We’ve all felt the impact of the irregularities of 2020, but if there is one thing that’s certain, it’s that the Dark Ambient genre has consistently produced some of the most prolific albums that I’ve heard in a while. Artists have persistently reached beyond the scope of normal atmospherics to bring us listeners the entertainment value that we’ve come to love in this genre of music. From uninhabited drones to stellar collaborations, this has been one of my favorite years for Dark Ambient music. Although I could easily come up with a Top 50 list, I’ve decided to keep this list to my 10 favorite releases of this year. These are the albums that I’ve listened to them most and have embellished in the marvels of their audial beauty. I hope you enjoy!
10. Neraterræ – Scenes From The Sublime
Neraterræ epitomizes quality and perfection and ‘Scenes From The Sublime’ is a completely enthralling experience. Continuing the tendency to collaborate with the best-of-the-best Dark Ambient artist, Neraterræ writes dismal tracks that demand not only the listeners attention, but a definite spot on my Top 10 list.
9. Alphaxone – Dystopian Gate
I’ve been a big fan of Alphaxone for a while now and his minimalistic space ambience always puts me in a zone like no other. However, on Dystopian Gate, there is a much darker tone than on previous releases and from start to finish, this is like the soundtrack to the apocalypse.
8. Colonial Skyway – Landline
‘Landline’ is a masterclass is extreme minimalistic droning sounds. However, pieced with the elements of the great mid-west, and a supreme album cover, I find myself getting lost in this superb recording very often!
7. Dead Melodies & Zenjungle – Anthropocene
Of all the outstanding collaboration albums that have been produced this year, ‘Anthropocene’ is my absolute favorite. The drones and soundscapes are eerily disturbing but with the brass instrument addition, it’s equally soothing. The combination of these qualities, makes this one of the surprise releases of the year (for me).
6. Beyond The Ghost – Eternal Drift
‘Eternal Drift’ contains some of the best cinematic Dark Ambient recorded this year. Although Beyond The Ghost has a relatively short career in the genre so far, this is an artist that is a force to be reckoned with and I can’t wait to hear what’s in store next. Until then, ‘Eternal Drift’ will remain a permanent fixture in my mobile music collection.
5. House Of The Maker – The Autumnal End
House Of The Maker produces some of the most intangible drone and soundscape recordings I’ve heard. The heavy use of field recordings and natural setting gives this almost a ritualistic vibe and I couldn’t be more pleased. I often turn to this recording when I need help relaxing and winding down and I’m looking forward to many more releases by this revolutionary artist.
4. Scott Lawlor – But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know
Scott Lawlor NEVER stops producing music and can easily go from haunting piano ballads to deep space drone masterpieces. If I were to have made a Top 50 list, Scott Lawlor would have at least 5 or 6 albums to grace it – this one being my favorite. The ebb and flow of music on this album is masterful and it centers around a realistic theme that makes this album a must listen.
3. Apocryphos – Against Civilization
Of all the albums in my Top 10 list, this one surprised me the most, mainly because of how impeccably good it is. Droning guitar tones never sounded so empyreal, and the whole album is just mesmerizing. In addition, the amazing field recordings create an ambience beyond catastrophe and emptiness. This has been one of my most played albums (of any genre) this year.
2. Mombi Yuleman – A Shaman’s Warning: Further Tales Of The Wi’Tiko
Over the past few years, Mombi Yuleman has been on a remarkable path toward Dark Ambient greatness. His keen attention to detail, coupled with his willingness to venture outside the realm of the Dark Ambient genre for creating the perfect aesthetic, has enabled him to consistently create albums of a perfectionists touch. Of the many projects that he worked on this year, this album has been my most played. I’m so excited to see what the year 2021 has in store for this marvelous musician.
1. Xerxes The Dark – Final Crisis
Xerxes The Dark creates a sonic sound like no other, and perhaps it comes from his wide array of side projects that cross many musical boundaries. Otherworldly drones are complimented by industrial soundscapes and impressive field recording to give the listener an uneasy feeling. ‘Final Crisis’ is a chilling display of no-holds-bared ambience and listening to this album is not for the faint of heart. This release is so captivating and explosive, that I can’t think of anything else that matches its intensity. ‘Final Crisis’ by Xerxes The Dark is my Dark Ambient album of the year!