Robert Eggplant is one of those artists that certainly has an unmistakable sound. Although the base of his work is ambient, there is a particular abstract design to his albums that result in a Dark Ambient, experimental conglomerate that is gloomy, nostalgic and full of neutral colors. On his stunning fourth album, ‘Dog Island ‘, he takes field recordings, acoustic guitar effects and ominous loops to another level. Fifteen obscure tracks that takes up a better part of eighty minutes, set a minimalistic scenery that’s perfect for a dreary afternoon. So, light a few candles, turn down the lights and prepare to meditate for the course of these gripping tracks.
The album lead off track, “Witanic Path” commences with a humming drone noise that resides far off in the distance. The soothing texture of rain drops present a darkened day and when the strumming guitar loops hit, there is a sense of calming amazement that penetrates the air. Anytime an album showcases the sounds of desolate winds, it has my immediate attention. “Tremorous Dreamer” is a fantastic follow up track as it fires off a barrage of minimalistic field recordings, hissing loops and obscure guitar strums. It’s like having a dream that turns into a nightmare, in which you never awake. There is something really sinister about this sound. “Magpies In The Cherry Tree’ continues the menacing atmosphere with an industrialized hum in the background while the sounds of nature try to elicit a particular purity. More random guitar strokes and beautiful use of field recordings continue this endeavor that is like a journey into the unknown. “Paroxysm” begins with a beautiful & retrospective melody that is joined with slight wind and rain sounds. As nature takes a turn for the worse, the journey must continue and the bleak field recordings lead the way. Again, looping guitar strums become a focal point and may even cause a startling reaction due to being the loudest intonation in the mix. “Leaf Blowers In Paradise” is up next and the title alone is a hit in itself. This song presents another masterful blend of field recordings, many which are audible to the point of knowing what they are, while others provide a grim backplane for the track itself. As random as these pieces may sound, they provide a wonderful sense of balance in not only this track, but throughout the entire album. “The Devil will Always Chase The Hungry” is another marvelous song title and it perfectly matches the minimalistic ambience that ensues. There are more classic synthwave textures on this track and a soothing resonance that is a much welcomed surprise. “The Dynamical Nature Of Time” pieces together chirping birds, environmental elements and looping instrumentation. Overall, this song is bleak, with austere timbres that has an uneasy effect. “Drug Rug Wedding” is an interesting title that combines looping buzzes, howling winds and creepy modulations to produce an extremely horrid outcome. Reverberated guitar tones sound so apocalyptic as it demonstrates an ever growing presence of demise. “Plague Demon” begins with the sounds of doomed terror via haunting synth keys before settling into a more holistic dirge complete with soothing guitar tones and aquatic-styled field recordings. “Device Control” is a suitable follow up track as it showcases the same aesthetics as the previous track but in a more hurried way. Although there isn’t a lot going on in this song, the synths provide the lead instrumentation while the adamant rain drop field recordings showcase a percussive element. The guitar strums sound very distant – almost dreamlike – in the mix, allowing for a wide imaginative space to contemplate these sounds. “Shadow Signifier” begins with a deep, spacey drone that soon fuses with harshly reverberated acoustic guitars and random field recordings to break up the monotony. “Left Hand Pathogen” starts like a cosmic soundscape with high pitched screeches and samples. The desolate sounds of walking down a damp path comes into play while audible rings signify the beginning…or the end. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. “The Summoner And The Summoned” is one of the most bizarre tracks as the guitar loops are like a deformed echo moving through a modulation chamber while the chirps of bird are caught singing next to this industrialized musical gear. The sounds of stones scraping in the middle of the song is really creepy, while the untimed strums of a detuned guitar continue to impress. “Desert Storm Memorabilia” is a thought-inducing track that could represent a variety of subject matter. More naturalistic soundscapes accompany acoustic guitar strums and other borrowing sounds that present a bold tone of menacing proportions. The final track on this mammoth of an album is, “Vertical Burial (Improvisation)”. For this track we get a clear picture of compositional acoustic riffs combines with tape hisses and the occasional field recording. This is such an intriguing effort and another one of my favorite tracks. I could listen to a whole album of these type of improvised acoustic guitar textures. As the album closer, it brings everything into prospective as if the harsh elements of a monstrous journey has come to a triumphant end.
I’ve been a huge fan of Robert Eggplant ever since ‘Amalgamation’ came out back in 2019. His recordings have a very distinct sound and rely heavily on field recordings rather than traditional Dark Ambient instrumentation. For me, this is a breath of fresh air, as it showcases something distinct and unique to the artist that is undeniable in every way. On ‘Dog Island’, he continues with that same recording technique and delivers another masterpiece of an album. If you’re into something that is less song structured and more sound structured, then I can’t recommend Robert Eggplant enough. Please click on the links below to download this amazing album and check out his previous albums as well. You definitely won’t be disappointed.
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