Tag Archives: digital

Ethereal Music to Relax to: Dead Can Dance, Delerium, Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Loveliescrushing, The Machine in the Garden

25 Sep

If I’ve had a really rough day sometimes I like to listen to music to unwind; my go-to for those moments is often ethereal music.  Ethereal music was seeded in the 80’s with influences like the Cure and Cocteau Twins and peaked in the 90’s.  It frequently features female vocals that often blend with the music and are sometimes treated like another instrument.  This gives some of its bands a bit of a similarity to some shoegazer groups like Lush and Curve, but it often uses more electronic influences and tends to be a bit on the gloomier side atmospherically and is often considered under the larger umbrella of the darkwave genre.  It’s the perfect music to relax to after a long day at work or in class.  Here are a few of my favorites.  In addition to borrowing CDs, Hoboken Library Card holders can download 5 songs per week from Freegal and they along with other BCCLS card holders can borrow (typically for 7 days) up to 16 digital albums or other items a month from Hoopla.

My best friend surprised me with the Delerium CD Karma for my birthday one year.  I was immediately drawn in to the beautiful music and haunting female vocals.  Delerium is the side project of Canadian Industrial act Front Line Assembly’s Bill Leeb (and frequently Rhys Fulber) which features a variety of guest vocalist including Kristy Thirsk.  They are probably best known for their song “Silence” which includes the vocals of Sarah McLachlan.  Many of Delirium’s LPs and EPs are available on Hoopla including Semantic Spaces, Poem, and Chimera.  I was luckily enough to see them live in New York on one of their tours and although some of the songs were performed by different vocalists than on the albums their innate exquisiteness remained.

Dead Can Dance

Dead Can Dance is probably the most well-known on this list.  The group is comprised of Australian Lisa Gerrard and English musician Brendan Perry.  Their music often brings in elements of world music.  One of the best live performances I have ever experienced was seeing them at Radio City accompanied by a full orchestra. Their album Anastasis is available from Hoopla.  You can download several songs they recorded live from Freegal including “Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove” and “Song to the Siren”. Into the Labyrinth, Toward the Within, and Anastasis are available on CD from BCCLS libraries.  Gerrard’s solo work is also lovely.

Black Tape for A Blue Girl

During the 80’s and 90’s Sam Rosenthal’s Indie Record Label Projekt released a number of works by ethereal artists including those by his own band Black Tape for A Blue Girl.  Their sound and lyrics are intensely evocative.  I had the pleasure of seeing them perform twice once in NY in the late 90’s and later at Projektfest that was part of the 2007 Black Sun Festival in New Haven, CT. The Rope, As One Aflame Laid Bare By Desire, The Scavenger Bride and more of their work are available from Hoopla.


Lovesliescrushing is another Projekt artist.  Their music like their name has a blurry quality that melds all their instrumentation, including unusual choices like sound of screwdrivers, together as one melodic whole.  Xuvetyn and Bloweyelashwish are available from Hoopla.  If you are a fan of My Bloody Valentine, you will likely enjoy Loveliescrushing’s music as well.

The Machine in the Garden


Image via Amazon

The Machine in the Garden was one of my favorite bands while I was in college and I was very excited when I got to see them perform at QXT’s in Newark.  Their music is a haunting mix of dark electronics and beautiful operatic female vocals.  Songs from Out of the Mists, One Winter’s Night, Shadow Puppets, and Asphodel are available to download from Freegal.  “The Sleep of Angels” is one of my favorite of their songs.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Reference Librarian

Music to Listen to on the Way to the Renaissance Faire: Mediaeval Baebes, Corvus Corax, and Qntal

23 Sep

Recently one of my coworkers here at the library mentioned she was considering going to a Renaissance Faire for the first time.  She is in for a treat!  I’ve been to the Ren Faires in New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.  All have a variety of interesting entertainment like jousting, live music, and falconry shows and tasty food like the infamous giant turkey legs and everything you can imagine including cheesecake and funnel cake on a stick.  There are actors in period garb and if you like you can dress up too.  I find going to them to be a lot of fun during faire season, but music inspired by the Renaissance and Middle Ages is something that I enjoy year round.  Here is some great neo-medieval music Hoboken Public Library Card Holders can check out and enjoy on the way to one of the faires or anytime you feel like listening to the sounds of the past.  In addition to borrowing CDs, Hoboken Resident card holders can download five songs per week to keep from Freegal and can borrow up to 10 digital albums per month (typically for seven days for each checkout) from Hoopla.

Mediaeval Baebes

If you want to see what the earliest “girl groups” would have sounded like check out the Mediaeval Baebes.  The Mediaeval Baebes are a London based group created in 1996 by Katharine Blake, who previously performed as part of Miranda Sex Garden.  The current group consists of Katharine Blake, Emily Alice Ovenden, Clare Marika Edmondson, Josephine Ravenheart, Melpomeni Kermanidou, Sophie Ramsay, and Anna Tam.  They take their song lyrics from mediaeval and romantic texts and set them to original scores using mediaeval and folk instruments.  The group won an Ivor Novello award in 2007 for best television soundtrack for the BBC’s The Virgin QueenHoopla has six albums available to borrow from Mediaeval Baebes including Undrentide, Salva Nos, Worldes Blysse, The Rose, Mirabilis and Mistletoe & Wine.  Freegal has songs to download from their albums Illumination, Temptation, Miracle, Live, Auld Lang Syne, and their latest the holiday album Of Kings and Angels.  Mirabilis, Worldes Blysse, and Mistletoe and Wine are available as CDs from BCCLS Libraries.  If you enjoy their music as much as I do and want to see them live they will be performing at the Maryland Renaissance Festival September 26 and 27.  I saw them there several years ago and they were wonderful.  September 26 will also feature a reading and Q&A from Diana Gabaldon author of the Outlander series; the Outlander Series of books is available from BCCLS libraries.

Corvus Corax


If you are looking for neo-medieval music with a bit more of a masculine energy than check out the German band Corvus Corax.  Their name comes from the Latin name for ravens.  Their music uses authentic instruments and is known for their impressive bagpipe solos.  Hoboken Library and other BCCLS Library patrons could use your 16 Hoopla checkouts for the month checking out all the Corvus Corax albums available: Tempi Antiquii, Congregatio – Zumpfkopule, Mille Anni Passi Sunt, Ante Casu Peccati, Venus Vina Musica, Tritonius, Viator, Inter Deum Et Diabolum Semper Musica Est, Gaudia Vite – Live, Hymnus Cantica – Kaltenberger Ritterturnir, Cantus Buranus 2, Live auf dem Wäscherschlofl, Seikilos, Märchen aus alter Zeit, and Cantus Buranus.  BCCLS patrons can borrow Venus Vina Musica on CD as well.  I was disappointed when I missed them at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, but hopefully they will be back in the United States again for another performance sometime soon.


If you are looking for something that merges the medieval with the modern than the German band Qntal will beguile you.  Qntal is one of my favorite bands.  Their unusual name comes from a dream of Syrah, one of the founding members.  Rather than trying to simply recreate the sound that the music would have had when it was written, they take songs and merge them with electronic rhythms.  Currently the band’s lineup, along with Syrah, Michael, and Marcus, includes Mariko, who was formerly a member of another great neomediaval band, Unto Ashes, which originated in New York City.  Qntal’s album Silver Swan is available on CD from BCCLS libraries and Qntal VII can be borrowed digitally from Hoopla.  The members play music with a more authentic and less electronic sound under the name Estampie.  You can download the Estampie album Ondas from Hoopla.  They have headlined at goth/industrial festivals such as Wave-Gotik-Treffen and M’era Luna.  I was luckily enough to see them when they made a rare US visit at an indoor Renaissance Convention in Maryland.  If you go to a Goth Club in the city you might hear the DJ play their popular song “Ad Mortem Festinamus”, which takes ancient Latin lyrics about the inevitability of death and the need to repent from sins and put them to a pulsing beat and even features the sound of a didgeridoo.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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