The Nebula Breviary – A Voyage Through The Black Hole With Kalamine Records

Kalamine Records has been delivering stunning releases on its Bandcamp page since 2019. The online label from Bordeaux, France specializes in Dark Ambient, Noise, Experimental music as well as a vast array of obscure genres that migrate well off the beaten path. Producing top quality material on a regular basis, it’s difficult for me to schedule these albums for a normal review as I simply don’t have the time. However, with the introduction of this column last month and the multitude of spectacular albums that Kalamine Records have put out as of late, the timing was right for me to pick ten of these albums for summary reviews. I hope you enjoy this article and please check out Kalamine Records at the links below.

1. Mono Hideout – True Lord

‘True Lord’ is a thirty three minute session of adversarial ambience that depicts a dystopian atmosphere of chaos and evil. Although these tracks are shorter than the typical Dark Ambient intonation, the urgency of soundscape buildup and dismal drones fuel a fire of angst-laden heresy that are compelling as much as they are effective at providing huge, atmospheric settings. From celestial & spirited pieces like “Harpocrates” to sinister and minimalistic drones of “The Snake Himself”, Mono Hideout has fabricated a world of dark malevolence.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/true-lord

2. Helecho Experimentar – OU.. OU.. Sintaxis

Helecho Experimentar combines ominous sound effects, samples and controlled noise on the brilliant release, ‘OU… OU… Sintaxis’. Commencing with a thirty six minute opus that forges a tumultuous passage through layers of obscure musical stanzas, this album presents a relentless impression of restrained noises and hasty modulations. Truly a unique recording, this will soon become an addictive listen as the effort to notice additional peculiarities throughout, are inevitable.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/ou-ou-sintaxis

3. Mora-Tau – The Five Sutra

Mora-Tau has quickly become one of my favorite Dark Ambient composers and his ever-growing catalog of consistently great recordings is something to be proud of. ‘The Five Sutra’ is another paradigm of esoteric compositions that slowly portrays a story of tragedy through elongated drones, repetitive synth manipulations and a deep venture into angst-filled arrangements. This collection of retrospective anthems provide almost two hours of listening pleasure, allowing the listener enough time to mediate in its thought-provoking sound.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-five-sutra

4. Eijra Woon – Leïla

‘Leïla’ is a compelling offering of Dark Ambient, drone, noise, glitch and a touch of EDM, all wrapped up in a audial adventure that is both seductive and thought provoking. Haunting samples and various spots of vocalizations complete this mesmerizing collection of sonic objects that will leave the listener in a relaxed state at times, as well as emitting bouts of angst during other times. These twelve tracks ebb and flow into various emotive states and the harrowing soundtrack that ensues, is sonically unparalleled. Upon completion of this sixty five minute opus, the listener may become paralyzed with emotional shock and drenched in sweat from sheer survival of the audial jolt that took place.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/le-la

5. HEL – Innocently Wicked

HEL incorporates a plethora of vocal manipulations to establish a baseline of obscure ambient for showcasing a provocative blend of harmonizing textures and meaningful poetry. This anomalous recording also includes a variety of field recordings and effects to round out this massively peculiar effort. Taking a cappella to extreme realms, HEL emits an uncompromising take on enigmatic, yet experimental music. Highly recommended for those that are brave enough to indulge in uncompromising reaches into evanescent realms.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/innocently-wicked

6. Christian Fiesel – Barren Land

‘Barren Land’ sounds like a dismal exploration into mystical territories during the cultivation of 70’s or 80’s progressive-influenced synthwave. Vast wastelands are brought to light with soothing orchestrations and mesmerizing drones, as tranquil modulations produce a landscape of effervescent bliss and slow-moving sequences. This one hour long track is a lot to consume, but is equally rewarding and ominous sections fuse together in a single instance, as if wandering various rooms in a mansion, searching for clues to a portentous and puzzling storyline. One thing that remains constant throughout is the vibrant drones that seem peaceful and resonant.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/barren-land

7. Philippe Simon – Amarante

‘Amarante’ is a colossal offering of minimalistic Dark Ambience that stretches beyond the imagination and pushes the boundaries of atmospheric synth music. At almost eighty minutes in length, these seven tracks produce a transient environment of electronic music that combine Berlin School, drone, space ambient and quirky effects with resilient results. As these long players unwind, a deluge of celestial textures tell a haunting story of abandonment and foreboding solitary confinement. These songs are equally soothing and enthralling to say the least and once you begin this epic journey, it’s hard to stop. Enjoy this sonic masterpiece and the reward is well worth the endurance.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/amarante

8. Wasatch Front – I Walked Up Stairs

‘I Walked Up Stairs’ showcases a fascinating blend of Dark Ambient, industrialized soundscapes and contained noise. This is not one to relax to or have on as background music. Wasatch Front demands your full attention to the oblivion contained within these five tracks to fathom a true understanding of the audial depth that they collectively offer. Each track takes a grueling approach to the intricacies of obscurity as the listener ascends a staircase into the unknown. As the music breeches the subconscious, a perilous adventure awaits. However, be forewarned; what goes up, must come down.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/i-walked-up-stairs

9. Hostile Surgery – Into A Cold Light

‘Into A Cold Night’ contains six protracted anthems that extend to almost eighty minutes of playing time. These masterful drones mirror a creativity of malevolent proportions as they represent a barrage of hostile actions that can only be portrayed in nightmares. From deafening modulations to wavering sound effects, there is a certain demise that becomes paramount when indulging in its menacing grasp. Although each of these tracks produce a unique listening experience, the results for all of them is the same- dark, brooding ambience with rugged atmospherics that will leave the listener is a gloomier state than before listening to this massive recording.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/into-a-cold-light

10. Glamourie – Imaginal Stage

‘Imaginal Stage’ may just be one of my favorite recordings from Kalamine Records. It combines dark and light ambient with a touch of acoustic folk music and even some forest synth and there is so much variation on this album, it’s hard to grasp within a few listens. However, upon multiple listens, you’ll begin to experience a decaying, yet soothing journey into assorted realms of audial reassurance. On the downloadable version of this album, each track is combined with a beautiful, mystical painting that truly represents the soundscape that affectionately makes its way through the speakers (or headphones). This is such a delightful album and I highly recommend this for those that need a peaceful, meditative source to accompany them in their life excursions.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/imaginal-stage

Website: https://KalamineRecords.com

The King Of Gregorian Mantra’s, Metatron Omega, Is Back With Another Superior Performance With ‘ISIH’

Scorpio V, the driving force behind Prometheus Studio, is back with a new album from his flagship project, Metatron Omega. One of the few acts that produces Dark Ambient music that centers around Gregorian Chants, this Warhammer 40k-themed entity magnificently fuses soothing dark choir vocalizations with minimalistic, bleak ambience, resulting in an enthralling musical experience. In what may be his most sophisticated outing yet, ‘ISIH’ is the full experience of moody, ritualistic anthems that provide a grim landscape for ancient monasteries.

Right off the bat, title track “ISIH” secures a somber atmosphere with soothing Gregorian chants and effervescent ambient tones that flow like a transparent wave of breathless energy through high mountain ranges and cold, desolate valleys. The mood turn dark, as the ambience descends into the depths of bleakness with distant chants that are more sporadic than often. However, perfectly reverberated, it emits a trance-like feeling and subdues the listener with boundless bliss. “Megalosthronos” just may be my favorite Metatron Omega track ever. Commencing with a consoling drone, a tribal-like percussive element is soon embedded, tracing back to the likes of Paleowolf – where ancient civilizations meet theatrical ambience. Once the haunting chants are fused in, it creates a level of intensity and spirit that are completely unmatched. I certainly enjoy this direction that Metatron Omega has included in its repertoire of musical genius. “Imperium Novum” bleeds minimalistic ambience and the electronic-induced vocalizations are at times terrifying and more often mind-numbing. There are sci-fi elements in the narrative inclusions, as if an alien invasion has intercepted a communication transmission from an ancient culture. The weaving chants are mesmerizing and will leave the listener wanting more. “Arhontes” begins with an enthralling wind-like nuisance with the sounds of distant howls and screams. As the droning effort intensified, so does the angst of anticipation for where this track is headed. Chants of desperation are heard in sporadic patterns and when the depth of emotion finally fades, we are left with a calming path of destruction lead by deep, guttural chants and ritualistic ambience with a repressed ferocity and celestial intent. “Vyachnost” is another spectacular track that offers a rhythmic, drum track and the solar sounds continuously build throughout. Industrialized soundscapes and peculiar effects reflect a futuristic energy that is humbly met with ancient chants and warm synth patterns. There is a break toward the end where it morphs into a deep space ambient piece before returning to true Metatron Omega fashion. Vocalizations echo the synth modulations and are barely audible. However, it creates a type of discordance that is completely tranquillizing. “Blagoslovenie” is a return to form that can be heard on the likes of ‘Illuminatio’. The Gregorian chants are prevalent throughout and provide an immense ride into dark, enchanted territories. The deep drones are alarming at times and the moments of near silence – in particular – can be frightening. However, about halfway through, drums begin to fill the air with substantial cadence and synthwave elements are also introduced, as this song begins to take shape like the soundtrack for a Medieval battle. The final track on this monstrous album is “L.U.X.”. Commencing with looping chants and reverberated effects, this track isn’t as desolate as those that preceded it. The ringing of the church bells signifies the coming to an end of a ceremonial event, while the rest of the track continues to press forward with heroic expression. As the end nears, an incessant drone continues the pace as the all-to-familiar chants become softer and more distant.

Positioned in my Top 5 favorite Dark Ambient artist list, Metatron Omega continues to produce impressive albums that remain in line with its own ritualistic thematic expression, while supremely adding new elements and surprises that expand the boundaries of listening intent. ‘ISIH’ is no exception, as it’s probably Metatron Omega’s most expressive album to date. Including dark and light ambient elements and fusing percussion is a welcomed experience and I hope more of this type will be released in the future. If you can’t get enough Metatron Omega, make sure to also check out some of the other side projects in this same vein. Monasterium Imperi has everything you know and love about Metatron Omega but is less cinematic, while offering a deeper dive into the Warhammer 40k sound. Then there is Eshaton, which is an extremely raw and abrasive version that is gritty and relentless and at times has a Dungeon Synth vibe. At any rate, it’s easy to get lost in the realm of Metatron Omega and ‘ISIH’ is a magnificent album that truly represents this artist and craft. Click on the link below to download this album and enjoy the journey that it holds.

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

Links:

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/isih

https://prometheusstudio.bandcamp.com

Eyre Transmissions XIX: Multi-Instrumentalist Baerdcyn, Invites Us To His Dungeon

These days, there are all forms and styles of Dungeon Synth. There is certainly a variance that aims to please not only the seasoned Dungeon Synth fan, but also for those that are curious if this genre is the right fit for them. One artists that has taken a different approach to curating a unique brand of Dungeon Synth is Baerdcyn. A fantastic multi-instrumentalist, Baerdcyn intertwines a plethora of soulful sounds and consoling ambience to create Acoustic Dungeon Synth. With a handful of beautifully textured albums, Baerdcyn invites us into his world to discuss his particular brand of music, his instruments and well, all things Baerdcyn.

1. I really appreciate you taking the time for this interview. How has 2022 been for you so far?

Not too bad! Busy with work and life, but that’s never a bad thing.

2. When did you get the idea for the Baerdcyn project and what were some of the objectives you sought to achieve musically?

Baerdcyn started in late fall of 2020 when my friends pushed me to play Dark Souls for the 1st time. I have always had the idea of making “Acoustic Dungeon Synth” before having owned a lute and some recorders at the time from my love of historical renaissance classical music. I never brought the idea to fruition however until I heard the menu theme and the “Firelink Shrine” theme from the 1st Dark Souls. When I 1st heard these tracks, they brought to me a feeling of orchestral Dungeon Synth. I promptly made a cover of the “Firelink Shrine” theme (Which has yet to see the main light of day) and from that recording process is what led to the ideas behind my debut.

3. What’s the meaning behind the name Baerdcyn?

So the name’s meaning itself was a complete accident. And for the record for all you reading, the pronunciation is (Bard-Koon) the “ae” is supposed to be an “æ” but alas I didn’t know how to get it to work on my phone at the time. The “y” in Old English is pronounced kind of like a cross between “ew” (in “ew that’s gross”) and “oo” (in “Racoon”). Back to the meaning of the name, I originally just made it because it sounded cool, but in the long run, you could take the modern english “Bard” and the Old English “Cyn” , meaning kin or offspring, to make a meaning of “The Bard’s Kin” or a little more interpretively, “The Son of a Bard”

4. You play a variety of instruments on your albums and you seem to excel at them all. Are you self-taught or do you have any formal training?

I am self taught on all my bardic instruments. I play a few more non-bardic instruments, but the only I play that I was professionally taught was saxophone.

5. Can you give us a run down on some of the instruments that you play?

In terms of the Bardic stuff, I can play the Lute, Lyre, Classical Guitar (along with steel string and 12 string steel string guitars), Celtic Harp, Mandolin, Bowed Psaltery, Hammered Dulcimer, Hurdy Gurdy (which I don’t believe is on a recorded release…yet), Irish Penny Whistle, Bass Recorder, Soprano Recorder, Kalimba, and Tongue Drum. As for the non-bardic instruments, I play Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Baritone Saxophones, Banjo (ragtime jazz), fretless banjo (old time folk), Bass Guitar, -very minimal- Electric Guitar and classical organ.

6. Does being professionally trained in the saxophone make it easier for understanding and playing other instruments?

I find that it makes the wind instruments I play a lot easier as it boils down to being a saxophone with less keys on it, in a simple sense.

7. What’s the backstory on your love for the saxophone? Can you read sheet music as well? If so, do you make tabs of your own music?

When I was in 5th grade, so about 11 years ago, I ended up signing up for school band and playing saxophone. As for the sheet music, I do read sheet music, but I do not make sheet music for Baerdcyn. My recording process is very improvisational, so transcribing the pieces to sheet music would make an extra step that I don’t really feel like doing.

8. Thematically and musically, you fit right in with the Dungeon Synth community. However, would you classify it as anything else

I have always believed I have sat in the realm of Dungeon Synth. Since day one, I have called myself “Acoustic Dungeon Synth” or “Dungeon Synth Unplugged”

9. Take us back to ‘The Cave Of Time’. What was the concept behind this album and was this your first recording experience or were you involved with anything prior?

So this was my 1st official recording experience. I did however have a very short lived run of a dungeon synth -with acoustic instruments too- audio drama called “The Tale of Bjorngar” which exists in it’s unfinished state on my bandcamp. The theme came from when I recorded the cover of “Firelink Shrine”. I had realized that the reverb patch I had made, when picking up myself wetting my lips, sounded like drops of water in a cave. Thus the cave theme was born.

https://baerdcyn.bandcamp.com/album/the-cave-of-time

10. In the Bandcamp notes for ‘Heritage Of The Bay’, you dedicated the album to your Grandfather. Was he a big supporter of your musical endeavors or did he have a major influence in your life?

He has and still does in both. My Grandfather is one of the leading causes of my love for nature. Living in the coastal salt swamps of southern New Jersey, we often would, and still do, go to the bay or the meadows. As a child we would spend hours just cleaning up trash and tidying up and then followed it up with a walk through the area looking for “treasures” anything from clamshells to oyster shells, long decomposed crab shells to cool rocks, driftwood to barnacle encrusted goods. You name it, I loved it. He is a major influence on my life, and keeps me going to this day. He also always gets an artist copy of my tapes when I have one to spare. You’ll most likely read this Pop, so thanks. Thanks for everything and all that you do.

https://baerdcyn.bandcamp.com/album/heritage-of-the-bay

11. ‘Fantasy February’ was a unique album, in that it contained short snippets of music. We’re these ideas that were never transformed into longer tracks or were these short pieces intentional.

So Fantasy February originally started as a drawing prompt challenge. I then added the idea of making a song for each picture I drew and thus the idea was made. The minute-per-song run time was due to the fact that my main platform of interaction being instagram didn’t allow videos longer than a minute at the time.

https://baerdcyn.bandcamp.com/album/fantasy-february

12. Speaking of snippets, you post a lot of videos on Instagram that showcases your amazing talent. Are these videos improvised?

All of the little snippets on my Instagram are improvised, yes. Being trained in Saxophone I took a deep interest in funk and jazz improv with that, and it has carried over into my newest field of music.

13. I really loved the concept of ‘Meditations Of Forests Old’. Have you considered creating a video for the main track?

I have! The release was originally to be recorded field recording style in my local trail, and then a video of a walk through was to be made to accompany it. It never came to be, but I still have the hopes of going back and doing such a thing.

https://baerdcyn.bandcamp.com/album/meditations-of-forests-old

14. On one of your latest releases, ‘The White Oak’, I sense some extreme somberness with these tracks. We’re these written to embellish a particular mood or experience?

Nope. I just have a knack for that somber feel, so I roll with it.

https://baerdcyn.bandcamp.com/album/the-white-oak

15. Your album covers are a mix of photos and drawings/sketches. Do you do all of the artwork yourself? If so, is there a story behind the development of the various characters?

I do all the art and photography myself. The Characters on the cover of my debut was just a wizard I drew, but I -might- have plans to embellish on him in the future, and the character on the inside of the J-Card from my split with Elminster is one of my friends DnD characters. Besides that not much thought goes behind the characters.

16. Speaking of your split will Elminster, that recording was amazing! Do you have any plans for future collaborations?

Not that I know of, no.

17. Do you have a goal in mind for the amount of releases you produce each year or do you release albums once you’ve completed a concept or theme and then move on to the next?

I release as I finish. Most of my themed releases start coming to mind about halfway through the previous release, but I like to release things as soon as it’s done. I absolutely hate sitting on things longer than I have to.

18. I really appreciate this interview opportunity and I’m truly a fan of your art! Any closing comments for those that may be reading this?

Thanks for having me here and thank you all that support. It means the world to me that I can bond with so many people so far away over our love for nerd music. It truly baffles me how wonderful of a community we have, and I love you all. Thank you all for everything you’ve done. Keep trekking through that dungeon, we are all gonna make it. One day or another.

Links:

BC: https://baerdcyn.bandcamp.com

YouTube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCnrgbbkxDrBfsukpzw2XJBg

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

Conducive Produces An Immense Image Of Controlled Turbulence On ‘Global Makeshift Wounds’

Like all other genres of music, Dark Ambient comes in all shapes and sizes (figuratively speaking). A variety of sub-genres keeps this obscure pallet of music interesting and unique – to say the least. One of my favorite offsprings of Dark Ambient, is Drone. I know what you’re thinking; isn’t Drone and Dark Ambient the same? Should it be in a separate category all together? In my opinion, yes, it should be separate because there are subtleties and intricate nuances that render them differently. Drone is more experimental, minimalistic and sometimes, hard to tolerate (by those that aren’t quite familiar with this style of music). However, there is beauty amongst the controlled chaos of Drone music and it’s contents are entirely open for interpretation. As for me, I love listening to Drone music while working, reading and when I need something in the background to help me concentrate. One up and coming artist that has caught my attention is Conducive, and with their debut album, Global Makeshift Wounds, out now on Veinte 33 Records, I’m happy to report that is some of the most trance-inducing Drone music I’ve heard in a while.

This forty minute turbulent broadcast is cleft into two parts. Separately, they stand on their own as narrative transmissions that detail a dark, scenic reality that plays into the senses and provides the essence of real-world chaos. However, together, they fuse a building chronological that portrays a dismal landscape of time, brutal machinery and the inconspicuous element that spews “we are not in control.” On the surface, “Global Makeshift Wounds #1” begins with the every day sounds of a hurried life, perpetuating that we have a certain control of our destiny. However, underneath, esoteric droning commences, setting into motion a controlled, chaotic modulation of tempestuous energy of impending doom. As the volume of this monstrous effort escalates above the existence of all other natural sounds, a peculiar comfort begins to exist, taking over the listeners ability to grasp the humbleness of existence. As we continue to sink into this eclectic drone, small subtleties begin to emit imperfections with the machinery, causing angst and misguided nervousness. There is nothing that can be done, other than to give in to the systematic noise and become one with the grueling soundscapes. Just as you begin to get use to this setup, we get a semi-abrupt ending, providing a well deserved break from the pandemonium. It’s mind-blowing how this didn’t feel like twenty minutes at all. “Global Makeshift Wound #2” commences with audial samples of people moving about as if it’s part of their daily routine. Like there is no care in the world or fears of what’s to come, the calming pattern of their ordinary commotion is soon to be preempted by another dose of overworked machinery that has been put through the rigors of systematic stress and pressed beyond their capabilities with no regard for its malevolent impact of failure. By the five minute mark of this track, the exhaustive industrialism materializes in full spectrum, drowning out the majority of the quotidian annoyances. There is a magnificent power that is portrayed by these layers of drones that contributes to the overall mesmerizing output of this track, achieving a substantial audial radiance in the process. At around the eleven minute mark, a tranquillizing dose of white noises are mixed in and duplicated about a minute later, producing a menacing buzz that can be a bit terrifying for those that are not use to this kind of ambient projection. At around fifteen minutes in, all hell begins to break loose, as the machines struggle to maintain form, creating a disruptive audial flow In frequency and initiating an reprehensible cacophony of destruction. At the end of the track, the machinery gives in its catastrophic demise, diminishing all sound abruptly.

This year is shaping up to the the breakout year for Drone music. As one of the more minimalistic elements of the Dark Ambient community, Drone music is on the rise and more releases of this kind are piquing my interest more than ever. Conducive is an amazing artist that can now be added to that list and ‘Global Makeshift Wounds’ is bound to make an impact. For a debut release, this album covers a lot of ground, in particular with the audial arrangements and the exceptional production. I highly recommend checking out this album and you can support the artist by downloading it from the link below.

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

Links:

https://veinte33records.bandcamp.com/album/global-makeshift-wounds

https://conducivemusic.bandcamp.com/releases

Nachtjäger Fortifies The Aphotic Path For ‘The Eternal Traveler’

It’s a tranquil Sunday afternoon and I’ve decided to take a little time to catch up on some reading, as well as to focus on my next Dungeon Synth review. Since I love to listen to music while I read, I put on ‘The Eternal Traveler’ by Nachtjäger. It was the perfect arrangement, as the somber vibes emitted from this album played in to the harrowing novel that I was reading. This near seventy minute opus consists of eleven tracks that range in a myriad of synth varieties, albeit remaining steadfast in the realm of Dungeon Synth. The result is an amazing adventure through bleak – but alluring – domains, with minimalistic modulations and calming synth leads.

“My Watchtower In The Darkness” commences with a darkened intonation that would be fitting for a Medieval crusade. Slightly grim, yet composed in a way that exudes strife and victory. With a dirge-like cadence, this is such an emotional song to kick things off. “Crystalline Caverns” is one of my favorite songs on the album with its eerie vibe and haunting ambience that is detailed throughout. Limpid synth leads establishes a transparent connection with the layers of bleak atmospherics, causing a ritualistic effect. “Traveling On Spectral Vessels” once again changes the vibe of the album, giving off a lighthearted appeal that is enough to sooth a savage beast. Well written, there is a plethora of melodic parts and they are woven together seamlessly in an orchestral fashion. “Woodland Sanctuary” is a chilling abode with minimalistic drones and sparse synth leads. However, this approach is extremely effective, especially with creating an emotional sound of theatrical proportions. “Insights Born From Ashes” again alters the audial course and gives forth a Renaissance-era anthem with gothic undertones and slightly reverberated keys. “Lost Scripts Of Old” is an enticing piece that includes a psychedelic vibe and clean synth leads that are reminiscent of the Comfy Synth sub-genre. There are several layers of keys that create a delicate harmony and the outcome is quite mesmerizing. “Ancestral Homelands” takes us back to a darker sound, almost emitting a Black Metal-style song introduction. However, whimsical effects elicit a funereal vibe and concludes with a buildup of synth leads that has a massive sound. “Winds Tell Of A Dying Age” is constructed like a saddened symphony, with a reluctant pace and a passionate arrangement that is redolent of somber times and post-war struggles. Without a doubt, this is the most elegant track on the album and another of my personal favorites. “Astral Signs In The Northsky” is a besieging song that combines many elements of ambient music and Dungeon Synth variants. The slow climb and descent of the musical scale is fused with eccentric synth effects, producing a slightly lurid sound that ends rather abruptly. “Heralds Of The New Dawn” is a dreamy little dirge with retrospective effects and a heartfelt arrangement that combines rhythmic tones and atmospheric expression. The final track on the album is a majestic masterpiece. “Transcendental Relics” is a twenty three and a half minute long treasure that integrates soothing ambience and elongated synth tones is an epic symphonic composition. There are bits of synthwave, orchestral arrangements, and obscure melodies throughout that definitely keep this long player interesting and most of all, relevant to the theme of the rest of the album. With a substantial amount of reverb, this song sounds really thick and quixotic, demanding multiple listens with it’s addictive appeal. This is my favorite song on ‘The Eternal Traveller’ and such a beautiful way to finalize this exhilarating album.

Nachtjäger has successfully produced an amazing Dungeon Synth experience with ‘The Eternal Traveller’. With tracks that transfer the lister to majestic dimensions of castles, Medieval setting and mystical elegance, this album is a spectacle of synth amazement that resists genre tags and symbolizes musical growth in the community. If you’ve not heard this album, I highly recommend checking it out and please support the artist by downloading it from the link below.

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

Links:

https://nachtjaeger.bandcamp.com/album/the-eternal-traveler

Landsraad Impresses With Another Dune-Themed Juggernaut In ‘Fate; The Inevitability Thereof’

Last year was a tremendous year for the Dungeon Synth community. We saw a plethora of albums being released by a lot of our seasoned favorites, cassette releases all over the place, and a ton of new artists making their way on the scene with various intonations of the genre and gaining a stronghold of fans that typically remain loyal to the music and fascination that it brings. One of those new artists, Landsraad, was a standout in my book with the mesmerizing album ‘The Golden Path’. Paying homage to the Dune series, that album could have easily been an unreleased soundtrack to the classic movie of the same name. The album was also in my “Top 10” list for Dungeon Synth albums of 2021. Fast forward to August of this year, and we are greeted with the sophomore follow-up album, ‘Fate; The Inevitability Thereof’ and another trip back into the Dune universe. How does this album stack up to the debut? Let’s take a deeper dive into each track to find out.

From the opening progression of “A Secret Meeting//Edrics Precience”, the fantasy-based synth harmonies present a range of otherworldly emotions and melodies. Berlin School styled sequences places the listener directly in the middle of the Dune Universe, in the presence of a sandstorm of influential characters and fascinating plight. This is a beautiful album opener that respects the thematics of classic storytelling and fictional magnificence. “Face Dancer” immediately opens up with a bold modulated synth sound and an array of leads that build off each other, but always seem to be in unison in this heralded composition. “A Body In The Sand” is a light-hearted track that flows like a brisk breeze over vast mounds of endless sand, while the heat radiates off of its bright surface, producing hints of valuable spice. As if moving in slow motion, the droning nature of this track will leave one breathless and wanting more. “The Lion Throne//Walking The Path” brings a musical shift toward darker, somber tones and audacious radiance. Bringing back a classic, synthwave sound that will resonate with fans of 80’s electronica, the rhythmic succession of tone in this track leads to bleak adventures in euphony as imaginative excursions play out in the subconscious. The melodic journey really picks up with “Hayt”. The opening harmony is memorable and would last a lifetime (if I had my way). As one of my favorite songs on this album, it truly transcends categorization and could easily be included in a motion picture soundtrack. The sequential intonations casually ascend into a world of honor and dignity. “Stoneburner” continues on with the same emotive spirit of the previous track and the monumental music it contains creates an imposing force of majestic synth wizardry. This is another treasured track that is sure to gain multiple listens from fans of electronic music in general. Truly a masterclass in exquisite synth compositions. “Scytale (feat. Thanaphos)” returns to the buoyant sounds of the first several tracks, with dreamy passages and warm droning ambience in the background. This is an enlightening foray into more peaceful times and the arrangements are just a bundle of ear candy, full of tonal flavors that can’t be resisted. “Abomination Pt. 2” is a ballad of sorts, with minimal use of Berlin School sequences and deep pounding synth pads that thicken the sounds of this semi-upbeat performance. It’s as if a daunting trip to find a land of paradise, finally played out in the favor of the songs protagonist, proving the journey was worth the battle to get there. “All Things Yet To Be Said” is another noteworthy achievement that includes crisp, Berlin School patterns, wavy celestial drones and resolute synth leads that describe a drama unfolding with only the use of alluring arrangements. “Bijaz//Oracle” is an introspective offering that features an ornate harmony arrangement that is kind of hidden behind a wall of reverberated chaos. However, if you listen closely, you’ll be able to find a soothing culture of tones that are simply amazing. The albums final song, “A Path Broken//Walking Into Dune” is a breathtaking display of conclusive audial proponents that combine the efforts of the previous songs into an awe-inspiring summation. Multiple layers of haunting melody calmly collide with synth leads that extend beyond the reaches of space, yet gather all of the sounds into a cluster of tonal perfection. This track is such a a wonderful outro to this chapter of Landsraad’s Dune Universe and leave plenty of room for more innovative synth compositions to come in the future.

Landsraad is such an amazing project and it’s hard to categorize the true genre of the music contained within the highly impressive (but small) catalog of album. Of course there is a traditional Dungeon Synth influence but Landsraad also incorporates classic synthwave, Berlin School, soaring harmonies, and an amazing theme to produce a signature sound that can’t be denied. ‘Fate; The Inevitability Thereof’ is a thoroughbred recording of the highest caliber and just may end up on my year end Top 10 list. I highly recommend checking this album out as it has so much variety to offer. Also, the songwriting is out of this world and will surely peak the interest of those that love a good science fiction themed musical outing.

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Links:

https://landsraad.bandcamp.com/album/fate-the-inevitability-thereof

Caldon Glover Delivers A Ritualistic Incantation of Celestial Malevolence On ‘Death Mycelium’

Earlier this year, I reviewed an amazing album by Monstruwacan. It’s based on the sorrowful concept of grief and poverty and project mastermind, Caldon Glover excelled at creating a dismal state that listeners can dwell in and become at one with the music and theme. I wouldn’t necessarily call that album a side project, but it’s one that relates with the horrors of mankind and societal shortcomings. As for his main Dark Ambient project, Caldon Glover plunges into the very heart of mayhem and polarizing destruction with the harsh sounds of Indistrialized ambience and deep tonal modulations that produce a sinister atmosphere of gruesome discovery. On his latest album, ‘Death Mycelium’, he presents 5 tracks of violent commotion that weighs much more on the psyche than it does toward physical bloodshed. At almost an hour long, these songs send a pulverizing image of darkness and disturbing images by way of horrific drones and soundscapes. Let’s dive deeper into each of these tracks.

The ill-lighted album opener, “Gateway To The Fiber Network Deadworld”, begins with an isolated drone that sounds as if it’s drowning in frequency abandonment. Simplistic but relevant effects depict a scenery of obscure visuals and a dismal populace. As the mind starts to wander with a slow walk through destructive landscapes and architectural structures, soundscapes begin to build, increasingly becoming the dominate force in this song. Sounds of ghostly shrills begin to terrorize while hollow modulations multiple with a brutal sense of depth. It’s as if the clash between tangible disasters and deep space came to an infinite conclusion. “Sunk Into Thin Spaces” commences with several frightening tones, equaling that of the terrorizing music that plays in unison with a killing scene in a horror movie. Although a bit more minimalistic than the first track, it’s just as effective in creating a void that listeners can describe as they are falling endlessly into an abysmal pit. This song sounds like a nightmarish space disaster that has taken place far out of recollection of other beings. “Endless Worm” continues with the grimness but in a less chaotic way. Minimalist sound shift from hollow oscillations to desolate bitterness that seems perpetual. As this twelve minute song continues, deeper instances of continual drones push the boundaries of insanity. Although there is not much going on with regards to effects and soundscapes, there is something deeply disturbing with a track of this nature. Definitely one of my favorite songs on the album. Next up is “Broadcasting Calls Through Strange Winds”. The celestial launch of this intonation is like an unnatural velocity of force that is set to destroy all in its path. The deep bellows of synth pads create a reverberated sound much akin to our thoughts of what the frigid corners of the universe must sound like. At thirteen and a half minutes long, this is the second longest track on the album and is a tour de force of cosmic vacuums and the doomed pandemonium that is kept hidden within. The last four minutes is what nightmares are made out of, as if an unseeable force is pinning you down against your will and infiltrating your mind with terror and dread. The final – and longest – track on the album is, “Let Yourself Away From This Place.” At fourteen and a half minutes long, there is no denying that the bleak adventure that lay ahead will be lethargic and unbearable. Dreamy drones paint a picture of boundless turmoil and apathetic occurrences. The occasional use of percussion is a welcomed sound as it blends with the texture of the dreary soundscapes and ceaseless moments of tonal dissonance. Interestingly, the final few minutes depict a spot of hope, as warm drones enter the picture, shining a hint of light on the distant horizon. What a spectacular way to approach the final moments of this stunning album.

Caldon Glover has provided us with an array of Dark Ambient albums since 2018 and ‘Death Mycelium’ just may be his most challenging (and rewarding) album to date. There are no over-the-top cinematic tricks or indulgences, just bleak, atmospherics that takes the listener beyond imaginative realms. If you’re a fan of sinister and minimalistic Dark Ambient music, look no further than Caldon Glover. Click on the link below to download this amazing album, and check out the remainder of his discography while you’re there.

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Links:

https://caldonglover.bandcamp.com/album/death-mycelium

Eyre Transmissions XVIII: Interview With Reticent Dark Ambient Producer, Infinexhuma

Infinexhuma is one of Dark Ambients most spectral artists. Producing a variant that captures the true essence of Dark Ambient music, while always coming up with ideas that catapult his brand of bleak atmospherics beyond comprehensible realms. Each release presents a diverse blend of haunting drones and soundscapes while fusing in intricate nuances that entertain the listeners pallet for extended moments in time. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the audial administrator of noise terror that IS Infinexhuma. He give us the low down on the projects beginnings, influences, and what all’s to come. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did putting it together.

1. Thanks for taking the time for this interview! One thing that I’ve been wanting to know is, what does the name Infinexhuma mean and how did you come up with it for your project?

Infinexhuma refers to Infinite Exhumation, a process widely experienced by many inhabitants of this earth, a process that breeds monotony and lack of will. Around the time of the initial host death, a doorway in limbo was opened via this concept, more so a realization that this process must be broken, emphasized by the trapping within a limbo state being the most accurate example of the horrors of unbroken monotony, the journey is, was, will be the beaking. The sounds are only evidence and passive teachings channeled through this host, It is and is not music, it is and is not metaphorical, it is and is not real.

2. How did you get into Dark Ambient music and what was the influence that made you decide to start your own project?

I recall approximately 10 years ago, at the time operating a different and now defunct music project, short naps were taken during studio work. During these naps I would listen to some more subdued black metal or perhaps just throw on a horror film for the score. Later I discovered a website called darkambient.de I believe it was called, that became the go-to for the naps after that. Later of course there were multiple stages to the evolution from lightly experimenting to heavy listening to diving into field recording to eventually releasing a first album to discovering scenes etc. Learning the composition structure of such music was a long process as well, as it was new to me, not in terms of listening, but in terms of production. The energy for Infinexhuma grew while the old project died, some influences include (yes some are by the same person); Inade, Lustmord, Ark Tau Eos, S.P.K., Archon Satani, Atrium Carceri, Sjellos, Noctilucant, NERATERRÆ, Tangerine Dream, TG, Altus, Gustaf Hildebrand, John Carpenter, Deathpile, ProtoU, Sabled Sun, film scores, Yen Pox, Terra Sancta, Apocryphos, tomandandy, Enmarta, Council of Nine, A Murder of Angels, Halgrath, Alphaxone, Svartsinn, Kolhoosi 13, Dark Matter, Crawl Unit, Subklinik, Kammarheit, Keosz, Blood Box, Trepaneringsritualen, Apoptose, Beyond Sensory Experience, Raison D’être, Visions, Vestigial, Phonothek, Monocube, Phragments, Therradaemon, Nordvargr, Brighter Death Now, MZ 412, The Human Voice, Paleowolf, Ramleh, Opeth, Ulver, Enmarta, ALLSEITS, Northaunt, Hilyard, Sephiroth, Desiderii Marginis, Phurpa, Northumbria, Psychomanteum, Gnawed, and likely more. Many obscure projects have been discovered over the years, ones that would evade the objective (and often disliked by elders) classification of dark ambient. The tiers and styles and authenticity within this obscure genre could be elaborated on as my perspective and knowledge on it continues to grow and be enhanced, however this would lengthen the interview to perhaps an unhealthy limit. I later began to hit the starting point of a full circle and felt comfortable drawing influences from unrelated genres I knew more pre Infinexhuma, mostly energetically and not so much in terms of the speed and rhythms.

3. The debut album from Infinexhuma, ‘Crossing’ is a well crafted experience that easily rivals albums from more seasoned artists. How much effort and production experience went into delivering this album?

Well, in fact the real first work was Chaotic Depth, the low volume 2016 unmastered version that is, which itself took approximately three to four years of work, not much of an impact, but I believe the process of “peaking” can be reversed for some artists, some achieve the proper transmission of their message with a first production, others take several to weed out what is not to be said, Brian Williams actually said this in an interview, quite refreshing. Anyways, Crossing, the crossing state, a collection of earth captures from what we call the Pacific Northwest. Crossing took several years as well, however a period of sharp acceleration was implemented towards the end. Much of this work was guided by intricate harmonics within the field recs, which gave a solid and consistent base for workflow, and that avoided any creative blockages. This was the true state of transition between this and that world, the energy was aided by a concept I often discuss, is your visual and physical perception of music based on environment, for example Snowy Court, was an actual Snowy Court, a Japanese garden in a strong snowing winter season, aside from the of course the sounds of subtle snowfall, the energy that was there during the recording process, remains (to me) on that recording and follows all the way to the studio, providing an energy base for the track, and I believe this cannot be recreated, despite the sounds being identical, it will lack the energy. This work was mastered by the great Robert Rich.

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

4. “Broken River” is my favorite track on that album, as it uniquely combines field recordings, drone, haunting textures and a sense of melody. What was the story behind that particular track?

As The Snowy Court, it was in fact a broken river, the first portion of rocks shuffling was traveling to the water, traveling within the break of the river, guided by subtle harmonics, messages beyond the mind. The whole album could have been better in terms of technical production as now I am vastly more advanced in this regard, but for the sake of giving credit where it is due, the “speaking” was natural, clear and very simple.

5. Do you document your own field recordings or sample from other sources?

I use 99.99% original field recordings, samples are seldom used, and if they are, their obscurity would prevent anyone from ever acquiring knowledge of the original source.

6. In 2019, you teamed up with Neraterræ for a remastering of ‘Chaotic Depth’? I can definitely hear his influence on the album but how did this exquisite teaming come about?

In fact, it was more of a gift from fellow creator NERATERRAE, I believe I had given some unused pieces of music and in exchange for this he presented to me a mastered version of this album, alongside I believe a track for a dark ambient compilation. He was featured on his personal favorite of the album, overall it was quite a pleasure to listen to and motivated me to execute a full digital release. Again, none of it thus far is what needs to be said, I could destroy all Infinxhuma material tomorrow and it would not matter, I am attached to nothing, especially material of the past that is now deemed inferior, and in my personal opinion not so good anyway.

https://infinexhuma.bandcamp.com/album/chaotic-depth-neraterr-remaster

7. On 2020’s ‘Arcade’ release, it seems like you went for a more minimalistic, retrospective sound. The results were simply amazing, in my opinion, but what were your expectations with this release?

Very true to the Infinexhuma path, yet in a realm above many of the human compulsions and matters, hence its more neutral and overseeing vibe. This release was expected to sound good, the sound was a heavy focus of this work, the depth and intricacies within the drones were (and are) one of the most fascinating things within music to me. Many planes were explored on this, a perhaps more space oriented cousin to Crossing.

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

8. There are a variety of instruments used/heard throughout this release. What all do you play on this album – and other albums for that matter?

Arcade had some synth layers as I had not yet adopted the principle of operating on samples only, however likely some guitar, for sure some throat singing on a specific track, but as well likely many many field recordings and their most prominent harmonics brought to the frontlines.

9. Speaking of gear, can you walk us through your studio setup?

Which one? Ha, well

1) DAW/post production, I have an ASUS laptop with decent power, a large casio used as a midi controller and practice at times, Yamaha Hs8 monitors, a few focusrite interfaces, A tape dubber/player, a novation (mini) pad with midi pots, a large bass amp, a condenser mic with multiple filters, a digital reverb unit, two guitars, a V-Drum kit, some brass and wood instruments

2) Practice/Live Prep, of course many of the mentioned and those I will mention can and are often moved in between rooms, but fundamentally I have a Eurorack box, forgetting how many hp total, three Yamaha mg102 mixers (the old school ones without usb and digital effects and crap), many effects and generator pedals, passive ¼ mixer, a few dynamic microphones, a marantz 201, a Roland SP-404 SX multiple (actual) drum pieces, a large collection of carefully selected windchimes, more wood instruments, bells, singing bowls, a Behringer Neutron synth and one more mackie mix8 (not the sturdy VLZ construction). Of course a soldering station for minor repairs and eurorack builds, contact microphones.

3) Mobile, I often use the mackie mixer when recording in tunnels or bunkers (if accessible enough to bring power as well. In my car I have constantly my Sony PCM D-100 for intricate and high quality (safe terrain as I’ve killed a few) field recs, a Zoom H-1 for more rugged and rough locations, quick on the fly recs, and as well to be used in conjunction with the Roland CS-10EM (recommended to me by Gnawed) binaural earphones/microphones for unorthodox binaural recs as I use them in reverse, thus far at least. Next, I carry a Zoom H3-VR for not the most accurate or heavy duty ambisonic work, but interesting nonetheless after decoding, A gopro with a special discontinued Sennheiser MKE-2 underwater microphone and another deeper diving somewhat shabby hydrophone for some cool underwater stuff. A tablet for on the fly Hexen Modular patches, to be used with a smaller JBL cylindrical sound bar, as well a larger JBL ONE portable rechargeable “PA” speaker.

10. Back to the music, on last year’s amazing release, ‘Frontier’, you have a variety of guest musicians that provide some captivating input for several tracks. Did you have a particular sound or theme in mind when working with these talents?

Perhaps only for the Blood Box collaboration, I have always had a very special appreciation for Blood Box and much admiration for their smooth execution of the dark and light mixture throughout their work. This was what I was seeking on our collaboration. Minimalism was sought out for the CEKE collab, and energy for the NERATERRAE one, all I believe were excellent works.

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

11. I have to ask you about “In The End”. It’s so different from everything else that you’ve released, yet sounds as if it fits right in with the theme of the album. Is this a direction you may be interested in going in with this project or perhaps under another name?

I have huge respect for those that are dedicated and naturally immobile on a specific stylistic path, however as the journey continues, I become more aware of how this is difficult, and not needed for me. They are all artifacts, just sent through a host, a messenger that will one day go back to dust, some artifacts will be slow and brooding, some will be destructive, some will be energetic and within rhythmic structure. There will be more.

12. On your YouTube channel, you have a lot of live performance videos uploaded. This is something that’s not quite common in the Dark Ambient community (yet). How is it pulling off a Dark Ambient show while keeping it creative?

Many live works tend to stray from typical dark ambient, but at times have been very true to the exact style. Live is a heavy opener of creative doors, a heavy generator of energy, a powerful opportunity to give further insight into the Infinexhuma path, however there are often limitations, obstacles and at times failures that are not present in a studio setting. Embracing the failures and the death of expectations allows energy to be recycled and properly reutilized for exploration.

13. How often do you play live and do you have any plans to venture out on a larger scale for performing live?

Live services are conducted perhaps ten times or so a year, there have been some large scale events however there will be more, international service is within the scope as well.

14. We’re mid-way through 2022 and haven’t experienced new Infinexhuma material yet. Do you have something planned and what would be the direction of the material?

It has been some years now, and much work has been discarded, and much more will be created and burned, until the exact energy beam is captured. Artifacts are being prepared, yet completion is far and the time of unveiling is undetermined at this point.

15. As far as large scale collaborations, do you see any releases of this kind in the future? If so, who are some artists that you’d be interested in collaborating with?

There will be more co-operations along the journey and path, yet at this time I cannot elaborate on any who will contribute to the exploration. I will state that there are considerations, and some that may leap to genre crossing branches on the great tree of music

16. I really appreciate your time and letting us know about all things Infinexhuma. Any final thoughts for those that will read this interview?

Thank you for your effort and everything you do for the community of creatives, this will one day be read by artists hundreds of years beyond our existence as historical art exploration.

Links:

https://infinexhuma.bandcamp.com

https://www.instagram.com/infinexhuma/?hl=en

https://youtube.com/channel/UCWLRzVnGUKF78rEX0KiXysg

Xerxes The Dark Employs Metal Aesthetics To Intensify The Industrial Ambient Experince On ‘The Rise Of AI’

Xerxes The Dark is one of the most consistent artists of the Dark Ambient genre. Not necessarily when it comes to the Dark Ambient sound in the traditional sense, but with the unheralded impression of incorporating new ideas and tactics that indicates an endless realm of musical opportunity. With a string of highly influential albums that thrusts the Dark Ambient maestro into elegiac territories such as industrial, noise, fusion and metal, ‘The Rise Of AI’ just may be his most enigmatic release yet. With a futuristic story and theme that is not so far off from reality, this album thins the comfort zone of ambient music with a thrust into chaotic bleakness. Think about the hostile take over of bio-engineered humanoids in ‘Blade Runner’ with the invasion of indestructible alien robotics of ‘Terminator’ and then mix it with the technological destruction of ‘Black Mirror’ and you’ll have a sense of what the flow of ‘The Rise Of AI’ is all about. Let’s take a dive into this amazing recording.

Bold album opener, “The Rise Of AI” makes a critical statement for the flow and direction of the album. Slowly building into an industrial nightmare, this track more resembles Godflesh than dark ambience. From the steady cadence of drum machines and solid bass lines to a variety of voice samples and guttural transmissions, this track properly prepares the listener for the destruction that will soon follow. The nightmare continues with “Nuclear Winter”. Starting with eerie drones and haunting whispers, it quickly turns into an emergent, industrial anthem with muddy and distorted vocals. Guitar tones hint on melody but that quickly fades into a realm of bleak discomfort. “Take (No) Shelters” emits more dark ambience than previous tracks and is accommodated by stark samples and mechanized soundscapes. More vocal narration are heavily modulated and are right inline with the horrowing story that continues to unravel. “Synthetic Consciousness” is a full on Dark Ambient endeavor with a Space Ambient vibe, complete with celestial soundscapes and dark timbre that rapidly expands beyond the outer reaches of the universe. Malevolent machine nuances continue the harsh undertones of robotic supremacy. “Cyborg Soldiers” embodies an industrial sound with looping noises and drum beats, while a gritty vocal line chants in disdain. “Signaling The Alien Machine” marks a return to the Dark Ambient domain with a plethora of discordant noises and background echoes. As the drones increase in volume, muffled communications depict a scenery of imminent hostility. This calm before the storm approach creates a sense of anxiety and wonder, while complete AI take over is close at hand. “Simulating The New World” is a cinematic adventure that combines a barrage of industrial beats, melodic arrangements and and glitchy rhythms that flow together seamlessly. Portions of this track stimulate a warm sensation, as if there are light moments amongst the chaos that appear to be fathomable. “Interpret X11-01-10” is a short track that depicts communicative transmissions between AI and distant worlds. Soothing drones in the background allow this effort to be audible but untranslatable, as the evil machines prepare their next move for impending takeover. “Domination Of Humanoids” begins like a sneak attack with small, subtle noises as if being surrounded by unidentified beings. With a slow crescendo, industrial drum beats and bilious vocals elicit a constructive output that wages the war between AI and mankind. Like a battle cry of the ages, this track becomes a statement of dominance and leads the mission of AI acquisition. “Accessing Cosmic Memory” is a desolate ambient track that contains wavering drones, empty soundscapes and a looping pattern that signifies a positive communication efforts between the AI and their end goal. This expressive intonation creates a cessation of offensive strikes while vast information is being absorbed for future use. “Meeting Space Tribes” once again delivers a stark vocal arrangement with looping, industrial passages, while layers of drones produce a grandiose sound. The vocals spew a ton of pain and anger throughout and combined with the music, present a chilling, glacial landscape. “Intergalactic Empire” showcases a new side of the story as well as a new sound for XTD. With a melodic approach to Sy-Fi soundscapes, this track is industrial, yet light-hearted and probably one of the most accessible songs on the album. Complete with drum beats, bass lines and samples, this style is a welcome addition to the album as a whole and actually fits in quite well. Next up is “Holographic Wormhole Drive”. Not only is this the coolest song title ever, it’s also the closest this album comes to the traditional XTD sound. This is Dark Ambient in its truest form, with deep drones, creepy soundscapes and an overall menacing essence. There are several pitch shifts in this track that enhance the listening entertainment value, as well as present multiple sides to this gloomy effort. The final track of this epic album is the summarizing, “Gateway To The Unknown”. This is another scorching Dark Ambient masterpiece that includes some insane trip-hop beats and intense soundscape and noises. This ends the album in dominating fashion, just as the AI has systematically overtaken human kind, in this bewildering conceptual masterpiece.

I continue to be amazed by the many faces and directions of XTD. It’s safe to say that I never have any idea of the direction of each album, but pursue in amazement at how impressive each outting is. Whether it’s the established arrangement of Dark Ambient mainstays, drudging Noise Ambient, Industrial Ambient, or a conglomeration of the aforementioned, rest assured that the entertaining value (and listening experience) will be extremely high. ‘The Rise Of AI’ is right up there with the best that XTD has to offer and I highly recommend this for those that love an eclectic blend of electronic music styles. Please click the link below to download this incredible album and also check out the XTD back catalog while you’re there.

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Links:

https://xerxesthedark.bandcamp.com/album/the-rise-of-a-i

Ager Sonus Takes Us On A Journey Through Ancient Civilizations On ‘Niflheim’

Over the years, the Cryo Chamber label has become my go-to label for top-quality, cinematic Dark Ambient music. Not only that, the label has introduced me to – what would become – some of my favorite artists of the genre. One of those artists is Ager Sonus. One thing that sets Ager Sonus apart is the inclusion of ancient mythological themes for each album and contrasting musical sounds that present a deep dive into the theme at hand. On latest album, ‘Niflheim’, Ager Sonus incorporates hoary deities and recollections similar to that of Norse mythology and civilizations. This alone creates a dynamic atmosphere that is supremely backed up theatrical ambient pieces, telling an age-old tale through superior musical expression.

Starting the album off in a tribalistic fashion is “Going North”. After a brief descent into dark modulations, a rhythmic beat begins and a variety of instrumentations treat us to a theatrical composition that depicts the beginnings of uncharted civilizations. Concluding with a jarring ambient section, this track sets a high mark for what will follow. “Murky Waters” introduces an array of field recordings and soundscapes that thwart this mystical journey into undiscovered realms. Synth leads create a chamber of wonder as it produces a visually bleak setting. Haunting vocal patterns and percussive moments broaden the scope of this intense recording. “Bonfire Stories” takes us back to ancient times of Viking warriors and the fight for land and heritage. This song creates such a magnificent image of natural landscapes and dark times of an age-old civilization with its pulsating beat and emotionally charged instrumentation. “Tundra” commences with a dark ambient vibe and slowly incorporates a mid-tempo, pulsating beat with Middle-Eastern influenced arrangements. I can imagine this song playing while venturing through a narrow alley with a multitude of people selling goods and pacing relentlessly as if there is no where in particular to visit. There is a sense of tense atmospherics as some sort of evil may be lurking around every corner. “Decay” has a beautiful new age vibe as a slower drum beat sets a steady cadence for alluring melodies and soundscapes. As crows let out harsh, modulated caws in the background, a sense of tranquility plays on through elegant tones. “Ghosts Of Battles Past” is one of the more darker tracks on the album, as bleak drones and sinister vocal patterns are featured. The flute-like leads produce a harrowing moment as serene charm and cold decay begin to fuse for a mesmerizing output. “Dreamland” continues the pace and aura of previous tracks with industrialized samples and a huge reverberated sound that produces a huge space for maximum audial control and imagination. Toward the middle of the track, an assembly of resonance – previously heard – slowly make their way into the mix and the outcome is simply amazing and addictive to listen to. This is without a doubt, one of my favorite tracks on the album. The final track, “Journey’s End”, supremely summarizes this spectacular album with evocative drones, natural field recordings and pounding beats that are more bombastic and destructive than they are rhythmic. However, it showcases the abrupt ending that was expected on this ancient expedition. The drones intensify and build in layers as this is probably the most traditional sounding Dark Ambient track on the album. Nevertheless, it’s such a soothing way to end an excursion that is full of triumphs, struggles and alluring engagement.

Ager Sonus never ceases to amaze me with his brand of cinematic Dark Ambient music. Whereas many of his albums are rooted and themed in existing ancient cultures, this album – in my opinion – is more inline with the beginning of times and how certain ancient cultures began. This is yet another amazing album from one of my favorite Cryo Chamber label artists and I highly recommend checking out ‘Niflheim’ if your itching for a wondrous audial adventure into ancient civilizations.

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Links:

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/niflheim