Sjef Oellers 4-April-2001 Lacrymosa (aka Bugbear)

On the first full-length album of the Japanese band Lacrymosa, they already had developed completely their doom-ridden, avant-garde, chamber rock. With an instrumental line-up that includes violin, oboe, clarinet, saxophone and cello, it is probably no surprise that they often sound like a modern chamber music ensemble, albeit supported by a rock music rhythm section. Often the band sounds about as creepy and threatening as Univers Zero. It is not hard to imagine this music as part of a horror movie soundtrack. There are several beautiful, almost pastoral melodic sections, but usually within a few bars musical elements foreshadowing upcoming disaster or threat fill the sonic air. Lacrymosa is significantly harsher and darker in sound than the somewhat similar Japanese band Zypressen, who have a more delicate take on "chamber rock". Bugbear is a great album and recommended listening for anyone into the RIO scene or avantgarde rock.

Sjef Oellers 4-April-2001 Joy of a Wrecked Ship

Lacrymosa's second album Joy of a Wrecked Ship opens with stormy weather, heavy rain showers and, a bit later, a thundering sound. The stage is set; this is the second episode into Lacrymosa's dark and brooding world of avant-garde chamber rock. All the elements of the first album are refined on this album and the compositions are more dynamic and powerful. Lovely delicate chamber music sections are slowly or abruptly intruded by dramatic bursts of avant-rock violence. Some tracks even have the brutal martial tone that characterizes some of the Magma recordings. Nevertheless, bands such as Univers Zero, Art Zoyd, Henry Cow and Zypressen are still the best reference points to get an idea of their sound. Not exactly easy listening, but intense and rewarding. A classic !

Links for further information