Month: September 2017 (Page 1 of 2)

Frozen In Time: Weekly News 20 September 2017

It’s been another crazy week here at This Is Darkness HQ. September has just been totally insane, but mostly in good ways. As one major announcement has just been fulfilled, there are already ruminations of another big announcement, though that one may still be far off. This Is Darkness Presents Vol.1 Dark Ambient has already been  hugely successful in these first few day of release. I’m so happy that everyone has such great feedback about the release. All the artists involved are equally responsible for helping bring this massive undertaking to reality. In conjunction with the release we’ve started a new featured section on TiD called “Artist Spotlights” and we’ll be giving you some in-depth looks at many of the artists that we’ve featured on the compilation. There are also more music videos to come from Tim VDS and one other, yet to be disclosed, videographer. Thank you all so much for the support and kind words this week. It truly meets a lot!

Compilation Released!

Music Videos & Teasers

Northumbria – New Music Video

Mebitek Teaser Video
Teaser #1 – The End Of Everything (Funeral Movement)
The last chapter of Unconscious Trilogy is coming in #Autumn #2017. Will the riddle be finally solved? Perhaps.
Here’s an hint: As rain, teardrops, thou art slipping on the window pane and I cannot catch thee. Then, I look at thee through my imagination window: idealised, perfect, mine, in a loop, until the end of time.

New Releases & Pre-orders

Item Caligo – New Album Released (Digital Only)
Defective Puppets is the new release by Item Caligo. As is to be expected, he creates very interesting textures that evoke deep emotional feelings. This release is “name your price”, and you can really never go wrong with Item Caligo! He recommends listening in overcast weather or at night.

Kaya North – New Album Released (The Eagle Stone Collective – Digital)
Tribal Mountain is one of the darkest releases that I’ve yet heard from this great and diverse French label. As usual, they release it as “name your price” so definitely give it a chance!

Mërtwaya Priroda – Pre-order Available (Kalpamantra – Digital)
The latest Kalpamantra release is the side project of Re-Drum, know for their release on Zoharum.

Metatron Omega – Pre-order Available (Cryo Chamber – CD/Digital)
The third album from Metatron Omega continues the story of Sanctum and Gnosis Dei. The hermit travels beyond enlightenment, and deep into the perception of the Unknowable.
To be “illuminated” means that one discovers something that wasn’t known before, but by doing this, one is casting a shadow upon something else. The eternal light shines upon the unveiled depths of the soul. While it’s reflection weaves into monastic atmospheres.
Witness the chants of hypnotic choirs from the cosmic Cathedral at the end of life. The everlasting voices of monks lost in space and time, searching for knowledge as they echo through dimensions.
The “Illuminated ones” chant in hypnotic choral unison for the salvation of Mankind’s universal spirit. By transcending everything that is material. Illuminating the spirit, they cast a Great Shadow upon the world.
Recommended for fans of dark cathedral music, deep drone and brooding choirs.
Releases 26 September.

raison d’être & Troum – New Album Released (CD/Digital)
This is the second part of the collaboration that started with ‘De Aeris In Sublunaria Influxu’, released 2015. Based on a notion of the fascinating Amazonian Piraha tribe, this is an excursion into nine different micro-worlds of perception and consciousness. Music that reaches for the eternal, but it only exists in the very moment.

Shelter of Trees – New Album Released (Cephalopagus – Digital)
As this age of darkness is upon us, great angels, bearers of light, are battered and scattered to the far corners…dislocated, dismembered, but not defeated. Their faint but glorious voices pierce this darkness with the promise of return…
In this stunning album debut, Cephalopagus Records presents Shelter Of Trees’ Requiem For Dislocated Angels. Displaying a harmonious sonic balance of darkness and light, Shelter Of Trees’ mystical sound currents will both terrify and console. The eternal dance of dark/light, yin/yang, ugliness/beauty, creation/destruction is brilliantly evoked by Shelter Of Trees in their first ever release.
TREES are the places of birth and death; they are used as sacred shrines and places of spiritual pilgrimage, ritual, ceremony and celebration. Sacred trees are found in the Shamanic, Hindu, Egyptian, Sumerian, Toltec, Mayan, Norse, Celtic and Christian traditions. The World-tree is described in The Upanishads as “a tree eternally existing, its roots aloft, its branches spreading. In these dark times, more than ever, we seek the ancient wisdom, protection and shelter of trees.

Sonologyst – New Album Released (Eighth Tower – Digital)
Experimental dark ambient maestro Sonologyst has returned! This time he releases his new apocalyptic themed album through Eighth Tower Records a sub-division of his Unexplained Sounds Group.

sp3ct3rs – New Single Released (Digital Only)
Quebec’s sp3ct3rs has just released a slightly experimental dark ambient composition. Nice dark vibes and “name your price”, so give it a try!

The Winterhouse – New Album Released (DataObscura – CD/Digital)
A beautiful and immersive new set of drifting soundscapes from
The Winterhouse – Robert Davies and Anthony Paul Kerby.
Moving, complex, and powerful ambient. The 8th Winterhouse
release.

This is Darkness Week in Review

Artist: Medhelan
Album: Ticinum Insubria
Release date: 25 February 2015, Re-release 2017 on Cassette
Label: Self-released
Read the review here.

Please consider making a donation!

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.

 

This Is Darkness Presents Vol.1 Dark Ambient Now Available!

The huge new compilation that we’ve been working on for months has finally arrived! This Is Darkness and all the wonderful artists involved in this compilation hope that you will all enjoy the music, discover some new artists and hear some great exclusive new tunes from some of your favorites! The album is available for “name your price”. This way we can spread the music to as many fans as possible, while still allowing those interested to support our zine in any way they see fit. Keep a look out for more of the “Artist Spotlights” over the coming weeks and months, these will help to give readers a more intimate knowledge of many (maybe all) of the artists that took part in this project. Enjoy the 7+ hours of music and let us know what you think!
Link: https://thisisdarkness.bandcamp.com/album/vol-1-dark-ambient

While you are listening, consider having a look at some of our previous reviews and interviews or the Artist Spotlights!
All Reviews
All Interviews

Artist Spotlights

Second Round of Pre-order Tracks for Compilation

As we go into the final weekend before the full release of This Is Darkness Presents Vol.1 Dark Ambient, we are revealing four more tracks to give you a bit extra to listen to over these last few days!

These new tracks are by Treha Sektori, Fear-Modern-Man, Shibalba and Sonologyst.

Enjoy!

Medhelan – Ticinum Insubria – Review

Artist: Medhelan
Album: Ticinum Insubria
Release date: 25 February 2015, Re-release 2017 on Cassette
Label: Self-released

Tracklist:
01. Il Viaggio Di Belloveso (Bellovesus’ Journey)
02. Il Ramo Delle Streghe (the Witches’ Marsh)
03. La Luna E Il Fiume (The Moon and the River)
05. Nemeton
05. Epona
06. Oltre il Cerchio del Tempo (Beyond the Circle of Time)
07. Alba Insubre
08. Belisama
09. Terra Di Nebbia (Land of Mists)
10. Gli Spiriti Del Bosco (Spirits of the Woods)
11. An Thon
12. Samonios
13. Ticinum Insubria
Note: Track 06 is only available on the cassette version.

Matteo Brusa, the man behind Medhelan, has been slowly solidifying himself as a force within the dungeon synth and dark ambient genres over the last few years. While Brusa’s first release only came about in 2015, we shall see that the lead up to these releases have been years in the making. Medhelan is, at this point, most well known for his strictly dungeon synth albums. But, what first attracted me to his sounds was the combination, on several albums, of dungeon synth with dark ambient. Medhelan seems to have quite a good grasp on the spirit and formulae behind both of these genres, and his ability to casually meander between the two is noteworthy.

Ticinum Insubria, the album in question for today’s review, was actually the first full length effort by Medhelan, releasing in early 2015. Ticinum Insubria would be the first of his pairings of dark ambient and dungeon synth. That year would also see the release of his EP, The Minstrel’s Fireplace Tales, which is strictly dungeon synth. Later that year, he released Nocturnal Wanderings, as the title makes obvious, its an album that is perfect for those late-night hours of insomnia, when the mind is floating between the realms of consciousness and slumber. By October of 2015, Medhelan released A Crown of Ice and Stone, a split with winter synth master Elador. This was my introduction to Medhelan, as I’m a huge Elador fan. Though these releases were well enough received, 2016 would be the year that brought the name Medhelan to the “mainstream” of the dungeon synth genre. In July of 2016 Brusa released the album Fall of the Horned Serpent on Deivlforst Records. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of the present dungeon synth scene should be very familiar with Deivlforst Records. This album took his work in the dungeon synth genre to the next level, finding universal praise for his efforts among the dungeon synth scene, and quickly selling out the digipak version of the release.

The cassette release of Ticinum Insubria, in 2017, gives us reason to travel back to the roots of Brusa’s musical compositions. Ticinum Insubria was actually written and recorded in 2007-2008, but it wouldn’t find its way to the public for almost a decade. This release is a brilliant example of how the genres of dark ambient and dungeon synth can mingle in perfect harmony, given the correct artist at the helm.

While the album certainly leans more in the direction of dungeon synth than it does dark ambient, there are enough cross-over elements to warrant labeling it as both. Even if the dark ambient elements often lie dormant in the background, I truly believe this is the sort of album, if there ever were one, that could attract a number of dark ambient followers to the cause of dungeon synth.

The opening track “Il Viaggio di Belloveso” (Bellovesus’ Journey) begins with field recordings of what sounds like a distant storm or maybe an incoming army. The synth slowly enters the mix in the form of a gentle drone. As the track unfolds percussion leads us into a combination of synth and guitar arrangements that give the feel of an adventure just beginning, which is portraying the start of the journey of Bellovesus. Bellovesus was a legendary Gallic king. Bellovesus, around the time of 600 BCE, invaded northern Italia during the reign of Tarquinius Priscus (616BCE-579BCE), the 5th king of the original Roman kingdom, which would soon afterward fall, being replaced by the Roman Republic, that legendary political order which would survival until its ultimate demise at the hands of Julius Caesar and his heir Octavianus (Augustus).

This opening track gives us a very specific time and place, we know exactly what, where and when to have in mind as the rest of the album proceeds. After this first track, most of what follows focuses more on the depiction of moods and landscapes rather than continuing with any specific narrative. We are able to imagine the places encountered by Bellovesus and his army as he makes his way south into the Italian peninsula. We can feel the emotional effects of his journey, some times serene and reflective, other times nefarious and bellicose.

“La Luna e il Fiume” (The Moon and the River) is a track that brilliantly showcases the dark ambient/dungeon synth crossover capabilities of Medhelan. A great rumbling field recording sets the foundation and mood, while various synth sounds are used to build a narrative atop this base. Again, the track is most definitely dungeon synth, but the use of dark ambient elements, by way of the field recording and a slowly moving violin-like synth/drone element, deliberately work together with the other synths to form a track which is full-bodied and highly atmospheric as well as entertaining.

“Oltre il Cerchio del Tempo” (Beyond the Circle of Time), the track exclusive to the cassette release, is one of the more relaxing and reserved compositions on the album. It features subtle percussion and a repetitive synth arrangement which come together to give the listener the feeling of relaxing in a deep lush forest, watching the birds soar above, as a babbling brook meanders through the thick of the forest. The track title gives us the idea that Medhelan may intend for this to be a time for thinking of more lofty concepts, the greater meaning of life, our place and role within the galaxy, etc.

The 2017 cassette release of Ticinum Insubria was self-released by Medhelan. Yet, the craftsmanship of the release meets or exceeds that of most dark ambient and dungeon synth tape labels. The cassette itself is beautifully presented in white with a sticker on both sides which perfectly captures the Gallic elements of the release. The cover of the j-card features alternate artwork and a logo created by Dan Capp, an artist well-known and revered within the dungeon synth community for his work on the majority of the Deivlforst releases as well as many of the later releases of Burzum to name a few. The j-card folds-out to reveal a larger logo and the following text, which helps the listener to better understand the theme of the album.

Inspired by history, folklore and Celtic roots of the Ticino Valley, in northern Italy, “Ticinum Insubria” is meant as a journey through natural landscapes of woods, marshlands, rivers and plains, following trails of historical events, painting pictures of ancient times and legendary places, evoking pagan deities and forgotten rituals, or searching for the witches, tree spirits and mythical creatures of old folk tales.

As I’ve already mentioned, this is the perfect release for dark ambient fans that have been looking for a good introduction to the quickly growing genre of dungeon-synth. There are many branches of the genre that deviate from those introduced by Mortiis back in the early 90s. This is but one of those branches, yet it is surely a highlight amongst its peers.

Written by: Michael Barnett

Frozen In Time – Covering 2 Weeks 29 Aug thru 12 Sept

This has been a crazy last two weeks! Between physical therapy, the announcement of the compilation and a storm that wiped out my internet for two days, I’ve been working like crazy to keep everything in line. So, alas, last week’s Frozen In Time had to be merged into the one you are now reading, for my sanity. As just mentioned, the first order of business is going to be introducing you all to this massive compilation I’ve been working on. 67 exclusive tracks from a range of dark ambient artists. Pre-order is now available at $5 and on 18 September the full album will be unlocked as “name your price”. If you have been looking for a time to show some support for This Is Darkness, here’s your chance! In conjunction with the release, we’ve been working on some music videos. The first video to be released is Druhá Smrt – “Contemplate Darkness” with video production by Tim VDS. We’ve also introduced a new section, Artist Spotlights. This new section will at first be used to highlight the careers of many of the artists that took part in the compilation,  but the section will continue after that list is exausted (if that is even possible with 67 artists…). Thank you all for making last week the most trafficked week we’ve seen yet on This Is Darkness! We’ll keep doing all we can to introduce new content, new artists and new features to this quickly growing zine!

The Compilation

Music Videos

Druhá Smrt – Contemplate Darkness
Video by: Tim Van der Schraelen

Altarmang – Salamander
“Salamander is one of the two new Altarmang tracks that will be released through Cyclic Law on the Void CD digipak which is currently available for pre-order!

Carbon Based Lifeforms – Accede
This is track number 1 on Carbon Based Lifeforms’s highly-awaited fifth album, “Derelicts.” The album will be released on October 6th, 2017 through Finland/USA label Blood Music (physical) and Swedish label Leftfield Records.

Jarl – Dyatlov Colours
Live at KKP VIII – Paris – 05/04/2015. Not new, but just posted!

Sum of R – New Music Video

Artist Spotlights

Altarmang – Artist Spotlight
A detailed look at the dark ambient project Altarmang. Check out their track contributed to the new compilation This Is Darkness Presents Vol.1 Dark Ambient and also find out some more information about their debut album and some insight into the recording process behind it!
Read the article here.

Aseptic Void – Artist Spotlight
Aseptic Void contributed the opening track to This Is Darkness Presents Vol.1 Dark Ambient. Check out this brand new exclusive track, and also find out some more information about the various release by Aseptic Void over the years and find some insights by the artist into what makes him tick.
Read the article here.

New Releases & Pre-orders

All Signs of Those Who Left – New Album Released (Throne of Bael – Digital Only)
“name your price” experimental combination of harsh dark ambient nad field recordings of a girl possessed. Anneliese Michel (21 September 1952 – 1 July 1976) was a German woman who underwent Catholic exorcism rites during the year before her death. Later investigation determined that she was malnourished and dehydrated; her parents and the priests responsible were charged with negligent homicide. She was diagnosed with epileptic psychosis (temporal lobe epilepsy) and had a history of psychiatric treatment, which was overall not effective. Her condition worsened with her displaying various other symptoms which she took medication for as well. Michel and her family became convinced she was possessed by demons. The case attracted media and public attention because of the priests’ unusual decision to employ a 400-year-old ritual of exorcism. The film The Exorcism of Emily Rose is loosely based on her story.

Altarmang – New Extended Album Announced (Cyclic Law – CD Digipak)
The debut album of a new musical entity by Pär Boström (KAMMARHEIT) and Kenneth Hansson. An expanded version of the limited edition cassette released by Hypnagoga Press in late 2016, this new version features two previously unreleased tracks and has been remastered by Frederic Arbour. ALTARMANG offers uniquely intuitive and hypnotic atmospherics through reel-to-reel tape loops and analog tonalities. All infused with herbal alchemy and ceremonial surrendering. Releases 22 September.

Cicely Irvine – New Album Released (eilean rec. – CD/Digital)
Cicely Irvine (b. 1990) is a musician and sound artist based in Stockholm, Sweden. She is making music and sound design for film, radio and performance art. The release on Eilean rec is her very first and a collection of music made between 2007 and 2017.

Common Eider, King Eider – Pre-order Available (Cold Spring – CD/Digital)
The triumphant reawakening of San Francisco’s masters of behemoth ritualistic darkness…
Within “Shrines For The Unwanted, Respite For The Cast Aside”, bone, antler and voice produce connective threads between the worlds, as guitar and percussion punctuate shifts in mood. Voices call to the spirits, and the spirits call back in return. Recorded in 2016 during four private, collective only rituals, the pieces pull the listener through the darkest and most overgrown trails of the blackest forest. Monumental and horizonless ritualistic black ambience. Vocal visitations by A.C. Way of Sutekh Hexen. Releases 25 September.

Daniel James Dolby – New Album Released (Throne of Bael – Digital Only)
Grimojo is an experimental ambient album with strong elements of jazz noire / dark jazz. Highly recommended for fans of Bohrnen und der Club of Gore!

Dean Hurley – New Album Released
Although Twin Peaks: The Return has hosted an array of Roadhouse performers and spotlighted music throughout its new season, a large part of the show’s sonic identity has been defined by the space between sound effects and music. Sound and music supervisor Dean Hurley’s first installment of the library-style Anthology Resource series showcases his original ambient music contributions featured in the show’s very distinctive-sounding third season. (You might also remember Hurley as the drummer from the fictitious band Trouble, alongside Alex Zhang Hungtai of Dirty Beaches, and David Lynch’s son Riley, who performed at the Roadhouse in “Part 5” of The Return.)

Dirty Knobs – Pre-order Available (Xero Music – Digital Only)
“I often have a quote from Warren Ellis’ Morning Computer in mind while working, a mental image of “places that were only ever designed to be passed through.” Maybe that’s what this music is. Music for places that were only ever designed to be passed through. Infinite anechoic chambers absorbing all vibration. Massive underground neutrino detectors catching a glimpse of the universe as it passes through their clear waters. Galaxies of dark matter and voids. Mental spaces where time stutters and anxiety flexes.
Music to be lost and forgotten. Music from a vantablack heart.”

Enearth – Last Days (Digital Only)
“name your price’ apocalyptic dark ambient music by V. Sycatrhope of the Sycatrhope Project.

Ghost Empty – Album Released (Noctivagant – CD/Digital)

Hecq – New Album Released (Hymen Records – Vinyl/Digital)
with ‘chansons de geste’ ben lukas boysen a.k.a. hecq presents a very personal release, conceived as a memorial and dedication to bygone events and individuals. the basic sources for the eleven haunting tracks were original tape recordings boysen and his family members made decades ago for private use, ranging from piano etudes to classical works by composers like j.s. bach and johannes brahms. it was hecq’s intention to restore, to revive and to re-arrange these basic sources for the existing release in a condensed and unusual way. each tape was digitized to hard disc, loops and patches were extracted from this sound pool, and the collection was recorded on a reel-to-reel tape recorder. the tapes were taken and played back inside a church where the natural reverb of the location was added and used as the master recording.

Las Paccariscas & Coven – New Album Released (Noctivagant – CD/Digital)

Michael Bonaventure – New Album Released (Unexplained Sounds Group – Digital Only)
Curating an anthology of Michael Bonaventure’s works over the last decade was not only a superb pleasure, but a privilege too. Bonaventure is one of the rare examples of a classically trained composer who, starting from his early instrumental musical education at the organ (the first synthesizer, as he loves to say), has been able to explore the most innovative paths in terms of avant-garde music, working with solo organ compositions, vocal processing, contemporary electro-acoustic techniques as well as with industrial noise improvisations. His sensitivity to different kinds of musical languages builds a natural bridge between apparently distant lands, and even the most experimental pieces possess an inner elegance that is a distinctive sign of his artistic mastery.

raison d’être & Troum – Pre-order For New Album (Transgradient – CD/Digital/forthcoming on Vinyl)
This is the second part of the collaboration that started with ‘De Aeris In Sublunaria Influxu’, released 2015. Based on a notion of the fascinating Amazonian Piraha tribe, this is an excursion into nine different micro-worlds of perception and consciousness. Music that reaches for the eternal, but it only exists in the very moment. Releases 18 September.

Sum of R – New Album Announced (Cyclic Law – CD/Digital/Vinyl)
Switzerland’s Sum Of R led by Reto Mäder (RM74) and accompanied by Fabio Costa create slow moving instrumental sonics with a sensibility for hypnotic and complex song structures. “Orga” is an immersive voyage into a shapeshifting mist of raw-boned melodies and repetitive mantras. The album is a hybrid of ritual drums and eerie percussions, atmospheric analog electronics and epic drones forming a drifting orchestral wall of sound. Darkness, light and its reflections is what emerges from this mysterious aural mist. Cover photography by Milena Kancheva. Releases 15 September.

Sumatran Black – New Album Released (Sumatran Black – Digital Only)
Minimalist Dark Ambient Blackness – Necro Chill “name your price”

Troum – Teaser for upcoming album on Black Mara

Twin Peaks (Limited Event Series Soundtrack)(Score)
features the moody instrumental material that kept you on the edge of your seat throughout the course of the 18 episodes, which means you get lots of Angelo Badalamenti, of course, along with contributions from Muddy Magnolias, Grady Tate, Johnny Jewel, Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra / Witold Rowicki, David Lynch & Dean Hurley, Chromatics, and Thought Gang, which – spoiler alert – is actually the aforementioned Mr. Badalamenti teamed with the equally-aforementioned Mr. Lynch. Available for purchase here.

Various Artists – Visions of Darkness (Cold Spring/Unexplained Sounds Group – CD/Digital)
A gathering of majestic, heavy, dark ambient, ritual, drone and noise music from Iran. Highly original and monolithic, with stunning production, Visions Of Darkness stands shoulder to shoulder with the giants of the Dark Ambient scene.
In a country where youth culture has been heavily restricted for so long, it’s significant when a cultural form such as this has an opportunity to reach a wider audience – aided by the abstract nature of dark ambient, drone and noise. In comparison, the dance music scene has a harder time taking root in Iran due to the illegality of men and women dancing in public together. However, the growth of the experimental electronic scene is going to be about more than a mere novelty reaction to a political paradigm shift. The darkness here is a consequence of the mood of the artists – darker after the country was put on a black list and more restrictions were applied to many things, including monetary transactions to and from Iran. As a consequence, Iranian artists have a great difficulty getting the resources to better develop their projects. Despite this, the enthusiasm and will for Iranian musicians to promote their music shines through.
Releases 25 September.

Weress – New Album Released (Digital Only)
Demo of dark drone space ambient by Weress.
Weress is a experimental one-man-band project by P. Since 2012 on space univers. With many influences like Dungeon Synth, Dark Ambient, Drone, Space Ambient, Black Ambient, Post-Rock ..

Sales

DeepAudio – End of Summer Sale
DeepAudio are closing in on the finish of their summer sales. You can find a ton of great physical releases discounted here.

Pär Boström – Birthday Sale!
It’s Pär’s birthday on Wednesday and we’re celebrating with a 50% sale, all week on all releases from Hypnagoga Press, and on albums by Kammarheit and Cities Last Broadcast:
Hypnagoga Press: hypnagogapress.bandcamp.com
Kammarheit: kammarheit.bandcamp.com
Cities Last Broadcast: citieslastbroadcast.bandcamp.com/releases
Use the code: BIRTHDAYCAKE.

This Is Darkness Week In Review

Rafael Anton Irisarri – The Shameless Years – Review
Multiple listens and a continuous internal dialogue about the subject matter are required to fully appreciate the calamitous odyssey this album harbors within its sprawling sound collages. Its exploration of mankind’s frailty and failures compasses astride a conciliate raft of abstract sublimity. The Shameless Years is not only a bulwark of post-minimalist music, but a stunning account of the deepest insecurities of Rafael Anton Irisarri and his most lofty appraisals of stricken generations.
Read full review here.

Hoor-Paar-Kraat – The Place of Crossing – Review
As my first foray into the works of the Chthonic Stream label, I find this release to be a pleasant listen. It has enough diversity of sounds to keep the listener thoroughly entertained on an active listen, while simultaneously never pushing the boundaries so far as to be a complete disruption on a more passive listening session. The physical release is well thought-out and seems to be masterfully prepared. I would certainly recommend this to listeners who dabble in experimental music. The album is just experimental enough to be a novel experience, without ever going so far as to sound chaotic, a balance which is often missed on these sorts of endeavors.
Read full review here.

Please consider making a donation!

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.

Altarmang – Artist Spotlight


Altarmang
is the musical project of Kenneth Hansson and Pär Boström. They contributed the second pre-order/preview track to the new compilation This Is Darkness Presents Vol.1 Dark Ambient was created by Altarmang.

We should all be familiar with the works of Pär Boström. He is best known for his project Kammarheit. Later he started the project Cities Last Broadcast, which has grown to a level of almost equal fame as Kammarheit. Over the last two years, Pär began the label Hypnagoga Press with his sister Åsa. The two have released three issues of The Solar Zine so far on their label, along with the album Orgelhuset, the debut by their shared musical project Hymnambulae. If you’d like to get a more in-depth look at what Pär and Åsa Boström have to say about their Hypnagoga Press, I recommend you read my previous interview with the two of them, which can be found here.

We were first introduced to Kenneth Hansson on the album Void, by Altarmang. Void was first released as a cassette exclusively packaged with The Solar Zine Issue No. 2, which is now sold-out, though you can still get copies of issues no. 1 & 3 here.

”They depict this process as a creative as well as a spiritual one. Altogether the album Void was re-worked and completed during five sessions. Each session started with preparing and burning incense, to set space and center.
’Kenneth is a real alchemist. He chose what herbs to use and explained their unique quality. I sat next to him, inhaling the atmosphere, letting my mind wander’ Pär says.
’The preparations were for setting space and shifting into a focused and trance-like state. All five sessions tapped into that space and state’ says Kenneth.”

– Interview with Altarmang, The Solar Zine, issue 2.

The album was well received and was quickly picked up by Autarkeia for a vinyl release, which can be found here. Shortly afterward Cyclic Law announced that they would be releasing the album in a CD digipak version along with two more previously unreleased tracks. That version is set for release on 22 September 2017 and can be found here. In preparation for the digipak release Altarmang have created a music video for the track “Salamander” one of the new tracks that will be included on the Cyclic Law version of Void.

Altarmang links:
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/altarmang/
Void Digital Release on Hypnagoga Press:
https://altarmang.bandcamp.com/album/void
Void Vinyl Release on Autarkeia:
http://www.autarkeia.org/main.php?lang=en&menu=label
Void CD Digipak Release on Cyclic Law:
http://www.cycliclaw.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=1561

Aseptic Void – Artist Spotlight

 


The first track on our new compilation This Is Darkness Presents Vol.1 Dark Ambient is by Aseptic Void.

Aseptic Void is the project of Davide Terreni of Montopoli in Val d’Arno, Italia. He started out his musical endeavors with an academic training on the violin. In 2009 he began his dark ambient project Aseptic Void. In 2013 he released his first album, Carnal.

Later that year, he would go on to release his second album, Psychosis, on the Cryo Chamber label, which at the time was just building its foundations.

To date, Aseptic Void is probably the most well recognized for his soundtrack to the video game The Town of Light which was released in February of 2016.

Aseptic Void uses a combination of dark ambient and experimental music to create crushingly dark tones. His sounds could likely be classed within a sub-genre which we could loosely call horror ambient.

Last Innocence by Aseptic Void

He often exhibits his paintings and they have been used several times for his album covers.

“Psychology is close to my music, because I put in place a continuous catharsis… using the language of sounds to externalize my desires, recounting what lies inside of my head. I started making music for extreme communicative exigency. I always look for the best moment of inspiration for the realization of my music. I love composing at night, when the silence and tranquility envelop me. My paintings help me to complete this ‘mechanism of expression’. Painting is another art form that helps me.”

Aseptic Void links:
Official Site: Http://www.asepticvoid.altervista.org
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/asepticvoid
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/AsepticVoid
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/asepticvoid/

Hoor-Paar-Kraat – The Place of the Crossing – Review

Arist: Hoor-Paar-Kraat
Album: The Place of the Crossing
Release date: 14 January 2017
Label: Chthonic Streams

Tracklist:
01. Part One
02. Part Two

Hoor-Paar-Kraat is one of the musical projects of surrealist painter Anthony Mangicapra. He’s been releasing music for over 15 years on various labels. However, my first encounter with this musician was through this latest release, The Place of the Crossing, on Chthonic Streams.

The sounds of Hoor-Paar-Kraat fall somewhere between the realms of experimental, ambient, dark ambient, noise and neo-classical among probably several other potential tags. Needless to say, with this wide range of genre associations the music is quite interesting throughout the 22-minutes of this cassette release.

There are only two tracks on this album, which are unnamed. The only cue of a separation between the two tracks is the segregation between two sides of the cassette. The music on Part 1 is a gradually progressing aural experience. The sounds incorporated seem to be almost too numerous to fully document. The track starts off in a complete silence that slowly introduces some field recordings of various sounds which amount to maybe something shuffling around on a table. From there is presumably an acoustic guitar which is heavily treated with delay, subtle drones fade in and out of the mix, and a plethora of other natural and/or synthetic instruments come and go. There seem to be tape-loops making up at least some portion of the foundation of this track, though the experimental nature of the track makes it hard to fully settle on any one concrete conclusion. There is a bit of a lull in the middle of the track, before it gradually picks up intensity in the second half; harsher drones becoming the dominant element.

Part 2 starts off abruptly with the sounds of classical music being heavily manipulated, likely by means of manually spinning a record, forward, backward, slowly and then much faster and back again. These manipulated classical sounds continue on for several minutes, at times feeling like something that could be comparable to the vinyl manipulations of The Caretaker. By the time we reach the middle of the track, these classical manipulations have faded and been replaced by something much more electronically/digitally oriented. Strange noises, likely originating from some sort of synthesizer effects provide a base for the soundscapes with vocals being played in reverse just beneath the surface of the mix. Like the previous track, as we move toward the end the sounds become harsher before slowly fading back into silence.

While it is necessary to use words like harsh and noise to describe some of this music, these elements never move into a territory which would become overwhelming. The beauty of The Place of the Crossing is its ability to be at once heavily experimental and occasionally noisy without ever taking it too far. Restraint is used perfectly to keep the sounds right on this threshold without ever going too far into the harsh noise or chaotically experimental territories. Though these elements create the entirety of the album, it still feels like an often relaxing and always interesting musical experience.

The physical release of this album is presented beautifully by Chthonic Streams in the form of a simplistic yet elegant looking cassette accompanied by an autographed art print and single sheet of high quality paper which presents the albums credits. These are all delivered in a black portfolio box.

The cassette seems to be the perfect format for an at times noisy and experimental release of this sort. The manipulations of the soundscapes presented by Hoor-Paar-Kraat will quite likely leave the listener a bit concerned on the first play-through as there are sections where the music literally sounds like the tape is being eaten by the tape player. I find this to be a clever and entertaining element of the product. Its as if the musician is breaking through that fourth wall, giving them the ability to further mess with the mind of the listener.

As my first foray into the works of the Chthonic Stream label, I find this release to be a pleasant listen. It has enough diversity of sounds to keep the listener thoroughly entertained on an active listen, while simultaneously never pushing the boundaries so far as to be a complete disruption on a more passive listening session. The physical release is well thought-out and seems to be masterfully prepared. I would certainly recommend this to listeners who dabble in experimental music. The album is just experimental enough to be a novel experience, without ever going so far as to sound chaotic, a balance which is often missed on these sorts of endeavors.

Written by: Michael Barnett

Rafael Anton Irisarri – The Shameless Years – Review

Artist: Rafael Anton Irisarri
Album: The Shameless Years
Release date: 25 August 2017
Label: Umor Rex

Tracklist:
01. Indefinite Fields
02. RH Negative
03. Bastion
04. Sky Burial
05. Karma Krama
06. The Faithless

Rafael Anton Irisarri releases a monolithic exploration of hominin calamity.

Ambient music falls under a distinct spectrum of effect. Some artists evoke alternate mental spaces, others provide a space for listeners to reconcile themselves to the present world, and many accomplish a bit of both. New York’s post-minimalist composer Rafael Anton Irisarri has traversed several ends of this spectrum, but his latest effort comes as an austere acknowledgement of the human experience in all of its dismal magnitude. The Shameless Years stands as one of Irisarri’s most honest and passionate releases to date.

It’s hard to avoid falling into despair when looking at the world’s current state of affairs, but Irisarri has no intention of denying any unhappy realities. Through gargantuan dream symphonies, The Shameless Years imparts a coming-to-terms story over-arched by lamentations about mankind’s regression into an audacious era.

These six tracks remain shrouded in murky soundscapes, non-linear structures and dynamic plateaus. However, “Indefinite Fields” is immediately the modulative might of The Shameless Years. Spellbinding refrains navigate through a maze of oceanic white noise, gently pushing along synthetic hypnotism and seismic chord changes. The following “RH Negative” further front-loads the album’s melodic qualities, capturing the desolation left in the wake of intolerant outlooks. Irisarri stacks layer upon layer of rumbling sub-bass and distorted guitar strains on a cinematic lead as clanking percussion pushes it to an overwhelming climax of melancholic splendour.

Though the meat of The Shameless Years revels in nebulous gloom, Irisarri still wears his heart on his sleeve as he grapples with his finality. “Bastion” heralds the album’s descent into droning immensity, simultaneously pulverizing and assuaging the senses with its blend of refined arrangement and aural oblivion.

Irisarri’s vast orchestrations partly spring from the recognition that he has now outlived his father at only 40 years of age, the resulting textural cushion allows listeners to ride a transcendent crescendo towards profound acceptance of their limitations within a chaotic universe. “Sky Burial” returns to melody as quasi-choral inflections soar above suffusive meanderings, but Irisarri stays true to form by never fully locking into a form. His amorphous notation gives a cosmic perspective on existential turmoil.

The Shameless Years arguably reaches its most impactful territory with two collaborative pieces with Iranian ambient storyteller Siavash Amini. Though contrasted in their approaches, these songs raise an overpass linking two countries separated by violence, war and fear. Amani and Isarri are united by their middle-eastern heritage, yet the path between Iran and New York has become marred by horrific adversity. Their tandem effort shines a light of dismay and empathy into a wounded world — embodying the groans of the afflicted and the ache of those who would intercede.

“Karma Krama” juxtaposes angelic swells over cavernous feedback walls and abrasive static undertones, spotlighting the plight of the disenfranchised and the negligence of the privileged like a train-wreck happening in slow motion. Every layer forms a more detailed portrait of the struggle to preserve innocence, and its culmination signals the full realization of pandemic sorrow in a time where nothing is sacred and life is cheap.

Massive upsurges acquire a softer touch during the final and longest track. A fragile melody ushers “The Faithless” in, and out of its 13 minutes, offers the most vulnerable cut on the record. Distant noise-scapes and eerie bass gradually give this moving line buoyancy within its subterranean atmosphere. The song surfaces from the depths with deliberate grace via inconspicuously added drones, suspending itself over a foundation of shimmering arpeggiations and murmuring sound collages. After the final percussive clicks echo out, listeners are left to ponder their sonic journey.

The Shameless Years feels endless until it’s over, mirroring the harrowing dichotomy between alarming rapidity and agonizing sluggishness that defines the human experience. Glorious arrival points last forever until they fade in the same way the slowburn of reticent ruminations seems indefinite until unforeseen escalation whisks it away… and it all ends before one has time to truly comprehend what they just experienced.

Multiple listens and a continuous internal dialogue about the subject matter are required to fully appreciate the calamitous odyssey this album harbors within its sprawling sound collages. Its exploration of mankind’s frailty and failures compasses astride a conciliate raft of abstract sublimity. The Shameless Years is not only a bulwark of post-minimalist music, but a stunning account of the deepest insecurities of Rafael Anton Irisarri and his most lofty appraisals of stricken generations.

Written by: Maxwell Heilman

Druhá Smrt – ‘Contemplate Darkness’ Music Video

Druhá Smrt have released a number of albums through the Sombre Soniks label. Their variety of ritual dark ambient has a distinctive sound that often makes them immediately recognizable. Tim Van der Schraelen has created this video for their track “Contemplate Darkness” which is exclusive to the first compilation from our zine, This Is Darkness Presents Vol.1 Dark Ambient.
Stay tuned for more upcoming videos featuring tracks from this album!

The full compilation can be found here: https://thisisdarkness.bandcamp.com
Druhá Smrt’s latest album can be found here: https://sombresoniks.bandcamp.com/alb…
Tim Van der Schraelen’s videos can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfzk…
Rights to music retained by Druhá Smrt
Rights to video retained by Tim Van der Schraelen

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