Lunch Cult Bends The Knee To A Variety of Genres And Musical Influences To Present ‘Knives & Knaves”

When it comes to exploring new territories of music for some artists, some are a little apprehensive about taking risks while others compromise their original sound altogether despite reproach. One such collective is Lunch Cult, a LoFi Garage Rock Band that transcends experimental creativity but has never strayed too far from the pop/rock genre…until now. On latest album, ‘Knights & Knaves’, Lunch Cult fuses an improvisational blend of Dungeon Synth, ambient textures, crypt hop moments and synth effect wizardry to produce an eclectic concoction of three Medieval tales that will have the listener spying for influences throughout each track.

Animated album opener, “Return To Cucumber Castle”, sets things off in high gear as the somber synth tones are reminiscent of a jazzy, noir setting that slowly begins to incorporate layers of effects, hip hop rhythmic beats and hypnotic keyboard effects that perfectly harmonize with the main chop of the song. At about the halfway point, a fast drum beat takes over and plays along side the main keyboard section. This combination of fast beats and slow keyboard arrangements go over really well and flow perfectly into the next section of the song, as if it’s taking after a 70’s prog rock instrumental track. As the song climaxes in the final minute or so, all of the arrangements come together in unison and slowly fade out to a improvised saxophone section. Up next is the eccentric “Knavesong”. Random keyboard licks, percussion grooves and saxophone notes, come together as individual improvisations but can be easily interpreted as a single and relevant composition. There are parts of this track that remind me of of the OLD (Old Lady Driver) track, “Backward Through The Greedo Compressor” from their 1993 album, ‘The Musical Dimensions Of Sleastak’. Like any fusion-era jazz composition – that seemed wildly random at the time – this kind of music is an acquired taste for some and an audible gem for others. I fall in the latter category and commend Lunch Cult for their creativity and output, and for remaining open to ideas that unfold across multiple genres. The final track on the album is the twelve minute long “Knightsong”. With more of a straightforward approach, Lunch Cult takes the listener on a Medieval journey with brooding Dungeon Synth sounds that are augmented by haunted rhythmic beats and ambient sections. Although it is more minimalistic than the other tracks on this album, it has a heafty output and at times sounds chilling. There are small bits of chiptune thrown in at random and the peculiar noises that fade in and out throughout, are done in great taste. There is an awesome video premier for this track below, and I highly recommend checking it out. It’s really entertaining and put together very well with a comedic, but impeccable storyline.

If you take the time to peruse through Lunch Cult’s Bandcamp discography, you’ll probably reach the conclusion that there’s truly no accounting for musical taste. The sounds you may hear on one album will be completely different from the next. That couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to ‘Knives & Knaves’, as it includes rich ambient textures, Dungeon Synth overtones, a little bit of quirkiness and a considerable amount of anything else that can be processed to compose magical musical endeavors. Check out the awesome video for “Knightsong” (below) and support this unique band by downloading ‘Knives & Knaves’ from the link (even further) below.

Video Premier of “Knightsong” (Official Music Video):

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Links:

https://lunchcult.bandcamp.com/album/knights-knaves

Xerxes The Dark Escalates Industrialized Tension On Monumental Dark Ambient Effort, ‘Final Crisis’

Anyone that knows me or follows my site, must know by now that Xerxes The Dark is probably my favorite Dark Ambient artist. Whether sketching out bleak, industrialized madness on his solo projects or lending his captivating production work to collaborations, XTD embodies the true, stark nature of Dark Ambient music. That being said, anytime there is a new XTD release – without hesitation – I’m ready to spend my hard earned money because I know it will be well worth the investment. ‘Final Crisis’ does not disappoint in the least bit and may be XTD’s darkest (and most ruthless) offering to date. To summarize the ‘Final Crisis’ listening experience, it’s like being embedded into a nightmare, or a relentless horror story where there is no escaping the agonizing terror of the unseen entities that haunts you.

Beginning the horrific ordeal is “The Hiding (Alternate Edit)”, with uneasy and ominous drones seeping into audio range while sinister static noises causes unrest. As the hollow sounds increase and tension builds, various soundscapes detail a malevolent mission of violence and dread. The listener is now locked into seventy two minutes of ambience filled with malicious intent. The intensity continues to build with “Antimatter Emergence”. Filled with industrialized drones that are accompanied by bizarre effects and field recordings, the minimalistic feel will easily increase all anxiety as the anticipation of lurking evil never seems to dissipate. The torment continues with “Parallel Disturbance”. If the abundance of screeches and unknown nuances weren’t enough to increase your blood pressure, the sudden blast – of what seems like – air brakes from a vehicle will definitely get your heart pumping. There is no escaping the unnerving soundscapes of the rainfall, traffic sounds, mixed with other unidentifiable noises to keep you on edge. A steady low end drone continues to play in the background as a storm races to the forefront of this track. There is a sense of ferocity as this near ten and a half minute nightmare displays a furious depth like no other. “The Leakage Between The Worlds” starts with a space ambient drone with a multitude of effects and soundscapes that gives an otherworldly feel. There are some excellent minimalistic moments on this track that are cold and dreary, with spots of inaudible narrations that are muffled and downright sinister sounding. “Crisis (Pt. 1 – Microscopic Black Holes)” immediately begins with an industrial feel as static materializes at a frantic pace. Vocal modulations are added, along with destructive soundscapes and field recordings. The impression of urgency can be heard, as all of these sounds are thrown together in perilous unison. Drones and synthesized tones increase in volume as the intensity reaches its peak. “Interaction” crystallizes from a somber drone that shifts in tone, as an industrial sample creates a harsh moment in the album. This chaotic sound ruptures into a loop and echoes from speaker to speaker before finally shifting into an all-out industrialized audible assault. “Crisis (Pt. 2 – Vacuum Bubbles)” continues down the path of deafening sounds as the synth modulations use various pitches and depths – especially in the beginning of this track. At times, there is a bit of distortion added to the drones, giving it a thicker, meaner tone as it accompanies some of the fiercest soundscapes and samples thus far. There is no rest for the weary, as bitter, severe noises wait around every corner. “The Hiding” is just as intense as the album opener but is a little more minimalistic at times. There are still periods of madness and mayhem as this original cut is just as menacing as the Alternate Edited version. The final track on the album is “Theory Of Nothing”. Displaying a great mix of dark and space ambience, there is a beautiful instrumental melody that is guided along with layers of clear, tonal synths. Unlike the other tracks on this recording, the soundscapes take a backseat (volume-wise) to the somber drones and instrumentation. What a genius move to close out such a dark and gruesome album with a brilliant track like this.

Xerxes The Dark continues his streak of releasing exceptional Dark Ambient albums, and has been doing so for the better part of fifteen years. Although he’s (lately) been devoting time to the downtemp/IDM project known as MOREGO, I’m glad to see that he still has the dark desire to continue releasing amazing albums such as ‘Final Crisis’ under the Xerxes The Dark moniker. This album is not for the faint of heart, nor one that you would probably want to fall asleep to – as you’ll sure to wake up sweating from a terror-filled nightmare. On the other hand, this album epitomizes what Dark Ambient is all about and is one of my favorite releases of this year thus far. If you like your Dark Ambient on the more sinister side, look no further than ‘Final Crisis’. Please support XTD and download this amazing album from the link below.

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Links:

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

Madame Swann Records Rare Compositions And A Few Original Tracks On Unprecedented Self-Titled Album

Although the origins of Dungeon Synth continue to be debated, there is no question that it’s influences date back centuries. From medieval-era composition to turn-of-the-century neo-classical arrangements, Dungeon Synth has taken great prestige in expanding on these magnificent musical cultures. Madame Swann has done something quite unique on their debut album, in that they’ve taken four previously written compositions from the early 1900’s – that have never been musically recorded – and have given them an everlasting audible experience. In addition, Madame Swann have composed two original tracks to add to this stellar recording, giving their personal stamp on this special album. In all, these six tracks flow with a sense of nostalgia with a minimalistic approach to instrument tracking.

Right from the start, the ominous quality of “Balbec Après I’Orage” shuffles through notes with haunting enthusiasm and presents a crystal-clear production that is even more haunting. Various synth effects present a retro feel throughout the track and it’s just so hard to imagine that this beautiful song was written around a hundred years ago, even though it sounds so up-to-date. “Nuit d’Octobre” is one of the original tracks written by Madame Swann and it fits in perfectly with the aesthetics of the other classical tracks on this album with regards to arrangement and melody beautification. In addition, the minimalistic approach provides such an eerie backdrop to go along with the minor keys that are played in such a masterful structure. “Captive” keeps the same sound, tone and timing as the previous tracks and it simply exudes a combination of neo-classical and retro synth layers to create a lavish sound. Next up is the delightfully toned, “Fugitive”. The production contains a huge wall-of-sound that slowly echoes to create a massive musical endeavor. A faint drone plays underneath a busy synth lead that reverberates a passion for classical compositions. “La Mort De Swann” is a standout track as it contains various sounds and effects not heard on any other track. From deep synth grumbles to high-pitched vibrato tones, this is a short eclectic piece that is too interesting not to be recorded for the first time in almost a century. The final track on the album is another Madame Swann original entitled “Prière”. This one features more of a dark ambient intro with mesmerizing narrations before diving into some serious medieval synth leads. After a few bars of this beautiful sound, it begins to build and layer with additional leads that play in the same style but toned down a bit, creating a really enthralling and adventurous track.

I really enjoy the concept of Madame Swann and the approach taken on this album was done with with extraordinary attention to detail. Containing two original tracks written by the artist and four tracks written by Jeanne Spitz (almost one hundred years ago) but never musically recorded, Madame Swann have released an amazing album of neo-classical/neo-medieval synth music that shouldn’t be pigeon-holed to just those two genres. From the arrangements, instrumentation, musicianship and production, this album presents an all-around wonderful listening experience. Please support Madame Swann and download this amazing album from the link below.

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Links:

https://madameswann.bandcamp.com/releases

Mora-Tau Lets the 70’s Minimalistic Space Rock Influences Shine Bright On ‘The Light Of The Winter’

The calm demeanor of minimalistic music can evoke all sorts of human emotions. The vast listening experience is like an endless field of dreams and nightmares, all rolled up in one, and depending on your psychological state, it could allow for one of the best experiences ever. This is especially true when we realize that the ambient music that is providing this backdrop, is heavily influenced by spacey elements of 70’s progressive synth music – especially the monumental sounds of Tangerine Dream and the brilliant solo works of Klaus Schulze. Luminous Japanese recording artist, Mora-Tau, maximizes these influences on a spectacular new release called, ‘The Light Of The Winter’. The four improvised – but majestically written – tracks on this album will catapult the listener to a cold, surreal world where there is no limit for crafting a story for blissful meditation.

The ultra silky sounds of the the lead off track, “The Light Of The Winter”, is reminiscent of a jazz noir piece that has improvisations in the perfect spots to create a hauntingly beautiful moment. As the synth volume increases and the play becomes more sporadic, the listener is cascaded back into an era where time was slower and gray weather drifted in between sun rays at a snails pace. Although this song is filled with many peaceful moments, there is a sense of dreadful nostalgia in the background that always makes its presence felt. Up next is the twenty five and a half minute long “Cityscape”. Without rushing a single note, the track starts off with dreary deep tones and oppressive melodies that represent a cold, dark and miserable time where the infinite clock paints a mesmerizing picture of never ending despair. Slowly, additional soundscapes are added to the track, bringing a great variety of light and dark ambience to the mix. At around the halfway mark, layers of drones begin to build, creating a climactic effect. Even though this is an extremely long track, it continues to build and garner strength throughout its duration, making it a wondrous journey to be a part of. The next track, “For The Memory Of The Earthquake” is a fascinating song as (in my opinion) it pays homage to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake (and tsunami) that decimated parts of North Eastern Japan. Coincidentally, I lived in Japan during that time and experienced some of the effects of this disaster and would never want to relive that situation again. Anyway, back to the song at hand as it contains somber instrumentation with a very minimalistic approach. It’s almost as if the artist is reliving the experience in slow motion and the music is creating a positive outcome from such a negative event. Retro keyboard tones really stand out on this one as the improvised moments take us back to the old days of synthwave. The final track on this illustrious album is the near twenty one minute long “New Moon”. Starting with deep modulation tones that reverberate as a solid foundation, odd synth tones slowly build and create a mild frequency havoc when some of them are pinched together. However, this is a necessary part of the track as the sound waves continue to build until they are replaced by clear, piercing drones. Bizarre improvisations fit in rather well during this moment and even make this a standout track on the album. Soon, ordinary synth tones begin to layer in a harmonious effort to bring much needed light to this track. More retro synth sounds are added, along with mysterious keyboard effects, to present an irregular ending. Although it fades out with a few minutes to spare, it abruptly fades back in with a systematic closing that summarizes the fascinating style of this album as a whole.

Mora-Tau is an extremely compelling artist that is full of vision, even when creating long, epic tracks full of improvisations. ‘The Light Of The Winter’ not only captures retrospective synth moments, but it also finds common ground with dark and light ambient compositions, making for an extraordinary production effort. I’m eager to hear more from this talented artist and I highly recommend checking out this album as soon as possible. Please show your support and download ‘The Light Of The Winter’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-light-of-the-winter

Velvety Synth Leads And Ghoulish Compositions Prevail On Ancient Sword’s ‘Ars Antiqua’

Darkness descending on ominous Dungeon Synth music with a soundtrack-like quality is one of the key elements that I’ve come to love with this genre of music. It’s those artists that continue to push the boundary of songwriting and sound quality without giving up the general aesthetics of the genre is what makes recordings like these sound so great. In this matter, I’m referring to ‘Ars Antiqua’ by Ancient Sword. Featuring eight mesmerizing tracks of elemental Dungeon Synth, this is a beautiful recording of the highest nature.

“Descending The Darkpath” is the perfect album opener with dismal field recordings and evil synth effects to perfectly place the listener in the mood for a harrowing experience. “Hermit’s Dream” begins with a soothing keyboard tone that is soon followed by a clean synth lead that is easy to follow and will have the listener humming the same tune right away. The orchestral elements add a refreshing light to this track as well. “Alabard Song” kicks things off in high gear with a haunting rhythm and portentous drum beats. As layers of synths continue to seep in, it’s obvious that this is a standout track on the album. “A Crowd Of Shades Flitting By Dark Waters” starts as a peculiar synthwave track with bizarre tones and intricate keyboard fills. Around the halfway mark, additional keyboard fills make their presence known as this outlandish track suddenly fades off in the distance. “King’s Farewell” is another sinister sounding track that features many keyboard effects that will please fans of both Medieval Dungeon Synth and retro synthwave as well. The multiple layers of lead synth tracks seems to broaden the spectrum for this song and it takes a beautiful turn toward an orchestral piece toward the end. “Chrysopoeia” features a harmonious keyboard lead that is soon synchronized with swaying synth drones that together, create a wondrous melody that is catchy and memorable. “Night Wanderer” begins with a brooding sound that borders malevolence more than it does the pleasantries of harmonious tones. With soft, percussive sounds and layers of droning synths, this is not only one of the darkest tracks on the album, but it’s also rich in natural composition with a striking arrangement as well. The final track on the album, “Mythical Twilight”, is a somber arrangement with fascinating keyboard tones and layers of congenial synth leads that play out like a magical orchestration until the very end.

Ancient Sword has created an enchanting experience with ‘Ars Antiqua’. Although these eight tracks provide thirty two minutes of listening pleasure, each song is well crafted and diverse in its own right. From ominous tones and sinister sounds to beautiful orchestrations, this album is well diverse and should please fans of all types of synth music in general. I highly recommend checking out this album from the link below and I’m eager to see what this artist has to offer in the very near future.

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Links:

https://ancientsword.bandcamp.com/releases

Apocryphos Reveals A Dismal Truth Of Society With The Guitar-Heavy ‘Against Civilization’

Taking into consideration that the year 2020 has been one of the most atrocious years in recent history, it’s safe to say that the perception of society as a whole is pretty detestable at the moment. Politics aside – a subject I will never glamorize in my reviews – times have changed and cultural understanding and guidance seem to have fallen by the wayside. That being said, it must have been like a premonition when Apocryphos released the phenomenal album, ‘Against Civilization’ back in February of this year. The overall theme for this album is exactly what we’re dealing with when it comes to humanity’s embrace on life. These eight tracks of guitar-laden dark ambience reveals the chaos when handling the rage of the untamed.

Right from the opening track, “Heartsick”, there is a dispiriting sensation that prevails when the soothing and melancholic guitar effects begin to play out. There is a somber quality with the tone that instantly suppresses the mood to allow for the prolonged and hypnotic drones to take center stage. “Altschmerz” initiates with an empty space of dread while mesmerizing, layered guitar effects slowly imbue the mix. Acoustic tones play indiscriminately while boosting the various soundscapes that hauntingly play out in the background. “A Feral Nature” begins mournfully, playing depressive and minimalistic drones. Even in the bleak nature of this track, Apocryphos still seems to find a way to mix in beautiful melodies that are not only memorable, but highly addictive to listen to as well. “Dysphagia” commences with a haunting static effect with various soundscapes added in to deliver unbiased nightmares to the listeners. Low-end guitar tones playing in the background to increase the creepiness factor and keeps the overall sound at an abysmal level. “Cupio Dissolvi” continues the use of beautiful, yet dismal guitar drones and the slow buildup to the louder sound level is soothing and leaves the listener in dire anticipation for what’s next. The melodic drones build over time and change in tone often to make this a consoling piece of work. “A Feral Night” begins with a deep, tonal modulation that remains constant and hypnotic. The guitar-heavy drones are reminiscent of an industrialized wasteland as the austere tones are layered perfectly and are used sparingly to provide a sense of apprehension. “Sunken Eyed Theopanies” starts with an astonishing sound that resembles the constant gong of a Grandfather clock. Without hesitation, higher pitched intonations ring in on multiple occasions to ensure this bleak track remains as enthralling as possible. The final track on the album is “ A Feral Kind”. It calmly begins with a mollifying drone that increases in volume over a short period of time. Additionally, it seems to add in a deeper layered drone to thicken the sound. Throughout this track, drone tones are manipulated in higher and lower pitches without conflicting, in order to contribute to this wondrous and minimalistic offering.

‘Against Civilization’ is not like most other Dark Ambient offerings, as the artist relies heavily on guitar effects and tracking to provide layers of massive drones and quality melodies. Not only does that make this a unique contribution to the genre, it’s also one of my favorite Dark Ambient albums of the year so far. Additionally, the songwriting impeccable, and the quality of the material is beyond exceptional. Apocryphos is a staple artist on the Cryo Chamber label and with releases like this, it shows why. If you’ve not heard this amazing recording, now is the perfect time to do so. Please click on the link below and support this stunning album.

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Links:

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

Isolation And Nature Collide On Grimloch’s Esoteric And Terse EP, ‘Return To The Wild’

Sometimes fate takes you to a remote location in nature that rarely see interaction with mankind. Those are the environmental settings that have a lasting impression on many enthusiasts that rely on the beauties of the countryside for artistic influence. Some are fortunate to live by these landscapes and have access to these types of wondrous sceneries. That’s exactly the case for Grimloch and the purity of the music that is presented on ‘Return To The Wild’. Leaning heavy on the surroundings of the lonely environment with a conservative approach to instrumental and production integration, Grimloch prepares a unique take on Dungeon Synth that combines modest folk influences across seven short and extraordinary tunes.

The delicate keys of “Rapid Forge (Introduction)” play an irregular pattern as if someone is becoming familiar with a strange new land for the first time. Smooth and slightly distorted chops add a brightness and sense of happiness to the situation, as the ‘Return To The Wild’ commences. The arrangement on “Mirkwood Forest” may seem random at first, but is intricately woven with the allure of nature and it’s haunting calmness allows for this layered and rhythmic tune to sound complex and appealing. “Farewell Rose” is a beautiful forest synth piece that contains several tracks of various instruments that seamlessly play a thoughtful and sedative tune. “Druid Sunrise” is another complex piece that is methodically layered with various sounds that remain harmonious throughout. In keeping with the true fashion of this recording, the track suddenly ends, just as you’re starting to get enthralled in its mysticism. “The Orb” has a traditional Dungeon Synth vibe with some ethereal tones and perfectly fitting echo effects that make this a standout track. “Velox Spiritus” is a very short but dreamy synth piece that has a peculiar reverb effect, giving it a huge sound. The final song on this obscure offering is “A Beautiful Birth”. Not only is it the longest song on the album – just over two minutes in length – it’s also the most adaptable, as it contains soothing drone synths, haunting keyboard leads and eerie soundscapes. Toward the end of the track, there is even a low-end drone to close things out.

Grimloch is certainly a unique and arcane artist. Drawing a majority of his influences from hidden landscapes and remote, desolate settings, the power of this esoteric recording is quite fascinating. Although these seven tracks take up only eight minutes of playing time, every second is utilized to the max and not a moment is wasted. ‘Return To The Wild’ is a charming piece of work and is worth checking out. If you like your Dungeon Synth tracks short & sweet, with a variety of minimalistic instrumentation, I recommend checking out Grimloch’s complete discography, which is available for “name your price”. However, the direct link for ‘Return To The Wild’ is available below.

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Links:

https://grimloch.bandcamp.com/album/return-to-the-wild

Sa Bruxa Brings Ominous Nightmares To Life With Perilous Soundscapes On ‘From The Depths’

Have you ever had one of those dreams or nightmares that seem memorable, but when you wake up, you just can’t seem to recall the events that took place? Then, at some random time you come across an object or engage in a conversation that has you suddenly evoking those thoughts from the subconscious that haunted your mind. Fortunately, that scenario will never happen with Sa Bruxa’s ‘From The Depths’, as its chimerical induced soundscapes and chilling drones have the capacity to shift its nightmarish narrative from the subconscious dream state to a ghoulish reality. Containing just a single, nineteen and a half minute track, Sa Bruxa shares a dark and relentless scheme of grim proportions that will have you wishing that your nightmares never existed in the first place.

The albums’ only track, “From The Depths” commences with thunderous tones from the apocalypse, while crisp keyboards play a dismal melody. As this daunting sound continues, an underlying and unorthodox synth synchronizes to condense the sound. In the background, layers of soundscapes and field recordings are contributing to the hellish result of this offering. At around the five minute mark, all of the chaos descends into darkness while a distant drone plays a steady tone. The sound of slow, heavy footsteps (or unknown movements) creep around as if someone is on the hunt for another victim. Random synths and effects produce a harrowing affect as anticipation continues to build. Inaudible voices can be heard off in the distance, adding another layer of mystery to this horrifying track. At around the eleven minute mark, the drones suddenly increase in volume, as terrifying sounds of someone getting closer – and dragging a weapon of sorts – conjures thoughts of imminent and agonizing pain. As the drones continue to increase and decrease, an intense deep breathing sound pulsates loudly, enough to give you a sudden dose of the chills. This happens one more time – less intensely – and then the reverberating drone fades out slowly to end the song.

‘From The Depths’ is a very intense recording and demands the attention of the listener. Although it contains the typical setup of a Dark Ambient recording – drones, field recordings and soundscapes – there is a lot going on and it takes shape quicker than your typical Dark Ambient album. That being said, this near twenty minute long track seems a lot shorter than it actually is. If you’re into the horror and fantasy realm of Dark Ambient, I would definitely recommend checking out Sa Bruxa’s ‘From The Depths’. Please support this innovative artist and download the album from the link below.

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Links:

https://sabruxa.bandcamp.com/album/from-the-depths-2

Count Shirintsu Infuse Traditional Sounds Of Asia With Meditative Synths On ‘Spirit Of The Earth’ EP

The sounds of the Orient have such a soothing & amazing tone and the aesthetics of it’s energy certainly fit in with synth music. In this case, Dungeon Synth perfectly fits the mold for what Count Shirintsu has accomplished over the past several recordings. On latest effort, ‘Spirit Of The Earth’ EP, there is a buoyant sound that provides an introspective look at ancient Asian culture as well as the delicate side of Dungeon Synth music, entwined uniquely across three short, memorable tracks that are superbly written and contribute to a unique side of the genre.

Album opener, “Spirit Of The Earth” begins with a hearty amount of retro synth wave modulations, followed by an exquisite lead keyboard chop that maximizes on melody and early-morning visions. This would be a perfect theme song for an 80’s throwback television show. Even though this track is just over two minutes in length, there is a lot going on and it’s the perfect introduction to the Count Shirintsu sound. Next up, is the ethereal sounds of “稲荷大神”. This is where the music of Asian influences really shine, as the into harmony resembles the twang of oriental stringed instruments. After a bar of of this enthralling endeavor, it seamlessly blends with with additional layers of Far East sounds. This wonderful refrain continues with the inclusion of several instances of lead instrumental work that puts the listener in the heart of a peaceful Byzantine land, where the culture is at the forefront of all other endeavors. Field recordings of flowing water in random patterns and the calming natural sounds of chirping birds complete this meticulous track. The final song on this EP is “Spirit Of The Earth (Reprise)”. Containing the same melody of the album opener, this reprise is a single keyboard recording, stripped down to the original beauty of the arrangement. This is an excellent Dungeon Synth track that is charmingly played and on several occasions, when the half-notes are hit, a sense of awe will embellish the listener.

Count Shirintsu is such an amazing artist with an amazing ear for beautiful melodies that stretch across multiple genres and cultures. ‘Spirit Of The Earth’ is not only a relevant Dungeon Synth recording, it is also an eclectic piece for synth music in general, and that is an amazing feat in itself. I know this was just an EP but I would have loved a full-length album of this material to soak up for a longer period of time. At any rate, this is an excellent album and I can not recommend this enough, so please click on the link below and download this incredible piece of work.

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Links:

https://countshirintsu.bandcamp.com/album/spirit-of-the-earth

ElectronicDeathBlackDogs Gestate A Perplexing Theme Of An Uncharted Enigma On ‘The Hidden Paths’

If I were to set a scene for how the music comes across on this album, it would go something like this; you awake from what you believe to be a dream. A bright, burgeoning light glows from the window, drawing you to the exterior of your home. Your senses tell you not to go but without hesitation, you open the door and head out toward a glooming path that has never been seen before. The surroundings look familiar but there is an impression of obscurity in the air. Although you believe you are experiencing anxieties of Earth’s dark offerings, it’s actually the bizarre contributions of a parallel world in which there is no return to reality. Welcome to the harrowing sacrifice by ElectronicDeathBlackDogs known as ‘The Hidden Paths’. The eight prolong tracks contained within, take the listener beyond the reaches of our universe and into another dimension where things are eerily similar but beyond the scope of reason.

Ritualistic sounds of dissonance begin this journey with the field recording-heavy, “Meditation & Technique”. With the calming sounds of a small fire, complimented by the random snaps of burning embers, distant drones begin to emerge in layers, along with industrialized effects. Heavy breathing describes a scene of what was once calm but has now been converted into unconventional discord. The drones intensify and with more distortion and reverb, increasing the chance of a violent altercation during this vulnerable time. “Ash Covered Wasteland” begins with deep drones and low bellowing wind sounds as if this is where the true nightmare is beginning after completing the meditation experience. The space ambience elements of this track are calming, yet leave so much room for many other factors to take over, and that’s exactly what happens once the layered & elongated keys come into play. The sounds are completely soothing but also provide a sense of isolation and desolation. As the listener proceeds through ‘The Hidden Paths’ they will notice things are similar but at the same time peculiarly different. Heavily layered synths and various sound effects add to this shock value, but slowly fades out, as to not cause panic. Further down the path, “Assail” continues the journey in a more peaceful constraint. Soothing keyboards flow in harmoniously and are complimented by birds chirping in the distance. As they increase in sound, a drone synchronizes with the track to provide a balance between the dark and light. Orchestration effects are dominant on this offering and are arranged very well without being over used. At around the halfway mark, it almost goes silent with the exception of the constant drone. Then suddenly, loud buzzing synths roll in unexpectedly as if there were a sense of urgency to continue the journey through the path. “Elder Light” commenced with a tonal alarm affect that slowly fades, while a dark drone sways from one side of the spectrum to the other. Light orchestrations are appeasing to the perception of the surroundings of the path at this point. There are more natural elements in this track, meaning that ‘The Hidden Paths’ is finally leading to a place of familiarity. “The Shores Of Creation” starts with the flow of wind and water elements and then a loud alarm sound rings throughout the land and continues to echo for a brief moment. Brooding drones are introduced with layers of static to give off a really evil vibe. At random, the enormous alarm sound continues to reverberate, causing havoc in this section of the path. Toward the end, the drones take on a more space ambient theme of calmness and acceptance. “Eternal Darkness” is one of the most sinister sounding tracks on the album. Malevolent soundscapes, twisted keyboard effects and a massively dark drone that lies deep within create an ominous sound with a threatening presence lurking close by. Whispers and hisses can be heard throughout as if the listener is being stalked in this portion of the path. Apocalyptic modulations add an intense effect, causing disorientation. “The Edge Of Chaos” takes the listener one step closer to the end of ‘The Hidden Paths’. Although not as dark as the previous track, the use of soundscapes prevail and maintains the intensity as before. The orchestrations (in small parts) make a return on this song and are placed perfectly throughout. Deep grumbles mixed with light keyboard tones shows that the distant end is drawing near. The final few minutes have a beautiful and nostalgic synth wave appeal, as the listener approaches the final stages of the path. “Return” begins with the crackles of hot embers and the swift introduction of space ambient sounds. The harmonic sounds of an angelic choir mixed with deep tonal effects are enlightening and deranged at the same time. As the gathering of sounds intensifies, the listener exits the path to find themself back at the beginning of the the exact same path. There is no escape from ‘The Hidden Paths’ and the paradox that it has created.

ElectronicDeathBlackDogs excels at creating musical endeavors that provide a headspace for conceiving your own adventure. For ‘The Hidden Paths’, I’m not sure of the mindset of the artist at the time this album was created, but it was crafted so meticulously, that it is easy to imagine an adventure that could have been. That’s when you know that a Dark Ambient album has surpassed the expectations of the listener. This is an absolutely amazing album that I can not recommend enough. So, if you’re looking for a Dark Ambient album to put you in a particular headspace to free your mind from reality – although briefly – look no further than ‘The Hidden Paths’. Please support this incredible artist and download the album from the link below.

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Links:

https://lakelabel.bandcamp.com/album/the-hidden-paths