Eyre Transmissions XVI: Interview With Improvisational Ambient Prodigy, Mora-Tau

I was first introduced to the wonderful world of Mora-Tau by way of his 2020 album, ‘The Light Of the Winter’. Something about it was very nostalgic…very haunting. Upon further probe into his Bandcamp page, I discovered an alluring and eclectic cosmos of improvisational recordings that are addictive and more importantly conceptualized based on a specific theme – particularly around horror, nightmares, worlds end and retrospective subject matter. Needless to say, Mora-Tau has become one of my favorite Dark Ambient producers and I couldn’t wait to have a conversation with him to find out what makes this project so unique and special. Hope you enjoy this interview.

1. Thank you very much for this interview opportunity. Mora-Tau has a rather short recording history but has left quite an impression on my. How did this project start for you?

As you pointed out, I only started publishing my work around 2009. I was born in 1959 and I will be 63 this year, so it’s not a long career.

For about 10 years, from the age of 15, I listened exclusively to progressive rock. I now listen to a wide range of music genres, including jazz, avant-garde music and club music, but most of it came through progressive rock. Even punk rock.

The most influential artists at that time were Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Mike Oldfield, Steve Hillage, Gong, Popol Vuh and of course King Crimson. Well, this is a very conventional list.

I started working under the name ‘mora-tau’ around 2008. I had been creating music before that. But I was satisfied with just playing them for my friends. I didn’t do any live performances. I had no formal musical education, so I’m not very good at playing an instrument. So I couldn’t even imagine the day when I would be playing in front of other people.

In 2008 or 2009, I discovered the music publishing website jamendo.com. By registering on that site, I was finally ready to release my music to the outside world. It was then that I named myself ‘mora-tau’. The name comes from my favourite 1950s horror film The Zombies of Mora-Tau (with my favourite actress Allison Hayes playing the bad girl, who turns into a zombie at the end).

Around the same time, an acquaintance invited me to perform at his shop (which was a bookshop) for almost the first time in my life. That was a lot of fun! And that was the start of my live career.

I consider myself ambient music, drone music and experimental music at the moment. I feel that these three genres are often balanced and mixed in one piece.

It was only after 2000 that I started to listen to this music seriously, in other words systematically and consciously. Before that, I was looking for my own music, imitating what I had heard. So it wasn’t until I started performing live that I got the style of music I was aiming for.

The first music that made a big impact on me was Eliane Radigue, a pioneer of electronic music who manipulated an ARP2500. I found the drone music she produced to be very simple, but with immense depth.

Another hero of mine is Morton Feldman. When I met Feldman, who produced very long, very slow music (sometimes over five hours of music), that music melded with Tangerine Dream, Harmonia and Eliane Radigue in my mind and became a big part of my own style It has given me suggestions.

This is ‘the origin of mora-tau’.

Wow, it’s a very long answer! I’m sorry.

2. I’ve noticed that on the liner notes of many of your recordings on Bandcamp your work mainly consists of improvisations. Do you typically have a plan of what you are going to play before recording or is it completely improvised?

I record almost all of my compositions as completely improvised performances. On very rare occasions I may write a musical score, but it is a sketch for memory.

However, in the last few years, I have often decided on a scale only at the beginning of a performance. Especially for live performances, I always decide on just the scale. Sometimes I move on to another scale during the performance, and sometimes I just finish it. The reason why I decide on it is simple. I don’t want to make a mistake in front of the audience :-).

Recorded performances are edited using DAW software. Sometimes it is just the same thing as played, with a few tweaks. In most cases, however, editing is essential. Balancing between tracks, noise reduction, sound quality adjustment, etc. are always done. The song is then cut into several parts. Sometimes I’ll delete parts, sometimes I’ll change the order, and sometimes I’ll layer completely different tracks that were previously unreleased. Sometimes I create a piece by layering several tracks that were recorded at completely different times and have different tempos, tunes and tonalities.

Once I have finished recording, I change my mind and think: ‘This is all just material’. And in the editing process, I emphasise an improvisational sensibility. I rarely work in advance. My style is as improvisational in the editing as it is in the performance itself.

3. You have quite a few live recordings from Bar Lynch (in Utsunomiya, Japan). How do you prepare for those sessions and how is the audience response to your work?

Lynch is a very small bar in a narrow alleyway; it overflows when 20 people arrive. The sound system for live shows uses the shop’s audio system. Otherwise, artists bring their own amplifiers.

I always have about three synthesisers available, with the necessary effectors connected to them, and record them on a mixer/recorder, a ZOOM R-16. The output from that is then input into Lynch audio.

https://mora-tau.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-lynch-oct-19-2021

So the sound quality is by no means top-notch. But because my recordings do not go through the shop audio, I can guarantee the same quality as studio work. Many of my customers listen to me while they chat. No, they are not listening? But some of them listen intently, clap seriously and ask questions after the performance. Yes, about one person every six months.

My turnout is very low, only a few people at most gigs. Sometimes there is only the master. On those occasions, I play around with phrases and developments that I think the master will enjoy. Of course, I never play to the extent that the whole structure collapses, though.

4. I lived in Japan for almost 24 years and really loved the music scene however, my only electronic concert experience was seeing Merzbow live in Tokyo a few times. How is the Electronic/Ambient scene in Japan these days?

Sorry, I actually don’t know anything about the music scene in Japan. I live in Utsunomiya-City, which is 100 km north of Tokyo. The famous Shinkansen bullet train will take you to Tokyo station in an hour, but I rarely go outside my area.
I’m like Rapunzel living in a tower.

I keep up to date with new music through streaming services such as Spotify, YouTube and CD shopping, but so far I haven’t found the Japanese scene to be very interesting.

5. You’ve made several recordings for International labels such as Church Of Noisy Goat (Brazil) and Kalamine Records (France). How did those endeavors come about?

Both labels approached me through them. I never approached them myself. I think they liked something about the music I was making and invited me.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-october-landscape

6. Do you plan to release anymore albums with those labels, and possibly others?

Neither of the two labels has a specific release schedule. I send my work to them about four times a year. Then I ask them, “If you like it, will you release it?” I have never had anyone say “No”.

I will continue to regular releases, where possible. However, there is no fixed schedule. If invited by another label, I’ll see what they’re up to and think about it. Of course, my basic attitude is “anyone, anytime, is OK”.

https://thechurchofnoisygoat.bandcamp.com/album/wellcome-back-nuclear-summer

7. As for your music style and influence, how much of it is influenced by Japanese culture, folklore and spiritual meaning?

The deepest part of the psyche must be inseparably influenced by it. For example, many of the phrases I play unconsciously have a Japanese melody.

But it’s rarely conscious. Before making track, I watch a film or read books, looking for something to inspire me. If I’m inspired by something Japanese then I’m strongly influenced by it. I’ve never been aware of any other influences beyond that.

Of course, consciously or not, ‘Japan’ is firmly rooted in me. When I improvise, I am very conscious of this. Such as when I play the ‘Japanese phrases’ I mentioned earlier. Perhaps I am imprinting ‘Japan’ more deeply in my mind through improvisation.

8. One of my favorite albums by you is called ‘Swirl’. It has a very retrospective and minimalistic vibe to it. What was it like to record this album and what is the meaning behind this amazing music?

Thank you very much. I like that album very much too.

At that time, I was thinking of putting my impressions of the B-Movies of the 50’s to music.
The theme is “guidelines for music production” for me. The light of the lighthouse. A guide to the completion of the work.

This is the case with most of my work.
I say to myself ‘Let’s start to make music inspired by “The Thing”! ‘. But when done, it can be The Thing, but it can also be “Quatermass Xperiment”, or “Frankenstein”, or “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas”. You must have been disgusted at how lazy it was.

https://mora-tau.bandcamp.com/album/swirl

Shortly before making ‘Swirl’ I bought an analogue synthesizer with a sequencer. And I wanted to use it to make endless music. That’s how I started with my technical interests.

It’s all about how to combine different approaches: adjusting parameters to make small changes, changing effects in real time, using delays to layer sounds from other equipment. “Swirl” is the result of this research into how different approaches can be combined to create long ambient pieces of music. It’s the honest answer. I’m sorry if I’ve disappointed you.

9. There is another album called ‘Still Here’. In my opinion, this is one of your darkest recordings. What was the main focus behind this album?

This one, contrary to ‘Swirl’, was made with technology I already had at my disposal.

First, there was ‘Story’, which I wrote in the liner notes. How can I live in a world where the world has disappeared and no one can hear me? This was expanded upon in Still Here.

https://mora-tau.bandcamp.com/album/still-here

At the same time, I was obsessed at the time with the image of a ‘world on the brink of destruction’ as depicted by J.G. Ballard. I felt that I was living in a terrible world, in a time when I was trapped.
To express this, I partly used contemporary musical techniques such as atonal and whole-tone scales. I think these techniques also promote darkness.

10. One of your latest albums is called ‘Brave New World’. However, in the liner notes, you state, “There is No New World Anywhere”. How does that tie in to the music on the album and what is the meaning behind this recording.

Mmm…
When write it like that, it seems to express a deep philosophy. But there’s a bit of deception there.

It started from my own feeling that “there’s nothing new in this album. Every part of it is a repetition of what I’ve done before”.

https://mora-tau.bandcamp.com/album/brave-new-world

Of course, I don’t always try new things in all my work. I think it’s fine to use only familiar techniques of expression, if the resulting work is emotional. That’s why I can write “There is no ‘new world’ anywhere.” It’s a self-deprecating joke!

The music for the album was done, I thought “This album is GOOD!”. But I couldn’t think of a title. At first I thought of “fragment of memories”, but then I thought it sounded like the title my past albums. After a few days of deliberation, I decided on the current title as a kind of compromise.

11. I’m really interested to learn about the equipment you use for recording? Can you please share your setup to the fans?

The main equipment is listed below. This is where we choose and combine the equipment for our gigs.

Analog Synth:
Moog Sub Phatty
Arturia minibrute
Behringer Crave
Pico System Erica Synth

Virtual Analog Synth:
Yamaha CS1x
Modal Electronics SKULPT Synthesizer
E-mu Proteus2000

Soft Synth:
Future Audio Workshop Circle 2

DAW Software:
Audacity

Effector:
Delay
BOSS DD-20 GIGA DELAY
tc electronic Flashback2
JOYO D-SEED II

Reverb
BOSS Digital Reverb RV-5
Behringer RV600 Reverb Machine

Looper
BOSS Loop Station RC-3
tc electronic DITTO X4 Looper

Multi Effector
ZOOM G2

12. Other than Bar Lynch, do you play live gigs at other venues?

Yes.
Since last year I have been playing at ‘Igno…. . book plus’ (an antiquarian bookshop) every three months or so. There are also a few live music venues where can play. All of them are in Utsunomiya city.

13. Do you plan to release any physical media of any of your albums or will you stick with digital releases?

I actually released a CD a few years ago under the title “the old village”. 300 copies were made and over 200 are still unsold. I don’t think releasing any more CDs. It’s too costly. I would like to release a cassette tape.

14. I’m always looking forward to hearing new music from you. What do you have planned for releases in 2022?

Thank you very much. In 2022 I’m aiming to release an album every month, hopefully one that You will like.

15. Thanks again for your time and for sharing your musical journey. Do you have any final thought for those that will read this interview?

I was born in 1959, so I don’t think I’ll have another ten years to be an active musician. Nevertheless, I don’t want to stop playing music and I hope to go deeper into it. If you don’t mind, I would be very happy if you could stay with me for a while longer.

Links:

BC: https://mora-tau.bandcamp.com

IG: https://instagram.com/sleepshow

Celestial Ephemerides: A Collection Of Dark Ambient Summary Reviews, Part V

It’s almost mind numbing to see how great the Dark Ambient genre has not only grown, but expanded in sound. It seems as if harsh noise and industrial ambience is coming more into existence and coupling with the bleak intonations of Dark Ambient soundscapes and drones. The albums in this list represent change, growth and also homage to the influences of modern day Dark Ambient music. I hope you enjoy these summary reviews as much as I did putting them together.

1. The Owl – Beyond The Vastness Of Infinity

The Owl specialized in noise terror and monstrous modulations that are presented in a controlled chaos offering. ‘Beyond The Vastness Of Infinity’ is an improvised endeavor that plays on the decline of normalcy and the abruptness of ataxia. Rigid guitar tones set against the strident sounds of industrialized soundscapes and eerie narrations set a precedence of tonal despondency. As mesmerizing as it is turbulent, this albums is just another gem in the vast The Owl discography.

https://theowl.bandcamp.com/album/55-beyond-the-vastness-of-infinity

2. Aleksis Tristan Shaw – Loud Nothing

Multi-talented, multi-genre artist Aleksis Tristan Shaw, once again dabbles in the world of Dark Ambient music with the twisted oblation, ‘Loud Nothing’. Combining the forces of demented horror sounds, spacious soundscapes and drifting drones, this is a compelling story of electronic proportions. Elongated drones provide a hypnotic state while supernatural subtleties and sequences keep the listener from completely going under with hints of smoldering tension. At times, spacey, and other times downright grim, this recording is a full offering of Dark Ambient amusement and is fascinating to say the least.

https://aleksistristanshaw.bandcamp.com/album/loud-nothing

3. Crepuscular Entity – Zwolf Bagatellen

‘Zwolf Bagatellen’ is an exercise in harsh frequency delivery and the chaotic amplification of audial discord. Consisting of twelve tracks of white noise, with belligerent modulations, this is a test of determination and surviving the true grit of noise ambience. Filled with abrupt soundscapes and extreme reverberation, this album is a massive overdose of music that is meant to overtake the sense and infiltrate the mind. Listen at your own risk but prepare to be amazed at the indulgence of extreme electronic music.

https://crepuscularentity.bandcamp.com/album/zwolf-bagatellen

4. Drone Islands – Volume I / II / III

‘Drone Islands – Volume I /II / III’ is a massive collection of ambient magnificence, containing beautiful audial offerings from an array of artists. This album combines the work of all Drone Island releases to include, ‘Land Rising’, ‘The Lost Maps’ and ‘Stellar’. Some of the biggest names in the Dark Ambient community lend their services to this recording such as Ashtoreth, Kammarheit, BlackWeald, Taphephobia, Alphaxone and Infinexhuma. These types of collective albums are a real treat, as you get a cluster of unique musical achievements in a single album. This is an exemplary collection that must be heard.

https://eighthtowerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/drone-islands-volume-i-ii-iii

5. Long The Night – Illusion

‘Illusion’ is an assemblage of beguiling drones with cinematic-like production. Although starting out with a light ambient vibe, the mood swiftly changes on track two, “Untold Mind” and a belligerent tone is thrusted into this space ambient endeavor. These songs sequentially crescendo into a mammoth-like sound and slowly fade out into oblivion before shifting to the next moment of surprising moments. There are moments that are influenced by the Warhammer 40k sound, while the majority of the album is like a dark space excursion. This is an excellent album that fits right in with some of the top names in the genre.

https://kalpamantra.bandcamp.com/album/illusion

6. Pavor Nocturnus – Bosch

Pavor Nocturnus specializes in flowing light drones that are delivered in an obscure pallet of ominous soundscapes, torturous industrial sounds and peaceful samples and field recordings. All fused together, this is an eerily harmonious endeavor that will be pleasing to fans of multiple Dark Ambient sub-genres. ‘Bosch’ is eclectic blend of soulful modulations that don’t have a particular flow (from track to track), but works very well in the overarching concept of the album. This is an amazing recording that I cannot recommend enough.

https://musicpavornocturnus.bandcamp.com/album/bosch

7. Sij & Textere Oris – Reflections At The Sea

Sij & Textere Oris is one of the most fascinating Dark Ambient collaborations on the Cryo Chamber label roster. Although only having released two albums on the giant label, they are both top quality endeavors that are unique in their own way. On latest effort, ‘Reflections At The Sea’, soothing drones are met with enchanting vocal melodies and theatrical reverberations that produces a theatrical-like sound. From piano chops to random sound effects, this album is put together magnificently and will warrant multiple listens. This is definitely one not to miss.

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/reflections-at-the-sea

8. Melanohelios – The Durance Machine

In my opinion, Melanohelios doesn’t put out music often enough. There is something very addictive with Melanohelios albums and I can’t quite put my finger on it. However, I can say that what you’ll get with each album is an exclusive listening experience – one just as good as the next. On ‘The Durance Machine’, there are two tracks of mind-melding drone work that lasts the better part of thirty six minutes. While listening, you’ll find yourself drifting between peaceful experiences and terrifying moments that flow together with extreme transparency. This is another alluring album from such a reclusive entity.

https://melanohelios.bandcamp.com/album/the-durance-machine

9. Marco Pianges – Somewhere

Dark tones and blistering keys set the backdrop for this escapade of quality electronic tracks. With a plethora of samples and soundscapes, this short album is a cacophony of aggressive moment and angst-filled resilience. The genius aspect of this album is the malevolence hidden in the peaceful details – like a field of beautiful flowers in the dead of winter. Even with just twenty minutes of playing time, this five track album is a beast to contend with and will surely please all fans of Dark Ambient music.

https://ukhanrecords.bandcamp.com/album/somewhere

10. Northumbria – Isolering

If you’re a fan of Dark Ambient music, you should at least be aware of the haunting entity known as Northumbria. With a list of unrivaled albums on the Cryo Chamber label, the stringed duo often ventures out independently and continues to produce quality ambience. On 2021’s ‘Isolering’, we’re presented with four ominous tracks containing nearly seventy five minutes worth of mesmerizing intonations. These extended efforts take the listener down a blackened path and instill a relentless blend of lethargic tones and reverberated modulations that are simply paralyzing. In my opinion, this is one of their best efforts and the mood that it sets is quite compelling.

https://northumbria.bandcamp.com/album/isolering

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Colonial Skyway Presents A Compelling Take On Dissonant Clamor With ‘Evening On Earth’

There are many things in life that we take for granted on a daily basis. Even something as simple as subtle noises and sounds becomes less observed as we pick and choose which signals to process for an action or reaction. Of course our minds are programmed to react to daily nuances such as vibrations of a text message coming in on our cellular devices, a car horn as it signifies the moment of possible incident, an alarm clock as it pulls us out of our indulgent, hibernating state or even voice communication by our family, friends and coworkers – sometimes a complete stranger. However, there is another underlying tension, the ambient rumbles of reoccurring instances that we take for granted or don’t even pay attention to all together. There is true significance behind the droning sounds that are often terrifying, annoying and even chaotic that we subconsciously ignore, but they are there for a reason. The sounds are derivative of processes and movement that have a deeper meaning, indirectly executing the underlying fabric of society that nonchalantly pass us by. It’s these very things that are represented on the latest Colonial Skywave album, ‘Evening On Earth’ that are now brought to the forefront of the mind in order for us to understand – and even appreciate – their significance. Eight tracks of masterful droning in its most minimalistic state, yet so full of life, that it truly needs to be heard to be welcomed as a productive part of society.

“Stars On The Ground” slowly crescendo’s into a looping hiss of a mechanical nature, almost as if a gear were stuck in a failed rotation and continued with repeated attempts to proceed with its forward movement. As the nuance perpetuates, a grazing hum comes into focus, easing the tension of the core commotion while inducing a meditative form. Just as the listener eases into this dynamic configuration, these sounds begin to defuse and ultimately fade into oblivion. “Keylapes” proceeds down the dark path of heavy machinery and the purr of high speed cycles, proving the successful syntonization of synthetic equipment. Random bursts of manufacturing effects adds a layer of cyclic activity that may seem random, but is the result of melding productivity and arduous combustions that creates a uniquely resonating sound signature. “Fairway” presents another heavy, arduous drone with looping chugs of industrial strength apparatuses, carrying on with the tedious task of unmistakable agitation. As this motion eternizes, it’s apparent that a malevolent force is strong at work. With no decrease of movement in site, it slowly fades away into obscurity, even though the harshness continues to plagues the airways that it surrounds. Continuing on with the looping essence is, “Off At Dawn”. Industrial dreariness is replaced with digitized intonations with the penchant for coding errors and computerized alarms instead of machinery malfunctions. The sonic apprehension of looping buzzes gives the impression of abnormal functionality, but the abhorrent continuation of the main sounds signify error override, as the collusion of systems advance without a care in the world. “Areas Of Drifting” commences with the synchronizing strum that is very reminiscent of a full scale orchestra coming into unified harmony after much needed adjustment to playing a single tuning note. Instead of everything comes to a halt – at the request of the conductors triple baton tap – the notes are held in alliance, while relaxation overcomes the listeners whim. Next is “Lonely Tolls” and it’s exactly what I’ve envisioned with the given track title. An interstate toll booth worker, laboring through the dreadful night shift, where the constant flow of traffic has been replaced with the languid resonance of emptiness and distant sounds not normally observed. The tolling of cryptic bells declares a mysterious warning of unforeseen events. A steady volume of rain hits the roof of the tool booth like an intrusive static, adding to the ambience of the other sounds. “Forth Selector Stepping” slowly seeps in like daybreak, where aberrant sound of the night seize and give way to an endless vacuum of light despondency. Bridging the gap of the known and unknown, this track acts as the medium for what’s left behind and what’s yet to occur. The final track on the album is “After Dark”, a deep, meditative drone that suggests a particular crepuscule of dead air and distant exertion. Although one doesn’t overpower the other, there is a sense of struggle beyond the threshold of existence. This track summarize the entire album perfectly as this compelling drone embodies the journey of noises and sounds crafted by mankind (and natural occurrences) and wraps them up in a coercive bleakness of axiomatic energy, despite the situation.

In conclusion, the sounds we take for granted are a beautiful thing and relative to life on Earth as we know it. Often mistaken as meaningless nuisances, they are simply the collateral return of a productive and mechanized society. Colonial Skyway again produces a magnificent soundscape of representation and blissful moments of droning endeavors. ‘Evening On Earth’ is a societal soundtrack to a world of underground chaos that is often overlooked, yet needed for perpetual existence. This meditative offering is one of my favorites of the year so far and provides me with a pleasing dose of hypnotic artistry on a regular basis. Don’t hesitate to check this one out if you’re into minimalistic drone music. Click on the link below to support this one of a kind experience.

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Links:

https://submarinebroadcastingco.bandcamp.com/album/evening-on-earth

Throne Of Knowledge Explores Mournful & Isolated Timbres On The Profound Offering, ‘The Return To Unity’

World renowned author and playwright – Leo Tolstoy – once stated, “Music is the shorthand of emotion.” I couldn’t agree more, as we often listen to music that matches our feeling and/or emotional state. At times, music frequently instigates a particular feeling that allows the listener to drift into an ardent state of explicit emotions or imaginative foundations. One such compelling artist that provokes those very sentiments is Throne Of Knowledge, a Dark Ambient/Winter Synth project that presents an impactful sense of mystical feelings through cold and somber drones. On the latest album, ‘The Return To Unity’, three extended tracks of space ambient and winter synth tones fuse wonderfully to create a hypnotizing atmosphere of otherworldly experiences.

The haunting opening track, “The Return To Unity”, showcases a sequence of looping melodies, perpetual drones and celestial atmospherics that promulgates an alluring sense of bliss across twenty seven minutes of playing time. This is an extraordinary track that implicitly serves as a soundtrack for meditative sequences. If you’re expecting a lot of change ups, soundscapes and explosive moments, you’ll need to seek that type of music expression elsewhere. However, if a relaxing, and introspective experience is what you’re vying for, then look no future than this beautiful track as it sincerely provides that moment of reflection that is much desired. Next up is the sixteen minute long endeavor, “Aura”. Even more minimalistic than the first track, this will invoke a period of mental solitude through bleak drones and the occasional soundscape that depicts instances of awareness and contemplation. If the first track is the one that takes the listener to an altered state, then “Aura” is the track that locks the listener in for the duration of this pensive experience. The winter synth tones are prevalent throughout this track as the atmosphere is cold, dry and full of gray colors and sounds. The final song on the album is “The Observer Effect”. Although considered a bonus track, this is the third and final installment of the meditation experience as it’s the one that slowly pulls the listener back to reality. This near sixteen minute long track contains more key rhythms and is presented in a quicker pace than the previous songs. Although the gloomy drone is still ubiquitous, it’s used more in the background than in the forefront, allowing for the harmonies to take over and draw the listener in to a refreshed perspective of life and happenstance. Having this bonus track on the album makes perfect sense as it completes a sonic adventure of mindfulness and prospective gain.

This third chapter of the Throne Of Knowledge collection is an exceptional work of art that tells a wordless story of nature and peaceful existence. Although firmly rooted in Dark Ambient, there are underlying tones and themes that give this adventurous piece endless meaning and also a home in other genres such as Winter Synth and – in a way – Atmospheric Dungeon Synth. I highly recommend this album for a relaxing experience, so please check it out at the link below and enjoy this highly effective masterpiece.

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Links:

https://throneofknowledge.bandcamp.com/album/the-return-to-unity

Top 10 Dark Ambient Releases Of 2021

I almost don’t like putting together these year-end Top 10 lists because it’s so hard to pick 10 albums out of the hundreds or thousands of Dark Ambient releases in a given year. However, at the same time, I do want to show my respects to the albums that held the highest entertainment value for me, thus equating to my FAVORITE Dark Ambient albums of 2021. I really hope you enjoy this list as much as I had putting it together and if there is anything that strikes your attention on here, please check them out and show your support for these amazing artists. Without further a due, I present to you my favorite 10 Dark Ambient albums of 2021.

10. Blackweald – 666 Minutes In Hell

https://blackweald.bandcamp.com/album/666-minutes-in-hell

What better way to get this list started than an album consisting of nearly eleven and a half hours of diabolical Dark Ambient. ‘666 Minutes In Hell’ is that album and just the length alone is downright captivating. As for the music itself, this is some of the most sinister Dark Ambient I’ve heard in a long time and the endless supply of field recordings and soundscapes are enough to make an actual trip to hell seem like an endless endeavor. This is a very creative album that sets a gloomy atmosphere and only Blackweald could pull this off with such a grim attraction.

9. Xerxes The Dark – Soundtrack To The Blind Owl

https://xerxesthedark.bandcamp.com/album/soundtrack-to-the-blind-owl-24bit

Xerxes The Dark continues his string of impressive releases with the Industrial-styled, ‘Soundtrack To The Blind Owl’. One of his most chaotic and abrasive releases yet, this album is not to be taken lightly, as the amount of discord and pandemonium contained within can be alarmingly harsh if not expected. However, for me, I love this type of audial chaos and for nearly fifty three minutes, XTD thrashes the listener through a gauntlet of maniacal sounds and glitches by way of synth and guitar manipulation. Definitely check this one out if you’re into the more extreme side of Dark Ambient music.

8. Dead Melodies – Fabled Machines Of Old

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/fabled-machines-of-old

For the past couple of years, Dead Melodies has been one of the busiest and most consistent Dark Ambient artists around. From amazing solo efforts to haunting collaborations with the likes of Zenjungle and Beyond The Ghost, he has amassed quite the discography of varied material. ‘Fabled Machines Of Old’ is another prodigious notch in his belt with a ferocious blend of Dark Ambient tones, haunting acoustic guitar passages and the warm embrace of dark noir styled jazzy impulses. The result is an album full of assorted & gloomy characteristics that are extremely fulfilling and a breath of fresh air for the Cryo Chamber label.

7. Mora-Tau – Wellcome Back, Nuclear Summer

https://thechurchofnoisygoat.bandcamp.com/album/wellcome-back-nuclear-summer

Mora-Tau has quickly become one of my favorite Dark Ambient artists with his brand of exhilarating improvisations. Releasing a magnitude of albums on his own Bandcamp page, as well as several other labels, it’s hard to pick a favorite album – especially since they are all so amazing. However, one that I keep returning to the most is the dispiriting ‘Wellcome Back, Nuclear Summer’. These four tracks describe a dismal scene of a bleak, post-nuclear atmosphere of nothingness and regrowth. Using an assortment of synth effects and drones, Mora-Tau is like a voiceless narrator for a scene filled with disaster and radiance. I’m so glad that Mora-Tau exists at this point in time and I highly recommend checking out his whole discography, but starting with one of my year end favorites, ‘Wellcome Back, Nuclear Summer’.

6. Wampyric Solitude – Echoes Of Undying Darkness And Bloodshed

https://wampyricsolitude.bandcamp.com/album/echoes-of-undying-darkness-and-bloodshed

Dungeon Synth maestro, Wampyric Solitude has not only created one of my favorite Dungeon Synth albums of the year, but he’s also produced one of my favorite Dark Ambient album, ‘Echoes Of Undying Darkness And Bloodshed’. Expecting another Dungeon Synth masterpiece, I was both shocked and blown away by the sounds of menacing drones, ominous atmospherics and apocalyptic styled soundscapes that decays from within. This is bleak adventure that I can’t stop listening to and I would to love to hear more of this type of dynamic caliber from Wampyric Solitude in the very near future.

5. Dahlia’s Tear – Adrift On The Edge Of Infinity

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/adrift-on-the-edge-of-infinity

Anyone that is familiar with the works of Dahlia’s Tear can agree that there is a recognizable sound throughout the impressive discography. However, it’s the Cryo Chamber releases that finds the artist at his best and the post-apocalyptic presentation is as doleful as it is hypnotizing. Just when you think you’ve heard the magnum opus effort by Dahlia’s Tear, along comes another album of equal or better quality. ‘Adrift On The Edge Of Infinity’ is a driving force of intensity that exudes melancholic proportions with a haunting soundscape. I eagerly await new albums by Dahlia’s Tear and this one was no exception and it surely doesn’t disappoint.

4. Sydalesis – Living Machine

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

‘Living Machine’ is a masterclass in Berlin School styled Dark Ambient music. This mammoth recording hosts 14 tracks of lenitive, atmospheric anthems that expands beyond two and a half hours of playing time. Mixing ambient music with Berlin School sequences has become one of my favorite styles of electronic music and I tend to get completely mesmerized by its output. ‘Living Machine’ elicited that exact result from the initial listen back in April until now. This album remains a fascinating experience and it – unfortunately – didn’t get the attention that it deserved. I highly recommend checking this one out immediately.

3. Hilyard – Division Cycle

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/division-cycle

The albums that Hilyard produces for Cryo Chamber are just different – in a great way. He seems to pull out all the stops when making music for the giant label and ‘Division Cycle’ is my favorite Cryo Chamber label release for this year. An excellent blend of Space Ambient and minimalistic droning, this album was an immediate hit and greatly surpassed all of my expectations. Subtle soundscapes and industrial undertones generate an atmosphere of endless tranquility, darkened by blissful aggression. This is one of the most meditative albums of the year and I still can’t get enough of its bleak embrace.

2. Delmak-O – The Colony

https://delmak-o.bandcamp.com/album/the-colony

I must say that ‘The Colony’ was quite a surprise upon initial listen. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. However, what I got was one of the most impressive Ambient albums that I’ve ever heard. Fusing Berlin School sequences with Space Ambient drones, otherworldly soundscapes and a Sci-Fi conceptual story, this album is a masterpiece from start to finish. This is one of those albums that you can blast in a pair of good headphones and be taken away on an astral adventure without any care in the world. A very enjoyable album that brings a much needed variety to the Dark Ambient community.

1. Sumatran Black – A Taxonomy Of Grief

https://sumatranblack.bandcamp.com/album/a-taxonomy-of-grief

I’ve been a Sumatran Black fan for a few years now and equally love the other projects by the same artist, Black Box Memories and Atasehir. Even though the output of dystopian style Dark Ambience has been quite impressive, ‘A Taxonomy Of Grief’ is light years ahead of previous efforts. For nearly two hours and twenty minutes, the listener is treated with a melancholic blend of mesmerizing synths and mournful soundscapes that depicts a gloomy reality of dealing with personal bereavement and loss. Each track completes a cycle of majestic aplomb through soothing arrangements that are insanely breathtaking. Because of these alluring intricacies, ‘A Taxonomy Of Grief’ is easily my favorite Dark Album of 2021.

Noisesculptor & God Cancer Pay Chaotic Tribute To Doctor Who With ‘Wanderers In The 4th Dimension’

Architects of harsh noise and industrial ambient, Noisesculptor and God Cancer, are closing out my year of abhorrent reviews with an extreme collaboration effort. ‘Wanderers In The 4th Dimension’ is a strident tribute to the golden era of Doctor Who and of all the eccentric and quirky subject matter and themes that the British show portrayed for many years. Containing three tracks of bizarre modulations and bleak atmospherics, this is definitely a worthy musical endeavor for such a respected TV show.

Lead off track for this daunting effort, “Edge Of Destruction”, begins the cycle of controlled chaos on this retro-infused EP. Living up to its namesake, this song immediately begins on a downward spiral toward an ominous journey through strange worlds and abstract time periods. Tumultuous modulations produce an algorithm of hectic adventure as random soundscapes forge a dark destiny of unsettled variation and dismal remnants. As if the random frequency sounds are creating an algorithm of despondent measures, the cracks of distorted synth terror reek havoc on the listeners ears. Next up, “The Mind Robber”, commences with an audial assault that is sure to invoke generations of hysteric and sinister vestiges. Creepy effects attune over ambient noises that appear discordant and heavily distorted. You can almost hear patterns of vocalizations as the noises continue to adjust. Although seeming random, the patterns represent a frenzied madness that can only be solved by sincere concentration and audible adaptability. The final track on this immense EP is the epic, “Web Planet”. Starting with various soundscapes that at first, sound soothing and placid, there is an underlying pandemonium that slowly begins to form as the track continues. Various cosmic sounds depict a race through time and space, while the hiss of looping drones radiate with sheer terror. As the track continues to unfold, chilling synth intonations emit pulses of icy cold effects that places the listener in strange, frigid worlds where frightening resolve remains imminent. This space-like adventure continues on until the feeling of angst is all that’s left to hold on to. This masterful track is just what this EP needed to finalize the effects of the noise terror that ensued within.

Noisesculptor and God Cancer had one major objective with producing this album, and that was to create a source of menacing ambience that consecrates one of the best science fiction dramas to ever be broadcasted on TV – Doctor Who. ‘Wanderers In The 4th Dimension’ is a fascinating offering that chronicles the retrospective sounds that could have been easily heard throughout the golden years of the show. From celestial sequences to harsh modulations, this is a mind-numbing effort that is an addictive listen and is of high entertainment value. Unfortunately, the cassette/digital release appear to be (currently) removed from Bandcamp but I’ll continue to check to see if it may be released again in the future. This is an album that I highly recommend and I hope one day that it will – once again – be available for consumption.

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

Celestial Ephemerides: A Collection Of Dark Ambient Summary Reviews, Part IV

I present to you my final round of Celestial Ephemerides for the year 2021 and I hope you enjoy the following Dark Ambient recordings as much as I have. I certainly wish that I had the time to give these albums a long form review but with the amount of request that I get on a daily basis and the actual time I have to spend on doing them, there just isn’t enough time in the day, week, month or year. At any rate, I hope these summary reviews will do and again…enjoy!

1. Beyond The Ghost – The Desolation Age

One of my favorite Dark Ambient artists, Beyond The Ghost is back with not only his greatest achievement yet, but a sensational recording that incorporates a magnitude of synth styles. With the deep drones in tact, he manages to include elements of synthwave, retro synth and a ton of melody to make this one of the most triumphant releases of the year. Emotional highs run rampant on tracks such as “Exodus”, “Pale Conquerers” and the piano-heavy “Slow Motion Downfall”. The Cryo Chamber label hits another home run with with valiant effort and I’m glad to see Beyond The Ghost release another effort that supersedes all expectations.

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/the-desolation-age

2. Max Corbacho – Nocturnes III

What an honor it is to be alive during the existence of Max Corbacho. He is a world renowned ambient artist that has no problem producing either light or dark ambient and anything in between. On Nocturnes III, he darkens the mood on his brand of bleak, yet powerful ambience. Tracks such as “Altar Of Stillness” and “Lunation Sequence” produce a celestial boundary of deep space vibes and ominous sound effects. It’s easy to get lost in these long tracks as the mesmerizing drones continue to captivate from start to finish. Another brilliant album by the Ambient Master himself.

https://maxcorbacho.bandcamp.com/album/nocturnes-iii

3. Kalte – Morphology

Kalte puts the “minimal” in minimalistic with the starkly austere ‘Morphology’. Four tracks of space-like drones with the occasional soundscape that sounds like looping, industrialized textures that are sure to creep you out. “Stochastic Resonance” and “Coleoptera” are my favorite tracks on this short, thirty four minute EP. However, as a whole, this album contains epic creations that are sure to please fans of both Dark Ambient and Industrial Droning. Looking forward to hearing more from this promising artist.

https://kalte.bandcamp.com/album/morphology

4. Uburgrund – Dionelos

Uburgrund doesn’t hold back with their maniacal version of noise ambience. Harsh, looping effects and industrial-like distractions creates a whirlwind of discontent and uneasiness. However, there is a mesmerizing sensation when listening to this album as a whole that goes unmatched. Standout tracks include “Colonia De Sarcopti Din Palma (Swarm Of Another Life)” and “Trusa Iua Hinton (Rubik In Wonderland)” with endless fusillade of extreme modulations and frequency manipulations that will send the sensory glands into maximum overload. Also, at times the music seems audibly unbalanced but I think that’s another tactic that is completely relegated in this insane group of recordings. Highly recommended but listen at your own risk!

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/dionelos-2

5. Cities Last Broadcast – The Umbra Report

Cities Last Broadcast always brings a warm, vibrant tone with his brand of Dark Ambience. Including loops, tape hisses and various oddities that embrace a particular twilight, you can always expect a nostalgic walk down a darkened noir path. The Umbra Report is no different, as it entwines the same smoky sentiment found on the ‘Black Stage Of Night’ and ‘Black Corner Den’ releases with Atrium Carceri. Tracks such as “Unvocal”, “Disembodied” and “Antumbra” carry the minimalistic torch while creating a spacious, articulate texture that embraces more warmth than darkness. Simply put – another brilliant album by Cities Last Broadcast!

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/the-umbra-report

6. Dr0ne – Nimb

Listening to Dr0ne’s ‘Nimb’ is like a complete exercise in futility. If you can make it through this one hour nightmarish drone-fest, then you can get through just about anything. With just two tracks – each almost thirty minutes long, this is like a bleak excursion like no other. These tracks slowly rip away your soul until there is nothing left but a skeleton of audial dissonance. At times, a deep plunge into darkened chambers occurs, taking the listener to cold outlets of deafening voids, while at other times, perpetual static remains consistently mesmerizing. This one is definitely worth checking out, especially if blasphemous droning is your thing.

https://dr0ne-sb.bandcamp.com/album/nimb

7. Daughter Of Dawn – Crushed Into Dust By The Weight Of The World

Fans of Peter Bjärgö should not pass up on this tasty offering of blissful, folk ambient by Daughter Of Dawn. These compositions are excitedly serene, but it’s the overall melody that will heighten your emotional state and draw you in for a near thirty minute ride down a soothing atmospheric aurora. Album opener, “Juniper Boughs Collide Upon My Shores” is quick to set a euphoric mood with reverberated acoustic guitar chops and dreamy vocals. “The Liminal Space In Which I Reside” has shades of shoegaze and dream pop genres that are feverishly fused with masterful songwriting and constructive vocal harmonies. This is a fantastic album that must be heard to be believed. Don’t pass on this magical offering.

https://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/crushed-into-dust-by-the-weight-of-the-world

8. Alphaxone & Proto U – Back To Beyond

Alphaxone & ProtonU create a spacious, sonic atmosphere like no other. On their second collaboration effort, ‘Back to Beyond’, they produce a colossal space ambient recording that takes the listener to the far reaches of space and set them in a drifting motion that transcends the relevance of time and speed. As if floating through a galaxy of stars, a gathering of soundscapes and effects paint a galactic portrait of uncharted territories. With a mix of light and dark drones, standout tracks such as “Dreams Of Solace” and “Delusions Of Omniscience” present a space odyssey like no other. It’s always a magical occurrence when these two artists join forces and I hope this wont be the last recording of its kind.

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/back-to-beyond

9. Bonzaii – Death In The Cities

Bonzaii is a unique artist for the Dark Ambient genre and they successfully combine two of my favorite things on the ‘Death In The Cities’ EP, and that is emotional Melodie’s and distorted synth effects. Although both of these sound qualities are at distant ends of the musical spectrum, together they provide a monumental output that can be both soothing and terrifying. Tracks such as “Liturgy” and “Eyes In The Water” stand out with their breathtaking atmospherics and masterful arrangements. The looping synths are at times retrospective and borderline on Berlin School sequences without actually maintaining a stronghold on that style. All in all, this is top quality ambient music and recommended for those that know no boundaries when it comes to genre styles.

https://decayingspheres.bandcamp.com/track/death-in-the-cities

10. European Drought – By Ways Of Winter Past

“By Ways Of Winter Past” is a single, twenty eight minute long track of austere winter synth that catapults the listener right into the eye of a winter storm with no end in sight. This immensely minimal track is so chilling, that it can be downright alarming at times due to the notion of unknowingness around every corner. Synth effects remain absolute throughout this recording, representing the cold adventures that are experienced along the way. As the track continues, there is a sense of overwhelming chaos that takes over and deafening tones signal the downfall toward an icy oblivion. Nothing about this track will sent the mind at ease, but it will set a chilling mood for mindful atonement.

https://europeandrought.bandcamp.com/album/by-ways-of-winter-past

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

Interstellar Space – All Hallows’ Eve Extravaganza

It’s time for everyone’s favorite celebration day, Halloween! Although believed to be rooted in Medieval Christian beliefs, Halloween – Also known as All Hallows’ Eve – is the beginning (or vigil) of Allhallowstide, which is followed by All Hallows’ Day on November 1st and All Souls’ Day on November 2nd. This celebration was once used to honor Saints of the Church, both known and unknown. However, in modern times, Halloween has been heavily influenced by Gaelic folklore and traditions with Pagan roots to hold it together. This has ultimately lead to guising, trick o’ treating, haunted houses, movies that pay homage and more importantly, music that is influenced by the aforementioned festivities. No matter the genre, there are a slew of artists that use this heavily celebrated day to create haunted-infused dirges. For this article, I have conjured ten artists that have summoned ghoulish vibes to create excellent albums that are perfect for this morbid season.

Let the festivities begin…

1. Erythrite Throne – Vampyric Fables

https://serpentsswordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/vampyric-fables

What better way to start Allhallowtide than with a festive dose of Erythrite Throne. Here with an annual creation of dark enchantments, ‘Vampyric Fables’ presents six tracks of ominous dungeon synth that showcases all aspects of the Erythrite Throne sound. From the mournful melodies of “The Cruelty Of Immortality” to the blackened intonation, “A Great Castle Just Beyond The Forest”, these tracks epitomize the Erythrite Throne standard and set a precedent for dark dungeon music. “Somber Incantations From The Blood Soaked Scrolls” is a eerie concoction of haunting synths, scathing sound effects and a cadence that conjures the dead for a sinister manifestation. ‘Vampyric Fables’ is another spectacular release and makes for a perfect listen during All Hallows’ Eve!

2. Sanctum Umbra – Through The Last Known Veil

https://sanctumumbra.bandcamp.com/releases

Robes Of Snow creator shifts focus on new project, Sanctum Umbra, replacing the usual Post Black Metal mayhem with an ultra-focused dark ambient experience laced with retrospective effects and sonic disturbances. The albums title track, “Through The Last Known Veil” is the perfect example of harrowing drones that are fused with nostalgic keyboard chops and the cracks & hisses of tape loops. “Banished Empyrean” commences with infused modulations that find a melodic hum while soft keys are structured malevolently in the background. These five tracks create a stellar ambience that is most fitting for the night of the dead. This Halloween, light a green candles and embrace the power of this stunning release.



3. Lamp & Dagger – This Tape Is Haunted

https://lampanddagger.bandcamp.com/album/this-tape-is-haunted

Lamp & Dagger has put together one of the most unique collaboration efforts that I’ve experienced. Tailored specifically for the Halloween season, these artists have assimilated to present a ghoulishly haunting encounter that is sure to frighten the faint of heart. These eight grisly tracks portray scenes of darkness and death with macabre ambience and synth effects that will send chills down your spine. Over an hour of terrorizing, sonic adventures, this recording will make for a perfect soundtrack while handing out treats to the ghouls in disguise – if they dare come close enough to ring the door bell. Production wise, this is an extremely well put together effort with every track seamlessly flowing into the next. There is also a ton of morbid detail in each track to ensure that this spooky album will provide an ultimate dark adventure for all of your lurid needs. Don’t pass up on this masterclass in horror sounds!



4. Pvmkyn Mage – Fvn Sixe Bits

https://highmage.bandcamp.com/album/fvn-size-bits

Pvkmyn Mage brings the Dungeon Noise in this terrifying blast of eerie soundscapes that are meant as an all-out audial assault. At only nineteen minutes of playing time, these five tracks present a barrage of lo-fi modulations that are equally creepy as they are alluring. There are enough bits of charred sound effects to keep one in suspense as these tracks will easily grown on the listener with intense pleasure. There are plenty of frequency fabrications and reverb to set this album sonically apart from others of its kind. In addition, playing this in the dark at increased volumes are sure to give the Trick ‘O Treaters a bout of hesitation before approaching the abyssal door of doom (and candy). Highly recommended if creepy intensity is your thing.

5. Andeddomeiji – Biohazard 2

https://highmage.bandcamp.com/album/biohazard-2

This Biohazard-themed treat is perfect for the Halloween season and offers a different flare than some of the other recordings in this article. Adding a touch of comfy synth as well as 8-bit effects, ‘Biohazard 2’ generates quite a buzz when it comes to the grim interpretations of All Hallows’ Eve. Providing a soothing and structured soundscape across eight tracks, there are subtle hints of malevolence and dark creativity while maintaining an ethereal stance throughout. Several tracks contain the harsh vibes of Dungeon Noise, while others are saturated in serene benevolence. This is a very unique album but at the same time, intriguing enough even for the moderate listener.



6. Born From Pain – Night Of The Living Dead

https://bornfrompainbm.bandcamp.com/album/night-of-the-living-dead-rescore

‘Night Of The Living Dead’ is a reinterpretation of the film score for one of the movies that started it all. Born From Pain provides a solid translation of the zombie-infested film with droning guitars, subtle keys and luminous improvisations, thus yielding an alternate audial perspective. Listening to these tracks individually may not offer the clarity needed for visualizing a common theme, however a complete listen through – while imagining the original film of the same name – will offer a grim aesthetic for this nightmarish excursion. A bold mix of Dungeon Synth, Ambient and various guitar tones, this album portrays a stark foundation for a lo-fi, bleak experience.



7. Marishiten – Scott Creek Communion EP

https://hiakukumizu.bandcamp.com/album/marishiten-scott-creek-communion-ep

‘Scott Creek Communion’ is a minimalistic drone ordeal that falls somewhere between industrialized madness and harsh noise exploitations. Deafening modulations provide a haunting, atmospheric setting that is sinister enough to frighten the souls of those that dare to listen while producing a menacing backdrop for evil incantations. Although only three tracks with a seventeen minute playing time, the angst one will feel while listening is enough to engage the dreadful displeasures of the emotional state of mind. The chilling sound effects fused with the endless reverberations are quite unsettling but is the perfect soundtrack for the season of the dead and haunted spirits – especially if trapped in a haunted building or remote location. Listen at your own risk!



8. Vaeyen – Liminality

https://vaeyen88.bandcamp.com/album/liminality

‘Liminality’ is an obscure little recording that uses a plethora of soundscapes and samples to maximize the depth of dread that is imposed on the psyche. The conglomerate of effects are systematically fused to create a suspenseful state, allowing the listener to harvest whatever self condition is vulnerable. Although there are thirteen individual tracks, this twenty six minute minute outing is meant to be listened to in a continuous state. As your mind drifts off from the opening sounds of elevator music, you will quickly be subjected to a sinister realm of maniacal proportions. The more I listen, the more I can identify with the terrifying sounds that are appropriated from every day life. This is the perfect recording to meet all of your spooky endeavors.

9. Moonrise Of Dead Masses – 10/31/1978

https://deadmasses.bandcamp.com/album/10-31-1978

This album is a chilling homage to one of the greatest horror movie franchises of all-time, Halloween. How more appropriate than to release this tribute than during the season of All Saints’ Eve. This album has it all, spine-tingling keyboard chops, retro soundscapes, drum pad beats from the 70’s & 80’s, as well as haunting atmospherics that will thrust the listener back to the greatest time period of horror cinema. The layers of keyboard madness create a culture of sonic malevolence that is completely addictive to listen to and frightening enough to to make you want to sleep with a nightlight on. This is another excellent album to get you in the mood for Allhallowtide and should be played at loud volumes to cause apprehension in the kiddies that want to solicit for a tasty treat!



10. Wrought Records Presents – Reliquary Of Terror Vol. 2

https://wroughtrecords.bandcamp.com/album/reliquary-of-terror-vol-2

Leave it up to Wrought Records to come through with the goods – especially for the Halloween season. ‘Reliquary Of Terror Vol. 2’ is a superb compilation of spooky intonations, compliments of some of the most distinguished artist in the Dungeon Synth genre. Featuring over an hours worth of frightening endeavors, this anthology of awe makes for a perfect companion while celebrating the dark festivities. Featuring menacing soundscapes, seasonal field recordings, and a deluge of synths and effects, each artist brings their own special “It Factor” to these recordings, showing their unique individuality, while jamming in unity in the spirit of long forgotten Saints! Finally, that album cover is nothing short of amazing and sets a bleak but festive mood for the audial invasion that will soon occur.


Dolum Vel Tractare!!!

Special Thanks To Droned Artworks!!

Huge shoutout to Droned Artworks for being so kind to let me use some of their artwork for this article. Waclaw Traier does an amazing job at creating some of the most obscure and unique paintings around. Even the artwork for my site was commissioned by him and it sets the perfect tone for what I’m trying to convey in my publishing’s. His artwork has also been commissioned by numerous bands and artists across multiple genres to create some of the most unmistakable album covers ever. Please find his amazing artwork at the site below:

http://www.droned.eu

If you’re into ominous, single player card games, look no further than Warclaw Games. Still an up-and-coming game developer, there are already several fascinating games available for digital release. Check out the website for more details:

https://www.warclawgames.com

Metempsychosis Physical Release:

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/metempsychosis:-abyss-of-horrors


The Opinionated Optimist Podcast Halloween Reviews!!

Episode 49 The Movie Malignant Is Quite Benign

https://pod.fo/e/e8293

Episode 50 – Halloween Horror Nights 30: The Good, The Bad, The Plexiglass

https://pod.fo/e/eb416

Episode 51 – Howl-O-Scream Orlando

https://pod.fo/e/edfd0


Additional cemetery photos courtesy of Carlton Whittle Photography. Please follow him on IG:

https://instagram.com/a_window_with_a_view?utm_medium=copy_link

Until next Halloween…

Sphäre Sechs Takes Flight On A Celestial Adventure With ‘Beta Pictoris’

Of all the ambient sub-genre’s, Space Ambient is without a doubt my favorite. There is something about the fusion of warm & dark drones and layers of cosmic soundscapes that I find completely captivating. Whenever I’m in the mood for such deeply atmospheric occurrences, there are a few artists that I can always count on for those undeniable sonic excursions and one of them is Sphäre Sechs. On their latest otherworldly offering, ‘Beta Pictoris’, they offer seven tracks of Exoplanet inspired modulations that are more than just a junket through deep space, but a mission through spectacular visuals told by supreme synth arrangements and articulate improvisations.

“Planetesimal Debris” commences with soothing, warm drones, like a space ship drifting through the outer reaches of a familiar solar system just before exploration begins into the realm of deep space. Cosmic soundscapes accent randomly as if vague transmissions become more distant and unclear. An accretion of synth effects begin to produce a thicker sound as the expedition boundaries become broader. I love how the jolting signals continue to play out in the background, increasing in strength but decreasing in clarity. This ten and a half minute opening journey is exactly what’s needed to create a celestial mindset for the remainder of this captivating album. “Doppler Spectroscopy” begins with an alluring drone that has a slight industrial edge to it. The spacious reverb effect really gives that feeling of floating in the depths of pitch black space, almost motionless, while random particles of space dust fly by at a blistering speed. These drones are layered so perfectly that you’ll loose track of time while lapsing into the intensity of its structure. “Seeking The Infinite” starts with a single drone and a variety of peculiar notes being played. A slight crescendo happens at various times, while the keys & pads create a cosmic sound of interstellar adventure. There is mystery and buildup in this track, as if a dark force is lurking around every corner and avoidance is creating an anxiety that continues to build until the end. “Collapsing Cloud” is my favorite track on the album as this is the point where things begin to turn dark and the drones start to sound quite menacing. As if the constant meander through space wasn’t enough, a sinister plot begins to develop as cosmogonal soundscapes establish an eerie sensation of doom and imminent catastrophic failure. The intense use of reverb continues to build an outer realm of darkness and horror and it doesn’t get much better than this. “Infrared Emission” is the longest intonation on the album at almost eleven minutes in length, and it’s an ethereal journey with alluring drones and consoling soundscapes that are extremely hypnotizing from start to finish. The sound of wind blowing is an added surprise, making this another standout performance. “Exosolar” begins with eerie effects that resonate abruptly in a horrific fashion. With piercing drones layered in a way that oscillates through the upper registers of the sound spectrum, this must be a true representation of what unexplored space must be like – creepy and desolate. The final excursion on this deep space adventure is, “Unstable Orbit”. Deranged effects place an incredible spin on the ominous drones as they continue to intensify and increase with electrifying resilience. Slight variations of synth modulations create dismal patterns of haunting fills and abrasive undertones. Whereas the album opened with warm colors, it definitely ends with a bleak performance, that is astounding nonetheless.

Sphäre Sechs continues their streak of masterful Space Ambient performances with ‘Beta Pictoris’. Although one of the most minimalistic sub-genres of the ambient community, this album epitomizes an array of soundscapes and dream-like drones to produce a celestial atmosphere that needs no words for explanation or understanding. This is an amazingly meditative album and I highly recommend it, especially for those that are seeking a hypnotic experience through sonic modulations. Click on the link below and download this fascinating album.

Please Like/Follow my blog so that you’ll get first hand updates every time I post a review. Thanks for visiting the Dungeon!!

Links:

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/beta-pictoris

Hilyard Unveils Another High-Caliber Drone Excursion With ‘Division Cycle’

There is a reason why Cryo Chamber is the premiere label for cinematic, dark ambient music, as they consistently release stellar albums on a continual basis. Even artists such as Hilyard – that release other albums independently – seem to put out his best work under the leading label in the genre. ‘Division Cycle’ is no exception and it’s slowly becoming one of my favorite Dark Ambient releases of they year. Not only does it excel in drone modulations, but the cinematic quality is stellar and creates an addictive combination of mesmerizing tunes and emotional concepts, that demands multiple listens. Whereas 2018’s ‘Furthermore’ was a masterclass in Space Ambience, ‘Division Cycle’ is an exploration into an anatomical realm of grand design.

Lead off track, “Division Cycle” is heavy on the soundscapes in the beginning while a sustainable drone slowly builds. Synth effects provide a bit of melody while the trance-like forces maintain a powerful timbre. After several minutes, the track quietly (and slowly) descends into darkness, providing a dynamic introduction to the remainder of the album. Next up is the mesmerizing, “Equal Segments”. Not only is this my favorite song on the album, it is probably my favorite Dark Ambient song of the year so far. The layers of drones are extremely thick and they are positioned in such a way that emotions can be felt from their reverberations. A couple of minutes in, synth pads create a beautiful melody that is not only captivating, but equally serene. Although this track is just over six minutes long, I wish it were about fifteen or twenty minutes in length, in order to sustain that mindless state. “Of Hatred And Wrath” is an excellent follow on track as it continues the calming nature of the previous track, but adds a bit of depth and darkness to it as well. The flow of this song is so smooth and haunting, you’ll not want it to end, as it’s inductive of an out-of-body experience. Subtle soundscapes portray an ominous escape, but the over arching theme is relaxation of the mind and spirit. “Altars Of Warflesh” commences with a malevolent drone and theme-worthy soundscapes, as mischievous activity seems perpetual. The drones grow louder and closer as if destruction is imminent, but consoling synths & pads play dismal melodies that add to this daring adventure. “Feed The Earth” is another track of consoling drones but this time complimented by ghostly vocals. There is something eerie about this track that will leave the listener in total awe and unnerved at the same time. This is probably my second favorite track on the album and I could listen to this one over and over again and feel several types of ways with each listen. “Roots And Bones” begins with maniacal field recordings and minimalistic soundscapes over quiet albeit drifting drones. It’s as if you’re floating in a field of nothingness but headed slowly to a destination of importance, however as you get closer to the end, it seems to drift further away. The power of this music speaks in volumes with the variances of emotions that are created and observed with each listen. “Heartwood Reverie” contains bleak drones that leisurely builds in layers, while providing a stable platform to transform the mental state to another dimension. This is one of the most minimalistic tracks on the album, but it’s extremely alluring and conforms to the rest of the album perfectly. “Abandoned The Ramparts” initiates with ghastly soundscapes that fade into a spacey drone with a soft water-like field recording in the background. As the field recording dissipates, the drones become more existent and remain consistently hypnotizing until the completion of the track. The final song on the album is “To The Warmth Of Pyres (feat Dronny Darko & ProtoU)” and it’s an immaculate way to close out this impeccable album. Beginning with soothing field recordings and soundscapes, layers of synths & pads start to release audial tension as an audible dreamscape begins to unfold. The superb collaboration of these artists can be felt in each elongated note as a quest for solace and darkness unravels. So adventurous, yet remaining calm and pretentious, this is such an amazing track to close out the album as it properly summarizes the approach of all of the previous tracks.

Hilyard’s second album on the Cryo Chamber label is much different from his initial offering, but it speaks in volumes of the type of artist he is. Whether it’s lighter ambient (that is mostly presented on his own Bandcamp page), Space Ambient, or the haunting drones of ‘Division Cycle’, Hilyard is a seasoned ambient artist that has the skills needed to release countless cinematic adventures. Not only is the cover of ‘Division Cycle’ a proper representation of the album, but the music contained within is some of the best Dark Ambient/Drone music released this year so far. I highly recommend checking out this album so please click on the link below and support Cryo Chamber and ‘Division Cycle’ by Hilyard.

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Links:

https://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/division-cycle