Dreadwood Prophecies Shines Ghostly Bright On Mystifying Debut, ‘Shadow Realm: A Dungeon Synth Mixtape’

It’s such a refreshing experience when, out of the blue, a new artist is introduced to the scene and hits it out the park on their debut release. ‘Shadow Realm: A Dungeon Synth Mixtape’ is the album in question by the searing duo known as Dreadwood Prophecies. Donning skeletal masks and cloaks of black, this team emits a compulsory sound of synth wizardry and includes a variety of genres to produce their own unique Dungeon Synth experience. Over the course of ten riveting tracks, we get to encounter fantastical realms of nostalgia through lo-fi synth effects and mesmerizing songwriting. At just thirty six minutes in length, this short album packs quite a punch with an assortment of tones, styles and memorable songs.

Catapulting us into a sphere of dark enchantment is the vivacious album opener, “The Evil Wizard Is Ruining The Town With His Bullsh*t”. Quirky song title aside, this is a momentous beginning with fantasy synth vibes and angelic keys, albeit amongst obscure harmonies and nostalgic tones. Up next is the ominously textured, “The Great Unraveling”. As if it were accompanying an enthralling dream, these peculiar sounds transcend the lo-fi production qualities with its flow into other territories such as Berlin School and synthwave. At just over two and a half minutes, this short intonation delivers a wondrous endeavor of anxious cadences and memorable melodies. “The Wonderer” commences with a fast paced synth chop and melodic, acoustic guitar tones. The first of my top three favorite tracks on the album, this one is on another level with its shifting choice of melodies and masterful songwriting. As each section continues to build each time around, you can’t help but to succumb to a world of psychedelic mischief and dreamy horizons. “Somber Longing” is a steady Dungeon Synth offering that achieves a bleak ambience through heartfelt harmonies and serene instrumentation. The overall alluring tone is mesmerizing and continuously draws the listener in with its hypnotic arrangement. The second of my top three tracks is “Into The Abyss”. Beginning with a funereal, celestial tone, a beat slowly forms, creating a haunting atmosphere. Soothing keys come into play and are again joined by a steady drum beat. Various degrees of synth effects add to the mix as drum patterns come and go with surprising effect. As darkness continues to enshroud, this track never ceases to build, adding an array of synths that are addictive and demand repeated listens. “Swamp Journey” presents a snug little canticle that is part whimsical and part quixotic with a sound that glistens with pleasant inflection. Natural sounds in the background elicit a peaceful environment, rich with enjoyment and elation. “Lost Echoes” is another fascinating experience that evokes a melancholic tone with jubilant percussive parts and spiritualistic ambience that supremely fills the background space. Mollifying synth leads produce a mournful fervor with its rhythmic patterns and enchanting harmonies. The third of of my top three tracks is “Dark Ritual”. The layers of music has a hypnotizing effect due to the combination of sonic bass textures and assortment of synth leads. In between, the experience of elongated keys creates a soothing balance that properly fuses all of these elements into a single, massively sounding song. “Patient Montage” is an introspective creation that combines soft guitar strums with resilient synth leads, producing an enigmatic track that is enriched with colorful modulations and exquisite tones that clear and bright. The fitting, final track on the album is, “Death Of A King”. The initial riff is like a Medieval epilogue, emitting a sense of reprieve with its upbeat – almost comfy synth-esque – arrangement and alluring vibe that concludes with a refreshing sensibility.

Dreadwood Prophecies are an amazing project that embodies all that Dungeon Synth has to offer. Eagerly willing to take chances on a cluster of sounds and styles, they’ve easily come up with a unique approach that they can call their own. Whether it’s Medieval influenced or ventures into synthwave or Berlin School, ‘Shadow Realms: A Dungeon Synth Mixtape’ is a refreshing experience with endless replay value. If you’ve not heard this album yet, you’re missing out on one of the genres album of the year contenders. Click on the link below and prepare to enter an audial realm that demands to be experienced.

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Ruptured World Embodies Dark Jazz And Riveting Spoken Word Aesthetics For The Forth Album In The Planetary Series, ‘Xenoplanetary’

To some extent, this particular review is like coming full circle. Back when I first started The Dungeon In Deep Space in August of 2019, my very first review was the second album in the Planetary series by Ruptured World called, ‘Archeoplanetary’. I’ll admit that – although it was a great album – my review was pretty lackluster, probably due to the unforeseen direction of this blog. Now, nearly four years later, I’m extremely excited to review Ruptured World’s latest offering, ‘Xenoplanetary’. This appears to be the forth and final installment of the Planetary series and if that’s the case, it concludes this epic story in a magnificent blaze of glory. Although not your typical Dark Ambient album, Ruptured World has expanded the audial palette to include hypnotizing, electronic beats and remnants of dark noir jazz. With that – and including a story that is masterfully narrated – this album has already reached S-Tier status (for me at least), and boldly catapults the Dark Ambient genre to searing new heights.

Wasting no time in showcasing the new sound described above, “Emergency Thought – Cast Distant Messaging” slowly fades in with a mechanized, electronic beat that is more reminiscent of a sound that you would hear in a smoke filled Jazz club than with a typical upbeat percussive style. A looping keyboard chop plays a somber melody while droning soundscapes provide a textural backdrop of mesmerizing beauty. Sporadic sound bytes of communication frequencies and radio transmission acts as a prerequisite for the storyline and after a short break, that’s exactly what we get. The Macrae family legacy begins to unfold as a short narrative contributes to the preface for the rest of the album. “Tenebrous Wetlands” commences with a continuation of the narrative as a slow blend of drones and elongated keys softly plays in the background. More communication anomalies can be heard and the drones continue to expand as the song unfolds. About halfway through, massive synth tones create a dreamy space of haunting atmospherics and obscure melodies. “The Cruel Darkness” is where this ominous story takes a menacing turn. While the narrations continues on with this compelling story, the music feature another killer drum beat, alongside an atmospheric ride through spacious drones and harrowing synth effects. As this track continues to slowly build, a sense of angst begins to take over. Layers of keyboard chops and industrial modulations intensifies, albeit in a looping pattern. “The Telekinetic Amassment Of Being” start with the perpetuation of Phoenix Macrae’s mission with a strange twist on the spoken word delivery that includes voice manipulations, echo effects and eerie loops. As the story unfolds, immense drones proceed eloquently and take over as the focal point of the track. As this sound modulates at a steady pace, soothing drum textures and harmonious synth play a darkened groove that only Ruptured World could pull off in this type of musical adventure. This combinations creates a trance induced pattern that is imposing as well as easy to get lost in. With an eager enthusiasm, the entertaining escapades of Phoenix continues to play out on “Enter The Labyrinth”. A chaotic blend of radio transmissions unfold, as it provides cryptic clues for this ever evolving story. In the meantime, peaceful synths produce an evocative drone while looping keys evolve expressively. This track is really serene and it’s overall alluring tones make this one of my favorite songs on the album. Throughout the song, narrative elements can be heard but this time, they take a backseat to the mesmerizing and melodic intonations. “The Magnitude Of Luminescence” continues with a realized arrangement of amazing storytelling and an array of communication signals. As the mission continues, obscure effects begin to alter the transmissions, while effervescent drones slowly make their way into the arrangement. The inclusion of field recordings and synthwave-styled compositions adds a new element to this already impressive album. The layers of electronic arrangements seem to continue endlessly before abruptly coming to a conclusion. “The Daze Of Foreboding” begins with calming drones that can easily be interpreted as the dawn of a new day. As the continued radio transmissions slowly fade away, a jazz-like drum pattern begins to take shape. A consoling synth melody sounds more like a new wave song structure but the combination with the rest of the electronic elements are so addictively satisfying. The main key pattern also sounds like an alternative take of the keyboard melody from the first track. As the album winds down, “The Exhibition” concludes the narrative portion of this accomplished offering. The unforgettable spoken words exhibit an exhausting odyssey of family resilience and exploratory happenings that are unlike any other Dark Ambient recording I’ve ever heard. This eight minute track is mostly made up of these compelling narrations, while distant soundscapes produce an eerie atmospheric vibe. Only within the final few minutes, do we hear an increase in instrumentation, as it fulfills a sonic voyage to be remembered. The final offering is “The Agony”. Although only being just under two and a half minutes in length, it’s one of the most ominous compositions on the album. Heavy use of reverb and inaudible vocalizations enhance the listening experience for this bleak dirge that features elements of classic synthwave and industrialized drones.

Ruptured World is one of the most compelling artists in the Dark Ambient genre and the inclusion of abundantly used spoken word is both unique and rewarding. For a majority of Dark Ambient releases, the listener is able to interpret the music into their own story. However, with the Planetary releases, we are treated with the best of both worlds. With the forth installment, ‘Xenoplanetary’, Ruptured World has defied the odds yet again by adding to the musical ferocity, both elements of haunting jazz beats and looping keys. It goes without saying that this is the most exploratory of the Planetary releases and easily my favorite. This is surely a series that will be enjoyed for many years to come, and at the same time, I’m eager to hear of new adventures that Ruptured World will explore in the future. ‘Xenoplanetary’ is a Dark Ambient album of the year contender so don’t pass this one up. Click on the link below to experience this amazing album and story.

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Eyre Transmissions XXIII: Interview With Esteemed Dungeon Synth Artist, Willow Tea

The music of Willow Tea is undeniable. Easily identified by its soft, nostalgic sound, mesmerizing ambience and a sincere offering of Dungeon Synth vibes that are fit for almost any occasion. With a consistently growing catalog, as well as ventures into other realms under various project names, Willow Tea is one of the genres most revered artists. Being one of my favorite synth acts, it was inevitable for me to set aside some time to talk to the entity behind the craft and get some insight on the project, humble beginnings and what the future has to hold. Please enjoy this interview with the one-and-only, Willow Tea!

1. Thanks for this interview opportunity! I want to start off by saying that I’m such a fan of your music and the fact that you represent multiple genres is simply amazing. What drove you toward playing synth/electronic music?

Thank you for having me, I appreciate it.

Electronic music has been a part of my life for as long as I remember. Some of my earliest favourite musicians were New Order, Erasure, and Transvision Vamp, all of whom used electronic instruments to varying degrees. In the mid 90s I became interested in making music because most of the bands I liked at the time made it seem so accessible. The first time I actually made music with a computer was in 1999, making sounds with non-instruments and pasting them messily into a very basic audio editing program on my dad’s work computer. At the time I was listening to a lot of dark ambient and noise music (e.g. Brighter Death Now, raison d’etre) so what I was making naturally leaned that way. I dabbled a bit over the years but the results were pretty directionless and really just an outlet. It wasn’t until the last few years that I had the tools and skill to put together the things I’d been wanting to all along.

2. I believe my first venture into your music was with ‘The Iris River’ release. That was such an amazing little album and although it’s considered Dungeon Synth, to me it’s more like Dark Fantasy Synth with ambient undertones. Is this the style your ultimate trying to achieve with The Willow Tea?

I always felt like Willow Tea generally sits a bit awkwardly under the dungeon synth tag, though it shares a lot of the general DNA. My original intention was to make comfy synth but I sort of missed and ended up somewhere else. A lot of Willow Tea takes inspiration from fantasy films and stories, nature, and folklore, without being too deeply indebted to them – I’m not trying to soundtrack these things, but respond to them and reflect their moods or the impressions they left on me. Which is a roundabout way of saying that dark fantasy synth is a description I like and fits well.


3. Late last year, you released ‘Home’ and I have to tell you that dynamically, that album is soundtrack worthy. There are so many grand moments on that album and it’s not as dark as previous efforts. What was your songwriting approach to this one?

Home was loosely inspired by (or as above, a response to) a pair of movies I’d watched: The Witch and Hagazussa. These are quite atmospheric, quiet, dark stories and I really felt a strong urge to write something that fit with them without being an attempt to write something like an alternate soundtrack.

I definitely wanted it to feel a bit more dynamic than some of my previous releases; I felt like I was running out of steam with Willow Tea and wanted to do something a bit more ambitious and challenging for myself. More contrasts, more depths, unsettling but hopeful, and trying to do something that was intentionally structured as an album, rather than just a handful of sad songs. It’s probably my favourite stand-alone Willow Tea, and I am glad people seemed to respond positively to it.


4. Earlier this year you released a split album (under the Nebelkrähe moniker) with Thalmar. I love that raw, grainy Dungeon Ambient mixture that both artists displayed on this release. How did this collaboration come about and will there be anymore releases by these two artists in the future?

I am really glad you like Nebelkrähe. With this, I really wanted to attempt something that sat somewhere between some artists I really admire: Nibelung, raison d’etre, Cad Goddeu, and Woodland Spells in particular. Artists who really use depth and time to great effect. I’ve been listening to Nibelung a lot recently and their works feels so wide, like watching a grainy old film at a theatre. It’s been a nice challenge, trying to write music that has space to breathe and develop through small changes and variation, rather than something more straightforwardly melodic.

Colin approached me at the end of last year about working on a split, and it felt like a good opportunity to try out something less melodic and more atmospheric, more drone-ish, more grainy. It took me a few months to get moving, but when it did it all came together really quick and I feel like our tracks really compliment each other well. We haven’t discussed it yet, but I would like to do another one with Colin at some point.


5. Do you have any other collaborative efforts in the works with other artists?

I do have a few more splits coming up: one with Woodland Spells which will come up on Windkey at some point, another one with Gray Friar as Woods Of Sith Cala, and another one still in-progress but coming along nicely. They’re all quite different and I’m excited for them all.

6. You are so good at creating atmospherics in your music. Have you ever considered creating a straight up Dark Ambient album?

I used to make a lot more noisy dark ambient music, I think I got quite good at building a canvas but it always felt like it was missing something; I saw it like scaffolding or a framework, and I got to a point where I felt like I just wasn’t getting what I wanted from it. Nebelkrähe is a swing towards something more dark ambient, though it’s not quite there. My tastes and influences are constantly shifting, so maybe I’ll end up with something more purely atmospheric in the future.

7. When you’re not spending time making music as The Willow Tea, what other projects are you involved in?

Mostly it’s the broad umbrella of Woods Of Sith Cala where I spend much of my time, but creatively I have slowed down a lot because of life reasons. Nebelkrähe will probably be something I put more focus on, and last week I did a pair of droney, ambient pieces under the title Northwest Passage that I plan to develop further.

8. Do you have any physical releases (cassette or CD) planned for any of your projects this year?

Fiadh Productions just released a tape of Ancient Mariner, a noisy thing loosely based on the Coleridge poem, which I am pretty excited about. A couple of other split tape releases will surface in the next couple of months too. We may see the Nebelkrähe-Thalmar split get a tape release, we’ll see how that one pans out.


9. When I listen to your music I hear a variety of tones and effects. What is your setup like for recording and do you prefer analog or VST’s?

My setup is really quite basic: I have an ageing Macbook with Garageband and a handful of VSTs, and Audacity for admin and editing – though I am starting to use FL Studio on my desktop PC to explore different ways of working and some instruments and tools that aren’t available for Mac. On the hardware side, I have a small midi keyboard and a few other basic home keyboards and instruments which I am using a lot more in combination with some guitar effect pedals. My handheld Tascam recorder has been getting a lot of work recently for field recordings and sourcing atmospheres. 

Overall I try to keep it fairly basic and rely on tools and instruments that I am already familiar with.

10. When you’re not spending time with your own music, who are some artists that you enjoy listening to (any genre)?

I have been on a real lofi kick recently, so things like Jötgrimm, Lochdraoidh, Woodland Spells. Recently I’ve been really into Aura Merlin, The Divine Accolade, Sjöhäxan, Ithildin’s Herbarium series, Elyvilon, Wych Elm, and Spectral Sorrow. Aside from dungeon synth, I have recently been listening a lot to Joy Division’s Closer, The Legendary Pink Dots’ The Tower, and Six Organs Of Admittance’s Luminous Night.

11. That being said, who are some of your main influences for getting started in music in the first place?

It’s an ever shifting feast in terms of who I am feeling inspired or influenced by. The ones that are always there and have been for a long time are Joy Division, Einstürzende Neubauten, PJ Harvey, raison d’etre, Nine Inch Nails, Alice In Chains, those are the artists who really made me want to make music. The artists who really made me want to make my own dungeon synth music were Fogweaver and Apoxupon, and I still feel strongly influenced by their music and the wider dungeon synth community.

12. Going back to the music of The Willow Tree and specifically with the album ‘A Drowning’, I get the impression that there is an underlying story for the buildup of these tracks? In can almost imagine a lone wanderer slowing transcending vast landscapes on an impossible journey. Did you have a story in mind when writing this album?

You’re actually quite close to where I was when making A Drowning. I sometimes have an idea of a narrative or theme or concept, A Drowning was one where I imagined a silent film about a trapper being lost in a blizzard in the highlands of Tasmania, and I just went with that image in my head. I like to set a scene or a landscape and just let it develop without getting too deep into telling a story. But I also like to leave space for others to engage with and respond to it.


13. What are some of your own albums that you like to go back and revisit from time to time?

I don’t revisit many of them too often, to be honest. After something is finished and before I release it, I will listen to it obsessively to make sure I’m happy with it, but once they are out there, I am sort of moving on to the next thing I want to make. I put on Dimmerweld by Fjaeldmark from time to time because I like the atmosphere, as well as the split I did recently with Wych Elm.

14. Do you ever draw inspiration from any of your previous works?

Sort of. There’s always a process of learning and developing and building on previous work, I’d never want to stand still in that regard. You keep on moving and further honing your skills and craft. sometimes I’ve spun off new projects inspired by moments or new iterations of something I did previously.

15. I’m really appreciate you taking the time to do this interview for The Dungeon In Deep Space. Do you have any final thought for those that will be reading this?

Thanks for the interview, and keep doing your amazing work. And to the dear dungeon synth community: keep being weird and creative and prolific and kind. You’re wonderful.



Abandoned Graves Solicits Posturing Sounds From Various Electronic Genres On The Blazing Dungeon Synth Full-Length Debut, ‘Salvation’

When it comes to Dungeon Synth music, it’s almost as if it’s an “open source” genre of musical incantations. Meaning that almost any form of musical styles can mesh and blend with the basic aesthetics of Dungeon Synth without taking away its original intent. That’s why I love artists that put their own spin on the genre, providing a fresh atmosphere for all to enjoy. One artist in particular that travels down this path is Abandoned Graves. With the release of their first full length album, various electronic genres are explored and seamlessly mesh with the traditional foundations of Dungeon Synth music. The results of this is ‘Salvation’, a thirty eight minute journey into the abysmal infrastructure of electronic music that is gripping and transcendental, to say the least.

Poignant album opener, “Spring’s Lament” commences with a corrosive modulation that wavers viciously before fading into a minimalist tone with a lethargic echo effect. This tonal delivery begins the slow dive into Dungeon Synth madness and the sky becomes the limit at this point. Suddenly, a quirky, chip tune sound develops into a fun but menacing anthem. As this short track fades out into oblivion, the darkened textures of “The Dreamer” start to unfold. The deep, atmospheric drones are met with sporadic synthwave modulations that gradually expands into an electronic escapade through various styles. However, this eclectic fusion of expression coalesces into a grandiose offering that is upbeat and surprisingly accessible. Up next is the melodramatic offering, “The Board”. As the somber intonations start up, the dreamy synth effects evolve into a chaotic piece with heavily modulated synths and harrowing background ambience. As if descending into a nightmare, a blend of mesmerizing tones take this song down a darker path than the precious ones. Almost dipping into noisecore, it ultimately subsides into a peaceful Dungeon Synth canticle of harmonizing effort. “The Tower” doesn’t waste any time meshing various tones in a hauntingly beautiful harmony that finds a blend of warm ambience and light-hearted synth chops. However, that all soon comes to an end as we begin to hear pulsating drum beats and deep ambient drones, as a sinister atmosphere comes about. Industrial samples and radiant textures expose a multitude of horrors before -once again – morphing into a Berlin School styled synthwave anthem. This is definitely my favorite track on the album and my only wish was that this song was a little longer. The title track, “Salvation”, starts with an orient-styled effect but sparingly incorporates more sounds to create an amusing jingle that provides a soulful gateway to the next track. With “First Grave”, we get to experience natural sounds of nocturnal essence with the slight howl of crashing waves. Ambient textures begin to build into a tumultuous affair with looping drones and obscure effects. As this song evaporates into an audial radiance, we once again get to experience a shift in styles as the twists begin to unfold. Jolting modulations and bombastic Medieval cadences begin to consume the airwaves and vast layers become a musical fortress to these ears. The final track on the album, “The Crypt”, is a full on ambient nightmare, complete with ghoulish drones and creepy sound effects throughout. At just over seven minutes long, a lot is crammed into this bleak offering. Even with all of the malevolent effects, there is a sense of calming throughout that seems more minimalistic than chaotic. That being said, this is a cold, desolate way to close this impressive album and one that will stay in my playlist rotation for sometime to come.

Abandoned Graves has presented a fine experience with the multi-genre offering, ‘Salvation’. Although firmly staying rooted in Dungeon Synth, the Keep gates have swung wide open for the inclusion of an assortment of electronic music styles. That being said, there is a lot to take in on this recording and there is never a dull moment throughout. If an eccentric fusion of music is your thing, then I highly recommend checking out this monumental album. Please click on the link below to begin your listening experience with Abandoned Graves.

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Cycle Of The Raven Talons Adjure The Spirituality Of Nature On The Breathtaking Opus, ‘A Medicinal Musical’

Before I get into the heart of this review, I’d like to take a moment to provide a proper shoutout to Chet W. Scott and Glass Throat Recordings. I first learned of this small, independent label with the release of the Blood Of The Black Owl debut back in 2007 – an album that I reviewed for Maximum Metal some 15 or 16 years ago. At that time, there were no digital offerings, only uniquely hand-crafted physical releases. I quickly familiarized myself with Ruhr Hunter, another Chet W. Scott project that leans more toward Industrial Noise and Dark Ambient and was not only instantly blown away, but I was drawn into a world of musical healing and uncommon audial offerings. Since then, I’ve been constantly intrigued by the spiritual and naturalistic-based conjurings that Chet has acquiesced for physical and digital releases. Almost every album on this mighty label resonates with me on a personal level and many of my favorite albums are anchored with Glass Throat Recordings. However, one project that has been on my radar for sometime now – that has finally released a massive undertaking of an album – is Cycle Of The Raven Talons. This meditative double album is everything that I expected and so much more. Featuring over ninety minutes of medicinal drones and soundscapes, this album instantly succeeds in allowing the listener to connect with nature, their own spirituality and a world of ceremonious healing.

Leading the charge in this ritualistic experience is the jarring “Tatanka Nishna Aku”. Fusing spoken word and native chanting, this organic offering is like a calming foreword for the enlightenment that will soon follow. At nearly ten minutes in length, it’s a tributary piece that not only pays homage to women, but it represents a naturalistic approach to beauty and tranquility. Soothing flutes and drones augment the audial spaces as this track enables the lister to transcend into another world of effervescent beauty and traditional narratives. The first of the four twenty plus minute offerings is the enthralling “My Intentions Dawning”. Commencing with a thudding drum sound and whispering breath exhalations, this slow-building ceremonial oblation is a sonic escapade to get completely lost in. Ambient textures begin to layer with lethargic expediency while haunting flute melodies deliver an exotic performance. The soundscape that is presented on this track is vast and ominous while at the same time being consoling. About seven minutes in, delicate spoken words provide a narrative that is beyond relentless. As the droning ambience become louder, howling winds become the force of nature that become engagingly fierce. As the song drives toward its conclusion, vocalizations become more dominate, along with the inclusion of various instrumentation and increased ambience. The next elongated adventure is “To Live Again”. Beginning with distant horns and the cracking of a deep woods camp fire under the brisk even sky, a rhythmic drum patter soon begins, eliciting a solid cadence to synchronize the rest of the instrumentation that randomly comes into fold. For over twenty minutes, this track produces a perpetual solace in relaxation and mesmerizing comfort. Throughout this mammoth undertaking, the tides sway between full on instrumentation and just the constant back beat over reassuring whispers. The feeling of being at one with the wilderness is prevalent as the early evening evolves into the dead of night. Several instruments provide a grim ambience that seamlessly fuses with the rest of the arrangement. The final few minutes abrupts into a controlled but chaotic explosion, as the shadows of the night become the predators of our imagination as life takes on a whole new meaning. The next magnum opus is “Crying”. Opening with the sounds of bird chirping and soft waves brushing against an isolated shoreline, a hollow drone slowly crescendos in the background, clashing with the elements of nature in all forms. A steady, tribalistic drum beat begins to play as the sounds of the early morning dawn come into focus. Darkened, ambient textures become more prevalent, creating an abysmal space of sonic atmospherics. About halfway in, gentle flute-like instruments produce a harmonizing elegance that puts forth a spiritual vibe. Every so often, the cawing of birds remind the listener of the scenic beauty of these ceremonial incantations. The continuous drum patterns and water rumblings makes this track a pleasant and enjoyable experience. The final song on this medicinal experience is “Seek In Shadow, Release Into Light”. Wasting no time, this is the most audial aggressive song on the album. A conglomeration of sounds clash at the very beginning before settling into a faster-paced drum pattern. Chanting vocalizations and eerie whispers trade off as the narrative nature between the two seem contentious. Loud clashes and rumbling throughout evoke an industrialized experience as this quarrelsome piece continues to play out. Toward the middle of the song, many of the aggressive tones fade out in favor of layered vocal patterns that are mollifying and spiritualistic in an ancient, native tongue. After a few minutes of this heralded crooning, light ambient textures begin to build while whispered singing commences. The final impression of this offering starts to wind down in solidarity as the ceremonial endeavor finishes like an enlightened undertaking.

‘A Medicinal Musical’ by Cycle Of The Raven Talons is more than just a rewarding musical experience. It represents the earliest forms of music in its rawest form, as well as the basic understanding of nature and the ritualistic essence that it portrays. By allowing the listener to sink into this sonic voyage while experiencing minimalistic audial excellent it’s apparent that this album is a unique and prominent journey through the soul. Chet W. Scott continually excels in this aspect, no matter what moniker he chooses to use. His gift for providing a naturalistic experience is unmatched and Cycle Of The Raven Talons is just another project that showcases his dynamic abilities. I highly recommend checking out this once in a lifetime listening experience, as well as the other amazing musical gifts that grace the Glass Throat Recordings lineup. Click on the link below and prepare to be enthralled.

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Pathworn Pilgrim Perpetuates Cinematic Elegance On The Exceptional Fantasy Synth Offering, ‘Breath & Bellows Of The Old Kingdom’

Pathworn Pilgrim, the dynamic offspring of Guild Of Lore mastermind, debuted in 2021 with the fascinating ‘Beauty Of The Bitter Coast’. Overflowing with sonic Medieval dirges, the thirty five minute long effort was a great start, especially coming from the already legendary Guild Of Lore Camp. Now, just over a year later, Pathworn Pilgrim have ascended from the keep with an exquisite collection of Dungeon Synth anthems that entertains for the better part of seventy minutes. Better production, excellent blend of instrumentation and songwriting beyond comprehension proves that Pathworn Pilgrim is not just a side project, but a valuable mainstay in this community. Twelve tracks that flow from upbeat canticles to darkened soundscapes provide a vast soundscape for any type of Medieval adventure.

It’s obvious from the very first note, Pathworn Pilgrim has set out to paint a vivid and ancient landscape built on melancholic atmospheres and dismal times. “Untamed & Unforgiven” does an excellent job of setting a mood of Medieval candor while displaying an uncanny approach to symphonic synth music. An excellent blend of Dungeon Synth vibes and orchestral ambience, this track perpetuates a theme that will continually be painted over the course of fourteen tracks. “Breath & Bellows Of The Old Kingdom” commences with dark, whispering drones and naturalistic soundscapes in the background. However, the mood changes to a lighter atmosphere as somber synth leads create a heart-warming environment of peace and tranquility. “The Pilgrims Path II” is a groovy little piece that will have you bobbing your head in unison with the crisp and joyous intonations that build in layers throughout the track. Brisk percussions and amplifying tones create an inspiring mood that can be enjoyed at all levels. “Against The Mighty Jeralls” is my favorite track on the album as it uniquely combines dark, ambient tones with soothing field recordings and mighty orchestrations. This track could easily fit in on any fantasy-adventure movie soundtrack. “The Fells Of Falkreath” is another Dungeon Folk inspired track with stringed effects and a percussive cadence taken right from a Medieval songbook. The imperfections on the flute sounds solidifies the organic balance of this song and it’s another one of my favorites. “From Rift To Reach” focuses on long, drawn out notes instead of faster synth rhythms. This creates a brooding and dreamy atmosphere with amicable intent. “Echoes Of The Dwemer” contains some sinister sound effects right from the start, portraying an ominous vibe and setting a darker tone for the album. As the orchestration elements kick in, the notes are lower and deeper than on previous tracks, invoking bleak atmospherics of sinister subject manner. “Throat Of The World” begins with clean synth tones, almost gothic-like in delivery. As the crisp, synth leads commence, a trance-like effect comes into focus and the soft, ambient textures in the background are amazing. “The Frozen Flora, Fain The Fauna” is a bleak, ethereal piece that transcends time and space with an inevitable destiny of abysmal obscurity. The ambient tones are at times depressive and the assorted effects presents a theme of coldness and disarray. Picking things back up a notch and moving toward an enlightened direction, “Of Hearth & Mead” is the track that will get your blood flowing again. Clean stringed effects and a bombastic beat are at the heart of this buoyant canticle and overall, it has a New Age feel to it. “Snowfall Upon The Pale” is a chilling ambient piece with a huge cinematic production. At times, this sways toward a space ambient piece but then dives back into the vast hole of theatric tones with an audial approach to magnificent soundscapes. “A Hush The Holds Over” continues with the theatrical theme and further enhances the sound of the previous track. As if moving in slow motion or meditating in the early morning air, this composition loiters in the fray of hibernating effects, giving the listener an endless space for contemplating majestic realities. “The Road To Sovngarde” begins with a choir effect, producing a sense of positive light and unheralded energy. As if providing the audible conclusion to a climactic battle, this song envelops victory and valor at the highest sense. The final track on this magnum opus is the impudent “Honor & Strength”. Instead of adding beats to layers of synth tones, this piece commences with an enigmatic beat that provides a backbone for building an array of synth effects that firmly engages the pulsating rhythms. This is one of the most intriguing songs on the album and although it’s different from proceeding tracks, it fits in perfectly and closes out this mammoth recording in dignified fashion.

This Guild Of Lore side project is a musical endeavor that is more a secondary outing; it’s a statement of theatrical and Medieval values that wanders down a completely different path, bringing forth a renewed sense of being and modern synth transparency. Although this is just the sophomore release from this musical entity, it’s a seasoned spectacle of synth greatness with alluring arrangements and beautiful songwriting. I see limitless potential with Pathworn Pilgrim and ‘Breath & Bellows Of The Old Kingdom’ is a huge step toward toward not only Dungeon Synth greatness, but overall grandeur in electronic music in general. Please support this amazing album by listening and downloading from the link below.

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Eyre Transmissions XXII: Interview With Hypnagogic Dark Ambient Composer, Ajna

For the past several years, Ajna has been on fire! The Dark Ambient producer has consistently released great albums spanning sub-genres such as isolationism, drone, hauntology, and other experimental aspects of electronic music. Whatever is on the radar for any particular album, you can rest assure that the results are beyond reproach. Recently I was fortunate to have a few email interactions with the mastermind behind Ajna to get a greater viewpoint of the music, influences, the ardor behind the album artwork and everything in between. The results are embedded in this congenial interview with Ajna and on display is an endless passion for music, photography and spiritual wellbeing. Hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.

1. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer a few questions. Over the past year or so, Ajna has become one of my favorite Dark Ambient artists. Can you tell me how this project came about? Also, Ajna is such a cool name for a project of this magnitude. Does the name have a significant meaning to you?

Thank you for the opportunity, Dave! The pleasure is mine. I appreciate the kind words. Well, at the time, throughout 2007, I was getting heavily back into Dark Ambient and Drone music. I have been listening to Dark Ambient since the late 90’s/early 2000’s, that’s when I was first introduced to the Cold Meat Industry and Malignant labels but it was during 2007 when I was getting very heavily back into it, mainly because I was at a place in my life where I wanted to change my lifestyle. I spent more time in nature and away from the bustling cities, I also started practicing Kundalini Meditation, and I’ve been a practitioner since then (almost 16 years now). Dark Ambient and Drone music really went well with my new spiritual life as I feel that it goes perfectly with nature, solitude, deep thinking, meditation, esoteric books etc and eventually this inspired me to create the Ajna project early 2008. Ajna is considered the 6th chakra, also known as the “Third eye”, it works as the center for intuition, self-realization, imagination, consciousness etc. This is why I felt that Ajna was the perfect name for the project.

2. A lot of your earlier albums were very minimalistic and leaned more toward Drone than Dark Ambient. Some of my favorite early works are ‘An Array Of Black Clouds’ and ‘Anatomy Of A Nightmare’. How do these albums represent your audial experimentation up to that point?

Well, as mentioned before the project started in 2008 but I did not become satisfied with my sound until 2011ish. I created this type of slow, drifting, isolationist drone sound one afternoon and it was like finding the Holy Grail, lol! I had finally found the Ajna sound. So, yes, a lot of my earlier works were much more drone and minimalistic, at the time I was very fascinated with shaping and crafting dronescapes in various ways and as time went on, my works have progressively got more complex, little by little.


3. On those earlier albums did you use a variety of recording gear as compared to recent recordings?

I have always used a combination of hardware and software but I used less back then as compared to now. But even nowadays, I am not a big gear collector, I am more of a gatherer of sounds, I like keeping things simple. I like using everything I currently have to the fullest advantage. If there is too much choice of equipment in the studio it becomes too overwhelming for me. Ultimately, I think it’s about ideas and not how many synths you have. That’s how I feel anyway 🙂

4. One thing that is consistent throughout all of your recordings is the amazing artwork/photography used. Are these your original photos?

Thank you for the kind words, Dave! Yes, they are all original photos taken by me (aside from Black Monolith). I guess I can say that Music is my first love and Photography my second. I feel that the atmosphere of my photos goes well with the music I make which is why I have used my own photos for the artwork most of the time.

5. Speaking of photography, do you get inspired to write music after taking a particular photo?

Yes, of course. Photography shoots are always inspiring for me, the particular atmosphere, the mood, the setting, the weather, etc. All of these things inspire me to create music and yes, sometimes I hear drones/sounds in my head with particular photos. I seem to get the same feeling while watching certain films too (the ones with great cinematography), like Lynch, Bergman, Tarkovsky, etc. Ultimately, Ambient music is very visual for me and it goes hand in hand with Photography in my opinion.

6. I noticed that early on you started collaborating with artists such as IOK1, Dronny Darko and Onasander (to name a few). How was it working with a variety of uniquely experienced artists, and did this help shape your own sound moving forward?

I cannot say that it helped shape my own sound but I have definitely learned a lot from my collaborations. Although I am very picky with whom I collaborate with, it’s fascinating to see other artists’ creative process and how they sculpt the sounds compared to how you do it.

7. What’s been your favorite collaboration effort so far?

I do not have a personal favorite but the ones that are most memorable to me are Black Monolith (w/Dronny Darko), Canidia (w/Onasander), and Anamnesis (w/IOK1). Black Monolith was a very special release at Reverse Alignment, it was actually 3 different releases combined into a 2CD album and it seems to be a real favorite amongst fans, everything just clicked with that one. Canidia (released at Winter-Light) was an interesting collaboration especially due to the fact that I used to listen to some of Maurizio’s projects while I was back in High School (Typhoid, H.P.P). I was getting really into Rhythmic Noise in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, and here I am collaborating with Maurizio 20 years later. Pretty wild. Anamnesis, was a 4 track EP released at the Kalpamantra label, and I really loved the sound that David and I created on this one, very haunting, nightmarish and surreal. My isolated dense drones mixed with David’s more Industrial/Ambient sound worked really well. You can find an extended edition of Anamnesis on streaming platforms.


8. In my opinion, 2018’s ‘Lucid Intrusion’ really started to develop the modern Ajna sound. Where does this album rank as far as a shift in sound?

Yes, absolutely agree. ‘Lucid Intrusion’ was the real stepping stone for me, it was the big shift to a more active obscure dark ambient sound with much more layers going on as opposed to my more linear sound in the past. This was the real quantum leap as it was my first release on Cyclic Law. When I got back into Dark Ambient in 2007 (as mentioned before), Cyclic Law was my absolute #1 go to label at the time for Dark Ambient music (and pretty much still is today). So, it was always a dream of mine since the day Ajna began to release at Cyclic Law and 10 years after the project began, here I am releasing at my favorite label. It’s a really a great thing to be apart of a label that was so inspiring to me and it’s surreal that some of my favorite Dark Ambient artists such as Raison D’etre, Kammarheit, Svartsinn, New Risen Throne, Desiderii Marginis etc are now my label mates. It’s truly an honor!

9. I can’t compete this interview without mentioning ‘Mors Ultra’. This was one of my favorite Dark Ambient album of 2022 and is THE definitive collection of Ajna tracks. What was the thought process going into the making of this album?

That’s so great to hear and I am really happy you enjoyed the album! Well, the concept just kind of came to me one day. I am a big fan of esoteric, occult, metaphysical (etc) books, I love digging deep into mysteries and spirituality, I really cannot get enough of it but also at the time I was very fascinated with reading about Near Death Experiences. I read many accounts of it, hearing people’s different stories and perceptions about it and then suddenly the idea for the album just came to me.


10. This album is quite long as well – which is right up my alley. Was this done on purpose or were the creative juices endlessly flowing?

Well, yes it’s quite long (hah) but initially ‘Mors Ultra” was two separate albums. Disc 1 was recorded/composed throughout 2019 and Disc 2 was recorded/composed throughout 2020, which was the first year of the pandemic. I had a lot of time on my hands, everything was shut down at the time, I transitioned to remote work, spent a lot of time in nature and meditating so I got really busy in the studio in 2020 especially. So yes, the creative flow was just there all the time, I sent over disc 2 to Cyclic Law late 2020 and then Frederic suggested the double album idea and I was totally into it.

11. You recently released an extended, remastered version of your first album, ‘Nordic Drifts’. What led to the decision to release this milestone effort?

I wanted to do something special with “Nordic Drifts” since it was the first EP that I’ve ever released back in Summer 2012. I suppose you can say that it’s somewhat of a 10th Anniversary release (even though it’s a little over 10 years now). It’s always nice to revisit old tracks once in a while and I will be doing the same for more releases in the past and some unreleased material as well. I find it very interesting because some of my fans/listeners prefer my earlier sound compared to my new sound and vice versa. Everyone has different tastes.


12. Do you have plans to remaster/revisit any more of your earlier releases?

Yes, definitely. I really enjoy revisiting old work once in a while and I do plan on remastering/revisiting old works and I may even release some EPs/albums that are unreleased or tracks only exclusive to my Soundcloud. I’ve also been getting some requests for a re-release of “Inevitable Mortality” since only 50 copies were made. Hopefully, that can happen sometime in the future as well.

13. Do you have more releases lined up for 2023? If so, will there be any exciting collaborations?

Another solo length was completed this past Autumn and sent to the label but I do not know the time or the date of the release as of yet. No collaborations in the works at this time.

14. You’ve had an extensive career as a Dark Ambient artist. Have you thought about branching out to other genres of music, even if for just a one-off project?

I actually have two side projects. My one project Segment.fault is another Ambient project but has a more musique concrete/hauntology approach. The soundscapes are also loop based and have this lo-fi feel to them. I hope to have a physical release one day, I revived the project in 2020 and have released a couple of albums on bandcamp. My other side project is called Ghost Peripheral (formerly called Intrinsik) and this is the one project that’s actually beat oriented. The genre is a mixture of Glitch and IDM, I released many tracks on my soundcloud back in the day and only have 1 self released EP but I have not worked on the project in about 3-4 years. Maybe I’ll revive it one day.

15. Your Ghost Peripheral project sounds very intriguing. Do you think you’ll release a compilation album of earlier works (that were on SoundCloud) on Bandcamp one day?

You know, I’ve thought about this several times and it’s really not a bad idea at all (thanks for reminding me Dave, hah!). I may do this one day and perhaps sometime I’ll also make new material with that project. Who knows what the future may bring…

16. I want to thank you once again for your time and for gracing us all with a comprehensive catalog of music. Do you have any final thoughts for those that will be reading this interview?

The pleasure is mine, Dave! Thank you very much for choosing me for an interview. This is not a common thing for me but I really enjoyed answering your questions! To the dark ambient/drone artists getting started out there, remember to always be yourself no matter what, don’t follow the trends or hype, if you remain patient, passionate and resilient good things will happen. Thank you for taking the time to read!


Bandcamp: https://ajna1.bandcamp.com/album/nordic-drifts-extended

Instagram: https://instagram.com/ajna_drone?igshid=NDk5N2NlZjQ=

Soundcloud: https://m.soundcloud.com/intrinsik-1

Dronny Darko & Ugasanie Once Again Collude On An Oceanic Dark Ambient Masterpiece With ‘Dark Source Of The North’

One of my favorite thematic subjects for a Dark Ambient album is the vast, dark ocean and the menacing evils that lurk within its chaotic abyss. It’s even more fitting when two of Dark Ambient’s most accomplished artists collaborate for this type of setting and produce an all-out maritime nightmare. However, this is not the first time Dronny Darko and Ugasanie have joined forces on such an event, as they released the chaotically impressive ‘Arctic Gates’ back in 2019 on the Cryo Chamber label. Now, four years later, they are back with a follow-up album and it’s just as bleak and ominous as their first. ‘Dark Source Of The North’ is an aquatic ordeal that delivers a punishing array of soundscapes through an incessant void. The eight tracks contained within produce an otherworldly soundtrack of futile escapism and amaurotic malevolence.

“In Search Of An Object” wastes no time in submerging the listener in a vast, cold ocean surrounded by emptiness and horrifying seclusion. Deep drones, complimented by reverberated textures creates an overwhelming sensation of solitude. As the sound continues to flow and become more aggressive, this nightmarish scenario becomes inescapable. Opaque winds increase for a moment before subsiding with the end of the song. In the second track, “Anomaly”, frigid ocean currents crash against an unprotected shore, creating a sort of naturalistic dominance. Obscure sound effects commence, producing a repulsive sound, only enhanced by deep, droning textures. As the ocean waves subside, the faint abhorrence of distant thunderstorms display an inevitable conclusion of chaotic force and destruction. As the end of the track nears, industrialized chaos create an audible pandemonium before being overtaken once again by crashing waves on a desolate seashore. “In A Magnetic Field” begins with a sinister effect that modulates as if it’s in heavy rotation and being prepare for a destructive scenario. Space Ambient styled drones begin to increase in broad layers as various, creepy effects paint a vivid picture of apocalyptic proportions. “Presence” immediately thrusts into a collision course with an abysmal void with intense drones and arcane noises that are downright terrifying. At the peak of these sound encounters, they maintain their intensity for a while before collapsing into a single drone. Assorted effects are heard in the distance as if fleeing from an anarchic discord. The main drone also builds into a soothing atmosphere for the final few minutes of the song. “Contact” commences with a single drone that emulates a distant beacon, either providing an early warning or waywardly sounding off due to a malfunction. As it continues to fade, synth pads ascend onto the darkness with hints of obscure orchestrations and howling, digital winds. As panic begins to set in, inaudible vocalizations and elongated modulations paint a gloomy scenario of solitude. As the track nears completion, random jolts of high pitch sounds produce a peculiar sound akin to large drops of acid rain bouncing off of industrial material corroding away in a barren wasteland. “Consequences” is one of the shorter tracks on the album so it rushes in quicker than the other offerings and builds layers of destructive patterns within the first minute. Not to say it’s an all out audial assault, this track is masterfully arranged and sets the album up for a climactic ending with the remaining tracks. “Transition” begins with a deep, slightly distorted drone, as if a large vessel is passing by without warning. As the vessel draws near, the tones increase in volume and adds subtle soundscapes that are eerie but luminous. There is a lot of reverb usage in some of the effects, producing a colossal sound design that is beyond epic. The final track on this distressing album is “On The Other Side Of The Arctic Gates”. Instead of beginning with an ominous drone, bells toll in different ranges, symbolizing the traversing to calmer waters. Although many dark obstacles were observed and navigated along the way, the journey to the other side has turned out to be just as challenging. As the layers of aggressively sounding drones kick in, the sense of adventure continues down a dark path in the form of various soundscapes and dystopian-like effects. Proving that wastelands can also be aquatic, the forceful winds and soothing ocean waves at the end are a fitting finale for this esoteric and mysterious album.

Dronny Darko and Ugasanie have once again proven that their collaboration efforts produce top tier results. ‘Dark Source Of The North’ is a fantastic follow up to their 2019 ‘Arctic Gates’ album and if they choose to produce more albums with this same theme, I’d eagerly welcome it. The Cryo Chamber label always provides a solid platform for the best in cinematic Dark Ambient music and this solid release is right up there with the best of the best. If you’re a fan of sinister Dark Ambient music that ventures beyond time and space, definitely check out this album from the link below.

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The Nebula Breviary – A Voyage Through The Black Hole With Taste Of Beer Records

I have lots of fun writing about my favorite labels in The Nebula Breviary column. Originally I intended for it to be a one-off publishing but due to the growth in the Dark Ambient and Dungeon Synth genres over the past few years, I plan to keep at it in order to showcase some of my favorites of both genres. For this particular publishing, I will feature ten exiting albums from the Taste Of Beer Records label. This up and coming label has produced a lot of exciting albums in both digital and physical formats and they continually deliver music from the tavern that surely appeals to an ever growing fan base. Thanks for reading this and I hope you enjoy these albums as much as I have.

1. Goblin Mage – Charms & Devilry

‘Charms & Devilry’ is an absorbing journey through enchanted forests, where mystical entities become your guide for captivating adventures. Minimalistic and soothing, these eight tracks present a light-hearted effort that elicits tones of mystic landscapes and rhythmic modulations that are part whimsical and part daring. Tracks such as “Strange Magick” and “Goblin Town” stand out as studious anthems that are memorable and truly representative of album as a whole. Recommended for fans of buoyant sounds and jaunty Dungeon Synth dirges.


2. Helmet – Vanitas

The Medieval times were not always filled with gory battles and drama amongst royalty. When I think of the more ostentatious times, this is exactly the music that I envision being played. Relaxing melodies and soothing orchestrations are at the center of these simple, yet uniquely composed songs. With an eloquent tone that is reminiscent of lenitive landscapes and soft, breezy forests, ‘Vanitas’ is an entertaining effort that truly symbolizes the fulfilling life beyond the Keep and beyond the realms of battle. This will be a Dungeon Synth classic in the years to come.


3. Vouivre – The Father Of Dragons-Glaurung

Talking about a beautiful cinematic effort, ‘The Father of Dragons-Glaurung’ could easily be a soundtrack to a Medieval-inspired action movie. This robust album features four long-players that produce a theatric blend of Dungeon Synth intonations and intoxicating orchestrations. Beautiful produced, one could easily create their own feudal adventure, as these tracks weave through dark landscapes and harrowing Middle Ages creativity. Epic, to say the least, Vouivre has provided the ultimate audial accompaniment that certainly does this genre proud. You definitely don’t want to sleep on this one.


4. Mushrooms – Between The Moss And The Sky

‘Between The Moss And The Sky’ is a dainty little offering that resides in the Comfy Synth realm and it provides a playful antidote for the ears. I can imagine a rainforest in recovery, after the harshness of an autumn storm, where the raindrops faintly evaporate and the ground gives way to natural fungal growth. Content with its beautiful surroundings and exotic location off the hidden path, these tracks expand upon natures gift to mankind and the alluring endeavors that continue to evolve. Simple rhythms and dreamy synth leads will leave the listener mesmerized and wanting more.


5. Assorted Potions & Deep Gnome – Threadmage’s Curious Encounter With The Fae Folk

This is probably one of my favorite Comfy Synth albums of the last few years. Not entirely whimsical, these consoling canticles have a particular enchanting tone that takes a somberly approach on its delivery, instead of being outright quirky. To make it even better, there are a couple of cover songs that are mouthwatering takes on a few Cheryl Crow and Enya classics. If you enjoy the more consoling side of Dungeon Synth, then be sure to check out this amazing project and album.


6. Anadûnê – Durin, Father Of Dwarves

From the Elminster camp, Anadûnê presents a sharper, more focused effort that is dark, menacing and at times gothic in tone. The four long-players that make up ‘Durin, Father Of Dwarves’ are a true calling to the traditional Dungeon Synth sound and comes complete with rhythmic percussive elements and layers of intoxicating instrumentation. This is a journey that demands to be revisited time and time again, and is one for the ages. Listening to tracks like ‘The Hammer Of Aulë” and “I Wander Alone” gets me exited for endless Medieval endeavors and all of the imaginative tales that come with it. I’m a big fan of this project and recommend this to all of the daring souls that wish to embark on mystifying musical adventures.


7. Elminster & Meadow Grove – Winds Of Mages

Two of Dungeon Synth’s most prominent artists, Elminster & Meadow Grove have teamed up to present one of the ultimate collaboration projects of the genre. Two uniquely crafted artists, very distinct sounds and impeccable song writing on one mammoth of an album. ‘Winds Of Mages’ soars high and delivers a bold blend of darkness, magic and obscure electronic synths. Coherent modulations exude a capricious path of synth madness and haunting tales that need no narrative for understanding. As each track transparently flows into the next, it’s apparent that this is a high-scale output that needs a follow-up album (hint, hint). Another highly recommended album that is sure to get plenty of playing time in the foreseeable future.


8. The Toadstool Elf – The Toadstool Elf

‘The Toadstool Elf’ is a quaint, Comfy Synth offering that wondrously flows like a symphonic soundtrack of a mystical domain. With only five tracks and twenty two minute of playing time, there are heaps of entertaining, musical sections contained within to satisfy your whimsical needs. Boasting a dream-like production effort, there is a visible haze to these tracks, as if daydreaming of peaceful times, deep in a hidden forest of elves, mythical creatures and colorful landscapes. This is a serene album with enough harmonious sections to pique your interest.


9. Forlorn Swordsman – Old School Lo-Fi Dungeon Music

When it comes to Dungeon Synth – well music In general – I tend to resonate the most with lo-fi offerings that are raw, organic and in some cases, relatable to my emotional state. That being said, Forlorn Swordsman is right up my alley. Producing an hour long blend of Dungeon Synth and Comfy Synth, ‘Old School Lo-Fi Dungeon Music’ is not only aptly named, but in a sense, a completely dark & eerie experience. These tracks are not flimsily thrown together at all, as they are masterfully orchestrated with bits of melody and chaos – all at the same time. Standout tracks include “Cross The Sorrowfields”, “Dreams Of Old Times” and “Made Free By The Blade”. I hate that I missed out on the cassette version of this, as it would have sounded perfect on my old shoebox cassette player. At any rate, this is an exquisite release and it doesn’t get more lo-fi than this.


10. Onfang – Audible Mending

‘Audible Mending’ is a unique Comfy Synth offering that features dreamy vocal performances, tranquil synth effects and a song called “The Last Narwhal”. How can you not like an album that feature a song about the rare, Arctic sea creature? Containing six electrifying songs, they each stand out in their own way and envelop all of the traditional Dungeon Synth aesthetics. Haunting and whimsical, this album produces an array of emotions that extends beyond Medieval realms and encapsulating forests while allowing the listen to sink into their own imagination. Another great release from Taste Of Beer Records!





Psyclopean Conceives A Psychedelic Soundtrack For Realms Of The Unknown On ‘Nostalgiamancer’

As one of the harbingers of Psychedelic Dungeon Synth music, Psyclopean has developed a passion for producing an ominous blend of nostalgic Dungeon Synth and curious musical obscurities that paints a cinematic landscape of futuristic remembrance. On the projects latest album, ‘Nostalgiamancer’, Psyclopean reaches deep within the psyche of wistful modulations to deliver an album worth being called a soundtrack for pneumatic endeavors. Over an hours worth of retentive musical excursions (including two epic-sized tracks), this album is one meditate to, as well as to exercise one’s own thought patterns for eternal cleansing.

The album opener, “Hypnosynchromystical Transfiguration” is nearly sixteen and a half minutes of transcending electronic music that is exactly what’s needed to commence this hypnotizing journey. Beginning with retrospective synth effects and a short spoken-word narrative, this track quickly sets a tone for magical and enchanting adventures. Hisses, crackles and pops are some familiar production tactics to give this a nostalgic vibe and thoughts of yesteryear primarily consume the listeners thoughts. Soon after, psychedelic sequences take over and thicken the overall sound, inputting a dreamy sense of melody in the process. As one part flows into the next, we are presented with an arrange of instrumentation, such as acoustic guitar and trance-like percussive elements. As the song seamlessly continues, each phase flows perfectly into the next, allowing the listeners to create their own adventures that match the serene harmonies within. From faster cadence sections to whimsical compositions and exerting in between, this track is such a majestic offering. Up next is “The Uncanny Valley”. At just under four minutes in length, this is one of the shorter songs. However, where it falls short in playing time, it’s made up for in the masterful melodies and impressive use of tracking to make the most out of the lead sections. Beginning with a war-like pounding of the drums, this song transparently molds into several influences before closing in a sea of spacey bliss. “A Walk Among The Ruins” is probably one of the most beautiful songs in Psyclopean’s entire discography. A soothing synth melody continuously plays in the background while haunting orchestrations flow higher in the mix. Creating a landscape of melancholic passion, it’s hard not to elicit an emotional response. Toward the end, clean synth leads breathe new life into the song, as if one is in a deep meditative state or whisked away in a territory of astral projection, where distant stars slowly move closer within reach. “Noble Sons Of Celephais” is more of a Dungeon Synth track in the traditional synth, relying on bold Medieval incantations rather than vivid visions of the imagination. The mesmerizing synth leads mesh well with the background ambience and occasional percussive spots, as there are some massive theatric moments during this five minute masterpiece. “Life Is A Weird Fiction (Which We Narrate To Ourselves)” is the ultimate reputation of what this album stands for and is pretty much an adventure within the adventure. With a playing time of nearly twenty six minutes, there is a lot to uncover in this relic of a story. As the tape hisses commence, so do the dreamy synth leads that are reminiscent of classic symthwave effects. Various electronic patterns are synchronized in a way that shouldn’t work, but this song quickly comes together as a unified musical wonder. There are a lot of ambient patterns, as well as Berlin School sequences that are audible throughout, and it’s all arranged so sensationally, that it’s hard to tell when the various sections of this song begin and end. The assorted tones and effects represent an arrangement of colors and shapes that are dominate visuals for this audial escapade. As the shapes and colors bend and shift, the music takes shape in hypnotic fashion, ensuring that nothing else is interfering with this sonic journey. The final song on the album is “Court Of The Somber Queen” and it introduces some actual singing, slightly distorted by wavy effects. Another short piece, this is a very appealing way to close out this psychedelic experience. Complete with soothing synths and acoustic guitar passages, I get the sense that this is the song that awakens the soul and brings a sense of reality back to the listener.

Psyclopean continues to outdo previous efforts with something bolder, more creative and enjoyable than the last. As a big fan of Psyclopean’s back catalog, I can proudly say, this is the strongest effort yet from this project. From epic song lengths to a variety of tones and effects, ‘Nostalgiamancer’ is the ultimate listening experience for those that enjoy a bit of variety in your Dungeon Synth music. Head on over to the link below and down this album and don’t forget to experience the back catalog as well. This year is already starting off with a bang, thanks to enchanted albums like this one.

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