Goddakk is the solo workings of Martin Plumerai. A sultry, ambiance-fuelled project ranging from post-industrial moments to drone sequences, Goddakk’s Monument to a Ruined Age is an example of the kind of product we’ve come to know and love from the Silber record label.
Monument to a Ruined Age starts spellbindingly with “Opened”, comprising of looped sounds and toned down Progressive moments followed in similar pattern by “Kalifornia”. A track that marginally allows more expression from minimalist guitar use into the otherwise similar mix.
“One Hundred’s” faster beats provide a sly and suspicious sound; a tech-noir mood that would suit any “Dark Future” concept while of a similar stratum “Unfortunates” acts as the soundtrack for barren wasteland, a post-apocalyptic frontier of the future. Its repetitive, programmed guitar riffs underscored with whispered voices and noises solidify the concept behind the album’s name.
“I Crucify You” provides a sombre moment on the album and, through its use of classical instruments (electronically reproduced or otherwise), shows distinctly Plumerai’s ranging influences from film scores.
“Monument to a Ruined Age” is a perfect title for an album comprised of a dual emotion in sound. On the one hand lies a resonance crisp and dynamic in its dystopian qualities while the on the other is an adventurous and enlightening musical occurrence. Novices to the experimental genre that Goddakk belongs may find nothing of value here, but those already acolytes of drone and ambient fusion should happily embrace this album.
~ Michael Riley, Left Hip
Goddakk is the project of Plumerai's Martin Newman, but it sounds nothing like Plumerai. monuments to a lost age a complex collection of dense, electronica-based compositions. For music that is seemingly difficult, it's also amazingly easy on the ears. The songs appear to be a blend of loops and guitars and synths, and even though the music is dense, there's a pleasure to be found within the soundtrack-like songs inside. Comparisons to bands like Aphex Twin and Coil are not without merit, though Goddakk never gets as weird as either. Best moment: the wonderful, Robin Guthrie-esque "Opened," which, appropriately, opens the record.
~ Joseph Kyle, Mundane Sounds
Goddakk is a solo project from Boston based musician Martin Newman (burMonter, Plumerai, December Sundays) on guitars, bass, keyboards and voice, though the promo sheet notes that the dominant instrument is a Fender VI bass run through loops & effects.
I really enjoyed this album. From start to finish Newman treats us to a set of creatively constructed contrasts that bring together sound-art, a film soundtrack feel and an odd sense of melody and song. I love the blend of frenetic and off-kilter patterns (including an oddly song-like melody) laid over a steady, stone cold drone on "Opened". Ditto for "Kalifornia", with its machine-like sounds and textures combined with drones and a repetitive melodic phrase. "One Hundreds" is a strange piece that features a Robert Fripp styled guitar-scape in a completely NON-Fripp setting. I love the cool funky guitar grooves amidst the sound cacophony on "Your Guilty Prize". "Romeo Romeo" manages to glom together the Fripp fun and funk guitar into one avant-freaky mish-mash that culminates into a crazed symphony of looped patterns. "Unfortunates" struck me as a drugged avant-garde version of a Morricone soundtrack. "Human Beings" sees Newman travel into deep space, producing a cosmic piece that brings to mind early 70's Ash Ra Tempel meets modern day sound art experimentations. One of my favorites of the set. And the closing track, "Yto Nobogo", is the longest piece on the CD and winds things down nicely, bringing together all the elements that cropped up throughout the album into one experimental and aesthetically pleasing excursion.
Wow, LOTS happening on this album! Newman excels at assembling disparate elements of sound, ambience and melody into cohesive and thought provoking wholes. Call it ambient music for those who like to explore and experiment but don't need the meditational bits. This is one you can play over and over and find something new and exciting every time.
~ Jerry Kranitz, Aural Innovations
Well-assembled drones, loops, and patterns from Plumerai’s Martin Newman working solo. Different from some of the other loop-based artists/projects I’ve heard, in that Newman adds quite a bit of active material to the loop backgrounds, which keeps the pieces from drifting off into repetitive monotony. The moods here range from pretty to bleak to pretty bleak. Most of the compositions are pure droners, while a couple of them actually have a simple chord change or two. All of them present a nice balance between musical elements and textural sounds. I particularly like the crunchy, scattered-sounding bass guitar on #5, and the sneaky processed vocals that show up from time to time throughout the CD.
~ Max Level, KFJC
Don’t be scared off by Goddakk’s gothy sounding name or the dark embryonic-like imagery of the packaging. You have nothing to fear. The music of Goddakk is entrancing and mesmerizing. All the sounds on the disc are created by Martin Newman mainly using looped sounds produced on a bass, along with some guitar, keys and vocals.
The music on the disc is eerily familiar. It took me a long time to place where I had heard music like this before. Newman’s self proclaimed love of the Cure threw me off the right track. His true allegiance is not with the Cure but with someone from much further south, New Zealand to be exact.
His true fellow sonic explorer would be Roy Montgomery. Both artists share a penchant for slowly building droney soundscapes. Newman & Montgomery use mostly a single instrument (Martin uses a bass) to build up dense subtly changing sound environments. On some tracks, like “Unfortunates,” Newman uses a keyboard that would not sound out of place on a Dadahmah or Dissolve record. On other tracks like “Human Beings” it feels like atmospherics of early Flying Saucer Attack.
Martin employs dense heavily altered vocals on some tracks, like the first track “Opened.” It is impossible to hear what is being said, but I don’t think that is really the point. The altered vocals give the song a claustrophobic, uneasy feel. At first the vocals bothered me, but after repeated listens they grew on me.
“Crucify You” is slightly different then the rest of the tracks. It is less dependent on bass loops to build up dense sonic soups. It is much more song orientated with what sounds like a simple bass & string like sounding arrangement. This track shows the broadness of Newman’s sonic pallette. “Yto Nobogo,” the final track, builds up from simple loops to become denser and denser, before it reaches its ultimate climax.
Overall I am quite impressed with Goddakk. Theses soundscapes are deceptively simple. Martin Newman achieves with this project a great deal of variety using simple means.
~ Dan Cahoon, Amplitude Equals One Over Frequency Squared
Goddakk was formed by Martin Newman (of the band Plumerai). The band is a solo project in which Newman experiments with sounds and electronics. The compositions on Monument to a Ruined Age are, for the most part, experimental electronic drone pieces with the main instrument being a Fender bass guitar. Although Martin plays bass, guitars, and keyboards, the majority of the instruments are mutated and drowned in effects to the point that they are no longer recognizable. The overall sound of this album is spooky and peculiar...it often sounds like the soundtrack to a really weird underground film. This is the kind of music that you either love or hate. We've always been fond of electronic manipulation...so we were naturally drawn to this. Monument is a strangely inviting spin that creates otherworldly moods in the mind of the listener.
Experimental soundscapes and a couple more song-like pieces. Poltergeist song circles ring and chant in a secret electric language. Lost souls whisper through warm circuitry. A pulse of flesh and blood runs in the same rhythm as it’s electronic semblance to emotion. A sullen moody afternoon filled with ancient dried bouquets, tattered remains of endless days stacked on end in attics, and trance inducing memories recorded in layers of dust.
~ George Parsons, Dream Magazine
The solo project of core Plumerai member Martin Newman, Goddakk is based more in experimentation and ambience than the output of his other projects. In some ways expanding upon and altering Newman's original Goddakk Dos Dalen EP (read my review here), Monument to a Ruined Age, the project's full-length debut on Silber Records is a 9-song affair that's ambient yet highly rhythmic. Blending often unintelligible, whispery, tremolo-processed vocals with melodic loops, noise elements, and generous use of a Fender Bass VI that adds a more organic air to the affair, it's an album that's sonically interesting and compelling.
While not straying far from the formula of layered instrumental loops building sonic textures topped by more fluid melodies and vocals, it's the sonic differences in, and interplay of, these elements that separate them. The excellent "Unfortunates", for example, blends a more melodic bass riff and great organ melodies, complete with a chorus, for something far more musical, while the instrumental "Your Guilty Prize" builds melodic layers and transforms into a more noise-based piece throughout its 6 minute duration. The eerie "Human Beings" also stands out, unsettling atmospherics and haunting piano melodies creating a moody spatial void, as does the more pop-structured, ethereal "Crucify You".
While sometimes a bit formulaic, Goddakk's Monument to a Ruined Age is, overall, an interestingly textured and emotive foray into experimental ambience with a few dips into ethereal pop territory. Considerably different from Newman's work with Plumerai, it may not appeal to everyone, but will likely prove an interesting listen for experimental/ambient/ethereal fans.
~ Joshua Heinrich, Grave Concerns
Goddakk is the solo project of Martin Newman from the band 'Plumerai' and it came to life as he was trying to put together a band that would concentrate on songs with more of a dark and oppressive character, and this CD is the project's debut album.
This recording consists of 9 tracks of somewhat varied and sometimes aggressive soundscapes where you can hear many loops and sound effects, giving the music a drony but dynamic character. There are some vocals on some of the songs which have been processed through a tremolo pedal, giving the music an airy and spacelike tone.
The best way to describe this music would be like watching lava up close as it makes it's way down a rock formation or a grassy patch. You can see as the lava flows in a slow, repetitive pattern and if paid close attention, you can also see how some of the outer crust starts to dry out and form cracks. This is all of course happening in an atmosphere of intense heat, and that is the way this music feels like.
This is not your typical background music, and as a matter of fact it happens very much in the foreground. The music feels intense and unrelenting. It is harsh in nature and although it is noisy sometimes, it is not just noise because these are actually very structured songs. The music does not expand and contract as in minimalistic type of music where the harmonies go through an additive process, but rather just slowly moves along.
The only 'odd' track in this CD is track 8 where the mood actually changes drastically. Instead of an industrial feeling, this is indeed a very melodic but sorrow sounding track. An orchestral strings sounding tone carries along with what it seems to be a bass in the background and vocals whispering "crucify you". Imagine if you will as you are in the back seat of a car looking upwards to the blue sky in total silence as you are going to your own funeral!
I am sure this music is not for everyone because even when it does not possess any of the qualities of say death or black metal, it still has a very dark character and easily qualifies as very experimental music. It makes for a good interesting listen.
~ Lunar Hypnosis
Goddakk got its start as a result of bassist Martin Newman's struggles to get his main project, Plumerai (who, by the way, contributed an excellent track to Silber's 2004 Christmas comp), off the ground. It then dawned on Newman that he was still able to create music on his own, after seeing performances by Pamelia Kurstin and Brian John Mitchell (Remora). Of course, bass guitar-centric music is nothing new — Rothko, among others, were already doing it — but as a former master of the four-string myself, I find something especially beguiling about Newman's harsh, brittle soundscapes.
While the press materials draw up comparisons to the likes of Coil and The Legendary Pink Dots, I personally hear something more along the lines of Philip Jeck's rolling, rumbling washes of sound. The album begins with the aptly-titled "Opened", which consists of a low frequency rumbling hum — I suspect some serious guitar pickup abuse was involved here — as lighter, shimmering guitar filigrees bounce back and forth. Newman's voice, shredded and whipped by a bevy of effects pedals, gasps out from time to time, though his treated vocals are barely able to maintain their form under the soundscape's onslaught.
"Opened", like all of the other tracks, are by no means the pinnacle of audiophile perfection. They're roughhewn, as if Newman decided that the only possible vessel for capturing his sounds was a battered old 4-track and worn-down magnetic tape. However, the noisy, abrasive quality of the recording actually makes these songs stronger than they might have been otherwise. It imbues them with an otherworldly quality that is both strangely beguiling (given the songs' dark, harsh nature) and rather creepy.
However, it's not all just sonic assaults and walls of rumbling, head-rattling guitar noise. Songs such as "Unfortunates" and "Crucify You" are surprisingly melodic, given the otherwise clashing sounds that Newman generates. This is especially true of the former. The sounds as if you're locked inside a church bell tower at midnight, the giant tolling sounds crashing all around you and threatening to cave your head in. However, a wandering organ has something of a structuring effect, while Newman's tremoloed vocals whisper in from the edges.
"Crucify You" is easily the most song-like song on the disc, as well as the most poignant, as Newman gasps and intones the titular words with increasing desperation, leaving the listener to wonder just who, exactly, is "you". Newman's bass guitar takes on a cello-like facade, while additional string-like arrangements combine with the recording's haziness, resulting in a song that would sound quite at home on This Mortal Coil's It'll End In Tears.
Interestingly, Newman had intended for Plumerai to take on dark, oppressive pop songs a la The Cure's Pornography. I find that somewhat ironic because, while Goddakk's music is much more abstract than anything The Cure ever did outside of "Carnage Visors", there are certain parallels between Monument To A Ruined Age and the Cure's darkest hour.
Pornography found the band delving increasingly into heavily rhythmic songs that were much more atmospheric and stream-of-consciousness than anything they'd done up to that point (or since then). I don't find it too hard to imagine that, had Robert Smith gone even farther into that darkly rhythmic, crushing sound than he did, the result might not too dissimilar from songs such as "Unfortunates" or "Crucify You".
~ Jason Morehead, Opus
The same Cure album Pornography is mentioned in the press blurb of Goddakk's debut album 'Monument To A Ruined Age'. Martin Newman was thinking of forming a band that could similar music, but decided to keep it a solo project and be in total control himself. I assume that somewhere along the lines he abandoned the idea of doing songs along the lines of 'Pornography', since 'Monument To A Ruined Age' sounds quite unlike that. Goddak plays around with loops of sounds, played using a six string bass guitar, guitar, keyboards, and vocals, to create songs that are somewhere half way through ambient soundscaping and real songs. The same press blurb mentions influences of Colin Newman (not related, but of Wire fame), The Legendary Pink Dots, and Coil, but I must admit I can only see the influence of the latter. Despite the fact that there are voices used, it's hard to detect them. That makes the idea of popsongs a bit more difficult. Quite 'present' ambient music or quite 'lush' pop-music, and whereas not always the newest or hottest thing in town, it's surely executed with great care and imagination.
~ Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly
Dal sottosuolo americano la Silber riesce sempre ad estrarre talenti preziosissimi. Come quello di Martin Newman che con l’aiuto in pratica di un solo basso fender riesce a costruire musica gotica ed evocativa dal forte impatto emotivo. Martin sperimenta con lo stesso vocabolario dei Coil e dei Legendary Pink Dots anche se poi la sua arte risente del bagaglio di psichedelia che porta con sé la sua terra. Non stupisce quindi che Unfortunates sembra essere un vecchio tema western di John Barry riarrangiato da Mike Van Portfleet. Né che Kalifornia, pur partendo con un omaggio ai Cure di “Pornography”, si trasformi presto in una danza che impressionerebbe il talento visionario di David Lynch. Quando Martin usa la voce (in One Hundreds, Crucify You e la già citata Unfortunates) lo fa in modo assolutamente non convenzionale, filtrandola attraverso un pedale tremolo che le dona un vibrato da B-movie di fantascienza. Per gli amanti dell’oscurità.
~ Roberto Mandolini, Losing Today
Martin Newman guitarrista de Plumerai debuta en solitario con este proyecto llamado Goddakk. Apenas hay voces en "Monument to a ruined age" editado a comienzos del pasado año por Silber, pero sí encontrarás 9 arriesgadas composiciones de noise y paisajismo sonoro hechas para los amantes de la música incidental.
~ Mikel Herrero, Decadence Online