Witnesses Compose A Dark, Noir Cinematic Score On Modestly Titled, ‘III’

Motion pictures and ambient music have a long history together. Whether it’s from mystery or crime/drama movies from the 1950’s, or modern day horror & science fiction films, the recognizable screeches and drones become the lifeblood of any scene requiring a change in adrenaline or emotion, albeit from live orchestrations or manipulative synth arrangements. When the combination of the two are matched perfectly, there is nothing more audibly or visually entertaining that will get your senses moving on all cylinders. What’s even better, is when we have this same kind of musical experience that doesn’t necessarily go along with a feature film. Instead, we rely on the impassioned vibe of the music to allow us to create our own visual – our mental motion picture, if you will. That leads me to Witnesses and the release of their latest effort, ‘III’. Filled with dark, cinematic-themed tunes and great use of urban-styled field recordings, ‘III’ sounds as if its a soundtrack already made for a movie that hasn’t even been written yet. From top-quality orchestrations & sparsely used vocals to soothing synth drones, ‘III’ runs the gamut of audio variety.

The albums aptly titled lead off track, “Introduction”, is a tranquilizing synth arrangements that could easily compliment the opening credits of a movie, good enough to draw the audience in without giving away too much. “The First Part”, has some creepy orchestral droning in the background, while a melodic piano piece starts the track. Broken down into several pieces, this near twelve minute long song could be used for several genres of movies, including crime (from around two and a half minute to the five minute mark), science fiction (from around six and a half to the nine minute mark), and drama due to the heavy use of field recordings for the remainder of the time. “The Second Part” starts with a simple keyboard drone followed by beautiful female vocals that make this one of the standout tracks on the album. The sound is crystal clear and production is crisp. About halfway through, the tone shifts to a discordant style orchestral tone as if a distressed or uptight moment has come about. It suddenly stops and when the music starts again, we’re greeted with live drums to close out the track. “The Third Part” featured more ethereal style droning, with various soundscapes integrated in the mix to add some variety. At around the three minute mark, were treated to a warm and melodic part that features a guitar and drum arrangement. “The Fourth Part” is heavier on the synth part than some of the previous tracks but the songwriting is great and the end result is a smooth, memorable dark Jazz moment. “The Fifth Part” blazes in with a nerving introduction before morphing into a consoling chamber music tune with exceptional vocals. Toward the end of the track, there is an awesome 80’s retro synth wave arrangement, that fits in perfectly. “The Sixth Part” melodic synth drones that crescendo in and out of the mix several times and the free space is augmented by effortless piano playing. The last few minutes of this track features some evil sounding dark ambient drones. The final track “The Seventh Part” is a short piece that again features the drums and clean guitar riffs that play over a steady orchestral sounding drone. As the drums fade out, the droning continues until the song finally comes to a halt.

Witnesses have done a great job combining the elements of cinematic score and ambient music. Although there are other elements thrown in like vocals, guitars and drums, the basic concept of creating a rugged soundtrack that could cover several genres of movies has been met. This is an excellent album that is full of surprises and I would love to hear this actually matched up with a movie one day. Please show your support for Witnesses and download ‘III’ at the link below.

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Disen Gage Relinquish Orthodox Control On ‘Nature’, A Complex Adventure Of Psychedelic Infused Dark Ambience

For those of you that keep up with my blog must know by now that I have a particular formula for writing reviews and I rarely stray from that. I try my best to come up with a captivating headline that will grab the attention of the audience. Additionally, I write an introduction that relates the album (being reviewed) to a particular topic based on the imagination and emotions that are felt from the music, provide a detail of each track, and then close it with a final statement that summarizes all of the above. In most cases, my headlines come pretty naturally, but on Disen Gage’s tripped-out, experimental dark ambient outing called ‘Nature’, that wasn’t the case. Although this is quite the compelling album, I was almost at a loss for words when giving a quick synopsis of how to describe it. Then, after repeated listens, it hit me. This Russian duo goes above and beyond to eliminate the conventional means of producing dark ambient music by providing theme-based samples and soundscapes. The result is three tracks of nearly forty nine minutes of impulsive and experimental greatness.

“Planets” suddenly blazes through like a space craft coming out of warp speed, only to find itself in a harmful situation. As the space craft starts taking devastating hits from surrounding shrapnel, system alarms begin pulsating with anxious volumes as this song restlessly generates abrupt noises that match the situation. As this emergency condition draws to an end, the track eases into a hollow, deep space anthem that breeches the lines of industrial and black ambience. Horrifying sounds and effects throughout signify that danger isn’t over for this mission and the onboard systems aren’t under human control. Finally, toward the end, the madness winds down and deeps space ambience prevails. A strange song sample plays cautiously in the background as if it’s a long lost transmission that’s been accidentally intercepted. “Trains” is a dark and perplexing tune that features various train sound samples, arranged perfectly to create a particular despondency. The drones are creepy and sound as if they are long, drawn out screeches of locomotives trying to come to a sudden stop. As the train samples continue to make their presence felt in various ideas and speeds, one final pass of a lengthy caravan closes out this stunning and unique track. The final brilliant track is “Animals”, and if the bleak sounds of these oppressive drones don’t have you on edge, then how about the sixteen plus minutes of manipulated animal sounds. Twisted into bizarre tempos and speeds, this can seriously creep you out if not prepared for it. However, there is a massive amount of genius behind this idea and it works amazingly well for this track. The final few minutes include metal guitar riffs played with an echo effect and provides an off-the-wall psychedelic vibe to close out this extraordinary & unique song and album.

Disen Gage take musical experimentation to a whole new lever on ‘Nature’ by providing theme-based samples for each song that they go with. These three tracks travel through space, in rural city scapes and in natural habitats where animals are the alpha predators of the area. The substance of theses tracks is massive and the creativity is top notch. I will definitely be spending more time getting to know the music of Disen Gage. For those of you that are new to this artist and have a love for ambient and experimental music, don’t look past ‘Nature’, as this is an excellent starting point. I highly recommend checking out this album.

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Cameraoscura Lay The Haunting Foundation For A Dystopian Future With ‘Quod Est Inferius’

When it comes to setting a scene for a dystopian future, I immediately think about movies such as “Blade Runner”, “The Running Man” or “Total Recall”, where overcrowding in a technology consumed society is ruled by government furnished law enforcement. The buildings seem to be built a mile high, with flying cars, gas masks and the skyline barely sees any sunlight. The music that portrays this era is dissonant, dark and ritualistic to surmount to the equivalence of misery and oppression in human culture. If there is one current artist that characterizes these exploits, it’s Cameraoscura, and their latest offering ‘Quod Est Inferius’ depicts a horrid scene of a bleak future with civilization on the brink of destruction. This album is like a day in the life of a citizen, fighting for survival while abandoning all hope.

Establishing the scenario that will cause uncivilized turmoil is “Atanor”. Creepy soundscapes and bludgeoning drones are introduced at a frightfully low tone and eerie spoken words counteract the disparity. Suddenly, at around the three and a half minute mark, rhythmic electronic beats cascade through the layers of sound and embed a cadenced pattern that is rarely heard in this form of music. The outcome is simply amazing! “Admixio” has the soothing but crisp sounds of retro synth wave with the occasional low growl. Mesmerizing soundscapes provide a wall of sound as this track represents the less chaotic form of dystopia, but at the same time, showcasing the horrifying extinction of existence. “V.I.T.R.I.O.L.” Is another consoling arrangement, but as the track crescendos in volume, austere frequencies send a chilling reminder of dark times. Once again, a downtempo style beat comes into play and mixes well with the keyboards and drones of this track, putting the listener in a trance-like state until the very end. “Interitus” covers a broad range of low-end sounds in pure dark ambient fashion while at the halfway point of the song, an EDM style beat starts up at a ferocious pace (for this type of music at least), and takes us on an unhinged path of life at dawn, where the sun is never fully exposed, but the pain of survival continues. “Attera” is a short track full of deranged industrial sounds and euphoric samples, complimented by a harsh beat, as if the ultimate battle between citizens and government were suddenly taking place with hopes of setting a new outcome for the dystopian wasteland it has become. Following the harshness is “Solve”, a short melodic piece that introduces beauty amongst the chaos with its melodic keyboard tones. The final track on the album, “Ultima Necat” starts with serene synth tones and effects that bend from side to side. Abruptly, a distorted guitar riff begins playing slowly, over and over again, while layers of harmonious discord play compliment to the harsh noise. Whether it’s the end of mankind, or the dawn of a new beginning, this track sets the bar for climactic album endings, especially one that deal with a specific and relatable theme.

Cameraoscura are on to something new and exciting within the dark ambient community. While still maintaining the complexity of sequencing drones and soundscapes, danceable beats are added to several tracks to breath new life in the genre. I must say it works very well. It may not be for everyone, but I certainly love this style and hope that Cameraoscura will continue down this path of musical innovation. I highly recommend checking this out and I’m quite certain you’ll not be disappointed.

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Infinexhuma Assembles Dismal Drones And Manic Soundscapes On ‘Unasan’ That Resonate Into Eternal Obliteration

The subtleties of darkness are all around and coagulate into many forms. As the adversaries of evil try to expose the inherent workings of malevolent entities, the bleak becomes gloomier and dreary, causing a longing for inner peace. This longing turns into a desolate energy in the form of ‘Unasan’, the near two hour master work from Infinexhuma that is saturated with ritualistic drones, resounding dark ambience and industrial-strength soundscapes. Comprising of some of the most well thought out arrangement I’ve ever heard on a dark ambient recording, these tracks have a trance-like quality that will captivate you from beginning to end. Also, for the most part, it is a very minimalistic recording, but the nuances that are mixed in is what makes this stand out amongst its peers.

The aptly titled album opener, “The Warning”, starts with spoken word intro, as if the devil himself is conveying a cautionary message. The sizzles of a crackling fire and forceful winds in the background set a scene of spiteful terror. “Asahskar” has a very deep and cold drone that is oddly soothing, while the sounds that resemble the random strums of a distorted guitar provide a chilling ensemble of dreariness. The fourteen minute long “Suffocation” is a horrific sounding drone with terrifying audio and voice samples that will make your skin crawl. As the deep tones smother your intrinsic senses, mind-altering harmonies can be heard, creating a layer of beautiful eeriness. “Feel Their Eyes” is like waking up in the middle of nowhere, as this industrial ambient nightmare grows louder and stronger, reeking havoc on the state of mind. “Fighting Back” features some beautiful keyboard sounds, wind chimes and various other field recordings to go with the very relaxing ambient texture that flows ever so smoothly in the background. “Dreaming In Nightmares” continues the winning combination of sparse, yet eclectic vocal patterns, futuristic soundscapes and field recording. If this is the sound of true nightmares, then you better fight to stay awake. “Freedom Window” is a nice change of pace as it begins with an alluring piano arrangement before fading into a minimalistic drone. The detail in this track is immaculate and it’s one of the most creative efforts on the album. “Past Taker Oni” begins with a wall of static-like sound followed by a horrifying narration, as if evil has spoken yet again. Although barely audible, you can tell that the message being conveyed is meant to terrorize it’s listeners. “The’u Rang Pit (feat. Neraterræ)” contains inhuman sounds and deep grumbling as if the lifeless bodies of purgatory are being processed for an afterlife of eternal damnation. The soundscapes are so heinous sounding, listening to this at night through headphones are bound to give you nightmares. The clean piano arrangement at the end of this track is incredible and fits perfectly with this song. It’s almost meditative in nature and I don’t want it to end. “Violent Tara” begins with the creepy sounds of Tibetan bells played randomly. Spoken word augments the usual drone space in this bizarre track, as other demonic vocalizations can be heard a well. Is this song doesn’t mess with your mind, then I don’t know what will. “Peace Beyond Death” is another fantastic drone that proves that it’s always possible to do more with less. Through minimal droning, the exquisitely places soundscapes create such a monstrous atmosphere on this track, that I consider it one of my favorites on the album. “The Edge Of Resistance” is another track that pushes the fourteen minute mark. Starting with what sounds to be digital water drops, it soon turns to a frigid drone with malevolent textures and soundscapes. The final track on the album is “Goodbye Host”. Starting with church organs and a spoken word narration in the form of a prayer, it morphs into a very unique drone/rock song, with a nice drum beat and bass line, as if it were being used as an “ending credits” song for a movie. Even those this track is different from the rest of the album, dynamically it fits right in and I think it is the perfect ending to the masterful album.

It’s no wonder why Neraterræ chose Infinexhuma for a guest spot on his 2019 album, ‘The Substance Of Perception’. With his keen sense for detail, audial imaging and dynamic approach to these types of arrangements, Infinexhuma is a champion of the dark ambient genre. ‘Unasan’ is just an example of exactly how good he is at crafting dark ambient and drone music while keeping it interesting and challenging to the listener. From calm piano arrangements to harsh industrial ambient sounds, ‘Unasan’ has it all and you won’t be disappointed in this near two hour long recording. Please support Infinexhuma and download this excellent album from the link below.

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R0[nought] Transmit Caustic Drone Sequences On Dismal Dark Ambient Album, ‘Pestis’

Take a moment to imagine an abandoned, industrialized city in a not so distant future, where a heavy leakage of pollutants has caused chaos amongst its civilization. As toxicity fills the air, anarchy quickly turns into desertion as the physical elements of the city start to deteriorate. However, this desolate environment does have life after all, as the seemingly rapid infestation of diseased rodents and bugs manifest at the heart of the contamination and feed on the remains of whatever is left from the catastrophic occurrence. This is a new dark world and with no hope of a possible human return. With that, I present to you ‘Pestis’ by R0[nought], a turbulent, dark ambient adventure that portrays this vivid narrative with its morose drones and potent soundscapes. These six ghoulish tracks provide the textures of endless nightmares through the essence of addictive, yet bleak noises that grip you like a straight jacket.

Blighted album opener, “Xenopsylla Cheopis” accelerates with volume like an early warning alarm, alerting everyone that imminent danger is on the horizon. The bleak soundscapes create an audial distress vessel as the anxiety-filled drones never let up from start to finish. “Miseria” should be called horror ambient, as the dismal sounds in this track, are downright disturbing at times. Brief synth pads add a cinematic quality, but it doesn’t take away from the near ten minutes of terror that this composition provides. The claustrophobic drone sounds on “The Forsaken Dead I” will provide a feeling of consternation as you continue you battle with anxious thoughts while listening to this recording. You’ll find yourself drifting off to a dark place, hoping that you’ll be able to return once the song is over. “The Forsaken Dead II” continues the same unrelenting experience as the previous track, however, elements of industrial ambient are thrown in to increase the mental suffering. “A Blackening Of The Flesh” has components of space ambient but various malevolent sounds create an unpleasant sense of doom, like a flesh-eating virus manifesting its way throughout the spacecraft to claim the lives of all onboard. The albums final arrangement, “Carrion IV” is eleven and a half minutes of maelstrom induced ambient that shifts through dark colors and gray’s, setting an apocalyptic tone for the cold, dark ending. As the song slowly winds down, it fades into a deep, black drone that represents total annihilation.

R0[nought] has gone above and beyond in conceiving a terrifying dark ambient album that empowers the listener to open their imagination (and fears) to conceive a story that conceptualizes the music. Although there are many forms of dark ambient, ‘Pestis’ is extremely bleak and frightful and is slightly more dismal than your typical ambient recording. Additionally, I appreciate how elements of other types of musical disciplines are added, showing a keen versatility of the artist. This is one album you don’t want to pass on so please support this brilliant artist by downloading the album from the link below, or by purchasing the cassette release.

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Sádon & Treha Sektori Coalesce Haunting Vocals & Ethereal Soundscapes On Quaint Collaboration, ‘Symphony Of Dying’

When musical atmospheres collide, the nebulous outcome can sometimes be so tremendous, that the infinite drift while under its influence can be mind-altering. Combining celestial vocal sequences with ambiguous soundscapes and textures is just what Sádon & Treha Sektori have done in order to achieve this magnificent milestone. ‘Symphony Of Dying” is a staggering collaboration of epic proportions, even though it clocks in at under thirty minutes. Although rooted in dark ambient, Sádon & Treha Sektori offer so much more to satisfy the senses.

Daring album opener, “Shadow”, is a culmination of layered vocalizations with minimal soundscapes, as the duo calmly draw the listener into their world before unleashing a somber, wall-of-sound presentation. “Elimination” slowly creeps in like an overweight locomotive bound for a far-off destination. As the vocals and instrumentation collide, a sense of euphoria and serenity take over, eradicating thoughts of anything else but the music itself. Pulsating percussion makes its presence felt, congealing the overall sound of this harrowing track. “Wolfs Day” flows in a very placid state, but by the time the vocals hit, the feeling of precariousness sets in, locking the listener in on a musical journey. “Spear Over Our Heads” provides sedative drones with eccentric hisses and layered keyboards full of melodic tones as if vicariously anticipating a morning sunrise in a distant wasteland. The final track, “Aegeus” mysteriously has about twenty five seconds of silence before a sudden soundscape intro begins. Various instrument sounds sway in and out of the recording in a horrific way, as if to say an apocalyptic journey toward a final destination has been reached. Never swaying far from this format, as the instruments fade out, the track dies off with an eerie drone.

Although ‘Symphony Of Dying’ is a short audio affair, it is a compelling adventure that will keep the listeners attention from start to finish. I’ve listened to this album quite a few times now and I don’t think I’ve ever skipped a track. It’s just that good and needs to be heard from the beginning until the end. I hope to hear more collaborations from Sádon & Treha Sektori in the future, but until then, I’ll cherish this superb recording. Please support this excellent album by downloading it from the link below.

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Eyre Transmissions III: Interview With Ambient/Winter Synth Artist, Winterblood

Every once in a while, an artist comes along and consistently produces albums that immediately grab your attention from the very first note and captivates you until they fade off into the cold silence. For me, Winterblood is one of those artists and from the very first time I heard the album ‘Waldeinsamkeit I-III’, I knew I was listening to something special. After getting my hands on the back catalog and quickly downloading anything that comes out new, it’s apparent that Winterblood is an extraordinary addition to the winter synth/ambient community. I recently had the opportunity for a Q&A session to find out what drives such a momentous force behind the atmosphere. Enjoy!

1. First of all, thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview. Can you tell me how Winterblood came about?

Hello there! To talk about Winterblood, means to looking back at my childhood first of all. I remember a film called Antarctica, where the haunting melodies played by Vangelis left an indelebile sign on me; I was so attracted by that landscapes, dogs, and all that atmosphere. All so hostile and dramatic, but at the same time so comfortable. As the years passing by, searching for that power and feelings, I discovered the distorted guitar, and soon I was involved in metal music. In 1997 I started recording with some pc softwares, under the influence of very great act in Cold Meat Ind. and Burzum ambient style, and I find out that only the synth can bring that ‘not human’ character that I was looking for. Winterblood is something within me since the beginning and recognized through sounds and images.

2. You have a pretty lengthy discography! What are some of the challenges that you face while consistently writing such impressive material?

I put no limits in what I’m doing. Most of the albums are similar? May the other dimension brings me in the same direction! I’m just a kind of medium doing atmospheres, not ‘songs’. I’m still discovering my inner voices.

3. Sometimes I wonder if Winterblood is a dark ambient project or a dungeon synth project, or maybe a mix of both. What genre would you classify it as?

If I had to choose a term, it would be Polar ambient; ‘dungeon synth’ is more fantasy oriented, and my project is focused on spiritual affairs through coldness and blackness.

4. Music wise, many Winterblood albums have a trance-like quality to them, enabling the listener to drift off in a meditative state. Is it your intention to provide this type of introspective state?

All is about intuition. Every note, every drone you hear, is recorded following inner voices (I repeat myself), voices that make me dream, make me sleep, make me relax, and bring my imagination in a no-limit zone, where all is infinite and beautiful at the same time. In Winterblood, all comes from the darkness, and look how all is bright! Purification through listening, through making music. If it works with me, may it can works with others, and is real cool to have positive feedbacks. To quote my page site: ‘… the really ambitious goal is to put the listener – after a reassuring prelude – into a cold state of loss and confusion; this may causes an awakening…’. Intentional? Of course.

5. When you set out to record a Winterblood album, do you have a plan in place for a particular sound or style or do you improvise based on your feelings at the time?

I spend hours doing tests, sounds, and right fx. The visions leads all, as intuition as well. Music flows naturally cold, ripetitive, obsessive, but at the same time melodic, hypnotic… It’s not about technic, but magic and sensibility.

6. Do you play and record with physical equipment, VST’s or a mix of both?

In the past I usually worked with softwares and plug ins, with the time all is went in the analogue direction. With this equipment I can give originality to my works, something unique.

7. Do you draw inspiration from any particular bands or other genres of music? If so, what/who are they?

As said before, the Cold Meat ind. scene has a great impact on Winterblood. Act like Aghast, first Ordo Equilibrio, Mz412, Sephiroth, Raison d’Être… But also Eliane Radigue, Burzum ambient-era, Apoptose…

8. One of my favorite Winterblood albums is ‘Waldeinsamkeit I-III’. Is there a distinct theme for that album that makes it so special?

Waldeinsamkeit is an album the literally ‘break the borders’. Why? Still don’t know. All is strange behind these album, from the beginning to the end. What make it so special? The total alchemy between artwork and music. It is so nocturnal, mysterious, magic, really describes as well the title itself. Thanx goes again to Canto Críptico label for the first tape press and artwork, and Kunsthall prod. for the massive Lp release that is unbelievable.

9. You recently released ‘Hiraeth’ which was an impressive 3 hour plus long recording. What inspired you to write such a mammoth of an album?

The purpose is to inaugurate a series of releases focused on meditation, Hiraeth as first. I was looking for something very extreme, something that can makes you dream up, sleep, and floating without an end, something eternal. Of course length is fundamental in this. Hiraeth, as other Winterblood opus, is inspired by my obsession for the grey color, dark woods, old vintage illustrations, and the melancholy for something lost, that is nothing but the lost the original perfection.

10. Can you tell me a little more about your side project called Macchine Per Comunicazioni Spiritiche?

MPCS is just a container for bizarre experiments. Let’s see…

11. Are you involved with any other projects (that you care to discuss)?

Absolutely not. Winterblood is my only project.

12. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions. Do you have any final words or thoughts for the Winterblood fans that will be reading this?

First of all thank you for let me open a window to my music, and thanx to all the supporters around the world! A lot is on the making…