Monstruwacan Transcribes The Struggles Of Agony With The Ritualistic And Ominous ‘Mourn At The Grindstone’

If I asked you to provide one word to describe how you feel about music (in general), I’m sure their would be no wrong answers. No mater what adjectives are used to characterize your perception of music, there is no doubt that it’s a powerful entity. Music is inspirational, emotional, provides comfort, describes other subject matters in a relatable way, and is a reliable source of affection and warmth. Many of these identifiers can be associated with the massive audial offering by Monstruwacan, ‘Mourn At The Grindstone’. Six tracks of haunting modulations that provide a ritualistic listening experience through grim guitar tones and decaying vocalizations. These songs are an amenity for coping with grief and well, life in general as the turmoils we are all faced with on a regular basis seem to never end.

Blistering album opener, “Which Side Are You On (w/The Windborne Singers)” just may be my new favorite song! Featuring a sorrow song-style vocalization about old Union worker banters, this jubilant piece supremely incorporates droning soundscapes to give it a cinematic sound that are reminiscent of the musical endeavors of early Zeal & Ardor. The vocals specifically standout, as the quartet harmonizes beautiful with crystal clear annunciation, thwarting the listener back to the days of coal mining and black lung disease along with the perils of that era. “Mourn At The Grindstone” quickly builds into an eerie, minimalist drone that captures the essence of dread. Faint wails of a guitar can be heard in various spots, adding to the mystique of the song. As this tonal creature grows in volume, the sense of misery become obvious while the shrills of ominous soundscapes continue to fluctuate. Suddenly, harsh narrations divulge information of sincere pain. You can hear the agony as the vocals elicit painful cries and every strum of the guitar is like opening an emotional tomb of anger and resentment. I can imagine this is what it would sound like if Sunn O))) and Blood Of The Black Owl we’re to collaborate. Next up is the somber, “Pupils Like The Hole In Space Where It Sings”. Commencing with a melancholic guitar part, things quickly spiral down into a harsh guitar tone with full-on distortion and resonance. This doom laden masterpiece also features deafening screams and harrowing, bleak ambience, as the mood is quickly set for a slow decent to annihilation. The torment continues with “Feast In The Dark”. A perpetual drone is accompanied by low, back end soundscapes that are audible enough to peak your curiosity. Just as this mild endeavor begins to settle in, heavily modulated guitar chords bear down like a speeding freight train while strident vocals evoke a story of bitterness. “Song For The Dead” begins as a spooky Dark Ambient piece that casually infuses bits of guitar effects. The elongated drone provides a demonic backdrop and when the harsh narrations come in, this becomes a complete ritualistic experience. The middle section of this eight minute opus softens to a simple drone that fades to the point of obscurity and then blazing guitar chops ignite a doom laden offering that showcases the climactic ending of angst and fear. The final track, “What Keeps Us In This Wretched Place” begins with a dose of sonic soundscapes that reside more in the background instead of the forefront, as if we can soon expect vociferous leads to play out. A ton of reverb is used in the beginning section, kindling a stark setting of bleak space ambience. As the droning grows louder in volume, it’s apparent that we will soon see the end of this amazing journey. Layers of drones and effects dredge forth until the song faintly comes to an end.

Every once in a while, an album comes along and completely blows me away. ‘Mourn At The Grindstone’ is that album and then some. These songs are well thought out and put together with meticulous detail so that is flows with utter transparency. Caldon Glover, the mastermind behind this project, knew exactly what he was aiming for with this album and the results are in – Monstruwacan are already becoming a heavy hitter in the Drone Metal/Dark Ambient sub-genre. Although this album has been out since May of 2021, it deserves to be heard by a much larger audience than what it already has. Do yourself a favor and listen to this one right away and support this artist by downloading this masterpiece at the link below.

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://monstruwacan.bandcamp.com/album/mourn-at-the-grindstone

Caliginous Empire & Natura Carcerem Synthesize For Dungeon Synth Greatness On ‘Shadows Reflected’

Two of Dungeon Synth’s upcoming artists – Caliginous Empire & Natura Carcerem – have joined forces for the monumental offering, ‘Shadows Reflected’. However, this is no simple collaboration; this is two compelling creators showcasing the best side of their craft and extending a long overdue exposure to up and coming artist as they show solidarity in one of the best musical genres around. Caliginous Empire exhibits a soothing blend of symphony tones and melancholic soundscapes, while Natura Carcerem ventures more into aspects of Dark Ambient and ominous atmospherics. However, on this joint venture, they both step out of their comfort zones and expand on their musical creativity resulting in an ethereal experience that flows with haunting transparency.

“Before I Depart” is the somber album opener that starts with melodic keys and piano chops that slowly builds into a grand intonation. A short narration constructs an ancient storyline before percussive beats and layers of melody complete this soothing musical affair. The excitement really begins on “Hidden Penumbra”. Commencing with the soft crashes of ocean waves on a desolate, ancient shore, dense keys and pads create a fantastical soundscape of cinematic proportions. Soon, the tonal keys descend into an emotionally-charged passage of atmospheric modulations and alluring patterns. Out of nowhere, the track blasts into a melodic Black Metal section, complete with harmonic guitar chords, blast beats and ominous vokills. It then dwindles down to a quiet symphony of swaying keys that close out the track. The next track is “Reflected Shadows” and it showcases the talents of both musicians as they merge their unique sounds to present this stunning effort. A gentle piano ballad starts this epic adventure then an array of sounds and effects slowly builds a wall of discordance that is hypnotizing to say the least. Toward the end, tasty guitar leads mirror the main melody and establish a theatrical dose of affinity and atmospheric creativity. Natura Carcerem presents the next two tracks, the first being “On The Precipice Of Despair”. This is a beautiful flowing song that is held together by rigorous drum beats and celestial keys. Filled with eerie arrangements and haunting soundscapes, there is also an effervescent crypt hop beat that will have your head bobbing for the last portion of the song. The final track is the ghostly, “These Shadows Know My Name”. The cawing of crows and frightening modulated tones produces ghoulish atmosphere of haunted mansions, graveyards and nocturnal creatures that are bound to scare all those in their path. A soft Berlin School sequence adds a nice touch, as it increases the nostalgic vibe. More narrations and Black Metal vokills close out the track as this exceptional album draws to an end.

It’s never too late to recognize a fantastic album. ‘Shadows Reflected’ was released almost a year ago and it – so far – has stood the test of time, as these songs are unique, impressive and memorable. Caliginous Empire and Natura Carcerem have successfully blended their talents for supreme song writing and arrangements on this album and I can only hope that they will team up again in the near future to present us with another endeavor of this magnitude. If you like your Dungeon Synth meshed with other style of music, do not look past ‘Shadows Reflected’ as this is a one stop shop for your extreme Dungeon Synth needs.

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://uncomfyrecords.bandcamp.com/album/shadows-reflected

https://caliginousempire.bandcamp.com

https://naturacarcerem.bandcamp.com

Fugue In Sea Absorbs Mythological Subject Matter For Enthralling Release, ‘Py-A-Saw’

If the thought of legendary creatures don’t get the creative juices flowing, I don’t know what does. The chimerical energy that is produced by such entities is not only astounding, but it creates a boundless spectacle for imaginative tales of nefarious beings and settings. Missouri-based electronic musician, Fugue In Sea, uses these obscure entities to an advantage by creating an unconventional soundtrack for their existence. ‘Py-A-Saw’ is a five track excursion that demonstrates the agility of music and how it can translate to a vicarious world of ingenious resolve. From Dark Ambient tones to hypnotic and industrialized sequences, this is twenty eight minutes of unprecedented and ritualistic storytelling.

“The Bird That Devours Men (Theme)” is the insanely crafted lead off track that commences with obscure sound bits and eclectic drones that drift slowly like frozen air flow over a daunting mountain peak. The bizarre sound effects carry on in a chaotic commotion as if frantically trying to communicate with other entities in an unfamiliar tone. Suddenly, the clamor resends into a particular calmness before fading into oblivion. “Attack Along The Mississippi” begins with a tribal-like cadence, as layers of peculiar effects rapidly ascend with stunning creativity. More communicative reverberations begin their sequence as an industrial screech comes bellowing in with menacing fortitude. Heavily distorted guitar shrills create a trance-like instance as this ritualistic track comes full circle. “Cave Of Bones” begins with a mix of ethereal soundscapes as somber drones quietly come into play. Constant, pulsating beats create an agonizing experience of bleakness while aggressive key’s emphasize an ambiguous setting for unknowingness. “The Return; Ouatoga’s Ambush; Aftermath” introduces and dark, industrial-type aggression with loud frequency screeches, heavy modulations and the sensation of an icy cold wasteland. A durable beat instills a harmonic essence of mechanized allurement for most of the track, but fades into a space ambient offering that is completely meditative. The final track on the album is “The Bird That Devours Men (reprise)”. This frigid offering continues with the space ambient theme by creating a droning void of eclectic sounds and effects that throttle the listener to a desolate demise. This ends the album on a very eerie note (literally) and you’ll immediately want to listen to this mythical experience all over again.

‘Py-A-Saw’ is a well put together, well thought out ambient adventure. Although just an EP, there is a ton of adventure and sonic madness that is typically experienced on a much longer dark ambient album. Fugues In Sea has the dexterity to incorporate many aspects of electronic music to create a symphony of auditory compositions that are unique and captivating. ‘Py-A-Saw’ is just another notch in the belt for hopefully a long career in Dark Ambient creativity for Fugue In Sea. Please check this album out at the link below and support this exceptional artist.

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://kalaminerecords.bandcamp.com/album/py-a-saw

https://fugueinsea.bandcamp.com

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

The main article image is a unique creation from the WOMBO Dream APP.

Celestial Ephemerides: A Collection Of Dungeon Synth Summary Reviews, Part V

With the ever growing Dungeon Synth community and the endless amounts of review requests that I receive, publishing these Celestial Ephemerides articles is the quickest way for me to keep up, and to also push out content to the community in a timely fashion. For Part V, we find a varied list of exciting Dungeon Synth albums and some that are multi-genre endeavors with just a touch of Dungeon Synth influence. Needless to say, it’s awesome to watch this community grow with everyone’s unique spin on one of the greatest genres around. Keep up the great work, artistry support and most of all, I hope you all enjoy this publishing.

1. Psyyps – L’oracle de I’imaginaire et La Porte du Chemin

Psyyps adopts the Dungeon Synth aesthetic to create a magnetic brand of New Age bliss. Permeated with tribal-like beats, alluring ambience and a host of instrumentation, this experience is one of a kind. It’s as if the dungeon lore of Medieval times escaped to a futuristic setting of unfamiliarity and enlightenment. Prepare to be amazed by these eight tracks of cutting edge explorations.

https://psyyps.bandcamp.com/album/l-oracle-de-l-imaginaire-et-la-porte-du-chemin

2. Baerdcyn – Naegling

No other artist has mastered the art of Medieval tranquility quite like Baerdcyn. Blending aspects of folk ambient with his passionate stringed instrumental chops, ‘Naegling’ is a product of majestic beauty and absolution. Tracks such as “The Quest” and “Dragon’s Scale” dig toward the center of the soul with ardent layers of mythical sounds. Haunting reverberations increase the intensity of these tracks, showcasing a likeness for enthralling peace.

https://baerdcyn.bandcamp.com/album/naegling

3. Search For The Navigator – Flight Of The Firmament

‘Flight Of The Firmament’ is an unparalleled sonic adventure. Combining Dungeon Synth, Ambient Music, Comfy Synth and whimsical soundscapes, this album is like an interstellar odyssey; a grand musical, if you will. Containing six tracks of celestial-themed electronics, the incursion of various oddities is endless as you wander through clusters and nebulas, heading toward an otherworldly dungeon. Don’t let this one slip under the radar; it’s too good to pass up and it needs to be heard immediately.

https://searchforthenavigator.bandcamp.com/album/flight-of-the-firmament

4. Ancestral Axe – Dawn Of The New Age

Like a Medieval battle between Christianity and Paganism, ‘Dawn Of The New Age’ is a sacrificial offering of war-time aggression and dark hymnals as bloodshed spills across the land. The samples, field recordings and soundscapes really breathe a spectacular life into this recording, as the music takes us through the trials and tribulations of battle, territorial reign and the fight for ultimate victory. So, sit back and enjoy this marauding journey of superlative tunes.

https://hammerandflailrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/dawn-of-the-new-age

5. Grîmmöld – Heatherfrost

Grîmmöld takes on the coldness of winter with three tracks of mesmerizing ambience that represents the quiet days of snow covered lands and hibernating conditions. Taking a break from the normal blackened dungeon synth offerings, in favor of a modest take on the lighter side of things, Grîmmöld amasses a celestial escapade of bleak proportions. These tracks are soothing, yet desolate in delivery. ‘Heatherfrost’ is another exemplary offering from one of the most respected artists in the business.

https://grimmold.bandcamp.com/album/heatherfrost

6. Ozeregoth – In The Shadow Of Gloomspire

‘In The Shadow Of Gloomspire’ is a chillingly atmospheric album that is more reminiscent of the peaceful settings of the Renaissance era than the battle-heavy times of the Medieval period. These are tranquil tracks that slowly build and include a sensation background ambience, slightly distorted modulations and a dose of synthwave textures as well. This is a great album to sit back and relax too; and reflect on ancient times and how those experiences must have played out.

https://ozeregroth.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-shadow-of-gloomspire

7. Stuffed Crust – Sacrificial Slice Upon The Blackened Stone

Don’t let the playful album cover and hilarious song titles fool you, this weird adventure is done in great taste and the musicianship is surprisingly good. ‘Sacrificial Slice Upon The Blackened Stone’ is like the Primus of Dungeon Synth – only stranger. On this whimsical ride, you’ll hear metal drumming, screaming vocals, eerie synth chops and super lo-fi guitar harmonies – all in the name of delicious fun. I mean, who doesn’t like pizza and music? The moody tracks are borderline comfy synth, then it’s followed up by maniacal black metal parts that seem out of place but are exquisitely relevant in this instance. Sit back and enjoy (a slice) the journey to Margherita(ville)!

https://stuffedcrust.bandcamp.com/album/sacrificial-slice-upon-the-blackened-stone

8. Dungeon Guerrilla – The Prophecy

Dungeon Guerrilla takes us on a mystical journey through the ages with the fantasy synth album, ‘The Prophecy’. This maritime adventure showcases layers of melodic synths that are intricately woven to create a chunky sound, while sparse percussive parts show an innovative side to these tunes. The production is on point while the reverberation creates a grandiose sensation. This thirty seven minute journey is well worth the time and it’s sure to warrant multiple listens.

https://dungeonguerrilla.bandcamp.com/album/the-prophecy

9. Oulfaam – Χορεύοντας στις σκάλες

Talking about impressive, this album is like listening to a live orchestral concerto mixed with dark jazz noir. The dissonant moments are compelling and the mood often changes from estranged elevator music to haunting synth anthems. I love albums that showcase many sides of a musical genre and Oulfaam succeeds in doing so here. Ten tracks of variety lead toward an epic adventure of the unknown and this is the album that will be your guiding hand. A very enjoyable endeavor!

https://oulfaam.bandcamp.com/album/–3

10. Blood Moss – Blood Moss

Who would have ever thought to combining Dungeon Synth with 60’s-era psychedelic rock? Well, Blood Moss thought of it and have latched on to something creative, and you know what? It works extremely well! The lo-if quality makes this sound so amazing and the guitar work – for what it’s intended for – is extremely addicting and it’s something that I could vibe with for days! This album is not only full of jarring compositions, it also has passion and an overall gratification for music in general. If you’ve not heard this yet, you have no idea what you’re missing. I highly recommend this to everyone that is open-minded for new, fresh ideas.

https://bloodmoss.bandcamp.com/releases

The main article image is a unique creation from the WOMBO Dream APP.

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.

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

Sylvanum Portrays An Idealized Vision On The Beguiling Offering, ‘A Forest Portal’

Every great kingdom has its mystical forest full of bewilderment and perplexing paths. Enchanting life forms congregate on the forest floor while Medieval strongholds inhabit the space not so far off in the distance. What a time to be alive to experience such allurement and it’s unfortunate that we can’t endure that first hand. Thankfully, artists such as Sylvanum exceed with a particular mythical charm through their music, granting us the opportunity to partake in such monumental pleasures. On ‘A Forest Portal’ we are presented with a musical endeavor that showcases the attraction of ancient times in the most entertaining way. Eleven tracks of whimsical guidance create a galvanizing space of adventure and tranquility for forty gratifying minutes.

“As The Light Fades” begins with a deep rumble and harrowing soundscapes, as if traversing the darkest corridors of the forest. Serene synths and prominent textures signify a bright end for the path less traveled. Soothing leads and ambient fills create a monumental sound as this track is a cinematic adventure and properly starts this amazing album. “(Through The) Faerie Ring” commences with the sounds of nature and the peace that it represents. Chirping birds, clicks and clacks of various insects and an endless flowing stream makes quite an impact before layers of synth leads and ominous effects come into play. The arrangement slowly glides like the stream it overtakes and thrusts the listener on a courageous adventure through the paths of timber. “Midsummer Night” is my favorite track on the album and the arrangement waivers between whimsical leads and somber synth chops. Although there is a contrast of sounds, they fuse perfectly to produce a unique moment that is sure to garner repeated listens. Next is “The Dance Of The Nymphs” and the warping synth intro is reminiscent of that classic synthwave sound. Renaissance era leads erupt with a sense of accord and prosperity. The layers of activity in this track is quite compelling as they seem to be out of sync, yet blend perfectly. “Shrouded In Leaves” has a dreamy ambience that creates an endless depth of space, while reverberated keys play a symphony of eccentric harmonies. At various times, a flute effect, takes the lead and produces a magnificent tone that takes this track to another level. “Take A Darker Path” begins with a field recording of someone walking down a rugged path while crunching leaves and breaking twigs create a temporary diversion for the traveler. While traveling on, the soundscape fades into a melancholic arrangement with elongated keys and unidentifiable sounds. “The Search For The Sun” is a tranquil offering with a standout strings arrangement and the whirling ambient textures in the background portray a dreamlike state. The title track, “A Forest Portal” is a devious introduction with war-like percussion, blaring synth chords, and subtle hints of alluring melody. The combination of these beguiling textures creates an ambience for woodland appreciation and an inspiration for natural serenity. A brief narrative instills life into this otherwise uncharted territory. “A Glimpse Of Light Through The Trees” is filled with gloomy acoustic passages and ethereal keys that harmonizes in luminous beauty. The synth leads are a throwback to classic synthwave tones and are an imperative part of the mix. “By A Moonlit Lake” continues with the same sentiments of the last track and has a retrospective feel that is haunting and colloquial. The final track on the album is the illuminating, “Morningtide”. Complete with background ambience that produces a trance-like space this song is equally consumed with an array of effects and synth leads. Although short and to the point, it provides an uplifting ending to an amazing album.

Sylvanum is definitely an artist to keep an eye out on and if future sojourns are like ‘A Forest Portal’, then sign me up for the journey. From whimsical to melodic and a plethora of emotional sections, this is an album you won’t soon forget. The stellar production is an added bonus, creating a spectacle of theatric beauty. Although this album has been out for a while, I can’t recommend this enough. Please show your support for this fascinating artist and download ‘A Forest Portal’ from the link below.

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://sylvanum.bandcamp.com/album/a-forest-portal

Cementation Anxiety Discharges Industrialized Dynamism On The Austere ‘Prospects Of Dissolution’

By design, Dark Ambient represents a sort of frigid, ominous variance of meditative music. A genre that soothes the mind and haunts the soul, dismal drones and soundscapes empowers the listener to drift in (mostly) apocalyptic settings and advance on portentous endeavors in – what seems like – slow motion. However, not all sub-genres of Dark Ambient follow that narrative as industrialized ambience presents a bleak side of this obscurity, producing more of an angst-like approach to audible reasoning. One such artist that excels at this approach is Cementation Anxiety. On latest album, ‘Prospects Of Dissolution’, three long tracks create a particular madness that corrupts the soul with harsh tones and a maddening approach to perilous drones. Meant to be heard as a single instance of mayhem, this is nearly twenty four minutes of rigid ambience with an outcome of severe proportions.

Opening track, simply titled “I”, commences with a malevolent commotion, as if saying Welcome to the industrial wasteland, where pollution-heavy skies and abandoned factories set a desolate scene. Looping drone of mechanized strength don’t let up for over ten minutes, while viscous soundscapes bear down on the listener at full force. Random tones and samples create a menacing plot full of negativity and resilient evil. This song is like an endless maze of torment, creating suffrage through apprehension and dread. As the track increases its modulating output, it morphs into the second track “II” rather than drifting off into obscurity. Pressurized drones reek havoc on the senses as the unknown lurks around every corner. Not knowing what to expect, tensions increase while assorted soundscapes and tones seem slightly buried in the mix before slowly ascending into audial darkness. The main drone accelerates with unabridged rancor, dragging the lister further into the abyss of uncharted terror. Just as the maniacal endeavor seems to be at its peak, it partly abolishes some of the harshness before leading into the third and final track, “III”. This final plight of audial terror presents over eight minutes of minimalistic modulations that act as a rigid recovery of the previous tracks as the deafening chaos suggests that there is no escape from the impending doom that awaits. The final few minutes dies down into a less modulated drone with reverberated soundscapes that drift in the background. This shows the collapse of civilization and ruins the chance of any return to a stable environment.

Cementation Anxiety produces top notch industrialized ambience and excels at telling a darkened stories of futuristic worlds and unexplored settings of demise. Although ‘Prospects Of Dissolution’ is an entertaining and important recording for the genre, I truly wish that this album was about an hour long. It’s so easy to get lost in the discord, but as soon as you do it seems like it’s over not soon after it begins. I highly recommend checking out this album, especially if the harsher side of Dark Ambient is your thing. Please click on the link below and support this exceptional artist.

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://cementationanxiety.bandcamp.com/album/prospects-of-dissolution

Consilium Lupum Affords A Traditional Dungeon Synth Offering With ‘The Return Of The Unholy In the Cloak’

First off, I’d like to apologize for my lack of content lately. It’s always been my intention to publish one or two reviews a week. Unfortunately, “day job” commitments as of late have created a hinderance toward that goal. Nevertheless, I continue to drown my ears with excellent music so when the opportunity presents itself, I’m always ready to discuss. That being said, one album that has been circulating in my playlist lately is ‘The Return Of The Unholy In The Cloak’ by Consilium Lupum. Leaning more toward a traditional Dungeon Synth sound, this album takes me back to amicable Medieval times where music was joyous and the ambiance was constructed around harmonious times.

Album opener, “A Medieval Saga (The Beginning)” erupts after transitioning from a subtle ambient tone. Decadent, rhythmic patterns gallop blithely with a slight distortion while drawing the listener into a Middle Aged world with alluring melodies. Trance-like percussive beats boost the feeling of being secluded in hazy memories of darker, yet peaceful time. “Return Of The Wanderer” commences with the crashes of thunderous sound effects while distorted modulations create a pattern of essential tones. Their are excellent synth works in this tune that flows in a continuous, transparent stream from beginning to end. “The Crying From The Old Man’s Cave” features valiant horn effects as if a mysterious introduction of important figures were abound for an imminent presentation. Layers of horns and synths emit noble sounds of content heritage and vast prosperity for all. “The Magic Journey Across The Mountains” has more of a minimalist approach. With sparse use of soundscapes, this tune relies heavily on lush, alluring synths that produce a gratifying melody and the sense of mystical journeys. “The Sorcerer From The Past” commences with a short drone before introducing another round of horn effects. Wonderfully layered in a coat of distortion, this track crescendos into a rapid pattern of synth bliss before decreasing into a minimal lull. The sounds of rain and thunder begin the ominous “The Song From The Dead Forest” and tiered synths play various harmonies that fuse together in unison. At various times, the soothing rain returns and abruptly concludes but never takes away from the beauty of this gloomy arrangement. “The Seeker” begins with a psychedelic vibe and the looping keys almost produce a hypnotic-like state. Several synth patterns begin and are a bit loud in the mix but this discordant approach works well for this track. It’s as if blurred vision slowly becomes into focus and then becomes increasingly sharp, before returning to the normalcy of a focused state. “Trapped In Time” is a short track that has a slight synthwave sound, as sharp keys focus on elongated chops and a reverberated rhythm plays a peculiar pattern. “The Joy Train Through The Hidden Village” continues with joyous melodies and rhythmic drums beats that are reminiscent of a peaceful town where goods are sold and celebrations are held throughout. The final track on the album is, “A Graveled Time Of Our Lives”. Beginning with a round of celestial sound effects, droning keys and esoteric fills lead to a dismal incantation, bringing this otherwise uplifting album to a grim ending.

For a debut Dungeon Synth album, Consilium Lupum offers an impressive collection of Medieval tracks. From blaring horn effects to distorted synths, this album really creates an atmosphere of peaceful endeavors of feudal, Medieval times. This is an album that warrants multiple listens, especially if in the mood for knights, castles and foreshadowing relics of ancient lands. Please check out this excellent release by clicking on the link below. Most of all, enjoy the daring adventure that ensues.

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://saluterecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-return-of-the-unholy-in-the-cloak