2 December 2014

Through Wild Nerdistan: Star Wars 7 trailer and outlooks

In this first installment of completely non-goth/new-wave/dark-alternative-related articles I'd like to address some issues with a film series that was very dear to me in my childhood and teen years, though especially nerdy it may be (oh, and there's going to be a higher amount of profanity than usual):

Star Wars - Over the years my relationship with this franchise has changed a great deal and I'm afraid I have to consider myself very much of a purist:
I loved the original trilogy, and as I got older and became more of an analytic film and literature lover I discovered even more to like at the same time that stuff I considered awesome as a kid became less and less important to me (character development and fairytale motifs and tropes over action and visuals).
On the other hand I came to practically hate the Extended Universe where essentially every fanboy who is famous enough to publish something under the Star Wars lable could come up with his/her own bullshit stories which in my eyes made everything become more and more rediculous.
And the prequels... Not much to mention... I mean: Everyone hates Episodes 1 and 2, right? And personally I don't even see how Episode 3 is any better and hence cannot even accept it as canon in my admittedly narrow mind - and I won't even start to go into details why. Same goes for the Clone Wars series, which feels like Extended Universe crap to me. Period. Not "almost" or "sometimes" or anything.

So for me there was essentially:
1) Star Wars - which is Episodes 4 -6.
2) Every other similar looking stuff that Lucas either fucked up himself or permitted others to do so.

31 July 2014

Farblos - Behind the Songs

Publishing Farblos material took off on the original German language Otranto archives, and every new publication has been met with an article that gives some background info. Being available only in German so far it was about time to share this with the international crowd as well...

Winterherz (und der Regen fällt...)


On February 08, 2011 I finally dared to share my first demo track "Winterherz". I had put it on the web a year earlier, in January 2010, but Farblos had up unto this time still been called Diurnal Masque, and the song was only available on MySpace(!) and so hadn't met with any particular feedback.
I had been somewhat active in music since 2008 with a folk/renaissance/medieval band and I had for some time been working on a 12th century song by Belgian troubadour Hendrik van Veldeke, to which no melody is recorded, but that has hauntingly mournful lyrics using a language that is sombre in an almost romantic way. I had come up with a melody, but it just didn't want to fit the medieval setting and sounded much more like the music I usually listen to, which is mainly of the darker, somewhat synthy New Wave type.

So I worked on melody and arrangement for two years during which I acquired a bass guitar, an early 90's synthesizer and a decent sequencer and translated the parts of the lyrics I wanted to use from Medieval to modern German and finally arrived at a (largely) English version.

22 June 2014

Interview: She Past Away

Back in early 2013 İdris Akbulut of She Past Away agreed to do an interview with me.
Being the first English Otranto article then I would like to just repost the whole thing here, but keep in mind that it's already more than a year old.

They are currently THE insiders’ tip of the New Wave underground – She Past Away. The duo from Turkey had already been active on stage for several years and had released a three song EP in 2010, but it was in 2012 with their first full length album “Belirdi Gece” that they had an international breakthrough.
Critiques for this work almost couldn’t be any better, and I myself think every single one of the ten songs is quite ingenius in its respective way and I won’t hesitate a second to call myself an enthusiastic new fan. Bass player İdris Akbulut talked to the Otranto archives…


İdris, your musical style reminds me a lot of classical dark wave bands of the 80′s and early 90′s. Is that intentional? 
We are heavily influenced by the 80’s music. The albums we love to listen to mostly belong to that period. Our music is an outcome of this influence; however, there has never been a band we tried to sound like. It is totally natural. 
And how would you describe your music, and what are your musical backgrounds, inspirations and influences?

WTF is Industrial?

Throbbing Gristle, 1981
"Industrial" - Besides "gothic" this is probably the most controversial and widest used term within the realm of dark subculture(s). Having a look at the music that clubs and DJs offer it often appears that it hardly has any meaning of its own but is bound to be mentioned besides other genres such as "EBM" or "Electro" (whatever this is supposed to be). Apparently "Industrial" has to be mentioned if electronic music genres are the topic?

Having a look at YouTube may sometimes clear things up, but not in this case. Apparently "Industrial" is more of a dancing style? I see some of those cyber people throwing their limbs around in a manner that reminds me of 90's techno - and the music to which they dance is very fitting (fans might lable it "Hellectro" or "Aggrotech" or something along these lines). Very much "Loveparade" for me, but I don't want to be mean - it looks pretty exhausting and I don't think I'd be able to dance in this way. Not that I wanted to.

Confusing? Certainly, but who takes the time to do just a little online research will soon discover how little any of this has to do with Industrial.
Like so many thing it all started in the alternative music scene of 1970's England...

The Sandman (Paul Berry short film)


Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann was one of the most important writers of German "Schauerromantik" (more or less: "Spooky Romanticism") and even posed an inspiration for some of Gothic's greatest, including Edgar Allan Poe. His 1817 short story "Der Sandmann" is regarded a classic of the genre and is to this day a popular topic of German A level exams.

The story of the deeply disturbed main protagonist Nathanael begins with a childhood trauma, that started with a gruesome fairy tale and ended with the violent death of his father. And it has always been this very fairy tale that I found the most interesting part of the tale. Quite fortunately the English animation artists Paul Berry (who also worked on Tim Burton's Nightmare before Christmas) seems to have felt the same, and thus he created a 10 min. stop motion short film in 1991 which in a visually and stylistically most intriguing way retells the story of the evil creature called the Sandman, who tries to steal children's eyes in order to feed his offspring in the crescent moon.