Eighth Tower Records unveils companion book for ‘The Black Stone – Music For Lovecraftian Summonings’

The Black Stone – Stories For Lovecraftian Summonings

In January of this year, Eighth Tower records released another groundbreaking album of Dark Ambient resonance that featured the best-of-the-best artist of the genre. Some of them are amongst my favorite and include Mombi Yuleman, Alphaxone, Ashtoreth, NEW RISEN THRONE and Moloch Conspiracy to name a few. All of these artist successfully constructed Lovecraftian-themed tracks of fascinating darkness and a sonic exploratory of unmatched mythical subject matter. Fast forward a few months and we find another innovative event for Eighth Tower Records in the form of their first-ever book release. A companion to ‘The Black Stone’ album, it is entitled, ‘The Black Stone – Stories For Lovecraftian Summonings’ and features twenty seven tales of horror inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos.

Here is some additional information about the book and writers, as found on the Eighth Tower Records Bandcamp page:

Featuring: Ramsey Campbell, Brian M Sammons, Glynn Owen Barrass, Lucy A. Snyder, E.A. Black, Chris Kelso, Andrew Coulthard, Stephen Mark Rainey, Kevin Lewis, Richard A. Scott, Russell Smeaton, John Buja, Made in DNA, David Agranoff, Pete Rawlik, Brian C. Short, Michael Housel, John Chadwick, David Voyles, Konstantine Paradias, Edward Morris, Parry Milton, Phil Breach, Garrett Cook, Andrew Freudenberg, Love Kolle, Sarah Walker.

Curated by Raffaele Pezzella
Cover illustration by John Chadwick
Editing by Parry Milton

https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/merch/the-black-stone-stories-for-lovecraftian-summonings-book-cd
https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-black-stone-music-for-lovecraftian-summonings

Grab a copy of this book before it’s sold out and if you’ve not heard the amazing album that was released back in January, do yourself a favor a download that one right away for a stunning audial experience.

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Links:

https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/music

https://unexplainedsoundsgroup.bandcamp.com

Cryo Chamber Label’s Seventh Lovecraftian Collaboration, ‘Yig’, Is The Most Versatile Offering In The Series Yet

Since 2014, the Cryo Chamber label has embarked on an annual endeavor that epitomizes the meaning of artist collaboration. Paying tribute to world renowned author – and creator of the Cthulhu Mythos – H.P. Lovecraft, these musical ventures have proven time and time again to be epically daring and adventurous beyond the realm of typical artistry participation. Consisting of mainly album-length tracks, these Lovecraftian collaborations find the gathering of current Cryo Chamber artists, alumni of the label, and additional artists that are some of the best in the business. As each album culminates an evolution of sound and dynamics, they also improve with more sophistication and a variation of modular potency. The seventh (and latest) album in the series, ‘Yig’, consists of two songs that are around seventy minutes in length each and the transparency of these arrangements make it the most accessible and auditory one yet.

“Yig 1” wastes no time in creating a cinematic ambience, as mystifying soundscapes and fearless drones find a balance between sinister accord and Middle Eastern vibes. Percussive elements of a tribal nature begin to create a ritualistic groove that challenges the senses which results in being caught between darkness and a theatrical emotive state. As the percussion slowly fades, it gives way to deep, peaceful drones that succeed in delegating mental prowess to the subconscious. Various field recordings and effects paint an eerie scene, but this is just the beginning. At the twelve and a half minute mark, electronic beats add a rhythmic cadence that is downright sinister, but it is also a well designed section for this track as it adds an authentic layout to the ominous subject matter. One of my favorite sections of this track starts at around the twenty eight minute mark. Up to this point, the output has been mostly dark and malevolent in nature, but here there is a particular calmness that is a perfect inclusion. Layers of vibrant drones create a spacey vibe while keeping it melancholic at the same time. It’s so easy to get lost in this section as it’s so dreamy and introspective. If you’ve not done so up to this point, you’ll want to close your eyes and soak in the fantasy world that is being created. This section carries on for about seven minutes or so before traversing into darker territories again. At around the forty seven and a half minute mark, another important section of this track is introduced. Commencing with a good mix of field recordings, it is soon joined by West Asian instrumentation and some wicked vocalizations that are barely audible. After a few more very powerful sections of this track, we finally make it to the last few minutes, which ends in the same fashion as it started – unique field recordings and beautiful instrumentations that provide the cinematic finale to this grandiose piece. “Yig 2” is another impressive feat of legendary proportions. Starting with dark, desolate drones and apocalyptic soundscapes, the beginning sets a ravaging pace of systematic annihilation for the next seventy minutes. At around six and a half minutes, spacious drones meander in slow motion while a calming effect pierce through its dense layers. The looping effect creates an arcane sensation and the trance-like results are mind blowing. Another impressive section begins at around nineteen minutes in. As one section transparently fades into the next, this one has soaring guitar and piano leads with almost a dark noir sound. I could listen to a whole album of this stuff. Well played and just enough distortion on the percussive parts to change things up a bit, this is one of my favorite parts on the whole album. Starting at around the thirty two minute mark is probably one of the most essential sections on the album, as it really provides that nostalgic Lovecraftian vibe of horror and fascination for darkness. The bombastic drum beats combines with various drones and soundscapes create a menagerie of sound that is addictive and suggestive of the subject matter. Ominous and explosive black ambience is captured at around fifty two minutes in, as elements of industrialized drones begin to take over. The sound continues to grow darker and more perilous as a sense of anxiety begins to mount. However after a few minutes, that is counteracted by soft, soothing drones that successfully develop into an emotional journey for the final few minutes of this monumental album.

One of the most impressive aspects of the ‘Yig’ collaboration is how over twenty artists from all over the world, supply a version of their craft for this themed story with absolutely no opacity between parts. We’re talking two, seventy plus minutes tracks of some of the best arranged Dark Ambient material that has been produced recently. That extraordinary effort has made ‘Yig’ one of my favorites amongst the Cryo Chamber Lovecraft Collaboration series. If you’ve not heard this yet, I highly recommend checking it out by clicking on the link below.

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Links:

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

Abstract Conveyances Demand Universal Reciprocity On Mauve Zone’s ‘Transmissions From Carcosa’

I want to take a minute to appreciate the hard work that these Dark Ambient artists do to establish a story (or theme, if you will) for the audial juggernaut that comes to fruition at the end result of their albums. Not only do they go “all out” to always provide high-quality music, but producing a noble storyline is equally as important in order to assist in delivering a valuable product to us fans. That especially holds true on Mauve Zone’s valiant ‘Transmissions From Carcosa’ album. Showing a major Lovecraftian influence, this album digs deep into mythological worlds and obscure subject matter to deliver a creative realm of dark ambience with trance-like impulses and mystical drones on seven massive tracks.

“The Calling From Hyades” begins with a long, drawn out crescendo of tonal modulations that turns into a sonic drone, and the foundation for the first part of this near ten minute long track. As the drone passes and slowly fades, the ringing of bells signifies an endless apprehension of foreboding soundscapes that will follow. Although a bit minimalistic – as far as composition goes – the effects run the gamut from deep sounds to higher pitched synth pad intonations. “The Shores Of Lake Hali” commences with ominous soundscapes, as if providing the audial imagery for a horror film. Although the feeling is rather calm, it’s more intense than soothing and the range of harrowing variety will leave you in anticipation for more dismal sounds that may follow. “Fungi From Yuggoth” starts with an oppressive, industrial beat with an echo effect and along with the drone that is contributed, sounds bleak and poignant. Although this sound remains constant throughout, minor adjustments are added and frequency distortions are thrown in to give it that futuristic and mechanized feel. “Cassilda’s Song” begins with an extremely cold vibe, complements of the dissonant sound effects and layered drones. Slight alterations are made to this otherwise track-long, steady composition and sound bits of vocal narrations are added as well. An overall very creepy augury, it’s exactly how I envision Dark Ambient to sound when representing Lovecratian subject matter. Next up is the industrious piece, “The Yellow Sign”. Massive, swaying drones assuage the subconscious while synth chops play a manufactured sound of cold, discordant harmonies. Distorted attunement adds a sense of unity to this complex score and its trance-like arrangement is mesmerizing. “Tatters Of The King” compiles the best features of darkwave and synthwave and fuses them with Dark Ambient soundscapes to produce one of the best tracks on the album. A mosaic of instrumentation is fine tuned and perfectly deconstructed on this song and as the listener gets lost in the conglomerate of modulations, the represented story starts to unfold. The final track on the album, “The Red Comet” is a soundtrack worthy composition and the songwriting translates amazingly well to the synth and pad arrangements. Exotic sound effects present a retrospective feeling as this massive album comes to a close. This track is a warm light that shines bright behind the dark, grim songs that proceeded it. An excellent way to end this album that will immediately make you want to give this a second spin.

Mauve Zone’s ‘Transmissions From Carcosa’ is a spectacular album that paints a dark, fascinating picture of a mythological world of Lovecraftian influence. There is a variety of music on this album that breaks the monotony of minimalistic droning and I love the industrial and synthwave influences on several of these tracks. If this is a sign of things to come, then Mauve Zone will soon be a favorites amongst Dark Ambient fans. I highly recommend this album so please click on the link below and support Mauve Zone.

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Links:

https://mauvezone.bandcamp.com/album/transmissions-from-carcosa

Celestial Ephemerides: A Collection Of Dark Ambient Summary Reviews, Part I

This is my second Celestial Ephemerides posting but the first one that dives into the Dark Ambient genre. Like I mentioned previously, I’m hoping these summary reviews will tide you over while I plow through my endless list of review requests with the hopes of getting caught up one day soon. All of these albums are incredible and it would be awesome if you would show your support for some (or all) of these amazing releases.

1. Cryo Chamber – Tomb Of Wights

Cryo Chamber Label’s Tomb Series, is one of my favorite collections of Dark Ambient releases. Instead of the typical collaboration effort, the Tomb series brings together many artists and allows them to provide their own cinematic input based on the theme. ‘Tomb Of Wights’ is an exceptional addition to the series and features some of my favorite Dark Ambient artists. The majestic quality of these tracks flow effortlessly, while magnificent drones and soundscapes provide a groundbreaking experience in audial sub-harmonics.

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/tomb-of-wights

2. Deus Ex Lumina – Summoning

‘Summoning’ is a very unique album and is not typical of the Dark Ambient genre. Monolithic drones and callus soundscapes lay the foundation for vibrant orchestrations and symphonic melodies. Additionally, beautiful female vocals and worldly musical intonations can be heard throughout this recording, adding a delicate layer of harmony and variety. This is one that you can definitely go back and listen to over and over again.

https://deusexlumina.bandcamp.com/album/summoning-full-album-dark-ambient

3. Hiemis – Radix

Hiemis is the real deal when it comes to introspective Dark Ambient. Taking a minimalistic approach, Hiemis builds upon dreamy drones that border warm and dark ambient variances and instead of relying on heavy use of field recordings and sonic soundscapes, rich synth textures creates the dynamic and robust atmosphere. ‘Radix’ epitomizes all of these qualities and delivers an auditory masterpiece that is equally soothing and appealing to the depth perception of a cinematic music imagery.

https://noctivagantcollective.bandcamp.com/album/radix

4. The Oracle – Hypogeum

‘Hypogeum’ is way more than a Dark Ambient album; it’s a visionary conquest in experimental & electronic music in general. Although robust drones are used through this recording, it’s the excellent use of percussion, industrial soundscapes and the variety of synth tones that makes this such an adventurous outing. This is an audial experience that must be heard to be understood and thoroughly appreciated.

https://theoraclema.bandcamp.com/album/hypogeum

5. Harrogat – Ignotvs

When I’m in the mood for indisputable drones of the highest order, I usually look no further than Harrogat. ‘Ignotvs’ is a deep dive into the bare essence of Dark Ambient music and focuses on elongated drones and extremely bleak atmospherics. One advantage of this style is the complete embodiment of mind over matter and the ability of the listener to submerge themselves into a deep state of relaxation and remission from reality.

https://lakelabel.bandcamp.com/album/ignotus-2

6. Sydalesis – Dark Beam

Although not quite Dark Ambient, this is some of the most exhilarating ambient music that I’ve heard in quite a while. I can sense a huge Max Corbacho influence on these tracks as ‘Dark Beam’ has an effervescent quality about its tone and overall seamless flow. The Space Ambient quality that can be heard throughout is like an emotional ride through an euphoric realm. Very high-quality ambient music here.

https://sydalesis.bandcamp.com/album/dark-beam-2

7. Vortex – Helioz

‘Helioz’ is a daring Medieval adventure told through experimental musical and divine vocal narrations that will transport the listener back to ancient times. From whaling guitars, galloping tribal beats and engaging drones to foreboding soundscapes, this albums is the complete journey for the wandering mind. I guarantee that you won’t find many albums of this kind, that are completely enthralling and mesmerizing. Good luck waking up from this mystical expedition once the final song finishes.

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

8. Undirheimar – Heljarrúnar

This album is beyond amazing! Undirheimar sounds like a cross between Wardruna, Phurpa & Ashtoreth and ‘Heljarrúnar’ is a result of that fantastic fusion. This is ritualistic Dark Ambience at its most imposing stance. The overtone singing chants are the sustenance of these tracks, but the deep drones and primal percussive parts play a huge factors in creating an over-the-top cinematic experience. This is a must-listen for fans of ritualistic music.

https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/heljarr-nar

9. Desiderii Marginis – Departed

The variation of musical compositions on ‘Departed’ is beyond compare. From subdued drones and alluring soundscapes to astonishing vocal effects, this album has quite the mixture of Dark Ambient components to invoke various emotional states. In addition, evidence of synthwave can be spotted in several tracks, broadening the scope of sound to a more satisfying level.

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

10. Cernichov – The Mold Legacy

Pulsating, industrialized noises, distorted modulations and a conglomerate of obscure drones make up the bulk of the landscape on ‘The Mold Legacy’. These trance-like compositions are as crushing as they are mesmerizing. Although every track offers something a bit different, don’t expect smooth soundscapes and translucent textures. This album is a maniacal platform for agony relief, yet at the same time the listener will feel totally enthralled with the spacious vibes of each arrangement. This is not one to be overlooked.

https://cernichov.bandcamp.com/album/the-mold-legacy

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Randal Collier-Ford Ventures Down A Dark, Ritualistic Path on ‘Advent’

If you’re in the market for Dark Ambient that is loaded with substance and distinction, then look no further than Randal Collier-Ford. His unmistakable sound hangs in the balance between desolate drones and ritualistic terror. Somewhere amidst that rudimentary structure, frays of industrial modulations, sonic soundscapes and transcendental field recordings integrate seamlessly to present his signature take on Dark Ambient madness. However, on his latest effort, ‘Advent’, we find a broader approach to the songwriting venture, presenting a more melodic and cinematic sound than ever before. Ranging from effervescent orchestrations to tonal black ambience, ‘Advent’ is the Randal Collier-Ford album I’ve been waiting to hear for a very long time.

The opening track is the near twenty minute long juggernaut, “Beckoning Absurd Shapes”. It begins as expected – bleak, desolate soundscapes with a calm-before-the-storm approach. The drones ascend like low, howling winds and the sound of horns that resembles an early warning alarm enacts in the distance. Disturbing vibes continue to play out, creating an environment of angst and dread. Prolonged stringed arrangements add a slight gothic presence with a noir sediment. Ritualistic undertones in the form of dark, inaudible chants add a necessary layer of power and sonic presence to this track as it continues to ebb and flow with its audible storyline. The last half of this track is inundated with ghastly drones, beautiful stringed compositions and a variety of field recordings that will keep the listener engaged in this visionary conquest. The next track is “Eyes Of The Temple (feat. Northumbria)”. Northumbria – known for their textured guitar and bass recordings – adds a gripping layer of coldness that embodies the true essence of minimalistic ambience. The musical combination of these artists establishes a dreadful world of chaos and darkness that builds into a massive wall of sound. The star attraction in this track is the grandiose guitar reverb. It creates a sound so hollow and disturbing that it’s bound to create nightmarish effects. The final track on the album is the twelve minute long “The Second Wound”. Commencing with powerful drones of a destructive nature, this song slowly ascends into a world of desolate visions. A sultry piano arrangement leads into a tribal drum line of war-like proportions. Enormous soundscapes and industrialized summonings bring forth a climactic ending as the drones fade between the bombastic percussive parts. The track finally comes to a close, as the drums dissolve, leaving synth pads to create a fulfilling ending.

Randal Collier-Ford never disappoints, and has always delivered amazing results on his previous albums. However, with ‘Advent’, he’s stepped up his game and has conveyed his best performance yet. The epic track lengths make the difference for me, as they allow for the atmospherics to captivate the mind and dominate the emotional state. The Cryo Chamber label continues their effortless run of outstanding releases that continue to pioneer the Dark Ambient genre and ‘Advent’ embodies that streak completely. I highly recommend checking this one out so click on the link below and download this amazing album.

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Links:

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

Aleksis Tristan Shaw Reveals An Array Of Influences On The Cinematic ‘Drones Of The Hive’

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard to soak in and preserve a lasting affection for many of the albums that I review. It’s not that I don’t like them, in fact, I’ve been fortunate to love everything that I’ve reviewed up to this point. Once I’m finished with one, I tend to put that album on the back burner (for a while), so that I can move on to the next. However, there are many instances where an album stops me dead in my tracks and enthralls me for multiple listens, with an extended staying time on my iPhone. ‘Drones Of The Hive’ by Aleksis Tristan Shaw is one of those albums. Not your typical Dark Ambient release, this one digs deep into emotional wounds with grandiose, cinematic energy, ominous synth leads, and an endless supply of menacing soundscapes & textures that set the mood for continual meditative euphoria. The ten imposing tracks contained within, offer variety, horror, substance, and unequivocal entertainment for the better part of forty eight minutes. Let’s take a deeper dive into each of these tracks.

The album commences with the somber, “Human Remainder”. Soft keys and pads drift sadly as they create a lush melody that will instantly reel the listener in. Soon after, harsh, looping keyboard tones ring out like a warning alarm while the cinematic instrumentation increases. “Vestigial Cries” begins with low, tonal sounds that set a grim mood. High-pitched drones oscillate throughout the track, providing a glimmer of hope to the emotional vibe that was previously set. Layers of synths piece this track together boldly with hints of dissonance and conflict while never loosing focus on the contemplative state. “Shamanic Atavism” is brimming with discordant synth leads while the background sounds like a black metal style song into. This track is very dark, yet dreamy and introspective. “Tenement Graves” is another gloomy piece that features the sounds of a crackling fire and a nifty drum beat that fits right in with the pace of the synths. As the percussive parts change up, multi-layers of quixotic keys & pads provide a grandiose audial platform that’s so easy to get lost in. “Dukkha And Anatman” is a multifaceted track that goes from horror score, minimalistic droning, to cinematic bliss. The use of percussive elements really stick out as well, making this one of my favorite tracks on the album. “Drifting Consciousness” renders terrifying drones, looping soundscapes and unidentifiable noises that will keep the listener on edge. Although this is one of the shorter tracks on the album, it succeeds at masking a horrifying feeling of dread. “Fugitive Drone” is an addictive listen, as the quirky keys & pads fuse perfectly with the cosmic drones, proposing the feeling of a doomed celestial mission. About halfway in, a blast of malevolence alters the tempo, setting up for a lifeless finale that can’t be altered. On the polar opposite of the scale is “Untethered”. Looping tape hisses, minimalistic drones and obscure field recordings dominate this track and when the pulsating drum beat is initiated, it gets that much better. Amongst the crackles and pops, this is actually a really smooth and mellow song that deserves multiple listens. “Caravan Of Outcasts” begins with an ambiguous orchestral arrangement, like a symphony warming up in various keys just before the conductor provides the signal to silence everyone before starting a performance. However, there is beauty amongst the chaos, as melody can be heard throughout. Wind chimes and other field recordings add a layer of organic texture that makes this one stand out as well. The final offering on this wondrous album is, “The Wastelands”. Even though it’s less than three minutes long, this light ambient opus is full of emotions and provides a cleansing affect on the mind and soul. The energy surrounding these hollow drones is breathtaking and it seems to ends too quickly.

Aleksis Tristan Shaw certainly has an ear for not only Dark Ambient but synth music in general. Whether fascinating the listener with cinematic soundscapes, horrifying drones or melodic synth leads, Aleksis Tristan Shaw knows how to administer the perfect blend of music and emotion and the result of that fusion is ‘Drones Of The Hive’. If you’re into ambient recording with meticulous detail and a variety of flavors, then please show your support by downloading this amazing album from the link below. This is truly a masterpiece in sound quality and music depth and it deserves your attention.

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Links:

https://aleksistristanshaw.bandcamp.com/album/drones-of-the-hive

The Wyndham Research Institute Constructs A Retro-Grade Space Ambient Album With The Cosmic, ‘Interim Report No. 57: Io Transmitter Sub-Committee’ Release

When we think about the characteristics of space ambient music, usually deep, prolonged drones come to mind and they are complimented by resounding soundscapes that are celestial in nature. As a listener, we often feel as if we are alone on a spacecraft traveling through deep space on a doomed mission. However, not all space ambient albums have to carry out the same accord and that’s none more apparent than on the latest album by Wyndham Research Institute, ‘Interim Report No. 57: Io Transmitter Sub-Committee’. Elongated drones are replaced with retro synths and cosmic soundscapes that are more inline with a 60’s science fiction show soundtrack than modern space ambient. Fortunately, that’s the beauty of versatility in music and the creative complex. Although these compositions seem nostalgic, they are effective in creating a dark, intricate atmosphere that’s perfect for any ordinary space adventure.

Each of the seven tracks are presented as notes, as if to represent a transmitted sequence at a particular point of time. Right from the start, “Note I” has a retrospective feel and presents sound effects that could have be heard on a 60’s science fiction show. Minimalistic noises and tones serve as a beacon of nostalgia, just as older spacecraft lack the technology of newer ones. “Note II” begins with obscure modulation bends and frequency adjustments, as a smooth drone sets in to define the mission at hand. Organic effects tend to be a bit distorted and at around the halfway point, more antiquated tones generate a puzzling nuance as if an impromptu meeting with a foreign being is about to take place. The start of “Note III” reminds me of a special effect that Tool or Voivod would use, just before setting into a crushing riff. However, Wyndham Research Institute decides to dial back the noise to a low-frequency drone and more obscure soundscapes. Random ticks and buzzes play on throughout the track, making this a really unique experience. “Note IV” commences slowly into a hollow drone with piercing signals mixed in. Soon after, an 80’s-style horror themed synth pattern begins to play, making this one of the most terrifying tracks on the album. Assorted scratches and screeches intensify the scene as these unidentifiable patterns can only mean mayhem. “Note V” is like a spark of controlled chaos, as various discordances are fused together to present a grueling environment filled with intense moments and obscure happenings. Melodic keys are played throughout, adding a bit of peculiarity to this bizarre track. “Note VI” is one of the most accessible songs yet, as the smooth flowing drones prevail from the very beginning and ascend into layers of deep space bliss. Light soundscapes and an acoustic guitar strum are introduced as well, creating an intoxicating adventure. However, the additional attributes don’t last too long, as they slowly fade out and all that’s left is an austere drone to finish out the track. The final song on the album is “Note VII”. Commencing with a high-pitched frequency vibration and distorted ambience, the track shape-shifts into a mild-tempered hum with a slight Berlin School influence. The heartbeat-like percussive element is a welcomed sound to this final track as many new musical forms are merged together to what may be the best track on the album. The final minute consists of a continuous hiss, reminiscent of a combustion chamber of a spacecraft, thwarting a lonely cosmonaut into the far reaches of the universe.

Wyndham Research Institute have uniquely carved their own path for creating a variety of Dark Ambient, influenced by science fiction of an obsolete sound. This is also a breath of fresh air in the ever-growing Ambient community where modern, complex themes dominate most recordings. ‘Interim Report No. 57: Io Transmitter Sub-Committee’ is a rare treat for the Space Ambient sub-genre and is an unprecedented achievement for modern synth music. I highly recommend checking out this album so please support Wyndham Research Institute by download it from the link below.

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Links:

https://wyndhamresearch.bandcamp.com/album/interim-report-no-57-io-transmitter-sub-committee

Ashtoreth & Chthonia Join Forces To Conjure Ritualistic Ordeals On ‘Throne Of Astrōarchē’

To me, Dark Ambient is much more that a listening experience. It’s also a journey into ones own mind, to the realm where the conscious and subconscious rarely fuse together. Even though the soothing – often grim – elongated drones elevates our psyche to the realms of the unknown and produce a trance-like emotional state, there are other variables to consider as well. In the case of the magnificent collaborative effort of Ashtoreth & Chthonia, the use of ritualistic soundscapes, haunting narrations and chilling black metal-esque shrills can also produce a comparable outcome. On ‘Throne Of Astrōarchē’, four sinister compositions is all that is needed to coalesce the inner oracles of the mind, releasing a feeling of modular discomfort and ethereal tranquility.

To begin the ceremonial happenings, “Asir” boldly combine many of the elements I previously mentioned. Dark, liturgical soundscapes make a menacing introduction as they are combined with insane Black Metal styled vocal effects and sacred narrations that will have the listener fully engaged. Void of any prolonged drones, it is replaced by creepy sound effects that enhance the grim vocal arrangements. “Nehalennia” commences with a consoling drone that captures the essence of spiritual beauty, along with various soundscapes and ringing bells. I love how nothing is rushed, allowing for the mood of the music to take hold of the listener and bring them into this dark, captivating world. At almost seventeen and a half minutes long, there is plenty of time for many additional things to occur that will build this mystical journey to be remembered. At around the four minute mark, the drones begin to assemble in layers, creating a space-like vibe. However, as soon as the vocals come in, this track takes on a whole new meaning. This song has such an esoteric vibe that it’s so easy to get lost in its dark beauty. Even at its epic length, this song just isn’t long enough and is easily my favorite one on the album. “Marmarospilia” begins with a field recording of a rain storm and what sounds like crashing waves. However it is soon joined by warm drones and synthwave-like keys and pads, producing more of an obscure sound than on the previous tracks. The layering of these elements create such a massive atmosphere, even with a minimalistic arrangement. This fascinating combination carries on for the better part of twelve minutes and the time passes much quicker that it seems. The final track on the album, “Baetyl”, opens with ominous, howling winds that – at times – screech at piercing volumes. Soon after, the combination of soft, effervescent vocals and deep, guttural tones of throat singing begin to emerge as if providing the main drone for the near fifteen minute long track. Various spots of soft whispers and devilish shrills continue to tell an eerie story that remains gloomy and mysterious. Several times throughout the track, the vocal intensity increases, but always descends into darkness as to not take away from the ritualistic experience. The malevolent chanting that occurs in the last few minutes are epic and I really wish there was more occurrences of this on the album. However, that doesn’t distract from the fact that this song has a certain purity that is nearly perfect from start to finish.

I’ve been a big fan of Ashtoreth for quite some time now and I enjoy the emotional journey he creates through his music. His diverse back catalog crosses several music genres, yet his energy remains the same throughout. This effort, along with Chthonia, is no exception as it takes the listener on a bleak, ritualistic journey that is as haunting as it is cleansing. I highly recommend this album for those of you that like to wander beyond the normal boundaries of Dark Ambient, especially if the addition of harrowing vocals and narrations are your thing. ‘Throne Of Astrōarchē’ is the album for you and it demands to be taken seriously. Please support this outstanding collaboration and download this album from the link below.

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Links:

https://ashtoreth1.bandcamp.com/album/throne-of-astr-arch

Robert Eggplant Leans On Expansive Field Recordings And Tangible Surroundings To Offer The Organic Sounds Of ‘Fields Of Yarrow’

The recordings of Robert Eggplant are a rare commodity in the Dark Ambient community. Instead of relying heavily on intense drones, elongated synth notes & pads, he cultivates a unique sound built around field recordings, tape loops & hisses, and guitar manipulations. That’s not to say there aren’t any synths involved, but it’s just not the “go to” instrument of choice. In the end, Robert Eggplant succeeds in constructing a decaying sound that is grim and – at times – down right sinister. As if the sound exploits of the first two albums weren’t enough to blow you away, ‘Fields Of Yarrow’ is released as a magnifying effort to the stunning elements of the previous two albums. At just over an hour long, this seductive offering is meditative and trance inducing but the constant subtleties will keep your sensory level sharp and aware of the ominous effects that skulk without warning.

Album opener, “Absorbence” finds a myriad of field recordings fused together in a pristine effort and cemented by the lull strums of a guitar. Storm winds, rain and other natural sounds present the illusion of nature in its most sedative state. This is where Robert Eggplant excels the most, as though some of these nuances are dark and abrasive, he brings them all together in a soothing package that has complete meditative value. Continuing on, a few tracks later we find “9/18/20”. I’m not sure of the significance of the title but the field recordings suggest a date that may have been great for venturing out and enjoying nature’s elements. The placid flow of an isolated stream is powerful enough to calm the greatest of temperaments and the ominous instrumentation flows just as smooth. “Deer Park” is a short piece but is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The music is quite ghastly and a slight distortion on the drones creates a bucolic feel. “Poetry Is Best Read In Braille” is another standout tracks as it features monumental tape loops and deformed hisses, mixed with a rainstorm field recording. The additional “close up” rain drops add a personal touch as well. Twisted guitar chords produce a manic touch to this esoteric song. Skipping over a few more tracks, we find the dreamy “Absconded Prisoner”. Haunting guitar reverberations with a retro-style texture start things off and then fades into wicked drones, minimalistic soundscapes and field recordings. From start to finish this track is completely hypnotizing. The last track that I’d like to spotlight is the final song on the album, “Warrior’s Bracelet”. This track epitomizes the quest for complete sound manipulation as massive use of reverb, distortion and tape loop reconstruction creates an atmosphere of controlled chaos that is as much chill as it is anxious. The creepy vibe resonates throughout this near six minute track and the end result is beautifully disturbing.

Robert Eggplant is one of the most unique Dark Ambient artists I’ve had the pleasure of listening to and his releases are unprecedented with regard to sound deconstruction, use of field recordings and overall ingenuity of crafting experimental songs. The latest album, ‘Fields Of Yarrow’ is no exception and the thirteen songs contained within form a perfect bond between the listener, music and the dark side of nature. Please show your support for this exceptional artist and download ‘Field Of Sorrow’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://roberteggplant.bandcamp.com/album/fields-of-yarrow

Destruktionsanstalt Resurrects A Cluster Of Menacing Tracks From Various Projects To Comprise The Superbly Written ‘Kaelder Mug’

Destruktionsanstalt is no stranger to The Dungeon In Deep Space site, as I reviewed the mighty 2018 offering, ‘Døds-hymner’. Fueled with industrialized anguish and a powerful artillery of noise, this was a pinnacle album of harsh dark ambience. Fast forward to 2020 and we find the compilation release of ‘Kaelder Mug’, an undeniable distribution of sickening atmospherics amongst several projects by Per Najbjerg Odderskov – the mastermind behind Destruktionsanstalt – that are being unearthed and brought to dark light. Destruktionsanstalt, God Cancer, and Lidane Livering set a new standard in breaching critical mass with deep ambient drones, sinister soundscapes and the harshest of noise modulations and combined, formulate a seventy two minute album that will appeal to the minds of malevolence.

The first eight songs come from pitch-shift master, Destruktionsanstalt. Combining jolting frequencies that pierce the inner ear and sustain a constant discontent for easy listening, these tracks are not just a mine field of random noises. They are randomly crafted oscillations that fuse with morbid soundscapes and narrative samples to create a meaningful soundtrack of crafty intonations. Album opener, “Familia” begins with gloomy tones in the form of layered drones with heavy distorted sequences. Voice samples tell an eerie story and it matches the music perfectly. A couple of tracks later, “Mali Spiritus” blasts off with sharp, piercing resonance and alternates between high and low decibels as if an alarm is providing an early warning for an unfamiliar doomsday. Again, a progression of audible narrations play a major role in deciding the anxious outcome of things. “Sanguinem Pressura” is nearly four and a half minutes of agonizing modulations that deliver some rabid drones and horrifying soundscapes. This is one of those tracks that are not for the faint of heart and is best played in a dark, cold place to receive its full affect. The final Destruktionsanstalt track is “Hic Sunt Dracones”. Commencing with a desolate wind field recording, the radiant, penetrating noise accents suddenly desecrate all in its path. As the wind volume picks up, so does the noise intensity. Together these sounds are mesmerizing and easily succeed at putting the listener into a catatonic-like state for its duration. Samples and various effects can be heard throughout, adding an evil value to this already mind-bending tune. The next three tracks come from the God Cancer project. Although there is still a noise intensity about those songs, there is more of a cosmic vibe to them, thrusting the listener into the farther most reaches of the harsh realms of the universe. The first track, “Midnight Distortions” contains a great dose of glitch recordings and immense pads to radiate the intensity that much more. It’s as if being sucked through a black hole and an dodging an oncoming asteroid field at the same time is unavoidable. “The City Is Alive” is like a sonic nightmare, as this seven plus minute track sees multi-layers of modulations glitch and bend endlessly, catapulting the brainwaves into an unexplained dimension. The final two tracks are from the Lidane Livering project and although these two tracks are probably more accessible than the previous, they are far from being insidious. The final track on the album, “Dunwich”, epitomizes the field recording technique and heavy use of soundscapes makes this minimalistic song a cold adventure all in itself. With the soft sways of an ocean vessel the ripple effects of passing currents, the calm-before-the-storm scenario is close at hand. Soothing drones and inaudible whispers howl in the background and without recoil, it all quietly disappears.

I’m a big fan of Destruktionsanstalt and I really enjoy the intriguing mix of dark ambient and harsh noise that this project provides on a consistent basis. With ‘Kaelder Mug’, we get a fascinating compilation of not only Destruktionsanstalt tracks, but an excellent glimps into two other amazing projects – God Cancer and Lidane Livering. Although the Bandcamp page for this release lists these tracks as part of abandoned projects, I sure hope this is not the last we’ll hear from any of these acts. If you like your Dark Ambient with a touch of harsh noises, look no further than ‘Kaelder Mug’. You can download this awesome piece of work at the link below.

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Links:

https://marbrenegre.bandcamp.com/album/kaelder-mug

https://destruktionsanstalt.bandcamp.com

https://godcancer.bandcamp.com/releases

https://lidanelivering.bandcamp.com