Monday, May 3, 2021

Cassette Review //
Vlimmer
"XIIIIIII (17)"
(Blackjack Illuminist Records)


€5 //

Edition of 15 //

https://blackjackilluministrecords.bandcamp.com/album/xiiiiiii-17 //


While I tend to feel like Vlimmer has this certain Breakfast Club/dance quality to their music, when this seventeenth cassette opens it's slower, darker and more brooding.  I'm not really sure there is a sound which captures this but I just imagine a movie such as "The Craft" or "The Crow" as having taken place in the 1980's instead of the 1990's so that the soundtrack could have a little bit more synth, a little bit more like Depeche Mode or The Cure.   But, at the same time, this could just as easily be a song- "Schattenerde"- that is found on "The Crow" soundtrack even in the 1990's.  This first song also just grows much louder, harsher as it nears the end.  

The second song comes in just as slow and hollow as the first.  It's atmospheric- floating through the void of space with synths coming in only a little bit at a time.   It eventually just fades out but these first two songs are such a trip and I feel like we haven't witnessed this slower, darker side to Vlimmer before.   The third song comes in now with a drum beat and it feels a little more upbeat than the first two but I think it's just because it's moving- it's at a faster pace.  The lasting effects of the first two songs make this third one feel darker than it might actually be, but I do enjoy how music when paired together can create that illusion.

On the flip side we open up with a bang.   There are these synth swirls with vocals and beats.  This song just comes out like such a punch to the face in that there is so much energy and then you think it can't get any more intense, but it finds a way to do just that.   Sometimes it feels like we're being slowly hypnotized during this song, at other times it feels like the knowledge is just being directly drilled into our skulls.   It reminds me a little bit of an earlier dance number by Panic! At The Disco as well.  

The fifth and final song on the cassette begins with a steady rhythm but it feels a little bit like a banging or a pulse.  It really reminds me of a song off of Nine Inch Nails' "The Fragile" album, which really doesn't get enough love.    It has that haunted way about it and I'm not sure what the haunted version of synthwave is (surely it must be something more than simply "darkwave") but Vlimmer is uncovering it here.   Slowly, plodding, this music makes me feel like we're on our way to a funeral yet it doesn't feel quite that dark on the surface.   There is something holy about this, near the end of the song as well, which just makes me feel like we're being taken to our doom.

On one hand, these songs have the same vibes as something like Hozier's "Take Me To Church", but in a much darker way.   At the same time, I feel like they can come off in the same way that a band like Talking Heads can create a song such as "Psycho Killer", which is obviously a dark song but the music itself doesn't quite come across as dark as the lyrics would suggest.  Really, Vlimmer just toys with the idea of how the vibe of something should reflect the tone of it and as someone who has always felt like death metal would be great with happy lyrics or pop music with angry lyrics, I find this most pleasing.  










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