Get Ready For A Psychedelic Trip Through Whimsical Dungeons On Temple Of The Fractured Light’s ‘The Groovopolis’

Talk about intriguing, Temple Of Fractured Light’s latest album, ‘The Groovopolis’ is a mesmerizing blend of genres, sounds, emotions, and fanatical experiences all wrapped up in one. This twenty eight minute long exploit is a deep dive into the psyche with psychedelic and tranquility overtones that are reinforced with bold but minimalistic compositions set to take the listener into a brave new world.

This kaleidoscopic journey begins with the audacious “Discard Your Earthly Body To Enter The Kingdom Of Light”. Commencing with an organ-like drone, we are soon greeting with tolling of the bells and an abrupt, distorted keyboard chop. Synth leads are introduced as a synchronous melody slowly comes together. As an introductory piece, this track sets a jubilant tone for the overall theme of the album. “Welcome To The Groovopolis” is a short track that continues the momentum and vibrantly adds a steady percussive beat, as if marching into unknown territories is inevitable. Discordant keys expand the boundaries, creating an uneasy atmosphere for those that dare to partake in the festivities. “Shamans Of The Great Prism Forest” is one of the most melodic achievements on the album, as multiple keyboard effects fuse together to establish a memorable audial encounter. The droning organ-like keys in the background really hold all of these sounds together, allowing for harmonized perfection. Battle-rhythm beats play an effective role as well, building an intricate song full of elaborate detail. “Fractal manner Of The Deep Forest” is a psychedelic dirge that assembles on simplicity and calming effects. The tones are soothing and otherworldly, and succeed at achieving a dreamy environment for an alternate state of mind. “Princess Of The Hallucinogenic Mushroom Dunes” brings out the whimsical effects and is one of the most upbeat tracks on the album. Combining steady percussive elements and layers of eccentric synths & keys, this song forges on a buoyant path while maintaining an incongruous arrangement. “Gargoyles Flying Free” is the shortest track amongst these gems, but bridges the gap between ethereal intonations and cinematic clarity. This brief experience is moody and provides a refreshing outlook on the estranged sound manipulations of the previous tracks. “Past The Vision Fields” is another amusing offering that is light and sincere. The piercing synth leads exhibits the most melodically structured stanza’s on the whole album and combined with the rhythmic synths and sporadic percussion section, this is definitely a standout track. The final track is the outlandish “Coronation At The Rainbow Temple”. This is surely the strangest endeavor but fits in perfectly with the rest of the album. The consistent use of barraging synth effects works well with this composition as it’s more of a dreamy piece with a somber appeal. As this album comes to a close, so does the psychedelic vibe, as this track brings us back to reality, more refreshed than ever.

Throughout its short history, Temple Of Fractured Light has made a valiant effort to include a nifty blend of synth groove, psychedelic flavor and unconventional themes to create an essence that stands out amongst its peers. ‘The Groovopolis’ is a stellar achievement that will stand the test of time and garner multiple listens in order to embrace its awesomeness. Even though this album came out at the first of the year, it’s never too late to embrace the culture of all things groovy and psychedelic. Please show your support by downloading this one-of -a-kind album!

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Links:

https://templeofthefracturedlight.bandcamp.com/album/the-groovopolis

Sydalesis Constructs a Berlin School Classic With ‘Living Machine’

For over a decade now, Sydalesis has been crafting a vibrant blend of atmospheric music that ranges from light to dark ambient with a ton of experimental electronic-based compositions in between. However, earlier this year, horizons were expanded when the Berlin School heavy ‘Living Machine’ was released. This album presented a masterclass of krautrock based synths with over two and a half hours of mesmerizing soundscapes to launch the listener into an overwhelming cosmic universe. On a typical music review, I would present my view of every song on an album but with ‘Living Machine’ and it’s fourteen tracks of celestial encounters, I’ll spend some time elaborating on just a few of my favorites.

Transcendent album opener, “Dawn Of The Rise” blasts off at a contentious pace, setting a resilient standard for the remainder of the album. At six minutes and fifty eight seconds long, it’s actually the albums shortest track. However, the traditional but complex Berlin School sequences provide a nostalgic realm to begin an elongated drift, as this album is undoubtedly relentless. The backing drones elicit a calm demeanor amongst the mild chaotic blend of synth leads and soundscapes. I can’t think of a better track from this album to start this amazing audial journey. Moving right into an epic blend of mesmerizing synths and celestial drones, “Operatives” decreases the velocity initiated by the first track but replaces it with a soothing and emotional retro-adventure for over sixteen and a half minutes. Percussive patterns and melodic keys are the proponents that elevate this gem to solar heights making it one of my favorite tracks. Skipping over a few tracks will bring us to “Epilogue Of War”, an eleven minute sixteen second long excursion into a bleak world of ethereal soundscapes and captivating melody. As one of the darker tracks on the album, the synth leads soar into oblivion over looped percussive patterns and a slightly distorted Berlin School sequence. The retrospective arrangement and bold use of effects will have the listener meandering anxiously in a world of voided space and floating memories. Skipping down a few more tracks, finds my overall favorite song on the album, “Resurgence”. Commencing with a mid-paced sequencer effect and atmospheric keys that quietly build into an aimless composition, the droning keys are what stands out the most to me. The fantastic melody is so fluid, the listener will instantly drift back to a time of neon lights, bleak horizons and cruising in a DeLorean at midnight with their sunglasses on. Although traveling at full speed, the surroundings seem to float by in slow motion, being caught systematically in the keen peripheral vision of the driver. Even at the mammoth length of this song, it seems to pass by too quickly, enticing the listener to hit the repeat button again and again. The last song that I’d like to talk about amongst this fourteen track collection, is the dainty “Capital Metropolis”. Utilizing additional effects and several layers of Berlin School sequences, this near ten and a half minute magnum opus showcases a broader range of sound and dynamics than some of the other tracks. It is arranged in a way that almost sounds like a continuous build. The magnificent synth leads provide a dreamy scenario in which emotional travels to distant worlds can be achieved. Again, this is another fantastic moment on the album in which one doesn’t want it to end. Every single song on this album is simply amazing but I wanted to highlight a few of my absolute favorites.

‘Living Machine’ is a front runner for Ambient Album Of The Year in my opinion. Even though this album is over two and a half hours long, there isn’t a single boring moment on it and the masterful use of Berlin School sequences is absolutely addicting to listen to. Although it showcases a slightly different side of Sydalesis, it will surely leave its mark in several sub-genres of the synth community. If you’ve not had the opportunity to listen to this massively underrated album, I highly recommend checking it out. Please support Sydalesis by downloading this album from the link below. You’ll be glad you did!

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Links:

https://sydalesis.bandcamp.com/album/living-machine

Eyre Transmissions XIII: Interview with Synth Extraordinaire, Elminster

With just over a year of active involvement in the Dungeon Synth scene, Elminster has managed to rack up quite an assortment of excellent albums. Whether released under his flagship moniker – Elminster – or other incredible crafts such as Anadûnê, The Owl Knight or DCCCVIII, it’s apparent that Elminster is in it for the long haul and is quickly becoming a “go to” artist for all of your Dungeon Synth needs. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Colin Bacon – the maestro behind all of these amazing projects – to find out what the driving force is behind all this talent, how he got into this genre of music, and what the future hold. Please enjoy this very detailed account for all things Elminster!

1. Thank you so much for this interview opportunity. Elminster hit the Dungeon Synth scene just over a year ago with the ‘Making Of A Mage’ series. Since then, you’ve been on a relentless spree of new album releases, other projects and splits. How did you get started in the genre and where are all of the fresh ideas coming from?

As much as I wish that I could say that my introduction to the genre was by finding a cassette hidden in the middle of a stone circle or castle, I actually found the genre via Youtube’s recommended function. I had checked out a few before, but the first handful to grab me were the Blood Tower/Apothecarium split, Barbaric Frost’s Against The Darkness, Coniferous Myst/Owlbear/Scrag/The Herbalists split (which Isaac was kind enough to sell me their artist copy of), and the Druadan Forest/Uruk Hai/Bannwald Split. All of these albums are magical to me and, even though I now know the basics of songwriting, I still am not entirely sure how each was made. Pivoting to the second part, I get a bit restless with my hobbies and often feel like I am climbing the walls if I am not able to indulge them, in a rather compulsive sense. As for the variety, I read a lot growing up, especially fantasy novels. Each of my projects is an attempt to capture a specific feeling within a wide and varied genre.

2. I want to go back to the ‘Making Of A Mage’ series of releases. Can you talk more about the inspiration for these EP’s and do you have a plan for anymore “Mage” albums?

The inspiration for TMOAM was a novel of the same name by Ed Greenwood, never has a book captivated me with such ease. My brain created a picture of every scene and ran wild with how I would make a movie for it, how it would be scored, etc. etc. (It would be animated similarly to the 1970s LOTR movies, if I had my way). When searching for what the alias of my project would be, Elminster just felt right and I decided in that same moment that my favorite novel required a soundtrack. Each of the EPs is named after a part of the book (part 1 was brigand, part 2 burglar, etc. etc.) and each of the song titles are referential to plot points. Seeing as I created a product that accomplished what I wished it to, there likely won’t be any more albums of that name, but I would certainly consider doing soundtrack albums for the other books in the Elminster series.

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/the-making-of-a-mage-2

3. Earlier this year, you released the Crypt Hop EP, ‘Beats To Dungeon Crawl To’. This was definitely a seamless transition to another one of the fascinating Dungeon Synth sub-genres but was this something that had been planned all along or just an experimental effort?

When first creating the Elminster project, I did not know of Crypt Hop, it was only through the Vandalorum episode of Midnight Ambience and murmurings on facebook that I learned about it. I had been into the concept of beatmaking ever since discovering the grime artist JME during early lockdown. Through him, I got into UK Drill artists such as Digga D, Kwengface, Teezandos, Abra Cadabra, and Pop Smoke (an american who laid down NY Drill vocals over UK beats, rest in peace Bashar). I saved up my money and got FL Studio and began to learn how to make those types of instrumentals. While getting into each of the aforementioned genres, I began to realize that I enjoyed the fact that they borrowed from carribean dance rhythms and blended said rhythms with darker instrumentals. A practiced ear will likely notice that most trap artists put the snare on beats 3 and 7 while using a steady rhythm hi hat pattern, but these genres (drill especially) like to put the snare on beats 3 and 8 while using a nonlinear hit hat pattern, which gives the beat both bounce and swing. From there, my selfish desire to marry crypt hop and drill produced the EP in question.

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/beats-to-dungeon-crawl-to

4. I have to talk about ‘Antipaladin’ as it’s one of my favorite efforts by you. How does your albums evolve from one epic story to another and what do you think makes this one stick out amongst your ever growing discography?

My albums usually get named near the beginning. I am usually on a nature walk and think “It would be awesome for an album of X name to exist. Alright, Colin, what would it sound like? What would the songs be called?”. The reason it stands out could vary from listener to listener, but the reason it feels different to me is that it was the first time I had had a mythological topic in mind and that I really pushed myself to learn a new songwriting style, which I’ve heard get called Berlin school (I’m a bit of a genre tourist with that genre, so I won’t claim to have a great understanding of its hallmarks).

5. You also did a very unique thing with this release by giving download codes for those that donated to the Shelter House Domestic and Sexual Violence Center in Fort Walton Beach, Fl. What was your decision to release this on a “give back” like scenario?

I’ve been slowly coming to the realization that I want to be involved in activism. I naturally lean a bit more introverted so I figured that leveraging my music would be the most effective and most comfortable way for me to do some good. On top of that, I figured that a DV shelter is something that pretty much anyone could get behind, so people would be willing to give more freely. I’d like to thank High Mage for being so willing to help me make this a reality and I’d like to thank the community for raising a combined $250 for those charities from that run, it really warmed my heart. I would also like to mention here that the split I have with Maiden Hair and coming out through Weregnome this October will also be giving its proceeds to (I believe 2 seperate) wildlife charities, please consider donating if you have the means to. I would like to make this type of release happen a few times a year.

6. In July of this year – almost a year after releasing albums under the Elminster moniker – you started a new project called, Anadûnê. Other than the music being a tad more cinematic than Elminster, what influenced the creation of this project?

This project was created because I was lucky enough to land a spot on the dev team of the Medieval II Total War Silmarillion Mod as the in-house musician. I felt like a project of that theme should be separate and approached with a different writing process.

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/the-rise-of-gondolin-2

7. ‘The Rise Of Gondolin’ (by Anadûnê) is probably one of your coldest albums to date, but there is so much dreamy melody happening at the same time. How do you manage to incorporate these distant facets in order to create something so amazing?

Thank you! I’ll be honest, I don’t know. With that album, I didn’t let myself think too hard about it and just let myself write. I often find that it is pretty obvious when I overproduce a release and usually find that I enjoy trusting my instincts. Gun to my head, the patches I used were not as in your face and I leaned into them.

8. The Owl Knight is another fascinating project that draws upon chip tune, retro experiences and classic RPG theme songs. How are you able to make this sound so refreshing without being as whimsical as other chip tune recordings?

If I had to guess, the reason it doesn’t share a lot of the tropes with other chip tune recordings is a combination of hardware (I use toy keyboards as opposed to synthesizers/console sound cards), growing up after the era of 8 bit music being the de facto game soundtrack, and by being primarily inspired by the album Sunken Dungeon by Longsword. I also have listened only to a little bit of chiptune DS. It’s definitely good music, but there’s only so much time in my day.

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/i

9. You have another Crypt Hop project out called DCCCVIII. First of all, what is the meaning behind the name and secondly please tell me that this is a long term project because it’s freaking amazing!

DCCCVIII is a nod to my love of using crazy 808 patterns in my beats, it is the roman numeral spelling of 808. I have no plans to stop that project, it has been both incredibly fun to write for and has been extremely good for me to have a new challenge, genre-wise.

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/in-days-past

10. In August alone, you’ve released 5 albums including two splits. Where do you find the time to stay this busy and what’s behind all of the musical motivation?

I get incredibly restless and I don’t sleep a whole lot haha. On top of that, music has been a very rewarding hobby to get into. I love the dopamine hit I get when I hit the publish button or when I see people receiving their copies of my tapes.

11. The split release with Baerdcyn is so tantalizing that it’s quickly becoming one of my most listened to albums at the moment. Do you record music specifically for split releases or are they leftover tracks from previous efforts?

Thank you! I usually create them specifically for splits, I generally don’t keep a lot of “overhead”. When I finish something, I release it in most cases.

https://elminster.bandcamp.com/album/mystical-manifestations

12. I think split releases are very important as they show artist solidarity and help promote from within. What are your thoughts on this and do you have any more split releases in the works?

That is absolutely how I view them! I love the work of so many artists and selfishly want to have an opportunity to work with them and splits allow me to do that in a less invasive way. I also got into the genre through several splits and from doing so gained an immense appreciation for them. I have 2 more in the pipeline that are finished, 1 that I was doing the vocals for before I blew out my voice from screaming, and handshake agreements with a few artists for more in the future.

13. Do you have any plans to share your craft in a live setting, specifically during one of the Siege events?

I am certainly interested in playing live, but would probably only do so if reached out to. I would really want to do something fun for it if so.

14. What do you have in store for the rest of 2021 and what are your musical goals/dreams for 2022?

For 2021, I am planning on continuing to have fun writing different types of music. I have plans to try my hand at black metal and might give black ambient (think gonfanon but without being a fascist) once my 4 track arrives. In December, High Mage and I have agreed to do an event called Magemas, where they will be doing an entire month of my releases, so keep your eyes peeled for that (I hope they don’t mind me mentioning it here haha). For 2022, I plan to release an Elminster box set through them as well.

15. I really appreciate your time and thanks for all the great music! Do you have any final words or thoughts for those that may be reading this interview?

Thank you so much for having me! This has truly been an honor. My parting shot would be to ask the community to keep their eyes open for releases of mine with the charity element involved as their donations will be able to impact the wider world and allow our beautiful genre to do good for others. Stay safe and love each other. – E

Links:

BC: https://elminster.bandcamp.com/music

Ruptured World Segregates New Album, ‘Shore Rituals’ From The Planetary Series For A Darkened Realm Of Ancient Landscapes

Since 2018, Ruptured World has presented us with an astounding trio of albums in his Planetary series that follows the visionary experiences of several generations of archeological experiences, based on the discoveries of the Macrae family. Those albums expanded upon a universe with galactic drones and immense piano sequences that bridge the gap between haunting ambience and a clever storyline that thrills with divine amazement. Now back with an exploratory tale of maritime enthrallment, Ruptured World produces an audible story of daring adventure through sonic soundscapes, field recordings and a cryptic narrative. The end result is ‘Shore Rituals’, a near fifty minute excursion through dangerous worlds and environmental contemplation.

The majestic anthology begins with “The Merman”, an introspective nuance of various samples and soundscapes that slowly disintegrates into a somber drone with random musical oddities thrown in. The soothing nature of this intro sets a relaxing tempo and when the beautiful piano textures commence, it places this track on a whole new level. The sound of crashing waves in the background sends the listener to another world of natural scenic beauty. “Black Tides Harken To The Summons Of Eons” begins with peaceful wave motions before leading into a powerful percussive tone set to a dark cadence. Drones and hisses add a nostalgic feel as the amount of space provided allows for other sound patterns to evolve. “The Silencing Tide” carries on that same sediment as random frequency bursts create a vivid state of eeriness. Haunting soundscapes and vocalizations fill the void as this track seemingly comes to life. “The Whales Mouth” commences with a calming natural vibe while layers of placid drones and percussive elements produce a tranquil atmosphere. Random sounds of computer generated noises add a celestial feel, as this is one of the most dynamic tracks on the album. In typical Ruptured World fashion, we’re treated to a dose of spectacular narrations that verbally expand upon this audial transmission. “Radio Signature Interludium” launches with an array of modulations that puts the listener in the middle of a space mission, while a consoling piano melody systematically creates an offsetting foundation of bleakness. This obscure track ends with the commotion of relentless waves crashing along a desolate shore. “Catharsis II” is a spooky piano piece that features the retro sounds of tape hisses and a dragging element that slightly alters the speed of the track. The exquisite use of synth tones gives this a fantastic retro feel, as if taken from a 80’s science fiction movie soundtrack. Probably one of my favorite songs on the album. “The Human Vessel” continues on with the maritime field recordings while adding an ominous musical recording that is barely detectable. Soon, an alluring piano melody is added, increasing the magnificent appeal of this track. Another narrative sequence provides a supplemental piece to this adventure, increasing the depth of this darkened experience. “Bow Fiddle Rock” is a no-frills dark ambient excursion that is as hypnotizing as it is sedative. Minimalistic drones lean more to particular warmness, but it’s the maniacal samples that proves it’s disturbing appeal. “The Unexplained Fury” extends the bleakness of the previous track with enthralling drones and crisp soundscapes that submerge the listener into an enchanted maritime experience. There is also a soothing melody throughout that is reminiscent of a retrospective dreamscape. The last track on the album is “The Three Kings”, a final glance into this fascinating tale of ancient oceanic mystery. Harrowing drones and suspenseful synth chops bridge the worlds of suspended animation and natural essence. These looping sounds create an epic realm of controlled chaos and ethereal beauty. Obscure samples and random radio frequencies fuse seamlessly with these qualities, producing a transient ambience of the highest order.

It’s apparent that the audial cosmos created by Ruptured World come naturally. Every album emulates a particular environment, whether it’s in a series of recordings or a diversion into a different realm. ‘Shore Rituals’, allows Ruptured World to have a clean break from the Planetary albums while diving into a new environment of quintessential excellence. I appreciate this new atmosphere and particularly like the massive use of field recordings and samples as it conceives a unique take on the Dark Ambient genre. If you’ve not had the opportunity to spin this fascinating recording, I can’t recommend it enough. Please download this fantastic album from the link below.

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Links:

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/shore-rituals

Celestial-Themed Intonations Lead To Visionary Dungeon Melodies On Time Unveiled Masterpiece ‘Lunar Theology’

It’s certainly pleasing to the ear to hear fresh elements in the Dungeon Synth genre. I’m sure we all have our favorite aspects of the music whether it be melancholic, gloomy, quirky or whimsical but what’s so gratifying is when an artist comes along and redefines the listening experience with a combination of the aforementioned styles. Time Unveiled – a fantastic new project from the mastermind behind the psychedelic Dungeon Synth act Temple Of The Fractured Light – gives us a unique perspective on the genre in terms of compositional approach and thematically driven vibes. The result is an eighty plus minute journey down an ethereal path of solar enlightenment and systematic melodies.

Whisked away to a celestial world with minimal distractions, “Into The New Story” is a satisfyingly gloomy piece with a simple (but infectious) melody that sets the mood for a daring adventure into the far reaches of galactic realms. By the time “…And Her Hair Was Made Of Starlight” kicks in, the journey begins to take flight with a simple but combative refrain that exemplifies a battle-like cadence with whimsical synths. “Master Of No Domain” commences with a single keyboard tone that plays a delightful intonation. After a brief introduction, layers of mischievous synth effects combine to create an amusing ride through harrowing landscapes. A short ambient section fuses two eccentric sections as this seven plus minute track provides the foundation for the remainder of the album. “Unrest In The House Of Solar (Prelude To Battle)” is a short somber piece that exudes a completely mournful state with soothing synths and elongated ambient sections. “Battle For The Sky” is a slow builder but showcases a variety of instrumentation and sounds to create an anthem for an upcoming lugubrious campaign. “Goodbye, Green Castle” features psychedelic effects and stringent synth arrangements and overall has a very nostalgic feel to it. “All The Things Which Make Light” is one of my favorite tracks on the album as has a grim tone and modest production. These are just a few key factors that enhance the experience as the trance-like groove is almost meditative. “A Song For Jacky Lynn” has a sensational bass line that thumps at a harmonious pace throughout the track. The layers of synth melodies build from start to finish and preserve the dark noir approach to this catchy track. The albums title track, “Lunar Theology” is a deceptively dark piece that combines calm, flowing synths with memorable leads. It’s minimalistic in nature but contains a haunting melody that makes it supremely grand. “Arabia In Monochrome” is a fun little tune that contains tribal-like beats and Eastern-influenced synth leads. The beat will have the listener bobbing their head with swift fulfillment while the Middle Eastern synth arrangements will catapult you to a dimension of dry desert heat and mischievous adventures. “XI: Sleep (Träd Cover)” is a beautiful rendition of a song by the late, great Geo Romero. Somber melody leads are superbly fused with reverberated synth tones that are crystal clear and down right mesmerizing. “Skyward, Amber Dancer!” contains guitar-like effects with a pitch-shifting ambient background that screams retro! This is such a fitting track to close out this illustrious nocturnal adventure. The final track is the bonus adventure, “Live At Rainbow Bridge (12/19/2020)” and is thirty five minutes of raw, emotional Dungeon Synth that is out of this world. From gloomy field recordings and soundscapes to dreamy synths, this recording is more than meets the eye as even the subtle imperfections blend well to create a riveting experience that must have been amazing to witness live.

I absolutely love the variance of melody that is embodied on ‘Lunar Theology’. Time Unveiled represents a new era of Dungeon Synth and sends these colossal transmissions on an interstellar orbit by way of renewed compositions and fantastic thematic approach. I highly recommend this amazing album so please click on the link below and support this project.

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Links:

https://timeunveiled.bandcamp.com/album/lunar-theology

Xerxes The Dark Delves Deeper Into The Chaotic World Of Death & The Macabre With ‘Soundtrack To The Blind Owl’

Over the past few albums, Xerxes The Dark has taken a seemingly harsher approach to his Dark Ambient output. Instilling more of an industrial assault rather than lush, cinematic tones, it’s safe to say that XTD is producing some of the most aggressive work of his career. Although his past work has contained quite a bit of ominous modulations and sinister soundscapes, material from the past couple of years have been extremely bleak and harrowing, but a fitting progression for one of the best artists in the genre. That leads us to this years surprise release, ‘Soundtrack To The Blind Owl’. Extremely influenced by the 1937 novel, ‘The Blind Owl’ by Sadegh Hedayat, the story is about a desolate mans descent into chaos after experiencing personal loss and metaphysical shame. XTD interprets that discord into a grueling six track album of harsh noises and antagonizing dread that breaks down ones own spirit and will force the listener to question their own sanity.

It’s almost cliche to say that the album begins with a calm-before-the-storm approach. However, with the ensuing onslaught of punishing tonality that reeks havoc on the mind (and ears) for the following fifty three minutes, that statement is putting it mildly. “Misanthropic Mind Within Nightmares” begins with pulsating modulations and distorted guitar screeches that progressively sets the tone for this horrific ordeal. Subtle glitches are manipulated in a rhythmic pattern while random guitar noises inflict audial damage at deafening volumes. “The Women” commences with some of the same fragmented tones that were predominate in the first track and fuses with strident guitar reverberations that would please fans of the mighty Sunn O))). Bleak soundscapes are imbued strategically, enhancing the experience of the ascension of chaos. The layers of deep, guttural nuances give this track an overall creepy vibe. Next up is my favorite track, “Opium & The Bent Man”. Before I get into the details of this track, I’d like to point out that each song flows seamlessly into the next and is meant to be listened to as a single instance, showing a slow descent into oblivion and the process in which maniacal sentiment infiltrates all thought processes. As for “Opium & The Bent Man”, this is the eeriest eight minutes on the album and the celestial synth contained within are what phantasmic dreams are made out of. The droning, distorted guitar riffs are still present but take a back seat to the sinister soundscapes that oscillate at will, like an abandoned pitch shifter. “Bed Of Dead” continues down the path of destruction as distorted frequency sounds create a drone-like impulse, devastating everything in its wake. Layers of exaggerated guitar riffs continue to surge, adding a frenzied accent to this otherwise minimalistic intonation. “Horrible Abyss” continues the insanity but doesn’t begin with a constant hysteria of sound. Instead, vibrant impulses tease of an imminent demise before fully committing to an agitated madness of constant tones and malevolent riffs. The final track on the album is “The Shadow Of The Void”. Commencing with a low volume and gradually committing to a solid foundation of hateful, droning guitar riffs and dismal effects, this is the climactic piece that solidifies the concept of this very engaging album. As the psyche begins to wear thin, the throbbing fill of sonic distortions continue to blast at earsplitting volumes. However, everything comes to a grinding halt – and without warning – as the song stops in an instant, representing the abrupt end to the rapid decline of the mind.

Xerxes The Dark has been on a role over the last few years by releasing some of the best albums of his career. Instead of maintaining the status quo, XTD continues to add to his signature sound, digging deeper into the industrial ambient sub-genre and producing albums of harsher and more severe sounds. “Soundtrack To The Blind Owl” is no exception, as it’s his most brutal XTD output thus far. However, if this is what we can come to expect, then I’m already excited to hear of what may be next. This is not a relaxing, meditative listen. This is very coarse and requires the full attention of the listener in order to appreciate and understand what all is going on. That all being said, this album is absolutely amazing and one of my favorite Dark Ambient recordings of the year so far. Please show your support and listen to and/or download this outstanding piece of work from the link below.

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Links:

https://xerxesthedark.bandcamp.com/album/soundtrack-to-the-blind-owl

Dark Ambient, Synthwave And Noise Collide on Trajedesaliva’s Intelligent Offering, ‘Ultratumbra’

Sometimes, the best albums out there are the ones that haven’t been heard yet. There are many gems hidden away on bandcamp and often it’s like a diamond in the rough, searching for the one that offers pure cosmic bliss. Fortunately, Bandcamp is one of the best platforms for music these days – especially for obscure genres – so finding an album as impressive as ‘Ultratumbra’ by Trajedesaliva is certainly appeasing to these ears. Combining all of the elements that I love about esoteric music, ‘Ultratumbra’ delivers forty two minutes of musical euphoria that fuses Dark Ambient, noise, spoken word and retrospective synthwave. The modulations that prowl behind every corner are unexpected but are eagerly welcomed, as this album is supremely put together and most of all, enjoyable on multiple levels.

Sonic album opener, “Todo Era Blanco”, sounds like an immediate drift back into time when retro analog synths ruled the airways and the break of dawn demanded its own sound signature. This track builds in grand layers with a lot of reverberation to thicken the sound. The synths are clean without being crisp, like a morning fog clearing before a beautiful day. Spots of percussion can be heard throughout without going overboard and this is such a grand way to start this amazing album. “A Casa Por Las Vías” continues on the strengths of the first tracks with massive, elongated synths that are slightly muffled but concise in the mix. We also get our first listen of a spoken word bit (spoken in Spanish) and it sounds so bleak with the terrifying layer of noises and percussive elements happening in the background. Upon the completion of the spoken word element, there is a climatic shift in music as it builds up in devious fashion before collapsing into a beautiful and melodic synthwave track. “Familia Ferro” commences with a loud, constant tone, followed by a short spoken word piece. It immediately unfolds into harsh noise modulations that shake the foundation with its strident industrial intonations. Next up is the multi-faceted, “Arenas Calientes”. Beginning with a single keyboard chop and then quickly expanding into multiple layers before suddenly unfolding into a mechanized tone, this track goes through several pitch shifts and succeeds at altering ones mood from dark to anxious to downright maniacal. Toward the end, sharp whispers can be heard throughout, adding some mysticism to this already terrifying song. “Mamá Es Un Animal Morado” starts with a jolting tone, like a large turboprop airplane already in mid flight. However, other sound effects are introduced, creating a spacious melody and then spoken words take over. The track deviates from the harshness and turns into a somber affair and the spoken words continue to complete the calming nature of everything that is fused together up to this point. “Mammillaria Sempervivi” is another melodic affair with dreamy keyboard harmonies and a compelling bass line that’s adds a great bit of depth. The spoken words continue to tell their tale and then 80’s style keys and beats commence, adding yet another aspect to this incredibly diverse album. “Queremos Verte” maintains the keyboard harmonies of the last track but adds an extra layer of emotion with superior song writing and haunting production. Even the spoken words sound different in this track, as the narrator seems to be at ease or in a more comforting situation than previously. The final track on the album is “Ultratumbra” and it immediately begins with a line of spoken word before fusing into a harmonic keyboard composition that sounds straight out of the 80’s. This track is magnificently arranged and contains all of the elements that I love about Trajedesaliva. Although it starts out smooth and alluring, there is a middle section that begins to fill out with harsh noises and drum rhythms that’s simply infectious to listen to. This song is so wonderfully arranged, I just wish it would never end.

Although Trajedesaliva is a new artist for me, they’ve been around for over twenty years. It’s a travesty that I’m just now getting to know their craft but I couldn’t be more pleased with what I’ve been exposed to so far. From the retro compositions, nostalgic arrangements, well placed spoken word bits and great use of industrialized noise, ‘Ultratumbra’ contains everything I could ever ask for in an album. I highly recommend checking this one out so please click on the link below and support this amazing artist.

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Links:

https://trajedesaliva.bandcamp.com/album/ultratumba

Tir Brings A Cinematic Approach To An Ancient Time On ‘Persepolis’

This is not the first trip to The Dungeon In Deep Space for Tir, as I reviewed the spectacular offering, ‘Urd, Skuld & Verdandi’ back in 2019. That album was a quintessential element for the Dungeon Synth genre and one that (I feel) elevated Tir’s status as a driving force in the community. Fast forward to now – and several releases later – and we’re graced with another experience beyond comparison in, ‘Persepolis’. A fifty eight minute epic journey translated through beautifully crafted and cinematic synth music that transcends traditional Dungeon Synth settings. Prepare to be amazed as Tir takes you back in time, centuries before the darkness of the Medieval period and the somber essence that it foretold.

From the very first note of “Daemon Of Desert (Aži)”, an intense cinematic quality fills the air and increases as multiple synth effects and percussive elements provide a somber, yet melodic introduction to this intoxicating album. “Anahid’s Miracle” is a serene, melancholic anthem that plays a sorrowful tone while windy field recordings establish a scene of desolation and solitude. The beautiful choir-like sounds add an addictive resonance that go beyond the reach of any genre. “Summoning Alborz” is a slow starter but the natural soundscapes and enchanting instrumentation begin to take charge and will beckon the listener to dry lands and mystic occurrences. “Righteous Viraz” is a whimsical piece that is supremely memorable and the mix of high and low tones work amazingly well during the intro. Soon after, grandiose keys cry out in pain as somber melodies commence and present an emotional journey until the end of the track. “The Dragon King Raised An Army” completely contradicts the last track, as it’s eerie tone sets a dark path toward desolation. Haunting keys with a small amount of reverb works really well here and then suddenly – for the final minute – a lighter harmonic synth shows a glimmer of hope. “Mēnōg And Gētīg” begins with a bizarre synth effect that ultimately fused into an austere Medieval dirge, complete with rhythmic percussion and trance-like keys. “The Stone Thrown From Činwad Bridge (Extended)” starts as a beautiful ballad with lush instrumentation and a gentle arrangement. As this nine and a half minute track continues to progress, layers of alluring guitar chops fill the air with scenic beauty. A haunting ambience plays in the background, bringing a tinge of darkness to this otherwise charming song. As the guitars slowly fade, we are left with the grumbles of deep winds and enchanting soundscapes. “Sands In The Sky” is a gloomy Dungeon Synth effort with bells, orchestral movements and grainy production. However, half way through, crisp string sounds provide an element of surprise and intricately woven detail. “The Song Of The Cosmos Is Heard From Persepolis” is another Medieval masterpiece as it contains all of the elements that make it a stand out track. From the deep, baritone key arrangement to the ancient soundscapes and vocal effects, this track covers a large range of sounds to present its impressive composition. There is also a touch of synthwave to spice things up a bit. “The Rising Shadow Of Chaos” is one of my favorite tracks as it wastes no time getting to the point with its drum and synth audial attack. Although it’s very minimalistic, there is a dark groove and a terrifying sound that is suddenly amplified by the grotesque vocals at the end. I need to hear more of this! “Blood Red Desert” begins with a warm drone and some snappy instrumentation before settling into a Medieval anthem, worthy of multiple listens. “Welkin” is another beautiful ballad that has layers of well-crafted synth leads and several twists and turns to keep it eccentric and compelling. “Empire Of Stars” is a short, melodic piano piece that morphs into an amusing track with a full ensemble of instruments. Just as you get into the grove of this little jingle, it comes to an unfortunate but abrupt end. “Lost To The Shadows Of Memories” features expanded notes, as if this were being played in memory of a lost soul. I love how (as the song progresses) the elongated notes build in layers, almost creating a symphony of madness as the drums and backing keys play in solidarity. The final track on the album is “Forgotten Prophesy (feat. Varkana)” and it’s such a massive way to close out this spectacle from ancient times. With Tir’s passion for cinematic arrangements and Varkâna’s signature beats and effects, what can go wrong? I would actually love to hear these artists collaborate on a whole album, as this track is one of the pinnacles of ‘Persepolis’.

I continue to be impressed with Tir, as he constantly raises the bar with each release. Never one to settle for “just average”, Tir goes above and beyond to create an extravagant album each and every time and ‘Persepolis’ is no exception. From cinematic to whimsical, battle rhythms to ballads, Tir covers all of the bases in this fabulous expedition set in ancient times. In addition to that, he incorporates elements of synthwave, percussion, and a guest artist to round out this project that makes it such a compelling listen. I highly recommend checking out ‘Persepolis’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://tirofficial.bandcamp.com/album/persepolis

Multi-Genre Synth Extraordinaire, Jenn Taiga, Cultivates A Nostalgic Collection Of Deft Anthems On ‘Lunar Nocturnes And Esoteric Incantations’

If you’ve listened to Dungeon Synth, Berlin School or any style of Synth music in the past few years, then Jenn Taiga needs no introduction. For all others, well, you’ve been missing out on one of the most talented musicians across a broad spectrum of genres. Last years ‘Plight’, was in my Top Ten list for synth album of the year and remains one of my favorite synth albums of recent years. As time and space progress, I find myself anticipating new releases by my favorite artists – Jenn Taiga included. Earlier this month saw the release of ‘Lunar Nocturnes And Esoteric Incantations’, a collection of six exquisite synth songs that embrace a world of retro darkness and euphoric bliss.

Album opener, “Six Of Swords” first appeared on last years ‘Apostles Against Hegemony, Vol. I: Transitive Properties’ compilation and it was one of my favorite songs from that huge assortment of impressive tunes. Beginning with a dreamy arrangement that slowly builds with haunting leads and cosmic sound effects, this track will surely generate a hypnotic state for the listener and prepare them for the mesmerizing characteristics that gracefully infiltrate the remainder of the album. “Strength” has a beautiful (but mild) Berlin School backing arrangement that is completely lenitive and soothing, while layers of concordant synths provide a rollercoaster of emotive vibes that are unmatched in their scope of memorable influence. Although this track is five minutes in length, I wish that it lasted another ten minutes or so. After a short nostalgic intro on “King Of Swords”, we are treated with a hefty dose of conventional, Berlin School patterns that are soon combined with an ominous arrangement of swaying synth leads and celestial soundscapes that are otherworldly and reminiscent of 70’s retro Space Rock/Synth music that popularized the genre several decades ago. “Justice” is the shortest track on the album at just under three and a half minutes long. However, it’s a monstrous synth piece filled with melody and tasty backing arrangements, making this compact offering a delightful listen. “Braziers Are Burning” commences with a grueling sound, like a distorted warning alarm terrifying an unsuspected community. After that startling lead in, majestic synth offerings come into being and provide a mystical journey of harrowing cadence, cinematic effects and layers of sonic resonance that reveals one of Jenn’s most complete compositions to date. The final symphonic piece on this mesmerizing album is “…As Our Offerings Rise To The Heavens”. At just under nine and a half minutes, it’s the longest track on the album and is an epic ending to this modern-day trip down memory lane. It’s starts with a somber synth fill that sways of lush movements. At just over two minute in, Berlin School melodies permeate the audial channels and we find ourselves falling deep into another legendary excursion. The retro synth patterns are simply amazing and this track is like a continuous build-up to a never ending story. There are several layers of harmony that can be heard in a couple of spots that are hypnotic and could be considered the transcendent soundtrack to a trance-like state of mind. As you continue to ingest the enchanting rhythms of this track, it suddenly fades into the black, leaving you wanting more.

For me, Jenn Taiga is one of the ultimate musicians in the world of synth compositions. Never afraid to venture out beyond a single genre, Jenn Taiga pulls from a wide array of musical aspects to create a sound of her own. Although there is a huge amount of influence from retro synth styles, it’s the polished, modern take on electronic song writing that makes this (and other Jenn Taiga albums) stand out. Whereas ‘Plight’ was in my Top Ten synth album of 2020, there is no doubt that ‘Lunar Nocturnes And Esoteric Incantations’ will be in my Top Ten list for 2021. If you’ve not heard this mind-blowing album yet, please click on the link below and relish in the greatness.

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Links:

https://jenntaiga.bandcamp.com/album/lunar-nocturnes-and-esoteric-incantations

Inoriand Returns With Another Winter Synth Extravaganza Aptly Titled, ‘Life Frozen’

It’s been nearly sixteen months since we’ve heard any great tunes from the Eldest Gate Records Bandcamp page. Once thriving with life, as multiple projects routinely released one amazing album after another, those monumental occasions have grown scarce as only Inoriand released a single album in 2020. However, now back from the frozen dead (for lack of a better phrase), Inoriand has returned with a Dark Ambient/Winter Synth masterpiece in a single track called, ‘Life Frozen’. Now, I’m not sure if this is a continuation of winter themed albums, like 2020’s, ‘A World Frozen’, or a bleak double-entendre for how the COVID-19 pandemic has plagued the entire world – perhaps both. At any rate, this near thirty one minute long track is exceptionally written and may be one of my favorite releases under the Inoriand brand.

Although the overall theme for the album is the cold, austere atmospherics of winter, there is a particular warmness that infects this monumental track. It’s as if the harshness of winter is slowly fading and the crystallized water is beginning to thaw, paving the way for a new season. As “Life Frozen” commences with droning keys and a gentle transition between notes, there is an overall vibe of tranquility and quietness that presents the notion of the chilling landscape chronicled in this song, has been a path less traveled for the duration of the winter months. An elegant keyboard melody begins to play at around the three minute mark and remains dominant for the majority of the track. Various soundscapes and effects are also introduced, creating a hypnotizing scene of serenity. At around the ten minute mark, slightly enhanced modulations bring a darker color to the track, representing an extreme isolation from society, as the ice continues to melt at a leisurely pace. At almost the eighteen minute mark, the track shifts gears again, bringing back a version of the original keyboard melody that was so predominant at the beginning. Maintaining a constant drone in the background, this portion of the track is well composed and almost trance-like, as the listener – by this point – will have a great view of an untouched winter landscape that seemingly reaches a utopian state as each second passes. With just six minutes remaining, another slight shift occurs with the addition of haunting effects with the drones becoming a bit louder in the mix. The climax of the track (and winter) has passed and the dawn of a new season is inevitable as the album ends in majestic winter synth fashion.

I’m really pleased that Inoriand has graced us with a new album of exalted, winter synth. One of the great artists of this sub-genre, Inoriand always creates a captivating landscape of musical textures and haunting ambience and it’s so easy to get lost in the compositions that are released. ‘Life Frozen’ is the perfect example of all of these elements working together to form the ultimate platform for a dormant, wintery escape. Eldest Gate Records continues their run of releasing premium music and Inoriand is without a doubt my favorite act from the label. If you’re into winter synth with elements of dark ambience, look no further than ‘Life Frozen’. Continue to support this wonderful label & artist and click on the link below to download this superb album.

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Links:

https://eldestgaterecords.bandcamp.com/album/life-frozen