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

Thorgnyr Delivers A Conceptual Piece On The Revolution Of Life Called, ‘Cycles’

As Dungeon Synth continues to grow in thematic expression, I’ve come to the conclusion that no subject matter is off limits at this point and anything that can arouse the emotions is worthy of a conceptual album in this ever-so-impressive genre. Although there are many noteworthy artists that have burst onto the scene to deliver their brand of medieval synth music, one that has been rather impressive as of late is Thorgnyr. On the extraordinary sophomore effort called ‘Cycles’, Thorgnyr releases four long-form tracks that conceptualize a day in the revolution of life (in general). With the help of Icelandic folklore, mythical creatures and ghost stories, these four tracks emerge as a solid story with varied influences and the outcome is outstanding.

On the opening track, “Dusk”, beautifully suppressed synths are woven into a Medieval melody that lay the ground work for this breathtaking ten and a half minute long track. After a short refrain, layers of background synths are added to thicken the sound. At around the three minute mark, synth leads orchestrate a discordant – but necessary pattern – that harmonizes well with the original melody of the music. Soon afterwards, percussive patterns are introduced, solidifying this track in the right evening time mood and preparing the listener for further enchantments that represents the other phases in this cycle. The next track is the grimly composed, “Night”. Starting with just a single keyboard melody and briskly bridging in backup sounds that are daring and bold, this track perfectly describes the title in the dark, brooding music that unfolds across nearly ten minutes of playing time. Deep, thunderous keyboards play modulating sounds that are haunting and spirit evoking. About halfway through, a quirky keyboard arrangement makes its way into the mix, as if representing the awakening of nocturnal creatures, as they stir through the land in search for food and festivities. “Dawn” begins with a loud, shrieking keyboard tone that is definitely in the Dungeon Synth tradition. As the awakening of a new day emerges, warm keyboard melodies pleasantly mix synth leads, creating a warm and inviting sound. This sound maintains a relatively quick pace for the first six minutes or so, then the track takes a sharp turn with different keyboard effect. The keyboard leads really shine throughout this whole track and they rarely let up, except on occasion to bring in more layers of synths and percussion patterns. The final track on the album is the best ten minute long, “Day”. Commencing with a high-pitched keyboard arrangement that matches the relaxing elements of nature as the day unfolds, breathing life into everting into existence. A couple of minutes in, distorted synths provide the backdrop to the enlightened melodies and gives this track an immense sound, as this album comes full circle. Again, the percussion elements add a nice layer of crunch to the track and gives it’s a grandiose feeling.

With having such a short career in the Dungeon Synth genre thus far, Thorgnyr continues to deliver the goods and proves that’s they are in it for the long haul. With just two albums under their belts – ‘Depths’ from March and ‘Cycles’ from April, Thorgnyr sounds like they’ve been delivering the ancient message for much longer than that. ‘Cycles’ is a really impressive release and one that I plan on listening to for sometime to come. Please support this amazing artist and download ‘Cycles’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://thorgnyr.bandcamp.com/album/cycles

Ajna’s ‘Oracular’ Sets A New Precedence For Minimalistic And Dreadful Ambience

Sometimes, music that terrifies the soul comes in unforeseen forms. Specifically in the Dark Ambient genre, haunting drones and malevolent soundscapes tend to be the vanguard for uncompromising nightmares and emotions. However, it’s the minimalistic approach to ambient music that contribute to the sensation of true isolationism, and that – to me – is a whole new level of horror. The latest release by Ajna, ‘Oracular’, confines the listener into a deep space of abandonment and desolation, so that the mind is held captive by the ten cavernous tracks contained within. The perception of this sixty six minute journey is like having an out-of-body experience and if you sit back, close your eyes and take in the powerful audible message, that’s exactly what will happen.

“Metaterrestrial” opens with deep, brooding notes that are the dawn of a chilling sequence of sounds leading up to a guttural drone with horrifying soundscapes. It’s as if a nightmare from a horror film is playing out before our ears, creating a dark, unforgiving world that is ready to apprehend the listener without bias. Waves of cosmic synths modulate in slow motion, causing relentless tension. “The Unknown” commences with a soft but profound drone, followed by a frantic static sound that abruptly gets the blood flowing. Afterwards, layers of subdued synth tones build a wall of astral sound as it creates an environment for easy mental drifting. The static noises, as well as a few other industrial-like soundscapes randomly make an appearance as an obscure gesture to torment the mental awareness of the listener. The next track of unsettling detail is, “Parallel Hypnosis”. With the soft drones taking a background to the ever changing soundscapes, distraught noises kick things off before halting and giving way to ghostly drones. Irregularly timed industrial sounds give this track a mechanized feel and that benefits the overall theme of the album. “Astral Hybridization” starts with a steady, low end sound with drifting synths blended in, giving it a bit of a melodic appeal. The abrupt soundscapes continue to be a driving force and they can be a bit daunting when least expected. “Rising Above Physical Time (alternate version)” introduces a grim and constant tone that sounds like the aftermath of a forceful bang of a Tibetan singing bowl. Grotesque soundscapes coagulate for a while before fading off in the distance, making this a rather eerie track. “Pneuma” rolls in like a deep winter snow storm, ascending to loud, harsh volumes before descending into uncertainty. Once settled into the depths of cold and despair, irregular modulations crackle through the speakers and icy drones continue to fill the colorless void. As the synth frequency increases, so does the volume, creating a whirlwind of relentless desolation. “Paralysis” wastes no time with the bludgeoning drones, as they pierce the airwaves fiercely right from the opening moment of the track. Without hesitation, moments of harrowing shrills bellow out with full force! After a few minutes, a particular calmness comes over this track but a constant drone maintains a steady vibration while various soundscapes compound with renewed resonance. “Two Red Moons” appears less hectic than most of the other tracks, but still complies with the random drops of industrial-laden soundscapes. “Nightmare Sector” is probably the most sinister sounding track on the album. Although the drones are mid-level in tone, various other sound effects make this one extraordinarily creepy. The last track on the album, “Infinitam Abyssum II” is a true masterclass in claustrophobic ambience. The dreadful phantasm of sound exuded in this final offering is bleak and cold and epitomizes minimalistic Dark Ambient in an unparalleled way.

Ajna has set a precedence when it comes to confined Dark Ambient. With a minimalistic approach to deep, meditative drones complimented by apocalyptic soundscapes, ‘Oracular’ is a highly entertaining album with a consistent and ear-pleasing style throughout. If you enjoy Dark Ambient with a restrained sound amidst innovative soundscapes, then checkout the latest album by Ajna, ‘Oracular’, our now on the Cyclic Law label and available for download at the link below.

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Links:

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

Pastoral Refrains Cater To The Gentle Side Of Nature On Alloch Nathir’s ‘The Emerald Grotto’

Nature is the essence of many aspects of life. Whether good or evil, the crux of its attributes supplies endless amounts of viable resources in order to create an unfathomable sense of inspiration for music. From placid elements that relate to the morning dawn, peaceful wilderness and the natural formations of the land to dark & eerie forests, storms & gray skies and desolate terrain, music can take on these exact same forms and emit either a somber or malevolent side. Alloch Nathir’s ‘The Emerald Grotto’ takes the best of both worlds and combines them into a soothing and melodic style of forest/fantasy synth that will have the listener bonding with all elements of nature. Within these eight tracks, the listener will be summoned deep into the forest to a mystical cave that will transcend an ordinary forest floor into an unprecedented hidden treasure.

“Tome Of The Mercurial Font” fades in like a soft, flowing stream, deep in the heart of a secluded forest. Majestic strings pluck a simple but melodic tune to entice the mood. At once, harmonious sounds are brought in to create a peaceful environment, abundant with life. Subtle keys in the background induce feelings of tranquility and enlightenment. “Lost In The Wooded Labyrinth” takes us further down the stream where the currents are stronger and the exalted beauty is matched by sovereign string arrangements. The constant chirps of birds signifies a particularly sheltered environment where the scenery has the upper hand on any unforeseen visitors. Faint synth effects can be heard, but are distinct enough to create a balance between forest and fantasy synth. “Embraced By Dawn’s Gentle Grace” exemplifies all of the core qualities of a great dungeon synth track; slightly upbeat keys, great fills that don’t stop throughout the majority of the track, as well as the delicate warbles of the local inhabitants. Although this is a fairly short track, it exemplifies the content of this album as a whole and really stands out as a memorable piece. “Beyond The Traveled Trail” is a fast paced anthem that features a groovy percussion part that maintains a rhythmic stance throughout. The muffled synth lead is a whimsical nod to somber isolation, yet has an encouraging tone. “The Conjurer’s Cauldron” begins with an aggressive, deep sounding synth tone that plays opposite to a staggering lead part that is reminiscent of a suppressed horn. The polyrhythmic percussion melody is outstanding and fits in perfectly. “Reflections In A Windshorn Mist” continues with the vigorous fantasy synth elements and will have the listener drifting off into the heart of the forest, in search of inner peace and expansion. The final minute of this song changes directions slightly with a solo synth work that is bold and slightly passive. “The Pearl In The Cavern Pool” is my favorite song on the album. It starts with a reticent rain shower field recording and is soon followed by a restrained synth arrangement that has a beautiful melody, but is cold and dark at the same time. The final track on the album, “The Emerald Grotto” is a bleak offering that would be perfect for a hazy autumnal morning, just before the season changes to winter. Although nature’s intonations are absent from this track, it’s apparent that deep inside the hidden cavern, all is lost from the outside world. This is a trance inducing offering that blends droning keyboard effects with harmonic leads that find a delicate balance between repetition and beauty. I can’t think of a better track than this one to end such an amazing album.

Alloch Nathir uses the beauty of nature as well as the mystifying sounds of forest and fantasy synth to deliver an exceptional album that is worthy of multiple listens and will probably be a staple in my DS playlist for a long time to come. Although clocking in at just twenty five minute in length, every bit of this time is used superbly and the field recordings are just about flawless. If delicate synth music riddled with the sounds of nature is your thing, then I can not recommend ‘The Emerald Grotto’ enough. Support this amazing artist and download this incredible album from the link below. You’ll not be disappointed.

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Links:

https://allochnathir.bandcamp.com/

Diaspora Psichica’s ‘Eprom’, Interprets The Horrific And Unhinged Ordeals Of The Artificial Intelligence Era

We’ve all seen the movie; an artificial intelligence (AI) being of some sort turns against its maker or civilization and provokes all sorts of havoc. A glitch in the system causing a reactionary output that has nullified all previous code and syntax, is now enemy number one. If you’ve not seen the movie, I’m sure you’ve read the book or have watched the TV show or at least have envisioned a scenario similar to this. In the computer age, things like this aren’t supposed to happen. Systems and components are presumed to work and function as designed. Even if there is a bug or malfunction, a failsafe is typically written to prevent the devastating effect of a hostile machine takeover. On Diaspora Psichica’s latest album, ‘Eprom’, a ghastly nightmare unfolds that is the equivalent to a systematic meltdown of frenzied proportions.

At the commencement of this album is the eccentric “Trasmisson”. Luminous sound effects race hysterically from one speaker to another as if the system startup is commanding an explicit set of code from memory. However, the narrative throughout the track repeats the same seven words over and over again, exhibiting a glitch in the system. Cosmic sounds and noises provide further evidence of a system failure, as this track finally ends, never completing the startup process. “Vision” begins with daring, low-end drones and minimalist but vibrant synth tones that are eerie and perplexing. More systematic narratives commence – a few words at a time – as if providing clues to a code. “Equilibrium” starts with a bizarre synth wave loop as if the balance of AI and Human intelligence is stuck in a type of EPROM, unable to be erased, and now must work together somehow to overcome this disaster. A deep voice can be heard providing details of their predicament. Although the voice is human-like, it definitely represents the machine. “Daleth” commences with industrial synth loops and samples, and a few oddities thrown in the mix. A few wandering drones fade in and out of the mix while a cryptic narrative repeats the same eight words over and over again. Coincidentally, each word starts with the letter D. Without warning, the track suddenly fades out. Next up is “Vertigo”, with pounding drones and enough pulverizing looping sounds to cause a panic. Searing high-pitched synth tones race through the speakers at several different random times to keep this track compelling and aggressively dark. “Afternum” is a short track of bleak drones that sound as if they are slowly breathing. Maybe this is the AI finally coming to life due to the continued interaction with human intelligence. Random thoughts regenerate at the end of the track in vocal patterns that sound straight out of a horror movie. “Hysteresis Human Mind” is the most sinister track on the album as the monotonous drones are austere in nature as well as the jumbled sound effects placed throughout. The humanoid narration – matched with this music – is completely frightening, and it continues the same format as previous tracks, in that it repeats the same few words over and over again. The final track on the album, “Thelema” is completely different from the rest of the tracks, containing an astonishing drum beat to go along with sound effects placed in a melodic pattern. Synthesized narrations play a key part in this track as well, giving it that futuristic – but at the same time, retro – feel to it. This is the perfect track to summarize this intelligent but disturbing album.

Diaspora Psichica have created a monumental album in ‘Eprom’. Although this album was recorded a few years back, it was recently brought to my attention and I’ve enjoyed this album very much. I’m very much looking forward to hearing more from this artist and I dig their unique style and quality. ‘Eprom’ is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD from the link below, so do yourself a favor and add this amazing album to your collection.

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Links:

https://diasporapsichica.bandcamp.com/album/eprom

Mocking The Overuse Of Sub-genres, Moss Golem Defies Style Classification With The Perverse ‘The Woods Of Galdura’ Release

Dungeon Synth sure has come a long way, especially over the last few years. Not only has it grown immensely in popularity but it has garnered a slew of new sub-genres in which artists can hone their craft to a setting more suitable for them. After all, the harsh tones of Medieval-themed synth music – typically meant to motivate and inspire bloodshed and battle as war rages on between ancient kingdoms or mythical creatures – is quite different from the tranquility of music that makes you feel all warm and snuggly inside. Now enter Moss Golem, the insidious new-ish project by Davey Sasahara created to be the antipode to one of Dungeon Synth’s most popular (and ever growing) sub-genre’s, Comfy Synth. Although releasing a debut EP in February called ‘The House That Granda Built’, the March release of ‘The Woods Of Galdura’ sees a full release of idiosyncratic Dungeon Synth tunes with menacing black metal vocals that are sure to turn heads and provide plenty of discomfort. Well, if that’s the case, then mission accomplished!

The perfect example of all of the aforementioned, is the lead off track, “I”. Beginning with the soothing textures of layered synths in an intimate setting to provide the feeling of relaxation and comfort, Moss Golem reels the listener in to a false world. After a few minutes, this cushy setting fades out into a moment of silence. Slowly, bizarre and jovial synths emerge with harsh, black metal vocals, defying the cozy setting depicted in the first half of the track. “II” continues the menacing escapade as a brief ambient moment is met with evil vocals and turbulent horn effects. Pounding bass pulses contribute to the heinous intonations as Moss Golem continue to push the boundaries of synth music. On “III”, grim synths pave the way to enlightenment, just to be decimated once again by bitter vocals. This time, the music is almost dirge-like, while the vocals are like a cry out of pain and suffering. The fantasy synth sounds of “IV” are abruptly cut short, as the bewildering vocals once again shine a darkening light and prove the mordancy of Moss Golem’s existence. The grandiose elements of “V” are persistent with the classic aspects of a cinematic black metal interlude that has stood the test of time. However, instead of leading into a blazing black metal riff, Moss Golem leads the listener down a path of mortifying Dungeon Synth like no other. The melodic keys on “VI” are memorable and picturesque of a harmonious time, however when the vocals start, oblivion sets in and a dark reality is soon realized. “VII” begins with a retro, synth wave vibe and is soon joined with elements of forest synth effects and of course, the harsh vocals. Rich piano textures and rigid cries begin the contingent track, “VIII”. Beautiful orchestrations are added about halfway through for a more euphonious effect. Track “IX” has to be my favorite on this album for several reason. First, I appreciate the industrial soundscapes in the beginning to show a different side of the Moss Golem sound. The synths are arranged in a canorous pattern that also makes this an enjoyable listen. Lastly, the Crypt Hop elements toward the end are insane! Not just in the beats, but also with the fact that the heavily distorted black metal rap, just feels so right. “X” is an excellent track as well, as it’s ironically fitting. It closes the album just as it started, calm and soothing, even after listening to nine tracks of exasperating Dungeon Synth.

Moss Golem have released two outstanding albums this year and both have succeeded in confronting the culture of desiring to have a title to fit into a certain category. ‘The Woods Of Galdura’ kills any trends previous built upon the Dungeon Synth genre and dares to be categorized in a single style. If you’re a fan of Dungeon Synth and Black Metal and are curious about the meshing of genres, then look no further than Moss Golem and the latest effort, ‘The Woods Of Galdura’. Click on the link below and download this exceptional album and support this innovative artist!

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Links:

https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-woods-of-galdura

Blackweald’s ‘Leonov’ Is A Bleak But Breathtaking Homage To One Of The Greatest Space Explorers Of Our Times

Music with a unique purpose or common theme tends to be right up my alley. Despite the genre, I always tend to lend my ears to conceptual albums, as the stories tend to be as intriguing as the music. Most of my conceptual music entertainment tends to come from rock and metal bands such as Yes, King Diamond and Carach Angren. However, over the years, as my love for Dungeon Synth and Dark Ambient grew, I realized that although there weren’t necessarily an exclusive number of concept albums, many albums revolve around a specific topic or theme, sprouting an increased imagination while listening to music from both of these genres. More so in the Dark Ambient genre, concept albums are more prominent, as the depth and darkness of the music creates an atmospheric universe to picture everything the artist is trying to convey. That’s exactly the case with the latest release from Blackweald called ‘Leonov’. A thirty seven minute dark space adventure that pays tribute to Alexei Leonov, the first cosmonaut to ever conduct a spacewalk. Although broken up into eight tracks, this is a single, seamless piece that puts the listener right in the heart of this milestone mission.

To begin this historic achievement, album opener “Korolev, Glavny Konstruktor” starts with a short Russian language narrative as deep, airy drones launch this track into the atmosphere. Layers of whirr and synth effects courageously build as if trying to outdo the noise level of the other. Then, it quietly fades away into the next track, “Grechko, Космонавт 34”. Mostly made up of subtle nuances and effects, these are the final minutes and checks that Leonov are going through as he prepares for launch. “196503180700000” begins just as the previous track ended. There is a short music sample that plays just before the launch sequence, reminding Leonov of home one last time before departing Earth. At the end of the launch sequence, various sonic noises can be heard, releasing a cosmic energy into the air. The next track, “_” consist of bizarre, screeching noises and profound drones as if Leonov’s spacecraft has successfully passed Max-Q and is well on his way to the confines of space. With the jettison of booster rockets and exterior noise at a minimum, only the ticks and alarms of internal equipment can be heard – which is what this track may portray. Random noises and distant signals assist the Cosmonaut with guidance and trajectory as he heads toward his rendezvous point. As he gets deeper into orbit, the mesmerizing drones become more prominent and overbearing, taking center stage of any sound effects that may have been heard previously. “Foothold In The Heavens” contains additional narratives as Leonov prepares for his spacewalk. The menacing drone in the beginning is soon joined by a spacious synth tone to add an infinite dimension. However toward the end of the track, the drones turn into malevolent sounds of evil with hints of heavy breathing in the foreground. “Walk On Home, Boy!” Is an ethereal track with the sounds of a heartbeat in the beginning. These are the climactic accents of the compelling spacewalk in the purview of open space. From buzzes to crackling noises and engine sounds, these are the only comforting subtleties for the Cosmonaut looking to make history and this track perfectly provides the setting and feeing that must have been during that anxious time. “Upper Kama Upland” contains more bizarre twists and noises with looping drones in the background. A sample of a Morse code audio capture reveals a voiceless communication between Earth and the Cosmonaut. About halfway through, wind effects are added with high-frequency drones that shift in modulation with every loop. As the wind sounds fade, cosmic keys play a melodic dirge and the track ends with a classic song sample from yesteryear. The final track on the album, “Ivanna//Malfunction” is a bass heavy track with no shortage of drones and eerie effects either. Inaudible narration samples can be heard, as if something has gone wrong and at the same time synth keys fluctuate from low to high volume and then drift back off again. This repeats through the duration of the song and finally in the end, a deep droning tone plays one final note to send the album out on an frightening ending.

‘Leonov’ is Blackweald’s most mature and adventurous effort to date. Not only did the artist pay a proper homage to the historic ventures of Russian Cosmonaut, Alexei Leonov, but the production of the colossal drones, mission control narratives and synth effects seem impeccable and pristine. If you’re a fan of deep space dark ambient with narrations and otherworldly samples, then you’ll love Blackweald’s ‘Leonov’. Please download this album by clicking on the link below and support this monumental artist.

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Links:

https://blackweald.bandcamp.com/album/leonov-2

The Genre Eclipsing, Progressive Synth Compositions On Jenn Taiga’s ‘Plight’, Are Nothing Short Of Extraordinary

This album has been in my queue to review for several months now but due to my hectic schedule and backlog of review requests, it’s taken me longer than expected to get to this. Well, the time is finally here and I must say that this is one of my most anticipated reviews of the year. Jenn Taiga is a phenomenal musician and songwriter and on her latest effort, ‘Plight’, the bar has been raised yet again, as two long-form compositions show strong multi-genre influences including Berlin School, 70’s Progressive Space Rock, Krautrock and avant-garde. In addition, these pieces will take the listener on a retro-futuristic journey like no other.

The opening keyboard arrangement from “Solivagant” sounds similar to an outlandish communication pattern from an unidentified craft from outer space, trying to make an initial contact. After a few minutes of this abstract melody, it dwindles down into a decaying deep tone to make room for a slowly ascending synth pattern that sets a galloping pace while various leads fill the airwaves with crushing sounds of nostalgic audible poetry. At various times throughout this twenty plus minute track, the galloping rhythm in the background changes octaves to match the cacophonous effort that continues to take center focus. At around the nine and a half minute mark, the background sequence is modified into a slightly different rhythm, bringing a new found dexterity to the track. The continued use of various effects on the lead parts are simply exhilarating and it’s just so easy to close your eyes and get lost in this massive adventure. The second and final song on the album is the massive twenty two plus minute long ‘Proteus’. After a few seconds of silence, harsh modulations permeate, creating a sense of isolation, then frantic frequencies spread at a rapid pace before an old-school synth interpretation begins a trotting loop. Layers of lead synths and keys build a massive wall of sound that takes the listener back in the past and forward into the future, as if they’re embedded into an 80’s style video game with modern technological themes. The swaying, saucy synths around the fourteen minute mark are some of the most intriguing works on the album and definitely one of the highlights for me personally. I could listen to this stuff all day! The final four minutes of this track are special as well, as the echoing effects on the keys are both eerie and compelling. As the end approaches, the echo effect increases, becoming louder and more predominant, ending this album on a distraught high note.

Jenn Taiga has created an extremely special album with ‘Plight’. With hints of retro, Berlin School influence from artists such as Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream, as well as progressive space rock from the 70’s, there are also modern twist and turns to keep the sound fresh and relevant. This album does an excellent job of absorbing the listener and emerging them into a completely different world for it’s forty three minute duration. Without a doubt, it’s one of my most played albums of the year, and the cassette release sounds even better. I highly recommend checking this out and supporting this exceptional artist! Click on the links below and enjoy ‘Plight’!

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Links:

https://jenntaiga.bandcamp.com/album/plight

Cassette Release:

https://tridroid.bandcamp.com/album/plight

The Unnerving Sounds Of A Decaying Season Elicit Haunting Memories On House Of The Maker’s ‘The Autumnal End’

With the inevitable change of seasons approaching every few months or so, a transition in mood and distemper is sure to follow. Usually, the changeover from spring to summer leads to a particular excitement that boasts a broad spectrum of energy and engagement with the outside world, as it represents brighter, happier times. However, as autumn progresses into winter, it brings about a different set of emotions and synergy that is far less content. As the tree leaves begin to deaden and fall at free will, the crisp sunlight gives way to gloomy skies and despondent memories. The music of House Of The Maker fulfills all of these grim moments with ‘The Autumnal End’, a seasonal dirge saturated with powerful drones and organic field recordings. At just over one hour in duration, these five dynamic tracks tell a dismal story of the perpetual cycle of life and death of the forest and it’s inhabitants and all they go through to struggle for survival.

The gradual decline begins with “A Fragile Soul Swaying In The Storm”. At just over thirteen minutes, this is a persuasive and extensive introduction to the withering elements that are plagued by change. From the soothing opening sounds of birds chirping in their natural habitat and the discordant synth tones that soon follow, its apparent that an inevitable collapse is soon at hand. Eccentric keys and the random sounds of a rainstick are just the start of desolation as haunting drones cycle through various frequencies and ranges, never finding an exact comfort. There is a horrifying presence about this track that brings about an anxious empathy, descending into a depressing lull. Toward the end, as the drones start to fade, desperate cries of a bird flying away from danger reminds us that the end is near. “A Small Frog Hopping Through A Pool Of Blood” starts with the subtle sounds of a late autumn rain shower, leaving a layer of dampness on the forest floor. The chirps and whistles of nocturnal creatures describe the darkening scenery as day turns to night. Ceaseless drones create a sense of awareness as additional sound effects illuminate the atmosphere with a tinge of unpleasant fate. About halfway through this fourteen and a half minute track, the field recordings conclude and layers of compounding drones desecrate the airwaves, sending evil vibrations through the standing water left by the evening time rainfall. The resonation of the nocturnal creatures return for the final minute of the track as the presence they feared subsided into the night, allowing them to roam free once again. “A Life All But Forgotten” continues as the last track ended, with the evening chirps of nightly critters. However the deep drones and synth effects set in early to give an incongruous effect. At nearly sixteen minutes, and the longest effort on the album, this track details the lethargic seasonal extinction of woodland life. Assorted bizarre instruments sounds are arranged to represent different aspects of the season and in between, ghostly winds and natural commotions provide the feeling of deep wood enthrallment. “A Funeral For A Friend” establishes a calming synth melody combined with ethereal drones and field recordings as if all life in the forest has finally surrendered to the change of season. As the rain field recordings increase in volume, jarring synth effects become more discordant and haunting. The final track on the album is the climactic, “The Autumnal End”. Continuing with the consoling sounds of a neverending rain storm conjoined with delicate but austere drones to form a lumbering vision of grays and blacks, the daylight never reaches its peak of brightness due to the thick layer of fog and smog. The vibrating sounds of Tibetan singing bowls resonate a season of endless dreariness before high-toned keys come into play as if to condemn the proceeding misfortunes.

Although this is not your typical run-of-the-mill dark ambient album, ‘The Autumnal End’ skillfully establishes itself as a genre highlight due to its wondrous use of field recordings, natural sounds, assorted instruments and credible back story. The drones are meticulously used and minimal use of synths and keys makes this an extremely unique recording as well. This is definitely one of my favorite dark ambient recordings of the year so far and I can’t recommend this one enough. Please click on the link below and download this amazing album – you’ll not be disappointed at all!

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Links:

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