Lycia: A Day in the Stark Corner (CD)


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Product Description

  1. And Through The Smoke and Nails
  2. Pygmallion
  3. The Body Electric
  4. Wide Open Spaces
  5. The Morning Breaks So Cold and Gray
  6. The Remnants and the RuIns
  7. Goddess of the Green Fields
  8. Everything is Cold
  9. Sorrow is Her Name
  10. Daphne

Also available on 2LP from Italy’s Avantgarde

  • Limited CD digipak second edition of 300
  • Bonus Track: “Dark Hidden Spaces” from original session.
  • Remastered April 2017 by James Plotkin (formerly of OLD, Khanate and Scorn)

    Purchase in Europe for fast, inexpensive shipping:

    Information in English here. Click to order CD
    T-shirts are available from the US webstore only.

    For the first time in a decade, Lycia’s 1993 album A Day in the Stark Corner is back in print on Projekt, now remastered with a bonus out-take from the original sessions. On the follow-up to Ionia, Mike Van Portfleet continues his pursuit of an apocalyptic landscape of extremes in which rich gothic guitars and intense rhythms divulge a world of bleak desperation; with that unmistakeable unnerving whispered voice. Peter Steele of Type-O Negative said about Stark Corner: “Such simple hypnotic beats, everything is drowned in reverb. Yet, the emotion comes through so loud and clear. It’s just devastating, as beautiful as it is devastating.”

    Click for A gallery of images from the photoshoot:

    From MK Ultra Issue No. 1, (1995) An interview with Peter Steele of Type-O Negative

    Alex: I think the production on Bloody Kisses is a phenomenon!

    Peter: You should be familiar with Lycia. It’s dark, ambient goth music. The last album is called A Day In The Stark Corner. I would like our next album to sound something like this. It is the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard in my life. If I put it on in the morning when I get up…I’m useless for the rest of the day. Makes me feel like killing myself. It’s like why even bother getting dressed when I can just slit my wrists. Such simple hypnotic beats, everything is drowned in reverb. Yet, the emotion comes through so loud and clear. It’s just devastating, as beautiful as it is devastating. That’s how I want to come through.
    Read a blog of Sam’s memories about Peter Steele

    Old information on the Tshirts:

    Shirts are strictly limited edition.

    Shirts + CD are available in special combo-pricing.
    Use the pulldown (Format: Chose an option) to see all sizes available.

    This is an all-new design, based on the barbed-wire imagery from the cover. Black shirt with two color ink front (white and metallic bronze); no print on the back. Printed (on American Apparel #2001 which are nicely-fitted modern-styled Ts) in America by Forest Passage Printing in Highland Heights, KY!

    CD Digipak first edition: Limited CD edition of 500


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  • Additional information

    Weight .3 lbs




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    1. Reviews Editor

      From Music TAP

      Lycia is a band that even Peter Steele of Type O Negative envied. With an unmatched, never imitated style of ambient textures, Lycia created mood masterpieces that still stand the test of time. Formed in 1988, Lycia has released ten studio albums including the classic Cold (1996). Their last album is A Line That Connects, issued in 2015.

      A Day in Stark Corner is a sonic gem. Frighteningly real, defining of soul, and a barometer of the depths of mood, this album with its ten altering compositions spares no quarter when exploring the listener. The house of A Day In Stark Corner has no comfortable guest rooms. It requires bravery to venture into. But once you’re in you might find yourself a lifelong dweller by choice. The music is adventurous, chilling, and eternal.

      A Day In Stark Corner is now back in print featuring a new remaster of the ambient classic. Originally released on Projekt Records, this album will once again be available to purchase. But be swift as there are only 500 copies being produced. And Lycia albums tend to sell out. Even better, this edition of A Day In Stark Corner is being expanded by the inclusion of a bonus track, an outtake from the A Day In Stark Corner sessions (“Dark Hidden Spaces”). Orders are being taken now and are expected to be released within the month of May via Projekt Records.

      [A note to filmmakers: Mike VanPortfleet is a force to be reckoned with in the art of sound. With mood creating superiority, imagine how your film would connect with viewers with the essence of what Mike VanPortfleet can create. Frankly, I’m amazed there are no VanPortfleet soundtracks in circulation. Find an audience with Mike VanPortfleet and arrange for a score that would be immediately unique and groundbreaking.]

    2. Reviews Editor

      From Satan Stole My Teddybear

      Truly one of the most unique outfits that I can think of, this particular work documents songs recorded to four-track in the early 90’s by Mike van Portfleet. Some of the songs (“Pygmallion”, “The Body Electric”, and “Everything is Cold”) appear elsewhere in the Lycia catalogue in somewhat different form, but overall the album is chock full of what makes Lycia so wonderful and compelling. Van Portfleet’s ability to craft such delicate and mesmerizing pieces of music simply blows me away. Very few artists have succeeded in putting so much space and atmosphere between the notes and rhythms and still maintain fluidity and mood. Lycia over the past year has become one of my favorite late night bands to listen to and this is just another example of why. -John Chedsey

    3. Reviews Editor

      From Sputnik Music

      Lycia is one of those bands you discover through sputnikmusic. I personally never heard of them outside of this site and that is a shame. A Day in the Stark Corner alone seemed to have influenced Nine Inch Nails “The Downward Spiral” at least according to Trent Reznor himself. The album itself was released in 1993, a year before Trent Reznor would release his magnum opus “The Downward Spiral”.

      Although, both are depressing albums that are reminiscent of that of The Cure “Pornography”, A Day in the Stark Corner to put it blatantly makes both The Cure “Pornography” and Nine Inch Nails “The Downward Spiral” look like the Disney version of the Grimm fairy tales. That is to say, this album is much more depressing and definitely creates a more menacing atmosphere than both of the albums combined. Dealing with subjects such as suicide and longing more in-depth than “The Downward Spiral”. This is obviously not recommended for people wanting to get into ambient or darkwave music right away. The sadness itself can be overwhelming for a few people.

      The album A Day in the Stark Corner gets its melancholic atmosphere from only being recorded on a 4-track. This contributes to the lack of the clarity of the vocals of Mike VanPortflee, the lead singer and the main person behind Lycia. As soon as you listen to “And Through The Smoke And Nails”, you are overloaded with this high-pitched synth that creates the depressing tone of the song. Next are the first lyrics that really cannot be made out on the first listen of the song without looking up the lyrics. The lyrics of “And Through The Smoke And Nails” seems to be about suicide and killing of oneself from my own interpretation of the lyrics.

      The album itself does encompass some of the same ideas of the two albums brought up in the introduction of this review. Both “The Downward Spiral” and “Pornography” seem to briefly mention some sort of woman or person in which the singer is moving on past or longing to be with again. This is the case for about most of A Day in the Stark Corner past the ambient instrumental “Pygmallion”. Her name apparently is Daphne but this is not necessary a cliche breakup album. It is similar to longing or a saudade, an intense ennui in which one feels strong nostalgia for the past that it makes them sad. The overall tone of the album seems to be wrapped around this concept of sadness. Only she can bring the singer to peace.

      The middle of the album definitely captures the feelings of saudade through the songs “Wide Open Spaces” and “The Morning Breaks So Cold And Gray”, this sets up the mood of the last part of the album being about her, being about this Daphne that the singer is fixated on. The last quarter of the album seems to have a Dead Can Dance Within The Realm of a Dying Sun era sound to it. That is in my opinion the only thing I can really compare it to when I hear the 3 or 4 songs of this album.

      It is more explicitly stated that this singer longs to be with her again, to be with Daphne, how he misses her. How it feels like she is so close yet so far away. This is true sorrow; this is the worst type of ennui; a saudade that sucks you in every listen from start to end; a saudade that a lot of people can relate to. Some people long for the past so bad that they experience a saudade as that of what is expressed in A Day in the Stark Corner, the darkwave/ambient masterpiece released by Lycia.

      Key Tracks (or at least my favorites):
      And Through The Smoke And Nails
      Wide Open Spaces
      The Morning Breaks So Cold and Gray
      The Remnants And The Ruins
      Goddess Of The Green Fields
      Everything Is Cold
      Sorrow Is Her Name

      Pretty much this whole album is breathtaking. Rating: 5/5 -Wilhelm Black

    4. Reviews Editor

      From All Music

      Saying this is Ionia part two pretty much sums it up — also recorded on 4-track at home, featuring the exact same combination of sonic elements as before, Stark provides the same exact buzz [or, depending on the point of view, the same boring experience] as Ionia did. From the first song on, “And Through the Smoke and Nails,” the guitars still ring and bewitchingly riff into echoing caverns, drum machines pound relentlessly, keyboards shade everything and Vanportfleet invokes images of desolation, ruin and inevitable endings. Not for nothing does the cover art feature someone dressed as Christ with a crown of wires [if not thorns] in the desert of Arizona, where Vanportfleet lived at the time. Small but effective touches again crop up here and there, as with the treated piano on “Pygmallion” and the lengthy, keyboard-driven intro to “The Morning Breaks So Cold and Gray,” which sounds pretty much like how the title would describe it. Most striking are the acoustic guitars on “Goddess of the Green Fields,” followed by the slightly lighter musically [if not lyrically] “Everything is Cold,” where a gently ringing electric guitar carries the song. In general, though, the same thoughts apply as with Ionia — a series of similar sounding pieces which work wonderfully as an extended mood setter. -Ned Raggett

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