The bleak and consoling sounds of dark ambient music don’t always have to be set in dreary, pioneering generations. Although we mostly associate this visionary craft with distant times, it’s audial adaptability can generate imaginative sequences from past occasions as well. That’s exactly what Atrium Carceri and Cities Last Broadcast – also unofficially known as The Bearded Swedes – have achieved on their second collaboration effort together known as, ‘Black Stage Of Night’. Their retrospective outlook on dark ambient has taken the genre to new heights, as the solitude droning and domineering field recordings have been replaced with haunting tape loops & sequences, and minimalistic – yet melodic – soundscapes. The result is a recording rich in warm ambient sounds and thick structured songs that are well crafted that take a life of their own, as if their audience could have been from many decades ago.
Intrepid album opener, “Mind Turns To Night”, makes a bold statement as the soft and eerie synths provide a leisurely tone to this haunting dirge while the warm static noises hiss inconstantly in the background. “Attic And Wormwood” commences with a beautiful piano arrangement and the steady, slightly high-pitched frequency to add texture and substance. About halfway through the track, nostalgic keyboard melodies make their way in as if the dusk-lit sky is breaking away to the dawn. “A Glass Of Sleep For An Elegant Dream” is my favorite song on the album as it has an 80’s cinematic horror sound to it and with the sounds of an old spinning record crackling in the background, gives a classic interpretation of modern terror. “All Things Nocturnal” features an array of soundscapes with opulent keys & pads to give this track a dense sound. “Chaos Unmade” features sparse tape loops and a spectral melody played over and over again making this a very ghostly and daring track. Anxiety builds as various sounds and samples can barely be heard in the background as the music continues and the unknown ending soon unfolds. “A New Constellation” slowly builds without reaching a climactic state as various musical sounds creep their way in momentarily to make their presence known. This track is like a doomed, melancholic adventure that leaves its somber trace on everything in its path. On “The Great Order Of Things”, a mesmerizing vocal track is added to the droning austere arrangement to make it just as soothing as it is unnerving. On the albums final track, “Night Becomes Morning”, alluring pads alter frequencies to create an exquisite beacon of light drones to properly finalize the multitude of timeless sounds and patterns thus far. This minimal arrangement fits perfect with the rest of the tracks and leaves the listener in a state of renewed amazement.
The team of Atrium Carceri and Cities Last Broadcast never cease to amaze me when they set out to synchronize their minds on a project like this. With two fantastic albums now under their belt, I can only hope they will continue to collaborate on a regular basis and bring us more albums in the “Black” series. Although these artist have excellent solo careers, there is just something very special when they get together and release an album. ‘Black Stage Of Night’ may not be your typical dark ambient album but it will haunt you in other ways that you can only imagine. Please show your support for this awesome release and download it at the link below.
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