When it comes to setting a scene for a dystopian future, I immediately think about movies such as “Blade Runner”, “The Running Man” or “Total Recall”, where overcrowding in a technology consumed society is ruled by government furnished law enforcement. The buildings seem to be built a mile high, with flying cars, gas masks and the skyline barely sees any sunlight. The music that portrays this era is dissonant, dark and ritualistic to surmount to the equivalence of misery and oppression in human culture. If there is one current artist that characterizes these exploits, it’s Cameraoscura, and their latest offering ‘Quod Est Inferius’ depicts a horrid scene of a bleak future with civilization on the brink of destruction. This album is like a day in the life of a citizen, fighting for survival while abandoning all hope.
Establishing the scenario that will cause uncivilized turmoil is “Atanor”. Creepy soundscapes and bludgeoning drones are introduced at a frightfully low tone and eerie spoken words counteract the disparity. Suddenly, at around the three and a half minute mark, rhythmic electronic beats cascade through the layers of sound and embed a cadenced pattern that is rarely heard in this form of music. The outcome is simply amazing! “Admixio” has the soothing but crisp sounds of retro synth wave with the occasional low growl. Mesmerizing soundscapes provide a wall of sound as this track represents the less chaotic form of dystopia, but at the same time, showcasing the horrifying extinction of existence. “V.I.T.R.I.O.L.” Is another consoling arrangement, but as the track crescendos in volume, austere frequencies send a chilling reminder of dark times. Once again, a downtempo style beat comes into play and mixes well with the keyboards and drones of this track, putting the listener in a trance-like state until the very end. “Interitus” covers a broad range of low-end sounds in pure dark ambient fashion while at the halfway point of the song, an EDM style beat starts up at a ferocious pace (for this type of music at least), and takes us on an unhinged path of life at dawn, where the sun is never fully exposed, but the pain of survival continues. “Attera” is a short track full of deranged industrial sounds and euphoric samples, complimented by a harsh beat, as if the ultimate battle between citizens and government were suddenly taking place with hopes of setting a new outcome for the dystopian wasteland it has become. Following the harshness is “Solve”, a short melodic piece that introduces beauty amongst the chaos with its melodic keyboard tones. The final track on the album, “Ultima Necat” starts with serene synth tones and effects that bend from side to side. Abruptly, a distorted guitar riff begins playing slowly, over and over again, while layers of harmonious discord play compliment to the harsh noise. Whether it’s the end of mankind, or the dawn of a new beginning, this track sets the bar for climactic album endings, especially one that deal with a specific and relatable theme.
Cameraoscura are on to something new and exciting within the dark ambient community. While still maintaining the complexity of sequencing drones and soundscapes, danceable beats are added to several tracks to breath new life in the genre. I must say it works very well. It may not be for everyone, but I certainly love this style and hope that Cameraoscura will continue down this path of musical innovation. I highly recommend checking this out and I’m quite certain you’ll not be disappointed.
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