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|So the circle cannot fade
It turns in endless ways
It turns its endless days
-- "Equal ways", Xymox
|(Clan Of) Xymox
Dark clouds will descend
Here where all broken hearts
Cherish solitude in the dark.
-- "Doubt", from the LP Creatures, 1999
"The best thing about Subsequent Pleasures was that one day, when I was promoting the mini-album in Nijmegen, I met Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance in a restaurant. They were having dinner at the same table I was sitting at, and they told me they were the support act of the Cocteau Twins. After talking for a while, they invited me to see the show, and asked me to come backstage after they played. This was my first real life encounter with 4AD artists. I gave Brendan a copy of Subsequent Pleasures, and we kept in contact. A few weeks later, he asked me if Clan of Xymox wanted to do a tour with them in the U.K. Of course we felt honored and accepted the invitation. Soon, Ivo Watts, the label boss of 4AD, offered us a recording contract. As they say, the rest is history. Over that history, nothing remained the same for us musically. If a band repeats their sound every time, it gets old really fast. A band should evolve, and take each album as an opportunity for new ideas."
-- Ronny Moorings, Xymox
"Clan of Xymox is centered around Ronny Moorings, founder and only permanent member of the group. The Dutch band started in 1984 with their first demo album 'Subsequent Pleasures' that got them a contract with 4-AD label. The band was originally composed of Ronny Moorings, Anka Wolbert and Pieter Nooten at the time, with occasional stage contributions by Frank Weyzig and Willem Van Antwerpen.
Their first full-length self-titled album was released in 1985 followed by 'Medusa' in 1987; both albums still stand as two of the most solid dark wave efforts of all time. In 1989, the band changed their name to Xymox and released 'Twist of Shadows', an LP that got the Clan visibility in the North American scene with synth-dance hits like A Million Things, Evelyn, Obsession and Craving.
1991 saw a substantial change in the group's music style, drifting towards the commercial dance techno hype. Ronny admits that the "Xymox was in a real identity crisis" at that time, and this crisis extended through the first part of the 90s with the release of 'Metamorphosis' in 1992 and 'Headclouds' in 1993. In 1991, after the release of the album 'Phoenix', both Anka and Pieter left the band. Fortunately for old Clan of Xymox veterans, Ronny came back to his senses and produced the album Hidden Faces in 1997 returning to the old name of the band CLAN OF XYMOX, hence sending a signal to electro-goth and dark music lovers that this album was a logical follow-up to 'Medusa'... with a modern 90s touch. The current line-up includes Ronny, Mojca, Nina, Rob Vonk and Rui Ramos. Recently, the Clan released a new album titled Creatures... and it's darker than ever!"
-- Said Sukkarieh, musicfolio.com, 6/99
¾ 1984: Subsequent Pleasures
The first six tracks are rather poorly recorded versions of songs featured later-on on their self-titled album. This is the original demo version that got them a deal with 4AD. The last five songs are the Subsequent Pleasures recordings. This CD was released in 1994; the songs were recorded in 1984.
½ 1985: Clan of Xymox
"(...) flat-out dynamite, easily ranking among my all-time favorites. Few other CDs blend songcraft, danceable undercurrents and haunting lyrical sensibilities as seamlessly as this one does. It ebbs and flows nicely between driving rhythmic tracks and calmer, more emotive melodies. Although there isn't a bad song in the lot, my personal favorite is "cry in the wind" (track 4), which builds to a crescendo that still electrifies me 12 years after hearing it for the first time."
-- firstname.lastname@example.org, Amazon reviews
"(...)Heavy, dark atmosphere, a lot of lush electronics, quirky disco beats with interlaced percussion for truly moving and original rhythms, a lot of great effects and strummed acoustic guitar, three nice voices and the kind of brilliant, well thought out songwriting design that just builds these incredible musical fabrics...".
1989: Twist of Shadows
"On this album Xymox brake their shell of depression and agonies of love (well not quite!, the words still flow in the same line of thought) to produce more accessible synth music with danceable beats, featuring songs somehow similar to A Day from their debut album. And I use the word 'danceable' referring to the smoky dark underground dancefloors. Unlike their following three albums, the electronic layering on this CD appeals to their early following of gothic music fans."
-- Said Sukkarieh, musicfolio.com, 6/99
Track Listing: Phoenix of my Heart, At the end of the day, The shore down under, Mark the Days, Believe me sometimes, Wonderland, Written in the Stars, Dancing Barefoot, Crossing the Water, Smile like Heaven.
Besides the track Believe me sometimes, the album is a total waste of energy. What better than Ronny's words to describe the album:
"In 1991, with the release of the 'Phoenix' LP, Xymox was in a real identity crisis. At the time, all sorts of people were telling me in what direction the band should go. I was living in London then, and I think the worst thing about that city is that everyone wants you to be the hippest on the scene. You can't help but get caught up in that musical trap. That's why there is on 'Phoenix' an indication of moving towards a sort of dance style... "
Track Listing: Sedated, Dream on, Tightrope Walker, B who U wanna B, XDD, Revolve, Love Me, Awakening, Real, High & Low
Yet another deceiving techno experiment.
½ 1997: Hidden Faces
"Hidden Faces is indeed a superb album - maybe their best to date. There's plenty of different material on it to welcome back any old die-hard Clan of Xymox enthusiast. The song November has a certain resemblance to some Dead Can Dance songs, which is probably due to the fact that John A. Rivers produced it, along with several other songs on the album."
-- Jason Hullinger, Propaganda" Hidden Faces is a classic goth album, with enough contemporary elements to make it relevant. They stick to a basic goth tapestry, with echoes of the Sisters, but no blatant rip-offs. They weave in 80s electro synths, mixed with current goth sounds, like the choral singing and tribal drums on "Wailing Wall", and a vocal style that is all their own, melodic singing with a really listenable hint of a germanic accent... This is varied, eclectic, playful, but above all it's goth, at its most interesting."
-- sortedmagazine.com/Sordid.php3, May 98
½ 1999: Creatures
"This time, I concentrated on a more consistent, darker sound."
-- Ronny Moorings, Clan of Xymox"'Creatures' reveals a gloomy deep-voiced side of Ronny that even long time fans will have a hard time recognizing. Jasmine and Rose would fit perfectly on the Sisters of Mercy's 'First and Last and Always', Taste of Medicineborrows elements from Peter Murphy's music style, while The Cure meet the Xymox on the track Waterfront, ... and every other track on this album plunges us deeper into the darkest sounds of Gothism. The Clan have put together a masterpiece, raising the bar of challenge."
Musicfolio picks: Consolation, Jasmine and Rose, All I Have.
-- Said Sukkarieh, musicfolio.com, 6/99
A live collection of some of the Clan's jewels, ranging from their classics of 1984 and 1985 to their latest album Creatures.
2001: Notes from the Underground
"Combining elements from their past, present, and future, Clan of Xymox mix haunting and atmospheric synth lines with dark rhythms, powerful beats and lively guitar strumming to yield an album based on agony and anguish caused by being disconnected from society. Notes from the Underground is sure to prove that goth isn't dead, nor are the Clan of Xymox. In the mid eighties, Clan of Xymox helped define the very beginning of the electro-gothic movement. Rejoin them now as they further define its future."
2002: Remixes from the Underground
'Notes from the Underground' remixed by synthpop and EBM bands: VNV Nation, Diary of Dreams vs Haujobb, Front 242, Assemblage 23, In Strict Confidence, Beborn Beton, Sophya, Iris, and others.
"One of the big boys, and they certainly dont disappoint, because this has class from top to tail. I didnt follow the clearly serious depth which the lyrics hold, being on certain themes of regret because often the vocals are kept gently obscured by the frothy mix, which is not the best use of a good voice, but I was transfixed by the sheer translucent opulence of these songs which are grand without being pompous, and eerie without being remote. Its richly textured and rapacious at times, little lines streaming out a fairly secretive beat. For the most part the songs ooze quality and work as a group of tracks, without standout songs, but Theres No Tomorrow with cool/cruel samples is a blistered item of feverish luxury, and Dark Mood can do bleak while sleek, and be creepy yet sounding pretty, tremendously arresting with an extended otherworldly ending. This makes for a great central part of the record as it moves onto One More Time with a guitar line Ive heard elsewhere, on a song with deft strings and an ever-building surging feel, that then tapers off with Its Not Enough which is a plain rocker in the Psy Furs mould and utterly wonderful. Theres the charming glide of Losing My Head, the clanking sharp twists of Into Extremes and the addictive neon neural deodorant that is the clean, dry Courageous. True, the opening vocals are a bit Eldritchy, but it picks up nicely afterwards. You cant go wrong with this, as it fills your room without being too demanding, allowing you to fully appreciate and get to grips with exquisite emotional etchings."
-- Mick Mercer, mickmercer.com, 8/03
2004: Best of Clan of Xymox
TrackListing: 01. There's No Tomorrow 02. Jasmine and Rose 03. I Want You Now 04. A Day 05. Louise 06. Consolation 07. This World 08. Innocent 09. Into Extremes 10. Out Of The Rain 11. Muscoviet Mosquito 12. Back Door 13. Farewell 14. Stranger
"The idea with The Best Of was to pick an average of two songs from each C.O.X. album released till now. To make this not just a compilation, but a more special record, I chose to re-record five songs from the 4AD era simply because sometimes you feel you want to make it even better than the original without altering the initial atmosphere and sounds and what bigger challenge could there be than this! The most difficult task was to pick the best of song - but with the help of our fans who voted for their favorite songs online we finally got the resulting tracks. Here so far the story ends with the best of Clan Of Xymox tracks. Whilst listening to the final running order as listed here I just got swept from period to period, remembering all kind of people and situations. I am sure you too will have memories with certain tracks, so all I want to say to you now is: cherish your moments in life!"
-- Ronny Moorings, Clan of Xymox
2006: Breaking Point
TrackListing: 01. Weak In My Knees 02. Calling You Out 03. She's Dangerous 04. Eternally 05. We Never Learn 06. Be My Friend 07. Cynara 08. Pandora's Box 09. Under The Wire 10. What's Going On?
"Featuring searing guitar lines, strong bass sounds mixed with atmospheric and powerful synths and Ronny Mooring's deep, sensuous and harmonic voice 'Breaking Point' delivers all of Xymox's trademark sounds and references offered in their iconic and unique style. This 'classic' sound is no more evident than on album opener and first single Weak In My Knees - a club hit par excellence : mighty tunes, powerful chorus line, a perfect sing-a-long melody which catches the listener in an instant. The following track Calling You Out shows them from their darker, even more aggressive side with straight guitar lines and no compromises, while Shes Dangerous is yet another dancefloor hit - complete with infectious synth lines, driving rhythms and a permenant hook. Eternally, We Never Learn and Cynara are songs that will capture the hearts of their older fans immediately - quiet, almost introspective, slow, thoughtful and eternal. Be My Friend presents another powerful club hit while album closers Pandoras Box - forms an interlude into the aggressive song Under The Wire (a track that demonstrates perfectly the rockier side of Clan Of Xymox) and finally Whats Going On? a melodic masterpiece that demands replaying."
½ 2009: In Love We Trust
TrackListing: 01. Emily 02. Hail Mary 03. Desdemona 04. Judas 05. In Love We Trust 06. Sea Of Doubt 07. Morning Glow 08. Home Sweet Home 09. Love Got Lost 10. On A Mission
"Along with label mates such as Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance, COXs dark electro-gothic approach to music quickly became the benchmark by which all other bands to follow were judged. Now, in the bands twenty fifth year, Clan of Xymox present In Love We Trust. The stunning new opus adroitly combines the early melancholic 4AD sound of the band with the glimmering synthesizer sounds of the 90s and the power of classic darkwave. Past and present are perfectly combined to showcase the music that has kept Clan of Xymox relevant and popular after all this time."
-- press release"... You can hear Ronny's bitter sorrow on In Love We Trust to the downbeat yearnings of Sea of Doubtand the melancholy of Morning Glow will leave you longing for more. The ballad-like Home Sweet Home follows about a disembodied soul transitioning to the elegiacal melody of Love Got Lost and concludes with On A Mission which was released previously on the 'Heroes' EP and is slightly altered and improved here. (...) Past and present collide with a resplendent timelessness and It's hard to believe this band has kept going for 25 years and they never get old with a longevity and sustenance that consecrates their music like fine aged wine."
-- Dave Cordes, amazon customer review, 8/09
¼ 2011: Darkest Hour
TrackListing: 01. My Reality 02. Delete 03. My Chicane 04. Dream Of Fools 05. Deep Down I Died 06. In Your Arms Again 07. She Did Not Answer 08. Tears Ago 09. The Darkest Hour 10. Wake Up My Darling
"Darkest Hour is a true electro/darkwave album in that it could easily be played in a "modern" thump thump goth club without too much attention paid to the music its self. Unfortunately that doesnt sit well with me as I'm a huge COX fan and the words, music, and mood are equally important to me. The lyrics on this album hit rock bottom. Phrases like "I'm feeling lost, I'm feeling Jack Frost." Um, WHAT? Or, "I wrote your name in the sand, I didn't know it was no man's land." The zinger of the album is Delete, with its uber-repetitive chorus - Delete Delete Delete Delete etc. I couldn't sing that song without feeling like an idiot, I'm sorry. Ronnie has never been the most amazing lyricist, but he always wrote something that fit the music in the past. As far as the music goes, I really don't have much to say. No hooks or major goth rock melodies that has made past COX albums so good. Just repetitive low-end synth hooks that have been played to death. Instead of fresh melodies, we get monotony instead. Such a shame. So it appears, at least for the time being, that the well has dried for Ronnie Moorings and Clan of Xymox. In all honesty, I'm not majorly disappointed. This is the first COX album that I have not enjoyed in some way or another. There is always bound to be one album that stinks from a band as legendary and prolific as COX. The fact that Ronnie has made it to 2011 with as many classics as he has made is an acheivement in its self."
-- Herbert West, amazon customer review, 5/11
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