Trent Reznor & David Lynch

Watch David Lynch’s new NIN video (epileptics, be warned)

Though it’s not an Earth-shattering collaboration, David Lynch’s new Nine Inch Nails video is very…well, Lynchian…with high-contrast stills, flashing red squares, and frenetic, blurred-vision closeups of Trent Reznor’s beloved face.

David Bowie’s “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” starring Tilda Swinton in NSFW video

David Bowie: The Next DayDavid Bowie: The Next Day (Columbia, 3/12/13)

Though the words David Bowie and Tilda Swinton should be enough to get you to click that little “read more” button, the new video for Bowie’s “The Stars (Are Out Tonight),” directed by Floria Sigismondi, is a pleasure to watch. Starring the strikingly similar entertainers as a suburban married couple, a bit of David Lynch-esque intrigue is injected when a celebrity pairing shows up in town.

†‡† (Ritualz): Anonymous Witch-House Musician Draws from Pop’s Dark Side

This story first appeared in Chromatic: The Crossroads of Color and Music. Order your copy today.

Ritualz: CDR†‡†: CDR (Disaro, 9/10/10)

†‡†: “gOth bb”

[audio:|titles=†‡† (Ritualz): “Goth BB”]

Behind the dark electronica of †‡† (vocalized and alternately written as Ritualz) stands an anonymous, soft-spoken man. The latter is confirmed in fragmented bits over the phone, before technological limitations force the conversation to Google Chat. Once online, he explains that he’d prefer to keep his regular location to himself, though he divulges that he’s staying with family in Mexico City and has a date to perform in Monterrey, Mexico the following week. (San Marino, the location listed on his MySpace profile, is a red herring.)

An instant-message interview is very fitting; nearly everything about Ritualz’ short music career has happened on the Internet. Two days after making a MySpace profile showcasing a handful of gloomy trip-hop tracks under his nom de guerre, he signed to Houston-based micro-label Disaro. Run by Robert Disaro, the Disaro label is a standard bearer for a nascent electronic sub-genre that most are calling “witch house,” and Ritualz’ compelling mix of drone, synth hop, and industrial is a perfect fit.

Darkness Falls

Q&A: Darkness Falls

Darkness Falls: Alive in UsDarkness Falls: Alive in Us (HFN Music, 10/25/11)

Darkness Falls: “Noise on the Line”

[audio:|titles=Darkness Falls: “Noise on the Line”]

Earlier this year, Danish dream-pop duo Darkness Falls released its first self-titled EP, a promising four-track introduction of haunting melodies and guitar tremolos. It succinctly showcased the duo’s style while unmistakably bearing the fingerprints of electronic producer Anders Trentemøller, who produced the EP.

Now the same creative forces have captivated us again with Alive in Us, Darkness Falls’ full-length debut album. Keyboardist/vocalist Josephine Philip and guitarist/bassist Ina Lindgreen playfully yet skillfully combine psychedelics, ’60s guitar twang, surf-rock reverb, pulsing synth pop, and hypnotic harmonies to produce a dynamic sound that’s both eerie and infectious — and uniquely their own.

The album twists and turns from beginning to end, teasing us with deliciously sweet, melancholic vocals like those featured in the acoustic dreamscape of “Noise on the Line,” before traversing into the creepy-cool B-movie-inspired “Hey!” Alive in Us demands multiple listens; when revisited, each track begins to unravel, each time revealing something new.

ALARM spoke with the duo about how it developed its sound and what lies ahead for Darkness Falls.

How did you begin making music together?

We have known each other for 10 years now. We used to play together in an all-girl Ska band called Favelachic. After Favelachic disbanded in 2005, Ina started at The National Film School of Denmark, and Josephine put out an album with singer Ane Trolle under the name of JaConfetti.

As we were sitting one day together, sipping white wine and talking about music — our likes and dislikes — we suddenly found that we were both curious about the same thing within music. We decided on the spot that we would start working together again. This was back in 2009.

How are each of you involved in the songwriting process?

Usually, Josephine writes the lyrics and creates the compositions, and Ina brings guitar themes and ideas. We finish the songwriting and final tune together. We have different temperaments, and we challenge and complement each other.

As a whole, Alive in Us maintains a haunting and psychedelic quality throughout, but “Hey!” stands out with a B-movie sort of vibe.  Was film an inspiration at all when writing this album? Are there any specific genres or filmmakers that have influenced you?

Film has definitely been an inspiration. We like the aesthetics of old black-and-white movies, and we have been watching a lot of old noir and Hitchcock movies. We both really enjoy movies from favorites filmmakers like David Lynch, James Jarmusch, Wim Wenders, Quentin Tarantino, and Gus Van Sant. Their movies all had an important impact while making the album.

Gallery Spotlight: Altered Esthetics

In 2004, Jamie Schumacher founded Minneapolis’ Altered Esthetics Gallery with the intent of “bringing artists together and creating a community dialogue.” The non-profit gallery is a space where both emerging and established artists can interact and explore their own creative interests without the pressure of producing work that is commercially viable. Since opening, Altered Esthetics — which is currently one of 18 galleries operating out of Minneapolis’ historic Q’arma building — has built a solid reputation within the Twin City’s creative community.

James Blackshaw: Upholding a Rich 12-String History

Though he’s been hailed as a twelve-string-guitar virtuoso for the better part of five years, James Blackshaw didn’t really graduate to the Jedi class of contemporary instrumental artists until the spring of 2009, when he made his much anticipated debut on Michael Gira’s Young God Records.