Nocturne Concrète was our first CD. We gathered together 13 of our favorite bands crossing all the genres that we hoped to represent on the label. This album spans electronic, ambient, experiment, gothic and avant-rock genres.
- 3rd Nail (Pittsburgh) - Issue #14
- I love this kind of Sampler! This is a collection of Ambient,Experimental, Noise, and Goth bands, and the only band I had heard ofbefore on this is Pittsburghs own The Garden! They really did agood job of keeping the feeling flowing from track to track, even when it jumps in musical styles. There is quite a diverse group of sound here,from the powerful female vocals in Vassily to the strong emotional acoustic goth of The Garden to dreamscapes like Intonarumori. Some songs caught my ear more than others, my least favorites being the "noise bands", but all were welcome on here. A greatway to get hip to some truly underground/unknown bands. - Jason Lambert
- Sonic Boom - July 1996
- Nocturne Concrete is a mostly Seattle specific compilation consisting of ambient, experimental, gothic and noise artists. The remaining bands hail from places such as San Francisco and Pittsburgh, but the majority of the music is derived from home grown artists. The music is tracked in such a way that there is a proper composite flow from track to track and from genre to genre to avoid any nasty sequence flow problems. The net result is a compilation that changes moods like the ebb and flow of the tides, rising and falling several times throughout it's entirety. One thing however remains constant, the music always remain low key and sober, never once rising above a beat level which is to be expected from a compilation which does not contain any dance industrial tracks. If you are into artists on Cold Meat Industry or Staalplat then you might be interested in most of the artists present because of their dark brooding and midevil nature, and should consider acquiring a copy for yourself.
- Goth's Not Dead!
- Here in Germany, we´d say this one´s "Starker Tobak!". I am not sure how to translate this to english, "strong tobacco" or something... On this compilation, you find a lot of very moody ambient, advangarde and noisy music, much like the thing some people call death-industrial. For those songs, you certainly have to be in the right mood to listen to them. I cannot say they are good or bad, they´re simply interesting. With the great Fear Of Dolls and The Garden, there are also some gothish sounds on this compilation. I am not sure about where this CD will be aviable, but for further info you can follow this link to Unit Circle´s website.
- Improvijazzation Nation - Issue #25
- Unit Circle Rekkids: NOCTURNE CONCRETE - Another of those compilation CD's... they ARE gettin' better at this, volkz! You've heard me complain before about so many of these compz being just "tossed" together, disparate & bands/genres TOTALLY at odds with each other. Well, UC has GOT it together! This journey, as yer' might 'magine from th'title is in th' HIGHLY ambient mode! Groups we've reviewed (and/or seen live, here in our fair city, like INTONARUMORI), are melded together to meet Kevin's s tated goal of "seamless". Lifesaver Laboratories (reviewed in these pages only a couple issues back) is quite representative of the style(s), Tinty Music & a large group of others (who we'll be TRYING to get to submit to US) will put you in a future-fra me! For those used to AM bubblegum, this won't be the ticket; but if your goal is the farthest reaches of musical exploration (even relaxation, at times), you'll just LOVE these electronic journeys! Knowin' th'Zzaj did! Most pieces feel quite "dense", but if you listen closely, th' secrets of th' universe may be revealed! This is wonderful exploratory music, & th' fact that it appears on a comp is a sure sign that "our"music is "coming of age". MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! - Rotcod Zzaj
- WMPG 90.9FM - Portland
- Wow! Music to get used to... different and we like this - Suzanne Wakefield - Music Director
- Dead Angel - Issue #21
- I don't tend to review compilations because I don't like to. Compilation recordings have become a thing of cliche. After all, what is the purpose of a compilation anyway? Most of the compilations today are either genre specific, tributes or a collection of "best of" tracks. None of these concepts have much value to them, except that for people who are exploring a new genre, some compilations are a good way of getting exposed. Not to mention, it's more difficult to review a collection of tracks by different artists rather than a handful of tracks by the same artist. In that respect, NOCTURNE CONCRETE is a sleeper. The artwork, cheesy as it is, looks like a sick mixture between techno/ambient and goth stylings, making for a feeling of real trepidation. The artists involved are somewhere between unknown and not very well known. There's no manifesto, no explanation for making the recording. Nothing. Each artist gets a page in the booklet to plug themselves as they please and there is a single quote by Luigi Russolo on the inside. Perhaps the only clue. What makes this recording so intriguing is that, overall, the tracks don't all fit into a single genre or catagory of sound. In essence, the folks behind this recording have done something incredibly bold: they've attempted to put together a collection of different musics which probably appeal to them, to share with us. It's risky, but they manage it rather gracefully. There are perhaps only one or two tracks that did not appeal. The rest were, surprisingly astounding. The real standouts were those by Bill Horist, Rich Hinklin, Interference Pattern and Fear of Dolls. Each of these tracks is quite a bit different. The Horist piece is a minimalistic, contemplative soundscape. Whereas, Hinklin's contribution sounds like a cross between 20th century post-classical and avant garde improvisational musings. Interference Pattern do a poly-rhythmic percussion piece. And Fear of Dolls sounds quite a bit like a Savage Republic-inspired piece of pop/not-pop disonance fun. - yol
- Carbon 14 - Issue #9
- A collection of mostly West Coast, mostly sparse, experimental music, with the most recognizable name in the pack being Trance (Mason Jones from Charnel Music's band). Bethany Curve's "Spacirelei" sounds oddly like mid-period Tangerine Dream and is the only track with vocals I enjoyed; the instrumentals are far superior. - Larry
- I must decry the limits of the technological milieu within which we reside, for I am limited by the framework of the web to audio samples of an abysmally short duration. This being the case, roughly half of this excellent compilation is unavailable to the format at hand.
As may be imagined from the title, this compilation has something of darkness and experimentation to it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it has much more. Nocturne Concrète differentiates itself from the rising tide of compilations by it's seamless integration of styles. Rather than focus haphazardly on the strengths of individual bands, this album focuses on Unit Circle as a label en toto. The result is an album which sounds as if the tracks were made to flow together, providing vistas into varied landscapes of tonality without undue wear on the listener.
The work is loosely devisable in twain, equally dwelling in sparse ambience and a mellifluous folk sound. Long sloping segues characterize the former, where rich full sounds interact gracefully with staccato rhythms, imparting a quiescence reminiscent of distant storms, and of Bordeaux. Of particular note was the Bill Horst offering. Pealing carillon ride on a bedding of dissonance, sustained notes varying between clarity and distortion, interspersed with arrhythmic percussion. The latter comprises six solid tracks of tribal melodic folk, as one would expect from Bethany Curve and their label-mates. Notable tracks not lending themselves to downloadable samples in clude Interference Pattern "Gimp Dirge", and Intonarumori "Layer Parallelism". Vassily and The Garden provide tracks which are more amenable to editing for presentation herein.
Vassily "Highgate" The Garden "Flailing Wings"
Vassily puts forth a polished track in "Highgate", with a rainstorm and bourbon feel. The overall sound is more orchestrated than most of the post-4AD crowd, reminding us of why we liked 4AD in the first place.
By not limiting itself within the genre, "Flailing Wings" shows us what darkwave could be when it grows up. It conveys a sense of lush intimacy without relying on the cut-and-paste imagery or tired power chords that beleaguer the genre. - Pariah
- Option - Issue #71, Nov/Dev 1996
- This compilation of tracks by artists on Seattle's very un-grunge Unit Circle label moves from the ambient electronic sounds of Tinty Music, Bill Horist and Lifesaver Laboratories through the Goth-tinged gloom of Vassily, the Rotary Fields and Fear of Dolls, landing in the more industrial-electronic side of town with Trance, Trachring and Intonarumori. I'd leave the dark stuff for others - although I find Fear of Dolls' snarling intensity demanding repeated listenings - but tracks by Trance and Intonarumori overwhelm the rest of the CD with layer after layer of wonderfully menacing noise. Trance's "Forgotten Music" is a short, dense packet of hissing electronics, while Intonaruomori's "Layer Parallelism" develops more spatially, guiding you through chambers full of samples. This compilation, and by extension, the label, are worth checking out. - John Baxter
- Permission - Issue #9
- Here is a slab of digital heaven for anyone looking to add more dark, ambient material to the collection. Most of the artists featured seem to be relatively new to the scene, but that doesn't stop this collection from quickly becoming one of my favorite late-night discs. It's gotten stuck in my CD player on many a night when I tried to actually write this review! How many good things can I say about it? Well, how much space can I take? The majority of the tracks tend toward more organic tribal drumming layered with swirling backgrounds of electronic manipulation. One of my favorite tracks is "Gimp Dirge" by Interference Pattern. This track is a mid-length piece based almost entirely on the aforementioned organic drumming. Loops of droning chants, bell and cymbal crashes, and low bass notes (I think they're bass notes) punctuate the drumming, bringing more of a ritual feel to the track. Many of the other bands reflect the stylings of Interference Pattern, most notably The Rotary Fields and Tinty Music. Vocals that bring a more gothic feel are added to the contribution by The Rotary Fields. There are also more experimental moments on the disc. Examine the track contributed by Trance if you will. The ritual/tribal drumming of Jason 222 and Peak is contrasted by the noisy guitar playing of Mason Jones, one of the icons of the experimental/noise scene. If you're looking for a compilation that has some variety to it while retaining the common themes necessary to make a compilation congeal, this is one you should hunt down. The biggest presence here is slower, more ambient, almost completely organic percussion. Since percussion rocks my world, I love this disc. - burnout
- Interface - Version 3.2
- This CD is a treasure trove of little-known bands. Well, they are little-known to me. This is a compilation of bands that are on the Unit Circle Rekkids label. They range from the droning, beautiful ambience of Tinty Music and Lifesaver Laboratories, to simple, gorgeous swirly guitar music from Fear Of Dolls, The Rotary Fields and Vassily. Each of the bands on the compilation has a contact address, or you could probably write to Unit Circle Rekkids to find out more about them. My favorite song is entitled "Sound of Thorns," by Fear of Dolls. This song has an edgy quality, that I cant quite put my finger on. It makes me nervous, but at the same time it sends shivers down my spine. It is kind of gothic sounding, with guitar work that sounds slightly out of tune, but only adds to the edgy quality I mentioned earlier. So contact Unit Circle Rekkids, and support some smaller bands. You wont regret it. Other bands on the compilation are: Bill Horist, Rich Hinklin, Interference Patterns, The Garden, Trance, Trachring, and Intonarumori. - Jeff Ernst
- Industrial Nation - Issue #16
- Here is a slab of digital heaven for anyone looking to add more dark, ambient material to their collection. Most of the artists featured seem to be relatively new to the scene, but that doesn't stop this collection from quickly becoming one of my favorite late-night discs. It's gotten stuck in my CD player on many a night when I tried to actually write this review! How many good things can I say about it? Well, how much space can I take? The majority of the tracks tend toward more organic tribal drumming layered with swirling backgrounds of electronic manipulation. One of my favorite tracks is "Gimp Dirge"by Interference Pattern. This track is a mid-length piece based almost entirely on the aforementioned organic drumming. Loops of droning chants, bell and cymbal crashes and low bass notes (I think they're bass notes) punctuate the drumming, bring more of a ritual feel to the track. Many of the other tracks reflect the stylings of Interference Pattern, most notably The Rotary Fields and Tinty Music. Vocals are added to contribution by The Rotary Fields that bring a more gothic feel to the track. There are more experimental moments on the disc. Examine the track contributed by Trance if you will. The ritual / tribal drumming of Jason 222 and Peak is contrasted with the noisy guitar playing of Mason Jones, one of the icons of the experimental / noise scene. If you're looking for a compilation that has some variety to it while retaining the common themes necessary to make a compilation congeal, this is the one you should hunt down. The biggest presence here is slower, more ambient, almost completely organic percussion. Since percussion rocks my world, I love this disc. - Brian Clarkson
- Much of the music here is comprised of interesting soundscapes -- the perfect music to be used at a laserium show. After a few of these ambient instrumental tracks, gothic songs with vocals kick in, with the last three tracks being instrumental once again. This is such a varied compilation that it would be hard for me to sit here and describe each track individually so I will just list each track with a line or two of commentary here and there.
-- Tinty Music, (Kevin J. O'Conner), Refraction Grid
-- Bill Horist, Shadow Of The Vestibule -- this track is described by the artist as "electric guitar improvisations edited for Elevision."
-- Lifesaver Laboratories, Forecast
-- Rich Hinklin, Interbay
-- Interference Pattern, Gimp Dirge -- tribal/funky electronic with lots of bass
-- Vassily, Highgate -- this song starts off the vocal tracks; it's slow and moody
-- The Rotary Fields, Red Sea -- two members of this band also belong to Vassily
-- Fear of Dolls, Sound Of Thorns
-- The Garden, Flailing Wings
-- Bethany Curve, Spacirelei -- kind of goth, kind of ambient, kind of 80s experimental
-- Trance, Forgotten Music
-- Trachring, Never A Tender Moment
-- Intonarumori, Layer Parallelism