Month: December 2017 (Page 1 of 2)

Matteo Brusa (Medhelan/La Tredicesima Luna) – Interview


Matteo Brusa is the man behind the dungeon synth project, Medhelan, and the dark ambient project, La Tredicesima Luna. Hailing from northern Italy, Brusa’s cultural and geographical histories have played a big part in his identity as a musician. I was able to pick Brusa’s mind for this quite extensive interview, which will look into the background of the man, as well as the beginning and future of his musical projects. 

Michael: What sort of music inspired you to become a musician?

Matteo: I’ve been exposed to several music genres since a very young age, but if I have to name those which most inspired me to become a musician, I’d say classic rock, progressive rock and electronica. I discovered Black Sabbath at age 12 or 13, while Italian 1970s progressive rock is the reason why I picked up bass at age 14. At almost the same time I discovered electronic music from the 90s, especially European trance, minimal techno, downtempo and breakbeat, and developed an interest in electronic music production.

Michael: When you realized you wanted to start making music, how did things evolve leading up to Medhelan and La Tredicesima Luna?

Matteo: As mentioned before, I grew up in a very music-friendly environment. My father was an amateur keyboards player and used to own several different instruments, among which a prized Roland Juno-106 which is now in my care. As a kid I spent a lot of time toying with them and eventually teaching myself how to play a bit of keyboards and some guitar;at age 14 I began studying music theory and bass guitar, and started producing my first raw electronic tracks on a simple tracker software. Since then I’ve tried my hand at several electronic music styles, I’ve played bass in a number of underground bands through the years, and I created my first full-fledged musical project KRiOS, active from 2006 to 2014, which started out as a industrial dark ambient/noise act and eventually grew to encompass all my musical influences, including folk, shoegazing, dreampop and electronica. The major turning point was when I came in contact with extreme metal in my teens: I was particularly impressed by Black Metal, its counter-cultural significance, Weltanschauung and aesthetics, and how these same characteristics were applied to electronic music by the likes of Burzum, Ildjarn, Neptune Towers, Mortiis and Wongraven. Black Metal derived Dungeon Synth and Dark ambient became my genres of choice, those which most resonated with my self, when I felt the urge to create something carrying a deeper, more personal meaning. At that point it wasn’t “just music” to me anymore.

Michael: Outside of music, are there any other things for which you are passionate?

Matteo: I have a solid interest in European history and culture, both ancient and modern, and in metapolitics: I’m intrigued by everything that puts our social, economic and values system, deemed untouchable by most, into question. I highly value doubt and critical thought over given truths and conformity. Moreover, I support any cause that aims at preserving differences and natural diversity over homologation, and as a consequence I’m very passionate about the preservation of rural traditions, folk lore, legends, tales and the gallo-italic native Lombard language of my homeland in northern Italy, all things endangered by the slow destruction of traditional communities and cultural identities.

Michael: How has the history of your particular region affected your way of looking at life?

Vigevano Castle

Matteo: I grew up on the border between Lombardy and Piedmont, and I have half Lombard, half Piedmontese ancestry. It’s a place rich of historical traces spanning from the proto-Celtic cultures of Golasecca and Canegrate to World War II. A land dotted with feudal age castles and keeps, still functioning abbeys and monastaries, medieval villages perfectly preserved in their core structure, churches, monuments and works of art from all over the centuries and so on, up to the modern age. The place where I was born and where I lived for 25 years, Vigevano, is brimming with history. It was part of the Second Lombard League in the 13th century. It holds a complex castle system, complete with an innovative elevated passageway, built between the 13th and 15th centuries by the powerful Visconti and Sforza feudal families, which includes one of the finest plazas in Italy. At the time, Leonardo da Vinci worked in Vigevano for Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan. It’s also the place where, during the First War of Italian independence, the Salasco armistice between Austria and Piedmont was signed in 1848 and where in 1849 the battle of Sforzesca was fought. In the industrial age, it flourished with the most renowned shoemaking industry in Italy and it’s still a tradition. Eleonora Duse, renowned actress and lover of Gabriele D’Annunzio, was born there in 1858. When you grow up surrounded by history like this, you can’t just ignore who you are and where you come from, which people and events influenced your ancestors, and how it cascaded to you. This is the lesson I learned from the history of my region. My roots are firmly and deeply radicated in this place, and I’m proud to collect its heritage. Sadly, the majority of people just seem not to care anymore.

Michael: When did you first take an interest in the history of your region?

Matteo: I could say it’s always been there, as I remember being a kid in primary school and listening in awe to the teacher recounting the history of my hometown, as I mentioned before, from Celts to Roman age, to Lombards’ and Franks’ rule and then to the Visconti and Sforza families in feudal age, and again from Spanish and Austrian domination to the Savoy royal family’s reign, straight into Napoleonic era and then through the First War of Italian independence towards modern age. But if I had to pick the moment when it actually became a conscious, fully developed interest, that would be in my late teens/early twenties, some time before I set on composing what would eventually become the bulk of Medhelan’s “Ticinum Insubria” album, a time when I started feeling the need to embrace my cultural roots rather than downplay them.

Michael: You have released several albums now in the cassette format. Why do you think this renaissance in cassette releases has happened and what is the most important aspect of them to your music.Matteo: As far as I can tell, the renaissance of compact cassette is mainly due to the “nostalgia factor”, to put it this way, harking back to things instantly reminding of a “golden age” of sort. While this could have been enough of a reason for reviving them in the general context of underground music and its current retro trends, I believe the return of compact cassettes holds a deeper significance to our scene: it is a powerful statement of independence from the mainstream, against the rise of dematerialized digital music, in favor of an iconic, old school, analog physical alternative. Philosophical issues aside, tape gives a recognizable sonic quality to music, a depth and warmth which is a very welcomed enhancement to certain styles of music, such as ambient.
To sum it up, I like cassettes both for how they sound and look and because of their cultural significance.

Michael: You’ve released albums now through Deivlforst Records, Lighten Up Sounds and Haftvad Records. Were these all good experiences with these labels? Will you continue working with some of them for future releases?

Matteo: I’ve had great experiences with all of them. I first got in touch with Deivlforst through Grimrik, who eventually became a friend and mentor to me, and deserves all the credit for tutoring me on taking Medhelan to “Fall of the Horned Serpent” level. I feel close to both his and Murgrind’s vision and philosophy about music and the scene, and consider Deivlforst as Medhelan’s natural home;Medhelan’s next album will be released by Deivlforst. Matt Himes of Lighten Up Sounds is a great and extremely hard-working guy, who took La Tredicesima Luna under his wing to provide it with the best presentation, promotion and distribution available. I have only positive things to say about my experience with him, La Tredicesima Luna is likely staying with Lighten Up Sounds. Finally, Haftvad was Medhelan’s first label, and a very good collaboration, despite inexperience and some difficulties not depending on either me or the label. We never did anything again together, but I was impressed by Ramin’s dedication to the Dungeon Synth scene and community.

Michael: You’ve also had several self-released physical editions, including the beautifully crafted Ticinum Insubria re-release on cassette. Do you prefer leaving these physical releases to labels or was it equally enjoyable to create the releases yourself?

Matteo: While I enjoy self-releasing and being in full control when creating the entire opus from scratch, producing and distributing it, working with a label has a number of advantages that significantly reduce workload and costs, while usually making for a more professional final result. “Ticinum Insubria” itself was kind of a hybrid, as Dan Capp did the whole design and layout work while I only took care of production and distribution. I’ll probably keep releasing both ways, but if I had to choose one, today I lean more on having a good label take care of the process.

Michael: Does religion play any major role in your life and/or music?

Matteo: Rather than religion I’d say spirituality plays a major role in my life: I follow a Celtic Pagan reconstructionist path which permeates my life and gives perspective to my music. I try to live my daily life as an all-encompassing ritual, living in the world and embracing its beauty and chaos without ever straying too far away from things that really matter, always caring for those who walked here before me, those who walk by my side and those who’ll walk my steps after I’m gone.

Michael: I know this question has already been answered in a previous interview for Masmorra’s physical dungeon-synth zine, but for those that haven’t had the pleasure to browse that edition, what does Medhelan mean, and why did you decide on this name?

Matteo: Medhelan is the ancient Celtic name of the town Romans called Mediolanum, which is present-day Milan. According to Roman historian Livy, it was founded around 600 BC by the Gaulish chieftain Bellovesus, nephew of the legendary king Ambigatos, who gathered people from several different Celtic tribes to establish a settlement in northern Italy; this particular endeavor, while based on obvious tangible needs, is also loaded with spiritual significance if interpreted as a “coming of age” quest. I picked Medhelan as my project’s name because it perfectly relates to both my love for my homeland with its rich history and my Celtic spiritual path, while at the same time it speaks of the reward coming after the struggle, and of a ritual rebirth.

Matteo: All Medhelan albums were created on software synthesizers and sample libraries only. “Fall of the Horned Serpent” is entirely recorded on Propellerhead Reason 3.5 factory soundbanks! Grimrik was able to squeeze gold out of twelve years old entry level libraries, which seems an amazing feat to me. I like to expand my sonic palette and avoid repeating myself though, so future releases will likely include some hardware synths and possibly some real instruments.

Ticino River

Michael: Some of your tracks use field recordings, I wonder if you’ve had any interesting experiences while on field recording expeditions?

Matteo: This might come as a surprise, but I actually almost never employ field recordings!The wide atmospheres swelling and rumbling underneath my songs are mostly generative soundscapes, synth drones playing dissonant chords, or stuff I create myself by heavily manipulating bits of sampled sounds, different pieces of music and such. For example, one track from “Ticinum Insubria” (I won’t reveal which one!) stands atop a completely unrecognizable sample of an alpine choir song. I like to experiment with such techniques.

Michael: Are there any new releases in the works for Medhelan? Has a label been decided for the release, which could be announced publicly?

Matteo: As previously mentioned, a new Medhelan album is in the works, albeit very slowly. It will be quite different from the previous one, and again it will be released by Deivlforst Records.

Michael: Medhelan is obviously a very fantasy oriented project, especially on Fall of the Horned Serpent. What were some of your favorite fantasy stories/mythos/sagas? Do any of them play into the works of Medhelan, or are you working within a framework totally of your own making?

Matteo: To be honest, while “Fall of the Horned Serpent” and “The minstrel’s fireplace tales” are fantasy-oriented in appearance, I’ve never considered the fantasy element to hold such a primary importance in Medhelan; for example, the story in Serpent unfolds in the form of an episodic fantasy tale, ridden with echoes of northern sagas (anyone familiar enough with the subject matter will find clear connections), but it merely serves as an allegorical means to express my views and vision of life and the world, to speak out about things I care for. While I like fantasy settings, I’m not much of a fantasy reader, besides my love for Tolkien’s whole opus, but I’m very much into epic poems and literature: my must-reads include Homer’s Iliad (Hector is a figure I strongly admire and relate to, his human virtue and flaws make his tragedy the most poignant in the whole story) and the Odyssey, the Arthurian cycle, Beowulf, von Eschenbach’s Parzival, the Chanson de Roland and more.

Michael: La Tredicesima Luna translates at The Thirteenth Moon. What is the significance of this name?

Matteo: The thirteenth moon of the year, sometimes called blue moon, is the second full moon occurring in a single month, like a “bonus” moon round. It’s an event occurring only once in a few years (hence the expression “once in a blue moon”) and it’s held by certain traditions as a time favoring divination and magick. I picked the name because of the latter implications and how they relate to La Tredicesima Luna’s concept.

Michael: How long have you had the idea to release an album as La Tredicesima Luna?

Matteo: The idea for La Tredicesima Luna first came to me in 2012. It was initially supposed to be a Pagan neofolk project with dark ambient leanings. I recorded a few demos back then, which were subsequently discarded. When I decided to split Medhelan’s ambient side from its new Dungeon Synth path, it was a natural choice to revive La Tredicesima Luna from standby.

Michael: Do both projects follow similar themes, or is there a vast difference in the thematic core of each project?

Ticino Woods

Matteo: While both take a Pagan stance in concept, Medhelan is mainly based on history, Celtic culture and spirituality handled in different ways, ranging from the simple historical soundscaping of Ticinum Insubria to the full-fledged allegorical storytelling of Serpent, while La Tredicesima Luna holds a more abstract, ritual approach focused on Pagan symbolism, mysticism and contemplation.

Michael: What is next for La Tredicesima Luna? Are you working on a follow-up to Il Sentiero Degli Dei or giving the project a momentary rest?

Matteo: The follow-up to “Il sentiero degli Dei” is currently release-ready and will likely see the light some time next year through Lighten Up Sounds.

Michael: What do you think the long-term future will hold for you musically? Will Medhelan and/or La Tredicesima Luna continue to be your main focus or do you have other ideas which you would like to explore?

Matteo: Medhelan and La Tredicesima Luna will likely remain my primary focus; that said, I enjoy making different styles of music and I constantly find new musical interests, so I wouldn’t exclude anything.

Michael: Thank you so much for your time Matteo, are there any final words you would like to say to readers or anything I missed, which you would like them to know?

Matteo: Thank you Michael for this in-depth interview. I’d like to say a huge thank you to all fans, friends and fellow musicians I could get in touch with over these years, to all people who contributed their work, dedication and criticism for making Medhelan and La Tredicesima Luna shine, and to the Dungeon Synth community as a whole, for constantly caring and supporting. I’m deeply satisfied and grateful for all that. Behold the strength of the community.

Medhelan Links: Facebook, Bandcamp
La Tredicesima Luna Links: Facebook, Bandcamp

Guest Sessions: Post-Industrial Mix by Miljenko Rajakovic of TeHÔM

The second mix in our “Guest Sessions” series for ThisIsDarkness.com is prepared by Miljenko Rajakovic, the dark ambient and electronic veteran known for his projects TeHÔM and Principia Audiomatica. This mix is extra special for me because a previous mix done by Miljenko Rajakovic for the Wounds of the Earth zine made a huge impact on me, it was a big inspiration and a catalyst for me starting to create mixes. On this new mix, Rajakovic takes us on a dark and twisted journey through the many varied soundscapes of dark ambient & post-industrial. There are some well known musicians include, and some others that are up & coming in the post industrial world. I hope you will enjoy this mix as much as I have, and please look into the latest releases by this highly talented musician! Below the player you can find the full set-list with links to each album!

01. T.A.G.C. – Sunset Eyes Through Water
02. Principia Audiomatica – Closed Thermodynamic System
03. Northaunt – Blood Trail
04. Karjalan sissit – …Ja Verkkaritkin Haisee Koskenkorvalle
05. Svartsinn – September Dirge (Alternate Mix)
06. Atrium Carceri – The Traitor
07. Raison d’être – The Hidden Hallows
08. New Risen Throne – Loneliness
09. Dead World Echo – Cries and Whispers
10. Lustmord Vs Metal Beast – Broadcast Frequencies Converge
11. Test Dept. & Brith Gof – Truan Yw Gennyffi
12. TeHÔM – The Realm Of Dark Senses
13. Mother Tongue (Andrew McKenzie & ZE’V) – The Humble Man
14. Herbst9 Vs Penjaga Insaf – Agung
15. Sysselmann – Coastal Fairway Northbound
16. Heilung – Krigsgaldr
17. Coil – Going Up

Wordclock – Heralds – Review

Artist: Wordclock
Album title: Heralds
Release date: 12 December 2017
Label: Cryo Chamber

Tracklist:
01. Bell Ringing I
02. Bell Ringing II
03. Bell Ringing III
04. Beatrice’s Euphoria
05. St. George
06. Where Mercy Lives
07. Thames Does Flow
08. Heralds

At the youthful age of twenty-two, the Portuguese musician Pedro Pimentel has quickly solidified his position as a monumental force in the realms of dark ambient. It’s not only praise from the Cryo Chamber fan-base or label-mates that has proven Pimentel’s strengths as a musician. He’s also worked closely with Robin Finck of Nine Inch Nails on the soundtrack for the videogame Noct. All this being accomplished before most musicians have come close to finding their true calling, it’s hard to tell what Pimentel will have accomplished ten years from now.

In my opinion, his first major accomplishment has just been actualized. Heralds is the third release by Wordclock on Cryo Chamber. All the brilliant techniques Pimentel has shown over his last few albums have come to an utter climax on Heralds. This album finds itself on the fringes of the dark ambient genre, and yet it couldn’t be more in line with the goals of the genre, and particularly the Cryo Chamber label.

It’s not exactly the originality of Heralds which makes it work so well. Many of its various elements can be heard in the music of other artists such as raison d’etre, Enmarta, Phonothek and Elegi. But it’s the seemingly effortless blending of these different elements which makes Heralds praiseworthy.

The opening track brings us our first taste of this marriage of styles and techniques. Wordclock has used the piano and bass guitar previously to successful ends, but the introduction of the cello into his music has taken it to new heights. The cello, I’m convinced, is one of the best live instruments to be incorporated into dark ambient music. Each instance I’ve heard this combination throughout the last few years has been gloriously successful. For the task, Pimentel has brought back Norwegian classically trained cellist Amund Ulvestad. His skills could also be heard on the previous Wordclock album, Self Destruction Themes.

Ulvestad was first brought to my attention in 2014 as part of the Northaunt/Svartsinn split, The Borrowed World, which I still highly recommend to any readers that haven’t yet experienced it. Soon afterward, I saw him live when he toured the United States east coast performing as a duo with Svartsinn. His contributions to Heralds can’t be overstated, whenever his craft is featured the album all the better for it.

Yet, Ulvestad is far from being the only addition of note to this Wordclock release. Pimentel brings in the talents of Nuno Craveiro on the Scandinavian instrument Nyckelharpa. An instrument which has gotten some mainstream recognition recently, being used by the atmospheric black metal / Nordic folk artist Myrkur. The third addition to Heralds is George Shmanauri on trumpet. We’ve heard his trumpet work add an intriguing dark jazz flavor to his two recent albums as half of the duo Phonothek, also residing on Cryo Chamber.

When all these musicians come together, the outcome is blissful perfection. The track “Where Mercy Lives” is the crowning glory of Heralds. Pimentel brings together all of his previous experience as a solo artist and blends it with the works of these three guest musicians. Add to that some samples of choir vocals, and what we have is probably my favorite dark ambient track of the year, if not of recent years. The combination of these artists gives us a hint of what an all out dark jazz project would sound like, if they were all so inclined to create one. The music has so many noteworthy layers, that it could warrant a full review treatment itself. Suffice to say, readers must give this track their full attention, preferably through the best audio deliver system on hand, in order to appreciate the extent of its accomplishment.

It is said in the album blurb that Pimentel traveled far and wide, through Porto, London and Berlin, in order to collect the acoustic instrument sounds and field recordings necessary for completing this opus. It’s as if not only the sounds collected, but the travel itself is harnessed on Heralds. Pimentel gives us a completed album which could traverse the boundaries of dark ambient, finding praise from followers of multiple genres, including but not limited to, dark jazz, neo-classical, ambient and northern European folk.

It has been apparent since his debut, Endless, that Pimentel was a musician to keep an eye on. That sentiment has never been more apparent than now. With the release of Heralds, Pimentel shows the staggering extent of his ambition and skill as a musician and a studio technician. I simply can’t overstate the magnitude to which this album has moved me, and I strongly suspect that it will have the same effect on many, if not most, readers of this review.

Written by: Michael Barnett

Frozen in Time: Dark Ambient News 13 December 2017

Some great new releases this week. There aren’t a lot but they are definitely all worth checking out! There will be some interesting articles coming up soon, which have been in the works for quite some time. Stay tuned!

New Releases and Pre-orders

All Signs of Those Who Left – New Album Released (Throne of Bael – Digital)
Wintertide is an oppressive polar ambient release with plenty of darkness engrained. A great choice for Ugasanie fans, and the “name your price” format makes the decision easy!

Cryogenic Weekend – Preorder Available (Reverse Alignment – 3CD/Digital)
“Oleg Puzan seem to have his hands full. Not only does he frequently release under his solo alias through Cryo Chamber label but also do he have energy left to cooperate with other artists. From ritualistic dark ambient to minimalism, he has made himself a name in the scene and his creativity doesn’t seem to have an end.
About a year ago we saw the release of Dronny Darkos collaboration “Black Monolith” with Ajna on Reverse Alignment. This year we release another cooperative creation with Oleg Puzan; “Polar Sleep” by Cryogenic Weekend. This entity is formed together with fellow compatriot Vitaly Lebukhorski (Oil Texture) and is a visit to the coldest regions of the world where widespread glaciars and the kingdom of snow rule. “Polar Sleep” is an invitation to experience the sounds of a realm where ice never melts.”
Releases February 23, 2018

Feasibility Study – New Album Released (Throne of Bael – Digital)
A mix of all sorts of different styles of ambient music. This “name your price” release is certainly worth checking out. There should be a lot of things here to enjoy for a wide variety of music lovers.

Humanfobia – New Album Released (Kalpamantra – Digital Only)
“Humanfobia, the brainchild of Sábila Orbe returns to the label once again with latest opus “Epitaph 404″. This will be the next / last release before the Suiyase compilation drops on the 14th.”

Ingenting Kollektiva – New Album Released (Invisible Birds – Digital)
“Music by Tarrl Morley and Matthew Swiezynski. Recorded in San Francisco in 1998 using a 78 rpm recording of Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit (interpreted by Walter Gieseking), a reel to reel deck, and restraining techniques. The music was also used as a soundtrack to Mr. Swiezynski’s 16mm film Juliette from the same year.
Why the ensemble did not try and get the music published that year is a mystery but Invisible Birds is very proud to be issuing it now, as it resonates so very strongly with the label’s vision.”

Jesús Lastra – New EP Released (Petroglyph Music – Digital Only)
Abnormality of Movement is 23 minutes of thickly layered atmospherics. Hollowed drones interact with chilling samples to create something as colorful as it is bleak. “name your price”

Master Toad – New EP Released (Dark Forest Media – Digital)
The experimental dark ambient project Master Toad releases this latest EP which contains several remixed and remastered tracks along with 5 brand new ones. The sounds are a combination of subtle drones and intricate field recordings. Incredibly atmospheric. “Name your price”

Noctilucant – New Album Released (CD/Digital)
“‘Bleak and Drained of Colour’ is the third full-length album from cinematic dark ambient project, Noctilucant. Bleak continues exploring the post apocalyptic world that originally started on ‘Back to the Mud’ and ‘Oblivion to you all,’ but this time around centers its attention to a single protagonist.
On Bleak Noctilucant is joined by Scottish voice actor Matthew Donnachie (The Jacobite Officer), and together they tell a tale of a man residing in his fallout shelter, while he recalls events that led to his current predicament and his lost love, Emily…
‘Bleak and Drained of Colour’ is a single forty minute song broke into six different scenes.”

O(f)verandas – New Album Released (Sparkwood Records – CD/Digital)
“This album was conceived, performed and recorded by Bernard Iannone / O(f)verandas at Northwood & 4 Communal arts studio, using and Epiphone Les Paul and an array of effect pedals.”

Richard Skelton – New EP & Full Lenghth Released (Aeolian – Digital Only)
“A further addition to the Ridgelines series – musical invocations of hills, mountains and upland landscapes – ‘Hánefsstaðafjall’ is a fell on the south-eastern shore of Seyðisfjörður, Iceland. Previous works in the series are ‘Cappanawalla’ in The Burren, Ireland, and ‘Black Combe’ in Cumbria, England.
Hánefsstaðafjall forms part of a larger collection of work, ‘Towards A Frontier’, produced in Iceland between 2014 and 2016 as part of the Frontiers in Retreat project.”

“In 2013, along with the artists Kati Gausmann and Ráðhildur Ingadóttir, Richard was invited “to live and work in a unique small community where creativity is applied to everyday life in a remote rural setting of East Iceland.” The artists first visited Seyðisfjörður in the autumn of 2014, returning in the spring of 2016, and finally in the summer of 2017. During their last visit, they staged an exhibition at Skaftfell Center for Visual Art.
“Towards a Frontier” is an album of music written and recorded in the mountains of East Iceland between 2014 and 2016. Slowly unfolding over 66 minutes, it is Richard’s most ambitious composition to date, evoking the seasonal shifts of a remote and singularly compelling landscape. ”

Scott Lawlor – New Album Released – (Digital Only)
The Full Moon Series: Volume 12 – December the Full Long Nights Moon is Scott Lawlor’s latest space drone ambient album. Two and a half hours of slowly shifting sounds from the abyss.

Sound_00 + Lefterna – New EP Released (Attenuation Circuit – Digital Only)
Collab 30 is a well-honed experimental ambient collaboration between Tony Dimitrov and Boban Restevski. Drones meet a plethora of field recordings, creating an album that is thought-provoking and meditative. “name your price”

Wordclock – New Album Released (Cryo Chamber – CD/Digital)
On a personal note: this has been one of the top albums of 2017 for me. If you are into dark ambient’s intersections with neo-classical and/or dark jazz, this album will likely send you into a blissful stupor! The guest appearances make this one all the more potent. Amund Ulvestad is on cello and electronics. You may be familiar with Amund’s cello work on the previous Wordclock album, as well as the new Svartsinn album! (He’s also been doing live performances with Svartsinn for the last few years.) George Shmanauri of the fellow Cryo Chamber act Phonothek is on the trumpet. Lastly there is Nuno Craveiro on the Nyckelharpa, a Scandinavian instrument. This is a must-have release!

Sales

Cryo Chamber – Sabled Sun Sale
50% off all digital Sabled Sun releases.
All releases can be found here.
2145
The album 2145 will take you to the desolate landscapes of a fallen future, where a mans voyage after being released from deep freeze hibernation turns into a realization of his own shattered mentality.

2146
The follow up to the album 2145 takes us to the second year after our
protagonist awakens from deep hibernation sleep to a world in ruins.
Seeking signs of life he encounters ghostly illuminated cities still powered.

2147

A shattered man self taught to survive in the harsh world left empty by it’s predecessors, only it’s mechanical children left behind. The protagonist journeys through a burned out world towards the Outer Zones and the rumored space center there, in search for answers.

2148

The fourth album from the Sabled Suns 21xx series, about a man in Hibernation waking up to a world in ruins, takes us through the fourth year 2148. The album starts with our Protagonist finding The Ark. It takes us through robot filled chasms, overgrown laboratories, uplink stations and deteriorated civilization.

Signals I-II-III

Sabled Sun – Signals, is a series of space ambient works that portrays signals that the protagonist from the albums 2145 and 2146 finds on his journey to find out what happened to humanity after waking up from hibernation deep sleep to an empty world void of human life. As such this is an optional look into what happens in the periphery of the main project.
Signals IV-V-VI
Sabled Sun – Signals, is a series of space ambient works that portrays signals that the protagonist from the Sabled Sun – 21xx series finds on his journey to find out what happened to humanity after waking up from hibernation deep sleep to an empty world void of human life. As such this is a look into what happens in the periphery of the main project.

This Is Darkness Week In Review

Horror Ambient – 3 Hour Seamless Dark Ambient Mix
A horrific 3 hour seamless mix of the most chilling and tenebrous dark ambient music released over the last year or two. Dive into this one with all the bravery you can muster. The outer gods meet the most human of fears for an intense experience of 100% dark ambient desolation.
Listen to the mix here.

StuzhaSiberian Sketches II – Review
“Stuzha once again proves their talents with Siberian Sketches II, this time taking what they learned from Siberian Sketches I as well as Butugichag, and crafting an album that is incredibly relaxing. It could be the sole companion to a lonely evening by the fire during these upcoming winter months. It could also be allowed to fall into the background during any reading, study or writing sessions. Between the combined albums of all his projects: Stuzha, Algol and Black Wanderer, Daniil Kazantsev proves himself to be an incredibly capable force in the genre of dark ambient, and one which I hope will become more well-recognized by the community as time passes.”
Read the full review here.

Nhor – Interview
2017 was an interesting and eventful year for the UK project Nhor. He pushed the atmospheric element for his approach to its minimalist limit, which resulted in a quadrilogy of EPs that formed the Wildflowers cycle. Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter shed light on aspects of their respective seasons not often explored in any art-form — let alone through piano ambient music. As this portion of Nhor’s existence closes out, the artist was kind enough to sit down and give some insight into the creative process, hidden meanings and personal significance of Wildflowers.
Read the interview here.

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Nhor – Interview


2017 was an interesting and eventful year for the UK project Nhor. He pushed the atmospheric element for his approach to its minimalist limit, which resulted in a quadrilogy of EPs that formed the
Wildflowers cycle. Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter shed light on aspects of their respective seasons not often explored in any art-form — let alone through piano ambient music. As this portion of Nhor’s existence closes out, the artist was kind enough to sit down and give some insight into the creative process, hidden meanings and personal significance of Wildflowers.

Interview conducted by: Maxwell Heilman

Maxwell: Do you have a favorite EP out of the four? Does it coincide with your favorite season?

Nhor
: I don’t think I do have a favourite, not yet anyway. They each have their own unique mood and special moment held in time. As each season approaches, I always consider it to be my favourite, but the flowering of bluebells in Spring is always a special occasion for me, and very likely a catalyst in realising the Wildflowers concept.

Maxwell: Other than the imagery, what differentiates these four releases from one another? Are there any distinguishing characteristics to listen for when listening to the EPs?

Nhor
: I suppose ultimately this is for the listener to decide. I can hear a great deal of change, but I know how I play and write music, so maybe some things are more apparent to me, especially including the knowledge of what inspired each song, and the process undertaken to convert that into music.
I think Autumn has the darkest mood. Spring represents an awakening, Summer is more hopeful than any of the others, but I won’t pass judgement on Winter yet, not publicly anyway, I’d rather people made their own conclusions about the new EP.

Maxwell: Wildflowers are the cycle’s unifying image, yet these songs never seem to directly address them. Do you have any insight into how the Wildflowers concept lays the foundation for the music?

Nhor
: The wildflowers fit the idea, of musical ideas. Wildflowers are beautiful flowers, that bloom for such fleeting spells within their own seasons. These hopefully mirror my music, which is made more of ideas and moods than it is of “songs”. These ideas hopefully fit within their own time of the year, mimicking the short spell of a wildflower in it’s given season.

Maxwell: Even in your black metal releases, piano often takes center stage (Within the Darkness Between the Starlight comes to mind). What is your history with this instrument? What draws you to it?

Nhor: I think simply, I find it very expressive. Luckily, I don’t think it requires a lot of skill to play it as I do, or coordination to press a key (which is the basic requirement of getting a nice sound from a piano, a violin requires much more coordination to make a note sound good). I don’t mean to offend any pianists, I know there are very, very accomplished pianists out there, but this isn’t what I’m trying to achieve. I’m trying to translate the mood of myself and the seasons. Also, the piano helps me to simplify my own work, and concentrate on the melodies and notes I’m working with. If there was no darkness between the starlight, would the stars still hold your gaze? I stick to that concept in giving the notes room to breath. Nothing is more fertile than the void.

Maxwell: The Wildflowers EPs have a very raw, immediate sound to coincide with the music’s delicate delivery — almost sounding like they’re being played in the same room as the listener. Care to elaborate on what the recording process was like?

Nhor: Recording is not something I look forward to. I enjoy writing music and exploring ideas but the recording can completely change my mood and take my focus away from what I was trying to create. There is a point where the recording/mixing/mastering process becomes more of a science than an art. I tend to leave a take rolling for a long period of time, to try and forget about what’s happening and let it come naturally.

Maxwell: How did you approach writing these songs? Are any elements improvised?

Nhor: I don’t really have any knowledge of music theory, so everything is just a natural progression or elaboration on an idea. I suppose everything is improvised. It’s strange to say but I can hear the melody before I’ve written it. I then spend some time chasing those notes, trying to find them, and exploring anything else I stumble upon along the way.

Maxwell: Did you find it a challenge to impart discernible structure and unique moods to such minimalist, ethereal music?

Nhor: It’s not something I have actively tried to achieve. If I have achieved it then it has been a welcome accident. I write what I feel, and try to not plan anything, or make any rules, especially not in structure.

Maxwell: These songs are incredibly vivid within their stripped-down sound. Do you have imagery in mind when you write, or does your music paint a picture for you similar to how it does your listeners?

Nhor: A lot of the time I’m drawing from a sight or experience that pushes me to play my piano. At times the music will pull old memories of my own which then create their own space or story with their song.

Maxwell: The moon is a recurring character in the cycle. What does this entity mean to you within the context of Wildflowers?

Nhor: I don’t think it’s possible to explain it’s meaning only within the context of Wildflowers. There are so many aspects of the moon I treasure. How the full moon lights the earth, how it disappears, how its light changes through the clouds, its shifting form, its silent presence above. I wrote this short passage a long time ago:

A heavy weight upon my eyes.
A confidant of secrecy.
Soft light spills over me.
It slows my thoughts,
And it calms my wild swelling heart.
I swear that it waits for me.
So profound in its solemn vigil.
Silently it serenades me.
And it knows,
It knows my thoughts;
Of my longing to return,
And of my desires.
It waits for me.
And even when it slips beyond,
I know it will return.
And I pray that when it does,
I will be taken forever.

Maxwell: Judging by your social media, you make a point of immersing yourself in nature. Do you remember a time where you realized the inspirational potential of the wilderness?

Nhor: In my art book Towards A Light that Dwells Within the Trees I speak about how Nhor started, this excerpt from the introduction should cover it:

Many years ago, as I stood beneath the stars during a cold cloudless night, something crept behind the cabin at the foot of my garden. As I gathered myself to approach, the overgrown grounds in front of me began to rustle. The cabin overlooks the forest to the East of my house, so it’s not unusual for creatures of the forest to visit. In fact, ever since this night I have taken such occurrences and crossings of paths to be a good omen. I stood waiting for the creature to re-appear for some time but it had dissolved into the night. As I moved to return to my place beneath the stars the cabin loomed in front of me. I opened its door and stepped inside to find my father’s old piano. On the top, sat his father’s binoculars and lantern. I have been told that he knew the names of every tree in the forest and each constellation overhead; knowledge that I would later find myself drawn to. I left the door open to let what little light I could in, and also in the hope that I would see my visitor once more. After lifting the piano’s lid I remember being surprised at how close its tuning was despite the weather. Then with my fingers stiff from the cold I began to slowly play. It was there that I stumbled upon two chords that ached with sadness. I played them over and over listening to how the room began to fill with their song. I could feel the atmosphere within the cabin changing, beginning to flow out of the door and into the starry skies above. Today though, I wonder if it was in fact the wild night making its first tentative steps towards my side. One thing I do recall clearly is how the two chords sang out like the stars above. Their pale notes hung in the air, painting the room with their light; as if the stars themselves were softly appearing within the darkness around me. It was there that I found Nhor, it was in this moment that its all began.

From this, I became drawn further and further in the forests and woodland that surrounded where I live, becoming obsessed at times. This has been the case for many years now. Nhor is really an extension of my life, I’ve been inspired greatly by my surroundings, and they have helped shape me, and also helped me to answer many questions about who and what I am.

Maxwell: With the Wildflowers cycle coming to a close, how do you feel about the past year of the Nhor project in retrospect?

Nhor: I had a clear idea in mind, and I feel that I’ve achieved what I wanted to. I’m really pleased that people have taken to the idea of me releasing my music seasonally instead of one big single release. It’s allowed me to make a very broad release, but focus quite finely on specific aspects. Also, I must thank the people who have consistently ordered everything I have ever made, and who message me with their support. I’ve received so many thoughtful messages during each season. It’s interesting to hear from people who find themselves drawn to differing seasons. Those kind of things are what help inspire me to continue to release my music.

Maxwell: Do you have anything you particularly desire your listeners to take away from these EPs?

Nhor: It’s enough of an honour for me, to know that people have chosen to spend their time listening to my music. That is something I struggle to get my head around at times. If there was anything I wanted them to take away, I suppose it would be a desire to connect further with nature, or to help maintain the bond between themselves and the natural world that they already have.

Maxwell: Can you give any information as to the future of Nhor in the coming years?

Nhor: The full Wildflowers album is roughly 1 hour 40 minutes of minimal piano. I feel I’ve explored this quite thoroughly. I have a few ideas that have come from Wildflowers, and also worked backwards to some ideas I didn’t get the chance to complete when writing Within The Darkness Between The Starlight. I suppose it all depends on what one I get around to finishing first.

Maxwell: Any final words?

Nhor: Sic transit gloria mundi. Thank you.

Nhor links:
Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram

Stuzha – Siberian Sketches II – Review

Artist: Stuzha
Album title: Siberian Sketches II
Release date: 15 November 2017
Label: Ksenza Records / Infinite Fog Productions

Tracklist:
01. Into the Blizzard
02. Transsiberian
03. Winter Forest (Awakening)
04. Winter Forest
05. Here is no Life without a Fire
06. Winter Forest (Into Slumber)
07. Lost in the Catacombs
08. A Night in the Village

Stuzha first caught my attention at the beginning of 2017 during my brief stint with Heathen Harvest, when they sent me his album, Butugichag, to review. I was immediately enraptured by the depths of his frigid polar ambient style and his take on the cinematic side of dark ambient music. As the man behind the project is native to the Siberian expanses of Russia, it is no surprise that he is able to convey this style so well. Siberian Sketches II is the follow-up to his first major release Siberian Sketches, all of which were released by Ksenza Records and distributed by Infinite Fog Productions.

There is actually quite a huge difference between the styles of the two Siberian Sketches releases and Butugichag. Butugichag was an incredibly subtle release, with slowly evolving drone-work and field recordings which lingered in the background. The Siberian Sketches albums are more active album in almost every respect. In fact, the latest release takes these differences much further than  did Siberian Sketches I. There are a ton of field recordings incorporated into this release, making it the most cinematic work of Stuzha to date. While Siberian Sketches I incorporated some guitar, the guitar on Siberian Sketches II is also great increased, being used on most of the tracks here. This time there are even subtle vocals added to the mix. These are not the style of dark ambient infused vocals of something like a Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio sort of project (which honestly is a stretch to even be called dark ambient), but more in line with the vocals on some tracks by Taphephobia; a deep, brooding voice which is barely audible on sub-par speakers and blends gently into the rest of the mix.

Siberian Sketches II starts with a door swinging open and someone stepping out into the icy snows of a raging blizzard, on the aptly titled “Into the Blizzard”. As they step back indoors we can still hear the storm raging just outside the threshold, a fire roaring in the stove and a dog barking nearby. The music on this track is composed almost entirely of field recordings and a guitar that sounds to be acoustic with some light effects, with the later addition of an electric guitar and soft vocals. Subtly in the background, we can hear the low roar of a passing train, a dynamic which will be fully explored on the following track, “Transsiberian”.

“Transsiberian”, beginning with an intercom system and distorted electric guitar ups the tempo of the album. Yet, this guitar is incorporated in a way that doesn’t compromise the dark ambient nature in the slightest. By the close of the track, the album’s protagonist is well on their way, journeying to some unknown, yet equally frigid, destination.

“Winter Forest (Awakening)” brings another dynamic into play. Still here, there is no discernible drone-work to be found. The track is constructed of passive field recordings which create the background atmosphere, bass guitar which also helps to solidify that foundation, and several guitars; one of which undertakes some interesting and quite delightful tremolo-picking which reminds me of the guitar español – style, but this could be do to my lack of knowledge when it comes to guitar playing styles native to Siberia.

“Here is no Life without a Fire” could be the closest to a more traditional dark ambient track, as it is one of only two on the album that seem to incorporate any use of drone-work. It is also likely the oldest track on the album, being a reinterpretation of a track from the self-released Through the Snowfield.

Given all these dynamics at play on Siberian Sketches II, one may rightly be a bit bewildered as to how this could be considered dark ambient at all. But, I firmly believe that the album falls solidly into this category. There is a ton of activity happening, but it is all done with the careful reserve of a seasoned dark ambient musician. The overall cinematic element also can’t be overemphasized. One may close their eyes and find themselves lost in the whiteout of these bleak far-northern lands. The various styles and effects of the acoustic and electric guitars also aid the field recordings magnificently in the numerous shifts between indoor/outdoor cinematics.

Stuzha once again proves their talents with Siberian Sketches II, this time taking what they learned from Siberian Sketches I as well as Butugichag, and crafting an album that is incredibly relaxing. It could be the sole companion to a lonely evening by the fire during these upcoming winter months. It could also be allowed to fall into the background during any reading, study or writing sessions. Between the combined albums of all his projects: Stuzha, Algol and Black Wanderer, Daniil Kazantsev proves himself to be an incredibly capable force in the genre of dark ambient, and one which I hope will become more well-recognized by the community as time passes.

Written by: Michael Barnett

Horror Ambient – 3 Hour Seamless Dark Ambient Mix

A horrific 3 hour seamless mix of the most chilling and tenebrous dark ambient music released over the last year or two. Dive into this one with all the bravery you can muster. The outer gods meet the most human of fears for an intense experience of 100% dark ambient desolation.
Scroll below the player to find the track-list with links to each album!

01. 0:00:00 Flowers For Bodysnatchers – Red Ballerina (Oksana’s Theme)
02. 0:02:10 Svartsinn – Where No Other Can Follow (Demon Stalker)
03. 0:09:50 Sonologyst – Abandoned City
04. 0:15:45 New Oracle – Abyss
05. 0:20:00 Neraterrae – Deeper Down
06. 0:21:10 Skincage – Lost Carcosa
07. 0:23:05 Northaunt – Villmark
08. 0:29:50 Ajna – An Era of Torment I
09. 0:38:30 Dead Melodies – A Malvolent Rising
10. 0:43:00 A Cryo Chamber Collaboration – Yog-Sothoth I (edit)
11. 0:45:30 Ben Rath – The Devil In Disguise
12. 0:52:30 Apocryphos – Tenebrous
13. 1:01:00 Flowers for Bodysnatchers – Black Catechism
14. 1:11:40 Sun Through Eyelids – Sinew of the Earth
15. 1:15:45 Day Before Us – In Igne Purgatorio
16. 1:18:35 Anemone Tube – Perpetual Dawn
17. 1:22:15 Randal Collier-Ford – And Hell Followed
18. 1:23:52 Atrium Carceri – Slower
19. 1:28:50 Monocube – Initiation feat. Asmorod
20. 1:34:10 Elegi – Vemod
21. 1:40:45 Fear-Modern-Man – Daiichi
22. 1:52:05 New Risen Throne – Cold, Dying Sun
23. 1:56:30 Shock Frontier – Tumult feat. Kristoffer Oustad
24. 2:04:45 Cities Last Broadcast – Glossolalia
25. 2:10:15 Dodsmaskin – Baldom
26. 2:19:50 Jinthra – Fylfos Rite
27. 2:26:55 Noctilucant – Beholding the Murk
28. 2:36:40 Black Wanderer – Station4
29. 2:39:10 A Cryo Chamber Collaboration – Azathoth II (edit)
30. 2:46:45 Melek-Tha & Corona Barathri – Dark Heresy [The Edge of Darkness]
31. 2:53:05 A Cryo Chamber Collaboration – Azathoth II (edit)

Frozen In Time – Dark Ambient News 1 December 2017

Another huge week of releases. There is going to be plenty here to keep you busy for the next few days. These releases are all great in their own ways and each one definitely deserves a listen. I hope everyone is going into December looking forward to the snowy season (for those of us in the northern hemisphere atleast). Enjoy the selection of tunes and until next time, Peace!

Music Video Premiere!

Unsichtbar – “Junges Liebespaar”

New Releases & Pre-orders

Abre Ojos – New Album Released (Digital Only)
“Recorded over five days on the shore of Pambula Lake, the lands and waters of the Yuin People.”

Autumna – New Album Released (Shimmering Moods – CD/Digital)
“Lutalica.
the laundry dries in the world,
the crisp mid-Autumn air whispers,
some bonds will never break,
though I might leave
or be left.
Lutalica – or wanderer: one who travels aimlessly, a traveller. We are all travellers, constantly moving in and out of focus of one another’s lives, knowingly and unknowingly sharing experiences. It’s these experiences that shape us, sculpt segments of our personalities and give us bearing. Most people know what they want, only few truly know what they need.”

Black Seas of Infinity – New Album Released (Digital Only)
A nice blend of neo-classical, dark ambient and death industrial, Within Daathian Chasms will prove to be an interesting release for all sorts of different listeners and melts in and out of multiple genres.

A Bleeding Star – Two New Weekly Singles (Digital Only)

Bridge To Imla – New Album Released (Winter-Light – CD/Digital)
“Bridge To Imla is the duo of Hans-Dieter Schmidt and Michael Brückner, created in 2017 to distinguish their particular style of cinematic ambient from their respective solo projects. Hans-Dieter and Michael initially met at ambient group improvisations by the Frankfurt based EK-Lounge community around 2010, and had already collaborated previously on several occasions.”

Crystalline Reflections – New Album Released (ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ – Digital)
“Always moving, step by step, through the oceans of everyday noise, rivers of emotions, undercurrents of uncertainty and fear… Crystalline reflections on the surface of these waters are here to guide you in this journey to the horizons yet unseen. Serenity & melancholy. Anxiety & bliss. Everything on its own place and time. ”

Darren McClure & José Soberanes – New Album Released (Shimmering Moods – CD/Digital)
“Future Harbour is the second collaborative album by Darren McClure and Jose Soberanes. It follows their 2015 release Shelter, issued on the Eter label.
This new project combines modular electronics, processed field recordings and experiments in granular synthesis. The sound palette ranges from tactile and brittle textures to warmer ambient passages, all held together with a compositional process that favoured contrasting styles and techniques.”

DeepDark – New Album Released (Digital Only)
DeepDark unveils the latest chapter in his cosmic drone series.

Dravier – New Album Released (Shimmering Moods – CD/Digital)
“Inspired by an out of body experience in the gothic cathedrals of Paris, “Cathédrale” floats through pointed arches, past flying buttress and out over the Seine, soon lost within the clouds. Deep thoughts forever drifting through the fabric of time.”

Elderfrost – New Album Released

Evilnox – New Album Released (Dark Age Productions – CD/Cassette/Digital)
“Medieval dark ambient project Evilnox was founded in January 2012. The music itself is a mixture of medieval melodies, dark ambient and black metal, combined with a melancholic and dismal atmosphere. All compositions are based on the dark beauty of nature, medieval legends and personal philosophy.
The album ‘Dark Times Of War And Witchcraft’ is a blend of dungeon synth and atmospheric black metal and will be released as Jewel Case CD and Cassette under the banner of Dark Age Productions in late 2017.”

Flowers For Bodysnatchers – New Album Released
(Cryo Chamber – CD/Digital)
“On the evening of August 12th, 1968 in Fairhaven, Massachusetts antique store owner Ernest Semenov brutally murdered his wife and two daughters in what police investigators described as bizarre ritualistic killings. Their dismembered bodies had been rearranged to form what appeared to be crudely oblique symbols formed into a circle and connected by blood that he had drawn from his own slit wrists. Ernest Semenov was found slumped upright in the centre of his macabre creation by neighbours who claimed he was mumbling in a language they could not understand.
The subsequent investigation revealed an astounding amount of occult literature and objects at the Semenov residence. Belonging not just to Ernest Semenov but apparently to his wife Silvia Semenov also. Alarmingly police discovered various animal bones arranged in the same oblique manner attached to the underside of his daughters bed frames.
Declared criminally insane by the state Ernest Semenov was imprisoned in Ravenfield Asylum for treatment and rehabilitation and, placed under the care of one Dr Richard Lankin. Subsequently on the night of July 1st, 1971 Ravenfield Asylum was consumed by fire. Police discovered the horrifically burnt bodies of 68 of the 70 patients and staff savagely murdered and dismembered in a manner not dissimilar to the 1968 Semenov murders. The bodies of Dr Richard Lankin and Ernest Semenov were not believed to be among the charred remains.”

Hesychia – Preorder Available (Cyclic Law – CD/Digital)
“New project by Austrian Arthur Rosar (former member of Abigor, Walser…). The album is a meditation on freedom from all passions (apatheia) and repentance (metanoia) through fundamental concepts established by early christian mysticism (the desert fathers) with respect to zen buddhism and pre-christian European traditions. An aural guide to force the removal of all illusions and be in total awareness of the eternal now, forging a stillness of the soul, going beyond the mundane. The music is a savvy achievement of total surrender through improvised analog atmospherics and field recordings.”

Ian Hawgood & Giulio Aldinucci – Preorder Available (Home Normal – CD/Digital)
Consequence Shadows is a calming and restive release which seems like the perfect accompaniment to a lonely evening of reading or self-reflection. The album is set for release on 30 January 2018.

Invented State of Mind – New Album Released (Shimmering Moods – CD/Digital)
“Imaginary Country lets you through you’re lonely parts. Calm down, sit and listen.Try to imagine you are the only one on earth.
Deep ambient and drone signals will come through you. Just you and your thoughts. Based on sound of natures ISM created intense, deep musical topics by using various methods and processes to come up with a spacey musical environment.This is an emotional journey.”

Item Caligo – New Album Released (Digital Only)
Item Caligo presents us with his latest album, Procrastinating Suicide as a “name your price” release. Definitely worth a listen, as his work is always quite interesting and melancholic.

Lingua Lustra – New Album Released (Shimmering Moods – CD/Digital)
“Truth Rings Like A Bell is the reflection of a special interest i’ve always had in bells, gongs, bell-like sounds. On this recording i’ve used a series of large bells, treated them in different ways, staying close to the original overtones they produce. This mixed with homemade fieldrecordings, analogue synths and mutated vocals completed the atmosphere i was looking for, my tribute to the bell.”

Maas – New Album Released (Kalpamantra – Digital Only)
“It’s a varied and long album with substantially sized, slow building drones, linked together by interludes in order to provide a continuous experience, a story of a journey into ever tighter caves, until ultimately death as the final destination”

Maha Pralaya – New Album Released (Noctivagant – CD/Digital)
“This family duo from Russia is named in honor of the complete destruction of the Universe at the oend of the Great Cycle. The style is called a post-apocalypse raga. Compromised of field recordings of white noise generators, minor guitar scales of electro-acoustic, drone-surge polyvox, rhythms of shamanic drum, sound vibrations of Tibetan bowls, harp, voice overtones of the experiments, the breath of flutes and chimes of harmony which – paint landscapes. Bardo is dedicated to the sacred knowledge hidden in the Tibetan book of the Dead.

Misantronics – New Album Released (Sombre Soniks – Digital)
“This album follows the same path as its predecessor, ‘Artache’. Again, there is no theme, no philosophy and no message to be found here. These are musical experiments, created with guitars, found sounds and processed noise. Each track has its own identity and takes you on a different journey. Perhaps this album is somewhat harsher than ‘Artache’, a step away from the electronic music in my previous work, ‘InnerGazer’ and back to the semi-live approach of ‘Contraformance’. But mostly, it’s a brand new Misantronics album, enjoy.”

Nhor – New Album Released (Digital/Cassette)
“Wildflowers: Winter” is the fourth and last EP release of Nhor’s musical cycle about the natural seasons. Just as the previous EPs it’s only available digitally and in a small cassette print-run.”

Niculta – New Album Released (Noctivagant – CD/Digital)
“Nicultas first dark ambient album is about the psychedelic journey of the self, ever deeper and deeper to discover in the woods.
In the Woods, is about the journey of a man who is seeking for answers, willingly to let go ego and transform into his real self.”

Noctilucant – New Album Released (Noctivagant – CD/Digital)
“Bleak continues exploring the post apocalyptic world that originally started on ‘Back to the Mud’ and ‘Oblivion to you all’, but this time centers its attention to a single protagonist.”

Noctilucant – New Album Released (Digital Only)
“‘A sci-fi journey through the heart of the unknown and into the mouth of madness.’
The Original Soundtrack created to accompany the reader on the adventure through the graphic novel of the same name. Varying between deep suffocating drones, lively field recordings, melodic textures, and luminous space/sci-fi themed dark ambiance — the Descension Original Soundtrack is your guide down the path of the macabre and insane.”

North hive – New Album Released (Digital Only)
“The seventh album of the project North hive. The album is written under the impression of reading a book:
Marie-Louise von Franz – “Alchemy: An Introduction To The Symbolism And The Psychology”. Albedo is the second stage of alchemical magisteria. (sapienti sat)”

Sačquiel Måtaton – New Album Released (Shimmering Moods – CD/Digital)
“The following pieces are about the old American West, Blood Meridian, There Will Be Blood. The heat, the desert, empty towns, lost lives, hearts, minds and souls. Travelling across the old country to make a living, for adventure and to just stay alive.
Ye carry war of a madman’s making onto a foreign land. Ye’ll wake more than the dogs.”

Shedir – Preorder Available (Cyclic Law – CD/Digital)
“First solo work by Italian musician Martina Betti. “Falling Time” is an aural ticket to a non place. Swirling ambient sounds made of processed field recordings converge into a richly textured and harmonically layered narrative. The tracks scan the phases of ascension to a suspended and formless destination, free from the bounds of time and space: a rite of passage. We are nowhere, a journey with no boundaries or restrictions transforming the smallness of ordinary life into transcendent magnitudes.
Building on constant cinematic tension, frictions and collisions of sounds, through which the mind is transformed, freed from daily dualities, at one with it’s psychic abilities.”

Shock Frontier – New Album Released (Malignant – CD/Digital)
“With his dark ambient project Apócrýphos, Robert Kozletsky has shown a proven ability at creating multi-layered and highly detailed soundscapes. Working as a duo alongside Kyle Carney, he takes that skill and applies it to his death industrial alter-ego, Shock Frontier, carving out a sound residing somewhere between the “new wave” of American power electronics (The Vomit Arsonist, Steel Hook Prostheses) and the classic sound of Cold Meat Industry (Deutsch Nepal, Megaptera). “Tumult” is a world enveloped in a perpetual haze of post-apocalyptic soot and radioactive ash, where deadening percussion, reverberating factory drones, samples, and atmospheric washes of hostile electronics churn and whir into a polluted, endless expanse. The follow up to 2013’s debut Mancuerda Confessions, Tumult is a more intricate, more oppressive, and more finely honed release, and a logical extension of the Shock Frontier sound. Featuring contributions from Gnawed, Kristoffer Oustad, and Noculture, in 6 panel DVD digipak skillfully designed by Chris Angelucci of NTF Design & Print.”

Stromstad – Preorder Available (Malignant – CD/Digital)
“Few names imply mind-bending, forward thinking heavy electronics like Finnish stalwarts STROM.ec, and with every release, they seem to further stretch the boundaries of what can be a pretty rigid genre, and navigate realms never before seen or heard. Similar things can be said of Norwegian atmospheric heavy weight and Malignant staple, Kristoffer Oustad, whose particular strain of dark ambient and post-industrial soundscapes are incredibly dynamic, at times surreal and cinematic, other times more driving and heavy, but all with a recognizable, highly emotive touch. Put the two together, and you get the debut of their collaborative project, STROMSTAD. Spread out over 8 tracks, this is a dizzying exploration of sound and vocal fury, where mechanized pulsations, writhing frequency oscillations, and grinding machine loops meet stretches of drifting darkness and touches of musicality, suggestive of a future that’s dystopic and bleak on one hand, yet highly innovative and revolutionary on the other. Featuring a guest appearance by Grutle Kjellson from the mighty Enslaved, mastering by Nordvargr, paintings by Jeff Klena and design by Alonso Urbanos.”

System Morgue – New Album Released (ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ – Digital)
“One could not step twice into the same river, nature of the time forbids. And the one is not the same with every step, and the soil for these steps is different and if you are going far enough in this there is no certainty at all, reality collapses, vision faints… The tremble of this, the awe, the dread and the bliss – it’s hidden so deep, so we barely feel it. Even the shores are changing, so what could we know about rivers? Yet, something stays still. Something which is not us, because we are the many, we are riverbanks. Maybe the most elusive thing is the most real one? Something like music, perhaps?”

Taylor Deupree & Marcus Fischer – New Album Released (12k – Cassette/Digital)
“Lowlands began when Ester Vonplon traveled to Spitsbergen in the Arctic Ocean in summer 2016. She sailed the ice-clogged seas of the Arctic Ocean on a three-masted sailing vessel, to capture the impressions of the calving glaciers and melting ice.
This journey in the Arctic Ocean was the perfect beginning for Taylor Deupree & Marcus Fischer to compose and record Lowlands.”

Victor Imaginator – New Album Released (Cephalopagus – Digital)
“BECOMING A GHOST. Everyone will die eventually. But what next? How will the mind act, being cut off from the body? A mind without any biochemical processes behind it. How to feel stress without cortisol? How to feel joy without dopamine and serotonin? All these unnoticed habits of a living person can be incredibly strong. As result, a weak mind will refuse death. Instead of moving further, adapting to the new condition of freedom and evolving into something different – the mind can bind itself to the world of the living. Endless failing attempts to live as before. An eternal cycle of pointless thoughts and actions trap the lost soul. That’s what “becoming a ghost” means.”

XUUN – New EP Released – (Grey Matter – Cassette/Digital)
Shamanistic rituals taking influence from Native American, Aboriginal, Tibetan and Thai culture. Featuring members of BYYRTH.

Sales

Flowers For Bodysnatchers – 50% off
To celebrate the release of the new Flowers for Bodysnatchers album Asylum Beyond released on Cryo Chamber I’ll be offering all Flowers for Bodysnatchers albums from my BandCamp page at 50% off! That’s only $3.50 an album and $1.50 for an E.P. Or alternately the entire discography for $6.00! This excludes albums released through Cryo Chamber.
https://flowersforbodysnatchers.bandcamp.com/music

Latest on This Is Darkness

Cadabra Records – Fungi From Yuggoth – Review
Artists:
Andrew Leman (Spoken Word)
Theologian (Soundscapes)
Jason Barnett (Art)
Album: Fungi from Yuggoth by H.P. Lovecraft
Release date: September 2017
Label: Cadabra Records
“Cadabra Records has, by this point, solidified themselves as the forerunners in the genre of spoken word arts. Not that they have a ton of competition in this field, but even if that were the case, the works that they have been creating could only be described as premium in every element. Each chosen theme is given the absolute best presentation one could hope to find. Original album artwork, professional well-rehearsed readings and soundscapes that give the perfect atmosphere to each reading all come together in a packaging that is itself top-notch.”
Read the full review here.

A Cryo Chamber Collaboration – Yog-Sothoth – Review
Artist: A Cryo Chamber Collaboration
Album: Yog-Sothoth
Release date: 7 November 2017
Label: Cryo Chamber
“As I stated earlier, this album has a bit of a different feel to it than the previous three releases in the Lovecraft series. Many of its deeper characteristics will take multiple listens before any concrete judgment could be made about the album. That in itself is a positive to me. The digibook adds another new element to the series. I highly recommend picking up the physical version of this release to have a hands-on experience of browsing through these selected passages from Lovecraft’s texts as well as admiring the brilliant artwork created by Simon Heath. Cryo Chamber continues, with Yog-Sothoth, to push the boundaries of their genre and the industry standards of dark ambient. The music is incredibly thought-provoking and the visuals are in a class of their own. I, for one, will be pleased to see this series continuing for years to come, Lovecraft’s mythos and the pool of talent at Cryo Chamber are both fertile for many more iterations of this sort of release.”
Read the full review here.

Nhor – Wildflowers: Winter – Review on the Periphery
Artist: Nhor
Album: Wildflowers: Winter
Release date: 1 December 2017
Label: Self-released
“’I now come to think of Autumn as a knife that was thrust into Summer,’ Nhorsays about the cold months creeping upon him. Indeed, the holiday season often seems detached from the underlying significance of the winter, something English artist Nhor has set out to rectify with the final release in his season-themed piano ambient EP cycle called Wildflowers. His skeletal arrangements filter out the shopping blitzes and overpriced decor, allowing Winter to epitomize the shrouding of the past in an enveloping sheet of white.”
Read the full review here.

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

Nhor – Wildflowers: Winter – Review on the Periphery

Artist: Nhor
Album: Wildflowers: Winter
Release date: 1 December 2017
Label: Self-released

Tracklist:
01. Bereft
02. Murmurations Above Me
03. Owls Through Snowfall
04. Wreaths of Hoarfrost
05. The Moon Belongs To All and None
06. The Leave No Trace
07. Mercy

“I now come to think of Autumn as a knife that was thrust into Summer,” Nhor says about the cold months creeping upon him. Indeed, the holiday season often seems detached from the underlying significance of the winter, something English artist Nhor has set out to rectify with the final release in his season-themed piano ambient EP cycle called Wildflowers. His skeletal arrangements filter out the shopping blitzes and overpriced decor, allowing Winter to epitomize the shrouding of the past in an enveloping sheet of white.

The spacious notes beginning “Bereft” take shape into a dreary depiction of a landscape suddenly monochromatized. Fall’s mad dash of preparation comes to an end, leaving frigid silence in its wake. The song’s dynamic swells and perfect sound panning creates a lens of muffled solitude by which to view the crystallized snow statuettes winter brings in its wake.

Though destructive blizzards may come to mind when thinking of this time, Nhor spotlights quiet dialogues the season harbors for those who listen. Embellished by wandering leads, the swirling modulations and uplifting chimes of “Murmurations Above Me” evoke sweeping flurries reverting natural changes, as though they never occurred.

What happened before temperatures dropped? Who can tell just by looking at a snow bank? As “They Leave no Trace” illustrates with its drifting melancholy and passionate melody, the true nature of the world becomes blurred in its hibernation. Those without resilience retreat to whatever warmth they can find as Nhor’s intimate drama depicts natures impervious dis-invitation to all but the most resilient. Of course, this frosty blight hardly drives out all life.

“Owls Through Snowfall” uses staggered arpeggiations and volume jumps to eloquently depict its namesake, proving yet again the seemingly boundless musicality Nhor brings to his compositions. While artists like Goldmund have a more phonetically complex take on piano ambient, few artists embody the term “a lot with a little” to Nhor’s degree. Winter shows no cracks in the glass castle of perfectly-placed chords and moving lines, providing exactly what is needed and allowing emotion to carry it.

Nhor’s ability to direct the listener’s attention to overlooked occurrences over seasonal phenomena never ceases to amaze, and “Wreaths of Hoarfrost” brings new light to his attention to detail. A stark melodic line gives the perfect soundtrack to one of this season’s most beautiful byproducts, woven into light-treading chords. “The space between notes has become so fragile,” Nhor says, in conscious protection of the fragile artwork created by freezing temperatures. In the midst of these new elements, a familiar character also shifts.

It came as a comforting voice in the heavens, then became the envy of the night and the forbearer of coming darkness, now “The Moon Belongs to All and None.” A balladic lament to the absent heavenly body, this fleeting hymn emphasizes the loss of vibrancy and vitality winter represents to places not pacified with Christmas lights and veracious consumerism. The moon’s presence remains, but perception of the silvery celestite is beholden to no one. “Will the whole Earth slip away into a cold, lifeless end,” Nhor wonders. “Or is there something more beyond that veil?”

Will the whole Earth slip away into a cold, lifeless end, or is there something more beyond that veil?

The bleak overtones accompanying winter are consistently perceived throughout this EP, but the concluding track “Mercy” cleverly concludes the EP by hinting at Spring with its start-stoppy rhythm, thoughtful use of silence and inconspicuously added voices. The blanquette of winter is revealed to be but the passing of a year, and the coming of spring will see a world reborn into the next cycle.

As the EP, and Wildflowers, comes to a close, its true significance manifests. Seasonal changes become a compassionate cornerstone even as they continually uproot. When seen from the broad perspective Nhor stakes out within his minimal homestead of piano soliloquies, Wildflowers provokes a newfound sense of wonder towards the seasons. “I would flood the starlit forests with my song,” Nhor says, reaffirming the maps to placidity his musical explorations draw.

Written by: Maxwell Heilman

Unsichtbar – Junges Liebespaar – Exclusive Music Video Premiere

This Is Darkness is pleased to present you with the exclusive premiere of the new music video for “Junges Liebespaar” the fourth track from the new album Erlebnis by Unsichtbar. The video was recorded and edited by Turkish experimental filmmaker Müge Yıldız with a LomoKino Super 35 camera. The full album is available on Bandcamp here.

Press Release:
Unsichtbar, a mysterious project from Lima (Peru), debuts with Erlebnis: a truly rich, minimalist, meditative, expressive, and emotional project, where the use of clarity mixed with distorted instrumentation invites the listener to drift into a moving, tenebrous, soul-filled place. The album contains somewhat noisy ambient music, which, rather than being built around structured compositions or clear melodies, floats around you like early morning fog. There are moments of clarity too, though, moments when a clear light shines through like a single ray of the sun piercing the dark clouds after a storm. Erlebnis was released November 17 digitally and on limited edition cassette through London-based record label ACR.

Trying to explain this project is kind of tricky since I created Unsichtbar, my alter ego, to make music without thinking too much. If I give too many details, I go back to myself, and that’s something I am trying to avoid. Here, I experiment with completely different and new sounds with the only intention of experimenting. No hidden messages, no complicated concepts, nothing at all. Just textures and sensations. That’s what ‘Erlebnis’ is about.

Links:
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/unsichtbarmusik/Unsichtbar
Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/unsichtbar.music/
Twitter:

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