"I am not talking about steak...."
Eric McCalla | Denver, COLORADO | 04/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are not familiar with Diamanda Galas' extraordinary vocal capabiities, this is the disc to introduce you to them. These 2 recordings, LITANIES OF SATAN and WILD WOMEN WITH STEAK KNIVES, were recorded in the early 80s in London. The background story behind the production of WWWSK is particularly interesting. Seek out a copy of Forced Exposure magazine from 1989. Diamanda's interview will give you so much insight into her creative processes. She talks about literally being awake for more than 24 hours, fueled by caffeine among other things, and laboring through the recording process for WWWSK with producer Dave Hunt in a freezing London basement. Sound boards crashing, microphones blowing out, and numerous re-takes are all in a normal day's "work" for Miss Galas. Best of all her sense of humor really comes through in her interviews. WWWSK is an aural "exploration" for lack of a better word, of a woman in the throes of schizophrenia. Mixing glossolalia, reverb, spatial delay, signal processing, and multi-tracking, Galas brings out the many complex layers of this woman's psyche. There is much terror and humor in her "words", sometimes the two emotions colliding in the same sound-space. You will understand what I mean only upon hearing it numerous times. Each listening brings a new experience to the listener.What is so amazing to me is that I have been playing this for more than 11 years, and it still sounds and is BEYOND the avant-garde in music. To call her art "music" is in many ways a disservice. What Galas does is so much more. Her compositions take the listener into places of the human experience most of us will never know. It is her unique ability to communicate psychological, emotional and psychical states of consciousness with such force and clarity that keeps her from being merely 'categorized' for the comfort of art and music critics alike. She will continue to drag the art, music and social critics kicking and screaming into the future that is her particular style of Expressionism."O, Satan, prends pitie de ma longue misere...""
The Litanies Of Satan ~ Diamanda Galas
Thijs | Groesbeek, Gelderland Netherlands | 02/24/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, this is the weirdest record I own! Diamanda Galas has a voice that cannot be described. On this album there are two pieces, Wild Women With Steak-Knives and The Litanies of Satan. WWWSk features Galas screaming over and over like a madman. Her voices carries higher then I have ever heard! The Litanies Of Satan is a version of a poem by a French autor. This is a really creepy album, but if you like challenging art/music, this is the album for you!"
Uneven but technically interesting
P. Stranger | CA, USA | 05/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Few albums transcend their material. You are always consciously aware that you're listening to the past--to some recording of a stale event. This generally deadens the impact of the music compared to a live performance. Litanies of Satan is different in that regard. If you can accept Diamanda's performance style on this album which is almost, but not entirely, cacophony, then close your eyes and take a ride. It's as if she's singing from the base of her spine all the way through the top of her head and the music communicates that experience.The titular song builds and descends several times as Diamanda interprets Baudelaire's poem as an invocation. Though the poem could be read timidly as a long plea for respite, she unwaveringly shrieks the pain that brings someone to side with her tormentor. Eventually she identifies with her subject and speaks with his voice. At the climax, the relationship resembles schizophrenia until a single voice emerges from the din bringing the event to a (somewhat unsatisfactory) close."Wild Women with Steaknives" lacks the power of "Litanies of Satan," but being less ridden with effects her voice and style are free to speak for themselves. In this regard her later work shows growth as the song is interesting more on a technical level than an emotional one. Schrei X is an evolution of the "Wild Women" sound that succeeds emotionally although being more vocally minimalist. Of all of Diamanda's albums, I have difficulty determining the message behind this one. Rarely (if ever) does she sing without intent, but the two songs on this disc fail to cohere like her later work. The album The Singer has a similar problem. In both cases, it seems more like she's trying out a singing style to see how it fits. Once comfortable, she begins to use the style as a medium as opposed to an exercise. Plague Mass serves as a better introduction to this side of her music, while Malediction & Prayer better covers the more melodic aspect."