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Excelsis 1 (A dark noel)

by Various Artists

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j1mbabwe thumbnail
j1mbabwe Best Christmas/holiday album I've ever heard. Favorite track: Love Spirals Downwards: Welcome Christmas.
Lars Gotrich
Lars Gotrich thumbnail
Lars Gotrich Carols into obsidian yuletide beauties. Favorite track: Love Spirals Downwards: Welcome Christmas.
Michael Hasenfang
Michael Hasenfang thumbnail
Michael Hasenfang I own the hard copy of this album, but it is possibly getting a little scratchy after all these years. So, might as well have a back up, just in case, heh. Hands down my favorite Christmas album; right next to its sequel disk. :) I REALLY wish you would make a third. Merry Christmas! Favorite track: Area: O Come Emmanuel.
Dirk thumbnail
Dirk Forget about "Last Christmas" - THIS is my soundtrack for that certain time of the year. For more than 20 years now... Favorite track: Area: O Come Emmanuel.


There is now a 2021 remaster version on LP, CD & Digital:

This is the one that started it all! Projekt’s 1995 Holiday compilation. A classic!

Dark holiday tracks from all your favorites. Spend the holidays in style this year. No more barking dogs or Perry Como for you, uh-uh! While away the frigid hours until the important day with strains of Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s crusade “Chanukkah, Oh Chanukkah,” Lycia’s darkly sensual “We Three Kings,” Love Spirals Downwards’ “Welcome Christmas” (from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas), or Faith and the Muse bringing you the pagan madrigal “A Winter Wassail.” There’s also Arcanta’s “Carol of the Bells” (their first release on Projekt ever) and Attrition’s cut-up “Silent Night.” All graced by our lovely Dark Angel prepared to brighten many a dark holiday night. Spend the season right, this year. Turn down the lights . . . it’s a dark noel!

From The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
The Projekt label’s coven of gothic artists does emphasize the night in “Silent Night” and other seasonal songs on this intriquing 15-track set. But Christmas in the hands of Arcanta, Thantos and Love Spirals Downwards, among others, is not quite as stygian as the name suggests. Eerie, trance-like reworkings of “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” and “Carol of the Bells” seem to urge deep, Druid thought, not dread. Consider this a good time to go commune with the gargoyle statuary at your local cathedral.

From The Boston Phoenix
December 14 – 21, 1995: Various luminaries of goth, including Lycia, Eva O., and This Ascension, cover traditional holiday fare in this 15-track compilation. Love Spirals Downward applies a Cocteau Twins-like sound to “Welcome Christmas” with Suzanne Perry’s angelic vocals. Autopsia’s “Still Nacht” features ghostly winds and ominous sounds lurking beneath a pretty German chorus of “Silent Night.” Lovesliescrushing’s “Jingle Bells (Snowblower)” is full of gritty guitar noise that completely masks the original melody. Faith & the Muse lend their Renaissance rendition of “A Winter Wassail.” And led by an eerie group of singers, Black Tape for a Blue Girl’s “Chanukkah O Chanukkah” brims with dark gothic overtones. For balance, there are a few more-traditional renditions, such as “O Come All Ye Faithful.” This is the perfect Xmas album to play for friends and family to make the holiday just a wee bit weird. – Bryan Reesman

From HUH #16
Though the Excelsis: a dark noel compilation sounds like it might be gothic, it’s more the work of monks than moshers. The emphasis on spacey, ethereal vocals makes this seem like This Mortal Coil on an eggnog bender, and that’s not a bad thing. The prettiest of the lot, this is a beautiful collection of tracks for trimming the tree or buring your own yule log.

From Carpe Noctem #4
I must admit when I first heard that Projekt was going to release a compilation of Christmas songs, I was a tad skeptical. What I envisioned was a slew of dirgy versions of time honored classics. Imagine Shadow Project doing “White Christmas” and you’ll get the idea. Instead, Sam Rosenthal has managed to pull together an intriguing collection of Darkwave artists doing truly heartfelt renditions of Christmas songs, both known and obscure. A major highlight is Love Spiral Downwards’ version of “Welcome Christmas,” you know — the song the Who children sing in The Grinch. Other high points are Faith and the Muse’s traditional interpretation of “A Winter Wassail” and black tape for a blue girl’s wonderful version of “Chanukkah, Oh Chanukkah.” A delightful surprise is This Ascension’s “Carol of the Bells,” which shows a side of the band I, for one, would love to see more of. This rich vocal treatment displays a more ethereal, less rock driven, sound which may prove to be a fertile field of untapped potential for the band. All in all, this compilation is a must-have for fans of both holiday music and the Projekt sound. This release shows a delightful and sentimental view of favorite holidays by artists not afraid to remember what it was like to be a kid anxiously awaiting the annual visit by the jolly fat man in a red suit. I just many never have to play my Elvis Sings Christmas again, now that I have this divine collection. – Solipsist


released December 24, 1995


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Projekt Records Portland, Oregon

Projekt is America's premier independent label specializing in passionately intense introspective music in the ambient, electronic, ethereal & darkwave genres.

39-year-old Projekt is home to Steve Roach, Erik Wøllo, Michael Stearns, Black Tape For A Blue Girl, Aurelio Voltaire and many others. The label continues to nurture the careers of its select roster of artists.
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