Regen Graves Delivers A Cacophony Of Desolate Ambience On ‘Climax’

If I had to summarize my thoughts of the latest Regen Graves album, ‘Climax’, in a single word, it would be unsettling. There is something very disconcerting with this release and if I were to offer my opinion as to what the overarching theme is, it would be “abandonment through chaos.” Each of the six tracks on this recording shakes the foundation of dark ambient music and expands upon bereft energy to reclaim an insurmountable space of bleak, ominous refrain while challenging the listener to identify the boundaries of unpleasantries and infirmity. Even with that being said, there is an amiable amount of sustainability with these tracks, specifically with regards to arrangements and how compelling it really is.

Lead off track, “Immutable Reality” begins with a slightly distorted drone and morose soundscapes, setting a scene of obscurity and gloom right off the bat. Off-kilter organ chimes present an anatomical sound that depicts a particular calmness amongst an apprehensive environment. As the droning menace grows thicker and more evil, ambiguous samples produce an ominous theme of pre-apocalyptic visions. “The Last Stage Of Decline” commences with grim, celestial modulations that ride the spectrum of audial terror. Soothing but austere narrations add a bleak atmospheric while Berlin School styled sequences build in layers. A deluge of sound samples and effects complete this unconventional track but will leave the listener wanting more. “The Window” begins with a rhythmic pattern that is easy to follow along with, while haunting synth leads and elongated drones fuse in total solidarity. A progression of sound is ever so present here, as a multitude of arrangements complete the cycle of chaotic ambiguity. “Digetic Distortion” is aptly titled, as a barrage of stringed mutilation and amplified buzz emits a grueling appeal. While awaiting full-scale havoc, bits of sonic sounds adds a level of intensity that demands to be heard. As the murmur continues, it becomes more earth-shattering by the second. “Nothing Will Be Better” starts with a traditional Dark Ambient vibe and a hint of horror-generated sounds can be heard off in the distance. As it slowly crescendos, in unison with the bellowing drone, sinister back masking narrations create a sense of fear and apprehension. This continue for a few minutes before dying out into a single instance of deep, dismal droning. The final track on the album is the bonus track, “Heat”. Taking the listener on a completely different journey, this trance-like EDM track provides a foundation of mesmerizing beats, rhythmic synths and assorted samples to create a futuristic style of music that blends obscurity with pop fascination. I wouldn’t mind if Regen Graves created a whole albums worth of this type of music. A very interesting, yet powerful way to complete this chilling album.

This is my second time reviewing a Regen Graves album on this site and they definitely do not disappoint. Their brand of Dark Ambient may be off the beaten path (in relation to traditional Dark Ambient music), but it’s certainly an unheralded journey into a darkened world of celestial atmospherics and haunting malevolence. ‘Climax’ is a fantastic album that is sure to get multiple listens in order to intake everything that is happening across these six magnificent tracks. Please show your support for this amazing artist and download this album from the link below.

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Links:

https://regengraves.bandcamp.com/album/climax

Drones Of A Lighter Nightmare Prevail on Sonologyst’s ‘Interdimensional’

I truly enjoy the bleakest of Dark Ambient albums. As with any other genre, there are times for a particular taste that maximizes the power of connection between music and the listener. One of my favorite sub-genres of Dark Ambient is Drone. Sure there are some similarities between Drone and say, Industrial Ambient but it has some differences as well. Instead of harsh tones and mechanized discordance, there is a reticent, more ominous sound that allows for the utmost space for meditation and a dream-like state for potential out-of-body experiences. One artist that majestically captures these types of moments is Sonologyst. The latest album, ‘Interdimensional’ is a top-rate experience in eerie modulations and dismal tones that are equally creepy as they are thought provoking. These six tracks create a dynamic world of gray, scenic prowess and a cold atmosphere that blurs the line between dark and light.

Haunting lead off track, “Ad Astra” slowly comes into picture, like a group of propelled planes slowly flying overhead, destined for a doomed mission. As soundscapes fuse this modulated terror, a complex scenario builds despite the minimalistic tones. The various sounds create a revolving intonation that builds and collapses, causing terrifying moments of anxiety and angst. The relentless chaos doesn’t let up, even as the track fades into oblivion. “Interdimensional Beings” immediately sets a lethargic pace with low-end rumbles and spots of synth notes that blend in chaotic discord. As this nightmare settles in, the tonal quality increases and expands to include random sound bytes and unhinged effects. As it nears the final moments, celestial tones produce a nostalgic effect, which shows a complete balance between disorder and minimalist aptitude. At just over four minutes long, “Paraphysical Phenomenon” is not only the shortest track on the album, but probably the most adventurous one as well. Beautiful synth melodies clash with spacious drones and the result is a mesmerizing blend of sonic tranquility that gives the illusion of endless travel beyond the deepest corridors of space. Going from the shortest song to the longest, ‘Through Memories And Galaxies” is a near fifteen minute ride through muffled voids and spacey vacuums and exudes a supremely addictive host for traveling through blissful territories of the mind. Barely audible vocal narrations and lengthy drones complete this lengthy effort that goes from dreamy modulations to terrifying screeches. “Multiverses” commences with some of the darkest drones presented on this collection of songs. Unparalleled soundscapes hint at a celestial vibe while the overall tone continues to thicken throughout. There are moments of psychedelic sound play that emphasizes a tumultuous moment in time. Complete with very eerie undertones, this is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The last track on the album is “God-Level Traveller” and it begins with very demented droning sound until a peculiar instance comes into play, altering the scaled synth notes at a slow pace. The natural hissing in the background adds a dreamy essence while minimalistic noise continues to gather, creating an abrasive tone that is quite quixotic. This is certainly an impactful statement to end this very dark and brooding musical collective.

Sonologyst exquisitely bridges the gap between several sub-genres of Dark Ambient music while producing elite electronic euphoria. ‘Interdimensional’ is masterclass in drone music that branches out with a plethora of haunting soundscapes and production tactics. The end result is an amazing album that is surly to stand the test of time. Don’t sleep on this album, as I highly recommend it for those that expect an esoteric and ominous audial output. Check it out at the link below and support this prodigious artist and the addictive music he produces.

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Links:

https://sonologyst.bandcamp.com/album/interdimensional

Monstruwacan Transcribes The Struggles Of Agony With The Ritualistic And Ominous ‘Mourn At The Grindstone’

If I asked you to provide one word to describe how you feel about music (in general), I’m sure their would be no wrong answers. No mater what adjectives are used to characterize your perception of music, there is no doubt that it’s a powerful entity. Music is inspirational, emotional, provides comfort, describes other subject matters in a relatable way, and is a reliable source of affection and warmth. Many of these identifiers can be associated with the massive audial offering by Monstruwacan, ‘Mourn At The Grindstone’. Six tracks of haunting modulations that provide a ritualistic listening experience through grim guitar tones and decaying vocalizations. These songs are an amenity for coping with grief and well, life in general as the turmoils we are all faced with on a regular basis seem to never end.

Blistering album opener, “Which Side Are You On (w/The Windborne Singers)” just may be my new favorite song! Featuring a sorrow song-style vocalization about old Union worker banters, this jubilant piece supremely incorporates droning soundscapes to give it a cinematic sound that are reminiscent of the musical endeavors of early Zeal & Ardor. The vocals specifically standout, as the quartet harmonizes beautiful with crystal clear annunciation, thwarting the listener back to the days of coal mining and black lung disease along with the perils of that era. “Mourn At The Grindstone” quickly builds into an eerie, minimalist drone that captures the essence of dread. Faint wails of a guitar can be heard in various spots, adding to the mystique of the song. As this tonal creature grows in volume, the sense of misery become obvious while the shrills of ominous soundscapes continue to fluctuate. Suddenly, harsh narrations divulge information of sincere pain. You can hear the agony as the vocals elicit painful cries and every strum of the guitar is like opening an emotional tomb of anger and resentment. I can imagine this is what it would sound like if Sunn O))) and Blood Of The Black Owl we’re to collaborate. Next up is the somber, “Pupils Like The Hole In Space Where It Sings”. Commencing with a melancholic guitar part, things quickly spiral down into a harsh guitar tone with full-on distortion and resonance. This doom laden masterpiece also features deafening screams and harrowing, bleak ambience, as the mood is quickly set for a slow decent to annihilation. The torment continues with “Feast In The Dark”. A perpetual drone is accompanied by low, back end soundscapes that are audible enough to peak your curiosity. Just as this mild endeavor begins to settle in, heavily modulated guitar chords bear down like a speeding freight train while strident vocals evoke a story of bitterness. “Song For The Dead” begins as a spooky Dark Ambient piece that casually infuses bits of guitar effects. The elongated drone provides a demonic backdrop and when the harsh narrations come in, this becomes a complete ritualistic experience. The middle section of this eight minute opus softens to a simple drone that fades to the point of obscurity and then blazing guitar chops ignite a doom laden offering that showcases the climactic ending of angst and fear. The final track, “What Keeps Us In This Wretched Place” begins with a dose of sonic soundscapes that reside more in the background instead of the forefront, as if we can soon expect vociferous leads to play out. A ton of reverb is used in the beginning section, kindling a stark setting of bleak space ambience. As the droning grows louder in volume, it’s apparent that we will soon see the end of this amazing journey. Layers of drones and effects dredge forth until the song faintly comes to an end.

Every once in a while, an album comes along and completely blows me away. ‘Mourn At The Grindstone’ is that album and then some. These songs are well thought out and put together with meticulous detail so that is flows with utter transparency. Caldon Glover, the mastermind behind this project, knew exactly what he was aiming for with this album and the results are in – Monstruwacan are already becoming a heavy hitter in the Drone Metal/Dark Ambient sub-genre. Although this album has been out since May of 2021, it deserves to be heard by a much larger audience than what it already has. Do yourself a favor and listen to this one right away and support this artist by downloading this masterpiece at the link below.

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Links:

https://monstruwacan.bandcamp.com/album/mourn-at-the-grindstone

Fugue In Sea Absorbs Mythological Subject Matter For Enthralling Release, ‘Py-A-Saw’

If the thought of legendary creatures don’t get the creative juices flowing, I don’t know what does. The chimerical energy that is produced by such entities is not only astounding, but it creates a boundless spectacle for imaginative tales of nefarious beings and settings. Missouri-based electronic musician, Fugue In Sea, uses these obscure entities to an advantage by creating an unconventional soundtrack for their existence. ‘Py-A-Saw’ is a five track excursion that demonstrates the agility of music and how it can translate to a vicarious world of ingenious resolve. From Dark Ambient tones to hypnotic and industrialized sequences, this is twenty eight minutes of unprecedented and ritualistic storytelling.

“The Bird That Devours Men (Theme)” is the insanely crafted lead off track that commences with obscure sound bits and eclectic drones that drift slowly like frozen air flow over a daunting mountain peak. The bizarre sound effects carry on in a chaotic commotion as if frantically trying to communicate with other entities in an unfamiliar tone. Suddenly, the clamor resends into a particular calmness before fading into oblivion. “Attack Along The Mississippi” begins with a tribal-like cadence, as layers of peculiar effects rapidly ascend with stunning creativity. More communicative reverberations begin their sequence as an industrial screech comes bellowing in with menacing fortitude. Heavily distorted guitar shrills create a trance-like instance as this ritualistic track comes full circle. “Cave Of Bones” begins with a mix of ethereal soundscapes as somber drones quietly come into play. Constant, pulsating beats create an agonizing experience of bleakness while aggressive key’s emphasize an ambiguous setting for unknowingness. “The Return; Ouatoga’s Ambush; Aftermath” introduces and dark, industrial-type aggression with loud frequency screeches, heavy modulations and the sensation of an icy cold wasteland. A durable beat instills a harmonic essence of mechanized allurement for most of the track, but fades into a space ambient offering that is completely meditative. The final track on the album is “The Bird That Devours Men (reprise)”. This frigid offering continues with the space ambient theme by creating a droning void of eclectic sounds and effects that throttle the listener to a desolate demise. This ends the album on a very eerie note (literally) and you’ll immediately want to listen to this mythical experience all over again.

‘Py-A-Saw’ is a well put together, well thought out ambient adventure. Although just an EP, there is a ton of adventure and sonic madness that is typically experienced on a much longer dark ambient album. Fugues In Sea has the dexterity to incorporate many aspects of electronic music to create a symphony of auditory compositions that are unique and captivating. ‘Py-A-Saw’ is just another notch in the belt for hopefully a long career in Dark Ambient creativity for Fugue In Sea. Please check this album out at the link below and support this exceptional artist.

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Links:

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/py-a-saw

https://fugueinsea.bandcamp.com

Eyre Transmissions XVI: Interview With Improvisational Ambient Prodigy, Mora-Tau

I was first introduced to the wonderful world of Mora-Tau by way of his 2020 album, ‘The Light Of the Winter’. Something about it was very nostalgic…very haunting. Upon further probe into his Bandcamp page, I discovered an alluring and eclectic cosmos of improvisational recordings that are addictive and more importantly conceptualized based on a specific theme – particularly around horror, nightmares, worlds end and retrospective subject matter. Needless to say, Mora-Tau has become one of my favorite Dark Ambient producers and I couldn’t wait to have a conversation with him to find out what makes this project so unique and special. Hope you enjoy this interview.

1. Thank you very much for this interview opportunity. Mora-Tau has a rather short recording history but has left quite an impression on my. How did this project start for you?

As you pointed out, I only started publishing my work around 2009. I was born in 1959 and I will be 63 this year, so it’s not a long career.

For about 10 years, from the age of 15, I listened exclusively to progressive rock. I now listen to a wide range of music genres, including jazz, avant-garde music and club music, but most of it came through progressive rock. Even punk rock.

The most influential artists at that time were Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Mike Oldfield, Steve Hillage, Gong, Popol Vuh and of course King Crimson. Well, this is a very conventional list.

I started working under the name ‘mora-tau’ around 2008. I had been creating music before that. But I was satisfied with just playing them for my friends. I didn’t do any live performances. I had no formal musical education, so I’m not very good at playing an instrument. So I couldn’t even imagine the day when I would be playing in front of other people.

In 2008 or 2009, I discovered the music publishing website jamendo.com. By registering on that site, I was finally ready to release my music to the outside world. It was then that I named myself ‘mora-tau’. The name comes from my favourite 1950s horror film The Zombies of Mora-Tau (with my favourite actress Allison Hayes playing the bad girl, who turns into a zombie at the end).

Around the same time, an acquaintance invited me to perform at his shop (which was a bookshop) for almost the first time in my life. That was a lot of fun! And that was the start of my live career.

I consider myself ambient music, drone music and experimental music at the moment. I feel that these three genres are often balanced and mixed in one piece.

It was only after 2000 that I started to listen to this music seriously, in other words systematically and consciously. Before that, I was looking for my own music, imitating what I had heard. So it wasn’t until I started performing live that I got the style of music I was aiming for.

The first music that made a big impact on me was Eliane Radigue, a pioneer of electronic music who manipulated an ARP2500. I found the drone music she produced to be very simple, but with immense depth.

Another hero of mine is Morton Feldman. When I met Feldman, who produced very long, very slow music (sometimes over five hours of music), that music melded with Tangerine Dream, Harmonia and Eliane Radigue in my mind and became a big part of my own style It has given me suggestions.

This is ‘the origin of mora-tau’.

Wow, it’s a very long answer! I’m sorry.

2. I’ve noticed that on the liner notes of many of your recordings on Bandcamp your work mainly consists of improvisations. Do you typically have a plan of what you are going to play before recording or is it completely improvised?

I record almost all of my compositions as completely improvised performances. On very rare occasions I may write a musical score, but it is a sketch for memory.

However, in the last few years, I have often decided on a scale only at the beginning of a performance. Especially for live performances, I always decide on just the scale. Sometimes I move on to another scale during the performance, and sometimes I just finish it. The reason why I decide on it is simple. I don’t want to make a mistake in front of the audience :-).

Recorded performances are edited using DAW software. Sometimes it is just the same thing as played, with a few tweaks. In most cases, however, editing is essential. Balancing between tracks, noise reduction, sound quality adjustment, etc. are always done. The song is then cut into several parts. Sometimes I’ll delete parts, sometimes I’ll change the order, and sometimes I’ll layer completely different tracks that were previously unreleased. Sometimes I create a piece by layering several tracks that were recorded at completely different times and have different tempos, tunes and tonalities.

Once I have finished recording, I change my mind and think: ‘This is all just material’. And in the editing process, I emphasise an improvisational sensibility. I rarely work in advance. My style is as improvisational in the editing as it is in the performance itself.

3. You have quite a few live recordings from Bar Lynch (in Utsunomiya, Japan). How do you prepare for those sessions and how is the audience response to your work?

Lynch is a very small bar in a narrow alleyway; it overflows when 20 people arrive. The sound system for live shows uses the shop’s audio system. Otherwise, artists bring their own amplifiers.

I always have about three synthesisers available, with the necessary effectors connected to them, and record them on a mixer/recorder, a ZOOM R-16. The output from that is then input into Lynch audio.

https://mora-tau.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-lynch-oct-19-2021

So the sound quality is by no means top-notch. But because my recordings do not go through the shop audio, I can guarantee the same quality as studio work. Many of my customers listen to me while they chat. No, they are not listening? But some of them listen intently, clap seriously and ask questions after the performance. Yes, about one person every six months.

My turnout is very low, only a few people at most gigs. Sometimes there is only the master. On those occasions, I play around with phrases and developments that I think the master will enjoy. Of course, I never play to the extent that the whole structure collapses, though.

4. I lived in Japan for almost 24 years and really loved the music scene however, my only electronic concert experience was seeing Merzbow live in Tokyo a few times. How is the Electronic/Ambient scene in Japan these days?

Sorry, I actually don’t know anything about the music scene in Japan. I live in Utsunomiya-City, which is 100 km north of Tokyo. The famous Shinkansen bullet train will take you to Tokyo station in an hour, but I rarely go outside my area.
I’m like Rapunzel living in a tower.

I keep up to date with new music through streaming services such as Spotify, YouTube and CD shopping, but so far I haven’t found the Japanese scene to be very interesting.

5. You’ve made several recordings for International labels such as Church Of Noisy Goat (Brazil) and Kalamine Records (France). How did those endeavors come about?

Both labels approached me through them. I never approached them myself. I think they liked something about the music I was making and invited me.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-october-landscape

6. Do you plan to release anymore albums with those labels, and possibly others?

Neither of the two labels has a specific release schedule. I send my work to them about four times a year. Then I ask them, “If you like it, will you release it?” I have never had anyone say “No”.

I will continue to regular releases, where possible. However, there is no fixed schedule. If invited by another label, I’ll see what they’re up to and think about it. Of course, my basic attitude is “anyone, anytime, is OK”.

https://thechurchofnoisygoat.bandcamp.com/album/wellcome-back-nuclear-summer

7. As for your music style and influence, how much of it is influenced by Japanese culture, folklore and spiritual meaning?

The deepest part of the psyche must be inseparably influenced by it. For example, many of the phrases I play unconsciously have a Japanese melody.

But it’s rarely conscious. Before making track, I watch a film or read books, looking for something to inspire me. If I’m inspired by something Japanese then I’m strongly influenced by it. I’ve never been aware of any other influences beyond that.

Of course, consciously or not, ‘Japan’ is firmly rooted in me. When I improvise, I am very conscious of this. Such as when I play the ‘Japanese phrases’ I mentioned earlier. Perhaps I am imprinting ‘Japan’ more deeply in my mind through improvisation.

8. One of my favorite albums by you is called ‘Swirl’. It has a very retrospective and minimalistic vibe to it. What was it like to record this album and what is the meaning behind this amazing music?

Thank you very much. I like that album very much too.

At that time, I was thinking of putting my impressions of the B-Movies of the 50’s to music.
The theme is “guidelines for music production” for me. The light of the lighthouse. A guide to the completion of the work.

This is the case with most of my work.
I say to myself ‘Let’s start to make music inspired by “The Thing”! ‘. But when done, it can be The Thing, but it can also be “Quatermass Xperiment”, or “Frankenstein”, or “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas”. You must have been disgusted at how lazy it was.

https://mora-tau.bandcamp.com/album/swirl

Shortly before making ‘Swirl’ I bought an analogue synthesizer with a sequencer. And I wanted to use it to make endless music. That’s how I started with my technical interests.

It’s all about how to combine different approaches: adjusting parameters to make small changes, changing effects in real time, using delays to layer sounds from other equipment. “Swirl” is the result of this research into how different approaches can be combined to create long ambient pieces of music. It’s the honest answer. I’m sorry if I’ve disappointed you.

9. There is another album called ‘Still Here’. In my opinion, this is one of your darkest recordings. What was the main focus behind this album?

This one, contrary to ‘Swirl’, was made with technology I already had at my disposal.

First, there was ‘Story’, which I wrote in the liner notes. How can I live in a world where the world has disappeared and no one can hear me? This was expanded upon in Still Here.

https://mora-tau.bandcamp.com/album/still-here

At the same time, I was obsessed at the time with the image of a ‘world on the brink of destruction’ as depicted by J.G. Ballard. I felt that I was living in a terrible world, in a time when I was trapped.
To express this, I partly used contemporary musical techniques such as atonal and whole-tone scales. I think these techniques also promote darkness.

10. One of your latest albums is called ‘Brave New World’. However, in the liner notes, you state, “There is No New World Anywhere”. How does that tie in to the music on the album and what is the meaning behind this recording.

Mmm…
When write it like that, it seems to express a deep philosophy. But there’s a bit of deception there.

It started from my own feeling that “there’s nothing new in this album. Every part of it is a repetition of what I’ve done before”.

https://mora-tau.bandcamp.com/album/brave-new-world

Of course, I don’t always try new things in all my work. I think it’s fine to use only familiar techniques of expression, if the resulting work is emotional. That’s why I can write “There is no ‘new world’ anywhere.” It’s a self-deprecating joke!

The music for the album was done, I thought “This album is GOOD!”. But I couldn’t think of a title. At first I thought of “fragment of memories”, but then I thought it sounded like the title my past albums. After a few days of deliberation, I decided on the current title as a kind of compromise.

11. I’m really interested to learn about the equipment you use for recording? Can you please share your setup to the fans?

The main equipment is listed below. This is where we choose and combine the equipment for our gigs.

Analog Synth:
Moog Sub Phatty
Arturia minibrute
Behringer Crave
Pico System Erica Synth

Virtual Analog Synth:
Yamaha CS1x
Modal Electronics SKULPT Synthesizer
E-mu Proteus2000

Soft Synth:
Future Audio Workshop Circle 2

DAW Software:
Audacity

Effector:
Delay
BOSS DD-20 GIGA DELAY
tc electronic Flashback2
JOYO D-SEED II

Reverb
BOSS Digital Reverb RV-5
Behringer RV600 Reverb Machine

Looper
BOSS Loop Station RC-3
tc electronic DITTO X4 Looper

Multi Effector
ZOOM G2

12. Other than Bar Lynch, do you play live gigs at other venues?

Yes.
Since last year I have been playing at ‘Igno…. . book plus’ (an antiquarian bookshop) every three months or so. There are also a few live music venues where can play. All of them are in Utsunomiya city.

13. Do you plan to release any physical media of any of your albums or will you stick with digital releases?

I actually released a CD a few years ago under the title “the old village”. 300 copies were made and over 200 are still unsold. I don’t think releasing any more CDs. It’s too costly. I would like to release a cassette tape.

14. I’m always looking forward to hearing new music from you. What do you have planned for releases in 2022?

Thank you very much. In 2022 I’m aiming to release an album every month, hopefully one that You will like.

15. Thanks again for your time and for sharing your musical journey. Do you have any final thought for those that will read this interview?

I was born in 1959, so I don’t think I’ll have another ten years to be an active musician. Nevertheless, I don’t want to stop playing music and I hope to go deeper into it. If you don’t mind, I would be very happy if you could stay with me for a while longer.

Links:

BC: https://mora-tau.bandcamp.com

IG: https://instagram.com/sleepshow

Celestial Ephemerides: A Collection Of Dark Ambient Summary Reviews, Part V

It’s almost mind numbing to see how great the Dark Ambient genre has not only grown, but expanded in sound. It seems as if harsh noise and industrial ambience is coming more into existence and coupling with the bleak intonations of Dark Ambient soundscapes and drones. The albums in this list represent change, growth and also homage to the influences of modern day Dark Ambient music. I hope you enjoy these summary reviews as much as I did putting them together.

1. The Owl – Beyond The Vastness Of Infinity

The Owl specialized in noise terror and monstrous modulations that are presented in a controlled chaos offering. ‘Beyond The Vastness Of Infinity’ is an improvised endeavor that plays on the decline of normalcy and the abruptness of ataxia. Rigid guitar tones set against the strident sounds of industrialized soundscapes and eerie narrations set a precedence of tonal despondency. As mesmerizing as it is turbulent, this albums is just another gem in the vast The Owl discography.

https://theowl.bandcamp.com/album/55-beyond-the-vastness-of-infinity

2. Aleksis Tristan Shaw – Loud Nothing

Multi-talented, multi-genre artist Aleksis Tristan Shaw, once again dabbles in the world of Dark Ambient music with the twisted oblation, ‘Loud Nothing’. Combining the forces of demented horror sounds, spacious soundscapes and drifting drones, this is a compelling story of electronic proportions. Elongated drones provide a hypnotic state while supernatural subtleties and sequences keep the listener from completely going under with hints of smoldering tension. At times, spacey, and other times downright grim, this recording is a full offering of Dark Ambient amusement and is fascinating to say the least.

https://aleksistristanshaw.bandcamp.com/album/loud-nothing

3. Crepuscular Entity – Zwolf Bagatellen

‘Zwolf Bagatellen’ is an exercise in harsh frequency delivery and the chaotic amplification of audial discord. Consisting of twelve tracks of white noise, with belligerent modulations, this is a test of determination and surviving the true grit of noise ambience. Filled with abrupt soundscapes and extreme reverberation, this album is a massive overdose of music that is meant to overtake the sense and infiltrate the mind. Listen at your own risk but prepare to be amazed at the indulgence of extreme electronic music.

https://crepuscularentity.bandcamp.com/album/zwolf-bagatellen

4. Drone Islands – Volume I / II / III

‘Drone Islands – Volume I /II / III’ is a massive collection of ambient magnificence, containing beautiful audial offerings from an array of artists. This album combines the work of all Drone Island releases to include, ‘Land Rising’, ‘The Lost Maps’ and ‘Stellar’. Some of the biggest names in the Dark Ambient community lend their services to this recording such as Ashtoreth, Kammarheit, BlackWeald, Taphephobia, Alphaxone and Infinexhuma. These types of collective albums are a real treat, as you get a cluster of unique musical achievements in a single album. This is an exemplary collection that must be heard.

https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/drone-islands-volume-i-ii-iii

5. Long The Night – Illusion

‘Illusion’ is an assemblage of beguiling drones with cinematic-like production. Although starting out with a light ambient vibe, the mood swiftly changes on track two, “Untold Mind” and a belligerent tone is thrusted into this space ambient endeavor. These songs sequentially crescendo into a mammoth-like sound and slowly fade out into oblivion before shifting to the next moment of surprising moments. There are moments that are influenced by the Warhammer 40k sound, while the majority of the album is like a dark space excursion. This is an excellent album that fits right in with some of the top names in the genre.

https://kalpamantra.bandcamp.com/album/illusion

6. Pavor Nocturnus – Bosch

Pavor Nocturnus specializes in flowing light drones that are delivered in an obscure pallet of ominous soundscapes, torturous industrial sounds and peaceful samples and field recordings. All fused together, this is an eerily harmonious endeavor that will be pleasing to fans of multiple Dark Ambient sub-genres. ‘Bosch’ is eclectic blend of soulful modulations that don’t have a particular flow (from track to track), but works very well in the overarching concept of the album. This is an amazing recording that I cannot recommend enough.

https://musicpavornocturnus.bandcamp.com/album/bosch

7. Sij & Textere Oris – Reflections At The Sea

Sij & Textere Oris is one of the most fascinating Dark Ambient collaborations on the Cryo Chamber label roster. Although only having released two albums on the giant label, they are both top quality endeavors that are unique in their own way. On latest effort, ‘Reflections At The Sea’, soothing drones are met with enchanting vocal melodies and theatrical reverberations that produces a theatrical-like sound. From piano chops to random sound effects, this album is put together magnificently and will warrant multiple listens. This is definitely one not to miss.

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/reflections-at-the-sea

8. Melanohelios – The Durance Machine

In my opinion, Melanohelios doesn’t put out music often enough. There is something very addictive with Melanohelios albums and I can’t quite put my finger on it. However, I can say that what you’ll get with each album is an exclusive listening experience – one just as good as the next. On ‘The Durance Machine’, there are two tracks of mind-melding drone work that lasts the better part of thirty six minutes. While listening, you’ll find yourself drifting between peaceful experiences and terrifying moments that flow together with extreme transparency. This is another alluring album from such a reclusive entity.

https://melanohelios.bandcamp.com/album/the-durance-machine

9. Marco Pianges – Somewhere

Dark tones and blistering keys set the backdrop for this escapade of quality electronic tracks. With a plethora of samples and soundscapes, this short album is a cacophony of aggressive moment and angst-filled resilience. The genius aspect of this album is the malevolence hidden in the peaceful details – like a field of beautiful flowers in the dead of winter. Even with just twenty minutes of playing time, this five track album is a beast to contend with and will surely please all fans of Dark Ambient music.

https://ukhanrecords.bandcamp.com/album/somewhere

10. Northumbria – Isolering

If you’re a fan of Dark Ambient music, you should at least be aware of the haunting entity known as Northumbria. With a list of unrivaled albums on the Cryo Chamber label, the stringed duo often ventures out independently and continues to produce quality ambience. On 2021’s ‘Isolering’, we’re presented with four ominous tracks containing nearly seventy five minutes worth of mesmerizing intonations. These extended efforts take the listener down a blackened path and instill a relentless blend of lethargic tones and reverberated modulations that are simply paralyzing. In my opinion, this is one of their best efforts and the mood that it sets is quite compelling.

https://northumbria.bandcamp.com/album/isolering

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Colonial Skyway Presents A Compelling Take On Dissonant Clamor With ‘Evening On Earth’

There are many things in life that we take for granted on a daily basis. Even something as simple as subtle noises and sounds becomes less observed as we pick and choose which signals to process for an action or reaction. Of course our minds are programmed to react to daily nuances such as vibrations of a text message coming in on our cellular devices, a car horn as it signifies the moment of possible incident, an alarm clock as it pulls us out of our indulgent, hibernating state or even voice communication by our family, friends and coworkers – sometimes a complete stranger. However, there is another underlying tension, the ambient rumbles of reoccurring instances that we take for granted or don’t even pay attention to all together. There is true significance behind the droning sounds that are often terrifying, annoying and even chaotic that we subconsciously ignore, but they are there for a reason. The sounds are derivative of processes and movement that have a deeper meaning, indirectly executing the underlying fabric of society that nonchalantly pass us by. It’s these very things that are represented on the latest Colonial Skywave album, ‘Evening On Earth’ that are now brought to the forefront of the mind in order for us to understand – and even appreciate – their significance. Eight tracks of masterful droning in its most minimalistic state, yet so full of life, that it truly needs to be heard to be welcomed as a productive part of society.

“Stars On The Ground” slowly crescendo’s into a looping hiss of a mechanical nature, almost as if a gear were stuck in a failed rotation and continued with repeated attempts to proceed with its forward movement. As the nuance perpetuates, a grazing hum comes into focus, easing the tension of the core commotion while inducing a meditative form. Just as the listener eases into this dynamic configuration, these sounds begin to defuse and ultimately fade into oblivion. “Keylapes” proceeds down the dark path of heavy machinery and the purr of high speed cycles, proving the successful syntonization of synthetic equipment. Random bursts of manufacturing effects adds a layer of cyclic activity that may seem random, but is the result of melding productivity and arduous combustions that creates a uniquely resonating sound signature. “Fairway” presents another heavy, arduous drone with looping chugs of industrial strength apparatuses, carrying on with the tedious task of unmistakable agitation. As this motion eternizes, it’s apparent that a malevolent force is strong at work. With no decrease of movement in site, it slowly fades away into obscurity, even though the harshness continues to plagues the airways that it surrounds. Continuing on with the looping essence is, “Off At Dawn”. Industrial dreariness is replaced with digitized intonations with the penchant for coding errors and computerized alarms instead of machinery malfunctions. The sonic apprehension of looping buzzes gives the impression of abnormal functionality, but the abhorrent continuation of the main sounds signify error override, as the collusion of systems advance without a care in the world. “Areas Of Drifting” commences with the synchronizing strum that is very reminiscent of a full scale orchestra coming into unified harmony after much needed adjustment to playing a single tuning note. Instead of everything comes to a halt – at the request of the conductors triple baton tap – the notes are held in alliance, while relaxation overcomes the listeners whim. Next is “Lonely Tolls” and it’s exactly what I’ve envisioned with the given track title. An interstate toll booth worker, laboring through the dreadful night shift, where the constant flow of traffic has been replaced with the languid resonance of emptiness and distant sounds not normally observed. The tolling of cryptic bells declares a mysterious warning of unforeseen events. A steady volume of rain hits the roof of the tool booth like an intrusive static, adding to the ambience of the other sounds. “Forth Selector Stepping” slowly seeps in like daybreak, where aberrant sound of the night seize and give way to an endless vacuum of light despondency. Bridging the gap of the known and unknown, this track acts as the medium for what’s left behind and what’s yet to occur. The final track on the album is “After Dark”, a deep, meditative drone that suggests a particular crepuscule of dead air and distant exertion. Although one doesn’t overpower the other, there is a sense of struggle beyond the threshold of existence. This track summarize the entire album perfectly as this compelling drone embodies the journey of noises and sounds crafted by mankind (and natural occurrences) and wraps them up in a coercive bleakness of axiomatic energy, despite the situation.

In conclusion, the sounds we take for granted are a beautiful thing and relative to life on Earth as we know it. Often mistaken as meaningless nuisances, they are simply the collateral return of a productive and mechanized society. Colonial Skyway again produces a magnificent soundscape of representation and blissful moments of droning endeavors. ‘Evening On Earth’ is a societal soundtrack to a world of underground chaos that is often overlooked, yet needed for perpetual existence. This meditative offering is one of my favorites of the year so far and provides me with a pleasing dose of hypnotic artistry on a regular basis. Don’t hesitate to check this one out if you’re into minimalistic drone music. Click on the link below to support this one of a kind experience.

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Links:

https://submarinebroadcastingco.bandcamp.com/album/evening-on-earth

Throne Of Knowledge Explores Mournful & Isolated Timbres On The Profound Offering, ‘The Return To Unity’

World renowned author and playwright – Leo Tolstoy – once stated, “Music is the shorthand of emotion.” I couldn’t agree more, as we often listen to music that matches our feeling and/or emotional state. At times, music frequently instigates a particular feeling that allows the listener to drift into an ardent state of explicit emotions or imaginative foundations. One such compelling artist that provokes those very sentiments is Throne Of Knowledge, a Dark Ambient/Winter Synth project that presents an impactful sense of mystical feelings through cold and somber drones. On the latest album, ‘The Return To Unity’, three extended tracks of space ambient and winter synth tones fuse wonderfully to create a hypnotizing atmosphere of otherworldly experiences.

The haunting opening track, “The Return To Unity”, showcases a sequence of looping melodies, perpetual drones and celestial atmospherics that promulgates an alluring sense of bliss across twenty seven minutes of playing time. This is an extraordinary track that implicitly serves as a soundtrack for meditative sequences. If you’re expecting a lot of change ups, soundscapes and explosive moments, you’ll need to seek that type of music expression elsewhere. However, if a relaxing, and introspective experience is what you’re vying for, then look no future than this beautiful track as it sincerely provides that moment of reflection that is much desired. Next up is the sixteen minute long endeavor, “Aura”. Even more minimalistic than the first track, this will invoke a period of mental solitude through bleak drones and the occasional soundscape that depicts instances of awareness and contemplation. If the first track is the one that takes the listener to an altered state, then “Aura” is the track that locks the listener in for the duration of this pensive experience. The winter synth tones are prevalent throughout this track as the atmosphere is cold, dry and full of gray colors and sounds. The final song on the album is “The Observer Effect”. Although considered a bonus track, this is the third and final installment of the meditation experience as it’s the one that slowly pulls the listener back to reality. This near sixteen minute long track contains more key rhythms and is presented in a quicker pace than the previous songs. Although the gloomy drone is still ubiquitous, it’s used more in the background than in the forefront, allowing for the harmonies to take over and draw the listener in to a refreshed perspective of life and happenstance. Having this bonus track on the album makes perfect sense as it completes a sonic adventure of mindfulness and prospective gain.

This third chapter of the Throne Of Knowledge collection is an exceptional work of art that tells a wordless story of nature and peaceful existence. Although firmly rooted in Dark Ambient, there are underlying tones and themes that give this adventurous piece endless meaning and also a home in other genres such as Winter Synth and – in a way – Atmospheric Dungeon Synth. I highly recommend this album for a relaxing experience, so please check it out at the link below and enjoy this highly effective masterpiece.

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Links:

https://throneofknowledge.bandcamp.com/album/the-return-to-unity

Top 10 Dark Ambient Releases Of 2021

I almost don’t like putting together these year-end Top 10 lists because it’s so hard to pick 10 albums out of the hundreds or thousands of Dark Ambient releases in a given year. However, at the same time, I do want to show my respects to the albums that held the highest entertainment value for me, thus equating to my FAVORITE Dark Ambient albums of 2021. I really hope you enjoy this list as much as I had putting it together and if there is anything that strikes your attention on here, please check them out and show your support for these amazing artists. Without further a due, I present to you my favorite 10 Dark Ambient albums of 2021.

10. Blackweald – 666 Minutes In Hell

https://blackweald.bandcamp.com/album/666-minutes-in-hell

What better way to get this list started than an album consisting of nearly eleven and a half hours of diabolical Dark Ambient. ‘666 Minutes In Hell’ is that album and just the length alone is downright captivating. As for the music itself, this is some of the most sinister Dark Ambient I’ve heard in a long time and the endless supply of field recordings and soundscapes are enough to make an actual trip to hell seem like an endless endeavor. This is a very creative album that sets a gloomy atmosphere and only Blackweald could pull this off with such a grim attraction.

9. Xerxes The Dark – Soundtrack To The Blind Owl

https://xerxesthedark.bandcamp.com/album/soundtrack-to-the-blind-owl-24bit

Xerxes The Dark continues his string of impressive releases with the Industrial-styled, ‘Soundtrack To The Blind Owl’. One of his most chaotic and abrasive releases yet, this album is not to be taken lightly, as the amount of discord and pandemonium contained within can be alarmingly harsh if not expected. However, for me, I love this type of audial chaos and for nearly fifty three minutes, XTD thrashes the listener through a gauntlet of maniacal sounds and glitches by way of synth and guitar manipulation. Definitely check this one out if you’re into the more extreme side of Dark Ambient music.

8. Dead Melodies – Fabled Machines Of Old

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/fabled-machines-of-old

For the past couple of years, Dead Melodies has been one of the busiest and most consistent Dark Ambient artists around. From amazing solo efforts to haunting collaborations with the likes of Zenjungle and Beyond The Ghost, he has amassed quite the discography of varied material. ‘Fabled Machines Of Old’ is another prodigious notch in his belt with a ferocious blend of Dark Ambient tones, haunting acoustic guitar passages and the warm embrace of dark noir styled jazzy impulses. The result is an album full of assorted & gloomy characteristics that are extremely fulfilling and a breath of fresh air for the Cryo Chamber label.

7. Mora-Tau – Wellcome Back, Nuclear Summer

https://thechurchofnoisygoat.bandcamp.com/album/wellcome-back-nuclear-summer

Mora-Tau has quickly become one of my favorite Dark Ambient artists with his brand of exhilarating improvisations. Releasing a magnitude of albums on his own Bandcamp page, as well as several other labels, it’s hard to pick a favorite album – especially since they are all so amazing. However, one that I keep returning to the most is the dispiriting ‘Wellcome Back, Nuclear Summer’. These four tracks describe a dismal scene of a bleak, post-nuclear atmosphere of nothingness and regrowth. Using an assortment of synth effects and drones, Mora-Tau is like a voiceless narrator for a scene filled with disaster and radiance. I’m so glad that Mora-Tau exists at this point in time and I highly recommend checking out his whole discography, but starting with one of my year end favorites, ‘Wellcome Back, Nuclear Summer’.

6. Wampyric Solitude – Echoes Of Undying Darkness And Bloodshed

https://wampyricsolitude.bandcamp.com/album/echoes-of-undying-darkness-and-bloodshed

Dungeon Synth maestro, Wampyric Solitude has not only created one of my favorite Dungeon Synth albums of the year, but he’s also produced one of my favorite Dark Ambient album, ‘Echoes Of Undying Darkness And Bloodshed’. Expecting another Dungeon Synth masterpiece, I was both shocked and blown away by the sounds of menacing drones, ominous atmospherics and apocalyptic styled soundscapes that decays from within. This is bleak adventure that I can’t stop listening to and I would to love to hear more of this type of dynamic caliber from Wampyric Solitude in the very near future.

5. Dahlia’s Tear – Adrift On The Edge Of Infinity

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/adrift-on-the-edge-of-infinity

Anyone that is familiar with the works of Dahlia’s Tear can agree that there is a recognizable sound throughout the impressive discography. However, it’s the Cryo Chamber releases that finds the artist at his best and the post-apocalyptic presentation is as doleful as it is hypnotizing. Just when you think you’ve heard the magnum opus effort by Dahlia’s Tear, along comes another album of equal or better quality. ‘Adrift On The Edge Of Infinity’ is a driving force of intensity that exudes melancholic proportions with a haunting soundscape. I eagerly await new albums by Dahlia’s Tear and this one was no exception and it surely doesn’t disappoint.

4. Sydalesis – Living Machine

https://sydalesis.bandcamp.com/album/living-machine

‘Living Machine’ is a masterclass in Berlin School styled Dark Ambient music. This mammoth recording hosts 14 tracks of lenitive, atmospheric anthems that expands beyond two and a half hours of playing time. Mixing ambient music with Berlin School sequences has become one of my favorite styles of electronic music and I tend to get completely mesmerized by its output. ‘Living Machine’ elicited that exact result from the initial listen back in April until now. This album remains a fascinating experience and it – unfortunately – didn’t get the attention that it deserved. I highly recommend checking this one out immediately.

3. Hilyard – Division Cycle

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/division-cycle

The albums that Hilyard produces for Cryo Chamber are just different – in a great way. He seems to pull out all the stops when making music for the giant label and ‘Division Cycle’ is my favorite Cryo Chamber label release for this year. An excellent blend of Space Ambient and minimalistic droning, this album was an immediate hit and greatly surpassed all of my expectations. Subtle soundscapes and industrial undertones generate an atmosphere of endless tranquility, darkened by blissful aggression. This is one of the most meditative albums of the year and I still can’t get enough of its bleak embrace.

2. Delmak-O – The Colony

https://delmak-o.bandcamp.com/album/the-colony

I must say that ‘The Colony’ was quite a surprise upon initial listen. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. However, what I got was one of the most impressive Ambient albums that I’ve ever heard. Fusing Berlin School sequences with Space Ambient drones, otherworldly soundscapes and a Sci-Fi conceptual story, this album is a masterpiece from start to finish. This is one of those albums that you can blast in a pair of good headphones and be taken away on an astral adventure without any care in the world. A very enjoyable album that brings a much needed variety to the Dark Ambient community.

1. Sumatran Black – A Taxonomy Of Grief

https://sumatranblack.bandcamp.com/album/a-taxonomy-of-grief

I’ve been a Sumatran Black fan for a few years now and equally love the other projects by the same artist, Black Box Memories and Atasehir. Even though the output of dystopian style Dark Ambience has been quite impressive, ‘A Taxonomy Of Grief’ is light years ahead of previous efforts. For nearly two hours and twenty minutes, the listener is treated with a melancholic blend of mesmerizing synths and mournful soundscapes that depicts a gloomy reality of dealing with personal bereavement and loss. Each track completes a cycle of majestic aplomb through soothing arrangements that are insanely breathtaking. Because of these alluring intricacies, ‘A Taxonomy Of Grief’ is easily my favorite Dark Album of 2021.

Noisesculptor & God Cancer Pay Chaotic Tribute To Doctor Who With ‘Wanderers In The 4th Dimension’

Architects of harsh noise and industrial ambient, Noisesculptor and God Cancer, are closing out my year of abhorrent reviews with an extreme collaboration effort. ‘Wanderers In The 4th Dimension’ is a strident tribute to the golden era of Doctor Who and of all the eccentric and quirky subject matter and themes that the British show portrayed for many years. Containing three tracks of bizarre modulations and bleak atmospherics, this is definitely a worthy musical endeavor for such a respected TV show.

Lead off track for this daunting effort, “Edge Of Destruction”, begins the cycle of controlled chaos on this retro-infused EP. Living up to its namesake, this song immediately begins on a downward spiral toward an ominous journey through strange worlds and abstract time periods. Tumultuous modulations produce an algorithm of hectic adventure as random soundscapes forge a dark destiny of unsettled variation and dismal remnants. As if the random frequency sounds are creating an algorithm of despondent measures, the cracks of distorted synth terror reek havoc on the listeners ears. Next up, “The Mind Robber”, commences with an audial assault that is sure to invoke generations of hysteric and sinister vestiges. Creepy effects attune over ambient noises that appear discordant and heavily distorted. You can almost hear patterns of vocalizations as the noises continue to adjust. Although seeming random, the patterns represent a frenzied madness that can only be solved by sincere concentration and audible adaptability. The final track on this immense EP is the epic, “Web Planet”. Starting with various soundscapes that at first, sound soothing and placid, there is an underlying pandemonium that slowly begins to form as the track continues. Various cosmic sounds depict a race through time and space, while the hiss of looping drones radiate with sheer terror. As the track continues to unfold, chilling synth intonations emit pulses of icy cold effects that places the listener in strange, frigid worlds where frightening resolve remains imminent. This space-like adventure continues on until the feeling of angst is all that’s left to hold on to. This masterful track is just what this EP needed to finalize the effects of the noise terror that ensued within.

Noisesculptor and God Cancer had one major objective with producing this album, and that was to create a source of menacing ambience that consecrates one of the best science fiction dramas to ever be broadcasted on TV – Doctor Who. ‘Wanderers In The 4th Dimension’ is a fascinating offering that chronicles the retrospective sounds that could have been easily heard throughout the golden years of the show. From celestial sequences to harsh modulations, this is a mind-numbing effort that is an addictive listen and is of high entertainment value. Unfortunately, the cassette/digital release appear to be (currently) removed from Bandcamp but I’ll continue to check to see if it may be released again in the future. This is an album that I highly recommend and I hope one day that it will – once again – be available for consumption.

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