If you’re searching for music for a Halloween themed shindig, look no further than Austrian singer/songwriter Soap & Skin. Anja Plaschg is a 20 year-old “Wunderkind” known in her hometown for playing/performing Nico in the play “Nico – Sphinx auf Eis”. She’s been tinkering with artistic endeavors since she was 14 (violin/electronica/graphic design). It seems as if her killer piano driven daymares are born from all sorts of crawling entities; thoughts, feelings, objects, beings.
Her debut album, Lovetune for Vacuum, shot to the top 10 in Austria and spread into Germany and France afterwords. Plaschg has been touted as the new Austrian star of Pop, though after listening to her echoes, it’s very hard to place her anywhere near such a genre. There ARE some lighthearted moments on the record (“Cry Wolf”, ”I M Dorfe”), but by and large it’s a guided tour of the disturbed. But all the best things in life are the irregular aren’t they? And the same goes for the majority of Lovetune for Vacuum. “Sleep” starts off the record with a dark avenue and very little light at the end. “Thanatos” is the personification of death in Greek mythology, and the so-named song works wonders in bringing such a presence to your ears. You’re scrambling across a craggy landscape, pursued by inevitability and the Horsemen. Instrumentals like “Turbine Womb” will create just the right mood for jealous girlfriends to fly into a rage and paranoid boyfriends to scuttle off into the night. It’s…brilliant.
There are some truly odd moments though. Some best left in the dark. “Fleischwolf” features a two minute remix of a squealing pig. It’s being aurally tortured for sure. And “Ddmmyyyy” revolves and scrapes across itself a bit too repetitively. You’ll get the point in second 64. The rest is abusive. Perhaps that’s the point though…..hmmmmm.
Album ender “Brother of Sleep” is the broad meadow after the dark wood. You’re laid down on thatch and birch bows, to a lullaby worthy of any prince. The bird-laced fuzz afterword however, will remind you of what you’ve already experienced in the prior songs. Would you take the journey again? After listening to the flair and interesting offerings from Anja Franziska Plaschg aka Soap & Skin, we’re betting you would.
Sip your juice from cauldrons and sway in costume to the selections below. And be sure to visit her website, www.soapandskin.com, it’s full of dark and wonderful things.
[Soap & Skin Website]
[Soap & Skin Myspace]
[Soap & Skin Facebook]
(Lovetune For Vacuum is availabe via Pias America Recordings)