Lenitive Drones Of An Evocative Manner Prevail On Afnimaran’s Supreme Composition, ‘Graveyard Orbit’

When preparing myself for music reviews, specifically ones of the Dark Ambient genre, I put myself in almost a meditative-like state – at least for a few listens – so that I can fully comprehend the atmosphere and theme of the album at hand. Even though the genre is mostly minimalistic, I receive a great sense of emotional fulfillment with every listen of every album. For me there is no greater force than the true power of music. Afnimaran’s ‘Graveyard Orbit’ epitomizes that standard with a renewed vigor for maximizing space with haunting drones and quaint soundscapes. There is a dark, lurking presence on this recording but it also feels like total fear of singularity as well. I can imagine the silent void of decommissioned satellites, orbiting the earth in a cold endless loop as their powerless shell continues its useless and endless saga. The seven tracks constructed for this album supply a grueling soundtrack for their lifeless mission that is not far fetched from the equivalent depressive state of human kind.

“Nostromo” glides on an ominous trajectory as airy drones and nefarious soundscapes collide in this colossal album opener. Like an orbiting satellite drifting silently at seven thousand miles per hour, its speed is almost deafening as it appears dormant to the naked eye. As the drones modulate from high to low tones, malevolent sound effects predict a soon yet violent ending. “Heighliner” begins with grim pads and keys, making sounds equivalent to the voids of deep space. Soon, a rush of steady drones come in to play, pulsating the track to vociferous heights. The moderate frequency adjustments warrant an agonizing intonation and the doomed trek further away from natural light sources continue. “BC-304” rushes in with urgency as soundscapes and haunting loops influence this piece. Piercing tones and buzzes placate at unknown variables but leave a pillage of audible distraught in its wake. Although the drones aren’t predominate on this track, a steady amount of background hum and dead air plays fierce surprise to the ears. “Enterprise-D” commences with disturbingly peaceful drones with subtle spots cosmic pads and piercing atmospherics. There is a particular dreary tone to this track that is increasingly frightening as the song continues to play out. This is the most grim and ghastly track on the album. “Super Star Destroyer” is another nightmarish gem of cruel intentions and is minimalistic in nature. Where as the velocity of deep space movement is represented by immense sound density, this track proceeds that and shows great veracity by intricate details in the pads and soundscapes. All of this combined make up a gratifying, yet mysterious track that continues the exploration of uncharted space. “Solaris Station” continues with the perilous tonal accents with careening drones and various instruments and samples that fuse together like several out-of-sync clocks that suddenly gather in unison. In the background, pure evil lurks all around in the form of audial dynamics. The final track on the album is “Atlantis”. At just over ten minutes in length, it’s one of the longest tracks on the album and concludes this doomed space mission. Right from the beginning, lengthy drones flow steadily without reason and crescendo when necessary. Background noises crackle and process continually as the dead satellite reaches the end of its orbit and begins a new cycle in the same fortuitous journey.

Afnimaran really knows how to create a daring, Dark Ambient adventure. ‘Graveyard Orbit’ consists of compelling drones, retro effects and soundscapes and other musical variants that thwart this album into a cosmic rotation. Instead of spinning out of control, everything is meticulously integrated to produce a magnificent album. If you’re into daring space ambient music with an ominous undertone, look no further than ‘Graveyard Orbit’ by Afnimaran. Please support this monumental artist by downloading the album from the link below.

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

Links:

https://kalpamantra.bandcamp.com/album/graveyard-orbit

Darkness Descends Upon Victorian-Era London on Dead Melodies & Beyond The Ghost’s Masterful Collaboration, ‘Crier’s Bane’

It’s been quite the year for Dead Melodies, as the Cryo Chamber Label artist not only released a magnificent solo album, ‘The Masterplan’, but also collaborated on spectacular releases with Zenjungle and Beyond The Ghost as well as participated in the annual Lovecraftian-themed Cryo Chamber album, ‘Yig’. All the same, Beyond The Ghost released one of my favorite albums of the year, ‘Eternal Drift’. That all being said, it seems fitting that these two exceptional artist team up to bring us a captivating thriller set in the rigid streets of Victorian-era London.

The calmness and intensity of “Message From The Horsemen” is so compelling, yet it perfectly sets a cold scenery as dimly lit streets and the haze of low-riding fog overcomes this tragic town. The slow galloping of horses is complemented by warm drones and soft soundscapes. Various instruments play random sequences to fulfill the travesty that may soon occur and the natural sounds of field recordings find their place perfectly in the mix. “The Crossing” commences with layers of obscure drones and soundscapes, creating a dismal landscape for a cold, Victorian night. Stringed instruments scream of misfortune as terror may soon unfold. Toward the end, the track turns into dense layers of beautiful melody as a sense of obscurity begins to fill the air. “A Theater Of Shadows” compliments the previous actions with alluring soundscapes and field recordings that are easy to follow along with, as this tragic story continues to unfold. Harmonious drones continue to captivate each second and appeal more toward a cinematic nature than minimalistic sound designs. “Cursed Riders Of Night” starts with a carnival-type musical sound and as it fades in and out, elegant pads generate ambiguous rhythms and the imminent tragedy continues. The streets are dark, cold and desolate yet there is doom in the air that compliments a bleak occurrence. Haunting loops crescendo toward the end as additional soundscapes penetrate the airwaves, producing a massive finale for this track – that coincidentally ends as it started, with creepy carnival music. “A Momentary Refuge”, is a short piano piece with cold drones and eerie field recording that’s reminiscent of someone slowly creeping across an old wooden floor. As they finally make it to the other side, additional scenic sounds can be heard, signifying a daring escape (or a silent getaway). “At The Foundry Gates” features a magnitude of disturbing soundscapes, sonic modulations and a continuation of harrowing drones that seem a bit colder than usual. The infusion of how various instrument sounds are included is amazing and this is definitely cinematic ambience at its best. The monstrous footstep sounds about halfway through are downright terrorizing and the combination of high-pitched keys are enough to mess with the senses. “Parlour Of Ignorance” starts with a minimalistic approach with the drone production. As the additional instruments and sound effects come into range, this arcane arrangement begins to unfold in the most peculiar way. Distant screams can be heard in the background at various intervals and after several times, the calming loops begin to fade. The acoustic passage at the end of this is serene and I wish that it lasted so much longer. “The Unforgiving Toll Of Time” begins with a few bars of light, Gregorian chants and then the cinematic soundscapes take over. The effects of how well everything is put together makes it seem as if the listener is embedded right in the scene. Drones with heavy reverb fade in and out, and an imaginative tale takes shape over the next few minutes. “Vagrant Souls” launches with a soothing drone, but as the sound intensifies so do the malevolent soundscapes. There is evil in the air as these modulations intensify, catapulting the listener into a dark realm of the unknown. Voices and music samples are heard softly in the background as moderate drones play out for the final few minutes. The final track on this extremely adventurous album is “Threadbare”. At just over eight minutes in playing time, it’s one of the longest songs on the album and definitely the most meditative. Containing hardly any field recordings, this one relies on layers of spectacular drones and emotional melody to put the listener in a different state of being. As far as the conceptualization goes, dawn has broke, evil has fled the dimly lit city streets and the eeriness of the unknown continues to lurk around the alleys and cobblestone bridges. Although there may finally be peace, it came at a cost and these tracks give us the adventure that was necessary for conjuring up an amazing story.

Conceptual collaborations are really starting to grow on me and this year has seen some of the best Dark Ambient collaborations yet. ‘Crier’s Bane’ by Dead Melodies & Beyond The Ghost is no exception. If the amazing solo works of these artists weren’t enough, fusing their talents to create a story like this is mind-blowing. This is an exceptional release and each artist brought their best efforts forward to create something truly amazing. I hope to hear more collaborations like this in the future from these artists, as there are many untold story’s that could be conceived with the help of true cinematic dark ambient music. I highly recommend checking out this album so please click on the link below and download ‘Crier’s Bane’.

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

Links:

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/criers-bane

Top 10 Dark Ambient Releases Of 2020

We’ve all felt the impact of the irregularities of 2020, but if there is one thing that’s certain, it’s that the Dark Ambient genre has consistently produced some of the most prolific albums that I’ve heard in a while. Artists have persistently reached beyond the scope of normal atmospherics to bring us listeners the entertainment value that we’ve come to love in this genre of music. From uninhabited drones to stellar collaborations, this has been one of my favorite years for Dark Ambient music. Although I could easily come up with a Top 50 list, I’ve decided to keep this list to my 10 favorite releases of this year. These are the albums that I’ve listened to them most and have embellished in the marvels of their audial beauty. I hope you enjoy!

10. Neraterræ – Scenes From The Sublime

https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/scenes-from-the-sublime

Neraterræ epitomizes quality and perfection and ‘Scenes From The Sublime’ is a completely enthralling experience. Continuing the tendency to collaborate with the best-of-the-best Dark Ambient artist, Neraterræ writes dismal tracks that demand not only the listeners attention, but a definite spot on my Top 10 list.

9. Alphaxone – Dystopian Gate

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/dystopian-gate

I’ve been a big fan of Alphaxone for a while now and his minimalistic space ambience always puts me in a zone like no other. However, on Dystopian Gate, there is a much darker tone than on previous releases and from start to finish, this is like the soundtrack to the apocalypse.

8. Colonial Skyway – Landline

https://colonialskyway.bandcamp.com/album/landline

‘Landline’ is a masterclass is extreme minimalistic droning sounds. However, pieced with the elements of the great mid-west, and a supreme album cover, I find myself getting lost in this superb recording very often!

7. Dead Melodies & Zenjungle – Anthropocene

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

Of all the outstanding collaboration albums that have been produced this year, ‘Anthropocene’ is my absolute favorite. The drones and soundscapes are eerily disturbing but with the brass instrument addition, it’s equally soothing. The combination of these qualities, makes this one of the surprise releases of the year (for me).

6. Beyond The Ghost – Eternal Drift

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-drift

‘Eternal Drift’ contains some of the best cinematic Dark Ambient recorded this year. Although Beyond The Ghost has a relatively short career in the genre so far, this is an artist that is a force to be reckoned with and I can’t wait to hear what’s in store next. Until then, ‘Eternal Drift’ will remain a permanent fixture in my mobile music collection.

5. House Of The Maker – The Autumnal End

https://noctilucant.bandcamp.com/album/the-autumnal-end-2

House Of The Maker produces some of the most intangible drone and soundscape recordings I’ve heard. The heavy use of field recordings and natural setting gives this almost a ritualistic vibe and I couldn’t be more pleased. I often turn to this recording when I need help relaxing and winding down and I’m looking forward to many more releases by this revolutionary artist.

4. Scott Lawlor – But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know

https://scottlawlor.bandcamp.com/album/but-everybodys-gone-so-i-will-never-know

Scott Lawlor NEVER stops producing music and can easily go from haunting piano ballads to deep space drone masterpieces. If I were to have made a Top 50 list, Scott Lawlor would have at least 5 or 6 albums to grace it – this one being my favorite. The ebb and flow of music on this album is masterful and it centers around a realistic theme that makes this album a must listen.

3. Apocryphos – Against Civilization

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/against-civilization

Of all the albums in my Top 10 list, this one surprised me the most, mainly because of how impeccably good it is. Droning guitar tones never sounded so empyreal, and the whole album is just mesmerizing. In addition, the amazing field recordings create an ambience beyond catastrophe and emptiness. This has been one of my most played albums (of any genre) this year.

2. Mombi Yuleman – A Shaman’s Warning: Further Tales Of The Wi’Tiko

https://mombiyuleman.bandcamp.com/album/a-shamans-warning-further-tales-of-witiko

Over the past few years, Mombi Yuleman has been on a remarkable path toward Dark Ambient greatness. His keen attention to detail, coupled with his willingness to venture outside the realm of the Dark Ambient genre for creating the perfect aesthetic, has enabled him to consistently create albums of a perfectionists touch. Of the many projects that he worked on this year, this album has been my most played. I’m so excited to see what the year 2021 has in store for this marvelous musician.

1. Xerxes The Dark – Final Crisis

https://xerxesthedark.bandcamp.com/album/final-crisis-24bit

Xerxes The Dark creates a sonic sound like no other, and perhaps it comes from his wide array of side projects that cross many musical boundaries. Otherworldly drones are complimented by industrial soundscapes and impressive field recording to give the listener an uneasy feeling. ‘Final Crisis’ is a chilling display of no-holds-bared ambience and listening to this album is not for the faint of heart. This release is so captivating and explosive, that I can’t think of anything else that matches its intensity. ‘Final Crisis’ by Xerxes The Dark is my Dark Ambient album of the year!

‘Voices Of The Ainur’ Is A Podcast That Showcases The Best In Dungeon Synth, Dark Ambient, The Obscure, And Beyond

It’s rare to find a podcast that properly showcases the mystical wonders of Dungeon Synth, placating matters of Dark Ambient and the arcane obscurities within the realms of synth music. However, ‘Voices Of The Ainur’ just may be the premier podcast that embodies the spirit of these genres in a supremely engaging platform.

Commencing in October of this year, ‘Voices Of The Ainur’ produces high-quality episodes of the music that we love on a weekly basis. Each episode is around an hour long and features multi-genres of music in some of the most fluid mixes I’ve heard. Best of all, no talk, no interruptions, and all music! Additionally, each episode has its on mini-site with visionary photos, quotes and the playlist (with Bandcamp links) for the artists that is featured. Although this podcast was recently brought to my attention, it’s already my “go-to” platform for getting a weekly dose of the genres that I love.

In summary, ‘Voices Of The Ainur’ is a supremely composed podcast that demands to be heard. I know that we all have our favorite platforms for listening to music, whether it’s by digital download, streaming media, or physical platforms, but if you’re like me and still enjoy great podcasts, then you must check out ‘Voices Of The Ainur’. Not only is the music great, but the possible exposure to new artists makes it that much better. I’ve included the link for Apple Podcast below, but ‘Voices Of The Ainur’ is available on at least fifteen podcast platforms. The links to those can be found on the main web site (also below). Please give this awesome podcast a listen and enjoy!

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

Links:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/voices-of-the-ainur/id1534862806

https://www.voicesoftheainur.com/

https://www.facebook.com/VoicesOfTheAinur

https://twitter.com/oftheainur?s=21

Noctilucant Transcends Winter Adventures In Darkness With ‘Amongst The Snow And The Shadows’

The Noctilucant Bandcamp page is one of my favorite artist pages to peruse every-so-often due to the variety of music that’s offered. From the natural & organic compositions of House Of The Maker, the industrialized noise arrangements of Sonic Oscillations, various collaborations with other Dark Ambient artists, and the ominous ambience of flagship behemoth, Noctilucant, there is too much not to love and dive into at any given time. Back in April, Noctilucant released the winter bound album, ‘Amongst The Snow And The Shadows’ and this icy cold endeavor is quite the adventure in not only Dark Ambient music, but also the perils of seasonal imagination.

“The Flashlight Was Heavy In My Hand” proceeds with nightmare-like intentions, as dismal whispers and sound effects paint a vivid picture of a dark and perilous world. Gloomy drones and synth tones attune to the dynamics of this gruesome track as the malevolent ordeal continues for nearly eleven minutes. “Amongst The Snow And The Shadows” is full of creepy soundscapes and field recordings, but the frozen landscape begins to take shape with this track as the path towards desolation continues. Haunting narrations and the crackling of a moonlit fire are predominate, although a searing drone pulls its weight by creating a nice wintry tone. “The Boundless Ashen Horizon Awaits” is a thirteen and a half minimalistic drone, with bizarre synth tones and more harrowing narrations. The perfectly placed field recording makes the listener feel as if they are traversing a snow covered terrain in the darkest of nights with unknown forces of evil causing havoc on a seemingly endless journey. “Of Black Wings And Winter Nights” features the smooth but eerie sounds of masterful piano chops and grim soundscapes in the background. The addition of natural field recordings ensures an organic aura throughout. Every once in a while, ghastly whispers can be heard, adding a particular bleakness to this awesome track. “Counting The Hours” has a space ambient feel, even though the cracking sound of burning embers secures this song within the winter elements. The synth melody is supremely arranged and adds another dimension to this amazing album. “A Sight Containing Only Death” begins with a glowing drone and an interesting percussion beat that is soon followed by an obscure synth melody. As the percussion fades, layers of soothing drones come about and bring forth ghostly soundscapes that are downright horrifying. Again, haunting narrations provide an esoteric storyline that fits in perfectly. The final track on the album, “Some Kind Of Solace”, commences with deep modulations and reverberating drones that include distorted soundscapes and peaceful piano chops. The song winds down to a grinding drone that continues for a minute or so before finally fading out.

Noctilucant is quickly becoming one of my “go-to” artists for impulsive dark ambient music. ‘Amongst The Snow And The Shadows’ pushes the boundaries of the genre and impressively applies soundscapes, field recordings and effects in a way that that generates a lot of interesting track details. In turn, there is a lot of replayability with Noctilucant recordings and this album is one of the best so far. I highly recommend checking out this album from the link below, as well as the rest of the Noctilucant catalog. While you’re on the Bandcamp page, give a listen to the many other wonderful projects as well, as they are top notch listens.

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

Links:

https://noctilucant.bandcamp.com/album/amongst-the-snow-and-the-shadows

Ugasanie’s Sixth Album For Cryo Chamber, ‘Freedom And Loneliness’, Exposes A Bleak And Native Reality

One of my favorite Cryo Chamber acts, Ugasanie, continues to epitomize the Polar Ambient sound with his sixth mesmerizing release for the label called, ‘Freedom And Lonliness’. Known for his chilling and bleak wintery ambient sounds of minimalistic intent, Ugasanie has mastered the icy cold elements once again, but this time around includes archaic & ritualistic overtones to produce his most ambitious effort yet. With hints of ceremonial soundscapes and tribal recording to give this Polar Ambient masterpiece a great native tribe influence, the listener will find themselves plunged into a world of ancient heritage and ominous adventure.

“Exemption” slowly fades in with a soothing drone and after a minute, tribalistic soundscapes become present as if setting up for a grueling ceremonial experience. The monotonous howl of the wind presents an eerie presence as well. “Cold Coast” is a frigid track with the subtleties of a murky stream ever so present in this desolate sounding affair. Distant thunderstorms bring in a dark presence but it doesn’t prevent the ritual adventures from commencing. “Dead Wasteland” begins with a lifeless drone with the occasional harrowing soundscape that slowly crescendos to a louder volume. This is the type of Polar Ambient track that we’ve come to love from Ugasanie. “Ritual” is the track where more of the scenic action begins. Chanting and rhythmic percussion bring this song to new heights as the spirit of ancient warriors take over to proclaim their land. With the deep, hollow drones in the background, there is something very malevolent sounding on this one and I can’t listen to it enough. Even when the war cries and native instruments can’t be heard, the dark ambient modulations are certain to send a chill down your spine. “Freedom And Loneliness” continues with the epic drones and sinister soundscapes. Industrialized synth effects create a monstrous sound as they add additional layers of commotion that is a warm welcome on this album. “Long North Night” presents another superlative drones that builds upon industrial sounds and muffled samples. Grim atmospheric tones construct a vision of emptiness yet an aspiration for humanity in the bitter frozen north. “Northern Lights” begins with a field recording of a native trenching through the snow. As they get closer to their destination, ancient drums can be heard pounding a ceremonial dirge. Somber drones intensify as the harsh conditions of the north prevail. “To The Polar Star” is one of my favorite tracks on the album as it displays some of the coldest drones yet. Distant, celestial soundscapes add a space element to this track but the coldness of the Polar Ambient theme is still in full effect. The final track on the album is the melancholic piano ballad, “Sorrow”. Although this is something a little different from the typical Ugasanie album, it’s definitely a welcomed surprise as it gives us a brush of melody with a slight hint of wintery wind soundscapes.

There is no denying that Ugasanie is the king of Polar Ambient. However, on “Freedom And Loneliness”, we get a glimpse into a whole new world, as ritualistic and native elements are introduced, as well as industrial soundscapes. These essential features bridge the gap between minimalistic Polar Ambient music and sequestering dark ambience. Not only is Ugasanie one of my favorite Dark Ambient artists, “Freedom And Loneliness” just may be my new favorite album by him. Please show your support for Ugasanie and Cryo Chamber by downloading this monumental album from the link below.

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

Links:

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/freedom-and-loneliness

Sombre Arcane Release Enthralling New Video For “Ancestral Seat Of The Barovian Scourge”

The dungeon keeper duo from Massachusetts, otherwise known as Sombre Arcane, have recently premiered a breathtaking video of their ritualistic performance of “Ancestral Seat Of The Barovian Scourge”, originally released on the Wrought Records compilation, ‘The Reliquary Of Terror’. The ceremonial ambiance and medieval appeal is awe-inspiring and the musical creativity is dark, moody, and downright genius. Check out the video below and also download the Wrought Records compilation (link below) as well.

https://wroughtrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-reliquary-of-terror

Link:

https://sombrearcane.bandcamp.com

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrrQxo5jsCMFXaJ4Xott5WA

Eyre Transmissions VIII: Interview With Hungarian Dark Ambient Producer, Blackweald

Each and every year the Dark Ambient community continues to grow and the unexplored regions of intransigent frequency modulations expand beyond expectation. For a genre of such minimalistic underlying components, I’m continually impressed by the deluge of artist that maximizes their creative efforts with such a massive output. One of those artists – that caught my attention this year – is Hungarian Dark Ambient producer, Blackweald. With a handful of monumental albums already released in 2020, it was only fitting that I reach out to him and find out what creates the power and ingenuity behind this dark force. Please enjoy this very informative interview and then go download some Blackweald, and enjoy!

1. Before we get into Blackweald, tell me a little about your musical background, starting from your earliest memories (if possible).

When I was young, I was into Hungarian hip-hop and punk acts. I was amazed by how much energy one can draw from music, and also realized that there are feelings, atmospheres, thoughts that one cannot properly transfer by just words, but these translate quite well in music. 

Then I got into thrash metal by my friends, and later, when I dug deeper and bought a few black metal cassettes, I immediately knew that “This is it!”. It was in the mid-90s, so practically before the widespread usage of the Internet. Since no one around me like this genre, I had to dig deep to find bands on my own, order cassettes, etc.

Before there was Blackweald

As I got older, I really got into industrial, dark electro, experimental music, drone, etc., I learned that each genre has its artists that are producing music on the “negative” side of the spectrum. Like, one might hear upbeat electronic music, and think “fuck all this disco crap”, but then upon hearing an aggrotech act, realizes that “techno” can be done with aggressive vocals, eerie melodies, hard-hitting beats, and suddenly, it appeals to him. In the same vein, not all hip-hop artists are playing gangster rap or mumble rap. Or like, I always thought I hated doom metal, but in reality, I just dislike the heavy metal vocal style and the melancholic vibe. If it’s oppressive and harsh like Indian’s For All Purity, I adore it. So I like music regardless of genre, if it has a nasty/primal/negative/… vibe.

Nowadays, my current favorites, Irkallian Oracle, Nocternity, Svartsyn (the black metal one), Triumvir Foul,  Kriegsmaschine, Ævangelist, Ghostmane, Converge, etc. This, and a crapload of Hungarian hip-hop artists.

2. It seems like a lot of Dark Ambient musicians come from a metal background (or some other extreme form of music), why do you think this is?

I’d rather think that many people who are into dark music, be it dark ambient, dark electro or various experimental genres, these people are open-minded enough to listen to dark music regardless of genre. They’d eventually stumble upon several metal acts, and if they don’t specifically dislike distorted guitars, they’ll find some of the darkest atmospheres in music.
 
People who can sit down and enjoy a long, monotone dark ambient album are often the same people who enjoy a two hours long Swans album, or monotone black metal riffing. So I think the “goal” of these artists is very similar, even if the instrumentation is vastly different.

It’s also interesting how the scene building works for different genres (besides labels and press). Metal bands tend to do splits or concerts together, hip-hop artists like to get featured on each other releases. I wondered how it works for Dark Ambient, and quickly learned that it’s compilations and collaborations.

Cover art for ‘I Saw The Devil’ by Jorge Iracheta

3. Do you remember the moment that motivated you to become a Dark Ambient musician?

As pretentious as it sounds, I wanted to make music that I could not find elsewhere. Stuff I would enjoy listening to. Concepts that I would be interested in. 

I’m not saying that what I’m doing is the pinnacle of originality, rather it’s about “I’d love to listen to a space ambient concept album about my favorite cosmonaut” or “damn, I’d love to listen to this or that kind of drone sound.”, etc.

Actually releasing music is also a good motivator to close and seal these compositions. I’m sure most musicians know the “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” feeling. The more hours you are putting either into the mixing or mastering, the more you are seeing diminishing returns, so eventually, it has to stop. When I’m putting stuff out, I never have a “I would not change a single thing in this!” feeling, but I’m okay with that.

Of course releasing music that is selfishly created is contradictory, but hey, that’s what most musicians do.

I’ve been contacted with a few publishers and micro-labels, but so far, I declined these opportunities, to fully keep my independence.

4. Who are some of your influences in the Dark Ambient genre?

Although I have many favorites in the genre (Cryo Chamber Collaborations, Creation VI, Vestigial,…..) , most of the influences on this project are rather from different genres. Let me list a few.

Earth, who pioneered the drone metal genre. Dylan Carlson is my single biggest influence on the drone and minimalist aspect of music and both Earth2 and Hex are all-time favorites of mine.

Godflesh, not necessarily musically, but on how mixing different elements of genres can create something very unique. I mean, who would have thought that putting heavy guitars on half-assed hip-hop beats will create such an industrial vibe, that it will pioneer a whole new genre.

Swans’ later period, for their eclecticity, mixing noise rock, folk and ambient, and generally a ritual vibe with their music. Seeing these old people playing a punishing three hours long live show changed my mind regarding metal not being the heaviest music. 

Burzum, when Vikernes really brought ambient close together with black metal. Not with his ambient tracks! Just the way he composed his metal tracks and creates an ambient like atmosphere with metal instruments. 

For the ritual aspect, my main influences are Aghast, Zero Kama and Forest Silence.

5. You’ve mentioned the Swans several times and also Godflesh – two bands that I love very much. To me, both of these bands are one-of-a-kind, in that their sound is undeniably theirs, and they seem to incorporate so many different genre’s and sounds without loosing their audience or fan base. As a musician, why do you think this is, and what type of impact has that had on you with expanding your musical boundaries?

Both are led by uncompromising individuals and were highly influential back then. I gotta say, considering they are still relevant today, they are both even underrated, although Godflesh is well-known in the metal scene due to their notorious first record. I think both band’s fanbases are built upon the fact that they are meandering in style, at least that’s the case for me. Expecting the unexpected for such a bands new record is part of the thrill.

I feel sorry for bands that are bashed by their own fans when they explore further musically. Be it Mayhem with Grand Declaration of War or Bring Me The Horizon with Amo. Each new genre in music came to life by having outrageous ideas. Eg. Let’s deliberately crank this guitar amp up until it distorts. Such experiments are fine, even if they fail.

As for Blackweald, it only means that I fearlessly try out techniques, often disregarding if even I will later like it. I often let things “just happen” when composing, and go forward with “mistakes”. If I don’t actively hate it, I keep it like that. I have failed experiments (eg. Patricia), and I’m okay with that. Pieces sometimes just put themselves together, maybe in a bad way, time will always tell.

While at this topic, I think listeners who are throwing away music that they don’t love at first sight, are heavily missing out. Many of my favorites are bands or albums that I initially did not get or I thought “yeah, it might be good, but it’s not for me”.

6. There are many styles in the Ambient arena so when you first became a Dark Ambient musician did you do a lot of experimentation until you found the right formula and sound that represented Blackweald?

I think I will never find “the right formula” and I do not even have the intention to do so.  I don’t even mind if the sounds end out to be very different to what I initially had in mind. 

This is why I like compilation works. I happily took part in 3 of these so far, and really liked the restrictions that the thematic guidelines, song length limit and release deadline had put on me. It knocks me out of my workflow or offers a concept I haven’t even thought of.

7. Please tell us about the name Blackweald. How did you come up with the name and what does it represent?

The name is a foolish play around the name of one of my favorite black metal projects, Hate Forest.

I had the same approach with the name as with the music. Not striving for perfection, just having something that’s good enough.

8. When going in to make an album, do you always have a particular theme in mind, or do you just “see what happens” as you create the music?

I always have a thematic concept in mind, and often a musical one as well. Moreover, when I’m “covering” a real life story, as with “She and the Devil’s Sons” and “Leonov”, I already have the narrative concept in mind.

Eg. with “She and the Devil’s Sons”, the story is given, so I only had to piece together how I would musically represent each part. So I figured, there should be some ominous strings with carriage sounds for the part when she is being taken away (that part is an homage to one of the intro songs of early Carpathian Forest). Then some castle prison ambience for the imprisonment, some female vocals and unearthly growls for the pact her witch-nanny makes with the devil, etc.

Same approach with “Leonov”, I knew I wanted to begin with some heavy industrial sounds, representing Koralev as the “Grand Constructor”; then the lift-off of their spaceship with some propaganda music in the background; long space-ish drones for orbiting Earth; majestic choirs and samples of Leonov speaking during the actual EVA; something frightful when he fails to re-enter the spaceship; rattling machine sounds for the re-entry; and finally some winter ambient as they struggle to keep alive in the taiga, waiting to be rescued.

The problem artistically with these narrative concepts, is that you lock yourself into many things. Sure, you have room to experiment sound-wise, but the album or single has to represent the story. You cannot just skip parts of it, or add something that does not fit there narratively. Still, it’s a lot of fun to work on these.

For the rest of my material, even when there isn’t a real-life story behind the concept, it’s still the thematic concept that comes first, which immediately makes the musical concept clear for me as well.

9. Do you use physical equipment or computer-based VST’s (or a combination of both), when producing and recording your music?

It’s mostly digital equipment, although I sometimes use my acoustic and electric guitars. A good chunk of it is audio manipulation of misc. samples.

Eg. Under the Moon of the Dead Pig was made solely from samples (namely FreshFabrik, Keep of Kalessin, Hate Forest, Sunn O))), Shahmen, Zero Kama, Korn, Johan Johansson, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Tsatthoggua, Prodigy, Wolvennest, Zombie Girl). Not a single original sound was used on that album, but I also did not use any VSTs. Just cutting, looping, pitch-shifting, stretching, filtering, etc. Then there is the opposite side, like “I Saw the Devil”, where I played most of the tunes myself on synth, and manipulated those.

I have to note that I pretty much work in a “no budget” way, hence the lo-fi production. I have an old PC and a broken midi controller. I don’t even have a proper sound card, just an integrated one. I’m often recording on my phone. I’m using two headphones, a 30$ one and a 3$ one. I’m just using what I have.

Any art has two components, idea and execution. I’m not short on ideas, so I have to work on getting the execution part right. I’m trying to focus on getting the craft right, and not focusing too much on the tools themselves.

10. Do you have any other musical projects that you are currently working on or is Blackweald an exclusive endeavor?

I’m doing vocals and playing guitar in a black/death metal cover band. This purely “analog” way of playing music is a perfect companion to the (currently) mostly digital nature of BlackWeald.

Besides music, I also like to write short horror stories, but as a non-native speaker of English, it’s quite a struggle.

11. As for Blackweald, what can we expect to hear in the future?

Right now I have 8 albums worth of concepts ready to be executed. Ranging from Lovecraftian, Dark Souls themed, sci-fi, about the rural life in my country, setting a novel of a friend of mine to ambient, etc.

Just the concepts and ideas for sounds, nothing recorded yet. I rarely work on projects in parallel, I rather finish any current work before jumping on the next one.

In the last few months, I’m working on a quite massive project, an extremely long, 10+ hours concept album. I often feel like it’s overburdening me, so as an exception to the above stated, Pure was born while working on this project. I just had to take a break from it, and fortunately, Pure came quite spontaneous and got shaped quite quickly. 

12. I appreciate this wonderful opportunity to conduct this interview! Do you have any final thoughts for those that will be reading this?

Thank you for your questions and thank you for your work in the DA/DS scene with continuous reviews and interviews.

There is so much music out there nowadays, even in niche genres like this, that it’s hard to get the attention of people.

I’d also like to thank all the people who listened to any of my output, supported me on Bandcamp, or sent me encouraging messages on social media. It means a lot!

Feel free to follow me on Bandcamp/Facebook/Twitter:

https://blackweald.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/BlackWeald/

https://twitter.com/BlackWeald

Finally, I’d like to recommend a few albums to the readers. I guess most of you are quite familiar with Dark Ambient, so I’d rather recommend mostly outside of this genre:

⁃ Grave Upheaval – Untitled (2013): Although traditional metal instruments are used on this album, I’d rather consider it as a “power ambient” akin to Sunn O)))

⁃ Inferno – Gnosis Kardias (2017): Can you imagine black metal without distorted guitars? This is it! Amazing mystic atmosphere and temple-like vibe.

⁃ Walknut – Graveforests and Their Shadows (2007): Unmatched desolate feeling. The guitars sound rather like synth.

⁃ Slagmaur- Thill Smitts Terror (2017): Classic fairytales twisted into slow-paced avantgarde black metal.

⁃ Pagan Megalith – Túlvég (2017): Acoustic black metal music with ritual vibe.

⁃ Dälek – Absence (2007): If Godflesh would truly play hip-hop with a competent MC. 

⁃ Control Alt Deus ‎- Made Of Fire (2008): A short-lived aggrotech project, great melodies with visceral atmosphere.

⁃ Moor Mother – Offering (2020): A very talented experimental artist, just emerging in the last few years.

Finally, let me recommend a few dark ambient artists from my area: Abandoned Shelter, ∆ø∆ and Remete.

Links:

Bandcamp: https://blackweald.bandcamp.com

Fusing Lo-Fi Melodies With Binding Drones, Ataşehir Unleashes The Stunning ‘AVM’

I’ve often wondered if it’s possible for a dark ambient album to provide a sense of euphoria. While the genre is typically the subject matter of dismal, apocalyptic setting or doomed, deep space missions, lighter sentiment can certainly be ascertained, albeit through equally grim music. Such is the case for the latest release by Ataşehir called, ‘AVM’ – a soundtrack (of sorts) that describes a single days worth of events in a shopping mall. It’s a fairly unique theme, with quirky song titles, that stretches the boundaries of dark ambience into a more jubilant state. Let’s examine these peculiar tracks more closely.

“Your Message Woke Me Up In The Middle Of The Night And I Couldn’t Get Back To Sleep” commences with a somber energy like no other. Although at first it seems like you’re drifting through space in a motionless void, cold nebulas and other space phenomena begin to flash by you in a silent instant. Narration samples are barely audible, but make their presence felt as the tide changes to a darker tone through fierce drones. The last minute and a half introduces beautifully toned guitars that play a ceremonial chord before fading out. “A Slight Feeling Of Euphoria As We Entered The Place Where Everything Is Shiny And New” has a nostalgic feel too it, as the dreamy keyboards play a 80’s synthwave groove and multiple layers of luminous synths provide a lush atmosphere. “The Had The Right Size But The Wrong Color And This Triggered Something In Me” is an introspective piece with retro synth tones and more spots of barely audible narrations. There is a slight echo throughout this whole track that gives it a slightly cold and grim feel. “Leaving The Cinema To An Empty Food Court, We Believed The World Was Ours Or At Least Could Be” has a soft, cinematic texture that emits volumes of emotions. From the slight reverberation that are taking place in the background, to the keyboard leads that are as melodic as they are harmonious, this track builds up slowly and has a long fade out as well – stretching out whatever emotive state is present here. “This Is My Ice Cream And Yes You Can Have Some” is a minimalistic piece that places layers of beautiful drones at the helm, and then builds wonderful melodies around them. This track also has a nostalgic vibe that will take your memory back to yesteryear, as the quintessential arrangements play in looping pattern until they slowly fade out. “A Cold Breeze Blew Through The Smoking Area And I Shivered For A Second” is a bit of a serene offering with a space-like synth presence as well as an obscure looping sound that is peculiar to say the least. “The Wait For The Elevator Seemed Like An Eternity, Our Lives Encapsulated In That Moment” begins with a smooth keyboard arrangement that is backed by layers of harrowing drones and obscure soundscapes. Alluring keyboard compositions are the standout on this one and it’s probably my favorite track on the album. Cryptic voices, haunting guitar riffs and mesmerizing loops account for some of the additional things that make this a standout offering. “Outside Shake Shack” may seem like randomly played notes at first, but after listening to the melodic contribution that the instrumentation has to offer, this is such an elegant track that just isn’t long enough. “While Lost In The Otopark We Felt A Sudden Sense Of Our Own Mortality And It Was Beautiful” starts right away with warm drone sounds while faint instrumentation can be heard in the background. As that looping sound slowly crescendos into a more audible arrangement, additional drones are added to provide a thick layer of sound and uncompromising atmosphere. “Theme From AVM” is a minimalistic drone showcase as congenial sounds modulate warm tones throughout this simplistic but necessary track. The final track on the album is “Epilogue”. Although this is another minimalistic offering, drones are traded in for looping keyboard arrangements that are slightly discordant, but at the same time played in a pattern that is memorable yet slightly disturbing.

Ataşehir has found a common ground between dark ambient and euphoric music and ‘AVM’ provides the perfect platform for those results. Combining keyboards, synths, guitars and soundscapes to take the listener on an everyday nostalgic journey, ‘AVM’ is one of those albums that can be listened to over and over again. Each time I’ve played this, I’ve come across small nuances and subtleties that weren’t previously noticed and that says a lot about the effort that was put into this release. I highly recommend checking out this album so please support this artist by downloading ‘AVM’ from the link below.

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

Links:

https://sumatranblack.bandcamp.com/album/avm

Moloch Conspiracy Produces A Chilling Listening Experience That Eclipses Genre Boundaries On ‘Incantatios From Ugarit’

The bewilderment of ritualistic ambient music never ceases to amaze me. The element of dark, ceremonial soundscapes fused with minimalist drones and tonal ambient vibes conjure a malevolent atmosphere that takes a special artist in order to create this monstrous effect. If not done correctly, the outcome can lead to an extremely boring affair with no sense of liturgical reasoning. Fortunately, Moloch Conspiracy has mastered this craft and presents us with the bold ‘Incantatios From Ugarit’, a dynamic, ritualistic encounter that reaches the far scopes of the obsidian spectrum.

“The Cold Escape” epitomizes the ritualistic experience and is the perfect album opener with its nefarious soundscapes and ominous atmospheric undertones. Harrowing vocals add a layer of chilling bleakness that is thought-provoking, yet unforgiving. This gloominess continues into “Daughter Of Anu”. With the vocals more dominant and layered than the first track, a depth of ancient ceremonial vibes begins to come into view. The addition of haunting narrations and acoustic instruments create endless boundaries as this musical exorcism is now in full stride. “She Clambers Over” begins with a dissonant musical arrangement, played over a dark drone that has a feeling of misery and suffering. As the distant, narrations read through long lost religious texts, constant, soft percussive rhythms provide a trance-like state for the lister to absorb everything that is happening. “The Familiar Weapons” introduce new sounds to the album as this track has a lighter arrangement than the previous ones. That’s not to say that the message and delivery aren’t as heinous, as female vocals and narrations take center stage once again. Containing more soundscapes than ambient tones, this track stands out amongst the dark, ritualistic listening experiences. “The Head Of The Cauldron” commences with sinister drones that fade in like an evil spirit taking over a summoning encounter. Dark, and atmospheric with the occasional ceremonial instrument inclusion, this is one of the more perverse tracks. With “Visions Of Namtar”, Moloch Conspiracy once again proves the versatile nature of songwriting on this album. Although, it starts off with a lighter sense of reasoning, it quickly takes a turn to a more gloomy ordeal. Featuring bleak drones and somber soundscapes, this is actually a busy track as there are a lot of things are going on without sounding over bearing. The final track on the album is “Legions To Legions”. Beautiful drones and ritualistic chanting are at the forefront, as it soon becomes an all out dark ceremonial experience – a climactic summoning of evil spirits. Various instruments add liturgical tones throughout, as this wondrous sacrament of evil comes to a daunting close.

‘Incantatios From Ugarit’ is an exception Dark Ambient album album with majestic ritualistic influences and it goes without saying that Moloch Conspiracy didn’t hold anything back for this magnificent listening experience. From somber drones and bleak atmospherics to female vocals and ceremonial narrations, ‘Incantatios From Ugarit’ contains all of the elements necessary for an album worthy of multiple listens. Please support this captivating artist by downloading the album from the link below.

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

Links:

https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/incantatios-from-ugarit