Jean-Marc Lederman “Night Music for Seahorses and Manatees”

Jean-Marc LedermanNight music for seahorses and manatees – Legendary Belgian producer from COP International has created a new aquatic themed electronic voyage to the depths of the unknown. I don’t speak of it much but I have had a fascination with sea life that bordered on addiction. There is something about the alien danger and beauty in the unreachable ocean depths that has always captured my imagination. I love how Jean Marc has captured the constant execution of concept.

https://jmlederman.bandcamp.com/album/night-music-for-seahorses-and-manatees?fbclid=IwAR1xQztbl6CKOwBne8yFzzqzopcyFOO5AAx-n7lc1xuvhqKhG1_Wx_NgJRk

Sharks: We’re Gonna Need Bigger Slippers – Ok this song is a Jaws reference which is always a powerful nostalgic start. Where much of this album breaths with a sun filtered bright colorful contrast to Ledderman’s last few darker ideas. This song is a stalking predator of fast moving tension and deep shadowed water. A thirsty darting unease that is ever present in the sea.

Night Music for Seahorses and Manatees – The title track which encapsulates the bright alien exploration of the world within a world. An homage to both the Sealab ideals and to French electronic artist Philippe Zdar. I’m always amazed that legend though he is, Jean Marc’s humility seeks out ways to lift up others who have inspired him.

Song To The Siren (Feat: Emilegh Rohn) This team up of COP International artists Emilegh Rohn (Chiasm) and Jean Marc has turned out to be one of the most powerful and seamless collaborations of the last 3 years. Here a cover of the Tim Buckely song from 1970 “Starsailor” made popular by This Mortal Coil in David Lynch“s 1997 film Lost Highway.

In 2022 many artist have managed to stay relevant through nostalgia and delivery of what has been successful for them in the past. The thing that has left me in continual awe of Jean Marc Ledderman is his ability to always explore new ground with wreckless abandon. Each new album is a fresh idea, not just for him, but for the world of music.

I Just Need A Tiny Moment, For Me and For This Music.

Tomorrow April Bandcamp Day embraces us. I returned from a desperately needed weekend getaway to see Actors at Smalls. Out at a bar, seeing one of my favorite bands playing live. With my friends around me, dancing, smiling, drinking. Ok the drinking got to be a bit over the top and I got sloppy gushing to Jason after the show. I think you take my point, it felt like fun was in the world again. Feeling locked away for so long. Work, isolation, trying to finish an album, seeing so much music come sailing over my head at the speed of light. Wanting to share but not finding the spoons to write reviews. Kicking the can down the road until tomorrow. Seeing that show though, it reminded me why I started. This new album was a progressive step forward for Actors, the excitement of a new member, music into energy, into joy, into energy returned. I came home reminded I needed to stop. Stop pushing myself to write because I had so many bands to share, so many friends to send my love to, and just stop. Stop and listen to music. Write about it after. It would be done when it was done. I might not finish for Bandcamp Day. When I do finish, I will tell you about the songs I stopped to listen to, alone in the silence.

Gasoline InvertebrateCracked Wax Battery – Brian Gaupner (The Gothscicles, Space Couch, TigerSquak Records) holds a special place in my heart. I feel a bit of twin spirit in how he approaches music. That feeling that music is an experience better shared. The visual of a Cracked Wax Battery is such a striking image. That bleeding yellow goop pouring out of an old battery carcass. Bringing in great artistic names that are also friends of a mutual vision like: Gopal Metro , Ed Cripps, Zoog Von Rock, and MORIS BLAK. A plasma whip of electronic dance beats cracking the air with aerobic intensity. Brian takes some of the jovial madness of Gothscicles off his voice and replaces it with hissing menace. The NES throwback energy of these synth lines are a nerdcore street cred of belonging. Gasoline Invertebrate always makes you feel inside the curtain.

Fav Track: Please Rate Your Pain – This song is everything the album is striving for, distilled down into a concentrated idea. The samples which raise a gallows humor poke at society. The rippling checkered cloth of constant motion. Brian’s continuous chant against the monetized concept of pain Olympics in modern society.

https://gasolineinvertebrate.bandcamp.com/album/cracked-wax-battery

silver walkstear me downDan McCullough the recent New York resident has continued to blow me away with every thread he slowly unravels for this album. This latest single out 4/8/22 is a super band level support cast to bring the shimmering sand swept race through grains of time to life. Coral Scere delivers a breathy elegant leaping vocal performance. In fact this single features an all star cast.

music written and arranged by Daniel Mccullough
vocals and lyrics by Coral Scere
backing vocals by Tim Heireth
additional noise loops – Steven Archer

all tracks mastered by Eric Oehler at submersible studios, Wisconsin
artwork by Steven Archer
silver walks logo by Jim Marcus

I really feel this in my bones. Dan has been taking his time to hone each song to perfection. The attention to detail and craft show. This is special.

https://silverwalk.bandcamp.com/album/tear-me-down

Panic PriestSecond Seduction – So this is a 2020 release from Chicago synth crooner Jack Armondo, one of the best baritone voices in the modern darkscene with an amazing ear for melody and construction. This album released on Negative Gain was a forceful step forward for the artist. It has a cavernous echo of isolation which was so relatable and present for many in 2020. The guitar work was an ever twisting glass staircase of builds and contact. Adam Black of Midnight Mannequin Records took on the mission of bringing this powerful album into vinyl format with this re release. The expansive warmth really deserves this hand held delivery. Looks like I need to buy this record again.

https://midnightmannequin.bandcamp.com/album/second-seduction

Black AngelThe Black Rose – Dark rock deity Matt Vowles has released another new album, honestly I don’t know where he finds the depths and time to keep churning out this much material at a high level. Where 2021 Prince of Darkness had a very LA hard rock 90s flavor, The Black Rose goes back even further with a modern gothic slant on early devil rock like Black Sabbath. It creeps in like a dream with slow stinging drums, deep lacerating guitar riffs, and a staggering vocal melody somewhere between Ozzy and Lane Staley. Someday soon a wise label is going to snatch up Black Angel and push them to the moon.

All tracks written, recorded and produced by Matt Vowles on behalf of Solid Recordings Publishing 2022
Vocals by Corey Landis and Maneesha Jones
Album cover by Eshmoon DM

https://blackangelmusic.bandcamp.com/album/the-black-rose

VaselyneHere To Begin – New 2 track EP out from Amsterdam based new members of the COP International family Yvette Winkler and Frank Weyzig (ex Clan of Xymox). I love the forceful proclamation of a title “Here To Begin”. All sales from this EP will be donated to support The Ukrainian People in their struggle for freedom. I’m always an enormous fan of bands that step up for their beliefs. The music has a travelers sung story around a crackling fire feel. Faces wreathed in shadows with distant pounding toms and blended finger pick acoustic and slushy growling wolf guitars. It builds like a spell into a gorgeous blown glass solo. I love the warmth and organic construction. This begins an intriguing new sound for the diverse COP roster.

https://vaselyne.bandcamp.com/

Latenite AutomaticStatues – So I am standing near the merch booth at the Actors show in Detroit, and Jason introduces me to this handsome young rake and says “Ken, this is Scott, you need to check out his band”. Well I am always going to take that recommendation. Thus I was led to Canada based Latenite Automatic. I was struck first by the dangerous blend of club beats and rock and roll attitude. The vocals are a dark growling vibration sitting under the surface of the mix. Breaking the water in parts to create tension and intensity. The solo of this track sets the fretboard on fire. You have my attention gentlemen, time to dig through the back catalog.

https://lateniteautomatic.bandcamp.com/

StoneburnerContracting Iris – I know, Ken, you are always talking about Stoneburner. Well, have you heard Stoneburner? There is a reason. A new 2 track EP based on the science fiction story by  Peter Watts. I love the ambitious artistry of this concept, where music is inspired by the written word, they find each other and build a stronger broader idea. The story now has an audiobook version with Steven’s score and Donna reading. I hope Steven has pioneered another idea that catches on in the scene. The music conjures images of Lynch “Dune” with it’s post apocalyptical chaos and danger, set against a background of high leather fashion. I kept picturing Sting doing a knife dance in a pit of unworthy opponents.

https://stoneburnerofficial.bandcamp.com/?fbclid=IwAR0ca30k7SPvPjRMeLXKsFNjuuvSCQai8vFqjhMF4dr0TMuiPmpquGtzT-s

Sever The ServantsNowhere – Second single from the powerhouse team up of Hide Tepes and Mike Nolen. A mechanized iron lung terror track. A shambling chant of desperation and quest for meaning. I love hearing two artist I am a fan of individually finding ways to smooth each others edges and improve the effect of both. Now on Produkt 42 a new label getting big steam in the scene.

https://severtheservants.bandcamp.com/album/nowhere

PSY’AVIAHBittersweet – Massive new 42 track release from Yves Schelpe led project Psy’Aviah. This is bursting with guest talent like Claus Larssen (Leætherstrip), Mari Kattman (Helix) , Cat Hall (Dissonance), Kimberly (Bow Down Ever) and so many more. I don’t have time on bandcamp day to give the true deep dive of justice this release deserves. It is glorious higher thinking trip hop electronica with a poets soul. A robust and soulful stew of Portishead, Suzanne Vega, with modern spice and production. I’m honestly floored by the world building ground covered in this single release. It feels like 3 albums of contrasting and quality material. We should all pick this up and explore it deeper together.

https://alfamatrix.bandcamp.com/album/bittersweet-bonus-version?fbclid=IwAR3scZq_alMH4iax-nYcBANuus6LZVhgUj4Jihcj96v-Ds-cHPI47w5jObw

As always if you have something awesome to add, please share a comment below. I always want to hear about new music.

Pax Americana by Deathline International

Deathline International’s anticipated newest release, Pax Americana, is a nice, comfortabole mid-tempo ride. It never rushes to get where it’s going but you enjoy the journey just the same.

Spin Zone is a strong opener that’s both dark and a party jam at the same time. And I thought the Andy Griffith sample was a nice touch.

In fact, spoken-word samples permeate this whole album, giving it a classic old-school industrial feel. But if anyone has a right to get old-school it’s producer John Fryer. When Fryer wasn’t making seminal electronic music, he was in the room. These throwback elements don’t seem tired and remain fresh in Fryer’s hands.

‘Inside’ has a nice balance between clean and distorted vocals and also has one of the catchier choruses on the record, IMO.

The minimal opening to ‘Lip Service’ harkens back to somewhere between 1990s Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails before going into a crunchy power ballad.

‘Born Again’ has the most memorable line with the repeated chanting of, “God loves what you hate.” Also a very catchy chorus.

‘In Deb Staub’ Is the most danceable song of the bunch with smooth synths delivered over a pounding beat, crunchy guitars and an Ogre-esque vocal delivery.

‘Sinking’ is a slow jam with lead vocalist Th3Count doing his best Roger Waters and is a great example of DI’s eclectic style before closing nicely with ‘Quiet’.

Old-school rivetheads will love this record because it’s a nice reminder of what we all love about industrial rock. It’s also a great starting point for newbies who want to dive head first into what’s current.

https://deathlineinternational.bandcamp.com/album/pax-americana

Sounds and Shadows February 2022 Darkscene Singles Chart

It is once again time to release the Sounds and Shadows Darkscene singles chart. Ok admittedly I am behind as always and this is the chart from Feb. As always these are singles released in Feb voted on by our members of Bands, Djs, fans, and reviewers. Representing the fan picks for the month in all genres of the darkscene. (goth/Industrial/Synthwave/Darkwave/EBM/EDM/ect) This month featured a few sad stories, because two bands that were chosen are no more 🙁 . I love what this chart has come to represent. Songs chosen by the people who love and support this scene regardless of label, influence, or history.

  1. Dead Cool Game of Trust
  2. Massive EgoFake Star
  3. Sapphiria Vee Feat: Roger EbnerNot Meant For Me
  4. Dead LightsDoom Doom Trash
  5. The Palest Grey – Suicide
  6. Lorelei DreamingOf Stars (Daddybear Remix)
  7. Secret ShameHide
  8. Sidewalks and Skeletons Feat: Goo MondayShadows
  9. Moris Blak xx Moaan Exis Feat:GrabyourfaceState Rejects
  10. Junksista Fuck Your Pretty Face

DEAD COOLGame of Trust – Wilmington, North Carolina stellar splashing synthwave goodness full of mystery and mayhem. Ringing front striking vocals and cascade keys. The husband and wife John and Angela Yeagher create a sinister story that is always driving forward. Awesome cover art to complete the image by Morgan Elizabeth.

https://deadcool.bandcamp.com/track/game-of-trust

Massive EgoFake Star – This was a happy/sad story. The London based dark synth act released this single and EP which is a sizzling assault of tongue and cheek satire and blood pumping dance chaos. Sadly the band has decided to call it quits to focus on health and personal concerns. We are left with this buzzing shadow storm electric single.

https://massiveegoofficial.bandcamp.com/

Sapphira Vee Feat : Roger Ebner – I love this bold crackling new energy from Sapphira Vee. As I state often on this page the addition of saxophone adds depth and sex appeal to everything. Roger Ebner (Pigface) give a muted perfect accent to these whispy tendrils of emotion and poetically delivered vocals.

https://sapphiravee.bandcamp.com/track/the-gift-was-not-meant-for-me-ft-roger-ebner

DEAD LIGHTSDoom Doom Trash – UK Batwing EDM kicked out this absolutely banger from their upcoming March 2022 EP. It’s tight lightsaber fencing lunge and parry to make your dancefloor burn with desire. This album can’t come soon enough. Rain down ask and destruction on the writhing forms in leather and lace.

https://deadlightsband.bandcamp.com/

The Palest GreySuicide – Florida based deathrock newcomers comprised of members of Obscura Undead. A lurking and spine tingling promise which sadly will not go forward. The band completed this EP and then went their separate ways to pursue other projects. We are left with this driven and frantic single of old school bat cave croon and danger. We can only hope that the individual member continue on in future projects.

https://thepalestgrey.bandcamp.com/track/suicide

 Lorelei Dreaming – Of Stars – daddybear Remix – Chicago EDM Fantasy weaving Queen released this remix album with several wonderful re imaginings from top talent in the scene. This one a burning firework display by Matt Fanale (Daddybear). I love this bracing breathy barrage of bardic inspiration pushed from the battlefield onto the dancefloor by one of the masters of the genre.

https://loreleidreaming.bandcamp.com/track/of-stars-daddybear-remix

Secret ShameHide – Asheville, North Carolina driving dark alt band is just disturbingly good and continues to leave me floored with every single release. Rifle crack drums, polycolor slush pedal guitars, and ringing chat vocals with inspire and cast emotional magic. Hit after hit for this band.

https://secretshame.bandcamp.com/track/hide

Sidewalks and SkeletonsSHADOW [ᴡɪᴛʜ ɢᴏᴏ ᴍᴜɴᴅᴀʏ] – I recently had the pleasure of interviewing this UK band as well as upping my witchhaus education. This single is a pulsing shot of pure adrenochrome tempered with the gorgeous chime wave vocals of Australia’s Goo Monday. I started with this single and fell deep in love with this record.

https://sidewalksandskeletons.bandcamp.com/track/shadow

MORIS BLAK, Moaan Exis, grabyourfaceState Rejects – Ok, there is so much to unpack here from Boston EBM darling Moris Blak’s new single. For starters it absolutely slaps. It features the most selected singer in the history of this poll Marie Dragontown of Grabyourface. It also features fellow French explosive rage dance band Moaan Exis. Somehow these immense artistic talents come together in creative cause to spew napalm chaos glory into your eardrums. I am staggered, I am spent, holy shit.

https://morisblak.bandcamp.com/album/moris-blak-x-moaan-exis-state-rejects-moments-of-dissent

JUNKSISTAFuck Your Pretty Face – German electronic whisper punk from Diana Noir released on COP International is a raindrop blue hue builder full of menace and danger. Throwing a burning brand at the concept of the value of beauty standards. I love the boxer weave drum beat and snarling challenge.

https://junksista.bandcamp.com/album/fuck-your-pretty-face

Remember to cast your votes for March in the Sounds and Shadows group for the singles that are inspiring you. A musical revolution is happening.

The Raven

by Jean-Marc Lederman Experience

It is from gloom-laden antiquity that the Jean-Marc Lederman Experience brings forth the latest compilation album, The Raven, featuring some of the most well known names in the Gothic Industrial soundscape. 13 tracks inspired and adapted from the works of Byron, Shelley, Poe, and even cinema from the Classic Hollywood era, this album has something that will appeal to all tastes and appetites, no matter how dark.

Jean-Marc Lederman

The man behind the project is Jean-Marc Lederman, a Belgian better known as Jimmy-Joe Snark III of The Weatherman. A man who’s placed his name on a variety of projects throughout the last few decades Lederman has been refining his craft since he was 18, and was first inspired by electronic luminary Brian Eno. Some notable projects of his include Gene Loves Jezebel, The The, and Fad Gadget. On this album, he has brought together some great minds and song-scribes such as Christopher Hall, Mari Kattman, and Emileigh Rohn.

Mari Kattman of Helix opens the album with “The Cold Heart Slept Below”. The track, the title of which alludes to The Telltale Heart, opens with a backdrop of a clock ticking steadily before the main beat and Kattman’s entrance. The track has a wonderful, almost dark-jazz type element that marries well with Kattmans vocals.

Conrad Aikens poem “The Vampire” is the inspiration of the second track of the same name by Stabbing Westward. Christopher Hall conjures bloodthirsty fiends and the struggle to escape them which is destined to be a fan favorite on the album. There’s no hint of cringe-inducing melodrama here, only the story of a creature that is going to rip you apart and eat what it finds inside. “The Vampire” would be equally at home on any Halloween playlist or any other time of the year on the dance floor of whatever Goth-Industrial night is smart and lucky enough to play it. Stabbing Westward never disappoints.

Unique among the tracks are numbers 3 and 13 respectively as these are not merely inspired by past works but adapt them completely to musical form. Track 3 “She Walks in Beauty” performed by Mark Hocking‘s band Mesh is a full adaptation of the Lord Byron poem of the same name. The albums final track is a musical adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” by Magnesium Burn‘s Christina Z. Both of these are fun to listen to and amount more to a reading of the aforementioned works set to music done in each artists style. Similar to the two aforementioned tracks is “Frankenstein” by Dr. Strangefryer. The lyrics of the song are made up of prose from Mary Shelley’s book. The accompanying industrial music fits well with the scene of Dr. Frankenstein witnessing his creature awaken for the first time.

Track 9 features Sound’s and Shadows own Duchess. Ken Magerman, and his band Amaranth. “Crushing Weight” is the bands take on Poe’s “The Raven” rebooted as a modern day panic attack brought about by the phantom bird visiting an introverted and reclusive Poe. Magerman‘s echoing vocals eerily convey the mood and essence of the man’s frantic uncertainty as he is buried beneath the inescapable truth the bird portends.

Stefan Netschio provides a personal nostalgia trip for me on track 11, “Smouldering Corpse In The Mourning Sun”. An avid listener of Stefan Netschio‘s band Beborn Beton since my teenage years he has long been able to bring a darkly elegant sound to every project he is a part of.

Emileigh Rohn

Emileigh Rohn, or Chiasm as she is better known in the Goth-Industrial world, sings a rendition of “Pretty Fly” in track 12. Originating during the classic age of Cinema in the 1955 horror film “The Night of the Hunter”, this spooky lullaby is sung by a little girl named Pearl to her brother as they drift down a river at night, pursued by a serial killer preacher. Rohn‘s rendition of it is just as dreamlike and spooky and remains my favorite track on the entire album. At only 2 minutes and 16 seconds the track is the shortest on the album but is not to be overlooked.

Beyond this, there is a lot more to the album, the stories it has tell tell definitely make it worth a listen. Ancient poems and macabre tales from the past conveyed through the filter of modern day dark wave artists is a natural enough pairing in itself, but Jean-Marc taps into something special here. Edgar Allen Poe and his works have long been inspiration for the thematically darker artists that have come after, but my personal intrigue was stoked by the other sources that were drawn upon for the creation of this album, and it is in their adaptation that it’s charm truly lies.

Interview With Jean-Marc Lederman:

James: What was it that inspired the other sources of the album beyond Poe?

JM: I wanted to do something darker than my usual work and had the idea to take several
writings from the goth authors to oblige me to turn more somber.
I was of course well on point about goth and goth culture (for Christ’s sake, Peter Murphy
slept in my mother’s bed, she wasn’t in it, back late 80’s) but started to read and
document myself more on the subject of goth in art and literature, which is the way I
always do when I start a new album: I want to dig more into the album concept, and
doing so I learn and discover more about it, its surroundings and the areas I could expand
to. The concept always evolves from a genuine interest I develop about something or a
certain frame of work I want me to discipline into. Or an idea I find funny and a possible
vehicle for a cool album.
And at the end of the adventure, I want my listeners, the artists involved and myself to
have a solid, bold and interesting album to dive in.
So, I compiled texts from the usual suspects (Mary Shelley, Oscar Wilde, …) but also less
known authors like the US author Percy Byshee Shelley. But some are total outsiders of
the known authors, like the one Jean-Luc Demeyer (F242, of course) picked up: a very
unknown early dark ages french poet.
But I didn’t want the influence to be only about texts, but also insights from the other
arts, like cinema (Night of The Hunter, horror movies, etc…) or even architecture and
paintings.
Eventually, the scope moved to be about dark sides, being them in us, in nature, in
mythology…So, while it started being about goth culture, it ended up being much larger

James: Were they pieces that resonated with you personally?

JM: Yes, I cannot work for something I’m not passionate about.
All the pieces are equally resonating with me even though I do have some tracks I favor
because there the magic really worked: “Pretty Fly” with the very talented Emileigh Rohn
(from US band Chiasm) is a good example. I have wanted to cover that song from that
incredible movie for years and Emileigh just nailed it in a single take. But all tracks are
special to me: I wouldn’t put them in the album if it wasn’t resonating strongly in me.

James: How much input were the artists given in their contributions to this album?

JM: Pretty much all control. I would contact singers and ask them if they wanted to participate. They had really quite
a lot of freedom, the main idea being for them to sing or recite something which would
represent some gothic /dark aspects for them. If they were game, I would then send them
a poem or a writing and the music customized for them. Some would jump in straight
away, some would ask for a different text (or different music) so I would let them choose
a text or even write one on their own.
I wouldn’t dare have an artist being unhappy about his work: they have the last call on
the mixes of course. With some it’s very easy, they love it and it’s wrapped in a few days,
for some it takes a few “trial and errors” before we get to a mix we are both happy with.

James: Was there much discussion with them regarding the songs they were to craft and the
individual inspirational sources?

JM: The texts were only proposals and so was the music I would created for them.
I think artists like to work with me because they know I’ll tailor things around them. One
of the main reviews feedback I have from my collaborative works is how the song and the
singer are so embedded into each other: one can really feel it’s been fine tuned around
the voice and the end result is strong because of that. It’s not a voice being dropped in a
song, it’s a coherent musical universe.

James: Or were they involved in the selection of the topic?

JM: The freedom given to the artists make them very proactive: some created their own lyrics
(Lis Van Den Akker, Azam Ali,Chrystopher Hall, Ken Magerman,Jim Semonik, Stefan
Netschio), some glued very much to the text (Christina Z and her dazzling performance of
The Rave (Poe) which was in fact the 1st track done on the album, Mari Kattman, Elena
Alice Fossi, Mark Hockings, Dr Strangefryer, Jean-Luc De Meyer)

James: Given the sheer amount of darker literature throughout history, were there song ideas
that were cut and would you ever consider doing a sequel album to this one, inspired by
other literary or cinematic works?

JM: Oh yes, there are ideas that weren’t used. It always happens when you embark on
projects like this: you search, you find, you complete…but sometimes it just doesn’t work,
whether it is the text or the music but it’s the rule of the game: not everything can work
out, you need to allow yourself space for failures in order to achieve your vision/the vision
of the other artists.
A sequel would be so not like me 🙂

You can purchase the album on bandcamp from COP International.

https://copinternational.bandcamp.com/album/the-raven

By James Kelly