Month: August 2017 (Page 1 of 2)

Frozen in Time: Weekly News 21 August 2017

This week we have a ton of new releases to share with you. Some lesser known as well as other better known projects are releasing albums. We also have a few reviews and a mix to share from the previous week, you can find these at the bottom of the article, as usual. We are getting close to finalizing a new project here at This Is Darkness and within the next few weeks will have a huge announcement (edit: actually two announcements). So stay tuned for that! I hope everyone’s summer is going well. Thanks as always for following This is Darkness! If you are interested in supporting our cause, you can find information about how to do that at the bottom of the article. Peace!

New Releases & Preorders

Alphaxone & Dronny Darko – New Album Released (Cryo Chamber – CD/Digital)
Alphaxone (Iran) and Dronny Darko (Ukraine) join forces on this mysterious album.
“The fog hangs heavy over the emptied town as you make your way down the crest overlooking the ocean. The streets lie silent but for the subtle click of a stoplight juggling colors. Your hand disappears into the thick fog here and the smell of sulfur from the nearby factory feeds your head. Something about this place feels wrong.
Damp thuds spins you around towards the misty outskirts of the beach town. A white horse disappears into the hills and behind it a trail of other animals flee after it. And then it booms, the sound of the fog horn rolls in from the black ocean and echoes off the buildings, the stoplight sways. Silence afterwards, ear shattering.
The old man was right, they’re coming for us!”
Alphaxone’s smooth pads and deep bass meets Dronny Darko’s long form drone and ethereal reverbs in this trip into the fog. For lovers of evolving drone soundscapes.

Andrew R. Grant – New EP Released (Digital Only)
Grant is best known for his death industrial project The Vomit Arsonist. This latest release is in the genre of dark ambient. Amended is three shortened versions of a much longer piece of music. The sounds were recorded in the Fall of 2014. Grant will be planning to release the unedited versions in a physical format at a later date.

A Bleeding Star – Weekly Single Released (Digital Only)
“Wildcavenight: Organically Erotic Ambient for those Cryptic Souls Passionately Grave Inclined” is the latest track by the dark ambient artist A Bleeding Star. Deep and slowly morphing drones meet subtle, quite distant drumming for a track that is highly minimal and yet steeped in character.

Bad Sector – New Collection Released (Digital Only)
Selected is a compiliation of previously released Bad Sector tracks. While many of these are not his most well known tracks, there are a lot of gems here and its a brilliant way to enjoy a the sound of Bad Sector from 1995-2016.

Biophon Records – Memorial/Benefit Compilation for Christian H (Biophon – Vinyl/CD/Digital)
“For Christian H” is a compilation album from the Arctic Norwegian city of Tromsø, dedicated to the memory of Christian Hollingsæter – the director of the Insomnia festival – who died unexpectedly in May this year, only 35 years old.
All 18 tracks have been gifted exclusively for the album, which is available as a digital download, a CD, and as a limited edition numbered LP with hand printed artwork by Knut Fjørtoft. It goes on sale on September 13th., with all proceeds going to Christian´s son Julian.

Birth (Defects) – Album Teaser (Anathemata Editions – 7″ Lathe LP/Cassette)

Bzaurie – New Album Released (ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ – Digital Only)
Hidden Landscape Voice isn’t classified as dark ambient and yet for the dark ambient listener share should be everything here that one would seek in a dark ambient album. ASMR field recordings, gentle drones and presumably tape loops set the foundations for this track which adds many more various sounds to the mix for an highly engaging album that is best experienced on headphones. “name your price” and highly recommended.

Empty Chalice – New Album Released (Cardinium – Cassette/Digital)
This latest release by Empty Chalice is an interesting take on dark ambient. The artist behind the project has provided a poem by David Lynch which encompasses the ideas and direction of the album:

“Ideas are like fish.
If you want to catch little fish,
you can stay in the shallow water.
But if you want to catch the big fish,
you’ve got to go deeper.
Down deep, the fish are more powerful
and more pure.
They’re huge
and abstract.
And they’re very beautiful.”
(David Lynch)

The physical release can be purchased here.

Grid Resistor – New Album Released (Digital Only)
This latest release by Grid Resistor, the new project by the man behind Mystified, is on the more experimental side of the dark ambient spectrum. Using only machine sounds as his source material, Grid Resistor takes a bold step into the deepest depths of the post-industrial world. “name your price” so it is worth a try for those whom enjoy highly experimental works.

Haunted Me – New Single (Digital Only)
“Hey folks, a new, long, deep piece is here for you, waiting to be downloaded. “Gretchen Feast On Slow Things” is a 21 minutes drone, now out for Petroglyph Music. This is the longest track I made so far and it was quite a challenge, so please take a listen and tell me what you think. Download is obviously free (click here). ”

Kashya – New Album Released (Digital Only)
Kashya is an artist that I’ve been following for several years. Though I don’t think he’s made a release backed by a proper label yet, his discography is quite enjoyable and impressive. His music is best suited for times when relaxation is the ultimate goal. The “darkness” in his releases usually comes in the form of subtle drones and synth pads. If this album is to your liking, I would recommend searching deeper into the discography of this artist, you will find many hidden gems here.

Marcus Fischer – Preorders Available (12k – Vinyl/Digital)
Loss is the long-awaited and anticipated follow-up to Marcus Fischer’s acclaimed Monocoastal (12k1063, 2010). Fischer created Loss over several years, finding inspiration to complete it during his time at the Robert Rauschenberg Residency in Captiva, Florida, in early 2017. The album is a particularly emotional work as Fischer explored what loss means to him and how to cope with the permanence of absence. The result is decisively somber and perhaps one of the darkest, most emotional albums in the 12k catalog.
Fischer manifested the concepts of loss in his compositions through the use of generation loss from reel-to-reel tape, re-recording sounds through various speakers in physical spaces, layering, and the use of sounds that have been physically displaced from their source. Conceptually, he listened inside the degradation of sound, pulling out chance moments of beauty and hope amid the rubble.
While Loss has a bleak and lonely tone, the music is characteristic of Marcus Fischer with fragile tape loops on the edge of falling apart, distant haunting melodies and a physicality that grounds the album’s human spirit.
Releases 1 September

Metadronos & Scott Lawlor – New Album Released (Digital Only)
This is quite a disturbing release. Those whom enjoy the experimental side of dark ambient should find a lot to like on this release. It is surprisingly haunting considering the way it was crafted. Scott Lawlor says of the release,
“‘to suffering there is a limit, to being in fear there is none”‘
(Pliny the Younger)
MetaDronos and I felt that this quotation was an accurate description of the subject matter used to create this very dark ambient concept album about a friend of mine
who has been in all manner of institutions and clinical settings from medical hospitals to insane asylums and the tales of horror therein.
No hardware or software synths of any kind were utilized in creating this album.
All of the tracks were created from various voicemails sent to us, granting both of us permission to manipulate them into the horror that will unfold before
your ears.”

Michael Meara – New Album Released (Aural Films – Digital Only)
“The inspiration for this record is the aging process. As we age, the following usually occurs: Focusing on close objects becomes harder. The lens becomes denser, making seeing in dim light harder. The lens also yellows, changing the way we perceive colours. The number of cells in the spinal cord begins to decrease. The amount of active bone marrow, where blood cells are produced, decreases. Our skin tends to become thinner, less elastic & drier. Nerve cells may lose some of their receptors for messages. Blood flow to the brain decreases, thus the brain may function slightly less well. We may react and do tasks more slowly. The ability to taste and smell starts to gradually diminish. Hearing high-pitched sounds becomes more difficult (known as presbycusis) making some words become harder to understand.”

Rauppwar / These Gaping Jaws – New Split Album Released (Throne of Bael Records – Digital Only)
Wire Lambs / 78’s is a brutal yet worthwhile journey into dark and disturbing cacophonous noises. This is a release for those listeners that prefer an album packing a punch. Not for the faint of heart, but a nuanced and interesting experience for those willing to take the plunge. “name your price” so you can decide if it is for you without making any real commitments.

Thangorodrim – New Album Released (Deivlforst Records – CD/Digital)
The dungeon synth artist Thangorodrim has just released his second full length on Deivlforst Records. He is considered by many to be one of the foremost artists in the dungeon synth scene. You can check out the review on This Is Darkness here.

Thangorodrim – Gil-Estel – Review


Veiled Monk – New Album Released (Cephalopagus Records – Digital)
To truly understand the path of self-knowledge, one must be present for all steps along this path. This ritual reflects the pain and ecstasy of the seeker when they cross the fields both physical and mental.
Correlation between the physical impulse and mental obscurity is tightly wound around the middle Identifier; The very creation of a center that will be completely absorbed and destroyed in the process of lighting. “I’m The Veiled Monk, I started my journey much later than others, determined to pamper myself in a world of insanity for the season.
Travel is a necessity for me, if not for someone else. After the transition from the monastery of Silence, the main purpose of this journey is the opening of the Night Gate. This is my burden, my mission, my goal. Follow me …

Weress – New EP Released (Digital Only)
Weress is an experimental one-man project from Bordeaux, France. His music covers a variety of genres, though almost all of them fall within the realms covered by This Is Darkness. This particular release his a demo in the niche of electro space ambient.

Winterblood – New Album Released (Digital Only)
The latest release by the Italian dark ambient / dungeon synth project Winterblood takes us on another plunge into the fridged cold and isolated darkness of the most remote mountainous regions of northern Italy. For this release Winterblood only uses analog synths to achieve his lo-fi eerie atmospheres. Yet, the music still seems to have a character that stands out from most analog synth albums. A particular treat is the first track “Waldeinsamkeit II” a thirty minute follow-up to his previous release, Waldeinsamkeit. A highly recommended release.

Specials & Sales!

Cryo Chamber – Atrium Carceri Sale #2
In this weeks sale we are focusing on Atrium Carceri
Save 50% on these digital downloads:
This week I’m going to give you a glimpse into the Atrium Carceri mythos, these texts are taken from the CD Booklets and are also available on atriumcarceri.com.

Atrium Carceri
Souyuan
I continue ever inward through the home of the 12 Angels, the home of no gates. Each voice in my head a different soul – ground, cut and re-injected into my quivering flesh, 6000 steps below. Disillusioned yet somehow more in touch than ever before with my own divinity. In the bunkers of long forgotten wars, victims of drought, disease and war lining the corners like jewels – one of the few permanent links to our former home, resplendent yet decaying, as are we all.

Atrium CarceriPhrenitis
Dead tired with gloves made of mud I cower in the sulphurous smattering rain. The stench of spilled blood fills my nostrils, together with a sickly sweet odor that defies dexcription. I glance up from the trenches towards the ruined city and the opposing soldiers, caught up in their insanities. War is painted on their faces, grinning, bloody, obscene – their pupils dilated, black and vibrating. The air itself feels charged with something, the essence of which cannot be comprehended, much less explained. In their midst he stands – The Warlord, The General. Calm and in control, yet his face twisted… Shifting from human to utterly obese, with milky skin and veins that move frantically as sea snakes. His bulbous black tongue moves from left to right in his drooling maw like a lizards tail while he watches over the slaves that do his bidding. Engorged, he shudders with barely contained fiendish glee.

Atrium CarceriReliquiae
I had reworked the formula again. This time factoring in the element of chaos. It was all dependent on the same intertwined variables and the ugly, faceless will of the masses. Would they stand their ground when the veil was torn screaming from their eyes or would they cower in fear, mentally maimed by the devices their controllers had thrust upon them? A few years past I would have thought it impossible to manipulate – No, de-manipulate them. Yet reclaiming my godhood, facing the myriad horrors from beyond the illusion. The enlightenment had shaken me to the central core of my being. We are not to be scared of them, because they are scared of us. They. Our former slaves have rebelled against us. As we shall rebel against them.

Atrium CarceriVoid
The Cowled Seers from beyond the frigid void incessantly observe us moving through our daily lives. Manipulating the orders of chance and whimsy they collect our thoughts and steer us through the illusion. Their goal to collect the few for an expedition deep down into the abyss where The Lost God once sought refuge. The weave of “reality” grows thin as they explore what lies beyond even the manifold spires of the ancient city as well as the fractured memories of every swayed traveler.

Malignant Records
To escape the heat and suffocating humidity, might I suggest you stay indoors and take advantage of the newly applied 30% discount on digital downloads over at the Malignant bandcamp page? Just use the code dogdays30 at checkout and curse the sun as you drift into darkness.
https://malignantrecs.bandcamp.com/

This Is Darkness – Week In Review

ThangorodrimGil-Estel
The mastering by Grimrik and the high quality physical release formats of this album provide a great reason to delve into Gil-Estel, as opposed to so many other dungeon synth albums that have been released recently. Adding to this the talents of the man behind Thangorodrim (who is still quite the mystery, only showing his painted face and devoid of social media profiles) this is really a great place to make a first delve into the dungeon synth genre. The only draw-back for me is that I do prefer my dungeon synth to have a consistently dark atmosphere, if one is in agreement with me, I would recommend starting with his previous album, Taur-nu-Fuin. For those already aware of this genre, I imagine you will also find as much to love about Gil-Estel as I have. Whenever I’m in the mood for some dungeon synth, I really can’t go wrong with Deivlforst releases and this one is no exception.
Read the full review here.

Veiled MonkThe Acolyte’s Burden
This is a well executed debut for the Veiled Monk project and a high point for the Cephalopagus label, run by the man behind Araphel. The album is released in the “name your price” format on Bandcamp, so there is really no excuse for not giving it a chance. I, for one, have listened to this album many, many times in the weeks preceding this review and haven’t even gotten close to being tired of it yet. While I’ve used the names of several other artists to convey the in words the sounds presented, I don’t feel that the music has really attempted to mimic, any of these other artists. It seems that Veiled Monk is onto something good here, and we can hope that they continue to stick to this path, of course, with the added refinement that comes in working in a similar format for an extended period of time.
Read the full review here.

The Final Struggle: Darkness & Death Mix
A mix of dark ambient and death industrial music. The theme of this mix is a story of a dying planet, a protagonist at their wits end, the final struggle between life and death and ultimately defeat. The afterlife is enshrouded in turmoil and the final resting place of the soul is conjectured. This mix is at times serene with strong religiosity, and yet the mood and atmosphere is chaotic and constantly shifting, reflecting the final struggle in the before and after.
Listen to the mix here.

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Thangorodrim – Gil-Estel – Review

Artist: Thangorodrim
Album: Gil-Estel
Release date: 16 August 2017
Label: Deivlforst Records

Tracklist:
01. Into the Great Battle
02. Ancalagon
03. Vingilótë
04. By the Light of the Silmaril
05. Thangorodrim’s Ruin
06. Bonus: Gil-Estel (Seamless Mix – Whole Album)

The genre of dungeon synth has been steadily increasing in popularity over the last year or two. What started out in the early-mid 90s particularly with Mortiis, as well as a few other artists, many of whom came from the black metal scene, has in these recent years blossomed into a full-blown genre with a number of record labels dedicated to the style and many more solo artists self-releasing troves of lo-fi albums. From a listener’s perspective, entry to this genre at the moment can be quite dizzying and there have been more than a few articles from Bandcamp Daily, among others, that seek to give listeners an introduction to the genre.

As my interest in the genre has increased, I’ve found that the Deivlforst Records label stands out above the rest. The releases often come with limited edition physical media, cassettes and high quality digi-paks have been the norm, but they have recently delved into the vinyl format on their re-issue of Taur-nu-Fuin, also by Thangorodrim, which released simultaneously with this new album Gil-Estel.

Thangorodrim has been hailed as the best dungeon synth artist since Mortiis by more than a few fans and critics of the genre. I won’t make any definitive statement about this, but I can say that I enjoy his music as much as, if not more than, most other dungeon synth projects I’ve heard. I was quick to purchase a copy of that first vinyl, which I assume will sell out reasonably fast, even with it being released in an edition of 300 copies.

Gil-Estel is the fourth release by Thangorodrim since he entered the scene in 2016, and it is his second on Deivlforst Records. On all these releases Thangorodrim has strictly created music inspired by the lore of J.R.R. Tolkien. Each album has focused on a different topic, they are not to be seen as a succession of storyline, running continually from album to album. I will focus in this review only on the two recent releases on Deivlforst, because they are the two full-length releases. It seems worthwhile to cover a bit of Taur-nu-Fuin as it has just seen its vinyl release on the same day as the release of this new album Gil-Estel.

In the lore of J.R.R. Tolkien, Taur-nu-Fuin, a forest in Northern Dorthonion (or the whole of Dorthonion) was a dark and haunted place. It had been filled with horror after the defeated Sauron turned into a vampire and fled to these woods. For this reason, logically, the album Tuar-nu-Fuin had a significantly darker and more gloomy feel than Gil-Estel. The main exception to this being the final track, “Gwindor’s Rest” which had a greater sense of discovery and hope, due to the story surrounding Beleg meeting Gwindor who would help him to find Túrin. The music of Taur-nu-Fuin can be at times gloomy and atmospheric, at other times it can show the signs of conflict and adventure. Within the confines of dungeon synth, the album uses a decent variation of instrumentation from various synths to emulations of flutes, distant choral vocals and various types of drums.

Gil-Estel, in general, has a much more up-beat sound than Taur-nu-Fuin. There is often a sinister vibe to the music, but it rarely touches on those gloomy atmospherics that often arose throughout Taur-nu-Fuin. Considering the subject matter, this makes perfect sense, as Gil-Estel represents epic battles, the death of an enormous dragon and a journey on a marvelously crafted ship.

“Into the Great Battle” unsurprisingly drops us right into the midst of an epic battle, with sounds representing all the guts and glory to be expected within such a foray on Middle Earth. “Ancalagon” is one of the darker songs on the album. The track is named after one of the largest dragons to ever live on Middle Earth. We hear field recordings of winds rushing passed our ears as the great dragon soars through the skies. The final track of the album, “Thangorodrim’s Ruin” depicts the clashing of Ancalagon with Eärendil, who manages to defeat the dragon, casting him down upon the volcanic mountains, named Thangorodrim, totally destroying them in the process.

I have little knowledge of the lore of J.R.R. Tolkien, though I have read The Hobbit and The Children of Húrin and have always had a deep appreciation for Tolkien’s world and mythos building. I have really enjoyed the music of Thangorodrim, even though I knew nothing about the connections to various aspects of Tolkien’s lore. For those well-versed in this mythos I imagine the connections made by Thangorodrim will bring an even greater appreciation for his music. But, they are not necessary to find enjoyment here.

The mastering by Grimrik and the high quality physical release formats of this album provide a great reason to delve into Gil-Estel, as opposed to so many other dungeon synth albums that have been released recently. Adding to this the talents of the man behind Thangorodrim (who is still quite the mystery, only showing his painted face and devoid of social media profiles) this is really a great place to make a first delve into the dungeon synth genre. The only draw-back for me is that I do prefer my dungeon synth to have a consistently dark atmosphere, if one is in agreement with me, I would recommend starting with his previous album, Taur-nu-Fuin. For those already aware of this genre, I imagine you will also find as much to love about Gil-Estel as I have. Whenever I’m in the mood for some dungeon synth, I really can’t go wrong with Deivlforst releases and this one is no exception.

Written by: Michael Barnett

The Final Struggle – Darkness & Death Mix

A mix of dark ambient and death industrial music. The theme of this mix is a story of a dying planet, a protagonist at their wits end, the final struggle between life and death and ultimately defeat. The afterlife is enshrouded in turmoil and the final resting place of the soul is conjectured. This mix is at times serene with strong religiosity, and yet the mood and atmosphere is chaotic and constantly shifting, reflecting the final struggle in the before and after.
Checkout the full tracklist with links to each album at the bottom of this page!
(For some reason the mixcloud app leaves a ton of blank space after it, just scroll further down.)

01. 0:00:00 Shrine – The Night That Hell Broke Loose
02. 0:07:00 Sabled Sun – Black Void
03. 0:09:50 Anemone Tube – Suicidal Fantasy (Negation of Myth II)
04. 0:13:30 R|A|A|N – Arrival of the Sek
05. 0:17:30 Steel Hook Prostheses – The Medicus
06. 0:22:00 Council of Nine – I No Longer Hear You
07. 0:27:50 Svartsinn & Allseits – Falling Pt.2
08. 0:33:10 Climax Denial & Gnawed – He Is Himself Instead Of The Body He Touches
09. 0:39:10 Flowers For Bodysnatchers – Blood Trumpets And Nihilism
10. 0:44:50 The Vomit Arsonist – There Is Nothing Here
11. 0:49:50 Brighter Death Now – There Is Nothing Left In This World
12. 0:55:30 Fear-Modern-Man – Nightmare Death Syndrome
13. 1:01:20 Epiglottis – Her Fifth Visit – “Suicide Attempt”
14. 1:02:30 Spine – The Dying Process
15. 1:09:50 Xerxes The Dark – Departing Scene
16. 1:15:05 Hezaliel – A Death Without Reaction
17. 1:19:40 Yen Pox – Grief Ritual
18. 1:27:50 IRM – Closure V
19. 1:33:50 Paranoia Inducta – Sanctuary of Madness
20. 1:37:35 Anima Nostra – Solemn Majesty
21. 1:42:50 Phragments – The Fire Still Burns
22. 1:48:35 Randal Collier-Ford – Watching Eden Burn
23. 1:52:00 Inade – Abandoned Inferno
24. 1:57:00 Melek-Tha & Corona Barathri – Dark Heresy [The Edge of Darkness]
25. 2:03:35 Monocube – Drowned Sun
26. 2:07:45 Shibalba – Opening The Shadow Box
27. 2:14:00 VelgeNaturlig – The Hum
28. 2:16:15 Cities Last Broadcast – Cornerstone
29. 2:21:30 Theologian & Leila Abdul Rauf – Ziggurat

Veiled Monk – The Acolyte’s Burden – Review

Artist: Veiled Monk
Album: The Acolyte’s Burden
Release date: 16 August 2017
Label: Cephalopagus Records

Tracklist:
01. Opening the Night Gate
02. Hall of the Wroth God
03. Subterra
04. The Acolyte’s Burden
05. Speak Death, and Enter

The Acolyte’s Burden is the debut album by Veiled Monk. The music falls somewhere in the realm of dark ambient between ritual and drone ambient styles. While this is his first project as Veiled Monk, the man behind the music has actually been creating music since 2007 under the Melankolia moniker. So the sounds presented on this album are not those of a amateur, the music is crafted with the precision of a master of his trade.

The music on The Acolyte’s Burden is quite varied in style. The opening track, “Opening The Night Gate” is an active form of ritual ambient, starting off quietly with a field recording of dripping water. The music slowly begins to build upon itself, adding further field recordings which paint a dark haunting atmosphere. A voice comes into the mix reciting a verse from some dark malevolent religious sect. Drones are present here but they are not the focus of the track.

The following track, “Hall of the Wroth God” takes us further down that path of ritual ambient. Drones burst through the silence in a bold manner and continue to rumble througout the track. Over the drones we have a variety of field recordings, some industrial noises others sounding like the whispers and gasps of demoniac entities. In the foreground is a chanting similar to some gregorian chants that we would here on raison d’etre or Metatron Omega albums.

The title track, “The Acolyte’s Burden” seems to be using an actual bass guitar to provide the rumbling foundations. Again, throughout the track we hear a plethora of disturbing sounds, seemingly all field recordings captured from some of the darkest and most cryptic places our world has to offer. The track is very subtle and forms a harsh, jarring contrast to the next and final track on the album.

“Speak Death, and Enter” could be described as a marriage between the sounds of Desiderii Marginis and Monocube. There are demoniac growls and chants, while simultaneously a horn like drone builds the background, giving it an almost peaceful feel, directly contrasted against the harsh field recorded sounds.

I don’t usually like to speak in detail on so many specific tracks of an album, and indeed I’ve covered all but one here. The track by track analysis seemed the best way to convey the vast differences and similarities playing off of one another on the album. The dark, haunting field recordings and demoniac voices are the main connectors across the album. Yet, aside from that, each track has a distinct character of its own. Needless to say, this will not be an album with which anyone should become bored. If you like ritual ambient, in any of its varied forms, be it Shibalba, Metatron Omega or those polar opposite types from the artists on Aural Hypnox label, there will be something here to catch your attention.

This is a well executed debut for the Veiled Monk project and a high point for the Cephalopagus label, run by the man behind Araphel. The album is released in the “name your price” format on Bandcamp, so there is really no excuse for not giving it a chance. I, for one, have listened to this album many, many times in the weeks preceding this review and haven’t even gotten close to being tired of it yet. While I’ve used the names of several other artists to convey the in words the sounds presented, I don’t feel that the music has really attempted to mimic, any of these other artists. It seems that Veiled Monk is onto something good here, and we can hope that they continue to stick to this path, of course, with the added refinement that comes in working in a similar format for an extended period of time.

Written by: Michael Barnett

Frozen in Time: Weekly News 15 August 2017

This week we have a lot of self-released EPs and Singles coming from the realm of dark ambient. August is usually a slow time for record releases and this year is no different. However we do have some upcoming releases on Cyclic Law and Cryo Chamber that have just been announce for pre-order, both look like they will be pretty great albums! Be sure to check out the latest publications on This Is Darkness in our summary at the bottom of the article. Stay cool, see you next week!

Music Videos & Teasers

Peri Esvultras – “Balafre”

Peri Esvultras – “Green”

bvdub – Teaser for new album

New Releases & Preorders

A Bleeding Star – New Single
Back with another dark ambient single, A Bleeding Star keeps up their weekly single streak!

Alphaxone & Dronny Darko – Preorder Announced (Cryo Chamber – CD/Digital)
“The fog hangs heavy over the emptied town as you make your way down the crest overlooking the ocean. The streets lie silent but for the subtle click of a stoplight juggling colors. Your hand disappears into the thick fog here and the smell of sulfur from the nearby factory feeds your head. Something about this place feels wrong.
Damp thuds spins you around towards the misty outskirts of the beach town. A white horse disappears into the hills and behind it a trail of other animals flee after it. And then it booms, the sound of the fog horn rolls in from the black ocean and echoes off the buildings, the stoplight sways. Silence afterwards, ear shattering.
The old man was right, they’re coming for us!
Alphaxone’s smooth pads and deep bass meets Dronny Darko’s long form drone and ethereal reverbs in this trip into the fog. For lovers of evolving drone soundscapes.” The album will be released on 22 August.

EMERGE – New Album Released (attenuation circuit – CD/Digital)
narcoses is a 40 minute live track by EMERGE recorded at a live performance on 7/7/2017 at re:flexions ° k15, Augsburg

Haunted Me – New EP Released (Petroglyph – Digital Only)
Haunted Me is an experimental solo project by Claudio Begovic, formed in 2016 and based in Reggio
Calabria (Italy). After playing guitar for a few years in a local Tool cover band, Begovic started composing
post rock and ambient music with his first creatu
re, Ushiro Mawashi. Haunted Me is the natural evolution
of this former project, adding noise and distorted synth organs to spooky vocal samples. Listen to preview here.

Iurta – Preorder Announced (Cyclic Law – CD/Digital)
“Joint project of Portuguese J. A. (Wolfskin, Karnnos) and A. Coelho (Sektor 304). IURTA is a reflection upon the modern dystopia. Inspired by the works of J. G. Ballard and A. Tarkovski, IURTA’s first full length album deals with the fragmentation of identity, of a mind forged by short-circuited information processes. It is a guided descent into an abstracted insanity, a sonic diary of the verge of mental breakdown through soundscapes built upon cascading drones, harsh textures and minimal sonic oscillations. Neural dark ambient, at times punctuated by a cinematic tone exploring the limits of an inner space.”

Less than1 – New EP Released (Cian Orbe Netlabel – Digital Only)
Less than one (<1) (other projects: R0[nought], Fencepost) is an experimental, drone, dark ambient, field recording, musique concrete project from Uk. This EP is a compilation of unreleased and demos. Listen to preview here.

sp3ct3rs – New EP released (Digital Only)
The latest from musician Jim Wylde comes from his flagship dark ambient project Sp3ct3rs. This one is self-released and digital only.

Sun Through Eyelids – New Single
We get a hint at some of the upcoming material from this dark ambient act from New Zealand.

TeHÔM – Preorder Announced (Cyclic Law – CD/Digital)
“Special LIVE audio recording of a unique TeHÔM performance for “The Keep Ambient Lodge” at 2016’s Brutal Assault Festival in the Czech Republic. Recorded both through the mixing board as well as from two room microphones to capture glimpses of the live experience. TeHÔM’s music recalls visions of ancient cultures, evoked by hypnotic, abstract and organic soundscapes wrapped in ritualistic and esoteric atmospheres from which a primordial flood of Chaos emerges. ”

Wil Bolton – New Album Released (Hidden Vibes – CD/Digital)
“Night Paths’ is an album of dreamy ambience inspired by reveries of moonlit summer nights, walking aimlessly through forest paths. Made with a refined instrumental palette of electric guitar, analogue synthesizers and looper pedals, asynchronous loops and layers merge and collide in hypnotic lulling repetitions. An array of stomp box effects and crackling amp noise blur and disrupt these tones. Swathes of gauzy reverb and woozy delays and chorusing effects evoke daydreams and soft-focus memories. ”

This Is Darkness Week In Review

VelgeNaturligOpalescent Pust
Opalescent Pust is his first full length album in over ten years, not counting the gterma re-edition of Humus. And it is a very mature piece of dark ambient with all the attributes mentioned above, but mixed in a way that it doesn’t raise any confusion. The drones are dense, sometimes counterpointed by the natural sounds like tiny bells or water streams. It may not have single memorable moments, but it works as one monumental entity. The tracks don’t have beginning nor end, one transforms into another. That was the way Ivo initially constructed this CD, it was later divided into particular indexes. It’s one of these albums which you can place only in your own personal context, made by yourself as it’s floating outside the fourth dimension, you can’t place it in a specific time and space, but have to make up one of your own. For one listener Opalescent Pust may be dark and oppressive, while another will find it soothing and serene. Nothing is obvious here, everything is left for your own interpretation. Even the titles of the pieces are just, I don’t know, to put things in order. Personally, I don’t even care about them, I listen to this CD from the beginning to very last minute without paying attention when one fragment ends and another begins. It absorbs the environment (and the listener’s attention) pretty effectively. Not a bad work, Mr. Santos, not bad at all.
Read the full review here.

AltarmangVoid
The sounds, even on “Sulphur” never become so active as to distract the listener from some other primary goal, such as reading, gaming, studying, etc. But, just as the sounds lend themselves so well to meditation, listeners will also find that a traditional listening session can be quite fruitful and enjoyable. I would recommend this album to any fans of ritual ambient, especially those that lean toward the styles presented on the Aural Hypnox label. While the album is available for download through the Hypnagoga Press Bandcamp page, this latest release on vinyl through Autarkeia is really beautiful and well prepared. It will be a great addition to any fan’s record collection.
Read the full review here.

The RosenshoulDarkly I Listen
Darkly I Listen is the most ambitious effort yet from The Rosenshoul. This is the first album to be released under that moniker in the physical format. Darkly I Listen has been self-released by Duncan Ritchie and he’s taken the bold step of creating a digipak CD that appears to be quite professionally executed. The cover-art is beautifully dark, evoking just the right sort of imagery for sounds such as these. The gamble seems to have already paid off, as there are only 8 copies remaining for sale through his Bandcamp page as I write this review. So if you are thinking about purchasing a physical copy, you’d best move fast! I would highly recommend this album to just about any dark ambient fan. It should have no trouble with impressing fans of Duncan’s other project Flowers For Bodysnatchers. It is also a real treat for those fans that prefer the long-form style over short, concise tracks. In short, Darkly I Listen should be a welcome addition to the collection of any discerning dark ambient listener!
Read the full review here.

Martin Bladh – Interview (re-published from Terra Relicta)
Martin Bladh is a multi-faceted artist. Over his years in the public eye, Martin has worked on numerous visual, musical, and performance art projects. He entered the public realm through his power-electronics project, IRM, with Erik Jarl, and later joined by Mikael Oretoft. He would soon join forces with Magnus Lindh creating the musical force know as Skin Area. Martin has also done musical projects with Sektor 304, entitled Ruby, and with Bo I. Cavefors, entitled The Island Of Death, as well as a number of his own personal musical projects.
Read the interview here.

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The Rosenshoul – Darkly I Listen – Review

Artist: The Rosenshoul
Album: Darkly I Listen
Release date: 14 August 2017
Label: Self-released

Tracklist:
01. Violence My Heart
02. In Her Blood
03. Revenge And A Black Dog

The Australian musician, Duncan Ritchie, will be best known to our readers from his other dark ambient project Flowers For Bodysnatchers. While he started creating dark ambient initially as The Rosenshoul, he had several highly acclaimed albums as Flowers For Bodysnatchers before he was brought into the Cryo Chamber family. Aside from Atrium Carceri, Flowers for Bodysnatchers has become one of the most successful and recognizable artists on Cryo Chamber, that is, if we are to gauge success by album sales and Facebook followers.

The Rosenshoul has been on hold since the 2014 release of Hidden Field. With all the output coming from the Flowers for Bodysnatchers project, I was a bit surprised to see this new album by The Rosenshoul show up on Bandcamp. Surprised, but also delighted. The difference between the two projects can often be quite minuscule. The most noticeable difference between the two project can be seen in track lengths. While Flowers for Bodysnatchers tracks usually run between four and seven minutes length, The Rosenshoul always delivers long-form tracks. Often as long as twenty minutes in length and usually roughly three tracks per album. This long-form style of dark ambient makes for a more intimate and uniform approach to the music. The Rosenshoul tracks have a chance to slowly develop and they can often gently slide from one emotion or energy level to another within the same track.

Flowers For Bodysnatchers takes on a cinematic dark ambient style which incorporates the cinema into the tracks, building a story within itself. The Rosenshoul also has a cinematic approach, but it is less in the active sense; it leans more toward providing the role of a soundtrack. There is no shortage of field recordings, and there are stories being told, but these stories are much more subtle, allowing the listener to take a more imaginative approach to their interpretation.

Darkly I Listen is full of energy, emotion and intrigue. The album comes with a companion poem, which is helpful in conveying a full understanding of the material to the listener.

Darkly I Listen through the raven.
Darkly I Listen through the trees and
through the walls and the windows.
Darkly I Listen into your violent heart.

Now I will come to you.
Come to you as decay and death.
Come to you slowly.
Like the black dog in the blackest night.

And from the bloodiest of shadows I shall
show you the hell you brought unto me.

The only other descriptor we are given to understand the album is this sentence: “Darkly I Listen explores a Victorian era tale of murder and otherworldly revenge.” There is no point in me attempting to tell my personal interpretations of these tracks or how they fit together as a whole. The process should be personal to each listener, and Ritchie has clearly intended for that process to be an integral part of the experience listeners have with his album.

From a technical standpoint the music is a bit more musical than many other dark ambient artists, though this can also be said about Flowers For Bodysnatchers. Flowers for Bodysnatchers most often incorporates piano sections as the direct musical addition to the soundscapes. The musical elements of The Rosenshoul, specifically on this new album, seem to come in the form of string instruments. In all honesty, I’m not sure if these sections are synthesizer created or if they are the actual instruments being played, but my guess would lean more toward the former. The drone-work is quite active, with swiftly evolving drones coming in and out of the soundscapes, changing note and pattern frequently. The real foundation of this album lies in the field recordings. They have a constant presence throughout the album. They are best described as industrial, not the genre, but as in field recordings collected in an industrial district of a city. A picture comes to mind of a scene from Eraserhead, Henry (Jack Nance) wandering through a dark, rainy, gloomy atmosphere in the heart of the industrial district of some nondescript metropolis. This image fits nicely with the descriptor for the album, which describes this as taking place during the Victorian era, which was also centered amidst the industrial revolution of western civilization.

Darkly I Listen is the most ambitious effort yet from The Rosenshoul. This is the first album to be released under that moniker in the physical format. Darkly I Listen has been self-released by Duncan Ritchie and he’s taken the bold step of creating a digipak CD that appears to be quite professionally executed. The cover-art is beautifully dark, evoking just the right sort of imagery for sounds such as these. The gamble seems to have already paid off, as there are only 8 copies remaining for sale through his Bandcamp page as I write this review. So if you are thinking about purchasing a physical copy, you’d best move fast! I would highly recommend this album to just about any dark ambient fan. It should have no trouble with impressing fans of Duncan’s other project Flowers For Bodysnatchers. It is also a real treat for those fans that prefer the long-form style over short, concise tracks. In short, Darkly I Listen should be a welcome addition to the collection of any discerning dark ambient listener!

Written by: Michael Barnett

Martin Bladh – Interview (re-pub)

This interview was originally published in January 2017 on Terra Relicta – Dark Music Webmagazine. Tomaz has been kind enough to allow me to re-publish the interview here on This Is Darkness!

Interview with: Martin Bladh
Conducted by: Michael Barnett

Martin Bladh is a multi-faceted artist. Over his years in the public eye, Martin has worked on numerous visual, musical, and performance art projects. He entered the public realm through his power-electronics project, IRM, with Erik Jarl, and later joined by Mikael Oretoft. He would soon join forces with Magnus Lindh creating the musical force know as Skin Area. Martin has also done musical projects with Sektor 304, entitled Ruby, and with Bo I. Cavefors, entitled The Island Of Death, as well as a number of his own personal musical projects. Delving into the medium of film, Martin has created a handful of videos, many of which can be seen on the DVD accompanying Epicurean Escapism I. He also played a large part in the production of the feature film, Gasper. In the visual art world, Martin has joined forces with Karolina Urbaniak, starting Infinity Land Press. Through Infinity Land Press he has already participated in the production of a number of books, including The Rorschach Text, To Putrefaction, No Breath Of Sound – The History Of Drowning and Darkleaks – The Ripper Genome. With all these projects in the works along with more that I haven’t even mentioned, and others which haven’t yet found their way to the public eye, Martin Bladh is a very busy man. I am honored to have the multi-media artist take a little time out of his dizzying schedule to answer some questions about his art and some others which lead in a more personal direction.

Michael: I have to admit from the start, I was a bit nervous to conduct this interview. So often these days in entertainment, artists follow their own path, without much attention to overarching themes or the history of art. I get the feeling when observing your various forms of art, that there is a serious depth, hidden meanings, allegories, which all need to be taken into account to fully appreciate your body of work. Do you have a formal education in the arts, or has this always been a natural passion for you?

Martin: I’m interested in the history of art, and yes, I’ve studied it at the university as well. Even though you don’t need the faculties I really believe this is something people need to know and understand, before they can call themselves “artist,” or using words such as “important,” “urgent,” “brave” or “original.” I also went to so-called art school for some years, which was, and is nothing but utter BULLSHIT that should be shunned like the plague. I’m sure that at least 95% of all this silly playground nonsense does more damage to the so-called artist to be and the art-world in whole.

Michael: Considering my previous question, do you find that fans often notice the underlying meanings?

Martin: Well, I’ve different kinds of fans. Some of my “music fans” are mainly interested in noise and the pitch of my voice. I mean if you haven’t bought the latest IRM and Skin Area CD’s, read the lyrics and looked at the artworks you have a very vague idea about the content. You can’t listen to an MP3 and experience it, that’s just impossible. Then of course you wouldn’t count as a FAN if you didn’t buy the actual record, right? Saying that, my work has a vagueness, and ambivalence to it, it points you into specific territories but it doesn’t have one specific meaning.

Michael: Are you equally happy to see fans enjoying your art, regardless of their understanding of the underlying meanings?

Martin: I don’t like laziness, which is a huge problem these days. There’s too much information out there and it’s too easy to get it; that instead of really analyse a subject people are just scratching the surface and move on to the next download. I mean, the day people will start to buy kindle art-books everything is fucked! But of course, it’s always nice to be appreciated, even if it’s only for having composed a curious tune, or a framed decorative piece of tapestry.

Collage Inspired by Rembrandt’s The Blinding of Samson

Michael: You have recently started a company, Infinite Land Press, with Karolina Urbaniak. Would you like to tell readers a little bit about the goals of the press and some of the recent publications?

Martin: Me and Karolina Urbaniak started Infinity Land Press back in 2013 as a means to publish our own material without having to deal with any middleman. I still lived in Sweden back then and Karolina was based in London. Our first book To Putrefaction (2013), a romantic ode to death and decay, was strictly limited to 50 copies. We then got the idea to publish books with other artists that we admired, such as Dennis Cooper, Michael Salerno and most recently Philip Best, and collaborations between ourselves and other artists – Karolina did Altered Balance with Jeremy Reed and The Void Ratio with Shane Levene, and in the beginning of 2017 me and Jeremy Reed’s book Darkleaks – The Ripper Genome was released. We usually deal in strictly limited editions because that’s what we can afford and stock in our office (which is our living room), and we’ll continue to publish as long as we find material that’s interesting enough. Our credo: Infinity Land is a realm deeply steeped in pathological obsessions, extreme desires, and private aesthetic visions. Having disappeared over the horizon from the nurseries stocked with frivolous babblings of apologetic pleasures, Infinity Land is foundationally a geography configured by the compulsive, annihilating search for impossible beauty.

“True beauty is something that attacks, overpowers, robs, and finally destroys.”
Yukio Mishima

Michael: As I’ve already alluded to, your artistic vision is truly multi-faceted. You have released everything from books, to DVDs, to albums. You have also done some stage shows which combine aspects of all these projects. Can we look at your entire body of work as part of a whole? Is there an over-arching vision which anchors all these ideas into one central theme?

Martin: I like the Wagnerian idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk, where different artistic media bleed together into one synthesis. It might be a weakness, but I’ve never felt satisfied by expressing myself through a single media, and I’ve vivid memories of the suffocating frustration that I went through from the period 1998 – 2003, when sounds and lyrics was my only outlet. The multimedia expression has become an absolute necessity for me, if you read my books DES and The Hurtin’ Club you know what I mean. And yes, every new project I do has a specific content which I try to filter through these various medias.

Michael: Out of all your musical output over the years, I was the most intrigued by your work on Ruby with Sektor 304. The vocal style was totally different than I had experienced on IRM or Skin Area albums. I wonder if you could give us some insight into that album? How it came about as a collaboration between you and Sektor 304. Also, I wonder what your connection is to the character named Ruby, the main focus of the album.

Martin: I’m glad to hear you saying that as I believe it to be highly underrated. The Sektor 304 guys contacted me back in 2012, and wanted me to send them a guest recording for a live broadcast they were doing for the Portuguese radio. When I heard the result I was very pleased and asked them if they wanted to collaborate with me on an album. I remember making clear from the start that this would be something different from what I’ve been doing with IRM and Skin Area, and the guys were very sympathetic and excited about that. The whole narrative and background story of Ruby (the name’s got an alchemical inclination) came out of a clinical study from the late 50ties, about art therapy and schizophrenia which I’ve read. It was based on dialogs between a psychiatrist and patient, how the patient’s explained his painting for the psychiatrist and the interpretation process involved. I kind of re-wrote this material for my own purpose, which (obviously) took it into even darker territories, and that was the birth of the androgynous Ruby.

Michael: I had the pleasure of witnessing an IRM performance last year, on the APEX Fest Tour. The performance was magnificent. You had an extremely theatrical stage presence, which seemed almost choreographed, everything from your facial expressions to body positioning, and the handling of the two microphones. Do you put a lot of preparation into your live sets for all your projects or was this a natural presence which just seemed to be calculated?

Martin: Nothing I do on stage has been prepared or choreographed beforehand; but I’ve done these performances for quite some time now; so I might rely on my body memory. The only so called “preparation” I do is to drink, and let the alcohol sensation peak when I go on stage, I guess it’s somewhat similar to an Dionysian frenzy, and I really work myself up when I’m up there; so I’m not really aware of my body postures or facial expression until watching the reproduction of the show afterwards (which I do very seldom).

from DES: Sad Sketches

Michael: Continuing on the topic of the APEX Fest, I was delighted to read in the “Through My Eyes” article (you can read that article here) on Santa Sangre Magazine: “Any moment of 2015 you’ll remember on your death bed? The city of Baltimore. I never seen anything like it in the western world. A hellhole. Amazing.” Obviously, coming from Baltimore, I found this remark quite interesting. Baltimore, as with much of the United States and Europe, is currently undergoing a lot of social changes and realizations. I would be interested if you could take that previous statement into a bit more detail, and describe to the readers exactly what you found so different about Baltimore.

Martin: Ha, ha, well I guess that statement was a bit unfair, cause I only saw some of the roughest parts of the city, which actually reminded me of photographs of Berlin 1945, with whole building blocks caving in on themselves. I know there’s another side to the city as well, but I never seen anything like it neither in Western nor Eastern Europe. I remember asking the organiser for a pharmacy and she told me there was one just a couple of hundred meters away, but to get there I should take cab because otherwise it might be too dangerous.

Michael: In 2014, your most enduring musical project, IRM released Closure… through Malignant Records. You also released the track, “Triptych”, which is a sort of crash course of the whole trilogy which included: Indications of Nigredo, Order4 and Closure… Since finalizing this chapter of IRM, have you begun to work on something new, or is IRM currently on hold as you guys focus on other projects like Skin Area, Jarl, and Infinity Land Press?

Martin: IRM haven’t worked on any new material since finalising Closure… , and I’m not sure when we’ll start again. Everything is a bit more complicated since I moved to London and the other two guys are still in Sweden (living in different cities). Our records are recorded and put together very carefully, and the process of making the last two full length albums was very time consuming. Me and Magnus are actually in the process of putting together a new Skin Area record though, and we work on it every time I visit Sweden.

from Gasper

Michael: I recently reviewed the Pale Thorns debut album, Somberland. Pale Thorns is a solo-project by Magnus Lindh, the other half of Skin Area. When I spoke with Magnus, he mentioned that you had looked over his lyrical content on the album. We both agreed that your lyrics are totally unique and deliver extremely powerful imagery. I wonder if you can think back to when you first started writing lyrics. Were you a child when you first put the pen to paper, or did this come later in life as you started IRM with Erik?

Martin: As a kid I had a very vivid imagination, but I was more keen on drawing than writing. It was back in 1992 that I made my first attempts to write – coloured by the second wave of Black Metal – and from what I remember, they were hideously bad. It was later when I started to nurture a genuine interest in literature that something happened. Oedipus Dethroned (2000) would probably be the first serious example of some kind of craft.

Michael: Which writers or filmmakers have been the most influential on you throughout your life? Has this list changed much over the years as you have become an adult?

Martin: As a child I was obsessed with comic book- and James Bond villains, the only “books” I ever read were things like Flash Gordon. When I was a bit older I discovered H.P. Lovecraft and horror films. Then writers like Sade, Burroughs, Lautreamont and Mishima together with filmmakers like Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch and Pasolini turned everything topsy turvy. And then as an adult, “mature” man, I might settle for writer such as Antonin Artaud, Georg Trakl and Jean Genet, and as for film Ingmar Bergman, Fassbinder and Michael Haneke.

Michael: Sweden seems to be a place where so much unique talent enters the public realm, especially when it comes to the darker side of media. What do you think it is about Sweden which produces such dark and introspective artists?

Martin:That’s what an outsider sees when he scratches the surface, dig a little deeper and you’ll find that most of it is rather harmless and PC, filled with individuals who have a morality quite similar to your own mother’s. But yes, there are a lot of acts that originate from Sweden, and some of them are really good. A lot of it might have to do with luxury angst; to live in a safe and pampered society might give you a desire for controlled danger as spice to the boredom of everyday life. Then when it comes to medias such as literature, film or conceptual and visual art the country is a desert – total shite that is.

from Darkleaks – The Ripper Genome

Michael: You have since relocated to London, is the U.K. a more fitting home-base for your operations?

Martin: I’m closer to Karolina, and it’s of course much easier to run Infinity Land Press from here. I have two day jobs and I’ve never worked as much as I do now, but because of that I’m pricing the time I spend on my “real” work much higher.

Michael: Do you think the apocalypse is coming, if so how do you think it will happen?

Martin: Some kind of apocalypse is coming our way, but even the apocalypse isn’t the end…

Martin Bladh links: Official website, Infinity Land Press website, Infinity Land Press Facebook, IRM Facebook, Skin Area Facebook

Altarmang – Void – Review

Artist: Altarmang
Album: Void
Release date: 21 December 2016
Vinyl release: Autarkeia
Digital release: Hypnagoga Press

In only its first year, Hypnagoga Press has shown itself to be a leading label within the dark/ritual ambient genre in terms of quality of packaging, innovation of sounds and breadth of focus. The young label is run by Pär and Åsa Boström, the two siblings from the central/northern realms of Sweden. The label has a multi-dimensional set of goals. So far they have delivered three musical releases and three ultra-high quality pamphlets/zines. In the second edition of The Solar Zine they introduced to us Altarmang, a new project between Pär Boström and fellow Umean, Kenneth Hansson; their debut release coming on a c40 cassette packaged exclusively with The Solar Zine vol.2.

Altarmang made quite an impression on label heads involved in the dark ambient music scene. It wasn’t long before the Altarmang debut was offered an irresistible proposition. Their debut was quickly adopted for a second pressing by the Lithuanian label Autarkeia. Autarkeia is already well known for its deluxe and highly unique re-releases and Void is no exception. Void is now available in a limited edition of 250 copies on heavy black vinyl. It comes beautifully packaged in a sleek black and white outer jacket with a full colour inner jacket which features images of Pär and Kenneth. As far as vinyl releases go, this is one of the more interesting and well prepared packages that I have seen. While the vinyl itself is solid black, with no variant color options, the packaging is quite beautiful, crafted of high-quality materials. It easily reflects the high standards that Pär and Åsa have set for their output.

The music of Altarmang, much like its members Pär and Kenneth, is eccentric, esoteric and crafted with the most unlikely of techniques. Each of its two tracks comes in at nearly 20 minutes, which makes it a perfect fit for a vinyl release. Over this forty minutes of music, listeners are urged to follow these artists into a deep trance-like state. The music is easily enjoyable in its own right, but it is an exceptional tool for meditation purposes. From what I have gathered, Pär and Kenneth spent as much time during the creation process honing their mindsets and opening their third-eyes as they did on the actual crafting of the sounds. With each track being approximately twenty minutes, one may choose either side of the LP to use as a tool for a meditation session.

In the creation process, Pär’s primary goal is the manipulation of sounds. Much of the album consists of guitar and synth drones which have been twisted and warped by various means. Kenneth brings his knowledge as a reel to reel tape enthusiast to the project. He is able to take the initial soundscapes that Pär has created and run them through these antique machines to change them into something that sounds quite hypnotic, and at times almost disturbing and even daemonic. Kenneth’s second contribution to the project comes in the form of his breadth of knowledge as an herbalist. Filling the studio space with clouds of smoke in varied combinations, Kenneth helped Pär to tap into a deep and primal state of mind, making the ritualistic creation of this meditative music have an ever more dense concentration of spiritual energy.

Side A, “Sulphur”, is the more active of the two tracks. It starts off calmly with what I assume to be heavily manipulated analog synthesizer sounds. As the track progresses an electric guitar is used in an increasingly bold manner. Focusing on these sounds during a deep state of meditation, the guitar helps to pull the listener into a deeper level of consciousness and meditation. I have been told that the artists used a blend of essential oils, The Oil of Abramelin, as a dot on their foreheads to help awaken the third eye, I have also mixed a batch of this for my meditative sessions and found it very beneficial.

Side B, “Aether”, is a more subtle and relaxed experience. The music is more heavily focused on the synthesizer elements and doesn’t come to a high energy climax in the same way as “Sulphur”. This track is more suitable for meditative sessions that focus of calmness and reflection.

Of course, the album is perfectly interesting on its own, sans meditation. The sounds, even on “Sulphur” never become so active as to distract the listener from some other primary goal, such as reading, gaming, studying, etc. But, just as the sounds lend themselves so well to meditation, listeners will also find that a traditional listening session can be quite fruitful and enjoyable. I would recommend this album to any fans of ritual ambient, especially those that lean toward the styles presented on the Aural Hypnox label. While the album is available for download through the Hypnagoga Press Bandcamp page, this latest release on vinyl through Autarkeia is really beautiful and well prepared. It will be a great addition to any fan’s record collection.

Written by: Michael Barnett

VelgeNaturlig – Opalescent Pust – Review

Artist: VelgeNaturlig
Album: Opalescent Pust
Release date: 12 May 2017
Label: Winter-Light

VelgeNaturlig is a project from Portugal, the country I always wanted to visit. Even though it is Western Europe, you may say it’s secluded, at least to a certain degree. It’s located on the edge of the continent, surrounded only by ocean and… well, Spain, it feels like it’s culture isn’t that influenced by popular trends like in the case of other nations. Not only mainstream, I would say, but also the underground has this individual face. I wouldn’t describe the Portuguese post-industrial scene as the most resilient, but those few artists I know, they all have their own character, and this fact is not that obvious these days.

One of these artists is Ivo Santos hiding under the VelgeNaturlig moniker, active on the scene for almost fifteen years, though he had some significant moments of silence during that time. Maybe it isn’t a name from the first line of dark ambient, but I suppose that it’s quite recognizable. Although maybe I’m wrong, but I have the feeling that Ivo’s project is more respected and has a high reputation rather than actually being liked and listened for pleasure, if you know what I mean. It may be the effect of a dual nature of the project. It combines organic bliss and electro-acoustic experimenting in an interesting yet not always easily approachable manner. Even the name itself, read it out loud: VelgeNaturlig, it has an organic beauty, but at the same time it’s mechanical and cold. And it describes the nature of the project perfectly.

Opalescent Pust is his first full length album in over ten years, not counting the gterma re-edition of Humus. And it is a very mature piece of dark ambient with all the attributes mentioned above, but mixed in a way that it doesn’t raise any confusion. The drones are dense, sometimes counterpointed by the natural sounds like tiny bells or water streams. It may not have single memorable moments, but it works as one monumental entity. The tracks don’t have beginning nor end, one transforms into another. That was the way Ivo initially constructed this CD, it was later divided into particular indexes. It’s one of these albums which you can place only in your own personal context, made by yourself as it’s floating outside the fourth dimension, you can’t place it in a specific time and space, but have to make up one of your own. For one listener Opalescent Pust may be dark and oppressive, while another will find it soothing and serene. Nothing is obvious here, everything is left for your own interpretation. Even the titles of the pieces are just, I don’t know, to put things in order. Personally, I don’t even care about them, I listen to this CD from the beginning to very last minute without paying attention when one fragment ends and another begins. It absorbs the environment (and the listener’s attention) pretty effectively. Not a bad work, Mr. Santos, not bad at all.

Written by: Przemyslaw Murzyn

Frozen In Time – Weekly News 7 August 2017

Again this week, we have a ton of new releases to announce. Of particular interest, an interview with Northaunt, and the long-awaited return of The Rosenshoul, with their self-released album, which actually gets a really professional looking digi-pak release alongside the digital. As the summer winds down and we move into fall we should expect to see the frequency of releases continuing to increase. Rest assured that This Is Darkness will keep you up to date on all news and developments surrounding the dark ambient community!

New Releases & Preorders

Anthéne – New Album Released (Polar Seas Recordings – Digital Only)
For the First Time in Years is a long-form track which straddles the boundaries between ambient and dark ambient. A track that is deeply meditative and enlightening.

Francesco Giannico & Giulio Aldinucci – New Album Preorder (eilean rec. – CD/Digital)
Electroacoustic musician, videoartist and web designer, Francesco Giannico founded in 2010 AIPS and in 2013 Oak edition with Alessio Ballerini. His musical approach is better described as a cinematic journey which pushes the boundaries of digital media. He collaborated with many artists like: Kim Cascone, Ben Chatwin, Fabio Orsi, Alessio Ballerini.
Giulio Aldinucci has been active for years as a composer in the field of experimental electroacoustic music and in the research on soundscape. He wrote music for theatre, video art, documentaries and short movies. With Attilio Novellino he launched the project Postcards from Italy.
Giannico & Aldinucci’s works have been released on some labels such as Time Released Sound, Unknown Tone Records, Dronarivm and Home Normal. After their first release on Dronarivm in July 2016, they present their second album together.

Gailes – New EP Released (Digital Only)
Rafael Anton Irisarri’s project Gailes uses field recordings and minimal dronescapes to produce a sound that is somber and comforting in its darkness.The album was written, recorded and produced at Black Knoll Studio (New York) between January 22 – 25, 2016 during a snow blizzard, which lasted 24 hrs.

Iurta – New Album Preorder (Cyclic Law – CD/Digital)
Joint project of Portuguese J. A. (Wolfskin, Karnnos) and A. Coelho (Sektor 304). IURTA is a reflection upon the modern dystopia. Inspired by the works of J. G. Ballard and A. Tarkovski, IURTA’s first full length album deals with the fragmentation of identity, of a mind forged by short-circuited information processes. It is a guided descent into an abstracted insanity, a sonic diary of the verge of mental breakdown through soundscapes built upon cascading drones, harsh textures and minimal sonic oscillations. Neural dark ambient, at times punctuated by a cinematic tone exploring the limits of an inner space.
Releases 23 August 2017.

Kaa – New EP Released (Digital Only)
Kaa, the side-project of Italian dark ambient artist Vortex, has released a new EP which has a jazzy neo-classical feel. The darkness remains present but is certainly not overwhelming.

Med Gen – New Album Released (ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ – Digital Only)
“This album reveals mysteries of Nature encountered at intuitive levels of perception. Unspoken, non-verbal, but available in the streams of sounds, repeating the patterns of nature, embossed with its voices. Enchantment of wanderings and untold fairy tales…
«The idea of this album is five natural places of power, which are unusual and magnetic in their own way. Some of these places have “gates”, specific points of entry to the location. Some of them have few smaller zones, which are forming the whole organism. All locations were visited in the night time to obtain field recordings, photo and video materials. But even in the process of many years of examination all these places have certain novelty because each explored place opens few more other locations. Influence of one onto another is highly unpredictable». ”

Monty Adkins – New Album Preorder (eilean rec. – CD/Digital)
Monty Adkins is experimental sound artist based in remote countryside of the north of England. His work is deeply influenced by the visual arts and psychogeography resulting in collaborations with a number of painters and digital artists. Inhabiting a post-acousmatic sensibility, Monty’s work draws together elements from ambient, acousmatic and microsound music producing a soundworld characterised by slow shifting organic textures derived from processed instrumental sounds. His work can be found on various labels including Audiobulb, Cronica, Signature, and empreintes DIGITALes. He presents on Eilean Rec. his sixth solo albums since 2009.

Noctilucant & HollowHecatomb – New Album Released (Grey Matter Productions – Cassette/Digital)
“No one recovers from the disease of being born, a deadly wound if there ever was one.”
– Emil M Cioran

Phantoms & Mirages – New Two Track Single Released (Digital Only)
Phantoms & Mirages is Embers Below Zero side project focusing on darker and more experimental atmospheres. These two tracks are a short prelude of things to come.

Proxus – New Album Released (Cian Orbe – Digital Only)

raison d’être & Troum – Teaser and cover art revealed (Transgradient Records – CD/Vinyl/Digital)
This is the second part of the collaboration that started with ‘De Aeris In Sublunaria Influxu’, released 2015. A creation of nine separate “worlds”, existing only at the moment you immerse into it.
Releases September 1, 2017
Raison d’être sound sources used and processed by Troum 2013-2017 (deranged and reframed, morphed and transformed). Additional material recorded by Troum 2013-2017: guitars, voices, flutes, accordeon, cello, violin, didgeridoo, dombra, tapes, found sounds.
CD released by Transgredient Records, TR-12.

Randal Collier-Ford – New Album Preorder (Cryo Chamber – CD/Digital)
The last entry in the apocalyptic series, the accumulation of events that has brought the listener to this point, Promethean is the closing chapter of the worlds transformation.
Promethean picks up years after the event of The Architects destructive era of eradication, as well as the years of darkness and reflection within the Remnants album. The album opens with a transmission from an unnamed wanderer, facing down the sight of an opening maw in the Earth, speaking of his next destination; his search for answers. The album takes him, and the listener, through a new world, a reshaped world, with new eyes to see what remains, what was, what will be. Until he reaches his final destination, his final transformation, the point in time to change his path forever.
Promethean is a multilayered effort to tell an overarching storyline, through multiple timelines and multiple realities. To allow the listener to dive deep into each tracks meaning in their symbolism, how they tie the album together, as well as the series.

The Rosenshoul – New Album Released (CD/Digital)
Darkly I Listen through the raven.
Darkly I Listen through the trees and through the walls and the windows.
Darkly I Listen into your violent heart.
Now I will come to you.
Come to you as decay and death.
Come to you slowly.
Like the black dog in the blackest night.
And from the bloodiest of shadows I shall show you the hell you brought unto me.

Sana Obruent – New Single Released (Digital Only)
This is an audio collage of the Sana Obruent track “Intermission” and audio from the cassette tapes that were made by heiress Patricia Hearst who was kidnapped on February 4, 1974 in Berkeley, California. Audio from cassette tapes are from Day 59, April 3, 1974 – Day 80, April 24, 1974.
Track was recorded and mixed at TSC studios somewhere in California – August 2017.
Patty Hearst is the granddaughter of American publishing magnate William Hearst. She was was kidnapped by a left-wing terrorist group known as the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) in 1974. After being isolated and threatened with death, she became ‘supportive’ of their cause, making propaganda announcements for them in the form of audio tapes and taking part in illegal activities. She was found 19 months after her kidnapping, by which time she was a fugitive wanted for serious crimes.
She did jail time but there was much discussion about her situation – she was possibly brainwashed (Stockholm Syndrome) and therefore had her sentenced commuted by President Jimmy Carter and pardoned by President Bill Clinton.

Shelter of Trees – New Single Released (Digital Only)
Shelter of Trees deliver another descent into the imagination with “Among Spiral Friends”. The music is extremely subtle, a perfect companion to relaxation, meditation or sleep assistance.

TeHÔM – New Album Preorder (Cyclic Law – CD/Digital)
TeHÔM’s next release “Live Assault” (live album recorded in Czech Republic 2016 @ Brutal Assault Festival and their “Keep Ambient Lodge”) will be out soon through Cyclic Law (95th Cycle) in a 4-panel matte laminated Digipak CD and La Esencia Records (LER016), spanish label, in LP Vinyl Picture Disc version including “Exta Assault” CD with 3 more studio tracks, some nice postcards, etc.
Here are some short previews. Pre-Order available AUGUST 22nd 2017.

Thangorodrim – Gil Estel preview (Deivlforst Records – CD/Digital)

Winterblood – New Album Released (Digital Only)
Minimalismo Arcano is the latest self-released album by Italian dark ambient / dungeon synth artist Winterblood. Minimalismo Arcano, contrary to its name has a broader spectrum of sounds than most of his previous works. There are sweeping drones, analog manipulations and somber pianos, among other things, coming together to form one of his most personal and introspective works to date.

This Is Darkness – Week In Review

Northaunt – Interview
Hærleif Langås is the man behind several dark ambient acts, including: Northaunt, Therradaemon and The Human Voice. I was lucky enough to pick Hærleif’s brain about some of his inspiration over the years, information about upcoming releases and the frailties of the human condition, among other things. An interview with this Norwegian artist, one that has dedicated so much of his career to music of the coldest variety, seemed like a fitting way to give us a bit of rest and distraction from the scorching summer months.
Read the full interview here.

Leonard DonatDeer Traps
Alexander Leonard Donat is best known for his project Vlimmer. Vlimmer is a genre bending project which touches on dark ambient, darkgaze, darkwave, indie and krautrock among other things. His latest release Deer Traps is released as Leonard Donat also on the Blackjack Illuminist Records label, where most of his works can be found.
Deer Traps takes a significantly more subtle approach than albums under the Vlimmer name. The album is decidedly lo-fi, giving it a sort of warm rusty feel that could almost touch on the emotions conjured by The Caretaker and the like. Yet, contrary to the comparison, the actual sounds beneath this hissing and cracking are presented in the most minute of detail.
Read the full review here.

protoU & HilyardAlpine Respire
Alpine Respire is a perfect fit on Cryo Chamber. It has all the attention to detail one would expect of this label. The field recordings are crisp and give life to the entire album. The drones are varied, sometimes taking on hollow natures other times so dense that they literally seem to crush boulders. protoU and Hilyard make a fantastic pairing, their skills seem to be relatively overlapping, as are their goals. This album is overflowing with field recordings. For listeners that love to hear the elements of nature transported to their speakers, this is the perfect album to add to their libraries. the drone work is also top-notch. The combination makes for some brilliantly dark ASMR enriched music. It is the perfect companion to a late night of reading, a stroll through nature, or a critical session of active listening on a high-quality headset. I, for one, will surely be returning to this album very often.
Read the full review here.

SiyanieMystery of Life
The two musicians are known from their other projects, as both Vresnit and Neznamo are already recognized members of the ever-growing Russian ambient/experimental family. Mystery Of Life is their fourth album, including the collaboration with the mentioned Neznamo. I know that our page is called This Is Darkness and Mystery Of Life is somewhat distant from the pitch-black or grey ambiances (check the cover), but there’s a certain form of depth which most of the shades of ambient share. The spirituality, the detachment from the mundane world. But, while dark ambient artists often wander through the wastelands, sometimes in the literal meaning, sometimes as a metaphor of the dark corners of the human soul, the artists like Siyanie (Russian word meaning “radiance”), search for a harmony with nature, a contemplation in a peaceful solitude.
Read the full review here.

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