Death and Vanilla

I’ve written about Death and Vanilla before, when I picked up the soundtrack to Vampyr, and I’ve played them on the Radio Show, but I was listening to them again tonight and felt that I should say more, mostly because I bloody well love them.

They don’t have a huge back catalogue, it is currently three albums and some singles, but I’ve liked absolutely everything I’ve heard and more people should give them an opportunity I think. We’ll start with Vampyr as I’ve already written about it before.

There are certain things that make me interested in a record which are often related to a good back story, amongst other things. ‘Vampyr’ by Death and Vanilla has things that interest me in abundance. I have their eponymous 2012 album and like it very much, not least because I paid very little for it, but also because I liked the aesthetic of the music, this is what first drew me to this album. Here in list form are the reasons why I was so interested in it.

  1. I knew the band already, which is always a plus
  2. It’s a soundtrack, and I like soundtracks.
  3. It’s a soundtrack to a 1932 film by Danish director Carl Theodor, which In itself means not a lot to me but I do like a silent film.
  4. It was recorded live as the film played.
  5. The packaging is lovely as is the grey marbled vinyl. image004
  6. It has moogs and mellotrons.
  7. The entire original film along with the original soundtrack is available on youtube
  8. I plan to see if I can overlay the Death and Vanilla over the actual film and see what happens.

It is a really interesting soundtrack that I’ve already listened to several times just as a piece of music, in 4 parts, and really enjoyed.

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If you’d like to know more about the band then here is a snippet, it is, taken directly from http://www.firerecords.com/death-and-vanilla/ Where you can find out more.

Formed in Malmö, Sweden by Marleen Nilsson and Anders Hansson, Death and Vanilla utilise vintage musical equipment such as vibraphone, organ, mellotron, tremolo guitar and moog, to emulate the sounds of 60s/70s soundtracks, library music, German Krautrock, French Ye-ye pop and 60s psych. They revel in the warmth of older analogue instruments to create a more organic sound, each loose wire and off-kilter noise adding to the rich atmosphere.

So that was Vampyr but the first record of theirs I bought was their first released in 2012, also called Death and Vanilla that I picked out of a ‘sale’ bin for about £10, half price essentially. This is the cover:

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I had absolutely no idea what it was, I liked the big eye on the cover and the band name, which is really how I’ve always bought records, more often than not. There have been failures along the way of course, but things usually work out ok. This is one that really did, although on one listen I wasn’t blown away, it was much later on 2nd, 3rd and 4th listen that I really got into it. Here’s an example track:

It is an odd mix of styles and sounds, having a sort of California dream pop sound even though the band originates in Sweden.

Tracklist

Rituals
Dreams Of Sheep
Cul-De-Sac
Somnambulists
The Unseeing Eye
From Elsewhere
Library Goblin
The Clearing
The Unseeing I

The album has a sort of foggy sound that envelops it, which is perhaps why it didn’t prove to be that successful upon its release but I rather like it, it’s certainly consistent across the entire album.

Next up is To where the wild things are released in 2015, so I have totally done everything in the wrong order, never mind.

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The opening track, Necessary Distortions, is a corker, it really is. Unfortunately the only video I could find of it is blocked in my country, but I urge you to seek it out, it’s fab.

I did manager to find From Above which was released as a single:

and Lux, which was released as a b side to the single.

This album is definitely a progression from the debut release with a somewhat more realised sound. One reviewer described the albums as spectral lullabies and I think that’s a fair assessment and a damn good thing.

I also like that they seem to put everything out on vinyl as a main release rather than streaming everything. This, even in a time of increasing vinyl sales, is not a normal model.

Tracklist

Necessary Distortions
The Optic Nerve
Arcana
California Owls
Time Travel
Follow The Light
Shadow And Shape
The Hidden Reverse
Moogskogen
Something Unknown You Need To Know
Erte
Reality From Dream
From Above
Lux

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California Owls was released as a 12″ single, which I have a copy of, the B side is Follow The Light. Totally unnecessary for me to own really as I have both the tracks on the album, however, I really like the graphic design of their records and this one came in transparent vinyl.

I also have an EP which just seems to be called EP. It has 4 tracks:

Ghosts In The Machine 4:37
Godspeed 4:35
Run Rabbit Run 4:33
The Colour Of Space 4:34

There are a few other singles out there that I’ll be keeping an eye out for and they have another improvised soundtrack coming out next year in the same vein as Vampyr, so I shall be getting that.

Give them a repeated listen, You might end up liking it.

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