Let’s drip concentrated darkness.

L’Âme Immortelle – Bitterkeit [In einer Zukunft aus Tränen und Stahl] | 1998 | Gothic… Pure Gothic.

[expand title=”Lyrics”]Tief in einer Welt
wo Gefühle nichtig sind
bin ich eingesperrt
Vor Haß schon völlig blind

Die Tränen sind die einzigen Zeugen
das ich Selbst noch existier´
Nahe dem letzten Schritt
Doch etwas hält mich hier

Überall ist Bitterkeit
Verzweiflung, und der Tod
Lügen – totes Fleisch
werden unser täglich Brot

Denn, überall ist Bitterkeit
Verzweiflung und der Tod
Lügen, totes Fleisch
werden unser täglich Brot

Ich sehe mich im Spiegel
doch erkenne Ich mich nicht
So entstellt vom Treiben hier
Eine Fratze – mein Gesicht

Das Leben in der anderen Welt
ist mir schon völlig fremd
Wie der Mond am Abendhimmel
Ich kann es mir nicht erklären

Überall ist Bitterkeit
Verzweiflung und der Tod
Lügen – totes Fleisch
werden unser täglich Brot

Denn – überall ist Bitterkeit
Verzweiflung, und der Tod
Lügen, totes Fleisch
werden unser täglich Brot

Du bist der einzige Grund
Der mir hilft – hier zu bestehen
Wärst Du nicht hier, tief bei mir
Würd´ den letzten Schritt Ich gehen

Die Liebe zu Dir hält mich
Und gibt mir neue Kraft
Um hier zu überleben
Bald ist es geschafft

Überall ist Bitterkeit
Verzweiflung und der Tod
Lügen, totes Fleisch
Werden unser täglich Brot

Denn – überall ist Bitterkeit
Verzweiflung und der Tod
Lügen – totes Fleisch
werden unser täglich Brot (3mal)[/expand]


I’m very fucking tired today. But I wanted to keep myself awake until at least 2300. And to use this time to jot down a few things regarding Vampires, Gehenna and Zeitgeist. This made me look into some very dark recesses of my music collection. Not “dark” in the “gothic and dark lyrics” sense, but in the “not sure if not actually embarrassed by…” sense.

And L’Âme Immortelle fits the bill perfectly. I have a love-hate relationship with them. I mostly hate them, apart from a few songs which I love like crazy. I even saw them live in 2002. (Which also marked my first and only visit to Bochum’s Matrix. Fuck that venue.) And that while I spent a great deal of time to bad-mouth them for… Some stupid-ass reason or another. I can’t really remember any more. I was younger and much more stupid back then. (Yes. It IS possible!)

Anyway, this song… It’s got darkwave style. And harsh electro vocals. And gothic guitar riffs and bass-lines. And it simply seeps atmosphere and feeling.

I got hold of this album (And what a magnificent title “In a Future of Tears and Steel” is!) at around the same time I fell in love with Mage and Vampire. And now, about 13 years later, I see how that was intertwined. While the Gothic Rock influences I mentioned earlier, as well as Dead Can Dance and Depeche Mode (with other artists of a similar bend) made the major part of my musical background in that time of my life, there was something I’d call “vocal minority”, too. And L’Âme Immortelle are one of those acts.

Listening to this song (and two or three others by them) while reading the opening blurb in a White Wolf book about what “Gothic Punk” and “A World of Darkness” are meant to convey sets the perfect mood.

It combines a Gothic sense of mystery and dark beauty while at the same time hitting you with a violent energy. Combining in your mind to create a dark, yet strangely compelling, thought-scape. Now you add the history, lore and protagonists and antagonists and styles of Vampire and Mage to these pictures and you get an immediate desire to start a chronicle. To plan and create one, or to play a particular character in one. Living through this world and experiencing it, and hopefully even changing it.

At least I did. And I still do.
I had a serious case of writer’s block tonight. Due to stress and tiredness. Then I listened to Bitterkeit (and other 90s L’Âme Immortelle songs) and it’s gone. Poof. Like it was never there.

I’m still ambivalent about the band. Mostly because of the pretty arrogant antics of Thomas Rainer back in the days.
But I’ve got to give them this: Their old songs still evoke a sense of… Well… “Gothicness” that I really love and appreciate.

And, hell…
Look at them when they’re performing live!

Live - 2004 - M'era Luna

Live - 2004 - M'era Luna

If this ain’t screaming “Vampire!” I don’t know what is.
There is violence, passion, sexuality and sensuality in this picture. In their music. Their lyrics.

And for that… I love them.

Let’s give you all a quadruple-feature today. [Introducing: Collapsible Lyrics!]

Four extraordinary songs from two albums by an extraordinary band. In honour of them releasing something really cool today.

I’m going back to flood you with some Trip-Hop/downtempo music of the highest calibre. And also four songs you should really know, if you don’t already. They are perfect introductory pieces into the wider field of Trip-Hop. We’re heading towards 1991 and 1998 today. The UK. And listening to some Massive Attack.

Massive Attack – Safe From Harm [Blue Lines] | 1991 | Trip-Hop

[expand title=”Lyrics provided by Shara Nelson and 3d”][Shara Nelson]

Midnight ronkers
City slickers
Gunmen and maniacs
All will feature on the freakshow
And I can’t do nothing ’bout that, no
But if you hurt what’s mine
I’ll sure as hell retaliate

You can free the world you can free my mind
Just as long as my baby’s safe from harm tonight

You can free the world you can free my mind
Just as long as my baby’s safe from harm tonight

[3d]

I was lookin’ back to see if you were lookin’ back at me
To see me lookin’ back at you

[Shara Nelson]

Lucky dippers
Crazy chancers
Seems to be moving fast
What happened to the nicities
Of my childhood days
Well i can’t do nothing ’bout that, no
But if you hurt what’s mine
I’ll sure as hell retaliate

[3d]

I was lookin’ back to see if you were
I was lookin I was
I was lookin’ back to see if you were lookin’ back at me
To see me lookin’ back at you

[Shara Nelson]

You can free the world you can free my mind
Just as long as my baby’s safe from harm tonight

You can free the world you can free my mind
Just as long as my baby’s safe from harm tonight

[3d]

Tell us what it is dangerous
Friends and enemies I find it’s contagerous
And they’re spreading through your system like a virus
Yes the trouble in the end it makes you anxious

I was lookin’ back to see if you were lookin back at me
To see me lookin back at you

I was lookin’ back to see if you were lookin back at me
To see me lookin back at you

[Shara Nelson]

But if you hurt what’s mine
I’ll sure as hell retaliate
You can free the world you can free my mind
Just as long as my baby’s safe from harm tonight [x2] [/expand]


The raps on this song are sooooo nice. Tight, even. And still… They add to the downtempo atmosphere. Shiveringly good!

Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy [Blue Lines] | 1991 | Trip-Hop

[expand title=”Lyrics sung by Shara Nelson”]I know that I’ve been mad in love before
And how it could be with you
Really hurt me baby, really cut me baby
How can you have a day without a night
You’re the book that I have opened
And now I’ve got to know much more

The curiousness of your potential kiss
Has got my mind and body aching
Really hurt me baby, really cut me baby
How can you have a day without a night
You’re the book that I have opened
And now I’ve got to know much more

Like a soul without a mind
In a body without a heart
I’m missing every part
[x5] [/expand]


Both songs from Blue Lines are something fiercely new for their time. They were Trip-Hop, before there was Trip-Hop. And I’d like to break out a quote by Evan Marshall from 2004: “[…] but what we were trying to do was create dance music for the head, rather than the feet.” – I think it’s safe to say that they succeeded. Those songs pull you into their worlds and create whole new spaces in your minds, if you let them in.

They combine beautiful vocals with a new blend of electronic music and arrangement. This kind of trippy, downtempo sound was really fresh and new at the time. The texture of their songs is unbelievably rich. Again, they are songs from TWENTY YEARS ago that still manage to sound fresh and new and current. There are songs from 2006 that don’t manage this.

Massive Attack – Teardrop [Mezzanine] | 1998 | Trip-Hop

[expand title=”Lyrics – Sung by Liz Fraser”]Love, love is a verb
Love is a doing word
Fearless on my breath
Gentle impulsion
Shakes me, makes me lighter
Fearless on my breath

Teardrop on the fire
Fearless on my breath

Nine night of matter
Black flowers blossom
Fearless on my breath
Black flowers blossom
Fearless on my breath

Teardrop on the fire
Fearless on my…

Water is my eye
Most faithful mirror
Fearless on my breath
Teardrop on the fire
Of a confession
Fearless on my breath
Most faithful mirror
Fearless on my breath

Teardrop on the fire
Fearless on my breath

You’re stumbling a little
You’re stumbling a little [/expand]


[Yes, you do know it from House. And yes, I do hope you knew it before then, too! If not, I might to become cross with you! And not just because Miss Fraser lent her voice to this great track.]

Massive Attack – Dissolved Girl [Mezzanine] | 1998 | Trip-Hop

[expand title=”Lyrics – Sung by Sarah Jay Hawley”]Shame, such a shame
I think I kind of lost myself again
Day, yesterday
Really should be leaving but I stay

Say, say my name
I need a little love to ease the pain
I need a little love to ease the pain
It’s easy to remember when it came

‘Cause it feels like I’ve been
I’ve been here before
You are not my savior
But I still don’t go

Feels like something
That I’ve done before
I could fake it
But I still want more

Fade, made to fade
Passion’s overrated anyway
Say, say my name
I need a little love to ease the pain
I need a little love to ease the pain
It’s easy to remember when it came

‘Cause it feels like I’ve been
I’ve been here before
You are not my savior
But I still don’t go, oh

I feel live something
That I’ve done before
I could fake it
But I still want more, oh.
[/expand]

[Yes. You know it from The Matrix. No, it was not on the soundtrack. Yes. I’ll probably hit each song from that soundtrack during this year.]

The same band. Seven years later.
You can hear how they have grown.
The texture is thicker. The arrangements are more complex and more refined.
The atmosphere is tighter and much darker, without becoming too gloomy. Just dark enough to make you slow down for a bit.

Please, if you have the money, and don’t own the songs yet, hop over to Amazon and buy “Blue Lines” and “Mezzanine”, or at least the MP3s of those songs you really liked. Four bucks will give you over twenty minutes of perfect dark-evening-moody-good-feel-time music!

Yes, I love those songs. I also love the psychy “Daydreaming” and the truly beautiful “Angel”.

When you listen to those songs, try to not do anything else at the time. Perhaps even dim the lights. Look out into the nightly city sky. Have something to drink nearby. Be it tea, coffee, wine, absinthe or Bailey’s. Just… Relax. Enjoy. Feel it.

Let’s stop delaying.

I should have written this piece an hour ago.
Somehow, the juices didn’t want to flow.
It’s the change from summer to deep-autumn. Still nagging at me. Distracting me.
The smells bring back floods of memories that are running interference with my musical memories.
Until I found an epic cross-over.

So, here, enjoy some Death in June

“When out of men’s hearts all hate has gone; It’s better to die than forever live on.”

Death in June – Little Black Angel [But, What Ends When the Symbols Shatter?] | 1992 | Neo-Folk

“Asleep in; The stumble of autumn; The pain was calvary”

Death in June – Luther’s Army [Rose Clouds of Holocaust] | 1995 | Neo-Folk

And, even if it’s cheating, but it’s Sunday and I gave you two 90s songs already… My most epicly-fitting and hauntingly beautiful Autumn Song:

“To die now would be perfection | Then my lonliness closes in; So, I drink a German wine | And drift in dreams of other lives; And greater times”

Death in June – Runes and Men [Brown Book] | 1987 | Neo-Folk

Neo-Folk is, without a doubt, the most perfectly fitting autumn music you will ever find.
The somberness, the melancholic arrangements and the use of instruments most people will be able to associate with good friends, great company and a beautiful time shared with drink and fire under a rising moon.

And it hit its major point of rising fame in the 90s. During the mid-to-late 90s Neo-Folk started to be everywhere. It started to become visible outside its own circles. To draw other people into its mesmerizing web of mythology, sociology and soft-tuned violence.

Sadly enough, it’s also one of the most dangerous forms of music out there. Sifting through the wide range of artists and acts to find the bad apples is a taxing task, but one I couldn’t do without. No matter how much I live music, I’d never support fascist/Nazi oriented acts. And it’s a sad truth that many right-wing Neo-Folk artists are intelligent enough to hide behind a veneer of “It’s art!” and subtlety and misdirection to spout their harmful drivel. And even the “safe” acts sometimes go a bit too far whilst playing with fire/Nazi ideology.

But, still.
Death in June. Douglas Pearce.
Great man, great act, great songs.

Those three songs… They can make every autumn night a perfect night. Try to play them on a CD player with any other pieces of electronics turned off. Let just this music, your dearest friends and the sounds of the autumnal city reach you. Have good drink and good food nearby. And just let the night flow without constraints…

Let’s start Autumn properly.

Rob Dougan – Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Variation) [Clubbed to Death] | 1995 | Electronic Beats

You all know it. You all love it.
And you all probably only learned about it on a nice autumn’s night in 1999 when you went to the cinema with some friends.

Yes. Clubbed to Death’s Kurayamino Variation is the best known mix of this song. But it’s also one of the best ones, too. Which is not always the same.

It’s a near-perfect synthesis of a classical theme with modern music. And, because of this… It still sounds modern. Current. As if it was made, produced and released yesterday.

And today, with a torrentous rain and harsh winds and falling leafs… It’s perfect.
I always put this song on when walking on cold and rainy days. It’s epic. It’s Mage-like. It reminds me of some of the best RPG sessions I ever had. Also, of some of the best mettings-with-friends I ever had.

Don’t just mix it with The Matrix. Yes, it made the movie. Became it’s unofficial anthem. But it’s larger than it. It can and does stand on its own two legs. [Yes. I know which video I chose for it. It was the best quality, sorry! I’m aware of the ginormous irony therein.]
Let it. Listen to it.

Put it on your MP3 player, go outside in the evening and enjoy rain, wind and cold with it.
And you WILL enjoy it it. :)

Let’s get all retrospective with the weather.

When I think 90s, I almost always think about summers. Mostly because I was in school during that decade and you kinda like the summer holidays more than just about any other time of the year. It’s warm, school’s out, the days are long and you could do whatever the fuck you wanted to do.

But, seeing as I was (and still am, come to think of it) a giiinormous nerd, I spend most of my time reading, listening to music and playing RPGs. Although there were copious amounts of BMX riding, scraped knees and mischievous adventures getting to and from parties and naturally all the stuff we did AT the parties. But still… Music, books, RPGs, wide blue skies and looong days and even longer nights.

And during those days and nights, there were some songs we really LOVED to listen to.

One of them is something you might call a “Summer Hymn”. A “Rock Hymn Of The Decade”. A simply great song with a tasty riff, some hard guitars, suggestive lyrics and a damn fun attitude. That it managed to evoke some 70s Funk Rock feelings too is just a huge bonus that puts the song further into my “Really Like” zone.

So then, go ahead. Listen to a part of my best summers.

Even though it’s only just 1993, the video is VINTAGE FUCKING 90s! It’s all that was good and proper with non-storytelling music videos. Eye-Candy for both genders, a freaky set, a wild riff… Perfect. Wonderful. Fun. :) (Also, the Nostalgia Critic reminded me of something today, via him mentioning this in relation to Daria: Midriff-showing tops on hot women. … They’re gone now. … I Miss them.)

Lenny Krevitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way [Are You Gonna Go My Way] | 1993 | Rock

Damn. That was fun.
I think I’m gonna throw another non-dark song your way tomorrow, too.

Consider this a tribute to the now gone summer-autumn-bastard week we had. I miss the sun. It was with us for too short a time.

Let’s talk about a spectacular and special “Cover version”.

There’s a poem by Bertold Brecht, called “Die Ballade von den Prominenten”.
I’ll append the English translation at the very end of this post.

Many of you will already know where this is going.
And you’re right. It’s Dead Can Dance time.

Dead Can Dance – How Fortunate The Man With None [Into The Labyrinth] | 1993 | Goth

“How Forunate the Man with None” is one of my most favourite songs of all times, all genres and simply… “All”.

It is a powerful ballad combining a haunting, deeply ethereal sound with Perry’s resonant voice. And all this to bring a poignant, socio-political poem by Bertold Brecht to live.
It’s a piece that defined “Being Goth” for me. And which it still does.

It all works so very perfectly.

This is a song you listen to by dimmed light (or candles, even), with the autumn air being cold outside and dear friends and wine by your side. This is a song that makes you think, makes you sink into itself. Into your own mind. This is a song/poem about mortality, change, betrayal, history, opportunism, greatness, failure and the nature of time and humanity.

It is also the song that I most associate with Mage: the Ascension. When I got the revised edition of the Mage rules (my very first WoD self-owned rules-set) in the winter of 1998, I also bought “Into the Labyrinth”. I was listening to this album when I first delved into the changed reality of the Avatar Storm and the cooling down of the Ascension War to an apparent Technocratic “victory”. I read about the new, more personal scale and scope of the game. Of lone Mages trying to keep their loved ones and their ideals and dreams alive and secure to the best of their possibility. And it was this combination that saved the game for me. On a pure intellectual level I hate many settings (and tone) changes that came with Mage Revised. But because I was able to listen to this song while reading some key chapters in the rule book, it clicked. It worked. It made me want to run a cool, sexy, dark and low-toned game of Mage. (It also made me buy all the revised Tradition Books, which I still see as one of the best decisions I ever made in my roleplaying career. They are amazing reads filled with ideas and stories to last me for ages. And even across different games. They’re like dark/gothic urban-fantasy GURPS mini-sourcebooks.)

This is also a song I strongly associate with romance and special memories. In the early 2000’s, I had some nights out with a dear and close friend, and we almost always listened to “Into The Labyrinth” and especially “How Fortunate…” when it got dark and cold at night. We weren’t lovers. We never would have worked like that. But we still had a more than simple and very special connection and friendship. We talked about everything and all the things between it. About our lives, sexuality, political and social outlooks, love, music, history and school. While sipping mead and absinthe and tea and eating food we’d always cook for each other. Sharing books and self written poems and stories, only intended for each other. It was magical in its own right…

So, yes.
This song is dear and important to me.
And I hope that you will listen to it, and find something good for yourself, too.
Because even without those memories, this is a beautiful song.

Have a good night.

“How Fortunate The Man With None”
From the play “Mother Courage”

You saw sagacious Solomon
You know what came of him,
To him complexities seemed plain.
He cursed the hour that gave birth to him
And saw that everything was vain.
How great and wise was Solomon.
The world however did not wait
But soon observed what followed on.
It’s wisdom that had brought him to this state.
How fortunate the man with none.

You saw courageous Caesar next
You know what he became.
They deified him in his life
Then had him murdered just the same.
And as they raised the fatal knife
How loud he cried: you too my son!
The world however did not wait
But soon observed what followed on.
It’s courage that had brought him to that state.
How fortunate the man with none.

You heard of honest Socrates
The man who never lied:
They weren’t so grateful as you’d think
Instead the rulers fixed to have him tried
And handed him the poisoned drink.
How honest was the people’s noble son.
The world however did not wait
But soon observed what followed on.
It’s honesty that brought him to that state.
How fortunate the man with none.

Here you can see respectable folk
Keeping to God’s own laws.
So far he hasn’t taken heed.
You who sit safe and warm indoors
Help to relieve our bitter need.
How virtuously we had begun.
The world however did not wait
But soon observed what followed on.
It’s fear of god that brought us to that state.
How fortunate the man with none.

Let’s listen to a voice.

This one has no greater (sub)cultural appeal (at least that I’m aware of!). It’s just a song I really love and which I got as a single back in the days, too, as it’s simply a great tune. I’m also willing to bet some honest money that most of you will also know that tune. Probably not by name, but you either heard it in a movie, on the radio or on TV and it stuck with you. It’s easy to “forget”, but it’s pretty damn hard to “lose”.

So, in a way, I think what I’m going for is to simply make you remember what you were doing when you first heard that song. If you like… Share it with me, please.

So, go ahead. Listen to this track.
Remember. :)

Edwyn Collins – A Girl Like You [Gorgeous George] | 1994 | Indie Pop

What gets me, every time, how much like an archetypical 60s tune this song sounds. I’d kill to hear a version of this song done by Jim Morrison.

As for me…? The memory most associated with this song is a particular moment in 1998, with a very particular and wonderful woman. It was so damn fitting. We danced to it. We kissed to it. We enjoyed a star-lit night to it. It was amazing how much of an emotional impact that song had on us both, even though it was during a random party and we’ve never seen each other before. So, yeah. This is a memory song for me. A good one.

Good night!

Let’s all enjoy a lazy autumn day.

…even though it feels much more like being knee-deep in summer. It’s around 28degrees Celsius. The sky is clear. The air is warm and fresh. And I’m sitting outside a Starbucks, sipping on a chocolatte mocha frappucino, listening to the music I’m going to show you today. (Yes. I’ve beco e the enemy. Using my iPad to leech free WiFi and listen to alternative music while drinking non-coffee coffee and getting shit done I should do at my desk. *g*)

I also see a Japanese exchange student video-chat to his girlfriend in Osaka from his MacBook. Damn. We really DO live in the future. Also? Damn cute. Warms my cold, gothy heart. :)

I’ll put in the video links and appropiate details later, but in the meantime, I’m going to ask you to listen to three songs, absolutely perfect for this weather, this situation.

R.E.M. – Drive [Automatic for the People] | Alternative | 1992
Fastball – The Way [All The Pain Money Can Buy] | 1998 | Alternative
Days of the New – Weapon and the Wound [Days of the New II] | Alternative | 1999

All utterly 90s.
All perfectly chilly and lazy and grooving along nicely while still telling a nice story.

Perhaps I’m out of touch, but I just don’t see such music released in the same quantity AND quality as back then. I don’t know if I should blame the music industry, the shitty economy, 9/11 or simply a change of focus. Most likely a mixture of all of them.

But now?
Today?

Ignore all this.
Lean back,
Get a coffee, or a Mojito.
Ad enjoy some chilly 90s tunes.

Feel good, all.
Thinking good thouoghts of you. :)

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