So last year we were treated by the great Burning Witches Records with the excellent Halloween compilation Witches’ Halloween Brew. You could be thinking to yourself that Witches’ Halloween Brew was some kind of overhopped IPA made with spiced gourd, roasted pumpkin seeds, and the souls of the innocent. I wouldn’t doubt that that beer exists somewhere, but alas what Burning Witches Records offered up was a compilation of amazing electronic and heavy synth artists giving us some amazing tunes and eerie vibes. It set the bar pretty high when it comes to the world of synth-heavy electronic instrumental music.
Besides October being every Goth kid’s favorite month, it’s also BWRs anniversary as a record label. Witches’ Halloween Brew was not only a Halloween surprise, but it marked their 1st anniversary. This year those BWR ghouls upped their compilation game by giving us 3 split EPs, each one released just a week apart. Pieces Vol. 1, Pieces Vol. 2, and Pieces Vol. 3 feature the talents of Repeated Viewing, Burning Tapes, All of Them Witches, Espectrostatic, Deadly Avenger and Graham Reznick. Each artist contributes 20 minutes of original music to a cassette side, pairing some of the most talented and creative artists working in the heavy synth/electronic genre today.
First up is Pieces Vol. 1 with Repeated Viewing and Burning Tapes. Enter at your own risk.
Alan Sinclair’s Repeated Viewing has been making imagined horror scores for years now(almost 10 to be exact.) If your visit Repeated Viewing’s Bandcamp page you’d notice titles like Street Force, The Three Sisters, and Frozen Existence, all donning album art that looks as if you traveled back in time 35 to 40 years and found yourself at some corner video store or rundown cinema. From exploitation to Giallo to straight up horror, Sinclair creates entire worlds and narratives for you to get lost in. He commits to a vision with each release, so much so I was actually googling these titles to make sure they weren’t actual films I may have missed in my 35 years as a horror hound.
On Pieces Vol. 1 side 1, aka Faim, Folie, Crime, Repeated Viewing takes us on a journey thru sleazy horror, exploitation, and the macabre. “Entrance To The Funhouse” gives you all the vibes of getting lost in something that’s supposed to be innocent, but it’s not. Taking a ride that gives you more than you bargained for. We’re led right into “Revenged”, which gives off a grimy New York, Abel Ferrara vibe. A repetitive rhythm and a distant melody work their way into your brain, lulling you into submission. “Way Abandon” gives off some old school vibes; synth sleaze and dark intentions abound. “Eyes In The Dark” sport some tasty 80s guitar tone before being pulled into the fog by some wavery synthesizers.
Flip your tape to side two. Thank you.
Darren Page and Burning Tapes goes for a more industrial feel on side 2, or The Infernal. Burning Tapes debut Blood Runs Dry had this perfect mix of Carpenter-esque melody with hints of Giallo and subtle techno. It felt like a soundtrack for a late night drive to nowhere good.
Burning Tapes opens things with “Labyrinthine”, a track that lilts and sways with a Gothic melancholy. The percussive electronic drums come in pushing the track into a harder vibe. “Vitreous Body” puts me in mind of something I might have heard off of the Wax Trax label back in 1987. There’s elements of Chicago’s industrial underground, as well as the crown prince of 90s electro darkness Trent Reznor. Maybe even a little Mac Quayle thrown in for good measure. “She Has The Mark” is queasy and vulnerable, while “Back Woods” is a manic track that sounds like the Tram making its way across Europe. “Haydee” is exquisite dread with its Carpenter vibe mixed with Gothic undertones, while the excellent “Louis Cyphre” seems to tip a hat to both the titular character from both Alan Parker’s 1987 film Angel Heart, as well as the onset of existential dread. You can almost feel a sickening cloud come over you as this excellent track plays.
The amazing thing is how well both artists compliment each other’s work without directly collaborating. Despite working separately their dark sounds coalesce perfectly. Both sound like chapters torn from the same horror story. And Luke Insect’s artwork ties it all together beautifully, like this wonderfully terrifying and Gothic story unfolding in front of you.
Pieces Vol. 1 is a wicked start to a trilogy of eerie vibes and VHS nightmare soundtracks. Pieces Vol. 1 is available now at Burning Witches Records’ website.