The Grim Sounds Of Nature & Inner-City Solitude Thrive On Robert Eggplant’s Debut Album, ‘Amalgamation’

Have you ever had that feeling where things aren’t right; where the every day normal seems out of place for no reason and without explanation? It’s like that day when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and nothing seems to go your way, as if you’re momentarily living in an alternate universe with no control over being your true self. That’s the feeling I instantly received when listening to ‘Amalgamation’ by Robert Eggplant. It’s easily, one of the eeriest and discordant ambient albums I’ve ever heard, yet at the same time, it’s so intriguing that I find myself listening to it over and over again. Filled with a multitude of field recordings and magnetic tape loops, ‘Amalgamation’ is like taking a slow motion walk down a busy inner-city street, where all of the activities surrounding you are moving about at a funeral’s pace. The good news is, this album is very captivating and will keep you thoroughly entertained throughout its ten solid tracks.

Right from the start, “Cement Stain” hits you in the face as if you’ve just woken up from a knockout punch or a drunken daze. The curious droning sounds mixed with the bizarre samples and nature-like field recordings are enough to mangle the senses and leave you in an an unorthodox state of confusion. Curiously, you’ll eagerly listen on as there are a plethora of things going on in this track to keep it interesting and entertaining. “Tomb Of Froth” is a reserved drone track with spots of mysterious tape loops that featured slowed down and mangled vocal tracks. Although barely audible, this adds a grim detail to this rather short and peculiar song. “Conversations” begins with a peaceful field recording, highlighting the chirping of birds and splashing water, as if someone is nonchalantly walking down the street after a violent storm. In slowly fades what appears to be the aftermath of looping beats of a Tibetan singing bowl, as multiple layered hisses play on for the majority of the track. “Cave Inhabitant” is another creepy track that lineaments multiple instruments and provide a resounding drone as more tape loops and field recordings augment the free space throughout. “Travelers Of Mold” starts with the sound of vehicles traversing a bridge along an interstate and soon after, amicable keys resonate music that can relate to having blissful emotions. A lower toned drone soon takes over as the background traffic can now be heard traveling over a road during a rainstorm. “Decay Of Decorations” has a very 80’s-ish synth wave sound and various outlandish noises can be heard throughout, giving this track a very edgy feeling. “Bomber In The Woods” has a calming demeanor, with the crackling of a forest fire added in to the mix. The migrating drones take an agitative turn as if there is no resolve from the dangers that lay ahead. “Hall Of Moss” begins with the happiness of chirping birds and a quiet sounding tape loop in the background. As more field recordings are added, the lose drone sounds begin to take shape and at times seem scarce, adding to the mystique nature of the song. “Feast Of YOG” is a compelling track that features a few spots of guitar strums, but is mostly full of engrossed field recordings and low-toned drones. The final track on the album, “Everything Under The Sun Will Parish” has a very smooth and placid drone with minimal field recordings, I guess to signify the end of all things except for nature itself.

‘Amalgamation’ is a very entertaining album and one like I’ve never heard before – especially in the dark ambient genre. Robert Eggplant has fostered a pretty unique sound and I cannot wait to hear more from this artist in the future. This has become my new go-to album for when I need to hear something that’s just a little bit different from everything else. I highly recommend this album so please show your support by downloading it at the link below.

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Atrium Carceri & Cities Last Broadcast Elicit Nocturnal Visions On Sophomore Collaboration, ‘Black Stage Of Night’

The bleak and consoling sounds of dark ambient music don’t always have to be set in dreary, pioneering generations. Although we mostly associate this visionary craft with distant times, it’s audial adaptability can generate imaginative sequences from past occasions as well. That’s exactly what Atrium Carceri and Cities Last Broadcast – also unofficially known as The Bearded Swedes – have achieved on their second collaboration effort together known as, ‘Black Stage Of Night’. Their retrospective outlook on dark ambient has taken the genre to new heights, as the solitude droning and domineering field recordings have been replaced with haunting tape loops & sequences, and minimalistic – yet melodic – soundscapes. The result is a recording rich in warm ambient sounds and thick structured songs that are well crafted that take a life of their own, as if their audience could have been from many decades ago.

Intrepid album opener, “Mind Turns To Night”, makes a bold statement as the soft and eerie synths provide a leisurely tone to this haunting dirge while the warm static noises hiss inconstantly in the background. “Attic And Wormwood” commences with a beautiful piano arrangement and the steady, slightly high-pitched frequency to add texture and substance. About halfway through the track, nostalgic keyboard melodies make their way in as if the dusk-lit sky is breaking away to the dawn. “A Glass Of Sleep For An Elegant Dream” is my favorite song on the album as it has an 80’s cinematic horror sound to it and with the sounds of an old spinning record crackling in the background, gives a classic interpretation of modern terror. “All Things Nocturnal” features an array of soundscapes with opulent keys & pads to give this track a dense sound. “Chaos Unmade” features sparse tape loops and a spectral melody played over and over again making this a very ghostly and daring track. Anxiety builds as various sounds and samples can barely be heard in the background as the music continues and the unknown ending soon unfolds. “A New Constellation” slowly builds without reaching a climactic state as various musical sounds creep their way in momentarily to make their presence known. This track is like a doomed, melancholic adventure that leaves its somber trace on everything in its path. On “The Great Order Of Things”, a mesmerizing vocal track is added to the droning austere arrangement to make it just as soothing as it is unnerving. On the albums final track, “Night Becomes Morning”, alluring pads alter frequencies to create an exquisite beacon of light drones to properly finalize the multitude of timeless sounds and patterns thus far. This minimal arrangement fits perfect with the rest of the tracks and leaves the listener in a state of renewed amazement.

The team of Atrium Carceri and Cities Last Broadcast never cease to amaze me when they set out to synchronize their minds on a project like this. With two fantastic albums now under their belt, I can only hope they will continue to collaborate on a regular basis and bring us more albums in the “Black” series. Although these artist have excellent solo careers, there is just something very special when they get together and release an album. ‘Black Stage Of Night’ may not be your typical dark ambient album but it will haunt you in other ways that you can only imagine. Please show your support for this awesome release and download it at the link below.

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Top 10 Dark Ambient Releases Of 2019

I’ve been a huge fan of dark ambient for quite some time now but this is the first time that I’ve had to put together a Top 10 list of my favorite albums of the year. If the truth were to be told, this could have easily been a Top 50 list as there were so many exceptional releases this year. Instead, I want to give props to the following 10 amazing albums that have impacted me in multiple ways. Although there were many more astonishing dark ambient albums that were released in 2019, these are the ones that (in my opinion) have set the standard for modern dark ambient.

10. God Body Disconnect – The Mist Between The Mirrors

What a way to start this top 10 list. Right from the opening field recordings and narrative remarks, I knew instantly this was going to be one of my go-to dark ambient albums! Themed around emotional subjects such as disappointment & isolation, this recording is as therapeutic as it is relaxing.

9. Xerxes The Dark – Tower Of Silence

Xerxes The Dark is in my top 5 favorite dark ambient recording artists of all time, but XTD didn’t make my list based on a biased decision. ‘Tower Of Silence’ is simply XTD’s best release to date and one of my most listened to albums this year. Every track is haunting and addictive and will give you the feeling of being trapped in a post-apocalyptic industrial wasteland.

8. Melanohelios – VII: Warmth Within Endless Emptiness

When it comes to space ambient, Melanohelios is one of the best in the business. On ‘VII: Warmth Within Endless Emptiness’, the drones are longer, chilling, and gives the sensation of relentless confinement on a doomed space mission. Seventy two minutes of vacuum filled incarceration will leave your senses void of all intelligible emotions.

7. Ruptured World – Archeoplanetary

I’m such a huge Ruptured World fan and the second album of the Planetary series, ‘Archeoplanetary’ is as good as they come. Whereas most Dark ambient recordings leave room for the listener to provide an imaginative scenario to match the music, Ruptured World prepare a captivating narration throughout the whole recording.

6. øjeRum – Without Blood The Sun Darkens

‘Without Blood The Sun Darkens’ is one of the most haunting and mesmerizing dark ambient albums I’ve ever heard. Consisting of a single, fifty nine minute track of repetitive and impassioned synths and pads, this song is about reflection and memory. This is still one of my favorite meditative albums to listen to.

5. Winterblood – Finsternis

‘Finsternis’ is a very enthralling and hypnotic work of art that will leave you in a trance-like state throughout the hour long recording. Winterblood is like a dark ambient accomplice to the black metal band Paysage D’hiver, as I receive the same type of ardent pleasure from both artists. This album is a MUST HAVE for any true fan of dark ambient.

4. Neraterræ – The Substance Of Perception

Alessio Antoni has summoned an all-star line up for his debut project Neraterræ and the result is the impeccable recording, ‘The Substance Of Perception’. Each track is sonically different, yet they are produced as a seamless dark entity that is fathoms above most others. I cannot wait to hear more from this amazing project!

3. Ager Sonus – Mithra

‘Mithra’ is probably the most musically diverse album in my top 10. Taking us back to Ancient Rome, Ager Sonus uses subtle stringed instruments and grandiose drones to create a vision of enchantment and fascination. I still listen to this album on a weekly basis and although it was released in March, it continues to grab my attention with each and every listen.

2. Monocube – Substratum

Monocube has to be the dark ambient sleeper artist of the year. With almost no attention drawn to this album prior to its release, I downloaded it solely based on the reputation of the Cyclic Law label lineup. One of the best decisions I made all year, as ‘Substratum’ is a mammoth of an album. The hollow – but frightening – drones will make you feel claustrophobic and uneasy and will leave you with a sense of uncontrollable anxiety. Although very minimal and austere, I tend to find new ambitious elements every time I listen to it.

1. Metatron Omega – Evangelikon

Metatron Omega is another one of my favorite dark ambient artists and anytime there is a new release available, it’s an instant purchase from me. ‘Evangelikon’ is a mastercraft in ritualistic dark ambient music with beautiful Gregorian-style chanting and unnerving drones. I listen to this album continually and it’s without a doubt my favorite dark ambient album of the year.

Minimalist Dreamy Drones Produce Maximum Effect On ‘Virtual Goddess’ Transmission By Seffi Starshine

Vaporwave specialist Seffi Starshine has built a short, yet elaborate career on music’s more obscure and experimental components. The naiad and co-founder of Girly Girl Musik & Fireflower Vapor has released numerous solo and collaborative efforts ranging from drone, dark ambient, vaporwave, naturewave, electronica and other forms of esoteric music that you may have never heard before. However, on ‘Virtual Goddess”, Seffi Starshine successfully launches into the atmospheric pressures of space ambient and the result is a chilling, atmospheric album packed with nominal, galactic drones that will take you on a bleak, orbital adventure. At just under fifty minutes, these five basal transferences may just put you in a state of deep space hibernation until you’re ready to submit to the goddess herself.

The albums anterior transmission, “Office Drone Blaster” gently evolves from out of thin air and induces shapeshifting sound effects as droning pads seer through the cosmos like a spacecraft exiting our solar system for out worldly adventures. The sound is extremely fluid yet gradual in the way it approaches in and out of climactic tones. “CGA Sunrise” immediately takes flight in a monotone sound as if a spacecraft traveling at warp speed has just passed Max-Q, where the air has become lighter and communication conveyance to mission control has ended abruptly. “Virtual Goddess F.A.E.” has a more gloomy sound and the hollow radiance of synthesizers produce a dismal resolve to depict an eerie point of no return for a doomed spacecraft that has lost its navigational way. “DOS By Dusk” fades in and out of higher frequencies beautifully as if properly maneuvering through a celestial waste field. The layered synths create a very subtle atmospheric presence and this proves to be a very diverse track. The final track on the album, “Sleepytime For CGA Sprites” is an eighteen and a half minute journey through time and space in which there is no control over any matter or being, past or present and the power of the layered drones represent the feeling of hope and relaxation. The lush tones weave in and out of emotional state of consciousness and never break the continuous pattern of evolvement.

Whether intentional or not, Seffi Starshine has crafted a fascinating space ambient album. With minimalist, dreamy drones and expertly crafted sonic arrangements, ‘Virtual Goddess’ borders between ambient and dark ambient, as there are multiple moments of eeriness that can easily thwart this recording in either of those directions. This is one of those recordings in which you can sit back, don your favorite earphones, close your eyes and loose yourself in a world where space – and the vacuum-like void it creates – overtakes your conscious. Support this brilliant and versatile artist by downloading ‘Virtual Goddess’ from the link below. Additionally, check out her other projects via Fire Flower Vapor & Girly Girl Music at the links below.

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Neraterræ Summons An All-Star Cast Of Artist For Blistering Debut Album, ‘The Substance Of Perception’

This year has been an amazing year for the dark ambient community. Not only have we heard incredible releases by both independent and well known artists, but there has been an overwhelming dynamic of collaboration releases as well. Some of my favorite collaboration albums thus far have been the terrifying, polar ambient release by Ugasanie & Dronny Darko called ‘Arctic Gate’, the futuristic sonic assault by Dronny Darko & RNGMNN called ‘Sector Hydra’, the dark chamber sounds of Atrium Carceri & Cities Last Broadcast on ‘Black Stage Of Night’ and the claustrophobic droning sounds of ‘Symphony Of Dying’ by SÁDON & Treha Sektori. However, when an artist releases an album and assembles a renowned & talented group of dark ambient artists to collaborate on each track, it’s sure to garner some immediate attention. That’s exactly what Italian dark ambient artist Alessio Antoni has done with his project, Neraterræ. On his debut album, ‘The Substance Of Perception’, artists such as Xerxes The Dark, Ugasanie, Flowers For Bodysnatchers, and Alexey Tegin from Phurpa (just to name a few), lend their talents to take this recording to extreme heights and fill all the voids that are left open in the confined drones of each track. This results in not only a prodigious collaboration album, but one of the best dark ambient recordings of the year.

The albums spectacular lead off track, “Shadows Of Regret (feat. Northaunt)” begins with a soothing rain shower field recording layered with dreamy key arrangements. Spoken word narrations and deep droning soon takes over to alter the dynamics of the song while it consistently puts the listener in a hypnotic state. The sound level increases as each drone pad migrated to the next and then they wind down to an ending narration. “To Reveal The Unseen (feat. Alexey Tegin from Phurpa)” is one of my favorite songs on the album. There is something about combining dark ambient and meditative BON chanting that magnifies and intensified the listening experience for me. Although the droning elements are simple, yet effective on this track, it’s the terrifying chanting of Alexey Tegin that solidifies the evil sounds of this recording. I could seriously listen to a whole album of this! “Becoming The Nightmare (feat. New Risen Throne & Treha Sektori)” continues with some of the elements of the previous track but in a more dark industrial way. Instead of chanting, there are some malevolent whispering vocals that are spine chilling! The terrifying soundscapes are enough to put the listener in a state of madness, as if they are enclosed in an industrial wasteland with no way of escape. This is also the longest track on the album, so there is plenty of time to submerge into the realm of this massive recording. “The Wicked Pulse Of Conscience (feat. Taphephobia & Infinexhuma)” is a depressive dive into gloomy soundscapes and impulsive field recordings. As the pads drone on and take the listener to a deeper state of relaxation and abjection, melodious keys infiltrate the airwaves as if light is trying to pierce through the abundant cloud coverage. However, it is apparent by the end of the song that the clouds are impenetrable by any light sources or emotions that match them. “That Which Shall Not Be Witnessed (feat. Xerxes The Dark & Treha Sektori)” is my other favorite track on the album. The minimalist drones and bizarre pad arrangements combined with industrial-like soundscapes and more haunting whispering, gives a frightening sensation when digesting this one in a dark setting. These are all of the elements that make for a perfect dark ambient track and they are arranged immaculately. “Beyond (feat. Ugasanie)” is everything I expected it to be, especially since Ugasanie is providing his unique polar ambient input. Very minimalistic and creepy, just the way dark ambient was meant to sound. The final track on the album is “Echoing Scars (feat. Flowers For Bodysnatchers)”. What a stunning way to end such a dark and adventurous album. Although there are some disturbing droning sounds inhabiting the whole song, it’s the exhilarating acoustic piano work of Flowers For Bodysnatchers that makes this track gnaw at your senses. Although it’s gloomy and disturbing, it’s also beautiful and peaceful as well.

Alessio Antoni has created a near flawless dark ambient recording with his Neraterræ project. With the various collaboration efforts on each track, there is enough contrasting material to manipulate your senses in many directions, yet Alessio does an impressive job keeping everything composed in a way that it progresses without hesitation. From the production, musical arrangements, field recordings and soundscapes to the well represented album cover, ‘The Substance Of Perception’ has everything you need in a single dark ambient album. With this definitely being in my top five favorite dark ambient recordings of 2019, I highly recommend checking this album out right away. Please support Neraterræ by downloading the album at the link below.

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Mombi Yuleman Takes Us On A Supernatural Maritime Endeavor With ‘Mesozoia Oceana’

Oceanic themed ambient recordings hold a special place in my heart because I can personally relate to living a life at sea and being isolated from society, city lights, and technology for weeks and even months at a time. The quiet, droning atmospheres with the seaworthy field recordings and soundscapes provide a soothing sensation, even with the eerie, dreadful thoughts of the hazards many fathoms beneath. Some of my favorite aquatic ambient albums are Max Corbacho’s ‘The Ocean Inside (2012)’ and 2018’s collaboration between Ugasanie & Xerxes The Dark called ‘Abysmal’ – which I personally consider one of the greatest dark ambient recordings of all time. I’m excited to say that Mombi Yuleman’s ‘Mesozoia Oceana’ can join that group of superior amphibious ambient recordings. Musically, I would place ‘Mesozoia Oceana’ right in the middle of the aforementioned albums as the ambient textures are extremely calming, yet not quite as dark as ‘Abysmal’. However, that being said, this is a well written, well recorded album that is full of surprises and will sure to please all fans of dark ambient music.

The astonishing lead off track, “Basilosaurus Cetoides” commences with various soundscapes and a tribal drumbeat, as if a vessel is pulling out of the harbor and setting sail to navigate uncharted waters. The song quickly winds down to a ghostly, droning tone with aquatic samples, and soothing keyboard loops. “Hydrotherosaurus Alexandrae” is a spooky and minimalistic dirge that sounds icy cold, as if a wrong navigational turn has taken a group of mariners to a part of the ocean that is over ran by giant prehistoric entities that have their boat quietly surrounded. “Carcharodon Megalodon” contains consoling yet creepy low toned pads, complimented by a various bizarre field recordings, that would give a negative sensation to any sea-going vessel and it’s crew as they cautiously make their way to safety. “Kronosaurus Queenslandicus” begins with a freakish sound as if a previously unidentified deep sea monster is calmly navigating the waters of its territory. A low-frequency droning sound starts to play as we continue to hear peculiar noises in the background. Throughout this near twelve minute long track, we hear the sounds of this prehistoric creature swim back and fourth, as if it’s stalking its prey for a routine meal. The final track on the album is the very climactic “Shastasaurus Sikanniensis’. Featuring cinematic-like drum beats, melodic keyboard tones and more aquatic creature grunts, this tune summarizes the concept of the album and provides a final underwater meeting place (or resting places) for all of these prehistoric beings. Although the middle section of the track leans more toward a dark ambient atmosphere, the final minute or so picks back up with the tribal drum beats, as if offering a final climactic scene.

Mombi Yuleman’s ‘Mesozoia Oceana’ is a very impressive dark ambient album, worthy of multiple listens. These five tracks accomplish a lot dynamically, inside of forty seven minutes. The songs range from ambient to dark ambient and are filled with a lot of creepy and eccentric soundscapes and field recordings. Everything is put together so well, you’ll feel as if you’re in a deep-sea vessel, surrounded by prehistoric creatures with no means of escape. Please support this brilliant artist by downloading this amazing album at the link below.

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Varkâna Sets Loose The Spirit Of Darkness And Evil On Valiant Sophomore Album, ‘Ahrimanic Chamber’

In the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism, there were twin spirits that ruled over good and evil. The spirit called Spenta Mainyu was known as the deity of truth, light and all living things, while Angra Mainyu was the evil spirit of deception and death. For thousands of years, these twin spirits fought on the earthly battleground for supremacy and ultimately Angra Mainyu morphed into the entity known as Ahriman. It is at this point where the demonic being became its most horrific form. On Varkâna’s latest album, ‘Ahrimanic Chamber’, sounds of cold and sovereign dungeon synth prevail and display an intense scene of epic bloodshed. Like a doomed enclosure full of impious pariahs, Varkâna makes use of intense keyboard tones, droning ambient textures, live drums and layered frightening resonance to produce moments of dreadful unforgettableness. These nine anthems dig deep into the soul and imagination of the listener and describe the incantations of the dark spirt that once was the Ahriman.

The albums first track, “A Graveyard Under Snow”, sets a very calming, atmospheric mood with its opulent keyboard drones and hazy dungeon-esque melodies. The underlying percussion softly beats a rhythmic pattern as if warriors are slowly marching to an ill-fated battlefield. “Ahrimanic Enlightenment” approaches with a lush synthesizer arrangement that provokes a supernatural mood in ethereal environment. Suddenly, harsher keyboard tones kick in as if providing the audial description to a death scene in a fantasy movie. As the song reaches its climax, dark ambient tones pave the way as if the final onslaught has left everyone lifeless. “Into The Chambers Of Ahriman I Walk” features a great drum track that is supplemented by a beautiful piano provision. This could very well be a perfect intro piece to a symphonic black metal song. However, halfway through the track, it morphs into a peaceful ambient interlude as if the protagonist in the story is anticipating the unexpected as he finally reaches the doorway of the chamber. The music then crescendo’s back into high gear and closes the song out just the way it started. “Lugubrious Ruins” start with droning, dungeon synthesized riffs and continues throughout the whole song with spots of higher pitched keyboards to add layers of dreariness to this already gloomy track. Since this one combines both elements of dungeon synth and dark ambient, it’s probably my favorite and most played song on the album. “Mist” has more of a fantasy/forest synth influence and is predominantly lighter in tone that most of the other tracks. However, it effectively sparks imaginative tales between Angra Mainyu and Spenta Mainyu as their endless battle to provoke good over evil (and Vice versa) rages on. “Old Man’s Tale” succeeds in puts the album back on track in a darker setting with off-kilter piano parts, steady tribal drum beats, and ghostly, droning pads to create a feeling of emptiness. Toward the end of the track, an elegant acoustic guitar riff is introduced and puts the overall sound of this track in another worldly dimension. “Rapture” is another radiant track that combines elements of dark ambient and retro wave sounds of 80’s horror cinema soundtracks. “Spirituality Deformed” has that traditional dungeon synth sound but with added elements of live drums and an unforgettable melody that seems to intensify until the last note of the song is played. The final track, “The Night Of The Hunter” continues down the path as the previous song, as the Ahriman bestows his evil legacy on his legions of followers and it’s chambers become the spiritual battleground for which good has no chance of survival. This track contains energetic keyboard arrangements, a bombastic drum track and ends with a droning tone that signifies the supreme reign of the Angra Mainyu.

Varkâna has auspiciously created a conceptual dungeon synth masterpiece based on the ancient Persian spirit of darkness and evil. The music does an excellent job of providing a soundtrack to this resounding storyline and crosses into dark ambient and even 80’s retro wave cinematic score. With a good balance of both light and darker sounding tunes, ‘Ahrimanic Chamber’ is an excellent dungeon synth album. I highly recommend Varkâna for fans of both dungeon synth and dark ambient so please show your support by downloading this amazing album at the link below.

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