Horizont - Review
While this talented ethereal wave, shoegazer band is new to the pages of Gothic Paradise with this album, they are in no way new to the scene.
Those familiar with the Hyperium
label and their Heavenly Voices
bands and compilations will recognize this band, as well as their side project 24 Hours
which is where I first heard them on the Cleopatra
release of Heavenly Voices
. The band took a break for a while, but have come back with two releases on Kalinkaland
including this album as well as their 2010 comeback Clouds, Paperships and Fallen Angels
. This beautiful new release comes as a double-cd in an 8 panel deluxe limited digipack version with the second cd containing 17 exclusive remixes.
Being a huge fan of the entire Heavenly Voices
collection and the ethereal, shoegazer genres, I was really excited to hear of the release of this new album. From start to finish it radiates angelic, ethereal beauty, holding the listener entranced with the shimmering guitars, layers of reverb and echo, accented with subtle percussion, drifting at times and moving at others, and finalized with soft, heavenly vocals. There are many highlights to this album, but overall I think it's best to listen to over and over in it's entirety as I've done at least a dozen times over the past couple of weeks and especially as I've prepared to write this review. Everything blends and flows together so well, from one hypnotic piece to the next.
"Unter Dem Schnee" starts it all off with the angelic vocals really becoming the vocal point over the radiant guitars and ethereal electronics. This has become a favorite, but in my mind "Butterflies" stands out as the real hit on this album, maybe because I don't understand German so well, so an English track is nice to have, but I think overall it's melodic, yet dreamy approach is really stunning. As the album moves on a bit, I wouldn't normally expect a simple piece like "Nebel Zieht" to capture my attention as much as it does, but for those familiar with the more hypnotic pieces from Love Spirals Downwards
, this piece is along those lines and really caught my attention. The cover of "Dagger" from Slowdive
is another excellent detail on this album, the only other English piece as well as a beautiful mix of the shimmering guitar-work mixed with the heavy bass and of course, the simple, siren-like vocals. Another surprise for me was the instrumental piece "Horizont", again instrumentals are not really my favorite, but this angelic masterpiece lets the reverberating layers of ambient electronics and hypnotic guitar work do the speaking on their own. And finally, as the album comes to a close, "Traumwandler" has become yet another favorite with the somber moods over a bit of chill-out electronica.
The bonus disc is a real treasure, featuring a wide range of styles and interpretations of the original pieces. Some fit perfectly with the overall ethereal moods while others bring out more of an electronica, or electro-pop style. One that really stands out and actually includes a video that I've shared before is the Robin Guthrie (of Cocteau Twins
) mix of "Butterflies". The beautiful ethereal guitars really become more of a prominent element on this remix, and really brings out that classic Cocteau Twins
sound that was part of the birth of this entire genre. "Traumwandler" stands out with it's "Ethereal Mix" which in my mind seems to actually go better with the album than the original with it's chill-out electronica style. This beautiful mix features ambient soundscapes floating over subtle guitar and percussion for a sweet sound. "Horizont" has a completely different take done on it with the "Horizon Mix", mixing a heavy dance beat and more prominent electro-pop styles with the shimmering guitars. In fact, as we start to get towards the end of the bonus disc, many of the pieces take a more electronics and dance-friendly approach with more distinct beats and layered electronic loops. "Dagger", with it's "Dead and Buried mix" by Dust of Basement
becomes something of a finale along these lines as it slowly builds through swooshing layered synths and loops and the heavy, fast-paced beat kicks in really moving it along for a great way to wrap up the album.
There you have it, two excellent discs packed with great music. Heavenly Voices
fans pay attention, this is a great new album you won't want to pass up, and be sure to pick up the 2-CD limited edition, it's well worth it just for the beautiful packaging and the 17 additional tracks.