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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Industrial-Strength Modulations Construct Quite A Commotion on ‘Heterodox’ by Josh Sager

When it comes to Dark Ambient music, I’m always searching for a certain level of obscurity. After all, it’s supposed to be the bleakest form of ambient music so I’m looking to be drawn into a cold world of chaos and emptiness with a degree of emotional grit. There are many artists that surpass my expectations, leaving me with one simple question – How does this genre continue to fascinate me on such a high level? One such artists that I’ve recently been drawn to is Josh Sager. On his latest album, ‘Heterodox’, Josh pulls no punches when it comes to desolation tones and simultaneously excels at embedding poignant melodies that elicit moments of seclusion and bliss. These seven tracks provide a perfect storm of sentimental soundscapes, rhythmic drones and the ability to capture the listeners soul, albeit momentarily, and establish a length of remembrance for every single note that is played.

The albums lead off track, “The Plague Doctors” begins with the subtle sounds of distant turmoil. However, as the modulations grow louder, an eerie chaos can be detected and it draws the listener in like a trance-like frequency. Synthwave harmonies and looping keys lead creates a twisted sensation while a massive build up of sound effects and drones amass a sonic wall of discord. “A Dread Of Something Abnormal” immediately commences with a heavily distorted drone that is reminiscent of an industrial wasteland commotion. Sophisticated effects weave in and out of the elongated note, turning the empty space into and angst-filled void. Drum pads and muffled guitar tones blast their way in, producing a varied space that makes this soundtrack worthy material. “Lurkers” is definitely where the creep factor comes into play, pushing this album to extreme new heights. A thumping bass sound leads a slow cadence while a symphony of noise begins to construct around it. The creepiness slowly turns into a melancholic sensation, rendering an audial passage of despair. This is one of the most haunting ambient tracks that I’ve heard in a while and is seriously worthy of repeated listens. “Monsters Make Monsters” starts with a reverberated piano tone that has a grandiose sound and succeeds at clearing a particular headspace for a dreamy adventure. While the listener continues to be mesmerized by these simply played notes, an establishment of field recordings and synth effects slowly crescendo into a retrospective outlook. I can imagine listening to this track while driving down a long, narrow road during the break of dawn. There is a particular crispness in this sound that offers a serene clarity and the results are amazing. “Ghost Of Mortis” is the most alluring tracks on the album as the delicate melody that is played throughout is full of decadent vibrations and somber emotions. Even though this song is over six minutes long, it ends sooner than expected due to the layers of melody capturing the heart of the listener at multiple intervals. “Fugitive Glances Of Strange Landscapes” is a droning adventure that exhibits various levels of industrial conduct by the waning effects used for the effortless use of distorted modulations. It’s like being trapped in a post-apocalyptic city filled with complex buildings structures that are corroded beyond any livable means. The final track on the album is “Death Is Just The End”. This is another slow builder, but when everything comes into full focus, it’s a force of controlled chaos and magnificent refrain. This is another nostalgic effort that stands out and sounds even more menacing at loud volumes. This is one track that I wish wouldn’t end; it’s that incredible and addictive.

Josh Sager is a really impressive Dark Ambient artist. The way he incorporates melody and makes reference to the retro synthwave era of 80’s compositions is spectacular. This is an album that can easily be played through in one sitting without skipping any tracks and I’m quite sure it will stand the test of time. Do yourself a favor and check it out by listening (or downloading) from the link below.

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Links:

https://joshsager.bandcamp.com/album/heterodox

Ruptured World Segregates New Album, ‘Shore Rituals’ From The Planetary Series For A Darkened Realm Of Ancient Landscapes

Since 2018, Ruptured World has presented us with an astounding trio of albums in his Planetary series that follows the visionary experiences of several generations of archeological experiences, based on the discoveries of the Macrae family. Those albums expanded upon a universe with galactic drones and immense piano sequences that bridge the gap between haunting ambience and a clever storyline that thrills with divine amazement. Now back with an exploratory tale of maritime enthrallment, Ruptured World produces an audible story of daring adventure through sonic soundscapes, field recordings and a cryptic narrative. The end result is ‘Shore Rituals’, a near fifty minute excursion through dangerous worlds and environmental contemplation.

The majestic anthology begins with “The Merman”, an introspective nuance of various samples and soundscapes that slowly disintegrates into a somber drone with random musical oddities thrown in. The soothing nature of this intro sets a relaxing tempo and when the beautiful piano textures commence, it places this track on a whole new level. The sound of crashing waves in the background sends the listener to another world of natural scenic beauty. “Black Tides Harken To The Summons Of Eons” begins with peaceful wave motions before leading into a powerful percussive tone set to a dark cadence. Drones and hisses add a nostalgic feel as the amount of space provided allows for other sound patterns to evolve. “The Silencing Tide” carries on that same sediment as random frequency bursts create a vivid state of eeriness. Haunting soundscapes and vocalizations fill the void as this track seemingly comes to life. “The Whales Mouth” commences with a calming natural vibe while layers of placid drones and percussive elements produce a tranquil atmosphere. Random sounds of computer generated noises add a celestial feel, as this is one of the most dynamic tracks on the album. In typical Ruptured World fashion, we’re treated to a dose of spectacular narrations that verbally expand upon this audial transmission. “Radio Signature Interludium” launches with an array of modulations that puts the listener in the middle of a space mission, while a consoling piano melody systematically creates an offsetting foundation of bleakness. This obscure track ends with the commotion of relentless waves crashing along a desolate shore. “Catharsis II” is a spooky piano piece that features the retro sounds of tape hisses and a dragging element that slightly alters the speed of the track. The exquisite use of synth tones gives this a fantastic retro feel, as if taken from a 80’s science fiction movie soundtrack. Probably one of my favorite songs on the album. “The Human Vessel” continues on with the maritime field recordings while adding an ominous musical recording that is barely detectable. Soon, an alluring piano melody is added, increasing the magnificent appeal of this track. Another narrative sequence provides a supplemental piece to this adventure, increasing the depth of this darkened experience. “Bow Fiddle Rock” is a no-frills dark ambient excursion that is as hypnotizing as it is sedative. Minimalistic drones lean more to particular warmness, but it’s the maniacal samples that proves it’s disturbing appeal. “The Unexplained Fury” extends the bleakness of the previous track with enthralling drones and crisp soundscapes that submerge the listener into an enchanted maritime experience. There is also a soothing melody throughout that is reminiscent of a retrospective dreamscape. The last track on the album is “The Three Kings”, a final glance into this fascinating tale of ancient oceanic mystery. Harrowing drones and suspenseful synth chops bridge the worlds of suspended animation and natural essence. These looping sounds create an epic realm of controlled chaos and ethereal beauty. Obscure samples and random radio frequencies fuse seamlessly with these qualities, producing a transient ambience of the highest order.

It’s apparent that the audial cosmos created by Ruptured World come naturally. Every album emulates a particular environment, whether it’s in a series of recordings or a diversion into a different realm. ‘Shore Rituals’, allows Ruptured World to have a clean break from the Planetary albums while diving into a new environment of quintessential excellence. I appreciate this new atmosphere and particularly like the massive use of field recordings and samples as it conceives a unique take on the Dark Ambient genre. If you’ve not had the opportunity to spin this fascinating recording, I can’t recommend it enough. Please download this fantastic album from the link below.

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Links:

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/shore-rituals

Dark Ambient, Synthwave And Noise Collide on Trajedesaliva’s Intelligent Offering, ‘Ultratumbra’

Sometimes, the best albums out there are the ones that haven’t been heard yet. There are many gems hidden away on bandcamp and often it’s like a diamond in the rough, searching for the one that offers pure cosmic bliss. Fortunately, Bandcamp is one of the best platforms for music these days – especially for obscure genres – so finding an album as impressive as ‘Ultratumbra’ by Trajedesaliva is certainly appeasing to these ears. Combining all of the elements that I love about esoteric music, ‘Ultratumbra’ delivers forty two minutes of musical euphoria that fuses Dark Ambient, noise, spoken word and retrospective synthwave. The modulations that prowl behind every corner are unexpected but are eagerly welcomed, as this album is supremely put together and most of all, enjoyable on multiple levels.

Sonic album opener, “Todo Era Blanco”, sounds like an immediate drift back into time when retro analog synths ruled the airways and the break of dawn demanded its own sound signature. This track builds in grand layers with a lot of reverberation to thicken the sound. The synths are clean without being crisp, like a morning fog clearing before a beautiful day. Spots of percussion can be heard throughout without going overboard and this is such a grand way to start this amazing album. “A Casa Por Las Vías” continues on the strengths of the first tracks with massive, elongated synths that are slightly muffled but concise in the mix. We also get our first listen of a spoken word bit (spoken in Spanish) and it sounds so bleak with the terrifying layer of noises and percussive elements happening in the background. Upon the completion of the spoken word element, there is a climatic shift in music as it builds up in devious fashion before collapsing into a beautiful and melodic synthwave track. “Familia Ferro” commences with a loud, constant tone, followed by a short spoken word piece. It immediately unfolds into harsh noise modulations that shake the foundation with its strident industrial intonations. Next up is the multi-faceted, “Arenas Calientes”. Beginning with a single keyboard chop and then quickly expanding into multiple layers before suddenly unfolding into a mechanized tone, this track goes through several pitch shifts and succeeds at altering ones mood from dark to anxious to downright maniacal. Toward the end, sharp whispers can be heard throughout, adding some mysticism to this already terrifying song. “Mamá Es Un Animal Morado” starts with a jolting tone, like a large turboprop airplane already in mid flight. However, other sound effects are introduced, creating a spacious melody and then spoken words take over. The track deviates from the harshness and turns into a somber affair and the spoken words continue to complete the calming nature of everything that is fused together up to this point. “Mammillaria Sempervivi” is another melodic affair with dreamy keyboard harmonies and a compelling bass line that’s adds a great bit of depth. The spoken words continue to tell their tale and then 80’s style keys and beats commence, adding yet another aspect to this incredibly diverse album. “Queremos Verte” maintains the keyboard harmonies of the last track but adds an extra layer of emotion with superior song writing and haunting production. Even the spoken words sound different in this track, as the narrator seems to be at ease or in a more comforting situation than previously. The final track on the album is “Ultratumbra” and it immediately begins with a line of spoken word before fusing into a harmonic keyboard composition that sounds straight out of the 80’s. This track is magnificently arranged and contains all of the elements that I love about Trajedesaliva. Although it starts out smooth and alluring, there is a middle section that begins to fill out with harsh noises and drum rhythms that’s simply infectious to listen to. This song is so wonderfully arranged, I just wish it would never end.

Although Trajedesaliva is a new artist for me, they’ve been around for over twenty years. It’s a travesty that I’m just now getting to know their craft but I couldn’t be more pleased with what I’ve been exposed to so far. From the retro compositions, nostalgic arrangements, well placed spoken word bits and great use of industrialized noise, ‘Ultratumbra’ contains everything I could ever ask for in an album. I highly recommend checking this one out so please click on the link below and support this amazing artist.

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Links:

https://trajedesaliva.bandcamp.com/album/ultratumba

Eyre Transmissions XII – Interview with Dark Ambient / Necrochill Producer, Sumatran Black

These days, Bandcamp is my go-to platform for a wide assortment of music. I love how it’s given artists unlimited creativity and the ability to showcase their musical aptitude regardless of style, genre or other unconventional standards. One artist that demonstrates this capability is Sumatran Black. Not only is it the name of the labels flagship artist, but it also represents the Bandcamp page itself – Sumatran Black Records. This Dark Ambient/Necrochill page is also home to Black Box Memories and Ataşehir – two other fantastic creations of the Sumatran Black composer himself. The albums produced by Sumatran Black Records are some of my favorite in recent years and although each project is different, they bring a needed variety of memorable compositions to the dark electronic community that are eagerly welcomed. I recently had the opportunity to interview the composer behind the label to find out more about each project and what the future holds for Sumatran Black Records.

1. Thank you so much for this interview opportunity. I’m constantly amazed by the impressive and unique projects that you have going on with your Bandcamp page. Have you always had a vision to create multiple projects, covering an array of themes and sonic adventures?

I’ve always really enjoyed other artists who have released music under pseudonyms or side projects etc for example, I really love the Smackos project by Dutch artist Legowelt, and in terms of dark music I think the Lurker of Chalice project by Leviathan is a really good example of how using a different project name can open up a whole range of opportunities for musical expression.

To be honest when I started out, I didn’t really have any distinct vision or plan for either the music releases or the label. I just wanted to record some music after very long hiatus from having anything to do with music creation and just take it from there. I tend to believe that once you get the ball rolling on something artistically, it will often guide you in its own direction and you can kind of shape the overall ideas into something more focused and concrete. Which I think is an accurate description of what happened with the Sumatran Black Records label. As I began to take it more seriously and produce more music it was obvious there would have to be different names for different projects just to maintain a sense thematic clarity.

2. If I had to guess, I’d say that Sumatran Black was your flagship project. Was this your first endeavor in the Dark Ambient arena or was there something else before that?

Sumatran Black was the first.

3. Were you involved with any other musical endeavors prior to Sumatran Black? If so, what were they and what led you to Dark Ambient?

I’ve been involved in lots of projects before but most of my music endeavours previous to Sumatran Black involved writing music for theatre (Opera and Musical Theatre). Unfortunately despite my best efforts, nothing made it to the stage. I still have hopes to resurrect some of these ideas in the future.

With regards to my journey towards darker music and dark ambient, I guess my character helped steer me in that direction. And I should add that I wouldn’t really class myself as a purely Dark Ambient composer. I think what I’m trying to do is often less textural and less static in terms of movement than a great deal of Dark Ambient. I would also add that I’ve tried to avoid presenting my music with an overly polished sound (in terms of production) in general. Which is something that I would associate with a lot of Dark Ambient. Hence the term Necrochill. As the genre has become more popular through the good work of labels like Cryochamber and the inclusion of Dark Ambient music in mainstream video games, it seems that the Dark Ambient sound has become more homogeneous and less distinctive between artists. I want to avoid this.

Of course my music does have many elements that are common with Dark Ambient and I have no problem with it being categorised in those terms.

4. ‘A Taxonomy of Grief’ (by Sumatran Black) is one of my favorite Dark Ambient experiences of the year so far. Can you tell us a little bit about the Necrotrilogy and how this album came about?

The Necrotrilogy is a trilogy of releases under the name Sumatran Black designed to be thematically and musically linked, and to introduce the audience to my concept of necro chill. Which is essentially just a funny name to categorise my main musical interest which is dark music that is cathartic, emotional and has strong elements of lo fi and some elements of the 2nd wave of black metal necro sound but reimagined in a more ambient context.

‘A Taxonomy of Grief’ is the third and final part of the Necrotrilogy. Musically it’s supposed to be a summation of the sound of the previous two albums. Thematically it’s the most personal of the trilogy and is in the simplest of terms an album about loss and recovery.

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

5. What are the other albums that make up the remainder of the Necrotrilogy?

Part 1: In the Dread

Part 2: Fathomz

Part 3: A Taxonomy of Grief

Not part of the trilogy: A Page of Madness Soundtrack, Elegy for a Lost Cosmonaut.

6. Do you already have plans for any upcoming Sumatran Black albums?

Not an album but I have an EP ready to go into the next stage of recording. The demos are complete, and the EP is a spiritual successor to Elegy for a Lost Cosmonaut. Its working title is Broken Timelines.

7. Let’s shift gears to Black Box Memories. Another stellar project that combines Dark Ambient and lo-fi electronica. I’m so intrigued by this project but how did it come about?

Usually when I’m in the final stages of a project in terms of mixing and mastering I tend to get bored of listening to the tracks over and over again and so I often do some recordings in the middle of this process just to give myself some variation almost like a palate cleanser if you will. And so when I was finishing off In the Dread (which took a long time), I had a lot of other tracks I had been working on which would not fit that project but I thought was strong enough musically to stand alone in a music project in their own right. Those tracks would form ‘Transmissions’ the first Black Box Memories album.

8. Although the Black Box Memories recordings are very modern, they have an excellent retro vibe to them as well. Is this a sound that you were planning for or did it just come about through experimentation?

I don’t really know where the sound came from first and foremost it was initially probably a reaction to the sound of In the Dread. That album is very claustrophobic and employs some quite extreme audio processing and I guess Black Box Memories is sonically just more open and less demanding of the listener. And as I said before musical projects often dictate their own outcomes. So in the case of Black Box Memories the first demos had a very nostalgic and lo fi vintage sound to them and so as more tracks will created they became influenced by the initial demos. I think also at the time I had access to more sounds, I’d upgraded my system and invested in some 80s retro synth clones and my thinking was how can I create a musical idea that uses the nostalgic sounds of my musical youth but recontextualises them in a kind of more dark arena. if you can imagine how vaporwave manipulates old samples in a way to produce something that has a completely different emotional flavour. I thought maybe that would be possible with say for example a Yamaha DX7 VST. Could I take a very recognisable electric piano sound and then sonically manipulate it in a way that sounds even more vintage/lo fi – almost like a musical exaggeration – and then use this sound design in more dark and almost psychedelic musical compositions.

https://sumatranblack.bandcamp.com/album/this-loving-presence

9. On ‘This Loving Presence’, you use a lot of narrative samples – which blend perfectly with the arrangements. Is there an underlying story with these, or are they used to create a particular ambience for the listening experience?

I guess ‘This Loving Presence’ was greatly influenced by my mood and habits at the time of composition which involved lots of late nights and lack of sleep and watching YouTube videos to try and remedy the situation. Most of the narrative samples are heavily edited ASMR style video quotes. I took those snippets of dialogue and then edited them in a way that would create sentences that had a very sharp and poignant emotional resonance immediately.

10. Now, I definitely have to bring up Ataşehir, because out of all of your projects, this one is probably my favorite. This project is a bit more minimalistic and desolate that your others; what were some of the influences for creating this one?

Although it probably sounds nothing like it, the main influence at the beginning of the Ataşehir project was the work of Stars of the Lid and also GAS. Probably my two favourite drone and ambient artists.

https://sumatranblack.bandcamp.com/album/when-the-time-comes

11. I reviewed 2020’s ‘AVM’ album and I loved the theme that was represented within. Are all Ataşehir albums created with a concept in mind?

I think that I can safely say that pretty much every album and EP I’ve recorded (not only Ataşehir) has been what would broadly be described as a concept album. Sometimes I give an explicit explanation in the liner notes, sometimes the concept is hidden in the album and song titles. 

I have given a previous interview where I go into detail about the Ataşehir project https://ambientmusic.com/interviews/sumatran_black

12. On the latest album, ‘When The Time Comes’, the drone work is absolutely fantastic and has a wide range of melody in it. How did you go about creating these sonic soundscapes?

I think with Ataşehir I always have this overriding influence of abstract expressionism and then I’m always trying to find ways of manifesting that musically. I was lucky with ‘When the Time Comes’ because I found a very particular VST that I used throughout the whole process. I won’t name it because I don’t want to give all my secrets away but the person who designed the instrument is aware of the fact that it was used for the entire album.

Maybe I can just describe the overall composition technique that was used. Most of the tracks consist of maybe three or four drone layers that are intersecting with each other to create a musical foundation – and this is the drone element. Then on top of that the melodic element you refer to are improvisations with a synth or a guitar. These improvisations are cut and edited and looped in an asymmetric way to create kind of melodic tension across the pieces.

13. I love the song titles that you come up with for this project. Do they have a particular meaning, and how do you come with those?

I usually take a long time with song titles I really enjoy that aspect of creating music and it’s something I have a lot of fun with. In the case of the album ‘When the Time Comes’, the titles definitely all have a meaning and maybe I can try and clarify that. The album is supposed to describe a near future or alternative future Istanbul after some strange cataclysmic event. Therefore, the song titles refer to numerous locations in the city but some of those locations are real and some of them are imagined future locations. So, for example, the Istanbul Canal does not exist but it might do in the near future. Also, Levent 4.2 does not exist, but Levent 4 exists. If anyone is interested, on the bandcamp album notes I have included a location guide which kind of explains everything.

14. I recently became familiar with one of your older projects, Haram Tapes. These albums are a lot of fun and seem to defy genre limitations. What makes this project so different?

The main reason that project is so different is because it involves two people. Myself and my collaborator See Safari. It would take a long time to go into detail about all the concepts and ideas behind Haram Tapes, but here is a recent interview we did.

15. Are there plans for more Haram Tapes releases?

Yes, we are discussing the concept for the next album at the moment.

https://haramtapes.bandcamp.com/album/scorpions-fountains

16. Speaking of “releases”, do you have any physical releases (I.e. CD, Cassette, LP..) of any of your projects?

Yes, there are cassettes available for Haram Tapes. Logistically, it hasn’t been possible for me to produce physical releases for Sumatran Black Records. However, it’s my plan that all Sumatran Black Records will have physical versions available from now on. This will begin with a new dungeon synth project I’m currently working on. I also plan to slowly but surely add physical releases to the entire back catalogue.

17. Do you have a home studio in which you record and produce your work?

Yes I do. It’s quite minimal and now I also have made it portable. Before all my music used to be created in my home studio desk setup with big monitors etc but recently I’ve tried to do all my initial work just on a laptop so I can be portable add more flexible with my workspace. ‘When the Time Comes” and “This Loving Presence” were recorded and mixed almost entirely on a small laptop with headphones and they were only moved to my larger studio area (the big computer as it were) during the mastering process.

18. What is your gear setup like? Do you have a preference of analog equipment over digital (VST’s etc..)?

I tend to avoid talking about gear and setups too much because I’d like to encourage all musicians to just use whatever they have available. You don’t need expensive analogue gear you don’t need the latest DAW, you just need ideas and some dedication. the first Sumatran Black album was recorded on GarageBand with no third party VSTs for example.

But to answer your question I really do love both analogue and digital but my priority is practicality and pragmatism. So, I can tell you at this moment I own two or three very good analogue synthesisers but they’re not in the same country as my studio (and not one note from them has appeared on any of my records). I’m doing everything in the box just using vsts because that’s what I have available. I’m planning to build something more substantial in the near future with the aim of implementing some more outboard gear.

19. Again I appreciate this opportunity for the interview and I’m always looking forward to new music by you. Do you have any departing thoughts for your fans that may be reading this?

Thanks for listening and reading. If you got this far, please consider following Sumatran Black Records on Bandcamp as this is my main hub for all news and info about new releases. New Dungeon Synth project coming soon.

Links:

https://sumatranblack.bandcamp.com

https://www.sumatranblackrecords.com

https://www.facebook.com/sumatranblack/

https://youtube.com/user/reevespeterson

https://haramtapes.bandcamp.com

Infinexhuma Amasses A Large-Scale Aural Attack With Intense Soundscapes On ‘Frontier’

When it comes to ominous soundscapes and adventurous Dark Ambient compositions that are filled with terror-induced tones and agonizing drones, Infinexhuma has to be one of the front runners that consistently supplies this huge undertaking. One thing you can always count on with an Infinexhuma album is a grim experience that clinches like a slowly tightening vice grip. On the latest deafening effort, ‘Frontier’, the tones are colder, soundscapes more chilling, and an overall dominating audial ordeal that is more dismal than ever. Also, enlisting the help of other Dark Ambient elite artists such as Blood Box, Neraterræ, and Common Eider, King Eider, together they catapult this deviant journey into multiple realms of chaos. At almost one hour and forty minutes long, this bleak expedition has enough creepy twists and turns to create and angst-filled environment.

The intoxicating album opener, “Converter”, is an all-out onslaught of malevolent sounds, designed to overwhelm the senses and bring forth nightmarish reactions. The haunting drones are propelled to a grueling depth with the help of industrialized soundscapes and a flock of crows, circling in agitation. This ten minutes endeavor does not let up and thoroughly prepares the listener for the next hour and a half. “Orbital (feat. Blood Box)” creeps along at a gradual pace, refining the audial invasion of the first track, and subduing the listener into a catatonic state. Terror-filled screeches and modulations grow louder as the weight of this track becomes even heavier. The next track, “Sword” summons ancient, dark vibes as the mildly distorted drone appends itself to the listeners subconscious. More like a malicious space ambient outing, there are intense ritualistic moments throughout that is reminiscent of a doomed celestial society. Fabricated screams elicit moments of terror as this haunting track beckons the darkest of times. “Sweeper” keeps the nightmare sequence alive with alluring drones and field recordings. As if surviving another dimension, grim manifestations are on full display in eerie fashion. “Heaven March (feat. Neraterræ)” displays signs of solitude and emptiness, as these superior drones have an echo effect, creating a wall of sound that embodies desolation. Sonic soundscapes present a trance-like significance that is addictive to listen too. This is probably one of my favorite tracks on the album. “Position In Flames” is a slow builder but well worth the wait. Light drones and incredulous synths seem far off and blurry at first, but slowly form into a dynamic track full of distorted frequencies and angst. As they start to fade into a warm drone sound, breathing becomes normal and an escape back to reality is in close focus. “Catharsis Of Goodbye is nearly thirteen minutes long and runs the gamut of emotional brain patterns. Beginning with a short, foreign narrative, it fuses into an assembly of sound that takes its time to decimate those that listen. From hollow drones and mechanized soundscapes to retro synthwave distortions, this track contains the elements and checks the blocks for a true dark ambient excursion. Next up is “Deep Runnel (feat. Common Eider, King Eider)” and it’s fascinating resistance of grueling, harsh moments make this one of the most effective tracks on the album. Maintaining a low compulsion for gradual effects, this one builds in anticipation without breaking its lethargic flow. “In The End” is a supernatural spectacle of sound and voice, as they fuse together in a dreamlike state. An interesting addition of EDM synths and monstrous backing tones are a welcomed surprise and I’m sure many listeners will appreciate this branching out to additional genres and will succumb to multiple listenings in one sitting. “Forged” begins as a minimalistic piece but grows into a fierce synthwave crossover song that features beautiful synth leads and darkened drones. There are other obscure sequences that add to this amazing sound, creating a monumental track that easily stands out amongst the others. “Every Door” is discordant offering that is full of twists and turns, including heavily distorted & sequenced vocalizations. Although it starts off semi-peaceful, it morphs into a noise-filled composition that becomes one of the harshest tracks on the album. The final track on the album is “Stormless”. Another stellar feat in space ambience, this enticing arrangement will have the listener drifting off to the far reaches of the bleak, uncharted universe. Although all is safe, you never know what’s lurking around every corner, as this song will have the listener calmly anticipating what the future holds. Such a captivating way to end this preeminent Dark Ambient experience.

I can always count on Infinexhuma to provide the ultimate Dark Ambient experience. Whether it’s cinematic soundscapes, ritualistic tones, harsh noise or space ambience, each album provides a unique platform for transparency with all of these musical forms. ‘Frontier’ is no different, as it challenges the listener to open the mind to fully embrace all of these magnificent compositions. If you’ve not heard this colossal recording yet, please visit the link below and experience one of the best Dark Ambient recordings out right now.

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

Links:

https://infinexhuma.bandcamp.com/album/frontier

Eighth Tower Records unveils companion book for ‘The Black Stone – Music For Lovecraftian Summonings’

The Black Stone – Stories For Lovecraftian Summonings

In January of this year, Eighth Tower records released another groundbreaking album of Dark Ambient resonance that featured the best-of-the-best artist of the genre. Some of them are amongst my favorite and include Mombi Yuleman, Alphaxone, Ashtoreth, NEW RISEN THRONE and Moloch Conspiracy to name a few. All of these artist successfully constructed Lovecraftian-themed tracks of fascinating darkness and a sonic exploratory of unmatched mythical subject matter. Fast forward a few months and we find another innovative event for Eighth Tower Records in the form of their first-ever book release. A companion to ‘The Black Stone’ album, it is entitled, ‘The Black Stone – Stories For Lovecraftian Summonings’ and features twenty seven tales of horror inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos.

Here is some additional information about the book and writers, as found on the Eighth Tower Records Bandcamp page:

Featuring: Ramsey Campbell, Brian M Sammons, Glynn Owen Barrass, Lucy A. Snyder, E.A. Black, Chris Kelso, Andrew Coulthard, Stephen Mark Rainey, Kevin Lewis, Richard A. Scott, Russell Smeaton, John Buja, Made in DNA, David Agranoff, Pete Rawlik, Brian C. Short, Michael Housel, John Chadwick, David Voyles, Konstantine Paradias, Edward Morris, Parry Milton, Phil Breach, Garrett Cook, Andrew Freudenberg, Love Kolle, Sarah Walker.

Curated by Raffaele Pezzella
Cover illustration by John Chadwick
Editing by Parry Milton

https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/merch/the-black-stone-stories-for-lovecraftian-summonings-book-cd
https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-black-stone-music-for-lovecraftian-summonings

Grab a copy of this book before it’s sold out and if you’ve not heard the amazing album that was released back in January, do yourself a favor a download that one right away for a stunning audial experience.

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

Links:

https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/music

https://unexplainedsoundsgroup.bandcamp.com