Nov
20
2016

Music of the Week – Zakk Wylde – Lost Prayer

2016 hasn’t been a very easy year, but fortunately there have been some nice surprises too. One of them is the return of the acoustic/introspective version of Zakk Wylde (of Ozzy Osbourne’s and Black Label Society fame) with a direct sequel of Zakk’s first solo album, Book of Shadows, released twenty years ago.

I didn’t expect much (very rarely sequels are better of or on par with the original) but I have been very surprised to hear an excellent and fresh album. Of course, there is nothing really new on it, but it’s a traditional blend delivered in a very personal and heartfelt way. Exactly like the first Book of Shadows was…

This is one of my favourite song on it, Lost Prayer. Hope you’ll enjoy it.

Nov
20
2016

Suggested Reads: Brain and Deep Learning

“The Brain vs Deep Learning Part I: Computational Complexity — Or Why the Singularity Is Nowhere Near”

http://timdettmers.com/2015/07/27/brain-vs-deep-learning-singularity/

A very detailed and rich dissertation about AI and it’s comparison with human intelligence. The article confronts (and refuses) the singularity hypothesis and, doing so, offers an excellent panoramic on the current state of research in many fields: AI, biology, neurology. The author himself is a researcher in the field of AI. It’s definitevely one of the best articles I’ve ever read on the subject for the richness and variety of it’s scope and offers a lot of food for tought. Even the comment section is very interesting to read. Highly reccomended.

Read it if you’re interested in: AI,informatics,biology,philosophy,neurology and problems about the concept of the mind.

Nov
13
2016

A new section: suggested reads

Time for a new section here on Illusion City…I’ve decided to share, over the time, some of the most interesting articles and reads that I find during my time spent on the net. They will cover all my main interests (science, philisophy, art, music etc) and some oddities and novelties. I will also soon collect all of these suggestions to a single page on the site too.

The first of these reads, is dedicated to the memory of Leonard Cohen which sadly passed away six days ago, on 7th November, aged 82…may he rest in peace.

“St. Leonard’s Passion”

St. Leonard’s Passion

A fond and passionate recap on Leonard Cohen in occasion of his (sadly) last album. It has a very strong anectode from a difficult concert on the Wight island in 1970.

Read it if you’re interested in: music, Leonard Cohen, poetry

Nov
1
2016

Music of the Week – Maria João Pires – Chopin – Nocturne No. 13 in C minor Op. 48 No. 1

Time for some music of a very different kind from the composition that I usually post here…for the first time since the inception of illusion city, I’ll share some classical music to you, which I listen fondly but rarely share or talk about.

This is one of my favorite composition from Chopin’s Nocturnes played by one of the best interpreters. The whole suit was recorded in 1996.

Enjoy!

If you want to listen to all the nocturnes (1h 52 min):

Oct
23
2016

Music of the Week – Death in June – Cathedral of Tears (Studio II)

Hi guys, it’s time to post a neo-folk song, a genre that I haven’t exposed much on these pages but that I’m very fond of…

This is a song from (the very controversial for some) Death in June, one of the most influent bands (even if the only permanent member for decades has been the leader Douglas P.) in the field.
Starting from a sound quite similar to the one of Wire with their previous band Crisis (active until late 70s) and then landing to electronic and folk experiments with Death in June, they helped in shaping the sound and the mood of a new kind of folk music, one full of gloom, melancholy and an overall dystopian outlook, mixed both with the (at the time) emergent movement of new-wave and industrial/tribal electronics.

This song gives the title to the 1993 EP in which is contained and, in my opinion, is the best version of it overall. In case you’re wondering, the statue depicted on the cover is located in Spain. Enjoy!

Oct
14
2016

Caraco article expanded!

Finally after a VERY long time I’ve updated the article about Albert Caraco. It’s quite a big addition and adds a lot of important points so be sure to read it!

Albert Caraco

Oct
2
2016

Music of the Week – Dave Vanian and the Phantom Chords – Haunted Garage

Hello, my fellow readers…long time no see, eh? :)
I’ve completed the trascription of the update for the Caraco’s article, I only miss some quotes from a book that I haven’t access to now, but I will in the next days.

Meanwhile, after a long time, let me to share a good tune with you.

This one is from the obscure unreleased album (in 1990) from the solo project from David Vanian, of the Damned’s fame, after his band came to a stop in 1989.

The unreleased material, in my opinion, in much better than the released one (in  the band only official album, dated 1995). It’s a very powerful and original mix of punk, gothic rock (two genres that the Damned contributed to shape in different phases of their career), rockabilly. The result ? A very good haunting, minimalist and romantic sound.

This song is, in my opinion, one of those which expresses at best their peculiar sound, which predated in many ways the following psychobilly sub genre.

I was undecided with this song and the wonderful Joe Meek’s cover, “Johhny remember me”, an obsessive and morbidly haunting classic (if you don’t know it, do yourself a favor and listen to it!), with a twisted history behind it that  could fill a whole article. But this is another story…

Enjoy the Phantom Chords for now.

 

Jun
5
2016

Music of the Week – Psychoviolets – Too Little Too Late + News

I did some other minor tweaks to the site: I corrected the cinematografo.it links in the cinema reviews page (they changed their site structure some time ago and thus the link didn’t work), marked a broken link, added a new one and updated a copy of the Philippe Billè’s essay on the Albert Caraco article and did a small update on the review of Cheap and Nasty’s Cool Talk Injection page, with some first hand corrections by the drummer of the band himself, Leslie Riggs.

This week I’m sharing with you one of the most obscure and interesting tracks of the psychedelic garage rock movement that was quite big in the late ’80s/ early ’90s.

The Psychoviolets were active between the early ’80s until 1995, changing names a couple of times (but they recorded only with two monickers: The Ultraviolets in 1990 (Changing Times LP) and the Psychoviolets for the following releases). Despite being American, they signed with a German record label, Maniac Records. They haven’t released a lot of material during their period together, the most notable one maybe is the 20-track album (Teen Trash Vol 2) recorded for the Teen Trash serie of the Maniac Records label, which features old and new material, with some unreleased tracks. They disbanded after a brief time of this release because of ongoing quarrels inside the band and drug abuse.

They are notable because of their various influences (new wave, raw garage, psychedelia, sad ballads) and their fascination with creepy introspection, a quite morbid one, that can be clearly heard both in music and themes. They predated the so-called garage revival by a long shot: the sound that they were presenting started becoming (relatively) popular only in the early/mid 00’s…

This track is the title track of one of their EPs, titled “Too Little Too Late”. Enjoy :)

 

Jun
4
2016

Some minor tweaks…

Finally I started to update the site older contents. I tweaked the FM Towns emulation page (removed old links for UNZ and XE emulators and replaced with working ones) and the wanted and found pages…these last two didn’t receive an update in YEARS (June 2013 the wanted one and October 2012 the found one)…

Feel free to browse the new contents and have a good time. See you for the next, more consistent, update.

 

May
22
2016

Music of the Week – Screaming Dead – A Dream of Yesterday

Hello, my fellow readers…long time no see,uh?

 

I’ve been really busy with my personal life, so I haven’t got time to transcribe and upload the new articles I’ve written yet, or to upload and/or reorganize the existing contents of the site (an operation that sooner or later will be needed). But I hope in doing so in not too much time…after all, if you’re still here after a silence so long, you too are gifted with the precious virtue of patience. :)

Some days ago I’ve read an article about a new reunion, with the possibility of recording new material, of one of my favourite underground bands from the early 80’s: the Screaming Dead, hailing from the UK.
They had a brief life in the first half of the decade, releasing various demos and EPs, later collected together in the rare “Bring Out Yer Dead” collection released in the 90’s, more or less when the group reunited for the first time (and which later released the more industrial oriented, but also good, “Death Rides Out”, a collection of old and new material recorded in that vein), an original mix of punk and new wave (they moved gradually from the former to the latter, without losing raw power in the process) with a strong horror-decadent-romantic aesthetic that was quite uncommon at the time and now is hailed among the pioneers of the genre, both musically and aesthetically.

One of the founders, guitarist Tony McKormack, in the late 80’s founded the pagan goth group Inkubus Sukkubus, which is still active and got some of it’s well deserved success. While quite different from the Screaming Dead, this project has some points in common with it and can be seen as a coherent progression from the Dead’s sound and themes.

But now, let’s hear one of the early Screaming Dead best songs, in my opinion, from the most sophisticated phase of the band. A Dream of Yesterday…