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

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

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

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

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Links:

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

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

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

Mombi Yuleman’s Menagerie Of Soundscapes And Drones Unify As A Single, Unyielding Entity on ‘Wendigo’

Throughout history, mankind has been obsessed with folklore of the unknown, tales of the bizarre and unexplained and just about anything in between that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Although there have been many traditional mythical legends passed down through the generations, a new genesis of strange & horrific tales are told through creepypastas – short stories meant to frighten readers – as the new means of malevolent storytelling delivery. Whether this form of scare tactic is transmitted via short-story, film, television, or on the Internet, the audience is in for a quick burst of grim tales that will leave a lasting appalling sensation. However, what if another means of conveyance was through the daunting sounds of Dark Ambient music with masterful soundscapes and subdued drones? The always impressive Mombi Yuleman presents his brooding new evil anecdote, ‘Wendigo’, a masterclass in electronic music that extends four exciting drones in a disturbing adventure and sends the listener on a daring journey full of haunts and paralyzing fear.

At just over fifteen minutes in length, “Possession” quickly sets the mood with a dismal and perpetual drone that gradually builds in volume, while including haunting synth effects and ghostly modulations. Giving the listener time to imagine their own frightening scenario, faint soundscapes are introduced to solidify the effect of this nightmare. However, close to the halfway mark, discordant keys and beautiful synth tones add a sense of melody to the track, taking it in a different direction. Various animal sounds are made know, followed by strong, manipulative drum beats, as if a climactic escape is close at hand. Suddenly, it all stops except for some layered, deep drones that are completely mesmerizing until the very end. “Fear” begins with polarizing drones that are sure to emit a sense of angst and despair. Several minutes in, there is a distant but muffled hammering sound, as if someone is trying to escape from an entrapment of sorts, brought forth by a lunatic on the loose. As the hammering sound stops, strident soundscapes prevail, sending the listener deeper into their evil dreams. Suddenly, the drones become louder and more sepulchral as if the nightmarish demise is close at hand. After a few minutes of this agonizing terror, it fades out into the sound of someone hesitantly breathing, the true-tale sign of being afraid of being caught. Only accompanied by random discordant noises, this is audio terror at its maximum. “Acceptance” is the longest track on the album, clocking in at just over sixteen minutes. However, as you close your eyes and release your mind to this nefarious expedition, it doesn’t quite seem that long. However, you’ll not be the same afterwards. Lengthy drones that resemble more of a space ambient tone will have the listener feeling as if they are lost in deep space, sucked up into a black hole and whisked away into the far reaches of the universe, never to have communication or contact with other humans ever again. However, there will be others! The ominous sound effects at around the six and a half minute mark are a bleak resemblance of having contact with other life forms and as that sound continues to play out, it’s joined by low-end bass tones at around the eight and a half minute mark and simulates ACCEPTANCE of acknowledging other life forms. However, that doesn’t mean there is always peace between the species. At around the twelve and a half minute mark, the track takes a dark dive with buried drones and echoed sound effects that are extremely creepy. Thunderous bass sounds crash into the mix as if to destroy everything in its wake. What a fantastic song with a cinematic and climactic ending. The final track on this colossal album is “Feed”. Although it’s the shortest track on the album, it’s still a ten and a half minute hearty dose of disturbing Dark Ambience that will leave you in a puddle of sweat. Starting right away with a loud drone, soundscapes and field recordings, this piece wastes no time setting a frantic mood. All at once, pounding drums roll in like a violent storm and are ready to commence with all-out destruction. Although seeming random at first, they are set in a tribal like pattern and continue to grow strong and angry. Toward the end of the song, ancestral chanting joins the drums as if an ancient ceremony is about to take place. Swarms of flies buzz in all around, as if they’ve been summoned by this ceremonious ritual to finalize the devastating effects of their mission. Suddenly the flies disappear and the ritualistic music ends soon after, bringing this amazing album to a close.

This is the second Mombi Yuleman album that I’ve reviewed for my site and his music continues to astound me. The mystifying affect that I feel when listening to his albums lead my imagination to places that are unfathomable. ‘Wendigo’ is truly a magical experience and one of the most remarkable Dark Ambient albums I’ve heard in a while. I can not recommend this album enough and I also highly recommend checking out Mombi Yuleman’s impressive back catalog as well. Do yourself a favor and don’t go another day without listening to this album. Please support this amazing artist and download ‘Wendigo’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://mombiyuleman.bandcamp.com/album/wendigo

Neraterræ Once Again Collaborates With Superior Dark Ambient Composers To Conceive The Ghastly ‘Scenes From The Sublime’

Last year, Neraterræ and his team of brilliant contributors, rendered one of the most accomplished Dark Ambient recordings of the year with ‘The Substance Of Perception’. Amazed at the depth and quality of that album, I immediately began to wonder how it would be topped. Fast forward to March of 2020, and the release of sophomore effort, ‘Scenes From The Sublime’, greeted us with a particular coldness that I could not wait to dive into. Although we see the synergetic return of the great Xerxes The Dark, Neraterræ hosts a new line up of willing collaborators to inflict a certain level of bleak disruption to your normal sense of mental prowess. At a hefty seventy two minutes long, these ten painting-inspired tracks of ominous drones, apocalyptic soundscapes and eerie, yet atmospheric arrangements will provide the listener with an out-of-body experience, as if succumbing to the participation of astral projection.

The aphotic journey begins with “The Last Abjurer (feat. Phelios)” | Inspired by Zdzislaw Beksinski’s AA72. The low-end synth effects fluctuate to unreachable depths as it paves the way for translucent drones and soundscapes, creating a paralyzing storm of audible penance – the genesis of the obscurity and depth perception that will follow for the remainder of the album. “Fate Unveiled (feat. Dødsmaskin)” | Inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s Visions Of The Hearafter, opens with a thumping bass tonal sound, followed by ghastly howling winds and dim sound effects that will make your skin crawl. After a short breather that features some backward tracking samples, the heavy thumping bass sounds continue with accompanying distorted noises. “In Deafening Silence (feat. Phragments)” | Inspired by Ilja Yefimovich Repin’s Ivan The Terrible And His Son Ivan, starts with twisted synth tones then is systematically fused with an evil sounding drone, as if a sudden annihilation were about to commence. This is much like a calm-before-the-storm piece, as there are quick blasts of harsh tones in this otherwise placid offering. “Thou, Daemon (feat. vocals by Yann Hagimont from Cober Ord & George Zafiriadis from Martyria)” | Inspired by Francisco Goya’s The Exorcism, is definitely the most malevolent sounding track on the album, largely due to the fascinating guest vocal arrangements that span from soft narrations, screams & screeches, to resonating sinister chants and throat singing, that are clearly designed alter the mental purification process – whether for good or evil. The constant, profound drone allows the vocals to take center stage and complete the purging ritual process. “Passion Domain (feat. Mount Shrine)” | Inspired by Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer Above The Sea Of Fog, is the most meditative piece on the album and probably my favorite track. Beginning with hissing loops and subtle analog-sounding drones, this song has a very 80’s retro vibe to it. The perpetual drone is reminiscent of a spinning propeller of an airplane, as it’s flying high above the clouds at the crepuscule of night. Clocking in at just over ten and a half minutes, this is the longest track on the album but as you get mesmerized by its audible beauty, it somehow seems like it’s one of the shortest. “The Unfathomable Lives Again (feat. Xerxes The Dark & Cober Ord)” | Inspired by Johann Heinrich Füssli’s The Nightmare, features a surfeit of industrial influenced soundscapes, along with some creepy, inaudible whispers. Throughout this track, there is a lot of manic ideas with nefarious intentions and although this is the shortest track on the album, it’s just as nightmare inducing as the rest. I would be weary to close my eyes on this track, especially at night! “Doorway To The I (feat. Alphaxone)” | Inspired by Zdzislaw Beksinski’s AE78, is a Deep Space Ambient venture with warping synth effects and high-pitched keys that contrive a disturbing atmosphere. As if a cosmonaut were on a doomed mission, hearing abnormal sounds just before his demise, this track is providing us the same intense, discordant environment. “The Collapse Of Matter And Time” | Inspired by Salvador Dali’s The Disintegration Of The Persistence Of Memory, presents a somber atmosphere with its nominal synth tones and deathly drones. The ticking of the clock solidifies an anxious emotion as the mournful frequencies emitted may be a cause for distress. “Towards Oneiric Truths (feat. Leila Abdul-Rauf)” | Inspired by Arnold Böcklin’s Isle Of The Dead, is another enthralling piece that features clean piano chops and dreamy female vocals. Just as all of the pieces are coming together and you find yourself getting lost in the music, it all fades out into a field recording of water softly crashing on a seashore. The final track on the album, “Virtues Of The Dawn (feat. Shrine)” | Inspired by Joseph Mallord William Turner’s Light And Colour (Goethe’s Theory) • The Morning After The Deluge • Moses Writing The Book Of Genesis, is another long-form, hypnotizing track that is constructed for you to close your eye and get lost in its chaotic and alluring turbulence of creativity. Starting off soft and subtle, the intensity and melodic synth gradually increase over the next eight minutes. Although there are multiple layers of music happening here, the elegant keyboard create a certain harmony that is both dystopian-like and graceful. A perfect way to end such a miraculous album.

Neraterræ is the consummate producer of Dark Ambient music. Not only does he consistently gather top-notch musicians of the genre to collaborate on his stunning albums, but his musical vision is always running on all cylinders, allowing him to create massive audio adventures filled with emotion and mental stimulation. ‘Scenes From The Sublime’ is an exceptional musical journey that – in my opinion – surpasses the debut album. Neraterræ has upped the ante with this album and the songs are bolder, more emotive, and pull you in with ease. If you were a fan of ‘The Substance Of Perception’ the you’re going to love this one even more. Please show your support for Neraterræ and download this amazing album from the link below.

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Links:

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

Scott Lawlor’s Conceptual Dark Ambient Thriller, ‘But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know’, Is Not Far From Becoming Reality

Space exploration has to be one of the most daunting and exhaustive tasks ever faced by humans. From working in zero gravity, claustrophobic-like conditions, astronauts face many physical and mental constraints that only a few percent of the population are privileged to encounter. Other than a couple of audio and video transmissions, astronauts are segregated from all of society and communications with friends and loved ones are atypical. ‘But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know’, is a conceptual, dark ambient odyssey about a lone astronaut finishing up his mission on an orbiting space station before heading back to Earth. However, garbled transmissions over the airwaves have indicated the rise of a global pandemic, in which the Earth’s population is suddenly succumbing to a deadly virus. Although it’s too late to turn back now, voices across the airwaves are telling the astronaut not to return to Earth. This story tells of his harrowing adventure as he returns to the unknown.

“Pandemic Unfolding” begins with space station communication transmissions accompanied by eccentric samples and effects. As this coalescence of interstellar sounds begins to fade, deep drones and various news transmissions paint a vivid picture of what’s to come. The seriousness of the situation is evident as “Departure From Space Station Omega” blasts off with more compelling drones that sound abysmal and gravely hollow. Final audio transmissions can be heard as the astronaut prepares to depart for Earth on a doomed trajectory that is not yet known. Back on Earth, the pandemic is in full eruption as “Shelter In Place” is the order given to everyone in a last ditch effort to stop the spread of the rapidly expanding virus. Containing more ominous drones and narrative samples, this track is a vivid reminder of a stark reality that is a part of real-world current events in 2020. The minimalist approach makes this seem even more disturbing than usual. The near sixteen and a half minute long “Quarantined In Space” is one of the highlights of the album as the massive drone tone sounds as if the astronaut is orbiting the Earth, waiting for that final transmission from Mission Control, verifying that it’s safe to pierce the atmosphere and navigate to the landing zone. However, that authorization doesn’t take place and the astronaut feels as if this wasted time is like being quarantined in a void. Eerie voice narrations haunt the protagonist has he anticipates his own arrival back on planet Earth. About halfway through the track, the drones change in pitch, as if circumnavigating the globe has brought the astronaut back to sun lit conditions. Peculiar sound effects add a sense of terror to this track as this doomed mission keeps getting worse. Back on Earth, panic mode has set in as “World Closing Down” sets the scene for the new normal through the globe. From teleworking, lack of supplies, social distancing, permanently closed businesses, home-schooling and a disparity of local governments, the pandemic has taken over society and has set new standards. Minimal drones with bleak yet soothing tones incite peace and calmness, but the narrative samples provoke a sense of anxiety and panic. “Approaching A Condemned World” is full of garbled transmissions and placid drones that provides a safe path for the astronaut to finally come back home – so we think. Unsure if the transmissions are giving the authorization to return to Earth, the astronaut makes a command decision – based on his low return provisions – and starts the trajectory toward home. The albums title track, “But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know” features some manic narrations with the help of a miniport speech synthesizer. In the background, a thumping bass symbolizes an erratic heartbeat as the horrors unfold before the returning astronauts eyes. The albums final track, “Empty World” combines the menacing sound of a deep space drone and the peacefulness of piano keys. Un-acknowledged upon his return from Space, the astronaut departs his spacecraft and finds a world much different from the one he left behind. The piano melody in this track symbolizes the beginning of a state of depression that he starts to feel as he soon realizes that he stands alone in completing his mission. A very dark, but excellent way to end this amazing album.

Scott Lawlor is a jack-of-all-trades musician that excels with themed ambient releases. Whether it’s light ambient, dark ambient, noise, experimental, or piano improvisations, Scott puts his imagination to work in order to release some of the best ambient music around. ‘But Everybody’s Gone, So I Will Never Know’ is no exception, as it’s one of Scott’s darkest and most ambitious releases to date. Fans of space themed dark ambient will love this album and I can not recommend this one enough. Please show your support and download this grimly amazing album from the link below – and check out Scott’s massive back catalog while your at it.

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Links:

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

Dark Ambient & Dungeon Synth Recordings To Enthrall You During The Global Pandemic Continuation

Back in March, I published a playlist of Dark Ambient & Dungeon Synth recordings to help tide you over during the shelter-in-place order. Well – here we are – almost two months later and not much has changed, with the exception of a lot of great music being released. So, whether or not you’re still stuck at home, or have the ability to venture out, please enjoy this personal playlist of Dark Ambient and Dungeon Synth recordings that have been keeping me entertained lately! This is all great stuff so please support these artist and download an album or two!

Dark Ambient Playlist:

https://melanohelios.bandcamp.com/album/the-psychonaut
https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-drift
https://blackweald.bandcamp.com/album/leonov-2
https://noctilucant.bandcamp.com/album/the-autumnal-end-2
https://roberteggplant.bandcamp.com/album/earth-sinking-into-water

Dungeon Synth Playlist:

https://varkana.bandcamp.com/album/cosmic-terror
https://lordorots.bandcamp.com/album/latzineko-erresumaren-itzulera
https://namelessking.bandcamp.com/album/downfall-of-drangleic
https://wyrmlodge.bandcamp.com/album/the-short-but-touching-tale-of-slime-golem
https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/perpetual-cruelty

Shelter-In-Place Dark Ambient & Dungeon Synth Playlist

We are living in dark times and whether we like it or not, we are witnessing a historical occasion that is effecting the whole world. Although many people still have to work, legions of the worlds population are under a strict shelter-in-place order. Not to make light of the situation, but what better time is there to check out some awesome artists that you may have never heard of before, or to revisit some newer albums that stand out amongst the others. These are some of my (current) favorite albums to listen to and I’m sharing them with you as a recommendation. Check out and support these amazing artists (and labels).

Recommended in Dark Ambient:

https://hiemalambient.bandcamp.com/album/vacant
https://scottlawlor.bandcamp.com/album/badseed
https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/the-outside
https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/shortwave-ruins
https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/dystopian-gate
https://cycliclaw.bandcamp.com/album/scenes-from-the-sublime

Recommended In Dungeon Synth (and beyond):

https://borg.bandcamp.com/album/woodland
https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-woods-of-galdura
https://crypthopcompilations.bandcamp.com/releases
https://jenntaiga.bandcamp.com/album/plight
https://coniferousmyst.bandcamp.com/album/queen-of-the-timberline-realms
https://criptadel.bandcamp.com/album/the-goblin-market

Eyre Transmissions IV: Interview with Visionary Dark Ambient Artist, Ruptured World

My love for the dark ambient genre goes back several decades. Although admittedly I started off as just a casual listener, I soon found a love for the eerie soundscapes & deep, ritualistic drones and the emotional state they put me in. Through the years, there have been many artists that have captivated me with their musical ventures, but one that stands out amongst my favorites is Ruptured World. Seamlessly combining dark ambient, piano sounds, and scripted narrations, Ruptured World emerges as a unique entity in a genre known mainly for its minimalism. Additionally, Ruptured World was one of the artists that inspired me to begin writing this blog and ‘Archeoplanetary’ became my very first review. I recently had an opportunity to interview Alistair Rennie – the artist behind Ruptured World – to find out the methods and inspirations behind his visionary craft.

1. First of all, thanks for the opportunity to conduct this interview. In 2019, you continued with the “Planetary” series and released the extremely impressive ‘Archeoplanetary’. Not only was it one of the first reviews for my site, it was also listed in my Dark Ambient Top 10 albums of last year. What what’s the writing/recording process like for this album? Do you have any plans to continue on with this series?

The process is one that starts off with a few nebulous ideas that begin to assume a more direct focus once the music and narrative elements start to form, and then it just starts to fall together and gather a momentum almost of its own.

Once the ideas begin to crystalize and take shape, I think that’s when I start to organise the music and spoken word narrative in more direct correlation with each other.

I never start with fully formulated ideas or a written narrative for the music to be written to. I find that too much planning in advance takes some of the excitement out of it. It’s a bit like getting spoilers before watching a film. So I try and leave room to allow for a certain degree of spontaneity. In saying that, once the first version of an album is done, I’ll go back over it making significant revisions and changes from start to finish. The idea or vision of the work gets clearer and more refined that way, until you have the completed work.

2. One thing that stands out for Ruptured World is the heavy use of commentary and spoken word. What influenced you to incorporate this into your brand of dark ambient?

It really comes from my activities as a writer. I write genre fiction (science fiction, horror and fantasy) and have a novel published and some short stories out there, mainly with US-based publishers and magazines. So it was very natural for me to create narratives that I could adapt to music through spoken word. Dark Ambient tends to be cinematic in terms of its characteristics, so it seemed a very obvious and quite normal thing to do.

3. Dr. Archibald Macrae is such a dignified and compelling character. What kind of research (if any) went into honing this character and his vast knowledge of archeology?

I have a good knowledge of ancient culture in Scotland, and, especially, the North of Scotland where I grew up. So I was able to feed a lot of that into the story through the character of Macrae. All of the places and some of the artefacts referred to in the album actually exist and serve as a basis for the fictional elements to be built on. These are places that I know intimately, some of them featuring also in my family history. So the knowledge mostly comes from lived experience and absorbing and learning over time rather than research. In saying that, I have studied aspects of the Picts at university, so there’s also some formal research that’s gone into it.

4. So, when you’ve created the albums of the “Planetary” series, do you write the music or narrations first?

I’ll start with the music but the narration starts to form alongside the music quite rapidly. It seems to happen as part of the same eruption of materials, overall, driven by the same impulse, both emerging simultaneously. I think there will be some music that has been created first, perhaps something that emerges from new material I’m working on, or something that rises out of periods of experimentation, that stands out and starts to go in a particular direction. And then the words and music will occur simultaneously. At a later point, I’ll start to do the vocal recordings and work on integrating those into the music using the appropriate sound design techniques.

5. I think I follow you on just about all of the major social media platforms and you seem to do a lot of field recordings. How important is this to your music?

This actually follows on nicely from the previous question. I’m now finding that field recordings have a much greater influence on how the music starts off and takes shape. It’s become one of the crucial elements of the music and is increasingly central to much of what I aim to do. In more recent stuff I’ve produced, I’ve aimed to capture the atmospheric detail of specific locations and to use this as the core sound around which to develop the music. I’ve also started making short video productions in which this music is featured, bringing everything together in one setting of audio-visual representation.

Field Recording Mission in New Aberdour, Scotland

6. Where are some of your favorite places to record sounds?

There are certain locations around the coastline of the Northeast of Scotland where there are all sorts of rock features, including wave cut platforms, sea stacks and sea caves, where I’ve started collecting some fantastic ocean sounds from fascinating acoustic settings. It’s a common subject matter in field recording but for a good reason. We never tire of hearing water and the sounds of the sea. The specific kinds of rock formations will present unique sounds and amplifications. The sea caves are my favourite, though. As you can imagine, the way the sounds of the sea resonate within these enclosed geological spaces is fascinating. And I’ll often create additional sounds and percussive sounds using whatever stones and aquatic vegetation presents itself within the caves.

I also like to go inland towards the mountainous areas, particularly in and around the Cairngorm mountains. The glens and hillsides present all sorts of interesting sounds to capture. There’s a lot of wildlife making some great noise. There are rivers and streams constantly flowing. The plant life makes an abundance of sounds you’d never imagine until you actually start listening through field recording.

It’s also a good idea to take things with you to record in the outdoor spaces. Instruments will always sound incredible when you play them outside. And so will playing a digital synth through a portable amp or speakers.

7. You also seem to have a high regard for the visual aspect to your work. Does this also influence the mood of your music?

I’d say it was the other way round, certainly where video is concerned. It’s more the case that the music influences and often shapes the editorial choices and stylistic tenor of the video-making.

8. Speaking of visual art, you have a keen eye for photography and videography. Do you do this as a hobby, or incorporate it into your business ventures?

With video, it’s more like an extension of the music, really, with a definite aim of making it part of the whole aesthetic. It’s something I’m working on more, now, and something I’ve had some formal training in, which always helps.

That’s not the case with photography, which is more of a supplementary activity, always good for putting online. In saying that, I have a friend (one of a few mysterious accomplices of Ruptured World!) who is a very fine photographer with a great knowledge and approach in what he does. Those really great photos you can see on my Instagram page, for example, are his. He did the photo for the cover of “Frontiers of Disorder” on the Ruptured World Bandcamp page.

The not so good photos, the ones taken on a cell phone and put through a filter, those are ones that I’ve taken. I try to take photographs of some of the places I go to for field recording or video footage trips, just to share for interest and fun. Fans of Dark Ambient are almost always people who have an interest in the natural world. So anything I can capture of any atmospheric or dramatic scenes, I’ll put it online in the hope it’s of interest.

9. Getting back to your music; What is your recording setup like? Do you use mainly VST’s, analog/digital equipment, analog instruments, or a combination of them all.

It’s a combination of different things—digital synths, a lot of sampling of sounds, voices and acoustic instruments, as well as objects. A lot of the piano sounds I’ll use are recorded live on a really nice Roland digital piano I’ve got. It can bring some really good room ambience, and sometimes the noise of the keys, that I really like, giving it a sort of haunted feel. Samples and sounds derived from field recordings, as well as voice samples, are things I use more and more. I have some percussion instruments, too. I’ll have some core sounds or samples that I tend to use regularly, but with lots of room for experimentation and trying out new things.

10. Other than your Ruptured World project, do you have any other main musical ventures?

Just Ruptured World! I did dabble with some horrorsynth stuff a while back, and it’s a type of music I enjoy. But it’s not where my interests lie, really.

11. I know that you recently contributed to the ‘Hastur’ Cryo Chamber collaboration album – which was phenomenal by the way. Have you been featured on any other collaboration projects?

Glad you enjoyed it! I haven’t yet featured on any other collaborations, but there may be a couple of things in the pipeline to look out for!

12. Do you have any recording plans for 2020?

Yes, I’ve actually got another “Planetary” album currently under production, so look out for that one. And I’m also working on music for video productions like the ones I’ve already produced and put on YouTube, with an aim to putting together an album at some time in the future. And there’s one or two top secret collaborations that may soon be underway. So a few things going on.

13. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions. Do you have any final thought for anyone that may be reading this?

My pleasure. Thank you! I would just encourage people to keep listening, keep supporting the artists, and keep searching the skies for the gods of Dark Ambient, who must surely be out there, watching over us as we speak.

Links:

https://rupturedworld.bandcamp.com

http://alistairrennie.com

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

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

Harrogat Takes A Bold And Restrained Approach With Supremely Minimalistic Drones On ‘Pandemonium’

The term Pandemonium has several distinct meanings. The first definition that may come to mind is sheer and utter chaos, to the point where anarchy and uncivilized disorder can no longer be maintained or controlled. However, there is another meaning that is equally, if not more horrifying than the aforementioned. It is the habitat of a gathering of demons, simply known as hell. The characteristic for this definition is that the word Pandemonium is typically spelled out in all caps, is in the latest offering by Harrogat. ‘Pandemonium’ is a deep space, minimalistic narrative that will haunt you with its extended drones and creepy vibes. With a playing time of an hour and forty six minutes, this journey to hell will be a slow, agonizing descent, as Harrogat is determined to test sanity of all who are doomed

“Morning Star” is like the calm before the storm as the warm drones take you from a serene and peaceful existence into a realm of uncertainty. Like the dawn of a hazy sun on the distant horizon, this song gets brighter and continues to add more texture as it ebb and flows with soft velocity. The warmth ends there, however, as “Caronte” starts down the dark and grim path toward the evil destination. With field recordings that resemble the swaying and rocking of an old, wooden vessel, the drones in this track continue to build in layers, as if it is crossing the river Styx to deliver lost souls to the gate to the underworld. “Dite” continues to play on the psyche with eccentric pad effects on top of buried, rhythmic drones. During this twelve and a half minute bludgeoning affair, the tone stays constant for the most part but every so often, a frequency shift in the back end drones – which are barely audible at times – breath both life and death into this morbid manifestation. “Your Shadow, Your Name” features some towering soundscapes that provide an eerie depth to the overall theme for this album. Just like the deliverance of souls to the gates of Hades, this track signifies that there is no turning back and that the entrapped souls now belong to eternal abyss. “God’s Hypocrisy” uses broad soundscapes to set a true feeling of emptiness. It’s like a bleak space ambient tune set in a blackened void, where there is no sense of time or speed. “Evocation Of Lucifer” begins quiet and reserved but soon crescendos into an accelerated drone as if there is no inevitable way of escaping an anxiety-filled battle with faith. Random soundscapes in the background bridge the monotonous apex reached by the massively layered low-end noises. “The Death Of God” is a near twelve minute track of harrowing polar ambient sounds, set out to soothe the subconscious as the darkness prevails all around. There are several spots of inaudible spoken word recordings that are a cause for concern and angst. “The Shape” is a soundtrack-worthy ambient tune that provides a dark and emotional prelude to the massive ending for which is about to happen. The final track on the album, “Pandemonium” isn’t just the final stretch of the journey to hell, it is a colossal forty four and a half minute epidemic of dark ambient wizardry that sets the bar for long-play ambient tracks. Combining elements of dark, space and polar ambient, “Pandemonium” is a high-caliber dirge that is relentless from start to finish. The massive drone sounds escalate in volume, only to decrease – at times – to make way for other insanely penetrable commotions. At around the eight minute mark, the cacophonous space drones give way to a singular, grim polar ambient tone, deviating from an interstellar theme and bringing it back to and icy cold vibe. Incidental soundscapes push the boundaries of this section and give it a rather frightening foundation. At around the eighteen and a half minute mark, a barely audible deep frequency plagues the airwaves in a sense that it gives off an almost warping effect. It’s soon followed by added synthesizers, making it an absolutely gloomy section to fathom. At around the twenty nine minute mark, the reluctant droning tone is not as dark as usual but is in a subdued state, as if preparing the listener for a climactic ending. That’s exactly what the final four minutes of this track are, as luminous synths provide a final touch of melody and volume, like the souls finally reaching their gruesome destination of ‘Pandemonium’.

Harrogat has conceived quite an impressive album with ‘Pandemonium’. Not only does it take you on a spiritual, ritualistic and emotional journey, but there is enough depth to each track to provide a sense of realistic vision for the quest that is intended for the album. With each new album that is released, Harrogat’s exposure to the dark ambient elements become more impressive. This album is mind-blowing in the sense that it is nearly two hours long and the detail throughout doesn’t seem to repeat itself. Show your support for this exemplary artist and download ‘Pandemonium’ from the link below.

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Links:

https://lakelabel.bandcamp.com/album/pandemonium