Eugène Carrière was a French Symbolist painter who worked in the 2nd half of the 19th century. He was friends with Rodin and inspired the likes of Matisse and Picasso. His paintings usually have light themes, such as a mother with a baby, which were inspired on his personal life, but they are eerie and smoky, as if they were showing ghosts in the night.
Eugène Carrière was much influenced by Rubens, whose works he first saw when he was made a prisoner in Dresden at the time of the Franco-Prussian War, in 1870.
About art, and more specifically about Rodin’s works, Eugène Carrière once wrote to a friend: “The work of art is the most sensitive manifestation of the desire imposed on man. A work of Rodin will speak of the power of the loyalty to an inner life; it shows that the combination of our thoughts is the force revealed, that this higher interest is the true practice, that any other one is temporary and miserable. Embellishing life through art is to enrich our knowledge with the connection of man with nature… This also means that only the combination of our thoughts is fruitful for the benefit of preparing a more conscious humanity.” 
See below a selection of Eugène Carrière’s paintings. View more in his official site:
VNV Nation (Victory not Vengeance) is an Irish duo, now based in Hamburg, Germany, with a powerful combination of dark synthpop and thought-provoking lyrics. I'm fan of the band, and I'd like to share with you a few lyrics penned by Ronan Harris and Mark Jackson (with their live versions).
In an interview, Ronan Harris commented on one of their albums, the great Praise The Fallen something that, in my opinion, sums up what the VNV Nation's mission is about. He said:
"....the album theme was the battle for the control for one’s own soul and destiny. I used the metaphor of remembrance, not war, and that was the thing that some people mistook very, very much.
"I mean I guess our Teutonic rhythms, as some people call them, on that album, it was very kind of like left, right, left, right, you know, pounding EBM sort of stuff. It gave people a very, very false impression. We didn’t use any military samples or any kind of obvious military music on that, I think it’s just this kind of type of beat and the sort of structure of music that gave people that impression.
"I used the album as a sort of an overlying metaphor for something very spiritual, which is that all through my life I have struggled to be who I am, I’ve struggled to find acceptance or to understand what it means, where I fit in this world, what kind of pigeonhole I’m supposed to fit into.
"The album was actually an attempt by me to document myself at a time in my life when I was struggling to wake up from a sort of monotony, a mediocre lifestyle that I had chosen for myself, thinking it was great without realizing that it was actually harmful and damaging to myself.
"I was playing the image that had been portrayed in black and white movies all my life, and I’d given up on myself and who I’d always been as a teenager and a child and with my defaults or whatever and my deep feelings, and going through the whole teenage thing.
"And I woke up and thought I am so not happy. But I, it was my battle call to actually become myself and to struggle to be what I am, to win control of my soul and my destiny. And that may sound a bit grandiose… " 
As their motto goes: One should strive to achieve not sit in bitter regret
For more info: vnvnation.com
Here are the lyrics and the live performances of VNV Nation's Dark Angel, Farthest Star and Testament. Enjoy!
Dark Angel I'd only come here seeking peace. I'd only come here seeking me. It seems I came to leave.
In your dream you see me clear I have no restraint, no fear powerless I watched from faces I'd assumed. My purpose set. My will defined. Caress the air. Embrace the skies. Escape the sorrow and restraint of mortal cities.
Give me time I will be clear. Given time you'll understand. What possesses me to right what you have suffered.
I'm in this mood because of scorn. I'm in a mood for total war. To the darkened skies once more and ever onward.
So many years I stood among the thoughts and tears of those I served. Among my own I was alone through my own doing. All the years I walked unknown behind the faces I assumed. Powerless to clear your mind of what you'd suffered.
They fall again. They fall again.
There is no faith in which to hide. Even truth is filled with lies. Doubting angels fall to walk among the living.
The Farthest Star The will to greatness clouds the mind consumes the senses veils the signs we each are meant to recognize
Redeeming graces cast aside enduring oceans new-found promise that the end will never come
We live in times when all seems lost But time will come when we'll look back upon ourselves and on our feelings
Embrace the void even closer still Erase your doubts as you surrender everything
We possess the power If this should start to fall apart To mend divides to change the world To reach the farthest star
If we should stay silent If fear should win our hearts Our life will have long diminished Before it reaches the farthest star
Wide awake in a world that sleeps Enduring thoughts Enduring scenes The knowledge of what is yet to come
From a time when all seems lost From a dead man to a world without restraint unafraid and free
If we fall and break All the tears in the world Cannot make us whole again
Testament Procrastinating Pretending to worry Solving problems By pushing them aside Wasting time Like we've all the time in the world
Deliberation Instead of solution Another term For blatant lies Biding time Like we've all the time in the world
And I'm not the only one who thinks we're trying to say To the heavens and all who hear us Behold all we have made
We bring destruction We bring war without an end And then we live in hope That tomorrow never comes That it never comes
We conquer paradise Just to burn it to the ground And we build a future To honor paths we've left behind We bring destruction We bring war without an end And then we hope That tomorrow never comes That it never comes
The problems get worse Before they get better We find excuses to divert our eyes Let tomorrow Deal with what we could have done
And if you think we're the future That we build tomorrow When was the last day without a war We speak of quickness That we have never been
It's just you and me now It's just you and me now It's just you and me against the world
Diehard goths play it cool! Some of the musical choices in this series of posts may offend you for not being what is traditionally considered goth, still they are maybe the only really good moments these guys ever had, so be tolerant and open-minded!
They were chosen first because they are good songs (or so I think), second because they have some dark, gloomy feeling to them.
For this 1st post, I've chosen good ol' U2. The notorious band began as an alternative group in Ireland in 1976, and slowly morphed into the Pop heavy-weight it is now. Below are some moments of its long-gone past when they used to release introspective songs, probably inspired by the high crags and cold winter of their homeland.
I've chosen three singles: Another Time Another Place, from their first album Boy, released in 1980; The Unforgettable Fire, from the 1984's album of the same name, and the Cole Porter classic Night and Day, recorded for the album Red Hot + Blue, which raised money for AIDS victims in 1990.
In an interview at the time of the release of The Unforgettable Fire given at a radio station, Edge described how was the process of making the album:
"Well, we started out with some songs which we finished to the best of our own abilities, then Brian and Danny arrived. I suppose we had 15 pieces before they arrived, none of them really finished, but they were certainly well on the way.
"Instead of finishing those 15, we wrote other 15, so immediately, instead of having the usual kind of LPs with the material list, two or three, which we weren't sure about, we had doubled the amount of stuff that we needed.
"Maybe these were just ideas that hadn't really been developed, so the record immediately changed in identity from what we had envisaged at first, and because of that I think we weren't really quite sure quite where it was going to end up.
"That was a really positive thing, I think, in many ways, but because of that, I think it took us a lot longer to finish the songs to get the finished amount of lyrics, and finished performances of the voice and final takes down.
"So in that respect, the fact that it did take us three months to finish meant that it was a very difficult record to finally knock on the head, but it was an intensely gratifying session, you know, it was very inspiring, very challenging.
"And it seems like a couple of weeks, when we look back on it, it really doesn't seem like it was three months at all." Listen to the full interview here: U2 In Their Own Words, Manchester Radio
Now sit back and enjoy the songs!
Today, I found out about the band Caspian! It's great! Their songs are instrumental, introspective, something like a crossover between progressive rock and ambient music.
Caspian was formed in 2003, in Beverly, Massachusetts, US, and is composed of Philip Jamieson (guitar, programming, samples), Calvin Joss (guitar), Erin Burke-Moran (guitar), Chris Friedrich (bass) and Joe Vickers (drums).
About the unusual choice for being an instrumental act, Philip said that “We initially wanted to have a singer, yes. We started Caspian to be an outlet of free expression, without the confines we had felt in previous bands, so having a singer wasn't a necessity though. After a few shows instrumental we realized we had found a way of communicating our thoughts and ideas that felt pure to us as a band and we decided to go from there.” 
Philip also described the band’s sound as “Caspian is an atmospheric, instrumental rock band. Our music is intended to be powerful, epic and emotional while trying to avoid the musical cliches that are often associated with those kinds of descriptors. We are heavier and more aggressive than most instrumental "post-rock" bands, without being metal. There is a lot of light and shade to our music.” 
Check this clip of their latest album Tertia, and visit their myspace page for more info.
I just came back from watching A Christmas Carol movie, an amazing 3D animation, featuring Jim Carrey, Colin Firth, Gary Oldman, among others.
A Christmas Carol is a great story, based on the novel by Charles Dickens, about an old miser who is haunted by ghosts who scare him until he decides to change his ways and become charitable and social. It breaches some important matters, like not giving too much importance to possessions, spending some time doing good for others, enjoy life, so it's worth watching.
Jim Carrey, who plays the main character, the miser Scrooge, plus other seven characters, told the Indie London site: “Generally, what I think about most people is that we walk around believing a lie about ourselves from a very early age. Scrooge’s lie is that he wasn’t worth loving. And so he couldn’t afford to believe in love because he didn’t get it.
“So, that’s a wonderful place to start. I also wanted him to appear to be irredeemable, which is a difficult task after you’ve seen this story so many times. I think we got there. But playing all the different characters was such a huge challenge and it’s really important to me, personally, that people in the UK enjoy this beautiful story again, which is theirs.” 
Go see it, if you haven't yet! Below is a couple of captures from the trailer and the trailer itself:
Official Site: A Christmas Carol movie