Mora-Tau Lets the 70’s Minimalistic Space Rock Influences Shine Bright On ‘The Light Of The Winter’

The calm demeanor of minimalistic music can evoke all sorts of human emotions. The vast listening experience is like an endless field of dreams and nightmares, all rolled up in one, and depending on your psychological state, it could allow for one of the best experiences ever. This is especially true when we realize that the ambient music that is providing this backdrop, is heavily influenced by spacey elements of 70’s progressive synth music – especially the monumental sounds of Tangerine Dream and the brilliant solo works of Klaus Schulze. Luminous Japanese recording artist, Mora-Tau, maximizes these influences on a spectacular new release called, ‘The Light Of The Winter’. The four improvised – but majestically written – tracks on this album will catapult the listener to a cold, surreal world where there is no limit for crafting a story for blissful meditation.

The ultra silky sounds of the the lead off track, “The Light Of The Winter”, is reminiscent of a jazz noir piece that has improvisations in the perfect spots to create a hauntingly beautiful moment. As the synth volume increases and the play becomes more sporadic, the listener is cascaded back into an era where time was slower and gray weather drifted in between sun rays at a snails pace. Although this song is filled with many peaceful moments, there is a sense of dreadful nostalgia in the background that always makes its presence felt. Up next is the twenty five and a half minute long “Cityscape”. Without rushing a single note, the track starts off with dreary deep tones and oppressive melodies that represent a cold, dark and miserable time where the infinite clock paints a mesmerizing picture of never ending despair. Slowly, additional soundscapes are added to the track, bringing a great variety of light and dark ambience to the mix. At around the halfway mark, layers of drones begin to build, creating a climactic effect. Even though this is an extremely long track, it continues to build and garner strength throughout its duration, making it a wondrous journey to be a part of. The next track, “For The Memory Of The Earthquake” is a fascinating song as (in my opinion) it pays homage to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake (and tsunami) that decimated parts of North Eastern Japan. Coincidentally, I lived in Japan during that time and experienced some of the effects of this disaster and would never want to relive that situation again. Anyway, back to the song at hand as it contains somber instrumentation with a very minimalistic approach. It’s almost as if the artist is reliving the experience in slow motion and the music is creating a positive outcome from such a negative event. Retro keyboard tones really stand out on this one as the improvised moments take us back to the old days of synthwave. The final track on this illustrious album is the near twenty one minute long “New Moon”. Starting with deep modulation tones that reverberate as a solid foundation, odd synth tones slowly build and create a mild frequency havoc when some of them are pinched together. However, this is a necessary part of the track as the sound waves continue to build until they are replaced by clear, piercing drones. Bizarre improvisations fit in rather well during this moment and even make this a standout track on the album. Soon, ordinary synth tones begin to layer in a harmonious effort to bring much needed light to this track. More retro synth sounds are added, along with mysterious keyboard effects, to present an irregular ending. Although it fades out with a few minutes to spare, it abruptly fades back in with a systematic closing that summarizes the fascinating style of this album as a whole.

Mora-Tau is an extremely compelling artist that is full of vision, even when creating long, epic tracks full of improvisations. ‘The Light Of The Winter’ not only captures retrospective synth moments, but it also finds common ground with dark and light ambient compositions, making for an extraordinary production effort. I’m eager to hear more from this talented artist and I highly recommend checking out this album as soon as possible. Please show your support and download ‘The Light Of The Winter’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-light-of-the-winter

Apocryphos Reveals A Dismal Truth Of Society With The Guitar-Heavy ‘Against Civilization’

Taking into consideration that the year 2020 has been one of the most atrocious years in recent history, it’s safe to say that the perception of society as a whole is pretty detestable at the moment. Politics aside – a subject I will never glamorize in my reviews – times have changed and cultural understanding and guidance seem to have fallen by the wayside. That being said, it must have been like a premonition when Apocryphos released the phenomenal album, ‘Against Civilization’ back in February of this year. The overall theme for this album is exactly what we’re dealing with when it comes to humanity’s embrace on life. These eight tracks of guitar-laden dark ambience reveals the chaos when handling the rage of the untamed.

Right from the opening track, “Heartsick”, there is a dispiriting sensation that prevails when the soothing and melancholic guitar effects begin to play out. There is a somber quality with the tone that instantly suppresses the mood to allow for the prolonged and hypnotic drones to take center stage. “Altschmerz” initiates with an empty space of dread while mesmerizing, layered guitar effects slowly imbue the mix. Acoustic tones play indiscriminately while boosting the various soundscapes that hauntingly play out in the background. “A Feral Nature” begins mournfully, playing depressive and minimalistic drones. Even in the bleak nature of this track, Apocryphos still seems to find a way to mix in beautiful melodies that are not only memorable, but highly addictive to listen to as well. “Dysphagia” commences with a haunting static effect with various soundscapes added in to deliver unbiased nightmares to the listeners. Low-end guitar tones playing in the background to increase the creepiness factor and keeps the overall sound at an abysmal level. “Cupio Dissolvi” continues the use of beautiful, yet dismal guitar drones and the slow buildup to the louder sound level is soothing and leaves the listener in dire anticipation for what’s next. The melodic drones build over time and change in tone often to make this a consoling piece of work. “A Feral Night” begins with a deep, tonal modulation that remains constant and hypnotic. The guitar-heavy drones are reminiscent of an industrialized wasteland as the austere tones are layered perfectly and are used sparingly to provide a sense of apprehension. “Sunken Eyed Theopanies” starts with an astonishing sound that resembles the constant gong of a Grandfather clock. Without hesitation, higher pitched intonations ring in on multiple occasions to ensure this bleak track remains as enthralling as possible. The final track on the album is “ A Feral Kind”. It calmly begins with a mollifying drone that increases in volume over a short period of time. Additionally, it seems to add in a deeper layered drone to thicken the sound. Throughout this track, drone tones are manipulated in higher and lower pitches without conflicting, in order to contribute to this wondrous and minimalistic offering.

‘Against Civilization’ is not like most other Dark Ambient offerings, as the artist relies heavily on guitar effects and tracking to provide layers of massive drones and quality melodies. Not only does that make this a unique contribution to the genre, it’s also one of my favorite Dark Ambient albums of the year so far. Additionally, the songwriting impeccable, and the quality of the material is beyond exceptional. Apocryphos is a staple artist on the Cryo Chamber label and with releases like this, it shows why. If you’ve not heard this amazing recording, now is the perfect time to do so. Please click on the link below and support this stunning album.

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Links:

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/against-civilization

Ajna’s ‘Oracular’ Sets A New Precedence For Minimalistic And Dreadful Ambience

Sometimes, music that terrifies the soul comes in unforeseen forms. Specifically in the Dark Ambient genre, haunting drones and malevolent soundscapes tend to be the vanguard for uncompromising nightmares and emotions. However, it’s the minimalistic approach to ambient music that contribute to the sensation of true isolationism, and that – to me – is a whole new level of horror. The latest release by Ajna, ‘Oracular’, confines the listener into a deep space of abandonment and desolation, so that the mind is held captive by the ten cavernous tracks contained within. The perception of this sixty six minute journey is like having an out-of-body experience and if you sit back, close your eyes and take in the powerful audible message, that’s exactly what will happen.

“Metaterrestrial” opens with deep, brooding notes that are the dawn of a chilling sequence of sounds leading up to a guttural drone with horrifying soundscapes. It’s as if a nightmare from a horror film is playing out before our ears, creating a dark, unforgiving world that is ready to apprehend the listener without bias. Waves of cosmic synths modulate in slow motion, causing relentless tension. “The Unknown” commences with a soft but profound drone, followed by a frantic static sound that abruptly gets the blood flowing. Afterwards, layers of subdued synth tones build a wall of astral sound as it creates an environment for easy mental drifting. The static noises, as well as a few other industrial-like soundscapes randomly make an appearance as an obscure gesture to torment the mental awareness of the listener. The next track of unsettling detail is, “Parallel Hypnosis”. With the soft drones taking a background to the ever changing soundscapes, distraught noises kick things off before halting and giving way to ghostly drones. Irregularly timed industrial sounds give this track a mechanized feel and that benefits the overall theme of the album. “Astral Hybridization” starts with a steady, low end sound with drifting synths blended in, giving it a bit of a melodic appeal. The abrupt soundscapes continue to be a driving force and they can be a bit daunting when least expected. “Rising Above Physical Time (alternate version)” introduces a grim and constant tone that sounds like the aftermath of a forceful bang of a Tibetan singing bowl. Grotesque soundscapes coagulate for a while before fading off in the distance, making this a rather eerie track. “Pneuma” rolls in like a deep winter snow storm, ascending to loud, harsh volumes before descending into uncertainty. Once settled into the depths of cold and despair, irregular modulations crackle through the speakers and icy drones continue to fill the colorless void. As the synth frequency increases, so does the volume, creating a whirlwind of relentless desolation. “Paralysis” wastes no time with the bludgeoning drones, as they pierce the airwaves fiercely right from the opening moment of the track. Without hesitation, moments of harrowing shrills bellow out with full force! After a few minutes, a particular calmness comes over this track but a constant drone maintains a steady vibration while various soundscapes compound with renewed resonance. “Two Red Moons” appears less hectic than most of the other tracks, but still complies with the random drops of industrial-laden soundscapes. “Nightmare Sector” is probably the most sinister sounding track on the album. Although the drones are mid-level in tone, various other sound effects make this one extraordinarily creepy. The last track on the album, “Infinitam Abyssum II” is a true masterclass in claustrophobic ambience. The dreadful phantasm of sound exuded in this final offering is bleak and cold and epitomizes minimalistic Dark Ambient in an unparalleled way.

Ajna has set a precedence when it comes to confined Dark Ambient. With a minimalistic approach to deep, meditative drones complimented by apocalyptic soundscapes, ‘Oracular’ is a highly entertaining album with a consistent and ear-pleasing style throughout. If you enjoy Dark Ambient with a restrained sound amidst innovative soundscapes, then checkout the latest album by Ajna, ‘Oracular’, our now on the Cyclic Law label and available for download at the link below.

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Links:

https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/oracular

Diaspora Psichica’s ‘Eprom’, Interprets The Horrific And Unhinged Ordeals Of The Artificial Intelligence Era

We’ve all seen the movie; an artificial intelligence (AI) being of some sort turns against its maker or civilization and provokes all sorts of havoc. A glitch in the system causing a reactionary output that has nullified all previous code and syntax, is now enemy number one. If you’ve not seen the movie, I’m sure you’ve read the book or have watched the TV show or at least have envisioned a scenario similar to this. In the computer age, things like this aren’t supposed to happen. Systems and components are presumed to work and function as designed. Even if there is a bug or malfunction, a failsafe is typically written to prevent the devastating effect of a hostile machine takeover. On Diaspora Psichica’s latest album, ‘Eprom’, a ghastly nightmare unfolds that is the equivalent to a systematic meltdown of frenzied proportions.

At the commencement of this album is the eccentric “Trasmisson”. Luminous sound effects race hysterically from one speaker to another as if the system startup is commanding an explicit set of code from memory. However, the narrative throughout the track repeats the same seven words over and over again, exhibiting a glitch in the system. Cosmic sounds and noises provide further evidence of a system failure, as this track finally ends, never completing the startup process. “Vision” begins with daring, low-end drones and minimalist but vibrant synth tones that are eerie and perplexing. More systematic narratives commence – a few words at a time – as if providing clues to a code. “Equilibrium” starts with a bizarre synth wave loop as if the balance of AI and Human intelligence is stuck in a type of EPROM, unable to be erased, and now must work together somehow to overcome this disaster. A deep voice can be heard providing details of their predicament. Although the voice is human-like, it definitely represents the machine. “Daleth” commences with industrial synth loops and samples, and a few oddities thrown in the mix. A few wandering drones fade in and out of the mix while a cryptic narrative repeats the same eight words over and over again. Coincidentally, each word starts with the letter D. Without warning, the track suddenly fades out. Next up is “Vertigo”, with pounding drones and enough pulverizing looping sounds to cause a panic. Searing high-pitched synth tones race through the speakers at several different random times to keep this track compelling and aggressively dark. “Afternum” is a short track of bleak drones that sound as if they are slowly breathing. Maybe this is the AI finally coming to life due to the continued interaction with human intelligence. Random thoughts regenerate at the end of the track in vocal patterns that sound straight out of a horror movie. “Hysteresis Human Mind” is the most sinister track on the album as the monotonous drones are austere in nature as well as the jumbled sound effects placed throughout. The humanoid narration – matched with this music – is completely frightening, and it continues the same format as previous tracks, in that it repeats the same few words over and over again. The final track on the album, “Thelema” is completely different from the rest of the tracks, containing an astonishing drum beat to go along with sound effects placed in a melodic pattern. Synthesized narrations play a key part in this track as well, giving it that futuristic – but at the same time, retro – feel to it. This is the perfect track to summarize this intelligent but disturbing album.

Diaspora Psichica have created a monumental album in ‘Eprom’. Although this album was recorded a few years back, it was recently brought to my attention and I’ve enjoyed this album very much. I’m very much looking forward to hearing more from this artist and I dig their unique style and quality. ‘Eprom’ is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD from the link below, so do yourself a favor and add this amazing album to your collection.

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Links:

https://diasporapsichica.bandcamp.com/album/eprom

Eyre Transmissions VI: Interview With Dark Ambient Producer And Cryo Chamber Recording Artist, Beyond The Ghost

Beyond The Ghost has been on a roll since joining the Cryo Chamber Label. In just under two years we’ve seen the release of a pair of exceptional albums – 2019’s ‘You Disappeared’ and 2020’s ‘Eternal Drift’. With each release, Beyond The Ghost has consistently delivered a unique blend of cinematic dark ambience combined with brilliant guitar and piano effects to produce soundtrack-like quality material that is not only memorable, but sustains a richness of depth and character as well. I recently had the pleasure to interview the maestro behind Beyond The Ghost – Pierre Laplace – to find out how he got his start in the Dark Ambient genre, his other involvements, and what the future holds for Beyond The Ghost. Please enjoy the interview with this amazing artist and definitely check out his unbelievable albums, if you’ve not done so already.

1. First, thank you so much for this interview opportunity. Secondly, congratulations on your two successful Cryo Chamber releases, 2019’s ‘You Disappeared’, and 2020’s ‘Eternal Drift’. How did the Beyond The Ghost Project begin?

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my dark ambient project, I really appreciate it. I think the idea of Beyond the Ghost started about 2 years ago. In 2018, I released an album called The Ninth Wave with my other musical project, The Sandman’s Orchestra. It was a cover of the whole B-side to Kate Bush’s classic Hounds of Love album. It was a huge undertaking, I spent an insane amount of time working on textures, atmospheres and sound design for this album. Somehow, after that experience, and after years of songwriting, I wanted to explore a more atmospheric, darker side to my music. I also wanted to start composing more instrumental pieces. I got more and more into dark ambient and started writing tracks in that genre. I ended up with a whole album, You Disappeared. 

2. What kind of project was The Sandman’s Orchestra? Besides this project were you previously involved with projects of other genres?

The Sandman’s Orchestra was an atmospheric folk duo I started with a young singer named Léonie Gabriel. That was my first serious attempt at producing music all by myself in my home-studio. It was a great experience on many levels. I made progress in terms of songwriting, arranging and producing music. It was a great collaboration with Léonie, who is an amazing singer. Before that, my main musical outlet was a band called Vera Clouzot. Between 1993 and 2003 we released a few demos, 4 studio albums (2 sung in English, 2 in French), one live album, and played about 150 shows throughout France, including opening for Jeff Buckley and Smog. We started out as an acoustic three-piece band. I sang and played guitar, Nicolas Fahy played the cello and Richard Huyghe was the main guitar player. Later on, two friends joined us on drums and bass guitar and our sound evolved into a mix of atmospheric ballads and experimental rock music sung in French. Being part of a band for 10 years was an amazing experience ; that’s a big chunk of life. I also released two solo albums of acoustic folk as Kenyon ; the second one, « Catch a Star » was released in 2005 by a Parisian micro-label, Hinah.

Beyond The Ghost – Taken on the beach in Dunkirk, Northern France

3. How did you come up with the name, Beyond The Ghost?

I’ve always loved the word « ghost », the way it sounds, its implications. I brainstormed with my girlfriend to find a name that would include the word « ghost », and that’s what we came up with. I like the fact that it’s open to interpretation. One possible meaning is that there are moments in your life when for some reason (bereavement, anxiety, depression) you may feel like some kind of ghost, not quite there, floating your way through life but with the wish to go past that stage, to go beyond the ghost of yourself and try to find your true nature again.

4. You seem to explore an extremely broad range of cinematic sounds on your recordings. Who are some of your influences for this style of Dark Ambient music?

True, I like to explore different sounds and atmospheres and I guess my music is quite cinematic. I’ve been influenced by other dark ambient artists but also by stuff that’s maybe less obvious : Talk Talk circa Spirit of Eden/Laughing Stock, Pink Floyd, David Bowie’s Low album, Brian Eno, David Sylvian, Portishead.

5. Cryo Chamber is the premiere label for Cinematic Dark Ambient music. How did your relationship with the label come about?

I’ve been familiar with the label for a couple of years. One of my friends from the early Soundcloud days, Tom Moore of Dead Melodies, was already on the label. The level of quality is pretty high on Cryo Chamber so you can’t just submit demos or a half-baked album. After months of working on my first album, I got to a point where I thought what I had was interesting and at least I wouldn’t make a fool out of myself if I submitted the album to the label. Cryo Chamber was the obvious choice because it’s the best dark ambient label out there. So I contacted Simon (Cryo Chamber’s label manager), sent him my album, which he liked right away, and a couple of days later we were already talking about artwork, stuff like that. Since then, I’ve developed a great working relationship and friendship with Simon. He’s been very supportive of my music and is easy to work with. I had bad experiences with record labels in the past, so today I feel very grateful to be on a label run by an artist, by someone with a vision. 

6. Have you participated in any collaboration projects?

For the past year or so I’ve been collaborating with another artist, we’ll have a whole album finished by the end of the summer. I can’t tell you more at this point. Sorry, my lips are sealed ! This year I’ll also partake in the yearly Lovecraft project, I’m very excited about that. I love the collaborative aspect of Cryo Chamber, you feel like you’re part of a family. We are very supportive of each other, there are no ego conflicts or whatever.

7. The whole world is currently living in some dark times, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic going on. Are you sheltering in place because of this? If so, (or even if not), has this event inspired you to write any new music?

At first I was quite worried and stressed with the pandemic. I wasn’t afraid for myself but for my loved ones, especially my dad, who is considered at risk. It was heartbreaking to see the mortality of it all, often in dreadful circumstances. To die alone must be horrid, for the person and their family. As for the lockdown, personally, I had no problem with it. It was a necessary thing to do in order to save lives, and to be honest I often got annoyed with people complaining about how hard it was to stay confined for 2 months. I mean, if it’s about saving people’s lives, stop whining and do something creative with your time. Of course, I missed seeing my family and my friends, but that was a small price to pay for the greater good. I don’t think I was directly inspired by COVID, but I had a lot more free time than usual, so I worked on a lot of music, at random times of the day and night. I still do, actually. These past few months have been a very creative period for me. Music is a great outlet in stressful times.

Beyond The Ghost – Taken from his home studio while working on ‘Eternal Drift’

8. Have you considered doing any live shows after the COVID-19 Pandemic is all clear? Have you considered doing any live streaming performances?

I don’t think I’ll play live shows or do live streaming performances. Giving a good live performance would require a lot of work and would probably involve other musicians because I don’t see myself playing piano or guitar over a backing track. I’d rather devote my time and energy to creating new music in my home-studio. 

9. I guess the good thing about having a home-studio, is that you can play and record anytime you feel inspired. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with an idea and headed to your home-studio to record?

Yes, very often. I have weird sleeping patterns and I like working on music at night. I do like the freedom of having a home-studio, of being able to record whenever I feel inspired, which can definitely happen in the middle of the night.

Physical release of ‘Eternal Drift’

10. Getting back to the music on your albums, there is a great mixture of sublime textures and controlled chaos. Do you have a strategy for writing your songs or is there a lot of improvisation?

I don’t have a strategy or any set rules. Sometimes I will start by creating a drone and then build a track from that foundation. Sometimes I create a sound or a layer that will inspire other sounds and layers and then I add the melodic part. A track can also start with a piano part, or a guitar sound, or anything really. I like the fact that there are no rules. So it’s mostly about inspiration and improvisation. Then, when I have a basic foundation for a track, things fall into place through trial and error. 

11. One of my favorite Beyond The Ghost tracks is “Frozen In Time”. For some reason, this song reminds me of the soundtrack of the movie, Full Metal Jacket. Is therea particular story behind that track?

With that track I wanted to create something nostalgic and atmospheric with all the muffled radio voices, I wanted something that moved at a slow pace. When I wrote the track I had this image of being stuck in a lonely place, of being still, of feeling numb from the pain of losing someone (which was the central topic of the whole album). I saw Full Metal Jacket many years ago and I don’t remember the soundtrack, but I loved the movie at the time. It’s a good reference so I guess I’ll have to check out the OST now !

2019’s ‘You Disappeared’

12. I believe the song from that OST that I am thinking of is called “Sniper”. Speaking of OST’s, do you have any favorite Dark Ambient-themed OST’s that you listen to often ?

Lately I’ve really enjoyed Hildur Guðnadóttir’s works, mainly her soundtrack to the Chernobyl mini-series, as well as her score for Joker. I’m a big fan of Geoff Barrow, the Portishead/Beak guy, and I like the soundtrack he composed with Ben Salisbury for Annihilation. One last example is Under the Skin’s soundtrack by Mica Levi – I found both the movie and soundtrack quite eerie and unsettling but beautiful at the same time. When I watch TV shows I pay a lot ofattention to music cues and I can definitely hear dark ambient influences in some of the shows I’ve enjoyed, like The Outsider, Bloodline or The Killing, for example.

13. “Becoming One With Darkness” from the ‘Eternal Drift’ album contains some ethereal guitar work on it and it’s probably my favorite track from the new album. Do you think you’ll use more guitar (and piano) parts in future recordings?

Thanks for pointing out that track. This and « The Slow Agony of Solitude » are two personal favorites from the new album. To me, Eternal Drift is definitely a guitar album. It may not be that obvious because I often used the electric guitar in unconventional ways, warping the sound with various techniques and fx to try and create interesting textures. Whatever direction my future projects will take, I know there will always be room for some guitar and piano as well as other organic instruments. Maybe it’s what defines my music and my sound : a mix of organic and synthetic, of warm and cold.

2020’s ‘Eternal Drift’

14. Once again, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions for The Dungeon In Deep Space! Do you have any final thought for your fans that may be reading this?

It’s been my pleasure answering your questions ! I’d like to seize the opportunity to thank all the people who listened to my music, bought my albums, wrote nice messages and comments on social media or wrote me directly. I’ve had some very touching messages from various people and it means the world to me. I think people have sensed that these albums are very personal and real, that there’s a lot of emotions in there. You Disappeared was about losing someone, Eternal Drift is about losing yourself. Both albums were therapeutic for me. If some people have found comfort listening to my music, have felt touched and moved by it, then it was all worth it.

Links:

Eternal Drift: https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-drift

You Disappeared: https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/you-disappeared

FB: https://www.facebook.com/beyondtheghost/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beyondtheghostmusic/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5aoLhB1ALvmo38RwCBNH5W?si=ilOHCWphQROUZpaRhkFlFg

Blackweald’s ‘Leonov’ Is A Bleak But Breathtaking Homage To One Of The Greatest Space Explorers Of Our Times

Music with a unique purpose or common theme tends to be right up my alley. Despite the genre, I always tend to lend my ears to conceptual albums, as the stories tend to be as intriguing as the music. Most of my conceptual music entertainment tends to come from rock and metal bands such as Yes, King Diamond and Carach Angren. However, over the years, as my love for Dungeon Synth and Dark Ambient grew, I realized that although there weren’t necessarily an exclusive number of concept albums, many albums revolve around a specific topic or theme, sprouting an increased imagination while listening to music from both of these genres. More so in the Dark Ambient genre, concept albums are more prominent, as the depth and darkness of the music creates an atmospheric universe to picture everything the artist is trying to convey. That’s exactly the case with the latest release from Blackweald called ‘Leonov’. A thirty seven minute dark space adventure that pays tribute to Alexei Leonov, the first cosmonaut to ever conduct a spacewalk. Although broken up into eight tracks, this is a single, seamless piece that puts the listener right in the heart of this milestone mission.

To begin this historic achievement, album opener “Korolev, Glavny Konstruktor” starts with a short Russian language narrative as deep, airy drones launch this track into the atmosphere. Layers of whirr and synth effects courageously build as if trying to outdo the noise level of the other. Then, it quietly fades away into the next track, “Grechko, Космонавт 34”. Mostly made up of subtle nuances and effects, these are the final minutes and checks that Leonov are going through as he prepares for launch. “196503180700000” begins just as the previous track ended. There is a short music sample that plays just before the launch sequence, reminding Leonov of home one last time before departing Earth. At the end of the launch sequence, various sonic noises can be heard, releasing a cosmic energy into the air. The next track, “_” consist of bizarre, screeching noises and profound drones as if Leonov’s spacecraft has successfully passed Max-Q and is well on his way to the confines of space. With the jettison of booster rockets and exterior noise at a minimum, only the ticks and alarms of internal equipment can be heard – which is what this track may portray. Random noises and distant signals assist the Cosmonaut with guidance and trajectory as he heads toward his rendezvous point. As he gets deeper into orbit, the mesmerizing drones become more prominent and overbearing, taking center stage of any sound effects that may have been heard previously. “Foothold In The Heavens” contains additional narratives as Leonov prepares for his spacewalk. The menacing drone in the beginning is soon joined by a spacious synth tone to add an infinite dimension. However toward the end of the track, the drones turn into malevolent sounds of evil with hints of heavy breathing in the foreground. “Walk On Home, Boy!” Is an ethereal track with the sounds of a heartbeat in the beginning. These are the climactic accents of the compelling spacewalk in the purview of open space. From buzzes to crackling noises and engine sounds, these are the only comforting subtleties for the Cosmonaut looking to make history and this track perfectly provides the setting and feeing that must have been during that anxious time. “Upper Kama Upland” contains more bizarre twists and noises with looping drones in the background. A sample of a Morse code audio capture reveals a voiceless communication between Earth and the Cosmonaut. About halfway through, wind effects are added with high-frequency drones that shift in modulation with every loop. As the wind sounds fade, cosmic keys play a melodic dirge and the track ends with a classic song sample from yesteryear. The final track on the album, “Ivanna//Malfunction” is a bass heavy track with no shortage of drones and eerie effects either. Inaudible narration samples can be heard, as if something has gone wrong and at the same time synth keys fluctuate from low to high volume and then drift back off again. This repeats through the duration of the song and finally in the end, a deep droning tone plays one final note to send the album out on an frightening ending.

‘Leonov’ is Blackweald’s most mature and adventurous effort to date. Not only did the artist pay a proper homage to the historic ventures of Russian Cosmonaut, Alexei Leonov, but the production of the colossal drones, mission control narratives and synth effects seem impeccable and pristine. If you’re a fan of deep space dark ambient with narrations and otherworldly samples, then you’ll love Blackweald’s ‘Leonov’. Please download this album by clicking on the link below and support this monumental artist.

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Links:

https://blackweald.bandcamp.com/album/leonov-2

The Unnerving Sounds Of A Decaying Season Elicit Haunting Memories On House Of The Maker’s ‘The Autumnal End’

With the inevitable change of seasons approaching every few months or so, a transition in mood and distemper is sure to follow. Usually, the changeover from spring to summer leads to a particular excitement that boasts a broad spectrum of energy and engagement with the outside world, as it represents brighter, happier times. However, as autumn progresses into winter, it brings about a different set of emotions and synergy that is far less content. As the tree leaves begin to deaden and fall at free will, the crisp sunlight gives way to gloomy skies and despondent memories. The music of House Of The Maker fulfills all of these grim moments with ‘The Autumnal End’, a seasonal dirge saturated with powerful drones and organic field recordings. At just over one hour in duration, these five dynamic tracks tell a dismal story of the perpetual cycle of life and death of the forest and it’s inhabitants and all they go through to struggle for survival.

The gradual decline begins with “A Fragile Soul Swaying In The Storm”. At just over thirteen minutes, this is a persuasive and extensive introduction to the withering elements that are plagued by change. From the soothing opening sounds of birds chirping in their natural habitat and the discordant synth tones that soon follow, its apparent that an inevitable collapse is soon at hand. Eccentric keys and the random sounds of a rainstick are just the start of desolation as haunting drones cycle through various frequencies and ranges, never finding an exact comfort. There is a horrifying presence about this track that brings about an anxious empathy, descending into a depressing lull. Toward the end, as the drones start to fade, desperate cries of a bird flying away from danger reminds us that the end is near. “A Small Frog Hopping Through A Pool Of Blood” starts with the subtle sounds of a late autumn rain shower, leaving a layer of dampness on the forest floor. The chirps and whistles of nocturnal creatures describe the darkening scenery as day turns to night. Ceaseless drones create a sense of awareness as additional sound effects illuminate the atmosphere with a tinge of unpleasant fate. About halfway through this fourteen and a half minute track, the field recordings conclude and layers of compounding drones desecrate the airwaves, sending evil vibrations through the standing water left by the evening time rainfall. The resonation of the nocturnal creatures return for the final minute of the track as the presence they feared subsided into the night, allowing them to roam free once again. “A Life All But Forgotten” continues as the last track ended, with the evening chirps of nightly critters. However the deep drones and synth effects set in early to give an incongruous effect. At nearly sixteen minutes, and the longest effort on the album, this track details the lethargic seasonal extinction of woodland life. Assorted bizarre instruments sounds are arranged to represent different aspects of the season and in between, ghostly winds and natural commotions provide the feeling of deep wood enthrallment. “A Funeral For A Friend” establishes a calming synth melody combined with ethereal drones and field recordings as if all life in the forest has finally surrendered to the change of season. As the rain field recordings increase in volume, jarring synth effects become more discordant and haunting. The final track on the album is the climactic, “The Autumnal End”. Continuing with the consoling sounds of a neverending rain storm conjoined with delicate but austere drones to form a lumbering vision of grays and blacks, the daylight never reaches its peak of brightness due to the thick layer of fog and smog. The vibrating sounds of Tibetan singing bowls resonate a season of endless dreariness before high-toned keys come into play as if to condemn the proceeding misfortunes.

Although this is not your typical run-of-the-mill dark ambient album, ‘The Autumnal End’ skillfully establishes itself as a genre highlight due to its wondrous use of field recordings, natural sounds, assorted instruments and credible back story. The drones are meticulously used and minimal use of synths and keys makes this an extremely unique recording as well. This is definitely one of my favorite dark ambient recordings of the year so far and I can’t recommend this one enough. Please click on the link below and download this amazing album – you’ll not be disappointed at all!

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Links:

https://noctilucant.bandcamp.com/album/the-autumnal-end-2

Mombi Yuleman’s Menagerie Of Soundscapes And Drones Unify As A Single, Unyielding Entity on ‘Wendigo’

Throughout history, mankind has been obsessed with folklore of the unknown, tales of the bizarre and unexplained and just about anything in between that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Although there have been many traditional mythical legends passed down through the generations, a new genesis of strange & horrific tales are told through creepypastas – short stories meant to frighten readers – as the new means of malevolent storytelling delivery. Whether this form of scare tactic is transmitted via short-story, film, television, or on the Internet, the audience is in for a quick burst of grim tales that will leave a lasting appalling sensation. However, what if another means of conveyance was through the daunting sounds of Dark Ambient music with masterful soundscapes and subdued drones? The always impressive Mombi Yuleman presents his brooding new evil anecdote, ‘Wendigo’, a masterclass in electronic music that extends four exciting drones in a disturbing adventure and sends the listener on a daring journey full of haunts and paralyzing fear.

At just over fifteen minutes in length, “Possession” quickly sets the mood with a dismal and perpetual drone that gradually builds in volume, while including haunting synth effects and ghostly modulations. Giving the listener time to imagine their own frightening scenario, faint soundscapes are introduced to solidify the effect of this nightmare. However, close to the halfway mark, discordant keys and beautiful synth tones add a sense of melody to the track, taking it in a different direction. Various animal sounds are made know, followed by strong, manipulative drum beats, as if a climactic escape is close at hand. Suddenly, it all stops except for some layered, deep drones that are completely mesmerizing until the very end. “Fear” begins with polarizing drones that are sure to emit a sense of angst and despair. Several minutes in, there is a distant but muffled hammering sound, as if someone is trying to escape from an entrapment of sorts, brought forth by a lunatic on the loose. As the hammering sound stops, strident soundscapes prevail, sending the listener deeper into their evil dreams. Suddenly, the drones become louder and more sepulchral as if the nightmarish demise is close at hand. After a few minutes of this agonizing terror, it fades out into the sound of someone hesitantly breathing, the true-tale sign of being afraid of being caught. Only accompanied by random discordant noises, this is audio terror at its maximum. “Acceptance” is the longest track on the album, clocking in at just over sixteen minutes. However, as you close your eyes and release your mind to this nefarious expedition, it doesn’t quite seem that long. However, you’ll not be the same afterwards. Lengthy drones that resemble more of a space ambient tone will have the listener feeling as if they are lost in deep space, sucked up into a black hole and whisked away into the far reaches of the universe, never to have communication or contact with other humans ever again. However, there will be others! The ominous sound effects at around the six and a half minute mark are a bleak resemblance of having contact with other life forms and as that sound continues to play out, it’s joined by low-end bass tones at around the eight and a half minute mark and simulates ACCEPTANCE of acknowledging other life forms. However, that doesn’t mean there is always peace between the species. At around the twelve and a half minute mark, the track takes a dark dive with buried drones and echoed sound effects that are extremely creepy. Thunderous bass sounds crash into the mix as if to destroy everything in its wake. What a fantastic song with a cinematic and climactic ending. The final track on this colossal album is “Feed”. Although it’s the shortest track on the album, it’s still a ten and a half minute hearty dose of disturbing Dark Ambience that will leave you in a puddle of sweat. Starting right away with a loud drone, soundscapes and field recordings, this piece wastes no time setting a frantic mood. All at once, pounding drums roll in like a violent storm and are ready to commence with all-out destruction. Although seeming random at first, they are set in a tribal like pattern and continue to grow strong and angry. Toward the end of the song, ancestral chanting joins the drums as if an ancient ceremony is about to take place. Swarms of flies buzz in all around, as if they’ve been summoned by this ceremonious ritual to finalize the devastating effects of their mission. Suddenly the flies disappear and the ritualistic music ends soon after, bringing this amazing album to a close.

This is the second Mombi Yuleman album that I’ve reviewed for my site and his music continues to astound me. The mystifying affect that I feel when listening to his albums lead my imagination to places that are unfathomable. ‘Wendigo’ is truly a magical experience and one of the most remarkable Dark Ambient albums I’ve heard in a while. I can not recommend this album enough and I also highly recommend checking out Mombi Yuleman’s impressive back catalog as well. Do yourself a favor and don’t go another day without listening to this album. Please support this amazing artist and download ‘Wendigo’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://mombiyuleman.bandcamp.com/album/wendigo

Neraterræ Once Again Collaborates With Superior Dark Ambient Composers To Conceive The Ghastly ‘Scenes From The Sublime’

Last year, Neraterræ and his team of brilliant contributors, rendered one of the most accomplished Dark Ambient recordings of the year with ‘The Substance Of Perception’. Amazed at the depth and quality of that album, I immediately began to wonder how it would be topped. Fast forward to March of 2020, and the release of sophomore effort, ‘Scenes From The Sublime’, greeted us with a particular coldness that I could not wait to dive into. Although we see the synergetic return of the great Xerxes The Dark, Neraterræ hosts a new line up of willing collaborators to inflict a certain level of bleak disruption to your normal sense of mental prowess. At a hefty seventy two minutes long, these ten painting-inspired tracks of ominous drones, apocalyptic soundscapes and eerie, yet atmospheric arrangements will provide the listener with an out-of-body experience, as if succumbing to the participation of astral projection.

The aphotic journey begins with “The Last Abjurer (feat. Phelios)” | Inspired by Zdzislaw Beksinski’s AA72. The low-end synth effects fluctuate to unreachable depths as it paves the way for translucent drones and soundscapes, creating a paralyzing storm of audible penance – the genesis of the obscurity and depth perception that will follow for the remainder of the album. “Fate Unveiled (feat. Dødsmaskin)” | Inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s Visions Of The Hearafter, opens with a thumping bass tonal sound, followed by ghastly howling winds and dim sound effects that will make your skin crawl. After a short breather that features some backward tracking samples, the heavy thumping bass sounds continue with accompanying distorted noises. “In Deafening Silence (feat. Phragments)” | Inspired by Ilja Yefimovich Repin’s Ivan The Terrible And His Son Ivan, starts with twisted synth tones then is systematically fused with an evil sounding drone, as if a sudden annihilation were about to commence. This is much like a calm-before-the-storm piece, as there are quick blasts of harsh tones in this otherwise placid offering. “Thou, Daemon (feat. vocals by Yann Hagimont from Cober Ord & George Zafiriadis from Martyria)” | Inspired by Francisco Goya’s The Exorcism, is definitely the most malevolent sounding track on the album, largely due to the fascinating guest vocal arrangements that span from soft narrations, screams & screeches, to resonating sinister chants and throat singing, that are clearly designed alter the mental purification process – whether for good or evil. The constant, profound drone allows the vocals to take center stage and complete the purging ritual process. “Passion Domain (feat. Mount Shrine)” | Inspired by Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer Above The Sea Of Fog, is the most meditative piece on the album and probably my favorite track. Beginning with hissing loops and subtle analog-sounding drones, this song has a very 80’s retro vibe to it. The perpetual drone is reminiscent of a spinning propeller of an airplane, as it’s flying high above the clouds at the crepuscule of night. Clocking in at just over ten and a half minutes, this is the longest track on the album but as you get mesmerized by its audible beauty, it somehow seems like it’s one of the shortest. “The Unfathomable Lives Again (feat. Xerxes The Dark & Cober Ord)” | Inspired by Johann Heinrich Füssli’s The Nightmare, features a surfeit of industrial influenced soundscapes, along with some creepy, inaudible whispers. Throughout this track, there is a lot of manic ideas with nefarious intentions and although this is the shortest track on the album, it’s just as nightmare inducing as the rest. I would be weary to close my eyes on this track, especially at night! “Doorway To The I (feat. Alphaxone)” | Inspired by Zdzislaw Beksinski’s AE78, is a Deep Space Ambient venture with warping synth effects and high-pitched keys that contrive a disturbing atmosphere. As if a cosmonaut were on a doomed mission, hearing abnormal sounds just before his demise, this track is providing us the same intense, discordant environment. “The Collapse Of Matter And Time” | Inspired by Salvador Dali’s The Disintegration Of The Persistence Of Memory, presents a somber atmosphere with its nominal synth tones and deathly drones. The ticking of the clock solidifies an anxious emotion as the mournful frequencies emitted may be a cause for distress. “Towards Oneiric Truths (feat. Leila Abdul-Rauf)” | Inspired by Arnold Böcklin’s Isle Of The Dead, is another enthralling piece that features clean piano chops and dreamy female vocals. Just as all of the pieces are coming together and you find yourself getting lost in the music, it all fades out into a field recording of water softly crashing on a seashore. The final track on the album, “Virtues Of The Dawn (feat. Shrine)” | Inspired by Joseph Mallord William Turner’s Light And Colour (Goethe’s Theory) • The Morning After The Deluge • Moses Writing The Book Of Genesis, is another long-form, hypnotizing track that is constructed for you to close your eye and get lost in its chaotic and alluring turbulence of creativity. Starting off soft and subtle, the intensity and melodic synth gradually increase over the next eight minutes. Although there are multiple layers of music happening here, the elegant keyboard create a certain harmony that is both dystopian-like and graceful. A perfect way to end such a miraculous album.

Neraterræ is the consummate producer of Dark Ambient music. Not only does he consistently gather top-notch musicians of the genre to collaborate on his stunning albums, but his musical vision is always running on all cylinders, allowing him to create massive audio adventures filled with emotion and mental stimulation. ‘Scenes From The Sublime’ is an exceptional musical journey that – in my opinion – surpasses the debut album. Neraterræ has upped the ante with this album and the songs are bolder, more emotive, and pull you in with ease. If you were a fan of ‘The Substance Of Perception’ the you’re going to love this one even more. Please show your support for Neraterræ and download this amazing album from the link below.

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Links:

https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/scenes-from-the-sublime

Scott Lawlor’s Conceptual Dark Ambient Thriller, ‘But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know’, Is Not Far From Becoming Reality

Space exploration has to be one of the most daunting and exhaustive tasks ever faced by humans. From working in zero gravity, claustrophobic-like conditions, astronauts face many physical and mental constraints that only a few percent of the population are privileged to encounter. Other than a couple of audio and video transmissions, astronauts are segregated from all of society and communications with friends and loved ones are atypical. ‘But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know’, is a conceptual, dark ambient odyssey about a lone astronaut finishing up his mission on an orbiting space station before heading back to Earth. However, garbled transmissions over the airwaves have indicated the rise of a global pandemic, in which the Earth’s population is suddenly succumbing to a deadly virus. Although it’s too late to turn back now, voices across the airwaves are telling the astronaut not to return to Earth. This story tells of his harrowing adventure as he returns to the unknown.

“Pandemic Unfolding” begins with space station communication transmissions accompanied by eccentric samples and effects. As this coalescence of interstellar sounds begins to fade, deep drones and various news transmissions paint a vivid picture of what’s to come. The seriousness of the situation is evident as “Departure From Space Station Omega” blasts off with more compelling drones that sound abysmal and gravely hollow. Final audio transmissions can be heard as the astronaut prepares to depart for Earth on a doomed trajectory that is not yet known. Back on Earth, the pandemic is in full eruption as “Shelter In Place” is the order given to everyone in a last ditch effort to stop the spread of the rapidly expanding virus. Containing more ominous drones and narrative samples, this track is a vivid reminder of a stark reality that is a part of real-world current events in 2020. The minimalist approach makes this seem even more disturbing than usual. The near sixteen and a half minute long “Quarantined In Space” is one of the highlights of the album as the massive drone tone sounds as if the astronaut is orbiting the Earth, waiting for that final transmission from Mission Control, verifying that it’s safe to pierce the atmosphere and navigate to the landing zone. However, that authorization doesn’t take place and the astronaut feels as if this wasted time is like being quarantined in a void. Eerie voice narrations haunt the protagonist has he anticipates his own arrival back on planet Earth. About halfway through the track, the drones change in pitch, as if circumnavigating the globe has brought the astronaut back to sun lit conditions. Peculiar sound effects add a sense of terror to this track as this doomed mission keeps getting worse. Back on Earth, panic mode has set in as “World Closing Down” sets the scene for the new normal through the globe. From teleworking, lack of supplies, social distancing, permanently closed businesses, home-schooling and a disparity of local governments, the pandemic has taken over society and has set new standards. Minimal drones with bleak yet soothing tones incite peace and calmness, but the narrative samples provoke a sense of anxiety and panic. “Approaching A Condemned World” is full of garbled transmissions and placid drones that provides a safe path for the astronaut to finally come back home – so we think. Unsure if the transmissions are giving the authorization to return to Earth, the astronaut makes a command decision – based on his low return provisions – and starts the trajectory toward home. The albums title track, “But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know” features some manic narrations with the help of a miniport speech synthesizer. In the background, a thumping bass symbolizes an erratic heartbeat as the horrors unfold before the returning astronauts eyes. The albums final track, “Empty World” combines the menacing sound of a deep space drone and the peacefulness of piano keys. Un-acknowledged upon his return from Space, the astronaut departs his spacecraft and finds a world much different from the one he left behind. The piano melody in this track symbolizes the beginning of a state of depression that he starts to feel as he soon realizes that he stands alone in completing his mission. A very dark, but excellent way to end this amazing album.

Scott Lawlor is a jack-of-all-trades musician that excels with themed ambient releases. Whether it’s light ambient, dark ambient, noise, experimental, or piano improvisations, Scott puts his imagination to work in order to release some of the best ambient music around. ‘But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know’ is no exception, as it’s one of Scott’s darkest and most ambitious releases to date. Fans of space themed dark ambient will love this album and I can not recommend this one enough. Please show your support and download this grimly amazing album from the link below – and check out Scott’s massive back catalog while your at it.

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Links:

https://scottlawlor.bandcamp.com/album/but-everybodys-gone-so-i-will-never-know