From the distant reaches of the macrocosm, I bring you another planetary offering of Dark Ambient summary reviews. This batch of Celestial Ephemerides offers a copious selection of mystical performances that surges deep in the spheres of dimly lit voids. From noise and ritualistic to supernatural soundscapes and haunting field recordings, this is the most impressive gathering of Dark Ambient albums I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing in a while. Hope you enjoy!
1. Pillars Of Golden Misery – ‘Riders Of Misfortune’
‘Riders Of Misfortune’ is a majestic blend of discordant algorithms and resounding clamor in this abrasive but enjoyable offering. Served on a tumultuous platter of indignant ambience, this recording is not for the faint of heart or those with sensitive hearing. Piercing effects and elongated droning produce a disquieting pulse of audial horror that is as punishing as it is enthralling. Highly recommended for fans of harsh noise, glitch and transfixing avant-garde.
2. VSSP – ‘Modular Performances’
‘Modular Performances’ is such a fitting title for this massive collection of ambient tunes from VSSP. Innovative, tranquil, dreamy and calming are other adjectives that also accurately describe this seventy three minute offering that traverses the drone, space ambient and dark ambient genres. One thing that is predominant on this recording is the real sense of melody in each track. The emotional feeling is almost heartbreaking and sorrowful but extremely compelling to listen to. Highly recommended for background music on a cold, rainy day or while relaxing with the intent to cleanse the mind of negative thoughts.
3. Sana Obruent – ‘Aftoktonia’
To these ears, this is one of the most complete Drone Ambient recordings I’ve heard in a long time. Aside from a few other artists, Sana Obruent is quickly becoming my go-to artist for epic drone excursions due to the prominent foray into meditative resonance. Minimalistic & simple, yet effective and powerful, ‘Aftoktonia’ is over one hundred minutes of reflective musings that brings together powerful drones and circadian effects that is as relaxing as it is strident. This is one of my favorite Ambient albums of 2022 and probably will remain that way for many years to follow.
4. Underwater Sleep Orchestra – ‘The Night And Other Sunken Dreams’
Underwater Sleep Orchestra, the new, brooding collaboration between Cities Last Broadcast and God Body Disconnect is a seventy eight minute magnum opus of polarizing dark ambient music. From hypnotizing drones to warm soundscapes, this is a project that I cannot wait to hear more from. These songs are lethargic and melodic and are a bit different from the typical dark ambient setting. You can definitely hear the input of each artist as they bring their signature sound to this musical alliance. Can’t recommend this one enough, especially if you’re looking for something to listen to while drifting off to never never land.
5. Leila Abdul-Rauf – ‘Phantasiai’
It’s not often we get a fascinating album with trumpet and glockenspiel performances, but here we are. ‘Phantasiai’ is a spellbinding album of bleak expression with chilling vocals and dreamy production. Cyclic Law continues to recruit the finest artist that are ready to deliver the best of their craft. Thankfully we have Leila Abdul-Rauf to continue the flow and this album fits in with a long list of stellar releases.
6. O Saala Sakraal – ‘Heven’
The concept of improvisation by O Saala Sakraal is a must listen and ‘Heven’ is one of those albums that will draw the listener in based on the sheer amazement of the unknown. Although only 21 minutes long, this collection of spontaneous incantations is both ritualistic and engaging. Soothing vocal parts with sinister narrations coalesce with haunting atmospherics to provide a post-apocalyptic feel without sounding dilapidated. I can’t wait to hear more from this artist and thanks again to Cyclic Law for continuing to release amazing albums like this.
7. Muhd – ‘Dilogia’
‘Dilogia’ is another prime example of hypnotic ambience that builds in layers to achieve a fusion of synthwave and dark ambient excellence. Warm, harmonizing drones go through an assembly of thickening tones and modulated soundscapes to produce emotion canticles that represent an exceptional blend of retro and futuristic synth virtue. Also from the Cyclic Law label, it’s no wonder why this album made it into the lineup as it sounds fresh, inviting and completely divergent.
8. Yuko Nakai – ‘Me, And The Waters’
There is nothing more soothing than the blissful sounds of crystal bowls, harmonizing with natural soundscapes. Yuko Nakai excels in this area with a splendid three-track EP, ‘Me, And The Waters’. Fusing the sound of crashing ocean waves with extended hums of crystal bowls, beautifully arranged songs of scenic allure expel a magnitude of harrowing sequences that lure the listener in with unimaginable power. My only wish is that this album was about an hour long in order to fully appreciate its hypnotizing effect. Highly recommended for a deep, meditative experience.
9. Gdanian – ‘Submersion’
Gdanian is a new edition to the Cryo Chamber label lineup and upon initial listen, I can confirm that it’s the perfect label to release an album as alluring as this one. An oceanic-themed outing, ‘Submersion’ pulls no punches with including aquatic soundscapes and sub-surface atmospherics. Beautifully produced, each track immerses the listener into a vast world of unexplored adventure. With the feeling of unimaginable depth, there is no choice but to sit back and soak in (no pun intended) the bleak soundscapes and minimalistic drones. An amazing recording that should not be overlooked.
10. Lētum – ‘The Face Of Life And Death’
Lētum presents a cinematic nightmare of an album with ‘Tue Face Of Live And Death’. A conglomerate of disturbing samples and soundscapes backed by malevolent drones and pads. Horrifying vocal sequences are enough to to disrupt your sleeping pattern and send you down a vortex of enraged evil and madness. Coupled with theatric production values, this is a highly professional offering from one of Dark Ambient’s independent achievers. Recommended for Dark Ambient fans that don’t mind being on edge during a whole albums worth of menacing intonations.
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