Category: Electro-pop / Witch-House / Experimental
Album: Under a Dub Witch Moon
Blurb: Eerily catchy yet dynamically unconventional, this latest outing from the great Stella Soleil is a beautiful and otherworldly musical journey.
Stella Katsoudas – better known to the industrial scene as Stella Soleil – has worn many hats in her illustrious career. Her vocals have appeared on recordings by the likes of MINISTRY, 16volt, Chemlab, and Iron Lung Corp. She has performed with Slipknot members Corey Taylor and Shawn Crahan for her solo release and as front woman of Dirty Little Rabbits, respectively. She stepped into the world of pop and scored a hit with “Kiss Kiss,” an English version of Turkish pop star Tarkan’s “Şımarık.” Now, under the Dub Witch moniker, she embarks on a new solo venture that blends her love of experimental electronics and haunting melodies with accessible beats and enticing atmospheres. From its title, one might dismiss Under a Dub Witch Moon as a mere mix of dubstep and witch-house, but this would be a disservice to the otherworldly ambience that pervades each song, taking the listener on a sonic adventure while keeping one ear firmly planted to the ground.
As the soft whispers of a beachside wind creep through the speakers on “The Sea,” Katsoudas’ saccharinely harmonized voice introduces us to the slow and soulful “Cellophane,” driven by a subdued breakbeat and a subtly guttural bass that almost dares to dabble in the quintessential warbles and wubs of dubstep, but thankfully never does. Her harmonies throughout the album are rich in texture and dissonance, always just slightly out-of-tune to create a unique effect that marries well with the unorthodox arrangements. One could immediately detect a similarity to The Knife’s Fever Ray; a comparison supported by the visual scheme Katsoudas employs in the accompanying music videos and live show, wrought with gypsy-like abandon and theatricality. This is particularly so in the catchy chorus of “Blame It On My Heartache” as the layers of vocals create a tapestry of irresistible melodic abandon, as well as in the reverberating ghostlike howls and whispers of “Dub Witch Moon,” the beats and glimmers of DJ scratch samples reminiscent of mid-to-late ‘90s hip-hop and electronica. However, by the time “Car Crash” begins with its trippy vibe that may take listeners back to the likes of Sneaker Pimps’ “6 Underground,” the pace of the album starts to gain in momentum, the distant pianos and Katsoudas’ darkly sweet melody recalling the likes of Kate Bush at her most adventurous. Where the first half of the album was a somber and serene stroll down a moonlit beach, the second half is more like an ecstasy-fueled romp in an underground dance hall. “Where Do I Go” enters with an instantly infectious disco beat and suitably funky bass line that underscores the willowing ambience created by the echoes of the vocals, and while the growling guitars add a touch of bite to the appropriately titled “Rage,” they are always restrained enough to allow her voice and the electronics to maintain dominance.
Under a Dub Witch Moon is a challenging album, not only as it encompasses virtually every musical mode Stella Katsoudas has explored up to now in a single collection, but does so in a manner that is both eerily catchy yet dynamically unconventional… which is usually what the best progressive and experimental music does. The beats are infectious enough on their own, but with each song, they clearly serve as a rhythmic thruway by which her poppy yet creepy lyrics and melodies insinuate themselves into the listeners’ psyches, weaving discordant yet relatable tales befitting the nocturnal ambience of the music. In short, Under a Dub Witch Moon is an album one simply must hear from one whose creativity continues to earn her the title of a true artist.
Dub Witch Website http://dubwitch.com
Dub Witch Facebook https://www.facebook.com/officialdubwitch
Dub Witch Twitter https://twitter.com/DubWitch
Dub Witch SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/dub-witch
Dub Witch Bandcamp https://dubwitch.bandcamp.com
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)