The Witch Haven

by Shinjuku Thief

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about

2002 | The close of the highly acclaimed trilogy. Dark postclassical compositions, alternating between poignantly lyrical and furiously dramatic, set amongst disturbed supernatural soundscapes, and an unsettling cinematic sound design.

r e v i e w s :
'The Witch Haven' is the final piece in Shinjuku Thief's 'Witch' trilogy, and like the other releases in the series, it submerges the listener into a world choking on religious zeal and ancient superstition. Ghouls and lynch mobs roam this countryside at night, lurching over plague corpses and pagan altars.

The music is darkly orchestral, shifting from hauntingly romantic and expressive to violent and hideously absurd. Shinjuku Thief (Darrin Verhagen) builds on this uneasy balance with rich textures from acoustic instruments, such as the clarinet, viola and trumpet, setting a palpable evil to lurk in the tracks.

On 'Waking at dusk' the wails and whines from trumpet and strings are like cries emanating from an unkempt cemetery, with piano notes falling like raindrops on the tombstones.

⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️
A persistent hissing skitters through the track, sounding like a needle scratching into the inside grooves of a forgotten record. Further along, 'The Witches' ladder' rushes past the ears like a blasting wind, carrying disembodied words that tangle and twist in the air. On 'The White Lady' these utterances grow into a litany of incorporeal weeping and shrieking, similar in style to Diamanda Galas' vocal attacks, though not as intense. 'Procession of souls' takes this supernatural pain and transforms it into a solemn requiem replete with lush strings and what sounds like processed bagpipes or accordion to add to the unearthly nature of the sorrow.

This mix of melody and abstractness - and of the electronic with the acoustic - leads to compositions that sound incredibly full, as if they were performed by an orchestra rather than by mainly one musician. 'The Witch Haven' is a stunning finale to the 'Witch' trilogy, as absolute and silencing as the reverberation of a coffin lid closing in a basilica. The only question left to ponder as the disc ends is why haven't horror and suspense film directors picked up Verhagen as a sublime choice for scoring their movies?

Michael Woodring - sonomu.net
⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️
A Red Room/A Slow Dance' opens with a cluster of mysterious voices murmuring beneath droning synths and maudlin strings, punctured by sudden, jarring orchestral jolts; afterward, a more concise expression of weary moodiness sways to the forefront. 'The White Lady' emits a strangled cry, amidst eerie voices that ride the frozen wind through forests of unnerving dread; it is the cry of the supernatural, the cackle of witches, a chorus of fevers that never break. A macabre joviality is ambushed by mournful synths, only to be desecrated by cosmic debris of an electronic origin on 'An Event Near The Commons At Dusk.' The Witch Haven is a succinct, majestic, and slightly deranged climax to one of the most well-crafted, inventive series within music of any genre.

JC Smith - Outburn
⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️
Edge of the Wilderness/Black cockerel White stick" recalls German cabaret music-if played by the ghosts of the patrons of some long forgotten Berlin dive. "Blood and Fat" almost breathes a sigh of relief, but then there's that title...Verhagen's ability to set and sustain an unsettling mood is nothing short of stunning, and it's rightly made him an in-demand soundtrack composer in his native Australia. No actual celluloid he scores, however, will be nearly as frightening as the one you create in your mind while The Witch Haven plays. Don't listen to Shinjuku Thief with the lights off.

For fans of: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Mortiis, the soundtrack to the game Fatal Frame 2

- Michael Toland
⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️

'The Witch Haven' is the final piece in Shinjuku Thief's 'Witch' trilogy, and like the other releases in the series, it submerges the listener into a world choking on religious zeal and ancient superstition. Ghouls and lynch mobs roam this countryside at night, lurching over plague corpses and pagan altars.

The music is darkly orchestral, shifting from hauntingly romantic and expressive to violent and hideously absurd. Shinjuku Thief (Darrin Verhagen) builds on this uneasy balance with rich textures from acoustic instruments, such as the clarinet, viola and trumpet, setting a palpable evil to lurk in the tracks.

On 'Waking at dusk' the wails and whines from trumpet and strings are like cries emanating from an unkempt cemetery, with piano notes falling like raindrops on the tombstones.
rho-xs.blogspot.com/2016/08/sundaze-1632.html

credits

released June 15, 2002

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Shinjuku Thief at Bandcamp:

The Scribbler | 1992
projektrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-scribbler
Succulent Blue Sway (Professor Richmann)
projektrecords.bandcamp.com/album/succulent-blue-sway-soundtrack-professor-richmann
The Witch Hammer | 1993
projektrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-witch-hammer
The Witch Hunter | 1995
projektrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-witch-hunter
The Witch Haven | 2002
projektrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-witch-haven
Black Garden (soundtrack) | 2020
projektrecords.bandcamp.com/album/black-garden-soundtrack
Winter Orbit (soundtrack) | 2020
projektrecords.bandcamp.com/album/winter-orbit-original-motion-picture-soundtrack
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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.

“Rosenthal’s own group, Black Tape for a Blue Girl, was an early exponent of darkwave’s hallmark mournful cabaret.” —Craig Hayes, Popmatters, 2013

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