Psyclopean Gives A Musical Interpretation Of An Infamous H.P. Lovecraft Short Story Of The Same Name On ‘The Outsider’

Hearing a musical perception of a piece of literature is a fascinating thing. It’s like hearing a great soundtrack to a movie – when the music is just right, there is no explanation needed as it provide an audial experience for our senses that parallels what it is representing. Additionally, it allows for it to be easily understood without justification. That’s the great thing about being a fan of music such as dungeon synth and dark ambient, where it relies less on vocal interpretations and more on imagination and emotion. When this kind of music is paired up with the right piece of literature, a basic understanding of any subject matter will become easily known. On Psyclopean’s twelfth release, the artist interprets H.P. Lovecraft’s short story from 1926, ‘The Outsider’. This is a story about a sole character that breaks free from his castle in search of human companionship. That being said, ‘The Outsider’ (the album) is an emotional outing filled with tones of sorrow and agony.

The albums sole song is the near twenty two minute long self-titled track, “The Outsider”. Beginning with a somber keyboard arrangement with the sounds of nature in its evening state, there are early elements of dark ambient to this track. Various field recordings and soundscapes add an eerie element as well. At almost the three minute mark, components of dungeon & fantasy synth are introduced as layered keyboards create an intertwined melody and the morning sounds of nature are made known as well. I interpret this as the protagonist in the story beginning his journey and traversing the harsh land through day and night in order to seek contact with another being. At around seven minutes, a more sinister sounding keyboard reprise takes over, as if danger is lurking in the air. Cinematic orchestrations give this section of the song a grand sound while remaining frightening. At around twelve minutes, the track switches focus back to a dark ambient sound with howling winds and subtle keyboards. This is probably my favorite section in the song and it has a nice spacey sound and various field recordings as if the protagonist is traveling across a long, frozen tundra with no bearable end in sight. At around the nineteen minute mark, discordant tones suddenly blare as panic starts to set in, creating havoc for the protagonist as he makes a bold decision about his quest. The final few minutes shift back to a jarring dungeon synth keyboard arrangement as “The Outsider” comes to a close.

Psyclopean successfully give new meaning to the phrase musical interpretation. Although the works of H.P. Lovecraft have been open for analysis for many years, most translations have been done through film or referenced in other works of literature. Even though there have been musical projects that were heavily influenced by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, there haven’t been many artists that propitiously create an album based on one of his short stories that provided a musical adventure that easily details that story. ‘The Outsider’ does just that and more. This is a wonderful listening adventure and I highly recommend it for fans of both dungeon synth and dark ambient. Please show your support for this innovative artist and download the album from the link below.

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Links:

https://altrusiangrace.bandcamp.com/album/the-outsider

Eyre Transmissions III: Interview With Ambient/Winter Synth Artist, Winterblood

Every once in a while, an artist comes along and consistently produces albums that immediately grab your attention from the very first note and captivates you until they fade off into the cold silence. For me, Winterblood is one of those artists and from the very first time I heard the album ‘Waldeinsamkeit I-III’, I knew I was listening to something special. After getting my hands on the back catalog and quickly downloading anything that comes out new, it’s apparent that Winterblood is an extraordinary addition to the winter synth/ambient community. I recently had the opportunity for a Q&A session to find out what drives such a momentous force behind the atmosphere. Enjoy!

1. First of all, thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview. Can you tell me how Winterblood came about?

Hello there! To talk about Winterblood, means to looking back at my childhood first of all. I remember a film called Antarctica, where the haunting melodies played by Vangelis left an indelebile sign on me; I was so attracted by that landscapes, dogs, and all that atmosphere. All so hostile and dramatic, but at the same time so comfortable. As the years passing by, searching for that power and feelings, I discovered the distorted guitar, and soon I was involved in metal music. In 1997 I started recording with some pc softwares, under the influence of very great act in Cold Meat Ind. and Burzum ambient style, and I find out that only the synth can bring that ‘not human’ character that I was looking for. Winterblood is something within me since the beginning and recognized through sounds and images.

2. You have a pretty lengthy discography! What are some of the challenges that you face while consistently writing such impressive material?

I put no limits in what I’m doing. Most of the albums are similar? May the other dimension brings me in the same direction! I’m just a kind of medium doing atmospheres, not ‘songs’. I’m still discovering my inner voices.

3. Sometimes I wonder if Winterblood is a dark ambient project or a dungeon synth project, or maybe a mix of both. What genre would you classify it as?

If I had to choose a term, it would be Polar ambient; ‘dungeon synth’ is more fantasy oriented, and my project is focused on spiritual affairs through coldness and blackness.

4. Music wise, many Winterblood albums have a trance-like quality to them, enabling the listener to drift off in a meditative state. Is it your intention to provide this type of introspective state?

All is about intuition. Every note, every drone you hear, is recorded following inner voices (I repeat myself), voices that make me dream, make me sleep, make me relax, and bring my imagination in a no-limit zone, where all is infinite and beautiful at the same time. In Winterblood, all comes from the darkness, and look how all is bright! Purification through listening, through making music. If it works with me, may it can works with others, and is real cool to have positive feedbacks. To quote my page site: ‘… the really ambitious goal is to put the listener – after a reassuring prelude – into a cold state of loss and confusion; this may causes an awakening…’. Intentional? Of course.

5. When you set out to record a Winterblood album, do you have a plan in place for a particular sound or style or do you improvise based on your feelings at the time?

I spend hours doing tests, sounds, and right fx. The visions leads all, as intuition as well. Music flows naturally cold, ripetitive, obsessive, but at the same time melodic, hypnotic… It’s not about technic, but magic and sensibility.

6. Do you play and record with physical equipment, VST’s or a mix of both?

In the past I usually worked with softwares and plug ins, with the time all is went in the analogue direction. With this equipment I can give originality to my works, something unique.

7. Do you draw inspiration from any particular bands or other genres of music? If so, what/who are they?

As said before, the Cold Meat ind. scene has a great impact on Winterblood. Act like Aghast, first Ordo Equilibrio, Mz412, Sephiroth, Raison d’Être… But also Eliane Radigue, Burzum ambient-era, Apoptose…

8. One of my favorite Winterblood albums is ‘Waldeinsamkeit I-III’. Is there a distinct theme for that album that makes it so special?

Waldeinsamkeit is an album the literally ‘break the borders’. Why? Still don’t know. All is strange behind these album, from the beginning to the end. What make it so special? The total alchemy between artwork and music. It is so nocturnal, mysterious, magic, really describes as well the title itself. Thanx goes again to Canto Críptico label for the first tape press and artwork, and Kunsthall prod. for the massive Lp release that is unbelievable.

9. You recently released ‘Hiraeth’ which was an impressive 3 hour plus long recording. What inspired you to write such a mammoth of an album?

The purpose is to inaugurate a series of releases focused on meditation, Hiraeth as first. I was looking for something very extreme, something that can makes you dream up, sleep, and floating without an end, something eternal. Of course length is fundamental in this. Hiraeth, as other Winterblood opus, is inspired by my obsession for the grey color, dark woods, old vintage illustrations, and the melancholy for something lost, that is nothing but the lost the original perfection.

10. Can you tell me a little more about your side project called Macchine Per Comunicazioni Spiritiche?

MPCS is just a container for bizarre experiments. Let’s see…

11. Are you involved with any other projects (that you care to discuss)?

Absolutely not. Winterblood is my only project.

12. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions. Do you have any final words or thoughts for the Winterblood fans that will be reading this?

First of all thank you for let me open a window to my music, and thanx to all the supporters around the world! A lot is on the making…

Links:

https://winterblood78.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/WinterbloodOfficial

Hints of 80’s Retro Synth Illuminate On Winter Synth EP By Castle Zagyx Called ‘The Frozen Moor Of Your Memories’

The mind is a fascinating thing. Full of thought, emotions, intelligence, and memory, we have the power to control more that we can fathom. Unfortunately, there are time where we can decline to a darkened state without a means or a will to escape. In these times, obscurity overshadows our thought process and keeps us in a trance-like state until we are powerful enough to make the return to commonness on our own. The music displayed by Castle Zagyx on ‘The Frozen Moor Of Your Memories’ would be the perfect companion piece to listen to while contemplating a rebound from your own mental asylum. Filled with 80’s style retro synth, this is a soothing EP filled with many magical moments that you’ll not want to end.

Dreamy album opener, “Overture: End Of Summer Season” pulls the listener in with its classical keyboard arrangement and saddened tones before descending down the dark and gloomy path set forth by the rest of the album. “Remembrance I: Carter’s Antarctic Twilight” begins with an introspective sound as if you’re waking up from a cold dream, into an unknown world. As a single keyboard key drones, cold winter synth melodies expand the obscurity of your mind allowing you to meditate beyond the imagination. “Remembrance II: Katabatic Winds” maintains the same dark desires but introduces 80’s synth wave patterns that give the song a chilling sound. Sparse field recordings are compounded in spots for added gloomy textures. While this track successfully preserves its hyperborean effect, it’s easy to drift off to another dimension so that your mind can deal with clearing of the consciousness and lull memories. “Remembrance III: Ittakka” leans heavily on discrepant notes and eccentric harmonies, while light percussion sounds set the pace for something wicked yet to come. The EP’s final track “Remembrance IV: Poulsen Arc/Ice Hole” provides a ghastly conclusion to this overarching story of the hopeless decline of individual thoughts. Inaudible field recordings are a stark reminder of being institutionalized in our own mind, as we deal with our darkness. The keyboard arrangements are melancholic and somber, but seem to end too soon. However, this is the perfect way to rap up such an amazing story.

‘The Frozen Moor Of Your Memories’ is an exceptional EP and it pushes the boundaries of crossover music, diving into winter synth and retro 80’s style synth wave. The overall feel is gloomy and cold and you can easily get mentally lost in each track. My only wish is that this was a full length album, as this is has been an extremely enjoyable experience. I highly recommend this album, especially if you need something to relax and meditate to. Show your support for Castle Zagyx and download this EP from the link below.

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Links:

https://castlezagyx.bandcamp.com/album/the-frozen-moor-of-your-memories-ep

Tasos Fotiou & Dimitris Korontzis Embark On An Improvised, Free-form Jazz Induced Journey With The Aberrant ‘Time Lapse’ Session.

For me, improvised music is some of the most entertaining music that I’ve ever heard. Despite the genre, when an artist has the ability to play, perform and record impressive music on a whim, it tends to catch (and hold) my attention more than written and rehearsed music. I first fell in love with improvisations back in the early 90’s with the works of the multi-talented musician, John Zorn. A saxophonist by trade, John Zorn crossed the boundaries of many genres such as metal, punk, hardcore, grindcore, fusion jazz and avant-garde. Of his hundreds of albums, many of them were improvisational collaborations with the likes of talented artists such as Bill Frisell, Bill Laswell, Yamataka Eye & Mike Patton. I credit this scene for opening my eyes (and ears) to a wide variety of genres of music and appreciate for the artistic value of their craft. Fast forward to now, there are new artists on the scene that continue to carry that improvisation torch and do it well. Enter Dimitris Korontzis (guitar) and Tasos Fotiou (saxophone), a pair of musicians from Greece that are masters of their instruments and impressively construct improvisations with ease. Their monumental album, ‘Time Lapse’, is a thirty one minute improv session that tests each musicians skill and determination to create a compelling story of transitioning through time and space.

Consisting of six tracks, all which are named “Time Lapse Pt. 1 – Pt. 6”, this is hardly a single track just broken down into smaller sections. These tracks are individualistic in idea and expression but wondrously flow together in a seamless manner. The album opens with a beautiful ambient guitar tone that provides a calming drone. As discordant picking starts to take place, long-winded saxophone notes arrive and displace the arrangement, showing the first sign of many excellent improvised moments on this recording. Pt. 2 begins with a classic jazz moment and then a groovy guitar riff joins in. At this moment, I hear influences of the great Miles Davis, during his fusion jazz movement of the early 70’s. Pt. 3 has some bizarre arrangements that features excellent guitar work and greatly distorted saxophone notes that are especially creepy. By the time we make it to Pt. 4, a heavy ambient influence can be heard and the sound of deranged instruments playing in multiple tracks sound especially eerie. This continues into Pt. 5 as it seem there is no end in sight for the conglomerate of sound effects that have taken over the recording. However, the basic guitar and saxophone tracks are predominant and finally make their way back to the forefront toward the end of the track. When Pt. 6 starts playing, the craziness fades away and a nice saxophone solo part dominates the majority of the track. By the time the guitar joins in, its more of an ambient arrangement, providing a refreshing sound for closing out this thoroughly impressive album.

‘Time Lapse’ is a very enjoyable album that reminds me a lot of my favorite artists from many years ago that influenced me to listen to a wide variety of music. It’s improvisations like this that show the heart and skill of a musician and it happens to be right up my alley. Tasos Fotiou and Dimitris Korontzis pull out all the stops on this one and their skills and patience are put to the test as they deliver an album that is definitely worth checking out. When it comes to music and if you’re as open minded as I am, I highly recommend downloading ‘Time Lapse’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://dimitriskorontzis.bandcamp.com/album/time-lapse

Edging Both Dungeon Synth & Dark Ambient, Morgoth’s Ring Deliver Two Sinister Hymns On ‘Where Stars Are As Feral As The Prowling Wolf Upon The Hyperboreal Heath Of The Cosmos’

If I were to take a guess, I’d say that if you’re reading this, you’re probably also a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord Of The Rings” books (and/or movies) and everything else that falls within that universe. You’re probably also familiar with Morgoth – the black enemy of the world and the one who thwarted his power unto Arda, making middle-earth (as a whole) become known as Morgoth’s Ring. That malicious intent has crossed over to another Morgoth’s Ring, this time in the form of an ambient driven dungeon synth project. With two ominous tracks totaling over thirty four minutes of playing time, there is captivating songwriting on display here that is equal parts malevolence and cinematic glory. The album, ‘Where Stars Are As Feral As The Prowling Wolf Upon The Hyperboreal Heath Of The Cosmos’, is a daring fantasy adventure in which there is peace & bloodshed, as well as good and evil.

The first track is a sixteen minute, three-sectional opus called “Mystic Flamberge | Tempestuous Witching Inferno | Shadow Garland”. Beginning with a beautiful orchestrations, as if the opening credits of a fantasy movie explores the vast snow-capped mountains and deep wintry valleys of a mystical kingdom as it’s people enjoy peace and tranquility on any given day. However, a great storm rages on in the distance – unheard of by many – but will cause great devastation for those that are unprepared for battle. As the second part of the song enters, field recordings of remote storms signal the beginning of danger, and the kingdom prepares to launch an offensive while the commoners seek shelter. Long, droning (but symphonic) keys play melodic tones while eerie sound effects are sequenced in the mix to change the vibe to a more gloomy impression. Deep, meditative, spoken words begin to infiltrate the speakers, although they are barely audible. The adventure is at its maximum frightful level right now. However, the last three minutes of the track morph into a wonderful fantasy synth orchestration with a cinematic-worthy arrangement. The second and final track on the album is the eighteen plus minute long thriller, “Master Of Countless Terrible Legions | -.. .. . .- .-.. —- -. .”. Starting with a harrowing adventure-like tune that would sound right at home on a fantasy/adventure movie soundtrack, the grim, somber sounds work impartially to calm the savage reign of terror that may be imminent as well as provide a sense of agitated aggression due to its deep, droning echoing frequencies from the abyss. At around the six minute mark, the song proceeds down a malevolent path as supernatural sounds protrude as if you’re making your way through a haunted realm filled with evil, enchanted spirits. The last seven minutes of this song change direction once again into a more fantasy/forest synth arrangement. Although peaceful in tone, it has a bleak and dark sound too it. Even though this portion of the song title is written in Morse Code, it stands for Die Alone, and the emotion I get from the music is very reminiscent of loneliness and despair. What a beautiful way to end such a caliginous album.

Morgoth’s Ring is an exceptional up-and-coming dungeon synth artist that takes the cinematic structure to a new level. Mixing a variety of genres to create a legendary adventure – not only musically but for the imagination – this is one album that I plan to have on repeat for a long time. It meets my personal criteria for a great recording and the entertainment value is through the roof. I cannot wait to hear more from Morgoth’s Ring, but in the meantime, I highly recommend adding this one to your collection by downloading it from the link below. You will not be disappointed!

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Links:

https://morgothsring.bandcamp.com/releases

Sumatran Black Takes Us On A Doomed, Deep Space Quest With ‘Elegy For A Lost Cosmonaut’ EP

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a great space ambient recording so saying that Sumatran Black’s latest EP, ‘Elegy For A Lost Cosmonaut’ is out of this world (no pun intended) is a huge understatement. Consisting of three cosmic tales that takes us on an ill-fated mission through the voids of deep space, this is one trip that is filled with atmospheric drones, planetary keys & synths, and an unavoidable race through the universe that warrants no return. The grim album cover resembles an old Soviet Union astronaut that may be in a distressed situation, in which the music from this EP provides the perfect soundtrack to his grisly fate.

The opening track, “The Mission”, is a soft, textured drone that really tells a compelling story of the cosmonaut that is bound for the outer realm of the universe, but unbeknownst to him, will never reach his destiny. As various keys and pads sway in and out of the mix, subtle details of random noises can be heard as if some sort of mechanical failure has weakened his spacecraft, causing him to abort his mission. Unfortunately, it’s too late as his spacecraft is mechanically unstable and unable to return to Earth. Toward the end of the track, the bleak tones of the synths and pads become less stable and present an agonizing sound, signaling that the end of the cosmonaut may be near. “Is This Heaven” is the shortest track of the three but wastes no time in offering a multitude of discordant vibes that fade in and out like a broken spacecraft passing through nebulas – and various other space anomalies – at a breakneck pace, even though everything appears to be in slow motion for the cosmonaut that is still in shock from the events that have unfolded before him. “Elegy For A Lost Cosmonaut” is the final song on this EP and it represents the cosmonauts acceptance of being eternally vanished from Earth. These long, drawn out spacey drones are unique in that the tones suddenly elevate and then dissolves out every so often. This must be the cosmonaut getting down to the final levels of oxygen as he fades in and out of consciousness. In the end, deep space wins and the cosmonaut takes his last breath as the song abates out for good.

Even though this is a relatively short EP with just three tracks, Sumatran Black have created a very unique experience that is memorable, unique, and with a great theme. As I sit back, close my eyes, and listen to this album, I envision the events unfolding just as I have described them above. That’s the power and beauty of dark ambient music – to tell a story without words and vocals and allow the listener to imagine the scenario taking place. Please support this exceptional artist and download this spectacular cosmic adventure from the link below.

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Links:

https://sumatranblack.bandcamp.com/album/elegy-for-a-lost-cosmonaut-e-p

Black Box Memories Explore Celestial Requiems That Permeate With Casual Spoken Word Banter On ‘Missing Heart Pieces’

Probably my favorite element of ambient music in general is the creative vision put forth by the artists to conceive something that is not only unique, but also personable that represents their state of mind at a particular given time. A good example of that would be the ever evolving music adventure of Black Box Memories. Although the debut album’s music more bordered dark ambient with elements of space ambient, sophomore effort ‘Missing Heart Pieces’ has a more down-to-earth nostalgic feeling with a huge focus on interwoven spoken word recordings. The result is a high-resolution ambient album that is full of empathy and dedicated to personal alienation.

Consisting of fourteen tracks that extend over eighty minutes of playing time, there is a lot of music to get aquatinted to on this recording. The album opener, “Details” begins with a mesmerizing keyboard loop and an immediate introduction to the first bit of spoken word dialog. The discussion consists of a one-sided conversation about someone’s travel plans, as if they are unsure about their final destination. As the keyboard loop continues to play, various drone melodies create a welcoming sound but at the same time institute a desolate feeling. Skipping a few tracks, we find the grandiose “First Experiences”. It slowly fades in to a cinematic style keyboard arrangement with hardly audible spoken word samples. The trance-like quality of this song assures its gloominess and the inclusion of soft piano adds a particularly eerie feeling as well. Another stunning track is “Dreaming Of Suburbia”. The dark ambient loops provide a calming attribute, while the random conversation that is included repeats over and over again, as if there is a deep meaning in the message that the narrator is trying to convey to her listener. Harrowing synthesized pads also give an overwhelming sensation of a wide-open space that has limitless boundaries for endless exploration. My favorite song on the album and one of the darker ones is called “The Eye”. The spoken word dialog seems to be that of a professor giving a valuable lesson on the inner workings of the eye, but vaguely explaining it in metaphors. However, the standout element of this track is the music itself. With a mix of ambient and 80’s style synth wave, this song has a very exclusive quality as compare to the dynamics of the rest of the album. Skipping a few more tracks, we have “The Death Of Newt”. Although this is one of the shorter tracks on the album, it takes on another uncommon approach as there is no dialog, and features a magnetic tape-like sound quality. Just another fine example of the high recording standard that Black Box Memories has set for this album. As we cut down to the last song on the album, “Dust”, the first thing that you’ll notice is the epic twelve plus minute time length. Starting with a peaceful acoustic guitar riff, it soon shifts to synth wave arrangement that is full of spirit and anticipation, as if you’re listing to a piece from the ‘Stranger Things Soundtrack’. Large-scale keys randomly fade in and out as if providing both melody and drama. This keeps up at a feverish pace for the majority of the song and the fades into a discordant piano arrangement that is extremely creepy.

I absolutely love these kind of recordings, as they provide enough diversity to occupy your audial senses as well as keep your imagination sharp and focused so that you can dwell on the despondent album theme. The looping, spoken word element is a feature that works really well with this genre and I wish more artist would use them. So, if you’re looking to diversify your ambient catalog, as well as wanting to reward yourself with some excellent music, look no further than ‘Missing Heat Pieces’ by Black Box Memories. Please support this incredibly talented artist by downloading this album from the link below.

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Links:

https://sumatranblack.bandcamp.com/album/missing-heart-pieces