Hearing a musical perception of a piece of literature is a fascinating thing. It’s like hearing a great soundtrack to a movie – when the music is just right, there is no explanation needed as it provide an audial experience for our senses that parallels what it is representing. Additionally, it allows for it to be easily understood without justification. That’s the great thing about being a fan of music such as dungeon synth and dark ambient, where it relies less on vocal interpretations and more on imagination and emotion. When this kind of music is paired up with the right piece of literature, a basic understanding of any subject matter will become easily known. On Psyclopean’s twelfth release, the artist interprets H.P. Lovecraft’s short story from 1926, ‘The Outsider’. This is a story about a sole character that breaks free from his castle in search of human companionship. That being said, ‘The Outsider’ (the album) is an emotional outing filled with tones of sorrow and agony.
The albums sole song is the near twenty two minute long self-titled track, “The Outsider”. Beginning with a somber keyboard arrangement with the sounds of nature in its evening state, there are early elements of dark ambient to this track. Various field recordings and soundscapes add an eerie element as well. At almost the three minute mark, components of dungeon & fantasy synth are introduced as layered keyboards create an intertwined melody and the morning sounds of nature are made known as well. I interpret this as the protagonist in the story beginning his journey and traversing the harsh land through day and night in order to seek contact with another being. At around seven minutes, a more sinister sounding keyboard reprise takes over, as if danger is lurking in the air. Cinematic orchestrations give this section of the song a grand sound while remaining frightening. At around twelve minutes, the track switches focus back to a dark ambient sound with howling winds and subtle keyboards. This is probably my favorite section in the song and it has a nice spacey sound and various field recordings as if the protagonist is traveling across a long, frozen tundra with no bearable end in sight. At around the nineteen minute mark, discordant tones suddenly blare as panic starts to set in, creating havoc for the protagonist as he makes a bold decision about his quest. The final few minutes shift back to a jarring dungeon synth keyboard arrangement as “The Outsider” comes to a close.
Psyclopean successfully give new meaning to the phrase musical interpretation. Although the works of H.P. Lovecraft have been open for analysis for many years, most translations have been done through film or referenced in other works of literature. Even though there have been musical projects that were heavily influenced by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, there haven’t been many artists that propitiously create an album based on one of his short stories that provided a musical adventure that easily details that story. ‘The Outsider’ does just that and more. This is a wonderful listening adventure and I highly recommend it for fans of both dungeon synth and dark ambient. Please show your support for this innovative artist and download the album from the link below.
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