Akashic Envoy Records Assembles An Immense Compilation For A Charitable Cause Called, ‘Apostils Against Hegemony, Vol. I: Transitive Properties’

I love compilation albums for several reasons. For one, they are usually extremely long and provide near endless amounts of entertainments. Secondly, it gives us listeners an opportunity to check out artists that we’ve never heard of before. Especially in this incessant sea of Bandcamp artists, it’s nearly impossible to catch every amazing artist that’s out there. Akashic Envoy Records recently summoned LBGTQAI+ artist from multiple genres to lend their amazing talents not only for this behemoth of a compilation, but also for a great cause. Akashic Envoy Records has decided to donate 100% of the sales of ‘Apostils Against Hegemony, Vol. I: Transitive Properties’ to The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of suicide amongst LBGTQAI+ youths. The fantastic music on this compilation range from dark pop, synth wave, death metal, black metal, dungeon synth & dark ambient. For my reviews, I typically provide a breakdown of each song on an album. However, due to the sheer size of this compilation, I’ve decided to pick ten of my favorite tracks and talk a little about those. That’s not to say the rest of this album isn’t worthy, because that’s not the case. This is one of the most interesting and entertaining compilations I’ve heard in a really long time. However, If I were to write about each track, it would take you an hour to get through this review. That being said, let’s get started!

“Dew Tipped Grass Along The River Banks” by Bowels Of Eternity is a theatrical adventure with massive dungeon synth undertones. Dark ambient like drones and atmospherics, complimented by eerie soundscapes and textures puts this track in a class all of its own. “Ghost” by Forbihavet is an unforgettable post-metal affair that will insert the listener into a fantastic, dark world where somber melodies slowly build like overflowing volcanic lava. The ethereal acoustic ambience floats endlessly like objects in the vast universe. However, as the instruments become louder, the mood becomes more dense. The elongated buildup leads to an emotional and climactic ending that is heavy and energetic. “Her Stillborn Body” by Putrescine is a brutal, death metal affair with old-school 90’s style production. The high-pitched screechy vocals take turns decimating the ear drums with low end gutteral growls. The music is ferocious without being over the top and the amazing guitar solo is a welcoming sound – especially since a lot of bands turn a blind eye on solos anymore. “Ancestral Magick” by Mutable Body is a really cool synth track that builds slowly, layer by layer, until a full on melodic assault takes the listener into a dark world of fantasy and fiction. There are plenty of otherworldly effects and smooth droning to boast a huge sound, but the real treat here is the keyboard arrangement that remains constant throughout most of the track. I could listen to this stuff all day long and never get tired of it. “Evocation I” by Guan Yin, is an eerie track full of samples, soundscapes and gruesome vocal effects that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I sense a ritualistic theme to this track and as it proceeds, the listener is subjected to cultural beauties and horrors that may not be fathomable by some. Listening to this track is a very rewarding experience, as it’s so different, yet fits right in. “The Void, Transmuted” by Blood And Dust is one of my favorite tracks on this compilation as it mixes the aggression of synth wave and the deep droning sounds of dark ambient music. It slowly builds out of a simple drone, layered soundscapes and simple narrations, then mutates into a multi-layered synth wave track as if the climactic ending of an 80’s horror movie is coming to an end. “His Words Are A Void” by Vulgarite is a blackened doom metal track with a great main riff that is layered to have a slight echo sound. Although the vocals are typical of a harsh black metal style, the music has a bit of a post-metal influence, so all of this combined makes for a stunning track that will embed the listener into a trance-like state. “Six Of Swords” by Jenn Taiga is a progressive synth masterpiece. This track is a mix of something you would hear from the Stranger Things soundtrack, 70’s style fusion progressive rock, as well as the instrumentation from the Swedish band Anekdoten. Jenn Taiga is something special, as it takes an extraordinary ear for music to write a track like this, with such passion and restraint. “The Worm/The Wretch” by Age Decay is one of the most unique tracks that I’ve ever heard. It has a good mix of singer/songwriter, metal, clean & harsh vocals and masterful songwriting. If I had to sum up Age Decay in a few words, I would say it’s a metal version of The Swans – which is a huge compliment. This eleven and a half minute track flows between soft acoustic parts and bombastic metal parts, with all around great vocals. Finally, “Wealth Beyond Measure” by Mausoleum Wanderer is a dungeon synth track that tells a voiceless narrative in the most legendary way. Pulling no punches, Mausoleum Wanderer brings his “A” games in a cinematic score-like anthem that soars high above many tracks of this nature. Beautifully produced and with a clear and crisp sound, this track is a very mature step for Mausoleum Wanderer and I’m looking forward to many more tracks like this from him.

Aside from the ten tracks that I just wrote about, this is an overall extremely impressive album and Akashic Envoy Records couldn’t have done a better job assembling a group of top-notch artists with great talent in a wide-array of genres. It’s not often that you get to hear a compilation of this nature that contains all of your favorite genres of music. At just over three hours of playing time, there is plenty of music to explore on here and I’m sure there are some artists on here waiting for you to discover their awesome music. Since this all for a good cause – supporting The Trevor Project – I highly recommend you clicking on the link and supporting this magnificent compilation album!

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Links:

https://akashicenvoy.bandcamp.com/album/apostils-against-hegemony-vol-i-transitive-properties

Boschivo Form Anomalous Compositions On The Outlandishly Diverse ‘Bardo Dell’Autodistruzione’ Offering

Now it’s time for something a little different. And when I say different, I mean a cacophony of obscure musical genres ranging from Dark Ambient, experimental, noise, dark folk, and any twisted ritualistic audio terror that you may not think of, to form an integrated euphonious choir of melody. Welcome to the distinct world of Boschivo, where anything goes and there are no borders for harmonic tastes. On ‘Bardo Dell’Autodistruzione’, elemental bizarreness is pushed to the limits as magnetic drones are accompanied by acoustic guitar, clean & harsh vocals, various synths & pads, and an array of styles to keep things interesting from song to song. Although this may be a challenging listen for some, it’s without a doubt, a rewarding experience for most others. Let’s dive right in.

“Pozzoscuro” starts with a single droning sound and some ceremonial overtones before a grim acoustic guitar riff takes over. Priest-like chanting accompanied by some eerie background noises blend well with the music. Soon the chanting is replaced by distant sounding vocals, but just for a few bars. The track ends with multiple guitar effects playing altering notes. “La Dania Perversa Delle Falene” is all over the place as it begins with cathedral-style organs and strange vocal effects before giving way to a deep guitar and bass riff that is played over a narration. Soon, that is followed by some harsh vocals while the guitar tone becomes more distorted. About halfway through the track, sampled effects and whispers mesmerize the listener before a frightening organ sound once again infiltrates the airwaves. Like a disharmonic orchestra, this part of the track is like listening to the dead come back to life. “Il Rituale Delle Mosche” features dissonant guitar riffing and haunting narrations, as well as industrial ambient noises. Additionally, soothing guitar riffs and clean vocals come from out of nowhere, almost seemingly out of place but fitting right in at the same time. “Essenza Di Te” continues with the clean vocals, but the guitar riffs are played on on an instrument that seems out of tune. Interestingly, it sounds rather awesome – especially for this album, and I wouldn’t expect to hear anything less. This track also features a great bass line as well – that is played in tune. “Distorta Luna Sterile” is a dark folk track with some excellent droning going on in the background, as well as some creepy sound effects. “Venere D’avorio” has a dark pop vibe to it, albeit with a very discordant sound effect in the foreground. The vocals are very clear on this track but there are echo effects in use to give it a grim feeling. “Quando La Morte Verra’” is a beautiful, dark acoustic passage with whispering narrations and deep droning in the background. Although this is a short and simple piece, it’s one of my favorites on the album. The final track on this underrated masterpiece is the title track, “Bardo Dell’Autodistruzione”. At almost eighteen minutes in length, it’s the longest track in the album and definitely shows what Boschivo is all about. Starting with background drones, ringing bells and simple percussions, other samples and effects are thrown in along the way, including deep, death metal like growls. As these heinous growls continue, church organs begin to play, adding another element of surprise to the album. Eventually, multiple loud bells begin to ring at different tone levels for a divergent sound mix.

Boschivo is an interesting artist that knows no boundaries. Combining all sorts of obscurities to produce a compelling musical experience, this album demands your full attention – and multiple listens – to really appreciate the value of the art for which it provides. ‘Bardo Dell’Autodistruzione’ is an addictive album that doesn’t reside in a particular genre, however it belongs everywhere. If you have an open mind for challenging, but rewarding music, look no further than Boschivo. The album is available for FREE DOWNLOAD from the link below, so check it out.

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Links:

https://totenschwan.bandcamp.com/album/tsr-112-bardo-dellautodistruzione

Cult Of Terrorism Unify Soothing Ambient Textures And Hypnotic Industrial Samples On ‘Megváltozhatatlanság’

When calmness and chaos collide, it can be an intriguing affair. As two distant-end spectral forces merge at the point of emotional confusion, the outcome is often unexpected – like the age old battle of good versus evil. In music, the aftermath of this emotional merger is a little more advantageous as our mental state is already at a heightened state of awareness with an illusory fixation. ‘Megváltozhatatlanság’ by Cult Of Terrorism portrays that same disconcerting situation with its unique brand of Dark Ambient. At its base, ‘Megváltozhatatlanság’ uses minimal drones and textures to devise a sense of tranquility, while on the other hand, Industrial soundscapes are injected to agitate the mind with frenzied audio terror. However, the combination of the two will escort the listener to a fascinating gray world where nothingness provides a soothing sense of anxious turmoil.

Sensational album opener, “Mitochondria, O Sindrome Di Le Tour (feat. 52-Hearts Whale)” instantly catapults the brainwaves into a hurried state as Industrial frequencies flow from side to side, creating the epicenter for a daring new world. However, ground zero quickly recovers as the menacing sounds give way to enticing drones, field recordings and melodic keys. Occasionally, harsh sounds can be heard in the background, reminding the listener that all is not safe when beauty and bleak collide. The next track is “υπναγωγικών [UNO STUDIO]” and it features synth pads that create a melodic atmosphere. Haunting keys play at intervals in the background while various effects add layers of warmth and stability. The muffled piano notes in “Qualcosa E’ Perduto” are soothing yet disturbing. Barely audible wind effects add a touch of mysticism to this otherwise cold and minimalistic track. “I’ll Sequestro Emozionale Prima Dell ‘Ultimo Gesto” kicks things back into high gear again, as a droning and discordant synth tone plays unadjusted for several minutes before layers of rigid effects and soundscapes take this song to a whole new dimension. By the time the track comes to a close, screeching synths are at the forefront, but somehow remain quite melodic. “La Fortezza Di Spine (feat. Valerio Orlandini)” keeps the Industrial momentum going with its dark, spongy drones. The addition of malevolent narrations and evil sounding textures makes this one of the standout tracks on the album. “Notturno [Il Tuo Cuore E’ Sacro] (feat. Testing Vault)” is another disturbing track that dabbles into Indistrial sampling and perfectly placed random sounds. The maniacal keys in the background maintain a monotone pattern, providing just enough normalcy to offset the controlled chaos that is happening in the foreground. The final track on the album, “Megváltozhatatlanság (feat. Meanwhile In Texas)” is a slow building track that centers around spacey drones and desolate soundscapes. At around the four and a half minute mark, the sound shift to a higher frequency with trance-like qualities. Soon thereafter, this song dissolves into oblivion, going out peacefully – just the opposite of how this album started.

Although Cult Of Terrorism has a frightening name, the music says otherwise. Even with spots of Industrial-tinged madness, this album – for the most part – is a a peaceful yet dark affair. ‘Megváltozhatatlanság’ is a very mesmerizing album, and with a great song foundation and seamless transitions between tracks, is also extremely enjoyable. It can be streamed in its entirety at the link below, so head on over to the site and check out this great work.

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Links:

https://totenschwan.bandcamp.com/album/tsr-111-megv-ltozhatatlans-g

Empty Chalice Ignite Cold And Repressed Auditory Visions On ‘Mother Destruction’

One of the missions of Dark Ambient is to instill otherworldly emotions and senses in order to expand the horizons of the conscious mind. If you allow your psyche to open up to the music, the reward can often be rewarding. Whether the listener is seeking solitude, darkness, horror, a deep space adventure, or just an escape from reality, no other genre of music will capture that experience quite like Dark Ambient. Empty Chalice excels are doing just that, as their brand of Dark Ambient is a culmination of ritualistic ambience, terrifying field recordings, grim sequences and sampling, as well as vocal narrations. All of these combined create the malevolent recording known as ‘Mother Destruction’. At just over fifty one minutes long, these five tracks of neural dread, will anesthetize the senses and draw the listener into a hollow realm of consternation as they try to find the exit back to a normal reality.

Prominent album opener, “Unholy Light”, penetrates the ear canals with jarring synth pads and frequent cymbal crashes as a bombinate drone sound breaks through and add a depressive dynamic to the track. Moments of eerie near-silence pull the listener down even further before more deep drones start to rumble again. Various instruments add brief moments of angst, but this track halts on a grim & long silent ending. “Treblinka’s Snow” begins with a calming drone with dreamy instrumentation heard in the distance. Soon, beautiful female narrations add to the story, and it creates a numbing effect with its soothing structure and pacing. Scattered samples are amply placed throughout the narration, followed by a harsher droning sequence. “Qva Resvrget Ex Favilla” is a downright sinister track, as it features black metal vocal style narrations, as well as clean, operatic singing. At around the seven minute mark, the track begins to morph into more of an industrial ambient piece, with screechy drones and piercing synth pads. The near fourteen minute long “Rest In Pain” begins with inaudible narrations that have a echo effect on them. Combined with some high-pitched drones, and melodic sequences playing in the background, this track is a slow builder but very rewarding in the ends. At around the three and a half minute mark, a mid-paced drum beat enters the picture as the melody of this song becomes more prevalent. Even after the drums fade away, the melody continues to play on for a few minutes and then too it fades into the hisses of the synth sequences. The final track on the album, “Mother Destruction” begins with haunting tape loops, obscure samples and alluring synths slowly fade in. As the drones grow louder and harsher, the tone of the track becomes more evil sounding and bleak samples can be heard throughout. The final couple minutes of this song is a slow burn into obscurity as all of the noises gradually seize to exist.

Empty Chalice takes the listener to a cold and empty world, where escaping becomes the nightmare. Over the course of fifty one minutes, ‘Mother Destruction’ creates atmospheres that are both serene and nefarious. Featuring various vocal and narration styles, as well as elements of percussion and sampling, this is a very diverse and musically versatile album. I highly recommend this if you’re into the more obscure styled Dark Ambient recordings. Show your support for this amazing artist by clicking on the link below.

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Links:

https://emptychalice.bandcamp.com/album/mother-destruction

Beyond The Below Offer Disturbing Sounds With Tranquil Piano Arrangements & Turbulent Field Recordings on, ‘Heart Like An Empty Coffin’

Every time I listen to a Dark Ambient recording, I hear it as a soundtrack to a particular moment in time. Whether its from a horrific era that has passed, an ominous & futuristic existence that has yet to happen, or the treacherous present that continues to unfold before our very eyes right now, this genre excels at bringing out the most emotional state of our being in order to imagine such scenarios and how humanity has evolved (or continues to evolve). On ‘Heart Like An Empty Coffin’, Beyond The Below covers each of those era’s by using intelligent field recordings, well-crafted piano arrangements, and modest use of long-form drones to create a unique sound that can be identified with a specific aeon. That’s not to say that there are several distinct sounds on this recording, it just means that Beyond The Below has a keen ear for sounds that expand the epoch of time. Let’s dive into this extraordinary recording.

Engaging album opener, “Downpour”, starts with a menacing piano note that embeds its presence in the conscious by its continual mesmerizing play. Scorching synth frequencies create an unnerving expanse as the field recordings start to filter in. The time setting seems to take the listener from a not-so-distant past to a near-distant apocalyptic future. More beautiful piano notes play over evaporating synth drones as the song comes to an abrupt end. “Kill The Past” begins with haunting piano melodies and distorted field recordings, creating a very bleak atmosphere. Majestic synth arrangements are introduced, establishing a smooth tone, while cosmic sound effects randomly break through as if introduced from a futuristic time portal. “Cleansing The Cursed” starts with night time sound effect, then the abrupt breakthrough of piano notes and industrial synths real havoc as if providing the score for a horror movie. “Solitudinous” features the looping hiss of antique recording techniques as retro-wave keys influence a time where industrial wastelands ruled the earth, and bands of outlaws protected its natural resources from other groups. Although one of the shorter tracks on the album, this one stands out as one of my favorites. “Creatures Sing At Night” is one of the creepiest songs on the album, as the opening elements feature obscure vocals and deep piano notes. The constant inaudible field recording in the background is enough to bring on additional anxiety. “Ghosts Of The Sun” has some of the best piano melody on the album and the echo effect really sets this track in high gear. The warm drones in the background, offer a safe haven for the imagination as this track is calming, while offering bits of discordant harmony. “Love Once Lost” starts with a synth tone that sounds like a submarine sonar. As this sequence continues to play, industrial synths are layered in, as well as additional sound effects that creates a sense of angst. The final track on the album, “Darkness Speaks”, wastes no time creating ominous sounds as harsh industrial frequencies and beautiful piano notes collide in absolute harmony. After several minutes of alluring synth overlays, the track transitions into an industrialized nightmare filled with dissonant sounds and a short blast of nightmarish vocals. Such an ideal way to end this fantastic album.

Beyond The Below take a more theatrical approach to Dark Ambient than a lot of other artist. Shedding the constant, enduring drones and epic track lengths for shorter, cinematic structured tunes that contain a variety of instrumentation and styles, ‘Heart Like An Empty Coffin’ is an enigmatic album that will appeal to a wide variety of music listeners. I highly recommend checking this one out, so please click on the link below and add this gem to your collection.

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Links:

https://beyondthebelow.bandcamp.com/album/heart-like-an-empty-coffin

Abhasa Amalgamate Ritualistic Dark Ambient And Bewildering Black Metal On ‘१’

Ritualistic forms of art have been around for centuries, providing people with an outlet for conveying their ceremonious rites. In music, it’s an all-out free form, and emotional channel that allows artists to express their craft freely and without restraint. Abhasa epitomizes this condition by combining metal, ambient textures and liturgical sentiment on the massively impressive album titled ‘१’. Showing huge amounts of restraint, Abhasa lets the music and atmosphere set the pace by creating the beautiful, emotional tone that will catapult the listener to an ethereal location – for at least the fifty minute duration of this album.

Holistic album opener, “१“, sets the spiritual tone as the hum of Tibetan bowls and ringing bells provide meaning and direction for this ceremonious journey. Field recordings of a natural setting amplify the experience. This vibe continues and seamlessly leads into “२”, which features more Tibetan bowl sounds, and the introduction of more modern instrumentation. Droning guitar riffs slowly crescendo their way into the mix, becoming louder and at their apex, the strums of distorted guitars make their presence known. After a few strums, it stops and after a short break, a beautiful acoustic passage begins, taking this track to new heights. As this track fades into “३”, the ambience slowly fades and gives way to a harsher, post-black metal sound. Interestingly, it has a very dreamy sound thanks to the ghostly production efforts. The next track, “४” starts with an acoustic riff that is quickly abandoned for a louder, more depressive tone. As this being one of the longer tracks, it gives the listener time to soak in the alluring guitar tone that’s equivalent to polarizing dark ambience. “५” begins with malevolent soundscapes and obscure field recordings that provide a sense of dread. The hiss of a guitar creates additional atmospheric tones as well. As the ambiguity fades, the sudden violent rush of distorted guitars introduce the next track, “६”. At just over twelve minutes, this saga runs through harsh metal parts, acoustic passages and ambient atmospheres while maintaining an even keel of emotional moments. The final track on the album, “७” blazes with discordant and blackened riffs, while the drums blast through like an assault weapon at a firing range. At around the half way mark, enticing keys create an exuberant atmosphere before the harsh tones pick up again. After a few minutes, the song finally fades to the sounds of the strums of an acoustic guitar.

The ritualistic sounds of Abhasa are undeniable, as they penetrate the ears and soul with emotional atmospheric music that border the genres of black metal and dark ambient. Now with the backing of the incredible Mystic Timbre label for a cassette release, this prodigious effort can be heard and enjoyed across multiple platforms. Click on the link below to download this ceremonious release!

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Links:

https://abhasa.bandcamp.com/

Shelter-In-Place Dark Ambient & Dungeon Synth Playlist

We are living in dark times and whether we like it or not, we are witnessing a historical occasion that is effecting the whole world. Although many people still have to work, legions of the worlds population are under a strict shelter-in-place order. Not to make light of the situation, but what better time is there to check out some awesome artists that you may have never heard of before, or to revisit some newer albums that stand out amongst the others. These are some of my (current) favorite albums to listen to and I’m sharing them with you as a recommendation. Check out and support these amazing artists (and labels).

Recommended in Dark Ambient:

https://hiemalambient.bandcamp.com/album/vacant
https://scottlawlor.bandcamp.com/album/badseed
https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/the-outside
https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/shortwave-ruins
https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/dystopian-gate
https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/scenes-from-the-sublime

Recommended In Dungeon Synth (and beyond):

https://borg.bandcamp.com/album/woodland
https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-woods-of-galdura
https://crypthopcompilations.bandcamp.com/releases
https://jenntaiga.bandcamp.com/album/plight
https://coniferousmyst.bandcamp.com/album/queen-of-the-timberline-realms
https://criptadel.bandcamp.com/album/the-goblin-market

Regen Graves Delivers A Synthesis Of Krautrock And Space Ambient On Vintage-Styled Offering ‘Herbstlicht’

I don’t usually start my reviews by discussing my opinion of album art, however, I think artwork is an intricate part of the listening experience, especially for the dark ambient genre. For me, when listening to dark ambient, the emotional experience is just as important as the music itself, because it free’s your mind without limitations and allows you to drift off into experiences that you may not be able to encounter in a lifetime. The cover art is equally important because it gives you a first impression of the experience at hand. When I first saw the artwork for Regen Grave’s latest album, ‘Herbstlicht’, I was mesmerized by the desolation and despondency caught in a single image. The gloomy weather, old buildings and empty streets paint a harrowing story of something menacing that could have happened during that time period. Although herbstlicht is German for Autumn Light, this cover depicts a particular dismal coldness that could have a reverse meaning. Musically, ‘Herbstlicht’ is chilling dark ambient with a vintage tone that could very be the soundtrack for what is happening in the album art. That’s why the entanglement of artwork and music is so important.

Eerie album opener, “Das Morgengrauen” begins with a low end bass drone that pushes the frequency spectrum with its tonal distortion. Also featuring some space ambient atmospherics, the high pitched synth effects randomly penetrate the atmosphere with discord of sounds and noises. “Leere Straßen” starts with an unearthly presence of layered synth sounds that have a dark, ubiquitous vibe. Horror-like keys play a dim melody, adding a sense of frenzied commotion. “Der Erste Schnee” introduces a narrative recording on top of spacious drones, creating an chilling, yet chaotic atmosphere. With a track length of nearly thirteen minutes long, this epic adventure takes the listener through various stages of obscurity. “Besuch” presents horrifying sound effects with inaudible narrations as if a warning message is broadcasting to an abandoned community after a tragic event has occurred. As the warning continues to play, low end frequencies and field recording mesh together to yield terrible uncertainty. “Zersetzung” features percussive elements and melodic keyboard tones in a short, apocalyptic number that sets the stage for the final track. “Rote Blätter” is an eleven and a half minute long track full of demise and oblivion. The synth effects have an abeyance-like nature to them while intermittent intonations seem more strident as the song continues.

Regen Graves epitomizes excellence when it comes to bizarre tones and spacey drones. The minimal use of field recordings and spacey narrations work perfectly with these tracks as they present a graphic story that may be depicted in the cover art. ‘Herbstlicht’ is a very impressive recording that not only has a vintage sound, but also represents the dark ambient genre with superb integrity. Please support this incredible artist and download the album from the link below.

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Links:

https://regengraves.bandcamp.com/album/herbstlicht

Darkness Descends Upon The ‘Lost Souls Of The River’ By The Cryptic Artist Known As DøD

There are many legends and stories of what happens to a persons soul after they die. In some modern religions, it is said that the soul is judged by God and then it is determined whether the soul will spend an eternity in Heaven or Hell. There is also a tale that the soul will wander the Earth until it finds closure for the untimely demise of its physical counterpart. However, the lore of the soul can sometimes be told by the powerful broadcast of dark ambient music. DøD presents us with a mystifying vision of roaming spirits in ‘Lost Souls Of The River’. This short collection of aberrant drones gives a chilling insight of the afterlife meandering about, searching for answers in the watery mazes that ended their existence.

“Lost Souls Of The River I” is a gradual builder and the eerie soundscapes ascend in slow motion, like distorted figures emerging from a dense fog that drowns the coast line of a dissipated canal. As the mass of souls congregate around the banks of the waterways, darkened drones intensify, while jarring keys provide textures of industrial-like sounds that are the essence of evil. Perpetual drum beats provide the aspect of existence for the souls as their presence is now known and must be dealt with. “Lost Souls Of The River II” begins with guttural synth tones and sinister soundscapes that resemble a horror-like cinematic score. Toward the end, eccentric keys play a deranged arrangement before the guttural sounds kick in again to end the song. “Lost Souls Of The River III” is rooted in warm drones that pulsate through ominous keyboard effects and rain-like field recordings. Erratic tones oscillate from one side to another like a comet racing through the atmosphere. The final track on this distressing recording is “Lost Souls Of The River IV”. With searing orchestrations and bleak keyboard tones, this track is the climactic ending for the spirits that were set adrift, searching for answers of their mortal departure. Minimal electronic pulses exaggerate the expediency of their mission but a sudden inaudible scream puts and end to it all and the song soon fades into oblivion.

‘Lost Souls Of The River’ is a fascinating piece of work and stands out in the Dark Ambient genre. With a great mix of ambient, warm drones, field recordings and sensational keys & pads, DøD delivers a remarkable first look into a new project filled with many surprises and imaginative tales. Although this was a short EP, it was very entertaining and I enjoyed it very much. I’m really looking forward to hearing more dark & disturbing tunes from this artist and I highly recommend checking out this release. Please show your support and download ‘Lost Souls Of The River’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://dod0119.bandcamp.com/album/lost-souls-of-the-river

Eyre Transmissions IV: Interview with Visionary Dark Ambient Artist, Ruptured World

My love for the dark ambient genre goes back several decades. Although admittedly I started off as just a casual listener, I soon found a love for the eerie soundscapes & deep, ritualistic drones and the emotional state they put me in. Through the years, there have been many artists that have captivated me with their musical ventures, but one that stands out amongst my favorites is Ruptured World. Seamlessly combining dark ambient, piano sounds, and scripted narrations, Ruptured World emerges as a unique entity in a genre known mainly for its minimalism. Additionally, Ruptured World was one of the artists that inspired me to begin writing this blog and ‘Archeoplanetary’ became my very first review. I recently had an opportunity to interview Alistair Rennie – the artist behind Ruptured World – to find out the methods and inspirations behind his visionary craft.

1. First of all, thanks for the opportunity to conduct this interview. In 2019, you continued with the “Planetary” series and released the extremely impressive ‘Archeoplanetary’. Not only was it one of the first reviews for my site, it was also listed in my Dark Ambient Top 10 albums of last year. What what’s the writing/recording process like for this album? Do you have any plans to continue on with this series?

The process is one that starts off with a few nebulous ideas that begin to assume a more direct focus once the music and narrative elements start to form, and then it just starts to fall together and gather a momentum almost of its own.

Once the ideas begin to crystalize and take shape, I think that’s when I start to organise the music and spoken word narrative in more direct correlation with each other.

I never start with fully formulated ideas or a written narrative for the music to be written to. I find that too much planning in advance takes some of the excitement out of it. It’s a bit like getting spoilers before watching a film. So I try and leave room to allow for a certain degree of spontaneity. In saying that, once the first version of an album is done, I’ll go back over it making significant revisions and changes from start to finish. The idea or vision of the work gets clearer and more refined that way, until you have the completed work.

2. One thing that stands out for Ruptured World is the heavy use of commentary and spoken word. What influenced you to incorporate this into your brand of dark ambient?

It really comes from my activities as a writer. I write genre fiction (science fiction, horror and fantasy) and have a novel published and some short stories out there, mainly with US-based publishers and magazines. So it was very natural for me to create narratives that I could adapt to music through spoken word. Dark Ambient tends to be cinematic in terms of its characteristics, so it seemed a very obvious and quite normal thing to do.

3. Dr. Archibald Macrae is such a dignified and compelling character. What kind of research (if any) went into honing this character and his vast knowledge of archeology?

I have a good knowledge of ancient culture in Scotland, and, especially, the North of Scotland where I grew up. So I was able to feed a lot of that into the story through the character of Macrae. All of the places and some of the artefacts referred to in the album actually exist and serve as a basis for the fictional elements to be built on. These are places that I know intimately, some of them featuring also in my family history. So the knowledge mostly comes from lived experience and absorbing and learning over time rather than research. In saying that, I have studied aspects of the Picts at university, so there’s also some formal research that’s gone into it.

4. So, when you’ve created the albums of the “Planetary” series, do you write the music or narrations first?

I’ll start with the music but the narration starts to form alongside the music quite rapidly. It seems to happen as part of the same eruption of materials, overall, driven by the same impulse, both emerging simultaneously. I think there will be some music that has been created first, perhaps something that emerges from new material I’m working on, or something that rises out of periods of experimentation, that stands out and starts to go in a particular direction. And then the words and music will occur simultaneously. At a later point, I’ll start to do the vocal recordings and work on integrating those into the music using the appropriate sound design techniques.

5. I think I follow you on just about all of the major social media platforms and you seem to do a lot of field recordings. How important is this to your music?

This actually follows on nicely from the previous question. I’m now finding that field recordings have a much greater influence on how the music starts off and takes shape. It’s become one of the crucial elements of the music and is increasingly central to much of what I aim to do. In more recent stuff I’ve produced, I’ve aimed to capture the atmospheric detail of specific locations and to use this as the core sound around which to develop the music. I’ve also started making short video productions in which this music is featured, bringing everything together in one setting of audio-visual representation.

Field Recording Mission in New Aberdour, Scotland

6. Where are some of your favorite places to record sounds?

There are certain locations around the coastline of the Northeast of Scotland where there are all sorts of rock features, including wave cut platforms, sea stacks and sea caves, where I’ve started collecting some fantastic ocean sounds from fascinating acoustic settings. It’s a common subject matter in field recording but for a good reason. We never tire of hearing water and the sounds of the sea. The specific kinds of rock formations will present unique sounds and amplifications. The sea caves are my favourite, though. As you can imagine, the way the sounds of the sea resonate within these enclosed geological spaces is fascinating. And I’ll often create additional sounds and percussive sounds using whatever stones and aquatic vegetation presents itself within the caves.

I also like to go inland towards the mountainous areas, particularly in and around the Cairngorm mountains. The glens and hillsides present all sorts of interesting sounds to capture. There’s a lot of wildlife making some great noise. There are rivers and streams constantly flowing. The plant life makes an abundance of sounds you’d never imagine until you actually start listening through field recording.

It’s also a good idea to take things with you to record in the outdoor spaces. Instruments will always sound incredible when you play them outside. And so will playing a digital synth through a portable amp or speakers.

7. You also seem to have a high regard for the visual aspect to your work. Does this also influence the mood of your music?

I’d say it was the other way round, certainly where video is concerned. It’s more the case that the music influences and often shapes the editorial choices and stylistic tenor of the video-making.

8. Speaking of visual art, you have a keen eye for photography and videography. Do you do this as a hobby, or incorporate it into your business ventures?

With video, it’s more like an extension of the music, really, with a definite aim of making it part of the whole aesthetic. It’s something I’m working on more, now, and something I’ve had some formal training in, which always helps.

That’s not the case with photography, which is more of a supplementary activity, always good for putting online. In saying that, I have a friend (one of a few mysterious accomplices of Ruptured World!) who is a very fine photographer with a great knowledge and approach in what he does. Those really great photos you can see on my Instagram page, for example, are his. He did the photo for the cover of “Frontiers of Disorder” on the Ruptured World Bandcamp page.

The not so good photos, the ones taken on a cell phone and put through a filter, those are ones that I’ve taken. I try to take photographs of some of the places I go to for field recording or video footage trips, just to share for interest and fun. Fans of Dark Ambient are almost always people who have an interest in the natural world. So anything I can capture of any atmospheric or dramatic scenes, I’ll put it online in the hope it’s of interest.

9. Getting back to your music; What is your recording setup like? Do you use mainly VST’s, analog/digital equipment, analog instruments, or a combination of them all.

It’s a combination of different things—digital synths, a lot of sampling of sounds, voices and acoustic instruments, as well as objects. A lot of the piano sounds I’ll use are recorded live on a really nice Roland digital piano I’ve got. It can bring some really good room ambience, and sometimes the noise of the keys, that I really like, giving it a sort of haunted feel. Samples and sounds derived from field recordings, as well as voice samples, are things I use more and more. I have some percussion instruments, too. I’ll have some core sounds or samples that I tend to use regularly, but with lots of room for experimentation and trying out new things.

10. Other than your Ruptured World project, do you have any other main musical ventures?

Just Ruptured World! I did dabble with some horrorsynth stuff a while back, and it’s a type of music I enjoy. But it’s not where my interests lie, really.

11. I know that you recently contributed to the ‘Hastur’ Cryo Chamber collaboration album – which was phenomenal by the way. Have you been featured on any other collaboration projects?

Glad you enjoyed it! I haven’t yet featured on any other collaborations, but there may be a couple of things in the pipeline to look out for!

12. Do you have any recording plans for 2020?

Yes, I’ve actually got another “Planetary” album currently under production, so look out for that one. And I’m also working on music for video productions like the ones I’ve already produced and put on YouTube, with an aim to putting together an album at some time in the future. And there’s one or two top secret collaborations that may soon be underway. So a few things going on.

13. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions. Do you have any final thought for anyone that may be reading this?

My pleasure. Thank you! I would just encourage people to keep listening, keep supporting the artists, and keep searching the skies for the gods of Dark Ambient, who must surely be out there, watching over us as we speak.

Links:

https://rupturedworld.bandcamp.com

http://alistairrennie.com

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

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