the Deadfly Ensemble
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the Deadfly Ensemble

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"Deadfly Ensemble: An Entire Wardrobe of Doubt and Uncertainty"

I have in my possession the premiere release of The Deadfly Ensemble's An Entire Wardrobe of Doubt and Uncertainty. I was, of course, the last person to receive it. Like the last person picked for teams in Dodge Ball. Still, it's better late than never and better than not being picked at all.

Deadfly Ensemble goes where no Cinema Strange has gone before. It is a collection of thoughts and dreams, nightmares and sounds. Less rock and more art, it's a musical look inside the gurgling mind of Luc Lanthier. The difference is, you either get it or you don't. Chances are, if you're reading this review, you already get it and probably already have it.

The Deadfly Ensemble is Luc Lanthier's gift. As they say, art is perspective. What is beautiful to one person, is hideous to another. Sometimes it's both. Sometimes it's poetry. On the track "A Million Flies" Luc's voice is echoed and duplicated and re-recorded might imagine that the homeless man on the bus bench hears something similar. When he talks to himself, he's responding to this song. I've often wondered if perhaps Luc has managed to tap into the dark recesses of his mind, scraping off the black and setting it to music.

This album, while the heart beats of Luc Lanthier, is a collaboration of artists including Andi Sex Gang. For years, Cinema Strange has been compared to Sex Gang Children, so it seems only fitting that Luc could work with Andi. While the entire album is divine, the closing song "Kriminaltango", (a German Schlager song, duetted with Sex Gang) is the shining example, the apple of this CD's eye.

There's no doubt that Luc's skills as a musician have blossomed. You get the impression that he isn't trying to be anything, he just is. The true artists are nothing more than the sum of their art. The sum of Luc's art is boundless and infinite. He's tapped into something here. It goes beyond experimental art music and into the stuff of drama and tragedy, minstrels and death, poetry and song. Planned or not, it's sublime.

This 2 CD release comes with what is being called a "Behind-The-Scenes Featurette". A separate CD that is meant to be akin to a radio drama. It's about an hour long and I listened to about 15 minutes straight and scanned the rest. I actually think I'm missing something. There are various voices in the background including Luc and Andi Sex Gang. Several vocal tracks are laid over one another and I couldn't separate the voices to acquire a single, uniform, theme. I imagine that Luc and company are listening to the album and commenting on their ideas, the production, etc. It just came off as garbled mess. At first I thought it was a DVD, but it's just an audio track. The audio itself lapses into audible and inaudible. Rather than commentary, it appears to be just a bunch of guys talking. Perhaps like the album itself, the commentary is an exercise in the strange. I guess if you're into that, it's cool.

Commentary aside, this has got to be my favorite release of the year. Instances of German film noir mixed in with Weimar era cabaret, dance delicately with the incalculable twists and turns of insanity. It's a beautiful thing.

More appropriately, the Deadfly Ensemble are Luc Lanthier and James Powell, with studio production by Ashkelon Sain (previously Trance to the Sun) with guest appearance by Andi Sex Gang.

This CD is available direct from the artist via their website.

Reviewer: Cinka
Added: Saturday, June 10, 2006
Score: five stars (out of five)

- Dark Culture webzine (USA)

"Deadfly Ensemble album review"

The Deadfly Ensemble - An Entire Wardrobe of Doubt and Uncertainty

Cabaret folk?, maybe but we must sign that this release has some links with Cinema Strange, that you ll realize only if you have the cd. The keyboards appears in the first track that starts with the voice of Lucas (and backing rare whispers), yes we are talking of "BRUISE ANIMALS" that contains an enigmatic guitar that follows the lyrics and the la la la words (incredible, you must have this). This and the next one posseses five minutes of gorgeous tunes, yes! "MIDSUMMER WILLIAM" that only has the acoustic guitar and his voice!.

The next songs are "BLACK CAPPED CHAPLAINS" with an alternative style that has a perfect mix of percusion-guitar, "MILLION OF FLIES" -mix of several voices- and "THE ANATOMIST" that gives more consistence to the acoustic.

Did you remember the Matt Howden years with Sol Invictus?, well the sixt track "C's Kiss" contains some of those influences, while "IN DEFENSE OF A THREEPENNY PURSE" is a cabaret folk in all their words!, with again the enigmatic voice of Lanthier (sometimes similar to Sopor Aeternus?).

In general this release contains changes of rhytm, that sometimes give some songs tunes similar to theatre piece music. For example, "THE FLIGHT OF THE INVISIBLE SIAMESE THREE-YEARS-OLDS" and "AN ENTIRE WARDROBE OF DOUBT AND UNCERTAINTY" (with some links with the DEATH IN JUNE acoustic style) have the perfect lyrics for a rare story.

The tenth tracks is followed by "MARIMBA IMPROVISATION Nº. 29" (you should know what it contains) and the short "HORSE OF THE MOOR". The final tracks are "TEE MIT HONIG", a delightful interpretation of many feelings (Sopor Aeternus again ????), the instrumental "CLOSING REMARKS" and the beauty "KRIMINAL TANGO" as a duo (with Andy Sexgang!) that for any seconds made me remember to my hero Klaus Nomi.

This version contains inself all the lyrics, a poster and in the limited edition contains a second CD with fifty minutes of commentaries from the release and some gigs, we can hear phone conversations, rare voices and noises too. Definitely a rare collection piece.

Added: Friday, July 14, 2006
Reviewer: Reynaldo Gonzales
Score: 5 (of 5)

- the Sanctuary webzine (Switzerland)

"Deadfly Ensemble Album Review"

After two CINEMA STRANGE albums frontman Lucas Lanthier now melts the hearts of his fans with his solo album "An Entire Wardrobe Of Doubt And Uncertainty" and creates a fascinating masterpiece which dodges all categories. What Lucas Lanthier and his partners such as Andi Sex Gang and his Goth-Cabaret do on "An Entire Wardrobe Of Doubt And Uncertainty" can best be described as creepily beautiful. They combine the theatrical music of the 30's (silent movie music and Weimar cabaret ) with the CINEMA STRANGE-typical Batcave and relatively simple folk songs laced with insanity. These gloomily-bizarre but minimal arrangements are dominated by Lucas Lanthier's voice which is the true star of this album. Lucas' voice full of all-consuming and unworldly pain manages to impress with a variety and intensity that reminds one of David Tibet and helps him and his music to achieve magical fascination. Surreal and tragi-comical lyrics make this wonderful and fragile album just perfect. Furthermore, THE DEADFLY ENSEMBLE may even have contributed a potential club hit with the bonus single track "Kriminaltango".

The album comes presented as a limited, luxurious double digipak with special matt varnish and contains a 16 pages booklet and a bonus CD with an exclusive "Behind-The-Scenes Featurette" in the tradition of a radio play. Here Lucas Lanthier grants some very intimate insights into the making of the album. A real uncategorisable milestone in the continuing evolution of this artist...

- Darklight Nocturnal Entertainment (Germany)

"The Deadfly Ensemble"

Certains ont vu en Cinema Strange des opportunistes passéistes dont le seul talent consistait à remettre au goût du jour un style que l'électro avait depuis longtemps supplanté sur les dancefloors. C'était sans compter leur talent et leur personnalité. Souvenez-vous, déjà leur second opus révélait un goût marqué pour le cabaret et des structures plus audacieuses, mais ce n'était sans doute pas assez pour leur chanteur Lucas Lanthier qui nous livre ici le premier cd de son side-project. Post-punks, batcaves étroits d'esprit, passez votre chemin, rien ici ne vous portera contentement ! En effet, 'An entire wardrobe of doubt and uncertainty' est un album complexe et intense à l'écoute de par cette complexité. La base en est très cabaret folk, une extension des volontés de Cinema Strange débarrasée de tout relent post punk mais, à l'instar des Virgin Prunes à une certaine époque, Lucas s'en sert comme d'un cadre où libérer toutes ses pulsions, ses folies, d'où un certain nombre de pièces assez étranges. Citons 'Millions of flies', a cappella qui joue sur deux niveaux de voix et assume un côté faussement maladroit. Que dire de 'Marimba improvisation no 29' qui conjugue délires de boîte à rythme pour clavier à piles, improvisations de marimbas jouant sur les décalages, les accélérations... c'est un peu l'esprit de 'New form of beauty' que l'on retrouve ici, en plus ludique et moins industriel (feeling que l'on ressent mais en plus glauque sur l'instrumental 'Closina remarks'). On pourrait aussi signaler que Lucas semble apprécier de rallonger les finals par quelques notes là où tout le monde s'attend à passer à la piste suivante.

Pour le reste des chansons, parlons d'un cabaret assez allumé construit sur des arrangements de guitare, flirtant parfois avec le folk, de quelques cordes classiques, de restes batcave ('John fall apart John', 'Horse on the moor' qui se rapproche de...Cinema Strange !) et d'une percussion qui tout en rythmant l'ensemble lui donne de faux airs de fête foraine pour clowns funèbres. Silences, changements de tempi, coupures, accélérations, ralentissements sont comme des rois dans cet étrange théâtre surréaliste. Quant au chant, Lucas s'en donne à coeur joie, tour à tour poignant dans un rôle de mannequin brisé, fou, joueur, clown triste même proche d'un Sopor Aeternus cabaret sur 'Tee mit Honig'... mais LE chef-d'oeuvre de ce disque est un titre bonus, une reprise de 'Kriminal Tango' en duo avec Andi SexGang ! Autant le dire, c'est le meilleur titre du disque, même si plus classique, mêlant à la perfection en ses lignes l'essence du batcave dans ce qu'il a de plus théâtral et du cabaret dans ce qu'il a de plus fou et malsain. Les alternances des deux chants, le contraste entre les parties post punk (celles de Andi) et celles de Lucas, cabaret en diable, sont maîtrisées à la perfection. Un titre à se proccurer d'urgence pour tout fan du genre ! Quant au reste du disque, il vaut l'achat même si on peut reprocher parfois une certaine similitude d'écriture sur les morceaux. Son écoute requiert néanmoins un esprit ouvert et il y a fort à parier qu'il ne plaira pas à tous ; Lucas s'est fait plaisir et a pris des risques, ce qui est tout à son honneur.

A noter que l'édition limitée propose un booklet enrichi, un poster, un second cd avec près de 50 minutes de commentaires sur le disque, des gigs de Deadfly Ensemble accompagnés de bruits, de conversations téléphoniques, de superpositions de voix qui en font presque une sorte de spoken word expérimental (témoignant de l'état d'esprit du géniteur de cet opus !), tout ça dans un luxueux digipack !

- Spooky Radio (Switzerland)

"Lucas Lanthier- New Project"

Cuando Lucas Lanthier decidió que quería crear música al margen de Cinema Strange, surgió The Deadfly Ensemble, aventura musical para la que cuenta con la colaboración de James Powell, Marzia Rancel y Askelon Sain entre otros.

Ahora, tras más de 10 años en el mundo de la música junto a Cinema Strange, Lucas Lanthier ha lanzado su primer álbum con The Deadfly Ensemble y la verdad es que el resultado no podría haber sido mejor. Existen parecidos entre ambas formaciones, pero mientras que en los discos de Cinema Strange predominan los temas deathrockeros, aquí el deathrock es sólo un recurso más que comparte protagonismo con el folk oscuroy el rock cabaretero, consiguiendo de esta forma una teatralidad aún mayor y un trabajo mucho más intimista. El disco consta de 15 cortes entre los que encontraremos canciones acapella (‘Million of flies’), ritmos de valls (‘Bruise animals’), piezas dignas de un musical (‘In defence of a threepenny purse’), temas desoladores (‘The flight of the invisible siamese three-years-old’), experimentos sonoros (‘Marimba improvisation Nº29’) o poprock oscuro y lleno de dramatismo ('Horse on the moor').

Pese a la aparente sencillez de algunos cortes la producción es realmente buena y el cuidado con que se han elaborado todo y cada uno de los arreglos es increíble, por lo que la variedad es junto a la calidad una de las principales características del disco. Cuando escuchamos el álb pumueden venirnos a la cabeza muchas nombres de bandas ya que la voz de Lucas recuerda en muchas ocasiones a Anna Varney o al tono dramático de algunas canciones de Current 93 o Sol Invictus, algunas lineas de bajo pueden sonar a Two Lone Swordsmen e incluso a los primeros Cocteau Twins, y los temas más folk pueden guardar cierto parecido con algunos trabajos de Sopor Aeternus, pero si juntamos todo esto, obtenmos una colección de temas muy personales y llenos de sensibilidad y belleza. El principal protagonista de este trabajo es sin ninguna duda la voz de Lucas, lo que provoca que en muchas ocasiones podamos encontrar similitudes con Cinema Strange, pero posiblemente haya bastantes más diferencias que parecidos, aunque la tristeza y la oscuridad sean dos rasgos comunes. En cuanto a las letras, decir que son el complemento perfecto para la música que compone el señor Lanthier, debido a que en sus canciones cuenta hermosas historias en las que se unen lo bello y lo macabro.

A pesar de esperar un buen trabajo, el resultado ha sido mucho mejor de lo que esperaba, ya que The Deadfly Ensemble nos han traído un magnífico debut en el que encontramos todo lo que se le puede pedir a un disco: calidad, personalidad y variedad. Crucemos los dedos y confiemos en que el nuevo álbum de Cinema Strange mantenga bien alto el listón.

- Sonido Obscuro (Spain)

"The Deadfly Ensemble Debut Album Review"

Review by Aiden

After seeing Deadfly Ensemble perform at Drop Dead, I KNEW this CD would be good. I was so sure it would be good that I delayed opening it for several months. I wanted to savor the feeling of having it unopened on my desk, anticipating the day when I would actually listen to it. Strange, I know. When I finally opened it not long ago, it lived up to my every expectation. In the tradition of Cinema Strange, The Deadfly Ensemble is a very performance oriented experience which is visual as well as musical. And yet, music of The Deadfly Ensemble is just as effective. The production of “An Entire Wardrobe of Doubt and Uncertainty” is superb. It just sounds excellent. Their sound has been called “goth cabaret”, and indeed the vocals and instrumentation are extremely evocative, with worlds of meaning seemingly encapsuled in each eerie phrase. The layered vocals on “Millions of Flies” are oddly pleasing, and this is one of my favorite tracks. I am a big fan of Early Music, and in the chord changes I hear a lot of similarities to Lute music from the Renaissance. Several songs, including “Black Capped Chaplains” and “Cariadoc's Kiss” have sort of a medieval sound. The darkly atmospheric “The Flight of the Invisible Siamese”, the almost Latin sounds of the title track, The balalaika intro to “Horse On The Moor” and the ‘40s-esque “Kriminaltango” (which features Andi Sexgang!) demonstrate the versatility and depth of DFE. Every song is great. If this is not enough, the 2CD edition also includes a bonus CD with a behind the scenes featurette. The 16 page booklet includes full lyrics and fascinating artwork.

- Midnight Calling (USA)

"Deadfly Ensemble Debut Album!"

Chanteur des CINEMA STRANGE, Lucas Lanthier arrive quant à lui à s’affranchir de ces clichés en se consacrant à un nouveau projet qui promet de radieux lendemains, THE DEADFLY ENSEMBLE. Si cet Ensemble est aussi conceptuel que C.S., le son est moins rock et résolument plus arty. Longtemps comparé à SEX GANG CHILDREN, son cinoche batcave s’aventure ici en des territoires plus aventureux et acoustiques, ce qui donne à An Entire Wardrobe Of Doubt & Uncertainty cette touche éminemment vaudevillesque. Les historiettes tragi-cyniques s’enchaînent entre rires et larmes, alternant les humeurs à la cadence syncopée propre au mouvement batcave (qui piochait déjà dans le gothique, les films d’épouvante de la Hammer, le glam-rock, l’imagerie mondo, les torch-singers et autres freaks), à ceci près que l’instrumentation se résume à une voix plaintandrogyne, des guitares acoustiques, une basse et un violoncelle (un brin de tam-tam par endroits). Et pour peu qu’Andi Sex Gang viennent cautionner la démarche en poussant la chansonnasillardette sur "kriminal tango", l’album prend des allures de septièmerveille du monde de Tim Burton. A noter enfin l’édition limitée, agrémentée du cd Double Album Commentary, spoken-word ergoteur et passablement râté.

- In_Tension (France)

""An Entire Wardrobe of Doubt and Uncertainty""

The Deadfly Ensemble's debut, An Entire Wardrobe of Doubt and Uncertainty, is perhaps the most delightfully odd album I've heard in quite some time. To my ears it sounds like a funereal waltz through a madhouse. (Which makes sense if you know that The Deadfly Ensemble is a Cinema Strange side-project.) Drawing inspiration from silent film scores and decadent cabaret, the music is composed mostly of heavily-effected acoustic guitar and bass and minimal keyboard and drum intrusions. Through it all, Lucas Lanthier's spectral voice warbles and trembles like a child lost on a snow drift; his unusual vocal territory lies somewhere between David Tibet, Edward Ka-Spell, and Anna-Varney.

The packaging is a particularly attractive matte digipack with two booklets and some very enigmatic art pieces. The album also comes with a commentary disc, similar to the commentary tracks that are usually included as bonus features on DVD movies. However, while the commentary is humorous, I'm not sure it really adds much value to the overall package. Overall, this album does a fine job of being both theatrical and melancholic...a three-penny opera for postmodern times, perhaps?

(4 out of 5 stars)

- Liar Society (USA)

"Debut Deadfly Album!"

review by Matthew Johnson

The Deadfly Ensemble is the new side project from Lucas Lanthier, the enigmatic and whimsical voice of death rock cult act Cinema Strange. Unsurprisingly, there are some obvious similarities between the two bands, but while Cinema Strange have been delving into their punk rock roots of late, The Deadfly Ensemble is slower and more atmospheric, influenced less by early Christian Death than the latter-day dark cabaret of Rozz Williams. There are even touches of Spanish iflavor, with the strums of "Cariadoc's Kiss" hinting at flamenco inspiration while the instrumental "Marimba Improvisation No. 29" is a bit like a cocktail party in the South Pacific in which the rum punches have been spiked with a particularly paranoia-inducing hallucinogen. Like Cinema Strange, however, the defining quality of The Deadfly Ensemble is the voice of Lanthier himself, a squeaky and affected falsetto that immediately identifies the singer's unique style and attitude, whether it be layered over the blurry lullaby guitars of "Tee Mit Honig" or the apocalyptic folk strums of "An Entire Wardrobe Of Doubt And Uncertainty." There's definitely more technicality and subtlety on display, particularly on the beautifully arranged "Black-Capped Chaplains" and the multi-layered guitars of "The Flight Of The Invisible Siamese Three-Year-Olds," but the prevailing attitude of The Deadfly Ensemble is the same Edwardian punk rock insanity that makes Cinema Strange so special. Arrangements built around acoustic guitars rather than drum machines simply give Lanthier a different stage in which to perform, but the performance itself is unmistakeable, much to the joy of those who've appreciated his earlier work. There are also several bonuses included with this CD, such as a duet with gothic legend Andi Sex Gang, to whom Lanthier has often been compared, on "Kriminal Tango" and a second disc of "album commentary" that not only features discussions of the songs themselves, but also a simultaneous separate discussion of the original commentary (the two conversations are mixed to separate stereo channels). Bizarre, eclectic and not a little infuriating, but could we expect anything less from the fevered mind of Lucas Lanthier?

- Grave Concerns (USA)

"An Entire Wardrobe..."

Welk jasje heeft Lucas Lanthier uit z’n kleerkast gehaald vraagt u zich af? Wel een soort jaren ’30 gangster outfit die zich muzikaal vertaalt in een folky akoestische versie van het niet onbekende death rock gezelschap Cinema Strange. Lucas Lanthier’s typerende stem maakt meteen de link met Cinema Strange overduidelijk, in die mate zelfs dat ik me afvraag waarom dit als soloproject zonodig de wereld moest ingestuurd… een evolutie van Cinema Strange in deze meer akoestische richting is immers ook niet ondenkbaar. Maar goed, The Deadfly Ensemble, een prettig gestoord en gotisch cabaret / muziektheater van een getalenteerd verteller en zanger, die z’n grenzen durft verleggen en zich niet voor één genre laat vangen. Zo kruipt Lucas in verschillende personages die ons met de meest geschifte, meest sombere of tragisch komische situaties doen kennis maken (“The Flight Of The Invisible Siamese Three-Year-Olds”, “Cariadoc’s Kiss”, “Black-Capped Chaplains”, “Horse On The Moor”,…). Soms doet de vertelstijl me een beetje aan een premature Virgin Prunes denken, al had een Gavin Friday zelfs met rok nog net ietwat meer mannelijkheid in petto, baard in de keel zeg maar. Anderzijds zijn er ook raakvlakken met het dark folk genre, ene toegankelijke Current 93? Het meest inspirerende nummer is ongetwijfeld het zeer geslaagde duet met Andi Sexgang, “Kriminal Tango”, dat zelfs kans maakt op de dansvloer en als een soort toemaatje en verkoopsargument aan de cd werd toegevoegd want eigenlijk breekt het met het concept van deze “An Entire Wardrobe Of Doubt And Uncertainty”. In de gelimiteerde versie, mooie digipak, krijgt u er een inlegboek met alle (helaas moeilijk leesbare) teksten bij alsook een bonus cd met een ‘album commentary’ waar Lucas Lanthier gedurende 60 minuten zelf de nummers analyseert en becommentarieert. Allicht alleen waardevol voor zij die bij de naam Lucas Lanthier spontaan een natte droom ontwikkelen. Ik durf het een beetje overbodig vinden, vooral omdat het beluisteren ook heel wat concentratie vergt. Kortom, “An Entire Wardrobe Of Doubt And Uncertainty” is een eigenzinnig doch creatief en sfeervol album geworden, dat er uitstekend in slaagt een prettige gestoorde huiskamer enigszins meer kleur te geven. Bijzonder werkje van deze in singer/songwriters traditie voor de karakterkoppen onder de goths.


- Dark Entries (Belgium)


The D.E. has released one album so far, entitled "An Entire Wardrobe of Doubt and Uncertainty". (Trisol, 2006) The D.E. has made two compilation appearances, and has MP3s available to preview on



The Deadfly Ensemble is the latest project from Cinema Strange frontman Lucas Lanthier. The idea behind the D.E. is to more fully develop songs that tell stories and are theatrical and operatic in nature. The music and lyrics combine to illustrate all the dynamics of an interesting story, with joy, tragedy, rage and frustration all taking turns in the spotlight. The D.E. has performed on both coasts of the US, Asia, Mexico and Europe, building a fan-base of artists and theatrical people looking for more of themselves in the music they listen to.