OK, on a personal side note before the review………….. We have almost all either experienced cancer or someone who has gone through it. And anyone who has seen either can tell you the biggest burden oftentimes is the financial costs that lie underneath for treatment and radiation, often leaving the patients dangling between being cured and being left homeless. This CD is a charity to help the Minnesota Oncology Hematology Foundation, a foundation which helps patients of cancer maintain a normal life while going through the treatments. The girl on the cover was saved by the foundation from homelessness and certain death. And she is stunning to put it simply, and she is beyond gorgeous! Any person would would leave her homeless must be made of stone. On to the music now! The CD starts off with none other than Black Tape For A Blue Girl and their track “Kinski” named after the infamous actor Klaus Kinski (don’t ask me the connection I’d like to know myself!), who happens to be my fave actor. After seeing Mira in concert and hanging out with the guys, I’ve opened up a lot more to their music after being curious for a while. “Open In Silence” seems to toss away any Slowdive comparisons and is a mark of maturity to me. Audra is a band that’s growing and to me still is to reach their potential. The new CD seems a step in the right direction. By the next CD I guarantee you may just see a milestone in the goth scene, which dearly needs it. I like their new-found narrative lyrical style, though. Now onto Voltaire’s “Vampire Club”! Needless to say I fucking love this track and is a great spoof much of the goth club scene needs! I love this guy’s humor too, very Johanne Vasquez style. Some of the other highlight’s include LoveSpirals and Unto Ashes (two fun bands to interview),with some familiar tracks. I also have fallen in love with Mors Syphilitica, but this is the only other song I’ve ever heard people play in clubs and on compos. The lady singer’s voice is pure heaven, floating between operatic and ethereal without falling into the usual “I’m gonna hit the high notes like Liz Frazier” trap. And the guitar just smooth and gliding, very silky and mixing with the vocals perfectly. They are definitely going on my X-Mas list this year! Good CD, good cause, in short. And this association may well end up helping you or someone you love one day, and plus it’s a good intro to the Projekt style of music. Plus at 3.95 what better are you going to buy? If you want to make a donation directly to the society, the address is: The Minnesota Oncology Hematology Foundation,405 Piper Building,800 East 28th Street,Minneapolis,MN 55407. For further info call Margie Sborov at 1-612-863-8751. - Shaun Hamilton
From time to time, Projekt Records releases icy floe sampler discs. There has never been a bad collection to date. That alone should tell you just how well thought out the selections are. What they do is to provide the lucky listener with a strong cross-section of what Projekt, as a label, has to offer. And Projekt has much to offer. As a home to the myriad of bands that produce some of the most hypnotic and captivating music, Projekt stands as a solitary beacon of light in a world of pure musical essence. Projekt, run by a most insightful visionary named Sam Rosenthal, who understands musical styles like a green thumb tends a garden, with his garden being one of music with depth and meaning, have some of the world’s most impressive artists on its roster. Some have moved on to other things but if Sam releases a sampler, often it contains current and future music. Projekt has assembled two sampler discs that do several things.
The first, Projekt: Gothic which calls itself an ethereal / darkwave compilation and is designed for Hot Topic as an introduction to the label and to the genre of music that Projekt defines so well, is a perfect starter kit. The clientele of Hot Topic are young music and fashion enthusiasts who are searching for something new. Projekt: Gothic is a perfect collection with which to encourage musical exploration. B>Projekt: Gothic offers up 13 tracks of impressive choices by the most influential bands and their most defining moments. Every song is as enchanting and as charismatic as each contributing band is unique. From the gothic comedy of Voltaire to the bleak despondency of Lycia; from the poetic melancholy of Black Tape for a Blue Girl to the ethereal beauty of Mira, there’s something for everyone here. The continuum of music is well explored here. With this disc, Projekt have provided the listener with a perfect sampling. All that remains are for the audience to respond and expand….and enjoy.
The second Projekt sampler disc, The Arbitrary Width of Shadows, is created for Borders and represents the second volume in what is most likely an annual event. Borders have been good in showcasing Projekt releases. Borders is where I first came into contact with Projekt material myself so I can respect the fact that Projekt desires to give back to Borders. This sampler disc is not so much a compiled history of Projekt than it is a sampling of the current material being released. With Borders’ wide variety of music, the store becomes a perfect venue for exposure to the artists that make up Projekt. The collection of songs on this disc is satisfyingly diverse, opening a world of beauty and introspection to any one curious enough to venture forth. This disc, also known as beneath the icy floe v.9, is a great bargain with a great price that makes it accessible to virtually anyone. With artists like Black Tape for a Blue Girl and their wonderfully meditative songs of which you get two from their current “scavenger bride”; Mira, a gorgeous and airy band with dreamy vocals; the inimitable Lovespirals with their spacious “Dejame”; and the distinctive atmospheres of Steve Roach, Peter Ulrich (Dead Can Dance), Alio Die & Amelia Cuni, this release becomes an imperative purchase with exploration of talent so impressive, you’ll be forever amazed at the gathering of so much perfection on one disc.
So….two great sampler discs at great prices available at great stores. How much more motivation do you need?
DISC: Two well assembled discs of Projekt songs from various artists that sound great. Individually recorded but all providing as great a stereo mix as can be heard.
PACKAGING: These fantastic collections are as well packaged as can be. Each collection offers intriguing cover art and a four page booklet that present art, track listing and credits. Believe me, as bargain priced as these discs are, they go way beyond their worth in the selection of music. Projekt has generously valued priced what could be full priced various artists collections. Projekt is to be commended on providing the consumer with high value music at an incredibly low cost.
THE FINAL SAY: Sam Rosenthal cares about his roster of artists and the consumer. His approach of providing a stimulating set of sampler discs at low cost and in tie-in promotions at Hot Topic and Borders shows why Projekt stands alone, even among its peers, as the label that excels. There is now no excuse to snap these discs up while you can. - Matt Rowe
4 Stars | Discovering a record label with a recognisable aesthetic you enjoy is a wonderful thing . Bands signed to New York-based Projekt range from indie to ambient yet still bear the quality hallmarks of the label. This budget-priced compilation is an excellent introduction to the label’s roster. You’ve got shoegazers Mira, medieval Unto Ashes and unique Voltaire. The album also explores the esoteric side of the label with contributions from Alio Die and Amelia Cuni whose eastern drones and mysterious exclamations that could usefully be used in film soundtracks. Ex-Dead Can Dance percussionist Peter Ulrich offers us the melancholy lament of Taqaharu’s Leaving. For hardcore Projekt fans there are unreleased treats in the form of "Towards the Mystic" by Steve Roach – which is so ambient as to be hardly there at some points - and an instrumental track by the driving force behind the label Sam Rosenthal. Sam is perhaps more well known for his work under the Black Tape For A Blue Girl name, and the band are represented with two songs, "Kinski" and "Bastille Day, 1961." Some might dismiss Projekt as pretentious, but I like the fact the bands write about things beyond the everyday. Give me songs about film actor Klaus Kinski and the hues of longing over silly love songs any day. - Stuart Moses