Month: June 2017 (Page 2 of 3)

Ager Sonus – Interview

Interview with Thomas Langewehr (Ager Sonus)
Conducted by: Michael Barnett

Ager Sonus is a dark ambient project out of Germany. While he has had several previous self-released albums, Book of the Black Earth is his first major label release. Releasing through Cryo Chamber immediately drew a lot of attention to his music and it seemed like the perfect time to get in contact with him and find out more about Ager Sonus. Thomas talks to me about some of his inspirations, recording techniques and the history of his musical career. As always, I hope you’ll enjoy the interview and definitely give his music a listen!

Michael: Book of the Black Earth has been on repeat here at This Is Darkness HQ quite a bit since release. The album seems to be getting a great reception from fans and critics alike. Did you expect this kind of response?

Thomas: To be honest, I did not expect that. I am surely not the only musician who has doubts about the music he creates. I usually listen to every single song multiple times on multiple devices before I am “ok” with it, and even then I will go “could I have done this better?” from time to time.
But the release of this album has shown me that there was no need for those doubts. I was very suprised when people started to give me positive feedback, were it as comments under the videos Cryo Chamber uploaded to Youtube or messages/posts on Facebook. It has been a very positive experience so far, this is definitely the most feedback I have ever gotten, also of course due to the the huge amount of fans Cryo Chamber has. I noticed that this genre really is a big family, I have not seen fighting by fans like we see in many other genres, so I definitely appreciate it a lot that the CC fans have such an open mind and gave me a warm welcome. The reviews so far have also been great, even though so far there are only two reviews, more might be coming.

Michael: I have no doubt that you will see more reviews coming in over the next month/year. Cryo Chamber is quite obviously one of the biggest players in the current dark ambient scene. How has your experience been with them so far, as opposed to releasing your music independently?

Thomas: Like mentioned above I immediately noticed the huge amount of feedback due to the large fan-base Cryo Chamber has. Also the response just from the artists within Cryo Chamber, those are the people that I look up to, that made me get into this genre. Talking to Simon (Atrium Carceri) over the years has made me a better musician, especially in terms of mixing, he also said in one of our first chats that I would have to develop my own “voice” which I did not see at that time but it actually came out even though it took a lot of time.
My releases so far have not gotten much feedback or reception. Only a handful of people bought my previous albums (for which I am very grateful to everyone who gave me that support!) and word didn’t really spread at least not that I would have noticed. Critical reception has always been good, but I pretty much only had one person who was always willing to review my music (Casey Douglass – shoutout!).

Michael: Casey definitely runs a great blog. I always enjoy comparing our takes on an album after I’ve finished writing my review. (I never read other reviews before writing my own.) Have you been following dark ambient for a while now, or are you relatively new to this genre?

Thomas: I have been following the genre since around 2007/2008, after S.T.A.L.K.E.R. – Shadow of Chernobyl was released, one of my favorite video-games. The music of that game was one of the many reasons why that game was so amazing and it had this amazing atmosphere that was, and still is, one of the best in gaming. I did not know the term “dark ambient” or “ambient” even as a genre, so once I had that and started to look into it a whole world of musical marvel unfolded in front of me.

Michael: Are there any particular albums or artists that inspired you to become active in this genre?

Thomas: Hard to pick only a few because there are so many. But if you’d ask me what were some of the early ones that amazed me I would say Kammarheit, Atrium Carceri and Svartsinn. “I Found It Weeping In The Field” is one of my favorite dark ambient tracks and reminded me a lot of the atmosphere in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and in that regard Nord Ambient Alliance was one of the first dark ambient albums I listened to.

Michael: Book of the Black Earth seems to be mostly focused on ancient Egyptian ruins, more so than the actual ancient Egyptian people. Have you actually been to any of these ruins?

Thomas: Sadly, I have been not. Egypt in itself and the mystery surrounding its history has always been a huge interest of mine, I always loved movies that had Egypt as a theme when it came to mystery and I also loved certain video-games just because of that setting.

Michael: What in particular drew you to this Egyptian concept?

Thomas: It is not just the mysterious elements regarding the gods and the concept of the Egyptian underworld, I was wondering if there was a way to create a musical journey, quasi substituting for the fact that I have not visited Egypt (and probably never will), at least not in a rummaging-through-ancient-tombs-kind of way.

Michael: I think you’ve certainly achieved that goal. I was recently reading “Under The Pyramids”, a story that was ghostwritten by H.P. Lovecraft for Harry Houdini. The music perfectly fit his narrative of being trapped inside a pyramid which was filled with ancient gods and demons. Will you veer off into a different direction for your next album, or are these themes presented on Book of the Black Earth essential to Ager Sonus?

Thomas: I have not yet narrowed down what the concept of my next album will be, Book of the Black Earth was a great learning experience since this is my first album that told a cohesive story. My albums so far always had a “theme” but the tracks always stood for themselves. Liminality was about going to places that were, to many people, unreachable or uninhabitable, yet I wanted to have a musical representation of being there, so I could “visit” them in my head. So in a sense, that set the groundwork for Tartarus and now Book of the Black Earth.

Michael: I see that you are also interested in orchestral music. Do you have a background in classical music?

Thomas: No, but orchestral music is a huge joy to listen to. I just love how so many musicians can work together in harmony to create amazing experiences. From film scores, video-game scores, classical pieces from Mozart or Beethoven, there is a lot to enjoy and to inspire.

Michael: Do you have a favorite classical composer or a favorite piece of music from this area?

Thomas: I mentioned Beethoven, the “Moonlight Sonata” is one of my favorite pieces because of its dark tone, so to me it showed me early on that darkness is an important part of me.

Michael: What are some of the various instruments that you play?

Thomas: I don’t actually play an orchestral instrument which I regret very much not getting into earlier in my life. The passion to actually create music myself came much later, for the longest time I was “just” a listener.

Michael: I see that you are also a drummer. Would you like to speak any about that musical project?

Thomas: I started playing the drums at 27 years of age which some would say is way too late (and I agree). It just took way longer to learn a lot of the techniques, especially in terms of coordination but I am happy how far I got with it.
I play in a Punk/Rock/Hardcore-band though it is more just for fun. We don’t play live regularly and we don’t record the music in a professional way. Just a fact of having day-jobs and some of us being fathers, it is just not do-able, which we regret sometimes, playing live is a lot of fun.

Michael: When you are creating music, is there a place or idea from which you are able to draw a constant motivation, or does the motivation for each track come to you in different ways?

Thomas: It depends, I had cases where I already knew in my head how I wanted a track to sound, what instruments to use, what name I would give it etc. But I also had tracks where the motivation came from listening to recent field recordings or just playing a few notes on my keyboard. Once I find the “opening” for a track it mostly, for lack of a better term, writes itself.

Michael: Do you perform any rituals in preparation for working on music?

Thomas: Does drinking coffee count? Mostly I just need to be in the right mindset and be relaxed. I love to create music when it is rainy outside. I just like the atmosphere of it being cloudy and the rain interacting with the environment has a nice sound to it, also I have a few bushes and a tree in front of my window next to my workplace, I enjoy having those react to the wind. I am probably very weird.

Michael: Well then we are both weird! I also find a great deal of inspiration from gloomy/rainy days. When working on Book of the Black Earth, did most of your sounds come from the digital spectrum or did you also incorporate some analog synths, or live instruments?

Thomas: It has all been digital, there are a few sample libraries of real instruments which I use from time to time. In this case I needed “real” flutes and other Egyptian or Middle-Eastern instruments. Since I don’t have the resources to get the real world instruments I like to rely on these libraries, which allow me to play very realistic articulations which was important for the flutes I wanted to use.

Michael: Is dark ambient currently your main focus in music, or will you be taking a break and working in other areas before writing another album?

Thomas: Dark Ambient is my current focus because it allows me to try out all kinds of themes and composing styles which gives me a lot of creative freedom. Before working on a new solo release I would love to work with some of the other artists on Cryo Chamber, that would be amazing and a huge learning experience to work with these amazing musicians.

Michael: Are there any movie directors, authors, or artists that truly inspire you? Of course, many of us could probably write a list, but is there any one that you hold sacred above the rest?

Thomas: This list could be very long but I will try to select only a few: John Woo was one of the first directors that I followed very closely, whose visual style always fascinated me. While I don’t have a particular genre of movie I like, he comes to mind almost immediately.
In terms of authors I very much love Dean Koontz, John Saul and Stephen King. Especially the first two wrote riveting horror/mystery-stories that didn’t just inspire me but a whole set of movie directors out there.

Michael: Between geo-politics, concerns about the climate, and religiosity, there seems to be a lot of turmoil in our current times. Do you see “the apocalypse” (in whatever form that may be) coming? If so, how do you think it will happen?

Thomas: The mystery-fan in me has all kinds of ways of how it could happen, though realistically if it happens we will probably go down due to our own doing. Melting pole caps swallowing up countries, woods dying, whole lands drying out etc. Or an asteroid! Not a fun thought.

Michael: Thank you very much for your time, I’ll leave the last words to you!

Thomas: A big thank you to Simon Heath for giving me this chance to reach more people with my music, the chance to collaborate with people I look up to, people that inspired me. And of course a huge thank you to the people that actually listen to my music, I hope it helps you to relax or take you to other places!

Ager Sonus links: Facebook, Bandcamp (personal) (Cryo Chamber), Cryo Chamber Profile

Black Mara Records – Interview

Interview with: Dmitriy (Black Mara Records owner)
Conducted by: Michael Barnett

This interview was originally published on Terra Relicta Dark Music Webmagazine back in October of 2016. Tomaz has been kind enough to allow me to re-publish this interview on This Is Darkness.

Black Mara Records is a relative newcomer to the genres of dark, ritual, and drone ambient. They have been able to quickly solidify their position as a premier Russian label. Including albums from Ad Lucem Tenebratum and Ugasanie, as well as compilations with some of the most promising new artists around the world, Black Mara has set themselves apart. Each release has its own unique packaging, coming with magical stones, herbal-teas, and various box-set formats filled with goodies. I had plenty of reason to get in touch with Dmitriy the owner of the label. We spoke about his mission for the label, along with the subjects of the gods, and some of his personal tastes. Enjoy the following interview conducted from opposite sides of the globe.

Michael: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me Dmitriy. First off, maybe you could tell the readers a bit about yourself, and why you decided to form the label, Black Mara.

Dmitriy: Hi! Dark ambient and similar music attracted me for a long time. The first thought about creating a music label came to me about 2-3 years ago. I was in correspondence with Halgrath and a few other performers. At that time, Halgrath was not published on Cryo Chamber. But a clear concept at that moment was not developed. Only a year later, the idea came to me again. We thought – what’s missing, in our view, for the presentation of the album and developed further on this style, as a sound and visual component of our releases.

Michael: I’ve been listening to Black Mara releases since the label first showed up on the dark ambient scene a little over a year ago. Each release has its own feel and unique packaging. I wonder, what gave you the idea to do these unique packages?

Dmitriy: Thank you! The music itself tells us, in what form it is convenient to be published on Black Mara. Dark ambient creates images, backed by emotions, they fly around, and are sometimes elusive.

Michael: Do you produce music yourself, or do you just run the record label?

Dmitriy: Yes, I create a little of some sound canvases. I began composing in my youth. Then, I was fond of experimental electronic music. I also DJ a little. My dark ambient mixes I still like, because some of them took a long time to create, carefully choosing the composition. All the work is like puzzles or colour mosaics to me. Just need to try to do it correctly and it is interesting to draw a picture of what you have.

Michael: Russia seems to be one of the most fitting regions of the world to produce dark ambient. There seem to be many dark ambient artists coming from this region, of varied quality. Can you speak a little bit about how this part of the world has been an influence on your musical taste?

Dmitriy: I realize the fact that the entire universe affects us, whether we feel it or not. Sometimes I see, for example, a lone tree in the field and it immediately fills me with inspiration. Any sounds in the street. In general, everything is able to affect us. Apparently, you only need to be open to it. I like the ambient from any point of the universe. If only it has a quality that carries any messages and is able to invoke emotion when listening, creating interesting live pictures in the imagination. I want to also note that in Russia a lot of interesting dark ambient artists have their own style.

Michael: The Dark Side, by Ugasanie, was the first record to catch my eye on Black Mara, as I’ve been a huge Ugasanie fan for several years now. It seems like his album was a great way to get the word spread around about Black Mara. Are you friends outside of the musical world?

Dmitriy: Of course, we keep in touch. It is the same with all artists whose albums we published.

Michael: Will you plan to work with Ugasanie again in the future?

Dmitriy: We would be happy. (Smiling)

Michael: Along with established artists, like Ugasanie, you also have worked with some new-comers to the genre, such as Ad Lucem Tenebratum. What are some elements you look for in a new artist when considering releasing their album?

Dmitriy: Ad lucem Tenebratum (Ad Lux Tenebrea) is quite an old and well-known project. They are considered to be one of the pioneers of the genre in Russia. They have published music since 2003. First, material for publication must be conceptually interesting. Secondly, it is very important to the quality of material to release. And third, music should affect the imagination and emotions, like I said earlier.

Michael: Oh! I didn’t realize Ad Lucem Tenebratum and Ad Lux Tenebrea were the same musician! Thank you for clearing that up! On your two compilation albums Beyond The Invisible and Gorgons Tale, you have picked artists from all over the world, including Ireland, Iran, and France among other places. Will you be looking further outside Russia for permanent additions to the Black Mara roster? Or do you prefer for this to be a strictly Russian endeavor with minimal outside influence?

Dmitriy: Oh, of course we are focused on the whole world, obviously. Many performers from different countries perfectly fit into our concept. It has always been this way.

Michael: Sun by Welcome Black, comes with a meditative DVD companion disc. Would you like to explain a little bit about this release, and how the DVD complements it?

Dmitriy: Well, I immediately appreciated the sound of this album. While I am listening to it, in my head interesting and strange thoughts arise, some memories. It looks to me as if it sweeps through all life, at a glance. Here and carefree, youth, what hidden secrets, dreams, growing up and becoming, and the end of life. This is something global, generalizing everything and everyone. This is the original idea of the author, and we think he managed to perfectly express his idea. When I started developing the release of Sun we decided to shoot a small clip. But in one short video it is impossible to fit all that music. So, we started filming a meditation movie. The film begins with the dawn, symbolizing the birth. A lot of wildlife, mountains. We are growing and embarking on an interesting path. Our whole life is a great adventure. In the movie sometimes the soul is clearly heroic. It enters into different situations in this adventure. Also, the film is affected by subliminal hidden moments, dreams upon dreams. In the film we see the loneliness and the beauty of individuality, of items, some of which remain with us, and some are slipping from our lives. Finally, the journey comes to an end. The phrase “That death should finally tell us” – most accurately describes the essence. I really like what we did. The entire film was shot on the old optics from an SLR camera, so there are real moments of defocusing or concentration. On some modern digital cameras and phones that would be impossible.

Michael: Can we expect to see any Black Mara concerts in the future?

Dmitriy: Not so long ago we organized a concert in Novosibirsk. The performance featured Sacra Fern, Ad Lucem Tenebratum and Time Spiral (Spiral Vremeni). Everything was great! And, Yes, we are thinking about the sequel.

Michael: What are your views on religion, and how do they affect your record label’s format?

Dmitriy: Each of the faiths’ professions changed very much since inception and currently do not carry the semantic load that they once had. In our day, religion is very politicized and, in our opinion, divorced from God. Almighty God is inside of us. For us God’s temple is nature, and our task, if we believe in God, at least try to save what is left. Between us and God there are no middlemen. We can always get in touch with the Almighty Creator directly.

Michael: Are you satisfied with the exposure Black Mara is getting so far in the dark ambient scene?

Dmitriy: We get a lot of positive feedback. But we believe that this is not the limit and we have room to grow.

Michael: What is your favorite film or director?

Dmitriy: Hmm. I like lots of movies, it is hard to remember them all at once. I would like to mention David Lynch with his “Inland Empire” and “Mulholland Drive”. I like the film “Stalker” by Andrei Tarkovsky, “The Beginning”, some old pictures by Tim Burton. “The Matrix” at the time, made a deep impression, some of the old fantasy types like “Alien”, “The Thing” and “2001: a Space Odyssey”, one of my most favorite movies is “The Shining” by Stanley Kubrick. Of course, I watch a lot of movies and many of them I like, some of them are known worldwide, and some only to a narrow circle of spectators.

Michael: Nice list! Many of these are also my favorites! If you could have any one dark ambient artist from the history of the genre on your label, who would you pick?

Dmitriy: Voice Of Eyes, Halo Manash, and Inade are the first who came to mind. At the time, I really wanted to work with Ugasanie and Ad Lucem Tenebratum. And we did it.

Michael: Thanks for taking your time to answer these questions Dmitriy. I wish you the best with your upcoming releases on Black Mara. I’ll leave the last words to you.

Dmitriy: Thank you Michael. I want to wish the readers of your magazine bright good experiences in life, fulfillment, and happiness. Good luck!

Black Mara Records links: Facebook, Bandcamp

Dark Forest Reigns – Dark Ambient / Dungeon Synth Mix

Travel deep into the dark and malign forests. The birds sing, but the song is wrong. The rains fall, but the Earth they touch is distorted and perverse. Let this combination of nature and darkness enshroud you in the mysteries of the ancient woodlands, where daemons and faeries dance among the flames of ancestral fires.
Full set-list with links to albums below.

01. 0:00:00 Alphaxone – Intro
02. 0:02:50 Enmarta – Journey to the Celestial Rivers
03. 0:08:10 Item Caligo – Oneiroid Garden
04. 0:14:30 Dead Melodies – A Trial of Crows and Blood
05. 0:21:00 Asmorod – Night of the Skies
06. 0:26:50 Halgrath – Deep Immersion and Repose
07. 0:33:50 Northumbria – Night Wolves / Black Moon
08. 0:43:30 Med Gen – The Haunted Forest
09. 0:49:50 M.Nomized – Forest Sunrise
10. 0:53:00 Elador – Great Forest
11. 0:56:40 Thomas Köner – Forest, Brisbane
12. 1:01:30 Dronny Darko & protoU – Riparian Forest [300 Million Years Ago]
13. 1:08:20 Elador – Through the Forests, Lakes and Rivers
14. 1:11:40 DeepDark – In The Woods
15. 1:19:30 Erwachen – On Glades of the Old Forest
16. 1:21:15 Foglord – The Tower In The Forest
17. 1:23:00 SiJ – Night Near the Shores of Gladys Lake
18. 1:39:35 Kave – The Ancient Gardens
19. 1:42:20 Kristoffer Oustad – Row Me Over
20. 1:50:35 Coma Centauri – The Watchful Sea
21. 1:53:30 Vinterriket – Tal der Trauer
22. 1:55:00 Dead Melodies – Peach Black Descent

Frozen In Time: Weekly News 12 June 2017

This week we continued with re-publishing some past interviews, as well as added in a few reviews of some great new releases. Enjoy the week’s offerings!
The first Patreon exclusive mix has been uploaded. Consider supporting This Is Darkness here to get access to the occasional exclusive content!
If you have a project that you would like to see in these Frozen In Time posts get in touch with This Is Darkness at:

Music Videos

Ashtoreth & Amerantropoides
Videopoem by Tim Van der Schraelen

New Releases and Pre-orders

A Bleeding Star – New Single Released (Digital Only)
“Rendezvous: Hopefully Ye Make It Here Astrally Soon…for We Both Are Crystal Clearly Overdue” is the latest track by A Bleeding Star. The single is self-released on Bandcamp in the “name your price” format.

Anima Nostra – Debut Album Available For Pre-order
(Malignant – CD & Digital)
This is a bit outside the scope of dark ambient, but nevertheless a brilliant collaborative project with dark ambient powerhouse Nordvargr.
Malignant Records says about the album: “Initially the name of a collaborative CD between Henrik Nordvargr Björkk and Margaux Renaudin released on Cold Spring in 2016, the duo have now relabeled and solidified themselves under the Anima Nostra moniker, and in turn, broadly expanded their sonic palette, taking the more intimate ritual ambient aspects of the debut, and incorporating them as part of towering constructs that blur the line between death industrial, doom metal, and neo-classical. With it’s upward swells of foreboding brass, fearsome tribal percussion, and hammering, bass heavy dirge, “Atraments” is the unleashing of something truly monumental and cataclysmic, eclipsing nearly everything Nordvargr has ever been associated with in of scope and grandeur. Integral and prominent in the mix are heavily serrated and imperious vocals, employed to drag the listener inexorably into an inferno of apocalyptic proportions, while adding a more structured “song” element and trumpeting the arrival of an inevitable doom. “Atraments” stands firmly as a vision complete and the perfect soundtrack for times of great tumult. Completed with artwork by Thomas Ekelund (Trepaneringsritualen) and Portuguese occult calligrapher Gordoletters, in 6 panel, heavy stock digipak with varnish print.”
Releases on 16 June 2017

Blank Embrace – New Album Released
(Stereoscenic Records – Digital Only)
Blank Embrace released 15 albums during February & March of 2017. This album is a “best of” from those fifteen. Blank Embrace is a prolific ambient artist from Yessey, Russia making music using analog instruments such as balalaika, guitar, and piano; digital synthesizers; field recordings; and of course, a lot of masterful post-processing. “I’m inspired by the surrounding world around me, literally from a ray of light that falls on a wall, for example.” This album is released as “name your price”.

Bloodstalker – Preorder Available (Kalpamantra – Digital)
The new album IV by Bloodstalker appears to be a combination of deep drones and industrial noises. The album will be released on 13 June 2017.

Creation VI – Pre-orders Available (Cryo Chamber – CD & Digital)
“The cold wind howls outside the warm yurt, the shaman inside prepares the pipe. The inhale is deep. With the exhale he starts throat singing. The smoke dances between drums and bells raised by the rest of the tribe. Sweaty face sway and glazed eyes blink in rhythm with the beat. This album is a journey of us humans moving through the ages in our universe. Trying to figure out our place within it as we forge myths and philosophies. Build megaliths and temples. Send our prayers into space and bide our time waiting for the miracle. Recorded on old tapes for a fuzzy warmth. This album uses a lot of acoustic instruments like blockflute, chinese flute (hulusi), shruti-box, harmonica, ocarina, kazoo, bells, chimes, seeds & seedpods. Tribal drums make you feel like you are in the middle of a hypnotic ritual. Recommended for you who enjoy Ugasanie and Paleowolf and field recordings.”
Releases June 13, 2017

Dark Awake – New Album Released
(Barbatos Productions – CD & Digital)
Dark Awake says about their new album, “New (5th full length) opus Neoclassical/Ritual/Neofolk/Dark Ambient/Martial project from Greece.
Nine new Magic Anthems!
The charming atmosphere of the Middle Ages & poetic visions Anton Lavey and Arthur Rimbaud come to life in front of you!”

Eighth Tower Records – New Compilation Released
(Eighth Tower – 2CD & Digital)
Raffaele Pezzella says about the latest compilation: “The labyrinth combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but meaningful path. It is a powerful metaphor for life’s journey, but it also provides a particularly satisfying neurological experience. Our brains operate differently in a labyrinth, it seems, and therefore, we become different people, even for just a few minutes.
To understand labyrinths, you must first understand that a labyrinth is not a maze. Mazes must be solved, a left brain activity that involves choices and an active mind and logical, sequential, linear thinking. A maze is multicursal, with many paths. If you don’t pay attention, you can get lost in one. Not so with a labyrinth. It is unicursal – one way in, one way out. There are no decisions, no choices, no thinking required. The only choice is to enter. To walk one is a right brain activity involving intuition, creativity, and imagination, and it requires a receptive mindset. You must trust the path, surrender to it. A labyrinth is not a puzzle; it is a mystery. Theologian Diogenes Allen illuminates the difference: ‘When a problem is solved, it is over and done with. We go on to other problems. But a mystery, once recognized, is something we are never finished with. Instead, we return to it again and again and it unfolds new levels to us. Mysteries, to be known, must be entered into. We do not solve mysteries. The deeper we enter into them, the more illumination we get. Still greater depths are revealed to us the further we go’. Our brains are looping mysteries like labyrinths.”

Holotrop – New Two-track Single Released
Terra Lucida is the latest by Holotrop. Expect all the ritual / psychedelic / dark ambient sounds for which Holotrop is known. These tracks are also contained in the RITES OF NATEMA boxset.

NotNotice – New Album Released (Crnazemljanet – Digital)
Crnazemljanet says about the album, “The album Trasmutazione narrates the process of change in consciousness connected with spiritual experience. NotNotice uses a combination of noise with extended musical landscape in his tracks. Dark dreams allow you to see the colors. The combination of internal voices and whimsical looped melodies are introduced into trance…”

Svartsinn ‎– Pre-order Available (Cyclic Law | Old Captain – CD & Digital)
You can read my review of Collected Obscurities here.
“Collected Obscurities is a collection of tracks from various compilations and also gathers unique collaboration works with Northaunt, Allseits, Psychomanteum and Gydja. These were released between 2002 and 2012 and many have now been unavailable for a long time. Also included is an early alternate version of “September Dirge” from the “Elegies For The End” album. Obscure and oppressive is the world of Svartsinn, explore this special selection of some of the finest Dark Ambient soundscapes released in the past decade. Prosper In Darkness… ”
Releases on 21 June 2017

Other News

Annihilvs Power Electronix
Gospel of the Gash is the news letter published by APEX. If you are interested in all the latest news coming from their label, give this newsletter a read here.

Father Dagon
This is Father Dagon S01E05: Frank Hall. Written by Victoria Snaith, produced by Dread Falls Theatre. Original soundtrack by Seesar. The professor was performed by Haydn Davis. Frank Hall was performed by Morgan Baker.

Miskatonic West – Pilot
Professor Sousaku Kaos and his band of intrepid students must thwart an evil plot by mysterious monsters and devious beings, inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

Zero Kama, Nekrophile Rekords
and the Occult Underground of the Post – Industrial Era


Cryo Chamber
50% off on all Cryo Chamber releases by Alphaxone can be found here.
Alphaxone – Living in the Grayland $3.50
From Alphaxone (IRAN), comes this outwordly dark ambient album. The soundscape varies between the ancient and the futuristic and inspires for internal stories about the path of mankind.

Alphaxone – Altered Dimensions $3.50
The push and pull of sizzling layers creates a storming sea of resonating bliss, until the dark waves of deep crashes in upon us. With Altered Dimensions he reaches a new level of audio fidelity and there is always something subtle in the background as protruding from beyond the physical plane.

Alphaxone – Absence of Motion $3.50
A truly moving experience with smooth reverbs, multi-layered ambience and intricate subtle compositions. Recommended for spacefaring audiophiles.

Alphaxone – Echoes from Outer Silence $3.50
Distant worlds loom on the edge of the solar system. Their echoes through space in search of anyone willing to listen. Field recordings on Earth a contrast to the empty space drones above. This is an album best enjoyed when relaxing with a cup of freeze dried coffee in zero G.

This Is Darkness: Week In Review

Creation VIDeus Sive Natura
Deus Sive Natura is a delight. It is one of the darkest bodies of work Creation VI has created to date. This isn’t a sinister darkness that seeks to scare or unsettle us. This is darkness of flickering flames, sparks of fire and life mingling with one another, as they dance into the night sky. Dues Sive Natura should prove to be an essential addition to the collections of anyone that seeks to reconnect with the past, to rediscover the old ways with all their glory, mystery and darkness of times long forgotten. Cryo Chamber proves once again that the boundaries of dark ambient were meant to be pressed. The sky is the limit when it comes to interpretations of these dark soundscapes. Light your incense, brew a robust herbal tea and prepare for a journey into the past, to times which we should never forget, lest humanity itself be forgotten…
Read the full review here.

You just see the old piano and violin covered in spider webs and the spectres of grave old men in black suits playing mournful tunes. It makes me think of broken patephones, decaying sad family photos, black and white films on old reels and European cities in the 30s, at dawn, covered with fog. Ambient vintage at its best. I know, it’s a trendy term, but I can’t help that it fits here like anywhere else.
Read the full review here.

Northaunt & Svartsinn The Borrowed World
Every dark ambient fan should experience this masterpiece. Listening to it in the 100+ range, I still feel those same emotions that I felt on my first listen. The album played on repeat the whole time I re-read the novel for the purpose of this article, and I will still be happy to hear it yet again when I finish.
Read the full analysis here.

SvartsinnCollected Obscurities
So for readers that don’t know much about Svartsinn, Collected Obscurities is a wonderful place to make that first introduction. For those of us that followed him for years, Collected Obscurities is a damned good reminder of why we love Svartsinn and its a perfect way to hold us over until he finally delivers his new opus, which we must all be hoping to happen sooner than later. There are all the usual elements that we know Svartsinn for and the collaborations give us a chance to focus on the brilliant collaborative side of the Svartsinn project, which have been so dispersed and few in number over the years that many of us should find them as a welcome refresher. While there is nothing particularly new here, that doesn’t change the fact that Collected Obscurities is an absolute pleasure from beginning to end, and deserves a place on the shelf beside the rest of his illustrious discography.
Read the full review here.

Hypnagoga Press – Interview
Continuing to re-publish interviews that were conducted on Terra Relicta, here is an interesting review with Pär & Åsa Boström. They talk about the plans and ideas behind Hypnagoga Press as well as subjects such as Kammarheit, Hymnambulae, Cities Last Broadcast and Altarmang.
Read the full interview here.

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Pär Boström & Åsa Boström – Interview

Interview with: Pär Boström, Åsa Boström
Conducted by: Michael Barnett

This interview was originally published on Terra Relicta Dark Music Webmagazine back in July of 2016. Tomaz has been kind enough to allow me to re-publish this interview on This Is Darkness.

Pär Boström has been involved in a ton of projects since the rejuvenation of his musical career in 2015. We’ve seen two Kammarheit albums on Cyclic Law (The Nest and Unearthed 2000-2002), the second release under the Cities Last Broadcast moniker on Cryo Chamber, the founding of the new label Hypnagoga Press with his sister Åsa Boström, the debut of the siblings musical project Hymnambulae and the new project Altarmang between Pär and Kenneth Hansson which released the debut Void at the end of 2016. Add to that Pär’s involvement in the collaborative albums Onyx and Echo along with Atrium Carceri and Apocryphos and its easy to see that there are a ton of things happening, as well as the prospects of plenty more to come. So in July of 2016 I got in contact with Pär and Åsa to ask the siblings some questions about their many projects happening in relation to the dark ambient scene.

Michael: Why did you decide to start Hypnagoga Press?

Pär: It’s something we’ve talked about for at least a decade now. We both wanted to build a place that could hold all our projects, from art prints to music to children’s books and poetry, with focus on beautifully packaged limited editions. We’re both nerds when it comes to packages and design and we need something like this to challenge ourselves.

Michael: What is your musical past with Åsa, did you play music together as children?

Pär: Not that I can remember. It wasn’t until 2009 that we started to improvise together. We would bring different equipment and set it up at various places and see what happened. The album Orgelhuset was loosely based on these improvisations. I don’t think it counts but I used to wake Åsa up by playing the alt horn as loud as I could when we were children.

Michael: I have been listening to the Kammarheit albums in Unearthed box set a lot recently, my personal favorites are Among The Ruins and At The Heart Of Destruction. Shockwork seems noticeably different from the other albums, was there something you learned about your sound during or after this one that changed your way of doing future endeavors? Would you mind speaking a little about the Unearthed box set and what some of the various albums on it meant to you at the time of recording and what they mean to you now, being remastered and officially released so many years later?

Pär: Shockwork was something I recorded during one night in a very inspired state of mind when I was 17. I had gone to an abandoned factory to record sound out of boredom and I stumbled over such a haunting yet majestic and peaceful atmosphere that I suddenly knew exactly what kind of music I wanted to make. But I had almost no equipment – just an old computer with Fast Tracker 2, a tape recorder and a borrowed multi effect unit. I had made similar music before but up until that night I had no name for it, no concept or any real inspiration. If I remember correctly it took almost a year until I continued to make the other five albums from the Unearthed box. By then I’d started using other software and had a bit better understanding about what I wanted to make and how to do it, although I remained totally ignorant about sound quality and proper mixing techniques. I had promised myself that Kammarheit would be a project about recording atmosphere and not to worry so much about how to make actual songs. All the albums of Unearthed were made to keep me company during my insomnia. I had no plans to release any of them, I just wanted somewhere to go, something that could help me explore the inner worlds that I was obsessed about. I was depressed, numb. I didn’t feel much during the days but at night I could drift away somewhere and that really helped. I rarely listen to any of the albums today but when I do I feel a strong sense of gratitude. I don’t know what would have happened to me if I hadn’t made that music. Frederic wanted to release the albums on Cyclic Law many years ago but I wasn’t ready. It took a lot of convincing, but I’m glad they got a proper release at last. They had already been available in dark corners of the Internet for years, so why not make something proper of it. Even if the material is very uneven and in my opinion not very good at all, it shows where I’ve been and how Kammarheit started.

Michael: How much different is the creation process now with modern DAWs, do you like the new systems or do you prefer the old way?

Pär: Having a better studio has obviously helped a lot as I can now translate my ideas into music much quickly and more accurately than I could before. It was so frustrating in the beginning when I had to struggle so much to re-create what I had in my head and the tools I had didn’t feel right at all. I can miss using Fast Tracker and the whole mathematical and aesthetic approach. You had all these numbers on the screen and music played from the top to bottom instead of playing horizontal. It made sense to me, at least back then. I would probably be lost if I went back. I can easily lose my focus in front of the computer so I often try to make as much as I can outside the computer, using instruments and effect pedals and record it on tape recorders or my portable digital recorder and then import it to the computer and continue from there when I’m ready for it.

Michael: You have mentioned in the past that each album is a window into a place, some landscape which you depict. Is this a recurring landscape or do you have different places in mind for each track/album?

Pär: It’s usually the same place. The idea or atmosphere of a place at least. It can be an enormous city where I visit different areas or a large church-like ruin in some enormous cave. Some tracks can be about other places or about certain moods but I usually want to go back to the same places. Those glimpses into the imaginary places happened when I was so young and it never left me. As soon as I start a new track I immediately drift away to that otherworldly stillness. I can’t help it. I’m such a romantic when it comes to atmospheres, escapism and sceneries. Sometimes I just enjoy how some recordings sound together and build a track from there, but after a while that whole drifting thing begins and if I’m not careful I’m half asleep in my chair while some droning loops are playing in my headphones and I get nothing more done that day. The drones are like a wonderful, terrible drug.

Michael: I think it would be interesting to see you team up with a painter and try to recreate some of the places from your music, is this something you would ever consider or do you prefer to let the music speak for itself?

Pär: I try to become a better painter so I can recreate these places myself. So far music has been the easiest way for me to explore them but I often wish I could show the worlds with art or in my writing instead. I have had the good fortune to work with my friend Viktor Kvant / Dreamhours on some of my albums and he has come very close to how I see the music myself. In the past it felt more important to not be too specific. I wanted to leave a lot of space for the listener’s own imagination but even if I did include more images the listener would probably still want to go to their own places instead. In the end I think the music will always speak best for itself.

Michael: I find The Nest to be a bit larger of a sound than your previous major releases on Cyclic Law, The Starwheel and Asleep And Well Hidden. For example, I love listening to The Nest during waking hours, while I find The Starwheel and Asleep and Well Hidden to be more suitable in the midnight hours. Do you see this same variance and if so was this an intentional difference or did it happen naturally?

Pär: I wanted it to sound larger, but for me The Nest is such a subterranean experience. It wasn’t supposed to be like that, but no matter what music I tried to make I always ended up down there. Åsa and I went to a small place in the north called Borgafjäll many years ago. She went there to write and I went there to work on the album, and I was so mesmerized by the foggy mountain and couldn’t stop my imagination from building massive halls underneath it. When I came back I tried to go back to my original plan to make another kind of album but the mountain didn’t let me. This album just had to happen the way it did. All my albums are usually recorded at night or during early mornings so I will probably always associate it with night time. What started as troublesome sleeplessness has become something comforting. Those magical quiet hours when everybody is asleep and the streets are empty and you can let your own ideas and music roam free.

Michael: Onyx is a colossal album. I have listened numerous times and haven’t come close to getting tired of it. What was the best part of working with Simon Heath and Robert Kozletsky? What was the most surprising? Did the collaboration bring out any aspects of your music on a personal level that you had not expected?

Pär: The most surprising thing with Onyx was that the whole process felt so incredibly natural yet always interesting. Simon and Robert are both extremely talented and kind and I love working with them. We communicate a lot and leave enough room in the songs so that the others can do their thing. No egos, no rivalry what so ever. We all want it to sound as good as possible. Since Onyx I often go to the both of them for advice when it comes to most of my creative work. Simon has especially been an influence when it comes to organizing my files and keeping track of what key the songs are in and what tempo I’m using. As I often use effect pedals and askew tape recorders and pitch things up and down that kind of information usually gets lost in the process. But somehow we have found an easy way to communicate and work together. We are making a follow up to Onyx and it sounds very good so far.
Editor’s note: That follow-up turned out to be the album Echo, released through Cryo Chamber.

Michael: What has been your favorite thing outside of music recently? Movie/TvShow/Book. I have to add here that I’m a huge David Lynch fan, are you a fan of his work? What would be your favorite piece, if so?

Pär: I’m indeed a David Lynch fan. I especially love Twin Peaks and watch it on a regular basis. I also enjoy his music and writing. The Music Of Hildegard von Bingen album he did with Jocelyn Montgomery and his album The Air Is On Fire is something I often go back to. I love reading and I love collecting beautiful books with old illustrations but I haven’t read much lately. I’ve been busy with music and writing and when I get some free time I want to either take notes while listening to music I work on or just rest my head in a quiet space. At the moment I’m reading The Club Dumas again, the book that lead to the movie The Ninth Gate and from time to time I read books on printmaking and a biography about Tove Jansson who wrote the Moomin books. There are unfinished books laying everywhere and I often just pick one up and read a few pages before I do something else.

Michael: I still sleep to The Starwheel almost every night, do you still use your own music for sleep aid, do you have any other favorite artists that make “sleep music”?

Pär: I’m glad to hear that people are still enjoying The Starwheel. I sometimes use my music for sleep aid but I get so many ideas on what I could improve that it is difficult to relax. I prefer to listen to the NASA Voyager Recordings instead. That is the ultimate sleep music for me. But I do listen to tracks that I am working on just before I go to bed with the ambition that ideas about how to improve the music somehow finds their way into my dreams so that I know how to proceed as soon as I wake up. Too many dreams are just stupid and boring. I prefer to give my brain a task before heading into the strange labyrinths so it knows what to look for.

Michael: Which artists have been the most influential to you throughout the years?

Pär: That would probably be Arvo Pärt or some of the early Cold Meat Industry artists. I’m also a huge fan of the music that Gurdjieff and Thomas de Hartmann recorded together. There is something about those old recordings that puts me in a wonderful kind of nostalgia concerning something lost and vague when I listen to it. I also think that bands like Coil, The Klinik, Throbbing Gristle and Swans have formed me a great deal.

Michael: Thanks so much for your time Pär! I’ll leave the closing words to you, before we turn the questions over to Åsa.

: Thank you for the interview and your support, Michael.

Michael: When did you first come up with the idea for Hypnagoga Press? Was this something that happened simultaneously with Hymnambulae, or were they totally separate ideas?

Åsa: Both projects have evolved simultaneously. We’ve discussed the idea to form our own label and publishing house for a long time, build a possibly life-long business together, with the potential to include all our creative outputs and collaborations, as well as collaborations with others. In the past we’ve done exhibitions together, Pär has illustrated some of my text projects, and we’ve shared studio spaces and traveled together. All of this has lead up to Hypnagoga Press. The past years I’ve also done much traveling on my own, and when I decided to set up a home and studio in Sweden again and got my house in the countryside of the village Innansjön, we decided it was time to found Hypnagoga Press. Now my house functions as somewhat of an headquarter for us.

Michael: We know a lot about Pär’s musical talents, but you are a bit of a mystery to me. Would you like to talk a little about some of your input in Hymnambulae’s debut?

Åsa: Orgelhuset is loosely based on improvisations we’ve done for the past seven years. For this album Pär has been the technician, using his skills to figure out how to musically translate conceptual designs we’ve outlined together – alongside visual, text-based and philosophical concepts. When we’re in the studio we tend to work quickly. Over the years, having listened to the same music, been exposed to the same influences, developed similar preferences, as well as several differences of course, we’ve developed an understanding for each others creative worlds and created a common language that’s very useful when collaborating. In the studio we have an ongoing dialogue, often referring to our other projects in progress and the overall plans for what to publish on Hypnagoga Press. I have a history of playing the violin and with spoken word and dance. Voice has been my main instrument, as an extension of my writing. Onwards it will be interesting to see how our collaboration through Hymnambulae will inform my overall creative practice – as an artist, writer and composer.

Michael: Would you care to talk about any of your upcoming projects, not much detail is necessary if you like.

Åsa: This summer I’m exhibiting art in Italy and the US. Together with a team of consultants I’m also working on scaling up a program for writing after trauma called Write Your Self, a program I’m the owner for – a big creative project for me. Besides this I want to spend as much time in the studio as possible. In my own art-making I’m currently experimenting with film-making, and in my writing I’m moving between several text projects, completing a collection of poems, a children’s book and a novel. After all these years of traveling I’m enjoying being still and spending time with collected supplies and impressions. When living in France a couple of years ago I studied paper-making. It would be nice to equip my home studio for that.

Michael: Pär seems to have a deep interest in the mystical, supernatural, and occult, especially after hearing his release The Humming Tapes. Do you have similar interests in these subjects or are yours a bit different?

Åsa: Since childhood I’ve been interested in, or pulled towards, spirituality. This has expressed itself in many ways. Through studies in the occult, shamanism and witchcraft in theory and practice; through many years of yoga and meditation practice, finally resulting in training to become a teacher; through academic studies leading up to a degree in Comparative Religion. Back then I had the aim to do a PhD in Psychology of Religion, but then decided to proceed with my studies outside of academia. Spirituality and creativity have been key elements when traveling too. Mysticism forms a foundation, it’s a part of who I am, how I live and it also shows up in my work. My creative practice is a channel for it.

Michael: You seem to have a very good sense of home decor, from the photos I’ve seen through Hypnagoga; if you could have any painting in your home, which would it be?

: Thank you. Difficult question, still getting used to not being a complete nomad. Perhaps something by French symbolist Gustave Moreau, like The Apparition (love his museum in Paris); or Le Silence by Lucian Levy-Durmer (hanging at Musée D’Orsey); or something by American abstract painter Rebecca Crowell. I took a workshop with her in Ireland a couple of years ago; she works with oil, cold wax and pigments, making multi-layered and heavy-textured paintings with both simplicity and complexity to them. I’m very selective with what I bring into my home, it has to really add to the space – presence, spirit, beauty, complexity that can grow over time. Or perhaps traditional Japanese screens. Something that I could reflect upon while exploring where to take my own art-making next.

Michael: After looking through The Solar Zine no. 1, I learned a bit more about the flute player on Orgelhuset. He really seems to naturally complement the Hymnambulae sound. Was it nice working with an outside musician, and will you plan to work with Sergey Gabbasov again in the future?

Åsa: Yes, I enjoyed working with Sergey, his contribution really elevated the album, also pointing out directions that we’re interested in taking Hymnambulae in the future. I liked to learn about his musical-anthropological travels. That also added to the overall story of the album.

Michael: Will you plan to work with more guest musicians in the future? Any particular instruments you dream of collaborating with?

Åsa: Yes, we do. There are several musicians we plan to contact in the future for discussing collaborations, and we already have a few coming up. The cello, drums, more classical music would be nice to experiment with. One musician we’re thinking of is a friend of mine who’s a composer of classical baroque music. Would be interesting to place that within the Hymnambulae framework.

Michael: Would Hymnambulae do live performances, or is this more of a studio focused project? I feel like the whole aura around Hypnagoga Press would fit nicely in a festival setting.

Åsa: We’re discussing it, but for now we’re a studio focused project. In the future live performances might become a part of our travels. Both Hymnambulae and Hypnagoga Press offer a wide spectrum of expressions that could be combined live.

Michael: Thank you very much for your time Asa, I’ll leave the last words to you.

Åsa: Thank you Michael for this interview, for your support and for inviting Hymnambulae to be a part of your upcoming compilation. All the best to you and your work.

Kammarheit links: Official website, Facebook
Hymnambulae links: Facebook
Cities Last Broadcast links: Facebook
Hypnagoga Press links: Official website, Facebook

Svartsinn – Collected Obscurities – Review

Artist: Svartsinn
Album: Collected Obscurities
Release date: 21 June 2017
Label: Cyclic Law / Old Captain

01. The Fading Horizon
02. Yearning
03. The Ashen Dream
04. Form Is Emptiness
05. Untitled
06. Cold But Strong
07. s/t Featuring Northaunt
08. Falling Pt. 2 Featuring Allseits
09. Terrenum Corpus Featuring Gydja
10. Eksistensens Arkitekt Featuring Psychomanteum
11. September Dirge (Alternate Mix)

From my initial discovery of the dark ambient genre, Svartsinn has been one of the haloed artists topping my list of favorites. The first dark ambient artists to draw my attention, I can’t remember the order, were Svartsinn, Northaunt, Atrium Carceri and raison d’être. Really this was the perfect combination of discoveries. As I would later realize, further delving into the genre, each of these artists have their own particular niche, and each of them are arguably the best at what they do within these niches.

Of the aforementioned artists, Svartsinn is by far the most subtle and passive in his execution. His tracks take on an extremely atmospheric vibe. Yet, there is often little activity or dynamics within any given track. This formula has led me to find it hard to point to any one track or even album by Svartsinn which I would say is my definite favorite. Instead, and all the better for it, I find that I can put on any Svartsinn album and allow it to drag me into the deepest darkest corners of my mind. Svartsinn is the music of introspection. His delivery gives listeners the ability to contemplate their own particular ideas and emotions with his music there only to catalyze the process.

It has been quite a while since the last album by Svartsinn. 2013 was the last time we saw a concrete release. That was the split with Northaunt, The Borrowed World. A spectacular album that comes as close to perfection as anything I’ve heard. I took a detailed look at The Borrowed World recently, you can read that analysis here. Before that the last full length by Svartsinn was Elegies for the End back in 2009. So a new album by this renowned artist is well overdue. Collected Obscurities is not that album. This is a collection of previous works, some collaborations, others solo work which appeared on compilations, with the final track being an alternate version of “September Dirge” from Elegies for the End.

So we can look at Collected Obscurities as more of a pacifier than a proper new album. With that goal in mind, Collected Obscurities is a welcome release. Some of these tracks have become all but impossible to find, with their original releases being long sold-out, some having never made the transition into the Bandcamp universe. So, for a die-hard Svartsinn fan like myself, Collected Obscurities has presented some tracks which are reaching my ears for the very first time.

Svartsinn takes his dark ambient music very seriously. This is likely the reason that we’ve seen so few releases by him over the last decade and a half. So, when he releases something, there is damned good reason to give it all due attention. Collected Obscurities is no different in this matter. Each track showcases all the brilliance and subtle darkness that Svartsinn has to offer. Add to this a handful of collaboration tracks with the likes of: Northaunt, Allseits, Gydja and Psychomanteum, and you get an absolute must-have album.

This collection has been playing non-stop in This Is Darkness headquarters since the moment promo material was sent out. I am finding so many things to love within Collected Obscurities. The first half of the album consists of solo tracks, almost all of which I haven’t heard previously. They contain all the nuanced splendor to be expected of Svartsinn. The opener “The Fading Horizon” is beautifully dark in its minimal delivery. The atmosphere is that of a cool foggy morning, beads of water glistening on the windows. The perfect companion to introspection or reading some dark works of fiction. The second half of the album consists of the collaboration tracks. Here we get into some more active territory. These tracks are a bit out of the ordinary for Svartsinn as a whole because of the bold delivery and some quite interesting samples being added. “Falling Pt. 2” featuring Allseits takes the subtleties of Svartsinn and matches them with the oppressively thick drones which brought Allseits to prominence. “Eksistensens Arkitekt” a collaboration with the now defunct Psychomanteum is probably my favorite track on the album. Starting off with a sample from some movie of which I am not familiar, a man addressing God, in a less than reverent manner. The rest of the track introduces a number of field recordings such as running water and a harsh winter breeze, coupled with those subtle yet beautiful drones of Svartsinn. It should be noted here that half of Psychomanteum, Robert C. Kozletski, continues his dark ambient journey as Apocryphos.

So for readers that don’t know much about Svartsinn, Collected Obscurities is a wonderful place to make that first introduction. For those of us that followed him for years, Collected Obscurities is a damned good reminder of why we love Svartsinn and its a perfect way to hold us over until he finally delivers his new opus, which we must all be hoping to happen sooner than later. There are all the usual elements that we know Svartsinn for and the collaborations give us a chance to focus on the brilliant collaborative side of the Svartsinn project, which have been so dispersed and few in number over the years that many of us should find them as a welcome refresher. While there is nothing particularly new here, that doesn’t change the fact that Collected Obscurities is an absolute pleasure from beginning to end, and deserves a place on the shelf beside the rest of his illustrious discography.

Written by: Michael Barnett

Northaunt & Svartsinn – The Borrowed World – Analysis

Artists: Northaunt & Svartsinn
Album: The Borrowed World
Inspired by: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

01. Northaunt – If Only My Heart Were Stone
02. Svartsinn – Ashes of the Late World

Dark ambient musicians find inspiration for their work from an infinite number of places. Some will stare out over a foggy landscape and become inspired. Others will find motivation in their favorite horror film. Still others will find inspiration in the depths of their subconscious, allowing their night terrors to enter reality. Often these things will mix and mingle in the mind of any given artist. One need not attach all inspiration to some set category.

The Road, a post-apocalyptic novel by Cormac McCarthy, has lent inspiration to a number of dark ambient players. Yet, no where more strongly or directly than on the instant classic The Borrowed World, a split by Northaunt and Svartsinn.

The Borrowed World features only two tracks, one each from the to aforementioned artists. In the twenty minute span of each track, what we dark ambient fans are presented with is nothing short of perfection. Perfection. Yes this is a strong word to use, yet if there were anywhere that I would place this certification, it is surely on The Borrowed World.

Hærleif Langås of Northaunt and Jan Roger Pettersen of Svartsinn have a friendship going back many years, to the beginnings of their dark ambient careers. We can trace the physical evidence of this friendship all the way back to 2000, when Svartsinn, releasing his debut album Devouring Consciousness, shows his deep respect for Northaunt in his acknowledgements in the album liner notes.

Sharing the city of Trondheim, Norway as their homebase, and sharing a very similar musical style, which was exceedingly rare in these times, makes perfectly good sense in the establishment of this friendship. Over the years this bond has only continued to grow and while they never shared a project, they often would share a stage, a record label, in Cyclic Law, and always a hometown.

So when Loki Foundation‘s sub-label Power & Steel came along in 2010 asking these two musicians to participate in a split, destined for release on vinyl, their acceptance seemed obvious. What came about over the next few years of preparation would become on of the most beautiful dark ambient releases post-Cold Meat Industry.

To understand what The Borrowed World is all about we must first understand the common thread between the two artists. The Road, a post-apocalyptic novel by the renowned author Cormac McCarthy. The Road follows a man and his young son through a world that is lost. Devastation presents itself to them at every turn. The struggle to wake the next morning and keep fighting for life is existentially hard for them to grasp.

We don’t know what ruined Earth in years before the narrative. We only know that it is a scorched, barren, gray shell of its old self. The Earth itself is dying or already dead, and the people still left to wander its carcass are equally doomed. In one description, McCarthy writes:

“The country was looted, ransacked, ravaged. Rifled of every crumb. The nights were blinding cold and casket black and the long reach of the morning had a terrible silence to it. Like a dawn before battle.”

The bleak outlook of the protagonists is often best described through the father’s reminiscence. Thinking back to a conversation with his deceased wife we are presented with this exchange:

“We’re survivors he told her across the flame of the lamp.
Survivors? she said.
What in God’s name are you talking about? We’re not survivors. We’re the walking dead in a horror film.”

As you may now realize, the tone of this novel is exceptionally forlorn. The descriptions of the land are vivid, even as their subject is gray and dull. With this as their mutual subject, Northaunt and Svartsinn began preparing their tracks for The Borrowed World.

Hærleif Langås relates how the concept took shape:

“I was recommended the book by Jan, and took it with me on buses and cafes to read. The book is an easy read but beneath the stark and minimal dialog and the brutal but also poetic descriptions of a world that has fallen apart you sense a really profound issue or question is being asked. And this is what I think makes it much more than just another post apocalyptic themed book, not just entertainment but a concealed statement and question about who we are and what the world could come to, if everyday life really was dependent on our humanity (and what is that?), unregulated by laws. Jan and I both loved the book and decided to make it a theme when Loki approached us with an offer to release a split LP back in 2010.”

Both artists’ tracks are deeply emotional and infinitely moving. Northaunt took on a style reminiscent of his earlier masterwork, Horizons. The track gently flows and morphs. There are no vocals or film clips present. Starting as a deeply atmospheric style, Northaunt paints a picture of this barren landscape. We can feel the cold winds rushing across our faces. We can taste the fine particles of ash sting our eyes and dry our tongues.

Yet, as we move into the second half of “If Only My Heart Were Stone”, the soundscapes take an emotional turn. We move from dull gray vistas into the mind of the protagonist. The father struggles with a key dilemma throughout the novel: Is it better to commit a murder / suicide and end the suffering of himself and his child, or should they continue to fight for life, even if there seems to be no chance of respite. Northaunt makes it possible for us to feel those emotions. “If Only My Heart Were Stone” moves from those barren soundscapes into his most introspective and emotional work to date.

Jan Roger Pettersen of Svartsinn also gives us an idea of the processes behind the creation of The Borrowed World and his first encounters with The Road:

“I was playing a concert in Prague with Tholen. On the way home, I had a lot of time at the airport, so I decided to check the book store. Normally I never check books that says “Now A Major Movie” on the cover, but somehow I found myself reading the back and the “short reviews” found on the book cover, which made it seem interesting. I didn’t know the author from before, but had heard about another movie that apparently came from one of his books (No Country For Old Men, which I hadn’t seen yet either). The book was on sale, so I guess I decided to peak a bit inside as well… BOOM, I was hooked just after reading the first paragraph, totally captivating from the beginning to the end. I was about half way into the book by the time I was home in Trolla.

When the book was done I recommended it to Hærleif, who totally had the same affection for the book and read it equally fast. And we had a chat one late evening about it and how well this theme could fit the dark ambient atmosphere.

I guess it was pure luck and coincidence, but not too long after that we both found ourselves at the Phobos Festival (as performers) and had a nice chat with the good guys of Loki Foundation and they offered us to release a split vinyl on their label. Hærleif and I glanced at each other and I guess we both knew what we wanted to do. And not many hours after that we were already discussing and planning over a few bottles of Köstritzer black ales in the backstage area.”

Svartsinn takes these similar themes and moves in a different direction with his soundscapes. If Northaunt presented the coldest nights, filled with stinging snow storms which tore at the skin of the protagonists, Svartsinn illustrates the calmer ones. He taps into contemplative evenings, times when the filthy travelers found a bit of peace. Warm days, stomachs finally absorbing some calories. A false sense of contentment is present throughout “Ashes of the Late World”. Even as the father finds his next large cache of supplies, he still coughs blood. Even as the son sips a can of Coca-Cola, he still knows it may be the last one on Earth.

“Ashes of the Late World” may even be considered a reflection of the mindset of the son, more so than that of the father. There seems to be a naivety present. There is a beauty in every moment of the track. This beauty is greatly pronounced by the use of live cello instrumentation incorporated into the track, by cellist Amund Ulvestad. But this beauty is contrasted with a harsh reality, an ever-looming cold and darkness.

Svartsinn opts to incorporate a few samples from the movie adaptation of the novel into his track. We hear the father describe those last moments with his wife. Then, moments later, we hear the son crying out, “Papa! Papa!” in a sickly heart-wrenching whimper. As the last major events of the album, these clips tear at the heart, leaving the listener in a sullen state of mind.

It is little surprise that these two artists decided to adapt The Road to their dark ambient stylings. Both clearly had a love for and deep understanding of the novel. Both artists had the years of experience as musicians to coax those bleakest of emotions from their sounds, evoking a sense of despair in the listeners as fervent as that of McCarthy’s narrative. As if all this weren’t already enough, Simon Heath of Cryo Chamber prepared the artwork for the album, giving it that much needed dull and cold depiction, while A. Wahnmann, of the much respected Secretlab, performed the duty of mastering the album.

Every dark ambient fan should experience this masterpiece. Listening to it in the 100+ range, I still feel those same emotions that I felt on my first listen. The album played on repeat the whole time I re-read the novel for the purpose of this article, and I will still be happy to hear it yet again when I finish.

Written by: Michael Barnett

Creation VI – Deus Sive Natura – Review

Artist: Creation VI
Album title: Deus Sive Natura
Release date: 13 June 2017
Label: Cryo Chamber

01. Ancestral Voice
02. Deus Otiosus
03. Cycles of Life
04. Divine Intervention
05. Natura Renovatur

Creation VI is by no means a newcomer to the dark ambient scene. Since back in 2009, Creation VI has been honing his sounds, working toward a perfection of the ritual / dark / tribal ambient styles. His work always showcases a great respect for nature in all of its lighter and darker forms. Over the years, Creation VI has collaborated with a number of noteworthy musicians including SiJ, Astral & Shit and Ugasanie. His 2015 release, Birds of Naukan, collaborating with Ugasanie, was my first encounter with his music. Since then I’ve been keeping a close eye, or should I say ear, on his work.

Deus Sive Natura is Creation VI first release on Cryo Chamber. With the reputation and roster of Cryo Chamber, it stands to reason that this must be a turning point in the career of this talented musician. Indeed, it becomes immediately clear from the very beginning of the album that Deus Sive Natura is something special.

“Ancestral Voice” the opening track on Deus Sive Natura drops us right into some deep rumbling dronescapes that mingle with crisp field recordings and tribal instrumentation. It’s a full and imposing sound. Listening through a good set of headphones, the sounds come alive, totally engulfing the listener. The track easily accomplishes its task of bringing this “Ancestral Voice” to life, with all due reverence to the bygone generations of humanity, those who lived millenia before modern technology attached an expiration date to our planet.

“Deus Otiosus” drags us even deeper into the past. Again the dronescapes are all encompassing, filling listeners with a sense of primordial wonders. This track seem to take on a more religious tone, not the sort we would hear on some cathedralic ambient music like that of raison d’être or Metatron Omega. This is a tone that is much more primal, a window into the earliest religious developments of humanity. The thick dronework is complemented by all sorts of prehistoric, ritualistic sounds. There is a chiming, which sounds more akin to something hand-made than the metallic jingling of a modern chime. There is a sort of shamanic chanting which melts into the drones. Images arise of a smoke filled yurt in the darkest hours of the night, deep in the vast unmolested depths of an ancestral forest.

Each track on Deus Sive Natura takes us deeper into this narrative, takes us closer to the long lost truths of our ancestors. Creation VI builds not only a narrative, but a brilliantly detailed landscape, teeming with life in its most primordial form. These are the sounds of everything that we have lost as humanity. Everything that was once sacred to us. Our Earth. The flora and fauna which sustained our life. The relationship that we once held with the many gods of our ancestors. Creation VI begs us to rediscover what once made us human, what we desperately seek to rediscover, if only the hustle of our daily chaos would allow it.

Deus Sive Natura is a delight. It is one of the darkest bodies of work Creation VI has created to date. This isn’t a sinister darkness that seeks to scare or unsettle us. This is darkness of flickering flames, sparks of fire and life mingling with one another, as they dance into the night sky. Dues Sive Natura should prove to be an essential addition to the collections of anyone that seeks to reconnect with the past, to rediscover the old ways with all their glory, mystery and darkness of times long forgotten. Cryo Chamber proves once again that the boundaries of dark ambient were meant to be pressed. The sky is the limit when it comes to interpretations of these dark soundscapes. Light your incense, brew a robust herbal tea and prepare for a journey into the past, to times which we should never forget, lest humanity itself be forgotten…

Written by: Michael Barnett

Elegi – Bånsull – Review

Artist: Elegi
Album: Bånsull
Release date: 10 February 2017
Label: Dronarivm
Cover-art: Eric Lacombe

01. Gejnganger
02. Hvor Her Er Ødselig
03. Full Av Tomhet
04. Mørtemann
05. Vemod
06. K-141
07. Messe
08. Elevte Time
09. Fordum

“Bånsull” (in old Norwegian this word stands for “Lullaby”) from beginning to end reminds me of an old horror film. Not the American classics from the Universal company, like Dracula or Frankenstein, but rather European, perhaps German, expressionist. Murnau’s Nosferatu is not a bad point of reference, but I see something more like C. T. Dreyer’s Vampyr. Slow, pale and spooky, but rather in a psychological aspect. After all, the album’s motto is a quote from E. A. Poe: “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity”.

It’s Tommy Jansen’s third album, but the first since his 8 year hiatus. The first two were released by Miasmah, known for producing CDs by such artists like Svarte Greiner, Jasper TX, Rafael Anton Irisarri or my multi-talented fellow countryman Jacaszek. All of them follow their own original way, but also have something in common, creating ambient music which is accessible but has a strong experimental touch and is generated with the help of real classical instruments. Elegi was no different then and is no different now, even though he changed the label and Bånsull is out via Dronarivm Records from Russia.

There is no modern horror here, unlike some Cryo Chamber offerings which, in many cases even when recalling the old and rusty atmospheres, still sound very modern and high-tech. Which doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, as it may be treated as the second decade of the XXI century look – or reinterpretation – of such atmospheres which for many will never get old or outdated. As if they pose a question: how would it sound when made with all the technological possibilities we have in 2016 or 2017. Elegi works otherwise. It really sounds like it’s taken from some recording from 80 years ago. You are aware of electronic or digital treatments and manipulations – there’s no way to make a contemporary ambient album without these, at least at some stage of production, you simply can’t avoid it. But Tommy manages to make you forget about it, the laptop, the software and all that stuff. You just see the old piano and violin covered in spider webs and the spectres of grave old men in black suits playing mournful tunes. Even when Tommy refers to events from a not so distant past (I assume that “K-141” deals with the tragic story of the Russian Kursk submarine, which took place in 2000), you can’t escape that feeling.

Speaking of the Cryo Chamber label, in the previous paragraph I wrote “in many cases”. Not without reason, because paradoxically I notice a strong link with an artist recording for that label. It is Cities Last Broadcast, which in quite a similar manner makes me think of broken patephones, decaying sad family photos, black and white films on old reels and European cities in the 30s, at dawn, covered with fog. Ambient vintage at its best. I know, it’s a trendy term, but I can’t help that it fits here like anywhere else.

Written by: Przemyslaw Murzyn

Frozen In Time: Weekly News 5 June 2017

This week has been reasonably quiet. There have definitely been some interesting releases coming up, which of course you will be able to peruse below. But not much major news for the most part. This Is Darkness just got support from our second patron through our Patreon page, which you can find here. The support is greatly appreciated and is more helpful than you might imagine. I hope some more people that find This Is Darkness to be an indispensable tool to their dark ambient doings will also consider to offer their support. Regardless, we’re going full steam ahead. Because this is being done first and foremost for the love of the genre!

You will find a new section has been unveiled this week. “On the Periphery” is a new review section which will cover albums outside the dark ambient genre, but deemed worthy of discovery by fans of dark ambient. It will also serve the purpose of bringing fresh eyes and ears to This Is Darkness and hopefully recruiting some new life-long fans to the genre along the way. Any feedback on this new section would be greatly appreciated. You can get in touch with us through our Facebook page, in the comments section below, or by e-mail:

I have been starting to re-publish my previous interviews from when I worked for Terra Relicta Dark Music Webmagazine. There have already been several added, which you can find links to at the bottom of this article. There will be about 5-6 more posted over the coming week. A big thank you to Terra Relicta for allowing me to re-publish these interviews on This Is Darkness. Many people wouldn’t have done that, and for their continued friendship and support I am very thankful.

New Releases and Pre-orders

Anima Nostra – Pre-order Available (Malignant – CD + Digital)
Initially the name of a collaborative CD between Henrik Nordvargr Björkk and Margaux Renaudin released on Cold Spring in 2016, the duo have now relabeled and solidified themselves under the Anima Nostra moniker, and in turn, broadly expanded their sonic palette, taking the more intimate ritual ambient aspects of the debut, and incorporating them as part of towering constructs that blur the line between death industrial, doom metal, and neo-classical. With it’s upward swells of foreboding brass, fearsome tribal percussion, and hammering, bass heavy dirge, “Atraments” is the unleashing of something truly monumental and cataclysmic, eclipsing nearly everything Nordvargr has ever been associated with in of scope and grandeur. Integral and prominent in the mix are heavily serrated and imperious vocals, employed to drag the listener inexorably into an inferno of apocalyptic proportions, while adding a more structured “song” element and trumpeting the arrival of an inevitable doom. Atraments stands firmly as a vision complete and the perfect soundtrack for times of great tumult. Completed with artwork by Thomas Ekelund (Trepaneringsritualen) and Portuguese occult calligrapher Gordoletters, in 6 panel, heavy stock digipak with varnish print.
Releases 16 June 2017

Araphel – New Album Released (Digital Only)
Araphel returns with the book of revelation, accompanied by the lamb who possesses seven horns and seven eyes, who opens the first four seals within the leather bound book, The Four Horsemen, freed with their own purpose of devastation to set upon the earth. Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death. In this album we will experience the unleashing of the horsemen of the apocalypse in a Dark/Horror Ambience.

Bill Seaman – Pre-orders Available (Eilean Records – CD & Digital)
Eilean Records is set to release the latest album by Bill Seaman. Not exactly dark ambient, but extremely reserved and introspective music, for lovers of darkness.

Fatal Insidious – New Track Available (Digital Only)

Lord Krepelka – New EP Available (Østpreussen – Digital Only)
Russian digital label Østpreussen releases the latest music by Lord Krepelka. After The War is a two-track EP which focuses on experimental sounds but has a uniquely dark aspect, putting it very close to being in line with dark ambient itself.

Melek-Tha & Corona Barathri – New Collaboration/Split Released
(Noctivagant Collective – CD & Digital)
Noctivagant has just released Daimonic Apotheosis [MMXVII], another brilliant work by Corona Barathri, this time with the help of Melek-Tha.

Nunc Stans – New Album Released (DataObscura – CD & Digital)
More deep ambient journeys from Nunc Stans. Suspend time, and drift away …. who knows where you will end up. Drone based, expansive, detailed, musical, and always in flux.

Of Flesh & Mashines – New Album Released
(Depressive Illusions – Cassette + Digital)
An experimental dark ambient album featuring everything from piano to drone to field recording intensive tracks.

Phurpa – Two Pre-orders Available (Zoharum – CD, Vinyl & Digital)
This double album is the successor to the previous release entitled Chöd from nearly a year ago. The new release shows how Phurpa constantly transforms itself through their own musical exploration as well as personal spiritual development. Apart from intensive concerts, its members are famous for their long meditation trainings/sessions. This constant movement, the exploration of various techniques and discovering new inspirations in eastern culture makes Phurpa musicians more and more eager to use traditional instruments in addition to their distinctive “rgyud-skad” singing, thus enriching the already familiar formula. By emphasizing the sacred and spiritual nature of their activity, they seek to enrich it in such a way that the listener can find the novum, bearing in mind that not only the aesthetic but very spiritual world of the ancient deities of the Bön tradition is particularly important. The title, referring to the magical quest for the universe, should set the direction for the interpretation, or be merely a pretext or an invitation to this mystical journey.
Releases 26 June 2017

Phurpa is an extraordinary artistic and cultural project, not only on a European scale. For years, its members have been exploring the traditions of Bön – the magical practices of ancient Tibet, Iran and even Egypt, and they take it closer to their listeners.
A year ago the first volume of Rituals of Bön was released on vinyl. Zoharum now presents the second volume of this series, based on the recordings from the Moscow gigs where Phurpa performed magic shows lasting up until a few hours. The participants would certainly confirm that they are a highly intensive ritual in which both the band and the audience participate.
Releases 26 June 2017

Raych V – New Album Released (Digital Only)

Robert Davies – New Album Released (DataObscura – CD & Digital)
“Four beautiful 15 minute minimal ambient pieces that flow
like gentle water across the sedges and rocks at the tide’s edge.
Immersive, subtle, relaxing, and as captivating as nature herself.”

Ultimae Records – New Compilation Released (Ultimae – Digital Only)
From the passionate lands of France, Arnaud Galoppe, known as Focal and Kinosura, has hand-mixed an emotional labyrinth of dark techno and melancholy ambience in Ultimae’s latest compilation.
Polarity is a double-sided conglomerate of electronic expressions from all over the world, spanning across atmospheric soundworlds of intimate drone and deep, industrial progressions.
This collection of heartwarming soundscapes and foot-stomping house beats is smoother than butter, a series of 26 top-notch tracks that paint an interesting, auditory adventure.
Although the album has a minimalistic approach, it offers a surprisingly detailed production. Each track is layered with expert craftsmanship and hypnotic melodies laced against diverse, psychedelic noise echoing in the distance.
Polarity is certainly an experience worth traversing, and we are proud to host it as an excellent addition to any electronica connoisseur’s sound-library.

Winterblood – New Album Released (Digital Only)
Winterblood releases another frozen delight. You can read my full review of the album here. Winterblood says of the album, “Really minimalist and monotonous due to translate as well my own feelings of standing stare with the eyes into the mist, and to evocate something inexpressible. The track develops from nostalgic and melancholic feelings towards an atmosphere of mystery and tragic loss.”

This Is Darkness – Week in Review


Where Winterblood truly captures my interest is in the way he seems to effortlessly meander between dark ambient and that ever growing, often notorious, genre of dungeon synth. Winterblood takes on a minimalistic approach to his music. Most often incorporating little more than a layer or two of synthesizer. This stripped-down approach helps promote those feelings of isolation in the cold. In the past he has also incorporated field recordings, bringing that biting winter wind right into the mix.
Read the full review here.

Black Box MemoriesTransmissions
On all fronts, Transmissions is a successful side-project. There are certainly dark themes present, whether that is the devil or extra-terrestrial beings. The sounds are consistent and interesting. The album stays active enough to definitely hold the attention of listeners throughout every moment. The loops giving a meditative foundation, the vocal samples adding a sort of life and story to the project. Yet, there is still a passivity to all this, giving readers and scholars enough distance from the sound that they can focus on their tasks. Reeves seems to have tapped into something really promising here. Keeping in mind that this was not a planned album, it seems likely that the next outing as Black Box Memories will be even more interesting, and will take the sound to a more focused and story-driven destination.
Read the full review here.

DeepDark | Xerxes The DarkInner Mystery
The content provided by both artists on Inner Mystery is top notch dark ambient music. This is the first split to be released on Black Mara, and it seems obvious that the label’s owner knew a gem when he saw one. Inner Mystery is dark ambient for any discerning fan. The sounds are well prepared, well executed and well packaged (thanks to the efforts of Black Mara). Inner Darkness is an album that may only provide a few overtly memorable moments, but it is consistently solid, quality work. This is music for the darkest of souls, wanderers of the night, those who would always prefer to lurk in the shadows. If one is new to the sounds of DeepDark and/or Xerxes The Dark, this is the place to make their discovery. It is a fine collection of tracks, by two of the most underrated dark ambient artists in the genre.
Read the full review here.

On the Periphery Reviews

is a truly unique experience. If you hate hip-hop, I doubt you are going to be swayed. But if you do enjoy this genre or at least the occasional song within it, you should find a good bit to love about the dark/horror/occult themes on Anumals. While the sounds themselves are often far from those of dark ambient, the themes, samples, and lyrics of the music should be welcome content for dark ambient fans with an open mind.
Read the full review here.


Enmarta – Interview (re-pub ’15 )
Back in 2015, Enmarta had just landed on the dark ambient scene. His debut album Sea of Black took listeners into a brilliant world of dark ambient blended with authentic classical instrumentation. The album quickly became a lauded addition to the Cryo Chamber label. Since this interview, Enmarta has released his sophomore album, The Hermit which went even further in realizing this neo-classical / dark ambient amalgamation.
Read the full interview here.

A Cryo Chamber CollaborationAzathoth – Interview (re-pub ’15)
Azathoth was unleashed on the world in 2015. The collaboration by the Cryo Chamber collective was the second in their series of Lovecraft albums. The series started with Cthulhu and in the time since this publication Nyarlathotep has also been added to the series. The following interview gets some insights about the Azathoth album from a few of the artists involved.
Read the full interview here.

Randal Collier-Ford – Interview (repub ’16)
In August of 2016 I conducted an interview with the dark ambient artist Randal Collier-Ford. He was fresh off the release of Locus Arcadia, a collaboration between himself and three other Cryo Chamber artists. Not too long before that he released his second album through Cryo Chamber, Remnants. He talked about some of the behind-the-scenes of the Locus Arcadia as well as his plans for the future, among other things. Here you can get to know a bit about the man behind the music.
Read the full interview here.

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This Is Darkness has gone live with the help of friends and supporters. I have been disabled since 2015, due to a spinal injury. Any support that can be given is greatly appreciated. Donations will go toward the maintenance of this site as well as additional promotion to increase its reach and influence. You can help through the donate button below,  or follow this link to the This Is Darkness Patreon page here.

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