REVIEW: V/A - DeadRecords Label Sampler

By Mike Ventarola

Chain Border

DeadRecords SamplerR. Loftiss and Syd Chreastiss seemed to have taken matters into their own hands by creating the independent DeadRecords recording label as far back as 1995, with Canadian distribution handled by Glen MacInnis.

Despite the length of time since their inception, the marketed music is sold via CD-R with a promise of future vinyl recordings somewhere down the line. These inexpensive CD-R's may come as a relief to the wallet when searching for new music on a budget. However, don't expect fancy packaging. All of the music on this compilation are independently released DeadRecords artists and affiliates with full work available through the company as well as from their individual sites.

The initial look of the CD-R doesn't scream out to the consumer to buy it. In fact, this disc is about as far underground as one could get. This, however does not detract at all from the contained selections. In fact, the big gripe would be that the packaging simply doesn't do much justice to the work. Thankfully, the independent underground doesn't allow itself to fall prey to marketing ploys that the rest of the world has been conditioned to by Madison Avenue marketing moguls.

J.U.N.K. - Now As In Always And Forever from The Anatomy of Birds
This is a somewhat electro moody piece, similar to some of the sounds heard on A Murder of Angels. Macabre apocalyptic barren soundscapes weave between snatches of classical instrumentation, which then segues into a windy and forlorn area devoid of life in any form. As an instrumental piece for lovers of morose sound, this track is a pleasant surprise. There are vocal female whispers through the wind, like a haunted specter, guiding us through this harsh and desolate terrain.

The Gray Field Recordings - Meadow Larks
This is an exclusive track for this compilation with odd instrumental notes that are organized but somewhat cacophonous in a meandering fashion. Seemingly, the sounds are like floating down a river in the middle of the night through some murky bayou. A female vocal rises from the watery mists, as if narrating the dreams of the lost yet doomed traveler.

Techix - Violinbeat from Unity Gain
This is yet another track with a dark supernatural feel upon its opening. Somber violin notes seem to waft through the catacombs of a lost place in time. Subtle beats are plucked and layered just under the violin intonations. Towards the end of the track, the sound becomes more ghostly, almost pervasively sad with a touch of anticipation.

Glenn MacInnis - Song For Lovers
Takes on an electro-pulsations of darkness, as if from some soundtrack depicting bleak futures and annihilation. There is a bit of slight layered vocal madness driven through some of the electro-noise effects. It would be a stretch to the imagination to assume that the artist intended for some of the pulses to depict "love" as it is more commonly thought. As a love song, this doesn't quite cut it unless imagining the fornication between robots, but it would work splendidly for a game or film soundtrack.

The Autopsy Report - Incomplete Transmission
This track brings us back to some of the pervasive gloom as depicted in the earlier tracks. The white noise in the background is not as prominent, giving rise to something enigmatic that will take place. Energy layers seem to swim in an undulating fashion, coalescing between fire and air. A low mechanized voice speaks through the caverns, but the message is not clear enough to discern. Bleeps, grinds and knocking sounds flow throughout, once again giving a sense of a landscape that is post Apocalyptic.

J.U.N.K. - Jean Paul Sartre (Radio France Mix)
Gongs and bells are chimed in a slow cadence. A French vocal recitation is given a ghostly effect, though its translation escapes me due to my limits with that language.

Techix - Violinverb (Robominers Mix) from Unity Gain
This track is another thematic approach from the preceding track, only with a more organized dirge. One could almost envision long dead ghosts from the Victorian era marching to this beat as they approach their final cemetery resting ground.

The most astonishing thing about this compilation is the fact that the folks from Middle Pillar or World Serpent haven't snatched any of these artists up. Both labels have created some rather unique dark compilation blends in the past, and this label sampler simply falls in line to a similar vein. That being said, those who have enjoyed the murky darkness of Middle Pillar and World Serpent compilations will certainly enjoy this CD.

Overall, the sound and textures take the listener out of the present time and seem to plummet one through a dark chasm of dread where we exit upon a bleak and barren parallel universe. One won't find anything to dance to on this track, but if you seek out mood and atmosphere, DeadRecords aptly delivered the goods with this sampler.

When plumbing the depths of underground music in search of creativity, it is often releases such as this which offers fans of dark music the most hope. There is simply nothing contrived or predictable here and the melancholia is kept in check without being an overly dramatic parody. Do seek this recording out if you want some more moodiness to your domicile.

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