Category: Reviews (Page 1 of 18)

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.


Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – June 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!

Mila Drone and Dragon & Jettenbach – Split [IND106]

Tampa based Inner Demons Records is a transparent, socially liberal, d.i.y. experimental music and noise label that releases very cool music. Their latest EP is a split release, with the first track being a haunting guitar based drone by Mila Drone that is distorted, chugging and heavy as hell – but manages to also be wonderfully melancholic. The second track is by Dragon & Jettenbach and, though less harsh, is no less unsettling – with eerie drone that washes over you in waves and with an increasing sense of unease. This is an EP highly recommended if you’re a fan of drone and experimental music with an edge. Glorious.

Fani Konstantinidou – Bacterial Dance

The latest release from the ever cool Decaying Spheres label is this wonderful album from Bacterial Dance, consisting of two twenty-minute live electronic performances recorded in the Netherlands. Track one (which “…amplifies the sounds of obscure microscopic organisms from an unexplored world…”) is a glitchy and unnerving number that grows in intensity as it plays, before lulling the listener with a moment of calm before the discordant pulsing drone brings things to a close. Track two features field recordings, (goat bells, talking, the sounds of insects) alongside subtle drones to create an incredible sense of place, before the field recordings take a dark turn as the track nears it end. It’s incredibly well done and a must listen for fans of drone and field recordings. Awesome.

Various Artists – The Dystopian World of J​.​G​.​Ballard

The Dystopian World of J​.​G​.​Ballard is another great compilation album from the Zero K label, featuring music from an impressive range of musicians (including HLER, JARL, and Lars Bröndum to name just a few). The album “… provides sound descriptions of the dystopian world … in his novels and short stories, creating an imaginary soundtrack of those s/f masterpieces …” with tracks of experimental, post industrial, drone, dark ambient, and electronica all fitting together nicely to create a remarkable listening experience. The album does have a cohesive feel to it, and yet the moods of the tracks vary: some are dark and confrontational, others are meditative and lo-fi, others yet are noisy, a number are minimalist, and others are challenging and disturbing. Fantastic.

Dragon & Jettenbach – Retrocede

The latest album from Dragon & Jettenbach features 5 tracks of reworked compilation submissions. Strictly speaking, only track 5 could be considered “dark ambient”, with the others being a heady mix of electronica, idm, industrial, and glitch – but it’s all so well done that the genres simply don’t matter! This album sounds like a sci-fi movie soundtrack – and would be perfect to listen to as a cyberpunk / dystopian story plays out on the big screen in front of you. Wonderful.

Hiemal – Cascapedia

Cascapedia is a new release from one of my personal favourites, Hiemal. Those who have heard his stuff before (and if you haven’t, why not?) will know what to expect – winter soundscapes with field recordings that compliment slowly evolving drones / ambient drones. As always, listening to these tracks is a wonderful way to relax and lose yourself, as the almost hypnotic music transports you away to lands of ice and snow. Beautiful.

Scott Lawlor – A Halo of Dark Icy Worlds

Scott Lawlor‘s latest release is an album of minimalist drone / cosmic space ambient that does an amazing job of making you feel like you’re there, in the far reaches of outer space. This is one of those gorgeous albums that is perfect for chilling out to and losing yourself in – as expertly blended multi-layered tracks of subtle drone take you on an interplanetary journey. I’ve had this on repeat play since I first heard it. Breathtaking.


A°🄳+S/P°₂₃ – Monolith II

The Sombre Soniks label is another of my favourites, and their latest release is this second collaboration between A Demon Sheen (Grist) and P23 (Akoustik Timbre Frekuency), which features an impressive two hour track of evolving drone / processed guitar soundscape. This is one of those joyous albums that offers something different each and every time you listen to it, as the sonic nuances and subtleties are discovered and savoured. Fabulous.

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – April 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!

Ghost Signs & Veins Full of Static – For The Reverend Jason Molina

Decaying Spheres continues to be one of my favourite labels, with each of their releases offering something new and exciting to tempt the listener… and For The Reverend Jason Molina (a collaboration between Ghost Signs and Veins Full of Static) is no exception! “Four drones span the album, stretching out like a desert’s infinite horizon”, is the perfect description, as hypnotic drones and subtly blended field recordings pull the listener into an almost dream-like state. This album is simply remarkable, and each time I play it I find myself discovering something new and wondrous. Gorgeous!

SONOLOGYST – Interdimensional

Interdimensional, the latest release from Sonologyst, combines electrified instruments, analogue synths, and field recordings to create a hazy mixture of discordant warping loops and reverb filled echoes. This is a lighter, less industrial sounding album compared with some of his previous releases, but the experimental edge is still there and this does an amazing job of “…musically depicting the intergalactic journey of a civilization in search of a possible future beyond death…”. If you’re looking for some avant-garde drone then I cannot recommend this album strongly enough. Outstanding stuff!

Earthen Sea – Ghost Poems

Now this is very cool – the latest album from Earthen Sea, the ambient project from Jacob Long, who is known for his work in Dischord-signed post-hardcore band Black Eyes, and post-punk band Mi Ami. The music here is a trippy-techno take on dark ambient, featuring dream-like soundscapes made from tape loops and keyboards – perfect for listening to on headphones as you walk through the city in the midnight hours. Highly recommended for those looking for something a little less gloomy. Wonderful!

Bill Seaman & Stephen Spera – Architectures Of Light

Architectures Of Light is a collaboration between Bill Seaman & Stephen Spera and is one of those incredible releases that is even greater than the sum of its (already impressive) parts! The music is beautiful, heartfelt and sensual, utilising piano, keyboards, field recordings, and electro-acoustics, to create an ethereal audio experience that is simply jaw-dropping. This is a multi-layered album, with so much depth and texture that every single listen is an absolute joy of discovery – perfect for losing yourself in on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Simply beautiful.

Don de Leaumont’s Ladders to Fire – The System Has Failed Us

Don de Leaumont’s Ladders to Fire is a new creative outlet for dark folk singer-songwriter Don de Leaumont, focusing on a more psychedelic soundscape / dark ambient sound. His latest release, The System Has Failed Us is a 20 minute track that provides the perfect soundtrack to the world we live in… in which the apocalypse feels ever closer. This is dark and edgy stuff, with pulsing synth work perfectly complimented by soaring soundscapes and eerie vocals, along with some well-placed samples (such as Black Sabbath‘s War Pigs!). The end result is a intriguing and rewarding listening experience that provides the perfect audio backdrop to these troubles times. Fantastic!

Im Traum – Friedhof (EP)

The latest release from the ever impressive Distorted Void label is this debut EP from Im Traum – a dark ambient music project from the Netherlands. “… inspired by dark haunted graveyards and the beauty of the sinister night buried in a thick fog …” this is seriously dark and haunting, with unsettling drones and eerie tones providing a wonderful sense of growing dread. I’ve had this on repeat play since I first heard it, and on the strength of these 4 tracks, I will definitely be waiting to see what Im Traum releases next. Incredible!

Beyond the Ghost – Sundown

“Rome, the year is 2062. The whole of Europe has been falling apart for 2 years now. No one is quite sure what war even means at this point… Sundown is the third release in the Europa series from Beyond the Ghost – a futuristic, bleak and moving sound voyage that merges electronics and acoustics. I’m a big fan of the first two albums in this series, so I was thrilled when I heard the third part was out! Featuring acoustic strings, soaring synths, brooding drones, electronics rhythms,  and ethereal vocals, this is an absolute masterpiece of an album – perfectly capturing the sense of despair and horror of war, but also the surviving positive human spirit. This is a must-buy for fans of atmospheric dark ambient. Superb!

Jason Sharp – The Turning Centre Of A Still World

Now this is an amazing concept – music created using the human body as an acoustic instrument! Using saxophones, foot-controlled bass pedals, and his own pulse (patched through a heart monitor routed to variegated signal paths that trigger modular synthesizers and samplers) Jason Sharp has created a captivating album of ambient / drone / electronica that masterfully combines elements of sci-fi soundtracks with a deeper, grittier darkness. Breathtaking!

Jason is performing live Europe this May – see here for tour dates.

Riley Le Tocq – A not admitting of the wound

A not admitting of the wound is a collection of ambient and drone music created using classical works sourced from the public domain that have then been put through a series of modern production techniques and effects, including series of reverb, delay, and filters. By manipulating the source material beyond recognition, Riley Le Tocq has created something new and truly special, and the end result is a haunting, otherworldly listening experience, akin to listening to the radio underwater. Definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of experimental dark ambient or drone!

Garazi Gorostiaga – SUTAN

The latest release from Garazi Gorostiaga is this deliciously dark album of dark ambient / drone that combines delicate synth work with sinister field recordings to great effect. Listening to SUTAN is like being taken on a journey into the depths of hell… and I mean that in a good way! This is impressive stuff, and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for what Garazi Gorostiaga does next. If you’re looking for something dark and edgy, then this album will provide the perfect soundtrack for your nightmares. Wonderful!

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – March 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!

Gaze Into The Void – After The End

After The End is the debut album of Japanese American ambient music producer Blush To The Snow’s side project Gaze Into The Void… and what an impressive debut it is! The music ranges from dark ambient to drone to doomgaze, but it flows together seamlessly, taking the listener on a dark and foreboding journey into the end of times. This is one of those albums that is perfect for playing while you lay on the sofa in the dark and contemplate your own mortality and the fate of humankind itself. Absolutely wonderful!

Shadow Echo Canyon – an endless grey remembrance

an endless grey remembrance is the latest release from Shadow Echo Canyon (aka Luca Tommasini, the man behind the ever awesome Tiny Drones for Lovers label) and is described as “… two tracks, the two side of a loss… a slow and long decay, and the nature of the void…” It’s an apt description, because the music here is heartfelt, solemn, and almost unbearably sad. Minimalist tones are subtly complimented by eerie field recordings and discordant drones, and it’s all incredibly well done, with both tracks imbuing an overwhelming sense of grief. Beautiful.

Various – The Body Of Horror – Music Inspired By The Cinema Of David Cronenberg

Now this is a very cool concept – a compilation of music inspired by the cinema of the Canadian legendary director David Cronenberg! This is a dark, disturbing and sometimes challenging listen… and that’s a good thing! With tracks by Desiderii Marginis, Sonologyst, and Jarl and Kloob, to name just a few, this is another impressive release from Eighth Tower Records and if you like you dark ambient with a twist of noise / industrial then you simply have to check this out. Amazing stuff!

Scott Lawlor – The Only Way to Rid the World of War is to Rid the World of Those Who Send Us Off to Kill Each Other for Lies and Greed and to Expand Their Own Power

Scott Lawlor‘s latest release is this very timely album inspired by real world events and the futility and horror of war. With tracks of dark ambient, industrial ambient, and new age, the album does a fantastic job of expressing in musical form the different aspects of war and the effects war has on people and civilisation at large. This is one of those beautifully multi-layered albums that provides something new to discover with each and every listen, and I will be playing this for a long time to come. Stunning!

Dead Melodies – Memento

The latest album from Dead Melodies is another classic Cryo Chamber release, featuring warm synthetic drones and lush post-rock guitars that come together to create a fuzzy, dream like listening experience. I found listening to this album to be a relaxing and almost soothing experience, especially when I played it on my headphones as I drifted off to sleep late at night. If you’re looking for some dark ambient that is a little less dark and foreboding in nature, then this is very highly recommended. Gorgeous.


Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – February 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!

Ruins of Xibalba – Gobeklitepe

Göbekli Tepe is a Neolithic archaeological site in Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey that predates humanity’s oldest known civilizations. With his latest release, Ruins of Xibalba has done an incredible job of capturing the mood and feeling of that ancient place – perfectly combining elements of dark ambient, drone, and dungeon synth along with subtly blended field recordings to create an awe-inspiring audio journey back in time. Oytun Bektas (who is also known for his outstanding work under the name of Tir) has created a truly impressive album with Gobeklitepe and if you’re a fan of historical dark ambient then you absolutely have to get yourself a copy of this!

Sangam – Hope You Don’t Leave

The latest release from the ever awesome Decaying Spheres label is this melancholic masterpiece from Sangam. With elements of dark ambient and drone, and an over-arching lo-fi ambiance, this is one of those albums that makes you look inwards, contemplating life and its meaning. The music does a wonderful job of conjuring up feelings of sadness and grief, and in places this is almost unbearably bleak… and yet the underlying melodies are so beautiful that the listening experience is most definitely a rewarding one. Sublime.


The debut EP from London based Patasonus features 4 tracks of gorgeous “… textural and expressionist sounds from somewhere in the depths…” – with elements of dark ambient, drone, soundscapes and experimental electronica appearing in equal measure. The end result is an album that takes the listener on an audio journey of discovery, providing both depth and variety while retaining a unified ‘vibe’ throughout. If you’re  fan of the more experimental side of dark ambient then this is well worth your time. Remarkable!

Kaptep – The enemy in me

The latest release from Kaptep is this gorgeously dark and edgy album of industrial influenced dark ambient / drone – brooding drones are perfectly complimented by unnerving field recordings, creating a wonderfully eerie listening experience. I’ve had The enemy in me on repeat play since I first heard it, and on the strength of this have already started checking out his previous releases. Highly recommended for fans of dark ambient / drone with an industrial edge. Fantastic!

The Silent Treatment – I

Now this is very cool. A down-tempo dark ambient / drone album featuring waves of distortion, acoustic guitars, and melancholic undertones – all born out of 3 days of improvisation by the unnamed French duo. This is heartfelt music, with a real sense of sadness and regret running through it, perfect for when you want to lie in the dark with your headphones on and do some soul-searching. Beautiful.

Tineidae – Mothership

Tineidae‘s second solo album on Cryo Chamber, Mothership, is another jaw-droppingly amazing space ambient album – full of pulsing synth work and industrial influences, all masterfully combined with atmospheric field recordings. This is a multi-layered album with so much depth that each and every listen offers some new wonder to lose yourself in. This is an absolute must by for fans of sci-fi ambient. Absolutely outstanding!

Atrium Carceri & Kammarheit – Colossus

Wow! I knew from the opening moments of thumping resonance that I was going to love this new release from Atrium Carceri & Kammarhei and I was right! As you’d expect from two of the scene’s big names, this is an album of finely crafted dark ambient, featuring atmospheric soundscapes, brooding synths, and subtle field recordings and sound effects. I’ve been playing this repeatedly since I first got my copy, losing myself in the music each and every time. I don’t know how Cryo Chamber continue to release music of such a high standard, but they’ve done it again with Colossus – this is breathtakingly good. Incredible!


Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – January 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!

Esmam La Crowned – Coup De Grace EP

The latest release from Bangladesh based musician-photographer Esmam La Crowned is this gloriously dark and melancholic album that skillfully combines elements of dark ambient, drone, and electronica. This is a concept album, with the music providing a suitably disturbing and heartbreaking soundtrack to the unfolding tale. Esmam La Crowned has created something very special here, and on the strength of this release I am already checking out his previous releases. Highly recommended for fans of sad and soulful dark ambient!

Dragon & Jettenbach – Tales from the Algorithm

The debut album from Dragon & Jettenbach is this exceptional industrial-tinged dark ambient / drone album. It’s dark, edgy, and disturbing, and it grabbed me by the throat right from the off – pulling me into the audio equivalent of a recurring glitch filled nightmare. And by that, I mean this album is amazing – breathtakingly so! The music is deep and multi-layered, and this is one of those wonderful albums that rewards the listener with something new each and every listen. I’ve had this on repeat play since I first heard it, and if you’re a fan of the more industrial side of dark ambient / drone then you absolutely need to check this out!

Various Artists – Hauntology In UK

The latest release from the ever awesome Eighth Tower Records is a collection of tracks inspired by / paying homage to Mark Fisher, a philosopher, cultural critic and blogger, who popularised the concept of hauntology to describe a pervasive sense in which contemporary culture is haunted by the “lost futures” of modernity, which failed to occur. The resulting music is unnerving, otherworldly and (unsurprisingly) haunting, with each of the nine tracks provided by a different musician and each offering the listener something unique, while fitting perfectly into the overall eerie tone of the album. Wonderful!

Heldentenor – Blood Moons and Black Lakes: Chapter One

Sumatran Black is back with this deliciously dark album of dark ambient / drone / dungeon synth. This is one of those amazing albums where the combinations of genres works perfectly, taking the listener on an audio journey of discover without jarring them out of their reverie as eerie electronica blends effortlessly into ambient soundscapes and again into pulsing synth work. The end result is like listening to the soundtrack to a poignant soul-stirring movie that you know you’ve seen but can’t quite remember. Incredible!

White Sleep – Everything Is Lucid

Everything is Lucid is the debut release from White Light, and features eight tracks of drone / dark ambient… with an added twist of refreshing techno influence to shake things up a little. This is music that doesn’t give a damn about genres, and it won’t be for everyone – but if you love it when your dark ambient / drone takes risks, then you will really enjoy this rewarding soundscape of differing textures and genre-hoping inventiveness. Awesome!

Scott Lawlor – Turn Around and You’re Dead in Your Dreams

Scott Lawlor continues to create and release the most incredibly immersive ambient / dark ambient music, with each album providing the listener with an almost meditative experience. Turn Around and You’re Dead in Your Dreams is no different, with soaring soundscapes that wash over you in waves of mellow synth tones and drones. Scott does an amazing job of creating music that is relaxing and soul-affirming, while retaining a subtle undercurrent of darkness that means it never becomes twee. This is another impressive album from one of the genre’s leading lights, so if you haven’t checked out any of his work before now, what are you waiting for?!

Dorian of Northumbria’s Top 10 of 2021

Dorian Williamson of Northumbria was kind enough to submit his top albums of 2021 for us. Enjoy his picks! Also, be sure to check out the interview we did with Dorian and Jim Field, both members of Northumbria, earlier this year!

Photo by: Nora Williamson

Dorian’s Top 10 of 2021
(in no particular order)

1. Alphaxone & ProtoU – Back to Beyond (Cryo Chamber)

“This is the second collaboration between Alphaxone and ProtoU, and a tour-de-force of atmospheric sci-fi space ambient.

The sound design and production are absolutely incredible, which is unsurprising considering the quality of each artist’s solo work. Definite Tarkovsky/Alien vibes”

2. Desiderii Marginis – Bathe in Black Light

“One of the true masters of dark ambient, Johan Levin produced what I think is one of his best works. The entire album feels like an expansive inner journey through physical and ethereal darkness.

Hopefully there will be a physical release at some time in the future.”

3. Gydja – Ár var alda (Winter Light)

“New Zealand based Abby Helasdottir spent five years working on this mystical masterwork, and the exquisite attention to detail, both musically and sonically, is absolutely mind-blowing! Dense drones, expansive space and complex harmonies flow into each other, creating a truly transportive and otherworldly listening experience. It’s definitely a record that’s best taken in whole in one listening”

4. Justina Jaruševičiūtė – Silhouettes (Piano and Coffee Records)

“This Lithuanina born, Berlin-based composer released this cycle of compositions for string quartet to universal acclaim, and rightly so, it’s well deserved. I found myself repeatedly listening to it, getting lost in the haunting melodies and evocative interplay of the instruments. Apparently, she was inspired to write Silhouettes after seeing a performance of Jóhann Jóhannsson’s music, which makes sense; they seem like musically kindred spirits. RIP Jóhann”

5. Lingua Ignota – Sinner Get Ready (Sargeant House)

“It’s hard to describe how powerful and unsettling the music of Lingua Ignota is. I’ve been following Kristin Hayter’s work since her first album Let the Evil of His Own Lips Cover Him, and with each successive release she’s perfecting her craft.

Intensely dramatic, confrontational and crushing, yet also very cathartic. Sinners Get Ready is a monster record, and my favourite of hers from a production standpoint. It sounds as huge as the themes and demons in the songs”

6. Marissa Nadler – The Path to the Clouds (Sacred Bones)

“Folk-noir songstress Marissa Nadler has been a long-time favourite of mine. The Path to the Clouds is her ninth full length, and a real departure from her previous releases. The form of the songs is more eclectic, as is the instrumentation.

Layers of synth and keyboards, and more of an emphasis on soundscape and production beautifully compliment her masterful songwriting. She is a truly visionary storyteller, and this is one of her most fascinating set of songs”

7. Nadja – Luminous Rot (Southern Lord)

“This year Berlin-based Canadian experimental drone duo Nadja released Luminous Rot on Southern Lord Records. I’m a longtime friend and fan of Aidan and Leah’s work as Nadja, so it really pleased me to see Luminous Rot find a home on such a great label. It also happens to be one of my favourite Nadja albums to date. Focused, tight and super heavy, and also featuring some of Aidan’s best vocals!

8. Noctule – Wretched Abyss (Church Road Records)

“Bristol-based one-woman Black Metal project from Serena Cherry of Svalbard was just what I needed. Skyrim inspired rippers that just suck you in and spin you around, with gorgeous arrangements, searing vocals and soaring guitars! Killer record from start to finish.”

9. Theologian – Nonextant (Annihilvs Power Electronix)

“I’m sure many of you know Lee M Bartow as the mastermind behind Theologian and the Annihilvs Power Electronic label. I’ve been following his work for years, in my opinion he produces some of the most immensely crushing, brilliantly produced and emotionally harrowing Industrial music ever. For Nonextant he is joined by Mike McClatchey of Lament Cityscape and Eric J. Morgan of A Pale Horse Named Death, and the result is a sonic juggernaut.”

10. Thisquietarmy x Away – The Singularity, Phase II (Consoling Sounds)

“Part two of a monumental collaboration between two visionary Montreal musicians, Thisquietarmy (Eric Quach) and Voivod drummer Away (Michel Langevin). Huge tracks that build up over time, adding layers of epic guitar and pounding, epic percussion! Definitely a trance inducing listen, and one that begs to be listened to at a high volume to really appreciate the density and grandiosity!”

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – November 2021

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!

Fionnlagh – What Came Before

The latest release from the ever awesome Ambientologist label is this fabulous dystopian soundscape from Fionnlagh, a musician who up to now had only released techno and drum & bass. Well, I can only say that I really hope Fionnlagh releases more dark ambient in future, because this is jaw-droppingly good – eerie, dark, and brooding. with a real sense of menace running right through it. If you’re a fan of of cinematic dark ambient then this is definitely an album to check out. Wonderful!

Mantis and Shadow – The Rites of Eleusis

Every now and then an album comes along that blindsides you, leaving you emotionally reeling. The Rites of Eleusis is one of those albums. Written as a personal response to the texts of a series of seven public invocations by British occultist Aleister Crowley, this is a slow, somber and heartfelt album. The linear notes also explain that “… this album is an expression of my love for my wife (who died in 2020) and the overwhelming grief I experience on a daily basis. This is for you Viveka… ” and that really comes across in the music – this is haunting and melancholic neo-classical dark ambient, perfect for reflecting on your own life and the lives of family and friends. Beautiful.

Phoan – Ursa Major II

This debut EP of dark ambient / experimental electronica from Phoan (Angelo Panebianco) is impressive stuff. The first track, Der weiße Teufel (The white Devil) is an unsettling piece with an underlying sense of dread and growing horror that increases as the track unfolds. Apophenia (feat. Macrogramma) is a lighter, more uplifting piece, but it’s just as stunning – subtle synth sounds are perfectly blended with soaring drones, resulting in a track that is just gorgeous. Fabulous!

Ryan Gregory Tallman – Tryst

The latest release from experimental composer / sound artist Ryan Gregory Tallman is a beautifully minimalist album of drone / dark ambient that explores the “… all-consuming experience of love and loss… “. The music here is deep and layered, with slowly moving and unfolding pieces of music that draw the listener in, entrancing them in the process. Ryan has released over 20 albums to date, and on the basis of Tryst I will definitely be checking them out, because this is absolutely mesmorising!

Peur du noir – NVU

Now this is very cool – a 4 track EP of improvised pieces by Peur du noir and his friend (and band-mate from a previous band). The music here is synth based dark ambient / drone, with some of it being heavier and almost industrial sounding. Due to the multi-textured nature of the music, this is one of those wonderful albums that reveals something new with each and every listen. Highly recommended for fans of the heavier side of dark ambient or drone. Awesome!


Spacelab – Dead Dimension

The new album from Spacelab brings together aspects of ambient, drone and electronica. The album “… was created during a time of personal pain and unrest, and the deeply felt emotions are palpable throughout its 15 short tracks… he channelled his anger, resentment, anxiety and paranoia into creating off-the-cuff, instinctive music, working in real-time to capture a specific mood and moment in time… “. The end result is a dark and edgy album of tracks that envelope the listener in a wide range of emotive sound – including anger, aggression, heartbreak, and despair. Strictly speaking this isn’t dark ambient, but there are enough dark ambient / drone elements added into the mix that this is definitely worth checking out if the more experimental / electronica side of the genre is your thing. Incredible!

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – August 2021

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!

Ov Pain – The Churning Blue of Noon

The latest release from Melbourne based underground record label, it Records, is this wonderful mystic album from Ov Pain, which is described as being “… dark and magical, mixing experimental darkwave with drone and free jazz, with a hint of neo-folk and shoegaze ...” It’s an apt description, because this remarkable album effortlessly blends together a number of genres and styles to create something beautiful and truly unique. The Churning Blue of Noon is an eerie psychedelic soundscape that takes the listener on a heady journey. No, this isn’t strictly speaking dark ambient – but there are definite dark ambient and drone elements in the mix, so if you’re a fan of experimental or transcendental music then this album is very much worth checking out. It’s also worth mentioning that as well as a digital download, the album is available on limited edition vinyl. Very highly recommended!

Various Artists – The Beyond – Music Inspired By The Lucio Fulci Death Trilogy

Eighth Tower Records continue to release original and rewarding music of the highest quality, and The Beyond – Music Inspired By The Lucio Fulci Death Trilogy, is no exception. Featuring 14 tracks from a range of talented musicians, across a number of genres and styles – including dark ambient, drone and noise, to name just a few – this impressive album is an alternative / imagined soundtrack to Lucio Fulci’s “Trilogy Of Death” horror movies. As usual, Raffaele Pezzella (Sonologyst) has done an amazing job of curating this album – each track offers something different, yet they all work together perfectly to create a masterpiece of dark and eerie soundscapes. Wonderful!

Equal Stones – Wretched Human Mirror

Wretched Human Mirror by Equal Stones is, as the title suggests, a thematically dark and desolate album of dark ambient / drone. The music here is dark, brooding, and melancholic – providing the listener with a challenging yet rewarding audio journey of self-reflection and introspection. This is wonderful stuff, and I’ve had this on repeat play for the last few weeks, finding it the perfect soundtrack for lying on the sofa at the end of the day as I mull over the events of the day. With this release Amandus Schaap has demonstrated again what a talented musician he is, and I will be watching to see what he does next with anticipation. Fabulous!

Equal Stones – April Ethereal

April Ethereal is a more mellow release from Equal Stones, though no less impressive. The first track blends thick layered drone with piano and ambient soundscapes, and the second and third both combine static and glitches with unfolding long drones. The resulting music is haunting, deep and hypnotic. Highly recommended!

A Most Accursed – Synaesthetic Dialogue

The latest album from A Most Accursed is a wonderful mix of dark ambient, ritual ambient, and drone – created using an eclectic range of instruments including “… piano, mellotron, ostinato strings, stoner guitars and vintage drums… ” The end result is an awe-inspiring album of gothic soundscapes that will appeal to fans of dark ambient and stoner rock alike. Stunning!

Grist – Another Year

Another Year, the latest release from Grist, is an impressive three track album of dark ambient / ritual ambient, with elements of drone and noise added to the mix. The first track features haunting piano loops and eerie pulsing drones, the second is a chaotic collection of ritual and industrial sounds, and the third a static based noise fest. This is a dark and evocative soundtrack, with the three tracks working together to produce a mesmerizing listening experience that is somehow both disturbing and soothing in equal measure. Wonderful!

Facetoucher – The Plaguetime Blues

Now this is an intriguing concept – real-time improvised voices have real-time improvised effects applied to them. The music of the resulting four tracks ranges from “… minimalist choral drones to twinkling fragmented glitch to frenetic postcybergrind to wall-of-noise…” It’s brilliant stuff – aggressive and challenging in places, gentler and more welcoming in others. Definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of experimental dark ambient / drone. Impressive!

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