Skrewed, Witch-Brewed and K■nf▼zed

By on 23 May 2011

Skrewed, Witch-Brewed and K■nf▼zed by P. Emerson Williams

It is somehow fitting that on the day that has been declared to be the Rapture I’m sitting here contemplating things okkvlt, foreboding and forbidden. A sound has been developing for a few years now hidden behind a lexical darknet. For those late to the Witch House party, that’s ok. This has just barely begun. What we’re talking about is a take on Goth distorted and distended by a filtration through Electronic Voice Phenomena, hauntology and codeine drenched hip hop grooves. With artists with names like †‡†, Gr†LLGR†LL , I††, ▼□■□■□■ (pronounced Star – part of being an insider is knowing the ordionary names behind the symbols…) ///▲▲▲\ (or VOID), – a dark strain of music formed entirely outside the Goth mileu is creating fanatics of the dark for a new generation.

As technology allows even the most underground of artists of the 21st century to become charaterised by the same protools slickness as mainstram releases, Witch House calls to mind to the lo-fi approach of the old tape trading days of the -80’s and -90’s Goth and Industrial scenes. The use of entirely alien influences to goth to create haunting music is another important factor, though this is no facile genre splicing. Signposts would be DJ Skrew, Shoegaze, Goblin and Sleep chamber as well as the most bubble-gum of all the pop released in the last twenty years. The curiosity shops that must make up their music collections must rival the crates of vinyl house DJ’s used to accumulate. In my opinion, it’s where it goes all lopperjawed and that’s where this music comes alive (undead?).

Mater Suspiria Vision is of particular note as an example of the vast productivity of artists in this genre, and particularly the completeness of vision that encompasses music, visual art and video. Yea, verily, MSV shows how it’s done on all fronts. We’re being swamped with many who wanna duplicate her work, but there can only be one. And none more productive. MSV created a huge sensation with, and then declared the end of their Zombie mixtapes. These are people with a great sense of timing and humor. (If Witch House had a narrative aspect, they could be the first organic movement of the transmedia age. Hm, an idea to play with, perhaps. A literary or narrative element could make this a complete cultural movement…) No examination of MSV would be complete without taking into account all these aspects. In all media, collage features heavily. The fact that the art and multimedia is part and parcel of the experience makes it a million times more exciting to me than it already would be as music alone. Art project versus band, I’m all for it and the execution is fascinating.

In 2010 it seemed Witch House was that season’s Goth. One may have expected a movement trumpeted by the ADHD world of Pitchfork et al to fade within six months, but the leading lights of Witch House are not the type of people who find a sound and method and stick to it. 2011 has seen †‡† – Ghetto Ass Witch, ~▲†▲~ – ~▲††▲~, Mater Suspiria Vision – Inverted Triangle, RΛINИIΛЯ/$LØW HE▲D – 215.18Mhz/Lamia Forest split cassette, § – La Main Gauche, Pwin ▲▲ Teaks – Inside The Black Lodge to name a few. We’re seeing more of tentacular spectaculars this year in the form of releases, copious home-brewed video projects and live performances than ever. Perhaps it’s a sign we’re due the awakening of the Elder Godz… Are the Faders/Pitchforks et al about due to drop drag/witch house folks as passe? Will someone insert a jangly guitar and a catchy and cute refrain to initiate the beginning of the end?



The “art project” aspect and deliberate aloofness show a very different attitude to the traditional “look at me!” neediness of artists. One may hope the best of them will be leading tastemakers by the nose through new lands for a long time. (I’m also anjoying some of the Salieris recently birthed, but they’ll be off on projects sans lexical art within a year.) Now that they”e venturing into live territory, I hope to see the same mindfucking experimentation as we find in the sounds and imagery. SALEM and Mater Suspiria Vision took to the road in Europe this and last year with great success.




For sure, now that word is out that there’s a possibility to be noticed, bands will come down from trees, from under rocks, behind the curtains, under skirts of passersby, up through the plumbing to proclaim themselves as parties of the first part. Of course there is a wave of artists firing up ableton and reverb plugins, scanning pages of Vogue and putting triangles in their names, artwork and merch. They may find though, that contrary to what detractors have said, it takes more than a square wave on your synth and a toy drum machine to make a big noise in the Witch House/Grave Wave domain.

For more info and links to tons of free Witch House music:

Мишка Presents The Guide to Grave Wave (3 Disc Compilation & Feature Article) [Free Download]:

Guide to Grave Wave



§ – La Main Gauche –

MATER SUSPIRIA VISION – Seduction of the Armageddon Witches {2011} –

Salem – Sick –




About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

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