Witchcraft - CDs

Witchcraft were a USA duo whose music was of a highly imaginative and original style that was years ahead of its time. John Buehler - vocals, keyboards, drum machines, percussion, vocoder & design. Andrew Arbetter - guitar. Although Witchcraft have sadly disbanded, these two albums remain perennial favorites and are testament to a genuinely original talent that produced a genuinely original sound

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Album Reviews

Scattered Areas of Invisibility

Review by Steve Roberts, SMD.

Scattered Areas by Witchcraft - electronic rock instrumental music CD Dramatic, dark, pulsating sequencers begin 'The Certainty Principle' with a sampled space mission counting down to zero and take off which kick starts the track into a denser, more powerful assault. Ominous, whispered incantations, dense layers of percussion, treated sequences, more voice samples and strange effects take the piece through to its conclusion.

'Angel Dust' begins in almost complete contrast with minimalist effects before a gentle, almost subliminal dream-like melody begins accompanied with treated, ethereal female vocals. The overall effect is vaguely pleasant, but a sense of unease is created and I could imagine this piece, and others, being highly effective soundtrack material for a Stephen King film. 'First Point of Aries' is in similar mood, but with more rhythms and this time with a heavily treated male vocal intoning enigmatic lyrics. Female voices weave hypnotically in and out of the mix and melodic colour is subtly added. 'Capture the Flag' begins with a cacophony of effects set against a rhythm and a less effective melodramatic vocal. At around the two and a half minute mark the mix becomes a little less dense but the occasional vocals continue to jar, as do the harsh treatments which prevail over the melodic additions. This, for me, is a low point.

'Perihelion' is a minimalist track of cosmic effects, deeply buried, heavily echoed, or reversed voice samples, coded signals which, like most pieces on this album imbue some sense of impending menace. 'Flightwatch' begins with low drones and unsettling effects before a strong shuffling, ambient rhythms dominate the mix as sound effects dart from speaker to speaker. At around the four minute mark some melodicism is introduced before the effects return with a vengeance . 'Ultraviolet' is probably the most commercial cut, where Andrew Arbetter's hypnotic guitars are especially effective backing an excellent understated vocal performance. The effects are there, only used more sparingly, and add to the atmosphere of what is a good song, lyrically and melodically. The title track at over eleven and a half minutes is the longest piece and returns to the more impressionistic use of sound effects and samples to invoke an atmosphere that would be ideally suited to a Science Fiction film. Witchcraft's strength is that they sound like nobody else and often manage to evoke a sense of menace and unease. On one or two tracks they can be accused of self-indulgence, or appear to lose the plot a little, but overall, this is generally impressive and should appeal to those attracted to darker, more arcane and challenging music

Scattered Areas of Invisibility

Review by Backroadsmusic.com

Scattered areas cover artThis, the 2nd CD on the UK's AD Music label by Witchcraft, follows their acclaimed debut "As I Hide" by refining their blend of gothic electronica. Imaginative and subtle use of vocals and vocoder give this an otherworldly feeling. Coupled with great guitar playing, rhythms and atmospheric textures cleverly interwoven, Witchcraft craftily moves us through cosmic cruisers, powerhouse synths, ambient delicacy, and the mind-bending splendor of the title track.

The likely highlight track is the one closest in style to 'We Rest,' from "As I Hide". In a parallel universe somewhere, this gorgeous song, "Ultraviolet," is a number 1 hit single. You might just have to hear it to believe it.

As I Hide by Witchcraft

Review by Amazings.com

As I Hide by Witchcraft - electronic instrumental rock music CDIn the current alternative musical panorama, there are bands and artists that have something new to say and others that don't. Witchcraft no doubt belong to the former. From the precise instant of the beginning of the album, we witness a display of creative, sonic energy of a high degree. None of the themes included in the album goes to waste. Synthesizers and guitars, percussion and vocals, everything is aimed at a work that in some instances overwhelms the audience. As I Hide shows that electronic music has not abandoned the originality that characterized it in the beginning. Also magnificent is the album cover, which becomes a poster.

As I Hide by Witchcraft

Review by Sonic Boom.com

As i Hide by Witchcraft - instrumental electronic rock music CD Witchcraft has taken some of the best elements from space rock, traditional industrial and ambient music and cast a spell upon their debut album. The end result is the creation of a fuzzy dreamlike atmosphere when experiencing the album in it's totality from start to finish. Creative sound dispersion and sample alteration function brilliantly within a mesh of abstract percussion and sequencing that evoke a vibrant almost happy go lucky style of music. One might even go far as to suggest that they are developing an bubblegum style of pop music which just happens to utilize a large portion of non pop oriented musical techniques.

Witchcraft unwrapped a fresh look into what has been an increasingly single facet ambient genre. Instead of focusing of exorbitant soundscapes and aural whitewashes, Witchcraft has tried to develop depth and change within their orchestration. A few of the tracks even have a lyrical accompaniment which accentuates the music as opposed to detracting from it as it would in a traditional ambient arrangement. If you've become bored with some of the more popular ambient artists perhaps you should give Witchcraft a chance to enlighten your palette and broaden your musical mind.

As I Hide

Review by Graham Getty, SMD.

As i hide by Witchcraft - instrumental electronic rock music CD This is the debut CD from US band Witchcraft who are Andrew Arbetter on Guitar, and John Buehler on everything else including vocals. 'Mindfire Wish' is a provocative opener which juxtaposes heavy rhythmics with ambient synth touches and some impressive guitar work. Whispered speech adds another dimension to the sound. 'Open Ways' features a loping rhythm and treated vocals and is the type of track which doesn't do that much yet leaves a lasting impression. 'X-Position' repeats the formula and adds pulsating sequences to the mix, and again it's a thought provoking offering. The track fades into 'Abstentia' which presents some of the scariest effects and noises I've heard.

Try listening to this with the lights out! 'Return to Me' serves strained vocals upon a bed of freshly tossed rhythmics and ambient effects. 'Iridescent' is a potent, almost disturbing, mixture of elements which again has massive presence and meaning. This is heavy, dark matter which will appeal to those whose tastes lean towards the Gothic, industrial, and supernatural. Now and again a track comes along which really grabs the imagination and cannot be ignored. 'We Rest' is such a track. Brilliant Vocoder vocals toy with latent synth layers as waves wash around the soundstage. It's an absolutely fascinating piece of modern ambience which I'm sure will sound as fresh in 10 year's time. Amazingly the blistering form continues with 'Cathedral' which is probably the most commercial piece on the album with superb rhythmics and sequences interplaying with fine guitar which is judged to perfection. The final track 'Love on a Battleship' opens with a drum roll, throws in some more of those scary effects then launches into an orgy of samples to end the album in real "off the wall" fashion. This is a truly inventive and potent album which constantly challenges the listener yet still maintains a cohesive focus. On this form Witchcraft are a real find.

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