Jul
8
2018

Music of the Week – The Coffinshakers – Last Night Down By The Grave

Hello guys, it’s time to return to some more “traditional” sounds here on Illusion City. This week we’ll be listening to some very good gothic country, with the excellent Swedish band the Coffinshakers, who rode out in the night from the late ’90s and the late ’00s. The group’s trademark is Rob Coffinshaker’s (who also had a short solo career) deep, soulful and very Johnny Cash’s like vocals and gloomy lyrics, full of sinister passions and dark romance.
This video, the only official one I know, is taken from the band’s second (and last) full length, “The Coffinshakers” released by Cobra Records in 2007. Enjoy this late night stroll!

 

Jul
1
2018

Music of the Week – b l u e s c r e e n – Strangers

Time for some more vaporwave, before switching to other kinds of music in the next entries…this week we’ll listen to (and watch) a very promising underground artist in the genre, the Australian blue screen (or b l u e s c r e e n, both spellings are used). This is the single “Strangers” off his 2016 album, 毛唐, on the Sunset Grid records, a label specialized in Australian vaporwave. A piece that nails the hypnotic, introspective and trippy side of the genre very well, created by a very young artist. Well done!

Another notable blue screen’s release is net garden, which along with 毛唐, is fully listenable on the label’s youtube channel (which is the source for the Strangers video too).

Enjoy!

Jun
23
2018

Music of the Week – Vaporgrave (feat QuadratoX) – Gomennasai

Hello my friends, it’s been a while…I’m still busy as before, but maybe I’ll find some more time to dedicate to the site in July.

For now, let’s dwelve a bit in the new musical landscapes that have surfaced in the last years, some kind of bastard grandchild of new wave and post punk.

After taking a peek at Synthwave with Perturbator in the entry before, now we’ll take a peek at Vaporwave, maybe the most surrealistic, nostalgic and related to the retro-pc passion that has some space in this site too. :)

A full take on what Vaporwave is would be too long for this post, the same for it’s numerous ramifications. Being a genre born and alive on the net, it’s quite fragmented and discontinue. Let’s say that Vaporwave, at it’s basic level, sits on the contradictions of the post-2000 years, between disgust for what the society has become (materialistic, fragmented, full of insecurity etc) because of capitalism and a form of nostalgia for the early years of the neo liberalism boom: the Eightes, in which the commodities of the contemporaneity where surfacing (the first computers, phones, mass television, hedonism etc) but in which a blink of creativity, freedom and rebellion survived also.

So Vaporwave dwelve in the paradox of appreciating some of these early forms and feeling a nostalgia for them (often a nostalgia of a time that who creates the music never lived, since Vaporwave is a genre often created by people that were born in the ’90s)  and a deep rejection and depression for what they have slowly brought into the world, the world in which we live in. There is a strong appreciation towards Japanese and anime culture too, because of it’s distance, overall weirdness and being often introspective and lonely.

Having said that, I’m happy to post a collaboration between one of the best artist and producers, Vaporgrave from LA and an european artist, QuadratoX “☒” . The title “ごめんなさい” spells “gomennasai” in Latin characters and means “I’m sorry”, and so am I for the scarcity of updates. See you!

May
20
2018

Music of the Week – Perturbator – Sentient

Summer is drawing nearer and nearer every day! So time for some more new music in the wave scene…time for Perturbator which is becoming famous for his horror and sci-fi themed synth music. Sometimes the genre it’s called synthwave or retrowave, but the naming is still quite not definite in these new scenes. For sure along with the vaporwave one (which I’ll cover here, one day or another) it’s among the hottest sub-genres inside the great synth cauldron.

This track is a single off Perturbator’s “Uncanny Valley” album. Enjoy!

Apr
30
2018

Music of the Week – Microchip Terror – Manufactured Existence

Hi my friends…it’s time for some new music! Microchip Terror is an excellent synthwave band, which has just released a new album, the very good “Illegal Experiments”. Heavily influenced by the atmospheres, themes and tones of ’80s horror and sci-fi cinema, they chunk out a very interesting blend of old and new sounds. Also, they love a lot Lucio Fulci’s OSTs…they even covered a song off one of his most famous movies in their previous EP.

Enjoy!

Apr
2
2018

Music of the Week – Toxic Reasons – Party’s Over

Hi guys! I hope you have spent an happy Easter! Time to post some more new music here…
Today is the turn of Toxic Reasons. A very influential and original band of the American branch the Hardcore genre, they incorporated a lot of different styles into theirs, from reggae a-la Clash to classical rock and from quasi new-wavish sounds to the classic full frontal assault typical of the HC music. Lyrically, they are again quite original and don’t focus only on the angst of youth or political struggle.

If you are curious, try to listen the excellent 1984 album “Within these walls”, from which this song is taken. I managed to find on youtube only the re-recorded version for the US version of their next album, “Bullets for you” (1986) issued by the legendary Alternative Tentacles of Jello Biafra’s fame.

This song is an excellent mid-tempo track about not letting go and finding a new way. I’ll copy the lyrics from the folder down here:

Lyrics:

Last night as I lay in bed
I looked inside a drunken head
And what I saw I didn’t like
I was a loser and I’d lost the fight
When I woke up in the morning
Looked upon a new horizon
Vowed never to go back in the past
Keep my head and make it last

I’m a wanderer and I don’t have a home
I’m a modern day gypsy not tied to anyone

Party party party that’s we all we ever do
And when we come to your town
We’ll probably party with you
I hope you don’t mind if I don’t party anymore
Because all this party has become a real bore

I’m a wanderer and I don’t have a home
I’m a modern day gypsy not tied to anyone
The party’s over now!

Mar
11
2018

Music of the Week – Wumpscut – Hang Him Higher

Recently I’ve been exploring with interest the main EBM artist and I quickly found the wumpscut’s name among the best. I’ve listened something by him many years ago, when the genre didn’t interest me, without going deeply and now, finally, I took some time to listen and understand his art.
It’s surely among the most original and interesting artists of the genre. Usually EBM isn’t a very sophisticated genre, it’s goal usually is different from introspection, but wumpscut have some great melodic quality in his music and the ability to invoke some of the base experiences and emotions of humanity, keeping a simple form but not without qualities or depth. His lyrics have an impersonal and powerful feeling, with a stir of melancholy and loss. Very very interesting. One of his main topics seems to be the nostalgia for some sort of paradise lost, previous to life. The most acute readers can see in this an echo of the Oedipal myth and the struggle between the will to live and to die with the ambiguity of the human experience. Without going this far, I found his music to resonate and stir some old questions and emotions in the listener. Not an easy or a banal task…
The track I’m presenting you, “hang him higher”, is a fine example of what I’ve written, dealing with the hopelessness and desire for justice and revenge. Enjoy :)

Mar
11
2018

New build of M88 available

Hi guys, a little update on the PC88 emulation front. Thanks to the effort of the dedicated Anna Wu, now the latest unofficial build (dated 23 February 2018) is now available in English. You can get it in the PC88 page.

Feb
25
2018

Music of the Week – Die Krupps – Odyssey of the Mind

Hi guys! How are you doing?
Again, I’m quite busy and gathering new material to publish on the site, one day. I’ve a couple of articles on cinema and on philosophy that needs to be edited before posting, but I keep postponing the operation because of my being very busy with my job and other projects. I don’t want to divulge a lot about it online, but let’s say that I’ve been actively working in the latest months on the underground scene and I’m very happy of it. Finally, I can give some more concreteness to what I like, love and support. So because of this, updates are quite scarce here…but I’ve promised myself to take some more time for Illusion City material.

Having said so, now let the music do the talking, like someone used to say! I’m posting the title track of a late album of Die Krupps (literary, “The Krupps”. The Krupp family was one of the most powerful families in Europe in the XX century, they held the Krupp industrial group, which was one of the greatest producers of iron and a lot of other industrial material of the time. They got famous for a lot of reasons, one of them being their support of Adolf Hitler during his rise to power and during the WW2), one of the most important bands in the German industrial scene. They started as pure Industrial/EBM band in the early ’80s and later, between ’80s and ’90s, they took a more metal direction, without throwing away their early influences. The result? Some very good and diverse albums, with clever mixes of metal, EBM, electronic music and clever musicianship. They later disbanded and recently reformed (but I don’t know if they are still together today).
This track is the title track of their 1995 album. The whole album is very good even if a bit short (more or less 47 minutes in it’s original release), very focused on the sense of isolation, entrapment and desire for freedom. The lyrics speak for themselves:

I set my mind on something
I would like to be
And I open up the door
There is so much to explore…

Quite good isn’t it? Now, enjoy the song itself.

Feb
10
2018

Music of the Week – Danko Jones – My Little RnR

Hi guys…after a while, a new video of straight rock n roll caught my attention. It’s theme is not new, a classic tale of vampiric love and death with a nice twist at the end, very much in the vein of the old horror movies of the ’70s filled with macabre imaginary and intense passions. What it makes it interesting, it’s the visual rendition and the catchiness of the song, very powerful in it’s simplicity.

Nothing new, but done really well!