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Projekt: the 200th Release

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For almost two decades, Projekt has maintained a prominent position as a solid independent record label dealing with dark wave and ambient music. decorative rule

VARIOUS ARTISTS: Projekt 200 (triple CD on Projekt)

This release from 2007 features 3 hours and ten minutes of goth, dark wave and ambient recordings. Most are sourced from Projekt releases, but several tracks (noted with *) are previously unreleased.

The presentation comes in a tasty DVD-sized box. The CDs are broken down into three classifications:

The Early Years (revealing tender roots and early tracks that helped formulate the dark wave sound), which offers:

Black tape for a blue girl (Sam Rosenthal, Oscar Herrera, Allan Kraut, Mera Roberts, Lisa Feuer) Squealing guitar, sepulchral violins and haunting vocals swim in a textural pool agitated by strident drums. A dreamy piece that periodically erupts with emotional puissance.

Area (Lynn Canfield, Henry Frayne, Steve Jones) Fem vocals with strummed guitar, languid keyboards and steadfast drums. Heartfelt folk delivered with modern sensibilities.

Lycia (Mike VanPortfleet) Eerily snarling guitar and moody electronics provide atmospheric environs for dark vocals as funereal percussion rises. An example of classic goth.

Attrition (Martin Bowes, Julia Waller) Harpsichord and operatic fem vocals establish and creepy backdrop for masculine vocals and sparse percussion. Softly disturbing dose of dark chamber music.

Lovesliescrushing (Scott Cortez, Melissa Arpin Duimstra) Airy electronics and treated guitar achieve a dense sonic fog for remotely ascending fem vocals. Delicate despite its density.

Love Spirals Downwards (Suzanne Perry, Ryan Lum) Nostalgic soft rock with fem crooning, liquid guitars and relaxed drums. Bridges tradition with goth sound.

Human Drama (Johnny Indovina, Mark Balderas, Gerri Sutyak, Lisa Haney, Chas Waltz, Renelle Laplante) A serious piano with an orchestral swell establishes a romantic foundation for vocals to move from restraint into emphasis accompanied by whimsical flute and a resurgence of classical airs.

Thanatos (Padraic Ogl, Sam Rosenthal) Acoustic guitar and dreamy masculine vocals generate a haunting mood of regret.

SoulWhirlingSomewhere (Michael Plaster) Atmospheric electronics swirl into a pensive soundscape. Ghostly vocals explore emotional lament.

Arcanta (Thomas-Carlyle Ayres, Monto Medley) Orchestral airs mix with electronics to form a dramatic backdrop for deeply operatic vocals.

Voltaire (Voltaire, Gregor Kitzis, Matthew Goeke, Grisha Alexiev) Mournful violin ushers in Romany vocals and marching percussion. An uptempo dose of dark wave exploring the prospects of damnation.

Peter Ulrich (Peter Ulrich, Angela & Chuck Silverman, John A. Rivers, Ruth Watson) Lush rhythms and violins provide doleful support for vocals outlining remorse over a son going off to war.

The Current Era (in all its flourish, pomp, and twisted maturity), which features:

Voltaire (Voltaire, Gregor Kitzis, Matthew Cooke, Glenn Sorino, Kiku Collins) A rip-roaring Mexicali tribute to the Day of the Dead with dashing vocals and full instrumentation.

Android Lust (Shikhee, Christopher Jon) A bewitching blend of dark wave and techno, with slick electronics, shuffling percussion and dreamy fem vocals.

*Tearwave (Jennifer Manganiello, Doug White, Joe Villella, John Stephanski) A soft wall of sound comprised of serpentine guitar, sneaky bass, slippery drums, and angelic fem vocals. Dreamy and alluring.

Lowsunday (Shane Sahene, Shawn Bann, Bobby Spell, A.T. Vish) A taste of straight-ahead rock thatís gotten sidetracked by snarling guitars and crashing drums and echo-plex vocals.

Autumnís Grey Solace (Erin Welton, Scott Ferrell) Heavenly vocals, loving guitar licks and restrained percussion craft an endearing tribute to optimism.

Mira (Regina Sosinski, Tom Parker, Alan Donaldson, Max Fresen) Agile percussives blend with mystical guitar and sultry basslines, while fem vocals display superb range as the guitar goes on a fuzzy pyrotechnic binge.

Faith & Desire (Dara Rosenwaser, Eric Cooley, Barry Semple, Greg Forschler, John Clough) With the bass taking front stage, durable drums and snarling guitar and sweeping keyboards provide suitable support for accessible fem vocals.

Audra (Bret Helm, Bart Helm) Strong drums and ominous guitars generate a haunting milieu for stately vocals. Goth sophistication.

Mors Syphilitica (Lisa Hammer, Eric Hammer) Banjos plink away in tandem with fem chorales, while Middle Eastern influences repeatedly nibble at the edges of the melody.

*Lovespirals (Ryan Lum, Anki Bee) Endearing acoustic strumming fraternizes with baby-voiced crooning in a softly crafted piece tinged with a hint of electrified guitar.

Rajna (Jeanne Lefebvre, Fabrice Lefebvre) Middle Eastern instruments support celestial fem vocals with a backdrop of textural keyboard ambience.

Unto Ashes (Michael Laird, Natalia Lincoln, Mariko) Multiple vocal layers lend a dreamy edge to romantic guitar strings and percussive punctuation. A touch of horns injects majesty to this lilting dirge.

*Black tape for a blue girl (Sam Rosenthal, Elysabeth Grant, Doug White) Tension builds as synthetic sounds accrete to cocoon a somber tune. Deep fem vocals celebrate emotional infidelity.

Somewhere along the way, Projekt branched out to explore dark ambience with laudable results. So the third disc, Ambient Loop, contains:

*Alio Die. Ambient harmonics take a pastoral excursion replete with environmental samples and luxurious atmospheric tonalities, creating a moody evolution that chronicles natureís rebirth.

Fayman & Fripp (Jeffrey Fayman, Robert Fripp) Oceanic waves are mirrored by Frippís signature guitar treatments and the lavishly unfurling textural flows generated by Faymanís synthesizers.

*vidnaObmana. Eerie tonalities ooze with cleverly processed vocal effects, producing a soundscape of inspired proportion. One of dark ambienceís pioneers bids adieu with this piece, turning his creative talents to darker works as the following band.

*Fear Falls Burning. Heavily treated and manipulated guitars issue a plethora of fascinating drones that walk the line between foreboding and mesmerizing. These tonalities build in strength, revealing hints of euphoria mired in metallic honey.

As Lonely as Dave Bowman (Sam Rosenthal) Extreme ambience in the form of dreamy electronics pursuing minimalism that excellently captures isolation and the internal fruits thereof.

Steve Roach (with Jennifer Grais and Sam Rosenthal) A tasty track from the undisputed maestro of electronic ambience. Ethereal textures (crafted on guitar and then looped by Roach) achieve near-infinite definition, laced with serene vocal effects and tender piano chords.

Black tape for a blue girl (Sam Rosenthal) A somber closing, comprising dark tones and remotely soaring pulsations that blend to bring a saddened tear to the universal eye.

If you are unfamiliar with this label, these artists and their diverse (but united in gloom) sounds, this collection serves as an excellent introduction that will delight the listener for hours.

If you know and love this stuff, then youíll sincerely covet this collection for its beautiful package, not to mention the unreleased tracks by your faves.

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Persons harboring additional interest are advised that Projekt has other collections and samplers offering tastes of the labelís diverse artists. Check them out here.

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