Way back when Salem were set to blow up the ID:UD senior staff were somewhat divided on the issue of witch house (after making all the token jokes about the band names). Alex was intrigued by the confluence of druggy hip hop and dark ambience, whereas Bruce was more skeptical, wanting to wait it out to see if any seriously great albums would emerge from the primordial soup of CD-Rs and rapidshare links (and no, King Night wasn’t one of them). Tracking all of the permutations, offshoots and dead ends that witch house (we seem to all be done with the “drag” tag, yeah?) has taken since then is beyond our ken or care, but what has been fascinating to track is the growing dialog between it and industrial. There’s been a surge of new dark music that draws evenly from the tradition of Our Thing and the triangles and inverted crosses set, and we thought it timely to assemble a short mix of it for your listening. Downloadable and streaming below, please find So Fragile #11: Witch Haus der Lüge.
As always, we’ve tried to include avenues for you to acquire some of these tunes if they strike your fancy, and encourage you to support artists doing things that are new and interesting with a few of your spooky dollars. Also, a special ID:UD tip of the hat to Michael Renfield (aka Soillodge), who has been a tireless booster for this music over on the ViP forum, and provided us with some suggestions for this tape. Much obliged!
V▲LH▲LL, “ÆG1R (They Go Into The Sea)”
We featured a remix by this new act just a while back, and were happy to hear this outtake from the debut EP sessions currently ongoing. While we’ve since found out the identity of those behind it, we’ve been sworn to secrecy (seriously, there were robes, blood oaths, and sacramental wine – the whole nine yards). All we can say is that they are from Our Thing, and no matter who you’re thinking of, you’re wrong.
C/∆/T, “Night Terror”
In a recent blog entry Ben Arp of Chaos and Terror stated that one of the reasons he resurrected the project after a one year hiatus was his discovery of witch house, and the possibilities inherent in it. He just dropped The Diamond Center, an EP that displays both his new and classic industrial influences, pretty much a textbook example of the phenomenon this tape is built around.
∆AIMON, “A Screw (SCỴ†HE Remix)”
Still the standard bearers for this new conflagration of sounds, ∆AIMON know industrial, old and new. Check their recent mixtape which started with none other than The Retrosic’s “The Bomb” (a staple in our DJ sets since the release of Nightcrawler), or this super creeped out cover of one of Swans’ iconic slabs of misanthropic granite. Grab this and a whole mess of other remixes from their Amen EP for free here.
Ronobe, “Other Love (V▲LH▲LL’s H3XL4Y3R Remix)”
Just the other day Ronobe announced via Twitter that they were dissolving due to “artistic misunderstandings and personal conflicts” between its two members Luxe and The Stained. Shame, since the tracks on their recent EP Something to Die For rode the line adeptly between draggy and brighter textures, including this frosty interpretation by V▲LH▲LL. The Stained announced his new project CONCLΔVE the very day of the break-up; we’ll be keeping an unblinking eye on its development.
XP8, “∆∆uv Your ∆oOoOolly (Witch House rework)”
In his recent interview with the good folks over at NYC After Dusk Marco Visconti spoke a bit about the way in which the witch house and related artists have managed to avoid the stigmatization of the goth/industrial axis, a good point to be certain. That hasn’t precluded him from having a bit of fun with the genre signifiers (not unlike XP8 and Surgyn’s shot across the bow of the current generation of mindless Oontz from a few weeks ago), as in this application of them to his band’s banger “Muv Your Dolly”. It’s a neat exercise, and one we’re happy to include here for your enjoyment.
WIK▲N, “Bosozoku Highway”
One of the few early witch house comps which really endeared itself to us was the Twin Peaks tribute. It’s a sample-heavy genre to begin with, and letting its practitioners run wild in a world as atmospheric and fully developed as Twin Peaks was a nice fit. Same goes for the recent Witch-House.com Akira tribute. Beyond providing innumerable hours of club visuals, both the film’s sound design and its theme of technology and spirituality intersecting offer a candyland for woozy producers.
Cyndies, “Beverly Sick”
Italy’s Cyndies are straddling a great boundary between the noisier, claustrophobic side of witch house and classic, beat-heavy Skinny Puppy/Severed Heads steez. This and other tracks from them are a good barometer of just how weird and forward-thinking some of the stuff in the genre has gotten in a hurry.
God Module, “Rituals (White Ring mix)”
The remix that weirdly presaged this whole thing. When we wrote about it back in August of last year we said we’d reserve comment until we could better tell if this intersection of Our Thing and the OKKVLT was gonna be an isolated incident. Guess what? This tape says it isn’t, and we’re all the happier for it. Can’t wait to see what happens next.
Is that Tobey on the cover?
Yup! Intern Tobey is super into witch house aesthetics.
Cheers! Always thrilled to help find new good music. This is a great mix! BTW- you mentioned if any “great”, albums have come out of this electronic off-shoot yet. There are many great EP’s and singles, but really very few cohesive and solid albums. However I feel UNISON [French outfit on Lentonia Records] deserves entry to this listing. Thier album [either untitled or self-titled, it was unclear] is a really brilliant and imaginative journey into this sound. Just my further 2cents 😛 Thanks for listening. `michael
Thanks, Michael! For my money, Balam Acab’s “Wander/Wonder” and ∆AIMON’s “Flatliner” (yeah, I know it’s technically an EP) have been the only full releases by any associated acts which have really held together and built a world the way I like an album to, but I’ll definitely check Unison out!
Cheers Bruce; Oh I agree, those are both great releases. Two more to keep an ear out for this year is the upcoming Blvck Ceiling LP on Phantasma Disques and the long awaited MASCARA full length [label yet tbd]. If the Blvck Ceiling LP is anything like the limited cassette SHVDOW. It is going to be killer 😀
Does this “Haus der Lüge” has something to do with Einstürzende Neubauten album/song? Anyway, I was just wondering about that. I love the tracks. I am more and more addicted to witch house and it was amazing to see industrial bands like God Module remixing this music style. Also, Tobey is a great model! hahah I want to read more about witch house and what’s behind it… Wikipedia didn’t show much.
@Lidia- would be happy to tell you more on the history of this movement/style. Join our thread over at ViP and post your questions 😀 http://www.violent-playground.net/forum/off-topic/mixtapes-drag-witch-house-the-rising-underbelly-of-electronic-music
Thanks, Michael. Gonna check it. 🙂 As a semiotics student, I like the aesthetic of witch house. It makes me wonder about the symbols they use to add on their artwork and videos.
I’m just discovering this movement, so thanks for posting this article. I absolutely adore bands like white ring, ritualz, the synthetic dream foundation, zola jesus, etc.