site info


Sphäre Sechs * Banished Pills * False Mirror

Failure

Sphäre Sechs

SPHÄRE SECHS – PARTICLE VOID  Also on Spotify

The Cryo Chamber label is a reliable source if you are looking for dark, cinematic ambient. The label’s name alone refers to outer space sci-fi adventures – and indeed: this album feels like ‘floating in cold space in a warm cozy spacesuit’.

Sphäre Sechs (‘Sixth Sphere’) is Martin ‘Phelios’ Stürtzer and Christian Stritzel. This is their third album, preceded by Tiefschlaf (2012) and Enceladus (2015) – it seems their hibernation cycle length is exactly three years. They create their music using a multitude of analogue gear, that they clearly master skillfully.

Particle Void ‘focuses on the space beyond the material’. No one knows what to expect from that place beyond imagination. But judged by this music, it’s not an uncomfortable place at all.
It may however take some time to get back to Earth at the end of this trip.


Failure

BANISHED PILLS – FAILURE

More down to earth (as opposed to outer space), but no less enigmatic is this release by Banished Pills, or Edoardo Cammisa from Italy.
Cammisa creates his music combining all kinds of sound sources: field recordings, assembled sounds, analog electronics, drones, mics and contact mics into musique-concrête like drone pieces.

Pieces that are quite dark in nature on this album – but you probably  already guessed that from the title (and the alias). If you didn’t already, the track titles like Absorption, Wane, Gloom, Edge, Moth, Void will probably help you to get in the proper listening mood.

The inspirational quote for this album comes from Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea: ‘ I am the one who pulls myself from the nothingness to which I aspire’.
Let this be a warning before you start listening: Failure is a strangely restrained album of gloom and anxiety.


Sigint

FALSE MIRROR – SIGINT

I probably should be ashamed, but the name False Mirror did not ring a bell and this album is my first encounter with this one man project of Berlin-based Tobias HornbergerMalignant Records introduces this album as ‘the return of one of the giants of the dark ambient genre’ – the follow-up of 2010’s Derelict World. And, judged by this album, I have missed something indeed. Time to catch up.

Sigint is thematically inspired by all kinds of ‘secret communication signals’. This means sound source ‘include recordings of various electronic transmissions, encrypted messages of the German BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst – the foreign intelligence agency) and Russian FNB (previously called KGB), beacons, over-the-horizon radars, and troposcatter communications.’
But not just those found sounds make up this album: the sources are encapsulated in rich and detailed deep ambient soundscapes.
Soundscapes that I would personally not strictly call ‘dark’, like the cover image which eerie, but not really ‘dark’ in the classic sense. This music indeed is ‘a perfectly conceptualized harmony of calming warmth and barren isolation.’

If you like to unravel hidden messages go for the CD version, which has a 12 page ‘cryptographic manual’ to decrypt a hidden message in the closing track (the one with the shortwave spy numbers) that can be used to unlock a bonus track.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

site info


Sven Laux * Dead Melodies

Schachmatt

Schachmatt

SVEN LAUX – SCHACHMATT

Last year’s Paper Streets on the Dronarivm label was probably the first encounter with the music of Sven Laux for many listeners (myself included). But Laux has created music since 2003, and his discography extends to no less than nine albums, more than 25 singles & EP’s, and numerous appearances on compilations. So there’s a back catalogue to check out!
But before going back in time it’s best to stay in the present with this new album Schachmatt (‘checkmate’) on Whitelabrecs, Harry Towell’s limited editions label. (‘Limited’ meaning: the physical edition has already sold out by now). Here, Sven Laux further explores his ambient paths, with lush orchestral pad arrangements and a widescreen production.

Each track bears the name of a different chess player (Fisher, Spasski, Karpow, etc.): the inspiration for this album came from watching a movie about chess (it remains unknown which movie exactly), where each player had a different strategy. This is reflected in the tracks, “each one playing out along a different path, each with its own characteristics or game plan, if you will”.
This does nót mean that the tracks are completely different. On the contrary – they are a perfect match together.
After all, even when high-level chess players have a completely different strategy and follow a different path, in the end they all play within the set of rules of the game called Chess.
The same is true for Laux’ music on Schachmatt.


DeadMelodies

DEAD MELODIES – THE FOUNDATIONS OF RUIN  Also on Spotify

Exactly one year after Legends Of The Wood, Dead Melodies release their second album for the Cryo Chamber label. Or maybe ‘his’, since it’s only one person: Tom Moore from the UK. And it’s the second release for Cryo Chamber, but the fourth full length release (in two years).
From Cryo Chamber we’ve come to expect the darkest of the dark ambient, always with a widely cinematic production.  The Foundations of Ruin opens with a somewhat classical piano piece, but in the second track the music and atmosphere takes a spooky turn. After all, the narrative of this album is that “we are exploring the ghostly ruins of a once stately manor”.

“Something definitely feels wrong here, but with hours till dawn and the relentless storm wailing through the surrounding trees, the will to survive the night defeats all reason to fear this shady forgotten sanctuary.”

With its ghostly piano hidden in thick layers of fog, this music is as chilling as a captivating ghost story or a frightening game soundtrack. You do not need much imagination to almost notice the temperature drop a few degrees and to “feel a familiar chill running down your spine.”

Tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

site info


Ugasanie * Northaunt * Eximia

Ugasanie - Ice Breath

Ugasanie - Ice Breath

UGASANIE – ICE BREATH OF ANTARCTICA  Also on Spotify

With a title like Ice Breath Of Antarctica and a release on the Cryo Chamber label you know you’re up for some of the darkest, coldest and most immersive sounds imaginable. So you shouldn’t start this journey unprepared. Visiting an environment where man isn’t meant to survive easily can be enjoyable when it’s imaginary – that’s the joy of ‘isolationist’ ‘arctic’ ambient.

Ugasanie (a one man project of Pavel Malyshkin from Belarus; the word translates as ‘extinction’ or ‘fading’) has spent a lot of time in the Arctic Circle, in the coldest areas of the world, and he is able to evoke the atmosphere of that environment in a captivating way.
The track titles leave no doubt: The Pole Of Absolute Coldness, The Boundless Snows, Approaching Storm, The Desert Of Ice And Loneliness…
Soundscapes move as slow as the melting ice caps, the rumbling low frequencies reminding us that we only see a fraction of it, most of it is hidden. The environment constantly changes, even though we cannot see that.


Northaunt Istid III

NORTHAUNT – ISTID III

Northaunt (Hærleif Langås from Norway) is preparing us for the third Ice Age. Or his third Ice Age, since Istid III is the follow-up of his 2015 release Istid I-II.
The new album found a proper home on the Glacial Movements label, the label specialising in music about ‘places that man has forgotten…icy landscapes…fields of flowers covered eternally with ice… Icebergs colliding amongst themselves…’

Northaunt started his Istid series to imagine a world of silence before man existed. The icy landscapes that Northaunts paints are built from isolationist minimalism. The landscape is cold and frosty but not as desolate and hostile as in Ugasanie’s Ice Breath (mentioned above).

There is some nostalgic beauty in these soundscapes, as well as a ray of hope – as symbolized on the cover by the sunlight breaking through the clouds. Slowly the desolate infinity of the abstract soundscapes changes with the introduction of ‘shy keyboard notes’.
“… we can now imagine man is about to start his lonely quest for meaning in the desolation.”


Eximia Visitors

EXIMIA – VISITORS   Also on Spotify

From the alienated landscapes of the poles to an imaginary landscape invaded by aliens may not be a very big step if you use your imagination.

Eximia (Dominik Ragančík, from Slovakia) pictures the invasion of Earth by alien visitors, and by the look (on the cover) and the sound they are not here to make friendly contact.
Visitors, his debut album on Cryo Chamber, is full of frightening sounds: thunderstorms and lightning upon the descent of ‘our new gods, who came without warning’, dogs barking in panic upon first contact, people crying and screaming in agony upon their extinction.

“Our weapons pointless against these behemoths covered by storm. When I lay my eyes at their divine beauty in all it’s power and destruction, I feel no anger nor sorrow, I feel awe.

Music can hardly be more cinematic than this: close your eyes and you’ll see the movie that goes with it (be sure to use a good speaker setup or a quality headphone set for maximum effect!). Visitors is the musical equivalent of a horror-scifi movie. But unlike most Hollywood productions there is no happy end to this story: the closing track of this album is titled World Without Man.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether that is a good or a bad thing.

Tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

site info


Wordclock * Tomasz Sroczynski

Wordclock - Heralds

Wordclock - Heralds

WORDCLOCK – HERALDS  Also on Spotify

Even if this is his third album for the Cryo Chamber label, this is quite an a-typical release for the label that specialises in ‘cryonic’ dark ambient. True: its atmosphere is quite dark, overall, and there’s an occasional Bell Ringing, but with its jazzy neo-classical sound it differs from most other releases on the label.

Wordclock is the alias of Pedro Pimentel from Porto, Portugal. He is “influenced by a wide range of music and ideas, often gathering from religious music and experimental electronic minimalism”.
For Heralds he sought inspiration in old European ‘sacred sites’ of Porto, London and Berlin, recording acoustic instruments and field recordings within the cities. The recordings were completed with the help of Amund Ulvestad (cello, electronics), Nuno Craveira (Nyckelharpa) and George Shmanauri (member of Phonothek, trumpet).

The electronics play an important, but supporting role. Heralds almost feels as an acoustic ensemble album, exploring the area where (post-)classical music meets dark jazz.
It is exactly thát combination where the music on this album is different from many other recent neo-classical albums.


Sroczynski

TOMASZ SROCZYNSKI – SYMPHONY No. 1 “RESURRECTION”  Also on Spotify

With only a violin and a sampler Polish artist Tomasz Sroczynski presents a full-scale symphony in three majestic parts: Moderato, Largo and Allegro.
It’s almost impossible to find some information about the artist (apart from the fact that he is or was also part of a trio), the release lacks any background information. So we’ll have to do with just the music – and in fact that’s all we need to be impressed!

Using minimal means to create maximal results, Sroczynski transforms the sound of his violin into a full-blown orchestra, increasing the tension with every part of the symphony. The only reference given is a quote from the Tibetan Book Of The Dead: “Every adult knows that many of our experiences can be compared to death during lifetime and that we die multiple times.”

Dying ‘multiple times’ must mean that there are (almost) as many times we come back to life – hence the theme of this symphony: the struggle to get back to life.

Tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

site info


Cryo Chamber Collective * Noone * The Null Spectre

Noone - Crocodile

Yog-Sothoth

CRYO CHAMBER COLLECTIVE – YOG-SOTHOTH

Dark Ambient is a genre tag with a bit of a bad reputation – a bit like New Age’s opposite twin brother. Too much church-bells and singing monks in easy arrangements have given the genre a bad name (as did too many dolphin sounds for New Age). But: don’t throw the baby out with the bath water! There’s a lot of interesting ‘dark ambient’ too – if only you know where to find it.

The Cryo Chamber label is a good place to start delving: the Oregon based label is specialised in the genre and offers many quality releases: “We portray distant worlds, dusty cathedrals, damp forests. We field record in ghost towns, abandoned subway tunnels and on dwindling mountain paths.”

It’s no surprise that this music of darkness is deeply connected with the work of H.P. Lovecraft, american writer of horror fiction whose work laid the foundation of the Cthulthu Mythos often referred to in all things dark and scary.

Yog-Sothoth (also known as “The Lurker at the Threshold, The Key and the Gate, The Beyond One, Opener of the Way, The All-in-One, The One-in-All”) is a cosmic entity from the Cthulthy Mythos: an omniscient god, locked outside the universe, meaning he knows and can see all of space-time all at once, that there is no secret hidden from Yog-Sothoth.”

Not an entity to speak lightly of, so for this release almost the entire cast of Cryo Chamber artist are summoned for a two-hour collaboration tribute to the work of H.P. Lovecraft.
The double CD is not a compilation album, but consists of two continuous mixes involving contributions by acts like ProtoU, Alphaxone, Kammerheit, Atrium Carceri, Randall Collier-Ford, Dronny Darko, God Body Disconnect, Northumbria (and many more).

This two-hour set of dark cinematic soundscapes is the fourth in the Lovecraft Discography series, preceded by Cthulthu (2014), Azathoth (2015) and Nyarlathotep (2016).


Noone - Crocodile

NOONE – HOW DOTH THE LITTLE CROCODILE IMPROVE HIS SHINING TAIL

Noone knows who Noone is, because it’s just the music that’s important. No distraction by non-musical trivialities. It’s not very hard to find out who it is if you do a little search, but I won’t disclose this unknown identity who has until now self-released 10 digital (‘practically identical’) albums. Most are simply titled with a number, with the occasional exception to that rule. So this new release (the first physical release on the Midira Records label) is not entirely without context.

The somewhat odd title is taken from a Lewis Carroll poem (in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland):

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale
How cheerfully he seems to grin
How neatly spreads his claws
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!

You can take that as a warning: don’t let the gentle smile and cheerful grin lure you into the claws of the crocodile! Not every drone is a soothing sound.

How Doth The Little Crocodileis an hour-long soundscape that can be frightening at times, somewhat psychedelic even. The cinematic drones are filled with sound effects (like loud echoed slaps), strange noises and toy sounds. Culminating into a strange animal-like sound in the end, it feels as if you have descended into some underworld you shouldn’t want to enter. Or like the poor little fish that finds himself in the jaws of a gently smiling crocodile.

An ‘instrumental audio drama, a soundtrack for your imagination’ .


Wendigo

THE NULL SPECTRE – WENDIGO

Speaking about ‘dark’: The Null Spectre is an ambient artist (personal details unknown) from Seattle, Washington, who aims to create “soundscapes that will haunt your nightmares…”.
The Bandcamp collection presents eight (self-released) albums with promising titles such as The Darkling, Lord of Shadows and Fears of Men… so you know what to expect: bleak soundtracks of darkness and superstition.

Wendigo is also created as a soundtrack for a fictitious movie full of suspense and horror. The liner notes even suggest a plot synopsis, but I think it’s better to leave the story to the imagination of the listener. In a different context, the music may also turn out to be less dark and ominous than intended.

The short (25 minute) 4-track album is available as a Name Your Price download.

Tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

site info


Raymondi/Messina * Narcisi / Fidanza * God Body Disconnect

The Accordion Sessions

Saro
EMANUELE DE RAYMONDI & MARCO MESSINA – SARO  Also on Spotify

Saro is a short  (27 minute) soundtrack from a film by  Enrico Maria Artale – a documentary film about “a road trip across Sicily, in search of the father I never met”.  
It is only partly a collaborations, since only two of the eight tracks are written by Raymondi and Messina together. Another four are written by Emanuele De Raymondi, and two by Marco Messina.
But their style and orchestration match very well, resulting in a coherent and elegant soundtrack presenting elegant contemporary ensemble music “between minimalistic string arrangements and textural modular synths”.
An invitation to check out the film it was written for. But if you can’t, just check out this soundtrack.

(BTW – There’s something in the opening track – Il Primo Giorno – that immediately reminds me of a chord sequence in Brian Eno’s ‘1/1’ (Music for Airports). Just a few notes, barely a few seconds, but it triggers me every time I hear it.
I wonder who else does?)


The Accordion Sessions

FRANCISCO MARIA NARCISI & GIACOMO FIDANZA – THE ACCORDION SESSIONS

Few will argue that the accordion is a fancy and hip instrument (except perhaps, those who saw Mario Batkovic perform live, or  those familiar with Pauline Oliveiros or Kimmo Pohjonen).
But it is wrong to blame the instrument for the genre it is often used for. On this remarkable release Francesco Maria Narcisi and Giacomo Fidanza help us lose our prejudices, opening our ears to the power of this instrument which is used in a very original way on their “accordion made ambient-electro-acoustic album”.

Manipulating its sound and adding field recordings (all done by Narcisi) , you probably won’t even recognise the sound of the accordion (played by Fidanza) – but deep in this “glorious and at times even industrially fuelled, expansive wall of aural bliss and intensity” you can hear the very soul of this instrument.
The time  for re-evaluation of its possibilities has definitely come.

Like all releases on Time Released Sound, this album is released in an insane deluxe edition (priced accordingly), as well as in a digipak edition. TRS’ Bandcamp page offers the digital edition, too.


Sleeper's Fate

GOD BODY DISCONNECT – SLEEPER’S FATE  Also on Spotify

If I were told that I could use the word cinematic’ only sparingly, I’d probably reserve one for this release.
Without images, but with a haunting dark soundscape and spoken word fragments, Sleeper’s Fate tells the story of a ‘comatose man banished to the recesses of his tortured mind’:

“The journey begins taking us back to the fateful night of his sentencing. Beyond the halls of beeping machines, whirling sirens echo in the distance. Blackened clouds grumble down a bitter melody of tears upon the streets. A single shot blares between your ears, dropping you to the bed of concrete below. Here we witness the transformation of a once awakened man turned to sleeping prisoner.

Bruce Moallem‘s approach is unusual, but effective. The spoken word fragments  (in the first two tracks) enhance the impact of the wide-screen sound production, which in itself gains extra depth from the binaural field recordings used throughout.
He paints a set of extremely dark yet intriguing images: hard to grasp scenes ‘”from the unconscious mind, once suppressed memories now filtered through the lens of the surreal.”

Tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

site info


Haarvöl * Svartsinn * Council of Nine

Trinity

Haarvöl

HAARVÖL – BOMBINATE  Also on Spotify

The previous release of this Portuguese collective (Indite, their second album) was released on Moving Furniture Records in May 2015, so it’s about time for its follow up. Bombinate is the first title of a trilogy that will be released on the same label, “each having a very particular sonic approach but knitted in a personal Haarvöl sound idiosyncrasy.”

The album opens with a threatening grunt, something that seems to come from an animal you would not want to meet. It immediately sets the atmosphere of the following drones: a dark, haunting atmosphere. Not of the physical ‘power-ambient’ kind, but subtle inescapable suspenseful drones with an even more frightening impact
“Bombinate combines tracks that are between quietude and a more sonic experimentalism towards the exploration of time in music […] The balance between both sides is a challenge for the album and a statement from the band.”

Haarvöl is a collective project with three (unnamed) permanent members collaborating with different artists. Artist such as the Spanish electro-acoustic composer and field recordings expert Xóan Xil López, who participates on this impressive album.  


Svartsinn - Collected Obscurities

SVARTSINN – COLLECTED OBSCURITIES  Also on Spotify

As you probably guessed from the album title, this is a collection of previously released tracks, taken from various collections and gathering different collaborative tracks by Svartsinn (Jan Roger Pettersen from Trondheim, Norway) with Northaunt, Gydja, Allseits and Psychomanteum.

Most of the music was released somewhere between 2002 and 2012 but were almost unavailable until now. That is one definition of ‘obscure’ – the other referring to darkness, the absence of light.

And indeed: this music is as dark as its album cover… icy Scandinavian “sad & dark atmospheric soundscapes that could satisfy the sombre chambers of your soul.”


Trinity

COUNCIL OF NINE – TRINITY  Also on Spotify

More darkness from the Cryo Chamber label: the third (full) album by Council of Nine (Maximillian Olivier).

Every listener will have his own personal associations listening to this album. That can be many things – but I guess chances are these deep, dark and desolate drones will probably leave you feeling quite alone.
These are no cheerful sounds.

There’s a reason for this: Olivier created this album mourning the death of his mother:
“The many stages of grief and the acceptance of loss, deeply personal, unforgiving, cold and painful. This marks the end of a chapter and the closure I was desperately seeking.”

Tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

site info


Dronny Darko * Phonothek * Dead Melodies

Abduction

Abduction

DRONNY DARKO – ABDUCTION  Also on Spotify

If you like your soundscapes dark and haunting, full of suspense, Dronny Darko (from Kiev, Ukraine) will definitely fulfill your needs (as will most of the releases on the Cryo Chamber label).

Abduction is described as “merging the lowercase and minimal genre with a strong science fiction element.”
“Lowercase music”, Darko
 explaines, is a minimalistic sound art that “amplifies acoustic objects and paints collages with them. Those are sounds that we almost cannot hear with a naked ear. Something like the hum of the domestic sound system, ants rumbling, plants growing,  etc.”.

The result of this process can hardly be called ‘minimal’: it’s an overwhelming and irresistible plunge into the deep unknown, where “throbbing bass layers croak and groan under the pressure of whirling machines that buzz and hum.”


Phonothek - Red Moon

PHONOTHEK – RED MOON   Also on Spotify

Phonothek‘s second album for Cryo Chamber (the follow-up of last year’s Lost in Fogcontinues “the theme of the inevitable death of our planet”.
So here’s the image to keep in mind when you listen to the track Last Melody:

“A sad lonely trumpet echoes between ruined apartment complexes. The ground is dry and dusty, nothing grows here. Where once laughter of children lingered, now only the creak of broken swings remain. The earth is dying. The chosen got on the ships, but not you.” 

The Georgian duo (George Shamanauri and his wife Nina) mixes many genres without losing the desolate atmosphere: there’s dark ambient (obviously), but also David Lynch-like dark ambient-jazz – with a leading role for  the trumpet.
The latter  will not surprise you knowing George was (is) the principal trumpet in the Tbilisi State Opera Orchestra, the Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra and the Georgian Philharmonic, as well as a participating member in many other ensembles. Nina also studied at the Tbilisi State Conservatory, and continues to work in different projects.

For their work with Phonothek they developed a clear conceptual sound, one that isn’t usually taught at conservatories (though conservatories in Georgia might be different, I don’t know about that).
Their soundscapes are one of the most adventurous examples of ‘dark ambient’ soundscapes you will be able to find.
“It brings the sound of the old world to life as it shines light on the new and dying one.”


Dead Melodies

DEAD MELODIES – LEGENDS OF THE WOOD   Also on Spotify

Dead Melodies  (Tom Moore, UK)  come from the same stable: it’s his first album for Cryo ChamberBut it’s not a ‘debut’: over eight years Moore has released ten albums, EP’s and a large amount of collaborations making anything from dub to folk to ambient”.

With its lush field recordings and reverbed guitar, the musical approach is somewhat different – possibly taking its inspiration from English (foggy) landscapes. At least, in the beginning of this album.
There’s a ominous undercurrent in the music, and the eeriness soon takes over. Titles that tell tales of Crows and Blood, Devil’s Hill, the Hooded Nine and a Malevolent Rising will probably already have told you to stay on guard.

“The damp morning dew forms translucent drops on the knee-high grass. Whatever was out there last night seems gone but the birds are not yet singing and the animals still hiding.”
How’s that for  creating an atmosphere?

But rest assured (spoiler alert!): the last track is titled  Beautiful Coalescence. So no need to worry too much.

Tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

site info


Rasalasad * Phelios * Ionosphere

Phelios

Rasalasad - Magnetism

RASALASAD – MAGNETHISM

Rasalasad is Fernando Cerquira, mixing spoken wordcore, drone, broken word, experimental, library music… among founding and running the Portuguese Thisco label that specialises in releasing music that is hard to classify (although ‘experimental’ will do for most of them) in unorthodox packages or multimedia forms. An impressive lists of artists that have been involved in the Thisco label in some way – to name only a few: Merzbow, Rapoon, Terre Thaemlitz, KK Null, Jarboe, Francisco Lopez, Troum, Bela Emerson, Stephan Mathieu, Lawrence English, Hafler Trio, Michel Banabila … the list is endless and shows that Cerquira has been around the scene from the mid-80’s.

Thisobey is the name of an ongoing series of EP releases packed in an unusual cardboard box inside a plastic bag. The series presents collaborations of in-house artists with specially invited musicians.

Magnethism is the first from this Thisobey series, and it’s a great example of what may come after. It’s a 17 minute drone soundscape created by Rasalasad  featuring spoken word, whispering and poetry by the French collectives Von Magnet and Wildshores.
And yes, this means this rather dark, nightmarish sound poetry.
It is a strange and common misconception that music must be loud to be intense. Magnethism proves this isn’t necessarily so.


Phelios

PHELIOS – HUMAN STASIS HABITAT

Dark ambient is a deceitful genre tag: it often represents a lot of horrific music that seems to be the exact opposite of what is usually called new age, usually recognised by the use of churchbells and chanting monks.
But, on the other hand, there is also a lot of music labeled dark ambient that is interesting, multi-layered and can invoke a deep-listening experience.
Such as this one.

The Phelios alias, the album title, the album artwork – they all promise the same thing: darkness. And darkness is what you get. An almost comforting blanket of darkness.

Phelios is Martin Stützer from Wuppertal, Germany. Apart from creating music, he is also responsible for the organisation of the Phobos Festival, a series of dark ambient concerts,
Human Stasis Habitat,  his latest release on the German Loki Found label, is an immersive trip into deep space, a dive into the ominous unknown.

Also on Spotify


Ionosphere Stellar Winds

IONOSPHERE – THE STELLAR WINDS

The same (Loki-Foundlabel also re-releases this title, that originally appeared in 2007 on CDr. The (remastered) CD version is expanded with two extra tracks. All tracks are named The Stellar Winds, except for the closing track which is called Continuum Radiation Force.

As expected, these recordings are every bit as dark as the previously mentioned Phelios release. A bit more haunting, in a way, because there are some heavily processed (vocal) samples mixed in for enhanced eeriness.

“Deep, shimmering, ambient scapes and electromagnetic waves, drifting in the boundless dark.”

Also on Spotify

Tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

site info


Various Various

Evidence of Intense Beauty

Evidence of Intense Beauty

EVIDENCE OF INTENSE BEAUTY

The Audiobulb label succesfully proves the existense of intense beauty with the release of this compilation of ‘pioneers in the field of ambient microsound and modern classical’, each selecting a track that ‘represents their conceptual sense of beauty’.
Among the list of contributors are Clem Leek, Wil Bolton, Sawako, Taylor Deupree, Autistici, Richard Chartier, Ian Hawgood, Marcus Fischer, Monty Adkins, Antonymes, Listening Mirror (to name only a few) .

Paul Dresher once said that human attention and counsciousness works by “holding onto a certain amount of familiarity, and then introducing a certain amount of newness. “‘ When the familiarity and the newness are balanced, the experience may be one of intense beauty.”

“Beauty” is different for everyone of course, it’s in the eye of the beholder. But this music is specifically targeted at an audience that “actively engage with music and who want to be taken on a journey”.
“Each track takes the ingredients of minimalism coupled with a strong sense of tonality to produce a slowly evolving narrative.”
And for that audience, this equals beauty indeed.

With a clear conceptual vision like this, the  17 tracks (98 minutes) are not only ‘evidence of intense beauty’, but also proof of the label’s consistent quality.

Also on Spotify


 Tranquility 6   Tranquility 7

FROM HERE TO TRANQUILITY – VOLUME 6 (THE RENAISSANCE) * VOLUME 7 (THE RENAISSANCE CONTINUES)

If you were into ‘ambient’ music in the 90’s, you’ll probably know the Silent (Records) label. If you discovered the genre later, you SHOULD know about the label, because it was hugely influential and set many standards in experimental electronics. Its founder and curator, Kim Casconeleft the label in 1996 to work as a sound designer for Thomas Dolby’s Headspace organisation. Without him, the label slowly disappeared until it finally shut down in 1998.

Early 2016, rumours emerged that a ‘renaissance’ was to be expected. One important part of this resurrection is the dedicated Silent Channel webstream on the famous Soma FM internet radio station, playing selections from the Silent catalog.
Another is the release of these two compilations: part 6 and 7 of the From Here To Tranquility series. Part 6 (16 tracks, 104 minutes) is available in a 2-CD version or digital download, while Part 7 is a download-only release because with its 24 tracks running 165 minutes it’s simply too massive for a physical edition.
Both editions are divided in a Light Disc and a Dark Disc, which is some indication about what atmospheres to expect.

“We shade our ambient in sound colors light and dark. Signals in and out of the calm and stillness of what is left unsaid. Treasured roadmaps. Coded experiments. We retouch the mindset of the past and turn to the future.”

The ‘renaissance’ collection simply picks up where the label left, with a lot of references to the original 90’s experimental ambient style while at the same time looking forward into new directions.
Although it is divided in two editions, it feels to me as one huge collection that immediately places the Silent label back in the forefront of experimental ambient music.
Welcome back, Kim!


Also on Spotify


Also on Spotify


Where Words Fail Music Speaks

WHERE WORDS FAIL, MUSIC SPEAKS

A sad cause triggered fund-raising charity release: it is intended to help cover the cost of treatment of Ania Mehring, who was diagnosed with Sarcoma Synoviale, an exceptionally malignant tumor.
Ania is the wife of Maciej Mehring, founder of the Zoharum label – a label regularly featured on Ambientblog. Santa Sangre Magazine curated this massive 7 1/2 hour compilation (digital download-only obviously), for which many friends and related artists provided a previously unreleased track.

There are many obscure performers (at least for me) on the list, but many well-known artists too: Robert Rich, Biosphere, Troum, S.E.T.I., Machinefabriek, Phurpa, Cindytalk, Alio Die, Mathias Grassow, Dirk Serries and Celer – the latter closing the album with a beautiful warm and comforting 59 minute track called The Rest Remembered.

The majority of the 62 tracks are (experimental) ambient and drone tracks. Understandably, this is not a happy-go-lucky playlist: most of the music is dark and ominous, with a range from quiet calm to deafening noise. There’s a section of industrial and ‘neofolk’ tracks too. This set may seem a bit of an odd detour from the ambient selections – but they are clustered together (track 17 – 32) so they can easily be isolated to a full album – a collection within the collection.

Even if you probably won’t like all of it, there’s enough material to select a few hours of fascinating music for everyone (well, almost everyone). That’s a good enough reason to pay EUR 9.99 for this set. An even better reason is knowing that you support a good cause buying this album: help Ania get her necessary treatment and help her get better!

Tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.