KOENJI HYAKKEI can not be categorized. Filing them under the genre tag ”other music” is just not ”other” enough. Led by Tatsuya Yoshida (of superhuman japanese drums & bass duo Ruins), Koenji Hyakkei take Magma's Zeuhl-music, neo-classical jazz rock, epic Hollywood metal, medieval choral chanting and hardcore punk and stuff everything in a cosmic meat grinder. What comes out is the highly explosive, uncategorizable ”otherness” of Koenji Hyakkei.
The music is insanely hyperactive, exploding with flashy keyboard lines, intricate guitar riffs, speedy, convoluted bass/drum patterns, weird time signatures, operatic female vocals that border on apocalyptic war cries and eerie chanting in a made-up language of their own. All this executed with superhuman prog rock precision AND crust punk energy.
For fans of Magma, Deep Turtle, Boredoms, and people looking for a new favorite ”other music” band.
Hundred Sights of Koenji was originally released on CD in 1994 by God Mountain Records.
Release date is November 7th. Pre-orders can be made now.
150 X clear
350 x black
New tapes coming up
160914 | 22:08
Four limited edition tape releases by Circle, Pharaoh Overlord, Harry Salmenniemi and Erkki Kurenniemi out very soon through Ruton Music.
Harry Salmenniemi: Kivirivit CS
Erkki Kurenniemi: Dry ´73-9-8 CS (REISSUE)
Pharaoh Overlord: Överhörn CS
Circle: Hukkaamiskielto CS
Prologi Salattuun Planeettaan, vaihe 2, etappi 1.
(Prologue to Encrypted Planet, phase 2, stage 1.)
6.9. KOM-teatteri, Helsinki.
In this unique Kuusumun Profeetta concert, the band opens the gates to the universe of their upcoming magnum opus, playing their new numbers combined with a stunning visual world. Added to this, Kuusumun Profeetta plays a selection of rarely performed songs from their earlier albums.
There are still some tickets left. Be quick if you want to be sure that you don't miss this one-of-a-kind evening with Kuusumun Profeetta!
Here are a couple of videos that give you a small glimpse of what you're about to experience:
Live album by the now legendary Meronia/Zopalki -era line-up of Circle. Recorded in 1996 at Pakkahuone, Tampere, and originally released in 1998, Surface captures the full frontal assault of an early Circle live show. Wondrous stories of a band of crazed art rock warriors playing with ear-exploding volume and wearing dead fish on stage are still told with awe and respect as people who saw the show refer to the gig immortalized in these recordings. Starting off with a spooky ambient rendition of Hank Williams' "I Saw The Light" and then speeding up with jarring guitar riffage and nervous synthesizer licks, Surface builds tension without mercy or release. Hauntingly original rock music from a very weird period of alternative music in Finland. Now available for the first time on vinyl, remastered and with new artwork.
LP coming soon on black and transparent yellow vinyl. Originally released on the Circle/Marble Sheep split live album Surface/Marble Zone 2 (META-023) by Metamorphos / Captain Trip in 1998. Preorder now!
350 x black
150 x transparent yellow
Circle - Hissi LP
250614 | 19:14
Nowadays, with Circle's vast discography, you've come to expect the unexpected. Every other release seems to take a weird u-turn or completely wander off from the main autobahn, into the mysterious forests. In 1996, after releasing a few seven inches and two albums (Meronia and Zopalki) of guitar heavy hypnotic art rock, Circle still seemed like a band that's progressing somewhat logically in their musical experiments. Hissi is the first "illogical" album in the ever-expanding, logic-defying discography of the band. Experimental puppet theatre music, demented lounge lizard grooves and cosmic rhythm music soundscapes that discard the band's earlier guitar heavy approach almost completely. Hypnotic and strange like the first two albums, but still weird and unexpected. Psychedelic music without the usual hippie guitar solos and spacious effects or druggy trance techno thump. Not formally psychedelic, yet truly psychedelic, psychedelic in spirit. Now available on vinyl for the first time, remastered.
LP coming soon on black and transparent green vinyl. Originally released on CD (META-008) by Metamorphos in 1996. A few copies of Ektro's 2012 CD reissue also still available. Preorder now!
Ranger - Shock Skull 7"
250614 | 19:01
RANGER is back to deliver another dose of MEGAWATT MAYHEM and inject an overdose of adrenaline straight to your veins. The aftershock of 'Knights of Darkness' may still ring in your ears, but these guys give you no remorse by unleashing 'Shock Skull' through Ektro Records. It's your one-way-ticket to the world of HEAVY METAL filled with roaring Marshalls and thundering drums that make you headbang until your neck cracks. You already know the game: ride with these guys and the devil is your co-pilot. The Knights of Darkness have returned to take command.
500 x transparent green
500 x transparent blue
Circle's first releases reissued
250514 | 22:57
The legendary first 7-inch releases by Circle rise from the grave! Originally released in 1991-1993, the first three 7" vinyls by Finland's relentless kings of hypnotic rock have been a sold out and sought after commodity for a long time. Ektro Records makes them available once again, all remastered and repackaged with love and respect for the original masterpieces. Avant punk attitude, heavy circular riffing, ghastly vocals, own makeshift language and an overall sense of wonder ooze out of every track. Circle's trademark qualities have stood the test of time. These three little vinyls are a trip back in time to a more innocent era of independent music.
Shaved Women: Just Death LP (krypt-063) OUT IN AUGUST!
Shaved Women have finally decided to give the public what they've been frothing at the mouth for, a new full length record. Giving maladjusted hope to aspiring psychopaths everywhere, this fat slab is full of tasty jams. The distorted, buzz saw riffs make you want to carry around a knife, not a switchblade. The John Bonham meets the Incredible Hulk drums make you want you start a fight with a wall until you have less bones. The vocals drill into your head and convince you that they only way out is to slam through the ground tearing all of your friends designer blouses while failing through the wormhole. Simply put, this sounds like the tension of blood boiling after a car accident...if it was catchy.
Coming on their 4th year as a band with releases in the ether, Shaved Women aren't succumbing to the usual slump that some bands take on after doing some real tours and getting the name out there. This isn't indicative of a sophmore, junior, or senior slump. No, SW will at least make it to community college and drop out. For the rest of you quitters, here's a record to attach your anger to and do what you see fit during each jam, most likely going fists first out of your windshield when your car wants to fight other cars.
16.5. Validi sekmentti -klubi, Saikku, Pori, Finland
Prologi Salattuun Planeettaan, vaihe 1, etappi 1.
(Prologue to Encrypted Planet, phase 1, stage 1.)
24.5. Kuudes Linja, Helsinki, Finland
Prologi Salattuun Planeettaan, vaihe 1, etappi 2.
(Prologue to Encrypted Planet, phase 1, stage 2.)
Pori-based expedition group Kuusumun Profeetta takes several steps towards the great unknown. The musical adventurers are working on an audiovisual, interactive, encompassing work of art called Salattu Planeetta (Encrypted Planet), covering multiple dimensions. The core of the work will be Kuusumun Profeetta's new, exciting music with its rich nuances.
The first hints of what is about to come will be revealed at the Kuusumun Profeetta shows in May. The band will open the gates to the music of Encrypted Planet and the visual world around the music.
Ladies and gentlemen, unfasten your seat belts - you have nothing to be afraid of!
Begravningsentreprenörerna - s/t 10"
090514 | 21:42
A year ago the four misfits of Begravningsentreprenörerna, with members of Obnoxious Youth, Vorum, Tinner, stitched their rock n' roll denim together and are now making their debut release of a self-titled three track EP. Like the roar from a bloated V8 that echoes through the wastelands filling the air with its toxic exhaust, Begravningsentreprenörerna play loud rock music with high octane guitars that stink of liquor and cigarettes. The weighty ingredients in the lyrics delivered in Swedish kicks the dust of alcoholism, anxiety, death and loneliness and migrates on the desolate highway towards the sunset, into desperation.
Begravningsentreprenörerna: S/T 10" (krypt-064) OUT SOON!
Shop takes a break
310314 | 20:00
Ektro's webshop will now take a small break for the duration of Circle's tour in Europe. Normal shop activities and the shipping of orders will resume around the 14th of April. Sorry for any inconvenience caused, and thanks!
Circle tour shirts
240314 | 06:50
An exclusive offer for Ektro customers! These two new Circle shirts are for sale only until 28th of March at the Ektro webstore and are available after that only on Circle's tour in Europe.
Circle "Kumiluoti" T-shirt
Circle "Cowboy" T-shirt
The Sultans - More House Rockin' And Other Boogies
140314 | 20:20
...THE SULTANS, BRUTAL BOOGIE FROM TORNIO RIVER LOWER DELTA SINCE 1995! THE NEW COMPILATION "MORE HOUSE ROCKIN' AND OTHER BOOGIES" OUT SOON ON EKTRO RECORDS. NORTHERN FINLAND'S BOOGIE KINGS - ÄIJÄLÄ BROTHERS & LENE LEINONEN - THANK AND BOW.
KEYWORDS: MINIMALIST BOOGIE.
ASSOCIATED ACTS: TERVEET KÄDET, THE KOLMAS, DEATH TRIP.
Due to everybody wanting their vinyls pressed by Record Store Day the upcoming X__X and Circle vinyls will unfortunately be slightly delayed until April 18. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Circle (ex-Falcon) - Leviatan CD/LP
030314 | 23:56
Finland’s avant-rock explorers, Circle are at it again. Just a few months after their brutal exploitation of the capitalistic mindset behind the super rock idiom, Circle plunge into the oceanic depths of true self-expression with their new album, Leviatan. Combining acoustic instrumentation with, at times, menacing vocals, complete with looming space sounds captured by NASA, the album yields a timeless, yet distinctively archaic klang. The ritualistic conviction of the group becomes obvious as the gritty idiosyncracy of the album gradually unfolds into a journey through spiritual anarchism, leaving the listener baffled at the exacting abandonment of the ensemble.
The new seven inch from Finland’s Circle finds the band firing in-your-face punk. Kumiluoti tears down the smokescreen of society with searing guitars and point-blank lyrics, navigating the ammo deep inside the corpse of capitalist machinery. The two songs reveal the plight of those exposed to the idiocies of blatant consumerism with surgical precision. Volatile, intense and straight to the point. Death to Society!
Life's greatest pleasures are often its most fleeting. Witness, for example, the ephemeral run of X__X, a turbulent quartet that tore through Cleveland like a Dadaist cyclone for six months in 1978. Preceding his imminent relocation to NYC, burly, blond brawler John D Morton assembled the project as a tighter, more rocking successor to his storied proto-punk act, the electric eels. An early, practice-room incarnation included that group's inimitable singer, Dave E. McManus, as well as future Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film author Michael J. Weldon. Shortly thereafter, the cast of characters stabilized to encompass razor-wire guitarist Andrew Klimeyk; CLE magazine editor turned bassist Jim Ellis; and drummer Anton Fier, who went on to fame and fortune with the Feelies, the Lounge Lizards, Pere Ubu, and the Golden Palominos.
Pronounced "ex blank ex," the name also doubled as a mental exercise in which a person could insert random words or phrases between the two letters in the moniker. Hence, Morton's jab at the Rolling Stones' sagging legacy for the title of this hotly-anticipated retrospective: X Sticky Fingers X. Compiling a couple of prized singles with a feast of lo-fi but raging live and rehearsal material, the album boasts radical revisions of several eels classics alongside tunes that would appear drastically altered on a Styrenes LP and on Klimeyk's solo seven-inch. As if that weren't sufficiently tantalizing, underground-culture historian and journalist Jon Savage penned the hepcat liner notes that accompany this "really boss set" of "mean sounds aimed at making your feet move."
But forget that jive. The main lure is Morton's ridiculously potent cocktail of brute force, no-wave squall, and nihilistic art prank. Pissed-off vocals, ass-kicking riffs, a hard-charging rhythm section, and the whirr of onstage circular saws split the air. Yet somehow, tracks such as "A," "Drapery Hooks (of My Love)," and the grammar-flouting "Your Full of Shit" manage to be catchier than syphilis. Moments of genuine confusion abound, too: "Rattler" stops dead before it truly starts, and a snatch of audience vérité purports to be a cover of "I'm So Fucked Up," a "song" by one of Morton's previous "bands" Johnny & the Dicks—in this case, a purely conceptual one that never played music. (Joke's on you, pal.)
Nowadays, X__X's erstwhile leader resides in the hinterlands of New York State, a base from where he paints, sculpts, writes, draws, snaps photos, churns out giclée prints, chops wood, and occasionally travels to perform with the Dunking Swine of Chelsea, Scarcity of Tanks, and the charmingly-christened New Fag Motherfuckers. Despite these numerous pursuits, he still found time to design the package and supervise the production of this definitive anthology. And so, it is with tremendous pride that Ektro Records and I present X Sticky Fingers X in all its unruly splendor. For your pleasure. Unto eternity.
Jordan N. Mamone, New York City
January 12, 2014
LP COMING SOON
Hopeajärvi - Rakennetaan kaupunki / Oikein, oikein 7"
210214 | 15:02
A follow up to their eminent debut. Two songs, clear thoughts. Plaque on the wall. It says: "there". Navigate to the basement. You'll see sounds, you'll taste the mould and you'll feast in the presence of light. This a premonition of new city, now with even more ridiculous rules. Stay aware. There are no dull battles. "It's your own fault" , said the tired, old bellboy.
This vinyl edition of 500 comes on 150 clear and 350 black vinyl.
Gilgamesh is the second joint music project of Éva Polgár and Sándor Vály. The music, based on the 5,000-year-old Epic of Gilgamesh, is pervaded by extreme expressiveness and melancholic minimalism simultaneously. On the borderline of different time dimensions, the work presents an insoluble tension between realization, death, and eternity. Polgár and Vály continue the musical dialogue already featured on their first album, the Mondrian Variations. That is, the acoustic and electronic dialogue of piano, percussion instruments, and samplers.
The art of Sándor Vály (born 1968), a painter born in Hungary and now living in Finland, is characterised by conceptual and philosophical dimension, which he uses to operate in the field of modern art. His work in the field of arts is not limited to painting, but expands to music, cinema, performance art and literature, creating holistic works of art. Vály's works form extensive entities. His musical background originates from the 80's Hungary, where he grew up with punk, experimental and industrial music. His greatest musical influences are, among others, Skinny Puppy, Einstrürzende Neubauten, Laibach, Steve Reich, John Cage, F. Schubert, and J.S. Bach.
Hungarian pianist Éva Polgár (born 1983), a renowned performer of traditional and contemporary music is currently pursuing a degree of Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of North Texas, where she also holds a Teaching Fellowship in the keyboard department. Éva has won top prizes in piano competitions across the world including the International Liszt Competition in Los Angeles in 2012. She has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and recording artist in Europe and the Americas. Gilgamesh is the second album in which she is the co-composer. Her compositional style is mostly influenced by Claude Debussy, Béla Bartók, Steve Reich, and Louis Andriessen.
COMING SOON ON CD
Sound & Fury record release gig
160114 | 22:58
Sound & Fury's Pulsacion record release concert takes place on February 5 at Telakka in Tampere, Finland
According to Wikipedia and Allmusic.com (and even a Creem Metal interview from the band’s own time), Jesters of Destiny were quite possibly the first ‘Alternative Metal’ band. If you were to ask the band’s founders (and only consistent members throughout their four-year duration—Ray Violet and Bruce Duff), they would no doubt reply with a question: “What exactly is Alternative Metal, anyway?”
Such concerns were not on the minds of Violet and Duff, when in 1984, they were in the midst of a recording project attempting to come up commercial (as in jingles) material. Violet was the staff engineer at Dawnbreaker studio (built by Seals and Crofts during their heyday a decade earlier, and ran at the time by their ex-manager, a figure in the Bahai Faith). Church members occupied the studio compound, but during the day, it was rented out by Leon Sylvers (producing contemporary R&B with Violet at the board) and at night, Ray, Bruce and friends had free rein of the place to make whatever music they wanted.
Among the music they recorded were two songs that seemed to hang together: “End of Time” and “Diggin’ That Grave.” “Grave” was a riff, groove and lyrical idea Ray had been kicking back and forth with Bruce for some time—at Dawnbreaker, it came fully to life; and “Time” was a heavy prog number Bruce wanted to flesh out while the studio was at hand. The two musicians decided that these two songs had zero commercial potential for their jingle project, but belonged together nonetheless, and with that as a template, Ray and Bruce decided to form a band. Jesters of Destiny were soon rehearsing in the full-court basketball facility next door to the studio in the Dawnbreaker compound.
By fall of ’84, “End of Time” appeared on Metal Massacre V, part of an ongoing series used by Metal Blade Records to introduce new bands to an international fanbase. Also on board with their early recordings were Voivod, Overkill, Fates Warning, Metal Church, and Hellhammer, (before they turned into Celtic Frost). A look at this lineup shows the Jesters weren’t alone in thinking it was time metal ventured outside the safety zone.
During ’85, Jesters of Destiny began to perform in clubs around Los Angeles and Orange County, and weathering what would be an unending series of lineup changes around Bruce on vocals/bass and Ray on guitar/keys. (Five drummers and five lead guitarists went through the ranks). Throughout the year, and amidst the first several lineup changes, the pair recorded Fun at the Funeral.
With completed masters in tow, Metal Blade was approached, as they’d already issued “End of Time.” They liked the album and agreed to put it out, but perhaps as a nod to the band’s alternative take on heavy music, decided to put the LP out on a brand-new imprint, Dimension Records. Not only did this indicate that Fun wasn’t a typical heavy record, but also avoided the outrage the standard Metal Blade aficionado would experience when a pop song like “Happy Times” or an instrumental interlude like “Love Theme from Jesters on Parade” would pop up.
Released in 1986, Fun at the Funeral received a wide range of critical appraisal. From the press reviews, back in the day…
Spin: “Perfectly executed punkadelic glam-bop with a healthy dose of metallic insolence. Working within this context, the Jesters thumb their noses at insanity, aphrodisiacs, Pollyanna grooviness and the occasional suicide.”
L.A.Weekly: “Modern metal psychedelia whose deranged outlook is fine-tuned by way of nods to such opposing influences a Black Sabbath and the Electric Prunes.”
Guitar Player: “Magnificently wacky and roots-true…definitely a cut apart from any other ‘80s band.”
Kerrang: “Delightfully different…(a) mysterious mixture of musical influences from a number of bands you just can’t think of. Weird, but strangely appealing. 4Ks for…I don’t quite know what.”
And of course, the definitive statement, from Rockpool: “It is, quite honestly, the worst record I’ve heard all year.”
The band continued to shift drummers and guitarist in and out of the lineup, and during the promotional life of the album shared stages with Jane’s Addiction, the Dickies, Flaming Lips, L.A. Guns, Jetboy, the Fuzztones, and Thelonious Monster, demonstrating both how wide the Jesters’ style could venture, and how diverse the California scene was at the time. Nowadays, most histories boil Cali hard rock down to the emerging thrash scene growing out of Ruthie’s Inn in Berkeley, and the hair metal coming out of the Hollywood clubs such as Gazzarri’s. (Of course, the Jesters played both).
With not quite enough songs written for the second album, the Jesters opted to record an all-covers EP as a follow-up. In a Nostalgic Mood was met with perhaps even more confusion that Fun at the Funeral. For their ’87 year-end summation, Kerrang declared the Jesters version of Sabbath’s “Electric Funeral” to be the 4th best cover of the year, and their version of Hendrix’s “Foxey Lady” to be the 4th worst.
By ’88, Metal Blade dropped JOD. Enough labels passed on the demos for the by-now-written album No Laughing Matter that the band chose to quietly throw in the towel. Of course, the story doesn’t end there - why else would you have this bio? In 2001, Ektro Records in Finland reissued Fun at the Funeral with a load of bonus material, including a number of the No Laughing Matter demos. In 2012, Full Contact issued a single featuring Ektro’s most prolific artists, Circle, performing two FATF songs, “End of Time” and “God Told Me To,” with Bruce and Ray both onboard. Now, Ektro/Full Contact is issuing a near-exact replica of the original vinyl album, with the expected improved mastering and better graphics reproductions. Meanwhile, Bruce and Ray have returned to the studio to work on a brand-new album of Jesters of Destiny material. Has the world caught up? Will the Jesters be more easily understood in 2014? Most likely not.
Tracklist for the LP
'Diggin That Grave'
'God Told Me To'
'Love Theme From Jesters On Parade'
'I Hate Bruce'
'End Of Time'
'Attack Of The Jesters'
Circle (ex-Falcon) tours Europe
100114 | 01:30
Circle (ex-Falcon) on tour in Europe with Old Man Gloom in April:
01-04-2014 Grammatikoff, Duisburg
02-04-2014 Beursschouwburg, Brussels
03-04-2014 The Scala, London
04-04-2014 La Maroquinerie, Paris
05-04-2014 Dachstock, Bern
06-04-2014 Locomotiv, Bologna
07-04-2014 Jubez, Karlsruhe
08-04-2014 Bi Nuu, Berlin
09-04-2014 Meet Factory, Prague
10-04-2014 Arena, Vienna
11-04-2014 Doom over Leipzig, Leipzig
12-04-2014 Roadburn festival, Tilburg
March 20 update: Prague venue changed to Meet Factory!
Hollywood and SSEENNSSEESS pre-orders available
040114 | 03:20
Circle's Hollywood 2LP and the SSEENNSSEESS live LP can now be pre-ordered in the shop. Both LPs are available in regular and limited editions.
In other news, Circle and film director Mika Taanila are taking their SSEENNSSEESS show on the road, appearing at the Worm club in Rotterdam on the 26th of January. More info here (in Dutch)
Ps. You may have noticed that Ektro's webshop has been down a couple of times in the past few days. There were some problems with Paypal payments, but everything should be back to normal now.
"You should be making music primarily because you love it. Most everything else is a bonus. If you have fans at all, great. If you can play around your home town, or maybe throughout your country, fantastic. Recording your music should please you first and foremost -- how else could you expect anyone else to get into it? If you do start to become really successful, your troubles will truly begin."