Category: Frozen In Time: Weekly News (Page 1 of 8)

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – January 2023

Here are the dark ambient albums that we at This is Darkness have been listening to this month – some are new releases, but a few are older gems we’ve just (re)discovered.

Please check these out by clicking on the Bandcamp link next to each review (or by clicking on the BNDCMPR link at the bottom of the page), and please consider supporting the featured artists. Enjoy!


The Great Old Ones – Mythos Of Cthulhu

 

Following on from the awesome Yog​-​Sothoth album which was released last April, The Great Old Ones (aka Raffaele Pezzella / Sonologyst) is back with his second release of Lovecraftian horror. The music here is deliciously dark and otherworldly – with discordant drones and eerie soundscapes skillfully combined to create the perfect audio nightmare. Definitely an album to check out if you’re a fan of experimental dark ambient / drone with underlying sense of the strange and horrific.


Rojinski – DEFCON 1

 

I’m a big fan of Rojinski‘s music, so I was thrilled when I learned he had a new release. DEFCON 1 is a themed album of cinematic dark ambient, centred on the idea of ever increasing world hostility and the inevitable global destruction that follows. It’s dark, edgy stuff, with soaring soundscapes and subtly blended field recordings that combine together to give you a real sense of growing horror for the way things are going. Highly recommended if you like your dark ambient to be bleak and despairing.


nula.cc – beyond sublargo

 

The latest release from nula.cc (aka intermedia artist Lloyd Dunn) consists of six distillations of much longer improvisations he made for a 22-hour radio broadcast. The music here explores “… what human attention undergoes when faced with endless plains, vast oceans, the wind and weather, the blur of travel, and the birds and stars above …” The end result is an album of wonderfully inventive experimental drone / ambient, which takes the listener on a rewarding audio journey of discovery.


SONOLOGYST – Electrons (new edition)

 

Electrons (new edition) is a remastered version of the original 2016 digital-only release  – and this time, as well as including a new track (LHC), it is also available on CD. As the album name suggests, the music is here is very much electronic in nature, with pulsing drones, analogue synthesizers, and processed sounds utilised in expert fashion to explore the science and mystery of quantum physics theory. This is a must-have for fans of the more experimental, electronic-based side of the dark ambient genre.


loscil // lawrence english – Colours Of Air

 

Colours of Air is a collaborative creation from Lawrence English and loscil (aka Scott Morgan) using a century old pipe organ housed at the historic Old Museum in Brisbane, Australia. They then processed and transformed the resulting music, to create eight wonderful electro-acoustic ambient / drone tracks. The music here is soothing, heartfelt, and in places melancholic – with each piece positively dripping in mood and an underlying sense of the sacred. The end result is one of those albums to lose yourself in.


Macrogramma – Asphyxia

 

Macrogramma creates dream-like, electronic-based ambient music, that does an amazing job of taking the listener away from their surroundings into another realm. Asphyxia is another wonderful release, with thought provoking audio soundscapes that unfold in an almost hypnotic manner. This subtle dark ambient / drone, with real depth and a brooding, introspective vibe to it – perfect for a spot of life evaluation and soul-searching.


Perry Frank – Nuit Ensemble

 

Nuit Ensemble, the latest release from Perry Frank is an incredible album filled with gorgeous  guitar and synth loop soundscapes. Listening to this music is an absolute joy, and I found myself fully immersed in the soaring ambient textures and slowly evolving drones as they unfolded. With its hypnotic melodies, this is one of those albums to listen to when you want to chill-out, unwind, and forget about everything.


CrAwE – Dr​(​o​)​neNotDrones

 

CrAwE is fast becoming one of my personal favourites, and I’ve had this release from last May on repeat play since I first discovered it a couple of weeks ago. As with other CrAwE releases, Dr​(​o​)​neNotDrones is full of dark and brooding dark ambient that sounds like the soundtrack for the end of the world. This is guitar based drone of the finest order, with haunting soundscapes and a real sense of impending doom that your soul will be consumed by the darkness.


Click on the below image to go to this month’s This is Darkness playlist on BNDCMPR, which features 1 track from each of the above albums:


 

 

Shadow Echo Canyon – Interview

I’ve been wanting to speak to Shadow Echo Canyon ever since I first heard his amazing Shiver EP. His music is heartfelt, melancholic and solemn, with moments of brooding darkness, skillfully combining elements of dark ambient, drone, and field recordings that together create something truly special. I hope you will all enjoy this interview, and consider supporting the artist. He has some great work on his Bandcamp page, which is linked to at the bottom of this article!

Interviewer: Rich Dodgin
Interviewee: Shadow Echo Canyon (Luca Tommasini)

 

Hi Luca! First of all, a massive thank you for this opportunity to interview you for This Is Darkness, and to give our readers a chance to learn more about you and your music.

Thank you for this opportunity, it is a pleasure.

Can you start by telling us a little about yourself.

My name is Luca Tommasini, I have peasant origins and before being a musician I have always been a great listener, a listener of everything, places, people, musical genres.

For those who aren’t familiar with your music, can you provide a brief overview of your musical project(s) and the music you have released.

At highschool I played drums in a noise band, then when that disbanded I took up solo drone guitar. Then I sang and played keyboard in a doom-drone band called Oracle with whom we did a demo and a vinyl record. When that experience was over I switched off because I was looking for a sound that could be emotional and innovative at the same time. Putting these searches aside, I started playing again 3 years ago, in various forms and projects. Shadow Echo Canyon is the darker part, A Distant Shore the more harmonious and luminous part, Asylum Connection is a digital noise project. Then I participated in the Spectrum Audio Collective together with many artists around the globe, and from time to time I join Chelidon Frame’s Asynchronous Orchestra.

Do you have a preferred approach to creating your music, and what techniques and / or equipment do you use?

The main part is always improvised first. Sometimes it is a chain of effects, a new tuning, the sound of certain objects; there is no real rule. The only real rule is not to make music I already know. Then I find this main part, everything is deconstructed until I reach the result I like. I use poor equipment, a Doepfer Dark Energy, a Danelectro DC12, a couple of delays, a couple of reverbs, a contact microphone, a Tascam for field recording or I record directly on the phone. The phone has a rather raw and grainy sound that makes things quite strange and often interesting. The deconstruction is a cut and paste make directly on a multitrack on computer.

Do you have a particular personal belief system, or outlook on life, and if so how is that reflected in music?

For a long time I experienced self-destruction in many forms and ways, then I decided to take a deep decision and change my life. I started practising and studying Buddhism. Buddhism was and is exactly what I needed, a light that ignites hope in the murkiest darkness, I found myself in many things and the more I delved into that world, the more my life took constructive and improving paths. This approach to life has given me the opportunity to give more value, care and importance even to the darker side of my sounds that previously remained unexpressed.

Do you perform your music live? If so, how do you find that experience, and do you prefer it to studio work?

I don’t play live, I prefer working in the studio or doing collaborations. It is still impossible for me to get my sounds on stage in a interesting way, just as it is not easy to find the right mood within me to express myself. But in the future who knows?

Can you tell me about your own journey of musical discovery and experimentation? How did you discover / fall in love with ambient / dark ambient / drone music, and how did your creation of music develop over the years?

When I was a child my parents practised thai-chi with a tape playing in background. The tape contained Micheal Jarre‘s Oxigene and Tangerine Dream‘s Phaedra. That music hit me from the start and has never left me since. My adolescence was deeply marked by Sonic Youth and Motorpsycho, then in time I moved on to more ambientish-psychedelic like Deathprod, Fennesz and all of Kranky Records until I discovered Windy & Carl.

Are there any particular musicians who have inspired or influenced you?

The musicians who have influenced me the most are Brian Eno, Thomas Koner, Windy & Carl, Deathprod, Fennesz and John Cage.

How would you describe the current state of ambient / dark ambient / drone music?

There are many active and fantastic realities in every corner of the planet, there is a lot of excitement and a lot of beauty, just as there is sometimes a lot of superficiality. After the worldwide craze for Basinky-tapes and SunnO)))-guitars I think these genres are being reborn from the ground up in new forms and increasingly interesting possibilities.

What are your future musical plans?

Nothing really especial. I am into two new albums, and I just want to continue to play and record my stuff.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Thank you for your curiosity and interest that has led you to read this far.

Thank you so much for your time Luca !!!

Thank you so much for your support.

 

Shadow Echo Canyon Links

Bandcamp

 

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – December 2022

Here are the dark ambient albums that we at This is Darkness have been listening to this month – some are new releases, but a few are older gems we’ve just (re)discovered.

Please check these out by clicking on the Bandcamp link next to each review (or by clicking on the BNDCMPR link at the bottom of the page), and please consider supporting the featured artists. Enjoy!


DARDIS – Funerealism

 

Inner Demons Records is a very cool label that describes itself as “a transparent, socially liberal, d.i.y. experimental music and noise label.” Their latest release is this fantastic album from DARDIS – featuring 4 tracks of evolving drone and dark ambient that have an almost hypnotic effect on the listener. This is seriously impressive stuff, with multi-layered sounds that are perfect for losing yourself in. This is a musician I will definitely be keeping an eye on to see what they do next.


Sulk Rooms – Ceremony

 

Decaying Spheres from Manchester is one of my favourite labels, producing consistently gorgeous ambient and drone releases of the highest quality. Ceremony by Sulk Rooms is a wonderfully melancholic album of drone and dark ambient, with eerie soundscapes that wash over you as the tracks unfold. In places the music is gentle and soothing, in others it is harsher and more abrasive – but it all fits together perfectly, creating a unified album of mesmerising audio delights.


Hannya White – And a POW world

 

And a POW world is a track from Hannya White‘s upcoming EP, I call you an other name, and what a fabulous teaser for the full EP it is! The music here is more experimental electronica than outright dark ambient, but its haunting, brooding soundscape is a rewarding listen all the same – and if you’re a fan of music that isn’t afraid to try something new, you will really enjoy this.


PRISM SHANKS – Spirit Trumpets

 

The latest release from Prism Shanks (multi instrumentalist James Worse and guitarist / producer John W. Newman) is a wonderful 7 track album of avant-garde drone / noise that takes the listener on a journey of atmospheric and hypnotic audio discovery. With dark, ritualistic undertones and throbbing rhythms, eerie field recordings, and soaring ambient soundscapes, this album is challenging yet rewarding – providing the listener with the perfect soundtrack for some quiet self-reflection. This is music with real depth to it and very much worth your time if you are looking for something a little different.


Spacecraft – Lunar Sessions

 

Mumbai based Spacecraft (producer Rishi Bhatia) creates downtempo ambient soundscapes, and his latest release, Lunar Sessions, is another album full of wonderfully soothing ambient tracks. The music here is simply gorgeous – slowly evolving drones are skillfully blended with gentle synths and subtle soundscapes, resulting in music that is perfect for listening to when trying to relax and unwind.


Fionnlagh – What Came After

 

In November 2021, I reviewed Fionnlagh‘s debut album, What Came Before, saying “… this is jaw-droppingly good – eerie, dark, and brooding. with a real sense of menace running right through it….”, so I was thrilled when I discovered this new release – a sort of epilogue album, featuring new original material and remixes by some of ambient’s most talented atmosphere specialists. The music here is cinematic dark ambient, with a sharp edge and a distinctly dystopian vibe. Definitely one for fans of the darker stuff. 


Dudgrick Bevins, Andi Reisner – Two Brothers

 

Zustandsaufnahmen is a cool German label that releases experimental / punk / ambient / strange stuff, and their latest album is this impressive collection of experimental ambient from Dudgrick Bevins, Andi Reisner. This is one of those remarkable albums that offers something new each and every time you listen to it – with music ranging from full-on dark ambient, to eerie soundscapes and looping acoustic guitars. There are a diverse mix of styles at play here, and yet it all fits together perfectly – showing just how talented these two musicians are. Definitely one to check out if you like the more experimental side of the genre.


Science of Sleeping, Spacecraft – Moons of Jupiter

 

As well releasing the wonderful Lunar Sessions (see review above), Spacecraft has teamed up with another top ambient producer, Science of Sleeping, to create this 8 track ambient album. This is space ambient of the finest order, with lush cosmic soundscapes and gently evolving drones expertly combined together to create a soothing sonic soundtrack. This is highly recommended if you’re looking for something to help you relax and chill out.


CrAwE – TogetherWeSashayThroughVariationsOfHell

 

This is another release on the awesome Inner Demons Records label, and one that grabbed my attention as soon as I heard it. CrAwE describes his music as “Solo Improv Dark Ambient Guitar Soundscape Dronez with occasional contributions, the sound of the impending apocalypse and fridge buzz” and that sums this album up perfectly – it’s full of dark and brooding dark ambient that sounds like the soundtrack for the end of the world. I liked this so much that I’ve already been checking out CrAwE‘s back catalogue. Very highly recommended.


Bonzaii – On the Last Afternoon / Erde

 

As you’ll know by now, Bonzaii is one of my favourite artists, so I was delighted when I discovered he was releasing this new EP. This is another impressive release, with first track, On the Last Afternoon, featuring distorted pulsing drones and a melancholic undertone, and second track, Erde, providing a lighter but equally sorrowful sound. This is heartfelt, dream-like music, that is perfect for a spot of self reflection or when you want to lose yourself and forget about the world outside.


Capricorni Pneumatic – Nibbas

 

Now this is very cool! A re-release of the cult 1989 tape cassette Nibbas by Capricorni Pneumatici who between 1987 and 1991 were one of the most active projects of the esoteric / industrial Italian underground. The music here is dark and eerie, with discordant tones mixed with unnerving field recordings. The end result is like listening to the soundtrack to your worst nightmare – and a must have for fans of the more disconcerting audio soundscapes.


Click on the below image to go to this month’s This is Darkness playlist on BNDCMPR, which features 1 track from each of the above albums:


 

 

Esmam La Crowned – Interview

I’ve been wanting to speak to Esmam La Crowned ever since I first heard his amazing Coup De Grace EP. His music is melancholic and soulful, skillfully combining elements of dark ambient, drone, and electronica that together create something truly special. I hope you will all enjoy this interview, and consider supporting the artist. He has some great work on his Bandcamp page, which is linked to at the bottom of this article!

Interviewer: Rich Dodgin
Interviewee: Esmam La Crowned (Azmain Ishmam)

 

Hi Azmain! First of all, a massive thank you for this opportunity to interview you for This Is Darkness, and to give our readers a chance to learn more about you and your music.

I appreciate having this opportunity to speak with you and share my work and the creative process. I also would like to say that I have been following this magazine for a considerable amount of time. Moreover, this was motivating.

Can you start by telling us a little about yourself.

My name is Azmain Ishmam (he/him). I was born in a small city district in the north of Bangladesh. My father, who was an engineer, used to take a lot of pictures. He was a prolific photographer. He actually gave me instructions on how to use a camera and how to look through the viewfinder. That’s what I did. The world I saw was also very beautiful and blue. Because the camera was Yashica Electro 35. The viewfinder used to have blue glass or it was broken or something, but it was Beautiful.

I’ve loved music and taking pictures since I was a young child. However, I’ve never taken music seriously enough to consider it as a career or anything else. The same goes for photography. Although persistent, it was never particularly serious.

For those who aren’t familiar with your music, can you provide a brief overview of your musical project(s) and the music you have released.

In 2018, my father passed away. For me, it was a very difficult time. I was unable to do pretty much anything for a year. I was unable to complete my college final year. It was a very tough time, which is why I was very disconnected and isolated. I used to listen to music during that time, especially ambient. Some of my favorite artists include Loscil, 36, Brock Van Wey, and Rafael Anton Irisarri.

My music is mostly inspired by the deepest, darkest part of my life and humanity. I suppose I could say I don’t love any emotions in my music. My music should not contain any sadness or joy. It’s kind of raw emotion for me. The judge must be the listener. I want the listener to give my music emotion. But it all depends on them.

I have quite a few musical projects that I have released, but some of them are pretty significant. I’d like to talk a little bit about two of my releases.

01. Art of Living Alone (2020): The birth of the album was when I was at my lowest. At the time, I fell in love with ambient music and wanted to start composing, but I lacked the motivation. so that I can find my motivation. I was going through my old computer files since I used to always produce music, but only for my own enjoyment and never with the intention of selling it or using it in any other way. And I discovered around 20 or 30 of them, some of which I loved. Then I thought about making an album with 15 tracks. So, I gathered 15 of my favorite songs and put them out. The project was not entirely original. It was a compilation of ideas, and that’s incredibly significant to me. The record is not flawless, and you probably already know that. I released it, and a few members of the ambient community as well as my friends seemed to like it.

02. Isolated Dreams (2021): The year was 2021. After COVID-19, the world was also beginning to open up. I went to see my grandmother after more than a year of living alone. Moreover, the place was lovely with its green fields and deserted roads, which was breathtaking and motivating. Even though it was absolutely stunning, it was isolated from the rest of the country. I was truly inspired by that location to write this album. The simplicity, beauty, and remoteness of the location are all captured in the album.

Do you have a preferred approach to creating your music, and what techniques and / or equipment do you use?

I have an audio recorder that I primarily use to capture different sounds. and later I prefer to create a synth or use the sound’s texture. I like using Ableton Live to create music. in particular, while using the session view. I make a lot of loops and keep adding sound to them because I love to experiment with sound. When I’m creating a track, I do make a lot of noise. However, the outcome must be very minimal. I prefer to choose those that complement one another. My favorite synth is Audio Damage’s Quanta Granular Synthesizer.

Do you have a particular personal belief system, or outlook on life, and if so how is that reflected in music?

I’m a thinking individual. Though I’m not very religious, I do think that religion has played a significant role in human history. I used to be afraid of being alone, but after some time, I began to appreciate it. Silence is beautiful and loneliness is a code in my life. And loneliness has played a part in my art and will continue to do so.

Do you perform your music live? If so, how do you find that experience, and do you prefer it to studio work?

Both have unique ways to amaze listeners, and I find both methods enjoyable to use. In my latest project, I build a patch for my synthesizer, play it live, and record it. And the EP had five tracks and all are live recordings that I have released. Dream And Bliss (2022). And I have a dream of playing those patches live.

Can you tell me about your own journey of musical discovery and experimentation? How did you discover / fall in love with ambient / dark ambient / drone music, and how did your creation of music develop over the years?

I could say that my environment had a significant impact on how I came to discover the musical idea. I never imagined being like them when I was practicing on a toy piano and listening to top 40 songs. But I liked how Aphex Twin sounded. For a very long time, I had no idea but I wanted to learn how to make music like that. And I’m still learning and making. And this is how I got to know about the world of ambient music.

Are there any particular musicians who have inspired or influenced you?

It’s bvdub (Brock Van Wey) Loscil, 36 and Rafael Anton Irisarri.

How would you describe the current state of ambient / dark ambient / drone music?

I think it’s fantastic. Bandcamp has made it really simple for anyone to express themselves, and there is so much new and exciting music.

What are your future musical plans?

My upcoming musical project will be called “Black Days.” The record is inspired by a historical occasion. About The Project: The History Is Very Dark. During The Liberation War of Bangladesh against Pakistan. On 14 December 1971 Sensing Imminent Defeat Pakistani forces collaborated with a group of betrayers and abducted and killed Bengali intellectuals and professionals. in order to make a nation mindless.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I currently work for Trans and human rights with many humanitarian organizations. I’m an activist, and the stigma I’m trying to eradicate in this nation is risky. Because the people are influenced by religion and are not open-minded. People don’t respect the gender-diverse population as a result. We also lack the right to free expression

Thank you so much for your time Azmain !!!

I’m grateful for the chance to speak with you today.

 

Esmam La Crowned Links

Bandcamp

 

Bonzaii – Interview

I’ve been wanting to speak to Bonzaii ever since I first heard his amazing A Person / Life on a Blade release. His music is filled with a wistful poignancy, featuring evolving drones and expertly blended field recordings that together create something truly special. I hope you will all enjoy this interview, and consider supporting the artist. He has some great work on his Bandcamp page, which is linked to at the bottom of this article!

Photo credit: Sophia Caroline Bittinger

 

Interviewer: Rich Dodgin
Interviewee: Bonzaii

 

Hi Bonzaii! First of all, a massive thank you for this opportunity to interview you for This Is Darkness, and to give our readers a chance to learn more about you and your music.

Thanks for having me!

Can you start by telling us a little about yourself.

I live in Hamburg, Germany and have spent roughly the last 10 years as a musician with various bands/projects and also studying literature and history. I play in German post-punk band ‘Der Ringer’, hardcore/blackmetal project ‘FERMIUM’ and for indie artists ‘Ilgen-Nur’ and ‘Fritzi Ernst’.

For those who aren’t familiar with your music, can you provide a brief overview of your musical project(s) and the music you have released.

Bonzaii has existed in my head and on my hard drive for about 6 years. It started out as a way mainly to calm myself down when I was taking long overnight trips by bus to visit my girlfriend in Paris. The drive was around 13 hours and I could never sleep, so I spent most of those times writing some of the first Bonzaii tracks. Around the same time I was also touring Southeast Asia and China with one of my bands and that was also where a lot of the initial inspiration came from.

I first started releasing Bonzaii tracks via Bandcamp in the first months of the pandemic. It was the first time in ages that I was at home for a long period of time and so I was finally able concentrate on starting this project and also writing new tracks.

Do you have a preferred approach to creating your music, and what techniques and / or equipment do you use?

My goal is always to minimize the use of analog/modular synths and synth plug-ins and use modified samples instead. Over the years I’ve created quite an extensive sound library to draw from, which includes stems from recording sessions with my bands, as well as field recordings that I recorded on tour, while traveling or simply roaming through my local forests with my dog. I mostly use a Tascam recorder and sometimes (when it’s not windy) even my iPhone. Using these samples allows me to create original sounds more easily, because I am using sounds from my past that nobody else is using. In a way, it’s like modifying my sonic diary.

This method also ties to what I am trying to achieve with Bonzaii conceptually: To re-create memories, dreams and nightmares in a kind of stream-of-consciousness state were I use sounds from my past to illustrate how I felt at that point in time, what my outlook on life was, what my fears and my hopes were. My life does not usually feel “clean” or “hi-fi” and so I’m trying to reflect that in my music, to allow for imperfections and roughness.

Do you have a particular personal belief system, or outlook on life, and if so how is that reflected in music?

I would describe myself as an agnostic with a certain interest in spirituality outside of religious structures and this certainly reflects in my music.

I grew up in a highly religious Christian community and have spent the better part of my adult life trying to come to terms with this upbringing. When I decided in my teens that I was no longer Christian, that meant that the existential questions in life weren’t solved after all, that there were no easy answers, and this truth crashed down on me with considerable force. It took me years to process this and arrive at a better place mentally, where I learned to accept and even enjoy uncertainty.

Bonzaii is a creative vehicle to address existentialist fears about life after death, the cosmic horror of being a tiny grain of sand in an enormous universe. I want to show that there is beauty to be found in uncertainty and in discovering meaning in unforeseen places.

Do you perform your music live? If so, how do you find that experience, and do you prefer it to studio work?

I’ve had some requests in the past, for art installations and such, but it didn’t work out for a number of reasons. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure I like the idea of performing ambient/drone live, since for me as an artist and as a listener it really is a lot about enabling a contemplative state of mind and that is very hard to achieve in a live setting, with other people around. It could work, but it would have to be a very special kind of time and place. I definitely prefer the writing process to playing live.

Can you tell me about your own journey of musical discovery and experimentation? How did you discover / fall in love with ambient / dark ambient / drone music, and how did your creation of music develop over the years?

I’ve played in “guitar-based” bands since I was a teenager and that was my starting point musically. But I noticed quite early on that I enjoyed the ambience of interludes, intros and outros at least as much as the actual songs and I always tended to like the atmospheric bands like My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive the most. Some bands then cited as influences artists that I had never heard of, like Steve Reich, Brian Eno or Aphex Twin. So I quickly dove deeper into similar musicians and found there was a whole world to discover. I actually didn’t like Brian Eno very much in the beginning, because he had lots of piano parts in his tracks and that felt a bit posh to me. The really atmospheric, drony tracks like Aphex Twin’s ‘Rhubarb’ or William Basinski’s ‘Disintegration Loops’ were really my first love within ambient.

Are there any particular musicians who have inspired or influenced you?

There are so many, I’ll just try and name a few, in no particular order: Steve Reich, Liz Harris (Grouper), Axel Willner (The Field), Chelsea Wolfe, Ryuichi Sakamoto.

How would you describe the current state of ambient / dark ambient / drone music?

I think it’s fantastic how cheaper recording equipment and platforms like Bandcamp have leveled the playing field in experimental music. In my opinion, there’s more happening creatively in ambient and drone music now than ever before because more people are able to contribute.

What are your future musical plans?

I have a new Bonzaii album done that will be coming out via Decaying Spheres in May 2023. A collaboration with my Italian friends ‘Arieti Rilassati’ is also coming up. And, as always, I will regularly be self-releasing shorter EP’s on Bandcamp in the coming months.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Make Racists Afraid Again!

Thank you so much for your time Bonzaii !!!

 

Bonzaii Links

Bandcamp
Instagram

 

Rojinski – Interview

I’ve been wanting to speak to Rojinski ever since I first heard his amazing Winter album. His music skillfully blends brooding dark ambient scores with cinematic soundscapes and subtle field recordings – resulting in rewarding audio experiences that offer something truly special. I hope you will all enjoy this interview, and consider supporting the artist. He has some great work on his Bandcamp page, which is linked to at the bottom of this article!

Interviewer: Rich Dodgin
Interviewee: Rojinski

 

Hi Rojinski! First of all, a massive thank you for this opportunity to interview you for This Is Darkness, and to give our readers a chance to learn more about you and your music.

It’s an honor for me, really.

Can you start by telling us a little about yourself.

Well… It’s always difficult to tell about myself… I compose, sing and play music since I was 15 years old (I’m in my 50s). I have been pro for a long time. I’ve been signed in Belgium by BMG Ariola, Indisc, ARS Records, etc… I started playing New-Wave with a band, in the mid-80s. In the early 90s, I met the woman who is my wife today and we had a son. Then, I wanted to spend my time with them. I think being a popular musician is not compatible with a family life. And to be honest with you, I hate the “music business” world. But I went on composing soundtracks for short movies, one-man-show, theater, etc.

In 2007, I started a project (Planets Citizens), on a very “confidential” level based on dark pop, synthpop, EBM, cold wave and dark electro. I had a track signed on a compilation in the US. After that, I’ve stopped that project in 2011.

For those who aren’t familiar with your music, can you provide a brief overview of your musical project(s) and the music you have released.

At the moment, my main project  is composing dark ambient, drone, cinematic and atmospheric music under my name, Rojinski. I still compose soundtracks for short movies, animation shorts (my son is character artist in the 3D industry and had a movie selected for a famous festival in Belgum), a web serie in the US (The Sorrow, by Neil Gorz), etc. I have also a project with two other composers (Handalien from Brazil and Omensworn in the US)…. But it’s a work in progress…  I’ve released all my music (for free) composed since 2012 on Bandcamp. We are living difficult times regarding the global situation. That’s why I’m fighting to keep things free on my side. People need their money for food, water, Energy, health cares, etc…. It’s very important. So, I follow the path my conscience is showing me…

Do you have a preferred approach to creating your music, and what techniques and / or equipment do you use?

I’m influenced by several themes like : sciences, geo-politics, philosophy, life… but it depends also on my state of mind. And like I said, I have no reason to be optimistic. My life have been impacted, 3 years ago, by a heart attack. They saved my life just on time…. Two minutes later, it should have been “game over” for me. It changed my way to approach music too… We are fragile beings and we have to face the big challenges to come. All these things are influencing me.

About my equipment, I keep this under the seal of discretion (big smile).  Few synths, a pc, a master keyboard (M-Audio), few plugins and FL Studio as DAW. I’ve bought it 20 years ago when it was named “Fruity Loops”. It’s developed by Imagine-Line, a Belgian company. Before 2000, I worked in great recordings studios like “Katy Studio” (Marvin Gaye, etc), “ICP Studios” (The Cure, The Stranglers, Paul Young, etc.) and with great sound engineers like Marc Nuettiens, Christian ‘Djoum’ Ramon, Dietmar Schillinger (The Clash, Kim Wilde, ABC, The Art of Noise, Talk Talk) with my project SX-96 (Belgian New Beat). All these persons taught me everything I know today. But now, I’m working in my little home studio and I wanna stay completely independent.

Do you have a particular personal belief system, or outlook on life, and if so how is that reflected in music?

I have a scientific and literary background…. The world has never been as dangerous as it is today. The mistrust that people have towards science amazes me, in the bad sense of the word. Very serious studies show that the overall intelligence (IQ) is decreasing… It is easier to “believe” in simple things stated by people without interests and without knowledge than to study and understand that nothing is simple on this earth. I fear what is coming… Above all, I am very sad for the future of my son…

This human civilization arrives in the era of idiocracy, ultra-egoism, disinterest in true culture in favor of an industry made up of influencers and people who want to be famous, without having talent, without working hard, without learning…. Just by showing off and dumbing down the crowds. Who is better known between Kim Kardashian and, for example, physicist Stephen Hawking? It is now more important to appear and to have rather than to be. This puts us in a delicate position to face the challenges ahead. We are going to be the next victims of Darwin’s law if we go on like this. We refuse to adapt to a new situation, to the changes in progress… Many people will bury their head in the sand of believes, of ignorance, of intellectual emptiness and self-centeredness… I am not optimistic. I’m just realistic. Sadly realistic.

That’s why, I try to make all the contrary in my daily life…. I swim against the tide… And my music is a good tool to spread what I think, what I feel…. I have several albums that “speak” about it. Without words. The themes are obvious. I don’t wanna be rich or famous… I just wanna share true things… I like to stay in the shadow when there are a lot of people who want to show up!

Do you perform your music live? If so, how do you find that experience, and do you prefer it to studio work?

No, I don’t perform my music live. Not anymore. I made hundreds of concerts and shows (tv, live radios, etc). Now, I leave it for the next generation. I focus on the sound and my family. I always loved the studio work. It gives me the emotions I’m searching for… And also, I can create more things…. To be completely honest, my health is not perfect either but it’s another story…. And I don’t wanna talk about it…. There are people under the bombs, losing their life, their friends and their family…. It’s more important than my small person.

Can you tell me about your own journey of musical discovery and experimentation? How did you discover / fall in love with ambient / dark ambient / drone music, and how did your creation of music develop over the years?

When I was 14 years old, I’ve discovered artists like Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, Jean-Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk… A pirate radio in a university was playing a lot of that kind of music and also a lot of cold wave, new-wave, etc… It helped me to study, to sleep, to dream and to have inner-trips… I was not the usual teen (big smile).  I appreciate different genres of music but ambient and electronic music always had a special place on my tapes. Yes, I said tapes… OMG… I’m old, huh ?

Then, more recently (few years ago), I discovered Cryo Chamber, a wonderful label created by Simon Heath. This man is amazing and multi-talented. Music (Atrium Carceri, Sabled Suns, etc) but also visual arts (3D, 2D,etc.). He signed very cool composers and artists like Alphaxone, Dronny Darko, ProtoU, Ugasanie, Apocryphos, Kammarheit, Mount Shrine (Cesar Alexandre, the brazilian man behind the project, died last year because of that damn’ thing named Covid) and a lot of others. I like them all, really. It makes me travel without moving. That’s the effect I’m searching when I’m listening or making this kind of music. A few months ago, I discovered Omensworn (USA) and Handalien (Brazil) and I like their music a lot too ! We have a project but…. Well… You will hear it… (smile).

I compose as I feel it. So, yes, I must be influenced by a whole life of music, from punk to dark ambient, from classical to darkwave…. Someone told me, one day, that all the harmonic suites have been used since Mozart…. I don’t know what will be the future of my music… It will depend on the future of the civilization, I guess…. And also, I’m getting older…. (smile again).

Are there any particular musicians who have inspired or influenced you?

I think people like Peter Gabriel, Jerry Goldsmith, Wagner, Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk and a lot of others like Depeche Mode have fueled my unconscious.

How would you describe the current state of ambient / dark ambient / drone music?

I have subscribed to a lot of dark ambient / drone / cinematic groups on Facebook and I have to tell you, there are a lot of people creating music in this particular genre. Well, there are not as numerous as the rappers, the commercial productions and it’s good like that…. We are a part of a minority… And I feel comfortable in it. That’s culture. Everyone needs some…. Whatever it is.

What are your future musical plans?

As I said before, I have no plan on the long term…. I compose for The Sorrow, season 2 , an american web series based on dark mystery, a bit of horror…. small budget, big hearts and souls. I will make something too with my two friends Handalien and Omensworn. It’s in progress. But I’ve learned that making projects on the long term is dangerous. Carpe diem, my friend.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Times are difficult and very dangerous. Stay safe. Whoever you are. Wherever you are.  Let’s try to be better human beings to build a better civilization. Listen to music. Read books. Learn. Feel. Love. Create. Be instead of have. Cultivate yourself. Don’t get manipulated by toxic people and hypocrites. Choose to be rather than to have.

Thank you so much for your time Rojinski!!!

 

Rojinski Links

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Website
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Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – October 2022

Here are the dark ambient albums that we at This is Darkness have been listening to this month – some are new releases, but a few are older gems we’ve just (re)discovered.

Please check these out by clicking on the Bandcamp link next to each review (or by clicking on the BNDCMPR link at the bottom of the page), and please consider supporting the featured artists. Enjoy!


hectic zeniths – Ambient Melodic Drone Works

The latest album from hectic zeniths is a little different from his previous downtempo/trip-hop releases, with gritty experimental electronica blended skillfully with drone and dark ambient soundscapes. Then end result is a wonderful collection of tracks that take the listener on a breathtaking audio adventure. This is definitely worth checking out if you like your drone / dark ambient with something a little different added to the mix. Fantastic!


CALDON GLOVER – Labyrintia

Cyclic Law continue to release ambient, experimental and industrial soundscapes of the highest quality, and this album from doom industrial/ ambient musician CALDON GLOVER is no exception. This collection of brooding dark ambient has been on repeat play since I first heard it, as I find myself drawn again and again to the unfolding dark, otherworldly soundscapes. This is seriously impressive stuff, and I will be watching CALDON GLOVER with real interest to see what they release in future. Amazing!


Various Artists – Dracula – Music Inspired By The Bram Stoker’s Novel

The latest release from Eight Tower Records is this gorgeous collection of musical interpretations of the Dracula myth, provided by 12 talented musicians from around the globe. The music here ranges from gloomy dark ambient soundscapes to electro-acoustic compositions – and all of it is inspired by chapters, scenes, or characters from Bram Stoker’s novel. Every single track offers something different for the listener, and for fans of dark ambient / gothic horror there is plenty of great music to get your teeth into!


øjeRum – Reversed Cathedral

Now this is very cool. øjeRum has created an album of dark and dreamy ambient / drone, using an antique German made Mannborg Harmonium organ as the sole sound source. The music is melancholic and melodic, with a real sense of underlying sadness that manages to be both beautiful and heartbreaking in equal measure. This is one of those albums to lose yourself in as you lie back on the sofa on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Highly recommended!


Rien Post – Liath

The album notes describe Liath as a “… multi-layered, constantly changing instrumental trip with various moods and movements …” which sums up this incredible release perfectly. Over the course of 46 minutes we are treated to an eclectic mix of moods and sounds, with moments of ambient, dark ambient, classical and dark electro that all hang together perfectly to create a single, united ‘vibe’. Rien Post (along with Marten van Holten and Peter Evers) has created a wonderful album here, and if you’re a fan of ambient soundscapes with multi-textured sounds, then this is definitely an album for you. Amazing!


Torus Dome – Turned Into Stone

Torus Dome is a prolific musician, having already released 12 albums this year – each of which features beautifully crafted tracks of dark ambient and drone. I could easily have reviewed any one of those 12 albums, because they’re all so damn good – but I’ve picked Turned Into Stone because this is the one that has resonated with me the most and because I simply cannot stop listening to it! This is an album of eerie soundscapes and brooding tones, and definitely worth checking out if you like your dark ambient with a growing sense of dread and despair. Wonderful!


Rojinski – Winter

Rojinski creates the most amazing cinematic dark ambient soundscape albums, and Winter is another impressive release – featuring soaring drones, synths, and subtly blended field recordings. This is the soundtrack to the post apocalyptic ice-age, with the listener getting a real sense of the harsh cold winter landscape as the album unfolds. On the strength of Winter, I will definitely be checking out more of Rojinski‘s music. Superb!


PATASONUS – Umbra

I’m a big fan of the debut EP from London based PATASONUS, so I was thrilled when I discovered he had had released another album! If anything, the music here is even more experimental then on the previous release, but it still has elements of dark ambient and drone blended into the mix, resulting in a wonderfully rewarding album of dark and moody textures. Highly recommended for fans of dark ambient music that does something a little different. Gorgeous!


Click on the below image to go to this month’s This is Darkness playlist on BNDCMPR, which features 1 track from each of the above albums:


 

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – September 2022

Here are the dark ambient albums that we at This is Darkness have been listening to this month – some are new releases, but a few are older gems we’ve just (re)discovered.

Please check these out by clicking on the Bandcamp link next to each review (or by clicking on the BNDCMPR link at the bottom of the page), and please consider supporting the featured artists. Enjoy!


Heksentanden – Dance Of The Deceased

This release from Pennsylvanian based dark ambient / drone musician Heksentanden is a wonderful album of gloriously dark and brooding music that I have had on repeat play since I first heard it. This is deep, multi-layered stuff that reveals something new each time you listen to its unfolding melancholic soundscapes. Highly recommended!


Rivers of Glass – By the Light of Burning Bridges

Wow. Every now and then, an album comes along that does something different and makes a real impression on you… and By the Light of Burning Bridges by Rivers of Glass is one of those album. Dark ambient / drone is skillfully combined with acoustic guitar based post-country tunes to create something very special indeed. The end result is an album of simply beautiful music that manages to be life affirming while also being tinged with an underlying sense of sadness. Gorgeous!


Floating Shrine – Growth and Decay

The ever wonderful Decaying Spheres label brings us the debut album from Australian based Floating Shrine – a collection of beautifully crafted ambient soundscapes. The music here is intimate and heart-felt, perfect for listening to on your headphones in the dark, as you let the music carry you away to another place. At times, the music is light and uplifting, in others it is darker and despairing – but it’s all absolutely stunning. Impressive!


Various Artists – Dark Ambient Vol 24.

The latest in the Dark Ambient series from the ever awesome Sombre Soniks label provides a fantastic variety of high quality dark ambient and drone tracks, from a range of talented artists (including Kloob, Akoustik Timbre Frekuency, Facetoucher, Scott Lawlor, and our very own Hellschreiber to name just a few). Every single track here offers something special, and this is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking to discover something new. Highly recommended!


Innerwoud – Furie

Now this is very cool… an album of dark ambient / drone / neoclassical music all created on the double bass by Belgian composer Pieter-Jan Van Assche. This is incredible stuff, with slow, brooding tracks that pull you into the darkness. Another highly recommended album for fans of dark ambient that isn’t afraid to try something a little different. And not only is the album available on Bandcamp, but it is is also available on vinyl and CD. Wonderful!


Click on the below image to go to this month’s This is Darkness playlist on BNDCMPR, which features 1 track from each of the above albums:


 

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – August 2022

Here are the dark ambient albums that we at This is Darkness have been listening to this month – some are new releases, but a few are older gems we’ve just (re)discovered.

Please check these out by clicking on the Bandcamp link next to each review (or by playing our BNDCMPR playlist which features one track from each artist), and please consider supporting the artists. Enjoy!


Steve Fors – it’s nothing, but still

The latest release from Steve Fors is this wonderful concept album on the subject of breath (initially inspired by living with a chronic lung condition). The music is mainly deep and gentle, with a melancholic and thought provoking vibe to it – though there are moments where things become momentarily harsher and a little abrasive. This is definitely one of those albums to lose yourself in, with each listen offering something new. Beautiful!


Gammelsæter & Marhaug – Higgs Boson

The second collaborative work from Runhild Gammelsæter and Lasse Marhaug is a deliciously dark album of dark ambient / drone that is perfectly complimented by blackmetal-esque vocalisations and eerie soundscapes that have been added subtly to the mix. This album would be the perfect soundtrack for a movie about ancient witchcraft, haunted forests and evil spirits. Gorgeous!


Cellarkalt – Neues Licht an unbestimmtem Morgen

Neues Licht an unbestimmtem Morgen is the latest album of dark ambient / experimental / industrial / lo-fi music from Cellarkalt (Benedikt Schmidt). As with his previous releases, this is an intriguing and rewarding collection of tracks that takes the listener on a roller-coaster journey of audio discovery. Strictly speaking, this isn’t all dark ambient – but those who enjoy music that isn’t afraid to mix genres and try something new will absolutely love this!


VA – Nyarlathotep – A Tribute To Howard Phillips Lovecraft

Eighth Tower Records continues to release incredible dark music, and Nyarlathotep – A Tribute To Howard Phillips Lovecraft is no exception. The album was originally released in 1997 by the KADATH label, and has now been lovingly remastered and re-released, making this impressive piece of late 90’s Portuguese post-industrial tape culture available to a wider audience. As you’d expect from a Lovecraft themed album, the music here is bleak and otherworldly, featuring a healthy mix of dark ambient, industrial and drone. Impressive!


VA – Make Noise Music – Strega Musica

Now this is very cool – an album featuring thirteen musicians, each of whom created a track using Strega (a new patchable desktop instrument). The music is experimental and edgy, and does an amazing job of demonstrating how versatile the Strega is – with each track offering something different. If you’re a fan of the more electronic side of the dark ambient genre, then this is definitely worth checking out!


Mombi Yuleman – Hours Lost

The latest release from the ever cool Zero K label is inspired by a case of alien abduction in 1961 and the idea of “missing time” that alien abductees experience. This is an impressive album of dark ambient / drone music, with skillfully blended glitch and post-industrial soundscapes. It’s eerie, otherworldly stuff, and it does a wonderful job of creating an unsettling and alien mood. I’ve had this on continuous play since I first heard it, and I will be listening to this for a long time to come. Very highly recommended!


 

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – July 2022

Here are the dark ambient albums that we at This is Darkness have been listening to this month – some are new releases, but a few are older gems we’ve just (re)discovered. Please check these out by clicking on the Bandcamp links, and consider supporting the artists. Enjoy!


Rafael Anton Irisarri – Agitas Al Sol

Rafael Anton Irisarri‘s latest release, Agitas Al Sol, is a gorgeous blend of drone / noise / electronica that is soothing and abrasive in equal measure, with a melancholic undertone that stays with the listener long after the music has finished. This is one of those wonderful multi-textured albums that rewards multiple listens and provides something new each and every time it is played. Highly recommended for fans of hypnotic dark ambient with layers. Stunning.


Mathoms – The Woe Trumpets

The Woe Trumpets is an “… audiovisual album that re-imagines dystopian narratives by attempting to find hidden subtexts within the grand metaphor of apocalypse…” featuring a video of reworked footage from 1970s films (the link to the video can be found on the bandcamp page). The music is mainly dream-like, incorporating field recordings, modular synths, soundscapes and drones – but also has moments that are shriller and more chaotic. This is the perfect soundtrack for lying back on the sofa, closing your eyes, and losing yourself to the music. Wonderful.


Otto Lindholm – FortyTwo

Otto Lindholm‘s latest release blends the sounds of the double bass with brooding drones, resulting in the beautiful sound of ambient drone influenced by contemporary classical composition. FortyTwo is very much an album of two halves – Reg provides a soothing listen, whereas The Donkey Theory is more unsettling, with a growing sense of dread as the track unfolds. The contrast between the two pieces works really well, actually helping to highlight the strengths of each. This is definitely an album to check out if you like classical music elements in your ambient / drone. Gorgeous.


Esmam La Crowned – Nuclear City

I’m a big fan of Esmam La Crowned‘s previous releases, and his latest album is another impressive collection of emotional dark ambient / industrial edged electronica. In places, the music here is harsh and disturbing, and in other it is calmer and more gentle. The album tells the story of Ruppur: “… Ruppur was merely another town located far to the west of the capital. The town and the people are transforming as a result of Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant…”, and the resulting music does an amazing job of capturing a sense of time and place. Magnificent.


Matthew Whiteside – The Remixes

The latest release from Glasgow based composer Matthew Whiteside is a breathtaking collection of contemporary classical / experimental / dark ambient / electroacoustic tracks, each of which is a remix / reimagining of some of his previous work. It is, quite simply, absolutely fantastic stuff – with each and every track offering something different, while also fitting into the overall vibe of the album. On the strength of this album, I will definitely be checking out Matthew’s previous releases, and this is a must buy if you are a fan of the more experimental side of dark ambient. Incredible.


Replicant Stardust – Maybe Those Spaces Are Meant To Be There

This debut release from Replicant Stardust (aka Paul Schauert and Scott Kumis) is a wonderful blend of cinematic sci-fi / dark ambient – with soaring soundscapes, pulsing synth work, and slow evolving drones. This is the perfect soundtrack for that interstellar trip you’ve been thinking about, for escaping into the wonders of outer space and sonic dream-states. Highly recommended for fans of cosmic dark ambient! Stunning.


Unexplained Sounds Group – Visions Of Darkness Vol. II

Visions Of Darkness Vol. II (In Iranian Contemporary Music) is the followup to the impressive first volume released in 2017. Vol II is, if anything, even better – featuring astoundingly good tracks by twenty talented musicians who each provide the listener with an insight into the Iranian underground music scene. The music here ranges from dark ambient and drone through to experimental and sonic abstractionism, and there is something here for everyone. This is another Unexplained Sounds Group release that I have been playing repeatably since I first heard it, and I cannot recommend it strongly enough. Fantastic.


 

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