashion from picnic baskets while around them is a promenade of costumed strollers wearing Gothic styles ranging from Victorian, Steampunk and Baroque to the most outlandish sci-fi, fantasy and fetish outfits.

By the time we found our way to Taubchenthal, a large music hall with a resort-like courtyard and surrounding food stands, the Beauty of Gemina, a Swiss gothic rock band was underway and sounded fantastic. The venue was so packed, however, that the crowd couldn’t enter, blocked the entrances and milled about outside, unable to get in and see the stage. We met up and socialized with our New York celebrities, Sean Templar, Matt V Christ and glamorous Serena Goss while sampling the local fare.

Boy Harsher

From there we headed over to see dark electro duo Boy Harsher at the Stadtbad, a large building that had once been an enclosed official public swimming pool now paved over and serving as a music hall. This dark electronic duo, with roots in the US South mesmerized us with Augustus Muller’s minimal dance beats and grinding synths and with Jae Matthews’s eerie, ethereal vocals.

At 11 pm we caught the avant-garde, neofolk (or “apocalyptic folk”) combo, Rome, out of Luxembourg. Singer-songwriter Jerome Reuter plays acoustic guitar while crooning deliciously morose, and poignantly poetic, English-language lyrics in his emotionally-wrenching baritone, supported by emphatic percussion and occasional industrial samples.

Oomph! on stage at Agra

Things really got rolling on Saturday down at Agra. Having taken the twenty-minute tram ride it takes to get from Leipzig town center down to Agra, we were treated to the onstage performance of German industrial hard rockers, Oomph! whose bombastic style enthralled the crowd with high-energy, Rammstein-style rock. The audience revealed their devotion to Oomph! by knowing and lip-syncing the lyrics to most of Oomph!’s songs, while frontman Dero Goi energetically led the crowd like a conductor as he sang in clear, perfectly enunciated German and in English.

Oomph! was followed by Canadian electro-industrial originals, Front Line Assembly, whose underplayed performance fell below our expectations.

The reward for the night came with Norse ceremonious, traditionalist ensemble, Wardruna, whose grandiose use of ancient instruments and solemn chanting enraptured listeners with ominous percussion and pompous horns that are recognizable to those who are familiar with their soundtrack contributions to the series “Vikings.” Great music by which to burn witches!

Arcana at Kirchenruine performing at Wave Gotik Treffen

On Sunday we took the 12.5 km (a 25 Euro cab ride) to an event at Kirchenruine Wachau, the magnificent, still-standing ruins of a gothic-style church, the interior of which has been entirely gutted to serve as a meeting place and music venue. Tall, ivy-overgrown stone walls bearing the remaining framework of pointed-arch cathedral windows towered over the crowd and the Swedish neo-classical, darkwave band, Arcana. The audience was tightly crowded into the capacious space under a blistering sun. Peter and Cecilia Bjärgö, supported by guitar, percussion, keyboards and backup singers, took turns thrilling those within and those gathered in gardens and cemetery grounds outside the walls of the church ruins. Medieval, ecclesiastical and oriental style songs were sung – mainly in English – creating a transcendent, otherworldly atmosphere that was both somber and uplifting.

Afterwards, back at the Stadtbad we caught three great EBM/industrial acts back to back. Spark!, from Sweden featured a lovably clownish duo whose irresistible, compelling music caused a wild mosh pit to form. Next, Sturm Café continued in the same style, but darker and even more furious. The third was an original industrial pioneer, Belgium’s Vomito Negro, whose delightfully nasty, deep bass beats and vicious, repetitive lyrics were perfectly matched by creepy, projected video images.

De/Vision at Agra

On Sunday evening, the next to last day of the festival, German 2-man synthpop group De/Vision took the stage at Agra, and it was a welcome experience to hear Steffen Keth’s smooth and pleasing vocals as he belted out songs with inspirational and positive lyrics.

During late mornings and early afternoons we took the opportunity to visit museums and galleries. The Egyptian Museum (Aegyptisches Museum) had extraordinary pieces, grand and small. The most remarkable of these was a perfect cast of a Mesopotamian stone column bearing the text of the legendary Code of Hammurabi, carved into the stone in cuneiform script.

On Monday the last day we toured a local gallery where one section featured acrylic paintings with mildly transgressive imagery and another, more secluded section, displayed small, life-size and larger sculptures representing female genitalia, some crafted in metal to serve as costume jewelry such as pendants and brooches.

Composer Felix Mendelssohn’s Leipzig home has been preserved as a museum of his life and work. It is not an official, free-admission item in the WGT festival, but was well worth the small charge for a visit that shed light upon this remarkably gifted human being. Mendelssohn’s masterful paintings and drawings came as an unexpected surprise to those of us who only knew of his great musical compositions. In previous years we have toured Leipzig’s spectacular Johann Sebastian Bach Museum, which likewise is a non-participant, therefore , requires a small admission fee.

The last night at Agra provided a sensational experience which included Dutch band Grendel, whose thunderous EBM style was electrifying, highlighted by superb, savage vocals. They were followed by Floridians, God Module, whose pitch-dark, demonic growling vocals, grim themes and pounding rhythms were occasionally spiced with cinematic samples and grisly backdrop videos. For lovers of this kind of entertainment, this provided the perfect conclusion to the five day festival.

Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera
The Majestic Theater
NYC 2018

Although Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera” premiered in the U.K. in 1986, it made its Broadway debut in 1988, making this year its 30th anniversary in the States and the 30th anniversary of winning the Tony Award for Best Musical. It is arguably the most successful work of gothic-themed-mainstream-crossover performance art ever, as it continues to extend the longest run of any show on Broadway.

It is based on the long out-of-print, Gaston Leroux novel (1909). It shares, with other stories of the gothic genre, the theme of a flawed, demonic-yet-sympathetic villain who threatens to corrupt an innocent woman. The time setting places the action in the turn-of-the-century world of Steampunk. The gothic status of the work is established early when in a parody of a scene from the opera “Hannibal,” a diva strides to the front of the stage displaying a decapitated head with simulated blood dangling from it. As in most gothic drama, there is a suspicion of the villain’s having supernatural powers, but his ability to appear and disappear is explainable as theater tricks and pranks of a deranged but focused mind. A piano plays by itself. He employs his “Punjab lasso” to ensnare and kill with lightening agility. The final resolution of the love triangle that constitutes the plot is both touching and tragic.

This musical leads – and has eclipsed – a long list of works of literature and drama that are definitely categorized as horror. The vast scope and depth of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation goes farther than any prior versions, including Lon Chaney Sr’s famous silent movie; the 1943 Technicolor motion picture with Claude Rains; the Hammer production from 1962; Dario Argento’s Italian movie; as well as a musical by Ken Hill who wrote English lyrics to the music of classical and opera composers. Some have suggested that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s score can be classed as rock music, and at least one aria, “Point of No Return” has a rhythm that fits the description. But not all goth is rock and not all rock is goth. Certainly the heavy, minor key melodies place the score of “Phantom” music into the category of gloom and melancholy.

Thus, despite the overwhelming mainstream success and acceptance of “Phantom of the Opera,” it seems appropriate to place it squarely in the pantheon of Goth Icons.

Disorder at the Red Party

On Saturday, May 12th , The Red Party presented the 10th Annual Joy Division party at Mercury Lounge! Called The Atrocity Exhibition, there was live music at Midnight, Back on stage was Disorder, “A Tribute to the Sounds of Joy Division.” This edition of the Red Party served as a pre-Wave Gotik- Treffen warm up party!
As usual the Red Party was hosted by the Red Queen, Mandana Banshie Templar. As always it featured Goth, Post-Punk and DeathRock with special attention given to the music of Joy Division and wasserved up by DJs for the evening, Sean Templar, Jarek Zelazny and special annual guest, Frank Deserto, aka teardrop (The Harrow).

Excitement occurred when a disorderly (no pun intended) patron began to mess with the stage equipment, specifically the stand and cables serving the keyboard. Vocalist Mike Strollo proved up to the task of neutralizing the would-be vandal with one hand while still manning the microphone with one hand. Stage manager Pete Mele quickly removed the stage crasher, and with the assistance of yours truly, had him escorted from the premises.

The show went on without interruption and concluded with enthusiastic approval by the audience.

Florence Bullock of Glitbiter

Plague Productions
and NewRetrowave presented the second, two-day Human Music festival on Saturday may 26 and Sunday May 27 (the night before Memorial day) at QXT’s Nightclub in Newark, featuring line-ups of top listed, international artists who are prominent in the Synthwave scene.

Synthwave is the relatively new and post-millenial genre of music that distinguishes itself by emphasizing electronic, mechanistic, and computer-based sound, drawing heavily from the aesthetics of the 1980s and the sonance of popular music during that era. Thus analog synthesizer instruments and samples from video games, synthpop recordings and sci-fi film soundtracks are reintroduced, but updated to the 21st century sensibilities. Thus, the term “retrofuturistic” is applied. The emphasis is on rhythmic, danceable cadence with a fabricated, computer basis, in which the human participation is cyborg-like, almost a mere option, in support of the over-arching electronic entity. Calling it “human” seems to me to be ironic use of the term.

The opening performer on the first night was Glitbiter, a one-woman project of gifted vocalist Florence Bullock from L.A. Those who arrived early were treated to original and mesmerizing beats, ethereal melodies and operatically-trained vocals as well as the appealing stage presence of a stunningly attractive young woman. This set the stage for one spectacular band after another.

Korine’s androgynous look brought a New Romantic flavor to the Synthwave style and the Encounter was admirable in their mastery of the electronic instrumentals. Brooklyn-based Aeon Rings, just back from conquest of Wave Gotik Treffen, brought ferocious energy and dance-burner intensity to their performance. Protector enhanced the theatrical aspect by wearing a flying saucer-like helmet with laser light adornment that went further in emphasizing the predominance of sci-fi and computer electronics over flesh-and-blood participation.

[caption id="attachment_2763" align="alignnone" width="520"] Protector


Over the course of the evening, Neoslave, Betamaxx and headliner Timecop1983 turned in mind-blowing and energizing performances of equally enjoyable sight, sound and rhythm.

Time constraints made it impossible to attend the second day of Human Music 2, but reports are that the nine-band line-up of groups from the US, France and Mexico met with equal success and were as well received as those of the first night.

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