Tag: Dark Ambient (Page 1 of 26)

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

 

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

Bandcamp
Facebook
Website
Youtube

 

La Delaïssádo – New Printed Fanzine Review


Since Desiderii Marginis is the first interview in La Delaïssádo, let’s have a listen to his latest album while reading!

Early in 2020, a little after the full realization of what Covid-19 had in store for the world, I received a very interesting e-mail from a fellow named Bertrand from France. He explained that he’d been a writer and co-editor at Convivial Hermit Magazine and the Obsküre webzine for nearly 20 years, and was now ready to spread his own wings and delve into a printed fanzine of his own creation. He asked me to be one of the interviewees for the first edition and I gratefully accepted.

So, here’s a bit of an overview of what you can expect in this first issue and how you can get your hands on one of the 199 copies, before they are gone forever. And last but certainly not least, I asked Bertrand some questions, myself, which well help give a bit of extra background on Bertrand and his motivations/ambitions going forward.

Let’s start with the physical aspects of the zine. It’s a soft glossy covered 172 pages in the A5 format. It is presented in black and white only. For a fanzine, which will certainly be making its way all over the planet, I think this was the right choice. The presentation is very clean, and the readability is top-notch. While, the costs of production were likely able to stay relatively low, which is why he’s selling these for a mere €6.50. That low price also helps to negate some of the incredibly high shipping costs that the world has been experiencing of late.

As for the name and content of La Delaïssádo, Delaissado is an Occitan word meaning “abandoned”. The zine covers a number of articles, crossing a swathe of topics. The first being a lengthy conversation with Desiderii Marginis, the renowned dark ambient musician. Followed by an interview of Laurent Clement of the Dead Seed Productions record label. Then, he interviews me, journalist behind a dark ambient zine. Then, he has an article about the very interesting historical location of Montsegur. And so forth. As you can see, La Delaïssádo comes at journalism in a very similar way to This Is Darkness, focusing little on the need for strict adherence to format, and more on introducing readers to a breadth of interesting topics, seemingly compiled only at the whims of the writer(s), but still managing to be of a cohesive whole concept.

I was expecting to only see music related articles in La Delaïssádo. But, upon reaching the fourth article. I found a very interesting historical take on the French site of Montsegur, which I had a basic awareness of, on account of the possible Cathar connection to The Curse of Oak Island, a tv show that follows a treasure-hunter/archaeologist motley crew as they throw all sense of monetary concern to the wind, in search of the fabled lost treasure, which the Knights Templar left somewhere on Earth, or not… What followed in La Delaïssádo was an incredibly well prepared look into the Cathar history of the site, and the story of its ancient seige and destruction. The narrative was presented from the first-person perspective of Bertrand, La Delaïssádo‘s editor, recounting his first trip to the location for some basic hiking and sight-seeing, which turned into a more spiritual experience than he’d expected.

There were four more articles that were interesting divergences from specifically musical topics. Inside the Den of a Dreamer: Gustave Moreau’s Museum takes us on a ‘textual tour’ of the beautiful museum in Paris, which had previously been Gustave Moreau‘s workshop. The interview with Amy Cros explains what brought her to study Occitan languages as well as how and why their preservation is necessary. Laura-Lee Soleman is a French plastic artist. She works in a style that would be considered quite dark to many. She explains how music, film (particularly those of Béla Tarr) and life-experiences can lead one to creating different forms of art for different reasons. And lastly, we are given a very interesting interview with the owners of the Brasserie Ouroboros, a unique craft-beer brewery in the Auvergne region of France. While the beer is the main attraction here, increasingly this brewery, perched in a little mountain village named Freycenet-la-Tour near Le Puy-en-Velay, is becoming a hot-spot for concerts, which often include the likes of black metal and other dark/occult/alternative styles.

Readers will also find, scattered throughout this issue, a number of reviews, most closely resembling the format/length of those we are used to seeing in Noise Receptor. These reviews mainly, but not exclusively, focus on recent dark ambient and black metal releases. Other articles included focus on: Jean-Philippe Jaworski, Forêt Endormie, Cioran Records and Hecate.

For the rest of this article, let’s have a look at what Bertrand had to say to me about the zine’s first-issue-development and what we can expect in future issues.

Michael: France and Occitan language seems to be very important to you, as it plays a prominent position throughout this first issue. What is it that drew you to focus on this region/culture? Have you always been interested in such things relating to (your) heritage, or has this interest increased as time passes?

Bertrand: We French are a self-centered bunch as is common knowledge. Joking apart, you do raise a good point with this: in recent years, I have found that my curiosity toward people and their occupations tends to have me look ever closer to home sweet home, not in a flag-waving “support your local scene” movement, but at some point I just seem to have lost some of the impulse for canvassing the unlikeliest recesses of the globe in search of bands and styles no one has ever talked about – sometimes for a reason. On a personal level, I am very much aware of my heritage as you put it, which is inextricably bound up with the Occitan influence on culture, architecture, landscapes, and people since the Middle Ages. Occitania, more specifically the broad area from Auvergne (where I live) to the South-Western Pyrenees, is where I spend most of my vacation time. I am not a huge traveler but I got around a fair bit across Europe on account of being a compulsive hiker and museum rat, and I easily enjoy myself everywhere, but the sense of belonging is real. It is true that the fanzine partly reflects this. What can I say, if an article can get someone interested enough to look up either Auvergne, Dordogne, Aubrac, Languedoc, Pyrenees, or all at once in a search engine and maybe contemplate a trip, then huzzah I guess.

Michael: It seems fairly evident that you are a huge fan of black metal and dark ambient music. Will these be your major musical focuses going forward with La Delaïssádo, or will you be covering anything/everything that tickles your fancy? If the latter, what other genres are we likely to expect to read about?

Bertrand: I curse myself on a regular basis for the irrepressible urge to flesh out my album collection in a dozen parallel directions, but I think spreading a zine too thin would do it a disservice. As much as mono-themed zines present challenges of their own, I also see a need for limits, at least as long as one hasn’t maxed out their street cred. As it were, extreme metal, dark folk and dark ambient are the genres I feel most comfortable talking about, so even though classical music, 70’s prog/rock and electro/IDM make up a fair share of my time with music, small chance I’ll cover these genres beyond the occasional review, except if nailing a super exciting interview through some chain of circumstances. In fact the Forêt Endormie interview in #1 encroaches on classical music talk to some extent, but I’m certainly not competent or even willing to discuss classical music as a “specialist”.

Michael: You clearly have a great appreciation for art, in its many forms. But, I noticed throughout the issue that you mention not being very good at several different artistic formats. Do you consider your writing to be your main artistic talent, or do you have any other focuses: painting, music, sculpture, etc?

Bertrand: I have never applied myself to practicing music or drawing nearly enough to be able to determine if some calling is asleep inside of me, though I’ve dabbled in creative undertakings a few times and still strum the occasional chord with all the nimbleness of a dead plant. So yes, writing is what I do, though to speak of a talent… I took up to gardening recently, if that counts?

Michael: Do you have any plans for a set release schedule, or will issues release whenever the timing is right?

Bertrand: If I’m being 100% honest here, La Delaïssádo’s first issue was a work of obsessive commitment for the better part of nine months (being my first solo editorial project from A to Z) but I went at it like a blinkered horse chased by a swarm of hornets, not paying much attention to its cohesiveness as a magazine and (mis)using the cracked page design software in ways I certainly wouldn’t replicate now that I’ve learned the ropes. As a result, and to keep it brief, I am both pleased on the whole with it and very much aware of a hundred shortcomings, and also so spent that I’d rather lay the “classic” way of doing fanzines (interviews, reviews, articles, rinse and repeat) to rest for the time being. Right now I have a wholly different book concept in mind, which I’m pretty excited about, but it’s all very early-stage. La Delaïssádo will return with near certainty for a second serving but there is no schedule whatsoever. Might be in two years, might be in five. “Whenever the timing’s right” sounds like a plan. I’m not out to retain a readership, that much is clear.

Michael: Thanks so much for covering This Is Darkness in your first issue! I’m really pleased with how the entire zine turned out, I had no idea what to expect when you first approached me about an interview, last year. I hope we will find some way of collaborating again in the future!

Bertrand: Thank you for having me on your excellent platform in return. It does feel odd to be interviewed as a zine editor, especially just after a debut issue that has sold fewer than 100 copies so far, but nothing is sacred anymore in this time and age. I will be sure to keep a close eye on the developments at This Is Darkness!

Be sure to grab a copy of La Delaïssádo here before they are all sold-out! There were less than 100 copies left at the time of writing this, and I’ve already been told that several friends have purchased copies over the last few days. So no slacking! Support independent journalism and fellow genre-lovers that put in such time, effort, and capital, to make something like this come to be a reality!

Written by: Michael Barnett

Infinexhuma – Frontier – Review

Artist: Infinexhuma
Album: Frontier
Release date: 1 January 2021
Label: Alchemy Labor Unit

Tracklist:
Disc I
01. Converter
02. Orbital ft. Blood Box
03. Sword
04. Sweeper
05. Heaven March ft. Nerraterrae
06. Position in Flames
Disc II
01. Catharsis of Goodbye
02. Deep Runnel ft. Common Eider, King Eider
03. In the End
04. Forged
05. Every Door
06. Stormless

Much time has passed during severance. Alone now at this gate.
Prepared for a second entry into chaos, but now as one, no longer two.
No longer without a purpose, now with aim, now with death hands, life heart
Now solidified, now for genocide of evil, to send ashes back up
To crush all flesh of those who fell from the sky to experiment.
Flames grow as I scream, flames resolder the soul
Beware this force, forever thankful to the spiritual loss
For the gain is unblurring the mission, cleaning begins now

SOUL DIVERGENCE AFTER PASSING
THE SEARCH CAUSED MANY LOSSES
SECOND ENTRY INTO FALLEN LAND
NOW AS ONE ONLY WITH AIM
DEATH HANDS, LIFE HEART
SOLIDIFIED, GENOCIDE OF EVIL
THOSE WHO FELL WITH TARGETS BEWARE
FLAMES RESOLDER THE SOUL
FLAMES GROW BLUE AS I SCREAM
YOU ARE WARNED, I AM COMING FOR YOU
YOU TOOK FROM ME
SO YOUR EXPIRATION IS NOW
WE BEGIN

I have been aware of the works of Infinexhuma for quite some time now. I have given a few of his albums a passing listen over the last few years. While I always enjoyed the sounds, I didn’t find something that immediately drew me to the music, or made it stand out especially well from everything else I was hearing at the time. However, the unexpected arrival of this latest release, Frontier, in the mail a few months ago, led me to finally give Infinexhuma the proper listen that I’d denied them for so long, up to this point.

The first thing with this release that stood out for me, upon inspection, was that it was mastered by Grant Richardson of the brilliant death-industrial project Gnawed. Furthermore, I noticed that there were collaborations with Blood Box, Common Eider, King Eider, and Nerraterrae, so this piqued my interests even further.

A double-disc length album might seem like a bit of an overwhelming place to start discovering a new musician. But, I discovered from the very first moments through the end of the second disc, that Infinexhuma has really hit the mark with this one! The album starts with the track “Converter”, which sounds like a cross between Atrium Carceri and Theologian. Crisp field recordings combine with harsh industrial sounds, (never coming near wall-of-noise status though). Later in the track, children can be heard playing in the background while something that sounds like an alien invasion or some apocalyptic storm unnaturally shifts through the air around them. Needless to say, this all easily pulled me into the mix. The wealth of elements all come together to create a really well-rounded piece of dark ambient composition, with a hint of death-industrial vibes.

As the album progresses, we are able to hear equal parts of the dark ambient and that subdued death-industrial vibe, similar to the more dark ambient leaning albums of Gnawed. The second track, “Orbital” starts with an airy almost spacey, relaxed ambiance that slowly evolves into something much more energized and cacophonous. Again, comparisons to something like Theologian are present on this one, but there is also a tinge of more traditional, yet still harsh dark ambient sounds, like those made prominent by AUN. As the track slows, it feels like we’ve just witnessed the explosion of a planet or something equally devastating. Now we watch from an ever-increasing distance as the carnage recedes.

While I’m not one for track-by-track analyses, to some degree they are necessary. So, I’ll share a few more highlights with you all. The third track, “Sword” applies what appear to be choir samples, presented as almost a dronework with a constant barrage of torturous screams. An Atrium Carceri-esque sound, which almost feels like an explosion recurs throughout the track, filling the role of ‘percussion’. Something like the inquisition comes to mind with this track, on account of the juxtaposition between the light of the choir and the darkness of the screams. As if all this suffering is for the greater good of… something.

While there are some quite intense sections of the album, it is not all aggressive. As we wind down from the heat of the first three tracks, “Sweeper” appears, giving us a needed break. This track starts with more of a ritualistic vibe, using instrumentation like bells and singing bowls, along with a gentle rain. In the distance we can hear what is likely chiming from a church’s bell-tower.

“In the End” is definitely one of the more unusual tracks on Frontier. We are presented with a slowly building techno-esque repetitive combination of percussion and synths. Overlaying this beat is a deeply embedded and reverberated screaming. Unlike on previous tracks of the album, the screaming here follows something more akin to Theologian. It is by no means front and center, but it is ‘lead vocals’ in a more traditional sense than you will find in most dark ambient, aside from the likes of the aforementioned Theologian and other similar acts like Gnawed, Phragments or The Vomit Arsonist. It is certainly worth mentioning here, that this album and these vocals were likely able to reach that pinnacle of dark ambient / death industrial cross-over territory at least in part because of the mastering duties being helmed here by none other than Grant Richardson of Gnawed.

The last track I’d like to mention is “Every Door”. We are again presented with these death-industrial style vocals, but this time the track is much more subdued, more dark ambient. The voice gives a menacing presence, as if we are hooded and caged in some serial killer’s basement, listening to their maddened rants through a thick layer of fog and confusion. This track and the way I’ve interpreted its theme also draw me to a quote from Charles Manson which he often said, “The way out of the room is not through the door.” Here, meaning to me, this ‘prisoner’ is looking for an escape from this dungeon/hell, however ‘Every Door’ he checks is the same and leads him right back to the same dungeon/hell.

Frontier is presented in a well-crafted 6 panel digi-pak. It’s the first release on Alchemy Labor Unit, which is run by the man behind Infinexhuma and is primarily a place for release of his own music, but also will be home to other friends’ and collaborators’ projects in the future.

I would highly recommend Frontier, as one of the more interesting dark ambient / death industrial releases so far in 2021. It’s also a great place to first discover the sounds of Infinexhuma if you, like me, had not previously given their music much of a chance. I will now be planning to slowly move backward through their other releases, as I assume there will be some more overlooked gems for me/you to discover!

Written by: Michael Barnett

Nihil Impvlse – Stasis – Review

Artist: Nihil Impvlse
Album: Stasis
Release date: 17 December 2020
Label: Eighth Tower Records
Reviewer: Rich Dodgin

Tracklist:
01. Krankheitsfelder
02. Psychik Plague
03. Thanatological Singularity
04. Zeitgeist Penthotal
05. A Prison Within A Prison
06. Prophets Of Fall
07. To All Our Futures These Ruins Shall Return

Sometimes I’m just in the mood for something dark, noisy and aggressive as hell… and on days like those, an album such as Stasis by Nihil Impvlse is exactly what I need.

Stasis is “… an exploration, in seven chapters, of the diagrams of the power mechanisms caging us in an invisible prison: civilization… “, and during the course of the album we are treated to an array of harsh noise / drone / industrial, full of jarring, pounding, skull-splitting soundscapes from the depths of hell. It’s bleak, discomforting stuff, but that’s the point.

Each track is also complimented by a sparingly used vocal sample, that provides additional context and example of the political and personal power struggles that bind us all within life’s prison cell. The end result  is an impressive album that challenges and rewards in equal measure – and where each track offers something different, and yet maintains the overall feel of the album.

With StasisNihil Impvlse has done an incredible job of expressing the frustration and futility of modern life; of being trapped as a cog in the grinding wheels of civilisation.

Highly recommended!

Written by: Rich Dodgin

Various – Yig – Review

Artist: Various
Album: Yig
Release date: 29 December 2020
Label: Cryo Chamber
Reviewer: Rich Dodgin

Tracklist:
01. Yig 1
02. Yig 2

Yig, the seventh in Cryo Chamber‘s series of Lovecraftian releases, was recorded by over 20 of the scene’s biggest names working together in collaboration for over a year to write, produce and perform this incredible 2 hour dark ambient soundscape album.

Collaborators included:
Neizvestija
ProtoU
Dronny Darko
RNGMNN
In Quantum
Dead Melodies
Atrium Carceri
Keosz
Northumbria
Beyond the Ghost
Wordclock
God Body Disconnect
Randal Collier-Ford
Hilyard
Council of Nine
Dahlia’s Tear
Lesa Listvy
Creation VI
Aegri Somnia
Ager Sonus
Ruptured World
Alphaxone

And if that isn’t enough to get you salivating, just wait until you hear the music they’ve created – because this is quite honestly one of the best dark ambient albums I’ve heard in recent times.

During the course of the 2 tracks, each over an hour in length, we are treated to an amazing audio journey that takes us from trepidation, despair and horror at at one end of the scale, to soothing reassurance and hope at the other.

The music here has so much depth and is so multi-layered that it’s impossible to describe it all in any detail, but needless to say that each artist has clearly delivered their highest quality work for this album – as evidenced by the fact that there is no filler here whatsoever. Each and every moment of Yig is full of spine-tinglingly, goose-bump inducing dark ambient excellence that draws you under its spell. Not only that, but it all hangs together perfectly, seamlessly moving from dark, brooding soundscape to rhythmic ritualistic ensemble, and from enchanting ethereal layers to raw-edged, discordant drones.

The production quality, as you would expect from a Cryo Chamber release, is simply gorgeous, providing a cinematically dark listening experience in which every sound and each individual note adds something essential to the mix.

Yig is available as a digital download, and as a double CD album that comes in a deluxe 20 page hardcover DigiBook. Inside, the breath-taking artwork of Simon Heath is complimented by journal entries written by Alistair Rennie (Ruptured World).

This is an album that rewards repeated listening – I’ve had it on continuous play for the last week or so, and each and every time I’ve discovered something new and wonderous among the atmospheric field recordings and sonic soundscapes.

Yig is another exceptional release from Cryo Chamber, and anyone who is a fan of their dark ambient albums shouldn’t hesitate to buy themselves a copy of this album. Absolutely outstanding!

Written by: Rich Dodgin

Scott Lawlor – Interview

Quick housekeeping: If you want to make sure you know about all new publications on This Is Darkness, the best way is to subscribe to our email list. You can do this by submitting your email address via ‘SUBSCRIBE TO BLOG VIA EMAIL’. You will find this in the right panel as you scroll down slightly. As Facebook is forcing people to spend more and more money for less and less coverage, this is becoming increasingly necessary!

I’ve been wanting to speak with Scott since I first heard the album Life Passes Slowly Unto Death. Scott’s music is sometimes dark and edgy, other times lighter and relaxing – but it’s always powerful, soul-stirring stuff that cannot fail to move you. 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: Scott Lawlor

 

Rich: Hi Scott! 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.

Scott: Thank you, I appreciate the opportunity.

Rich: Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself.

Scott: I am a socially introverted, totally blind stay-at-home dad who has a curious mind about many things and uses music to express myself as I have found that, after dropping out of graduate school, where I was getting a degree in counseling, I found that I put sounds together much better than words.  This is a bit ironic since I have a double major in English and Psychology and originally wanted to be a novelist after my undergraduate adviser talked me out of pursuing a career as an English teacher.

Rich: For those who aren’t familiar with your music, can you provide a brief overview of your musical projects and the music you make.

Scott: I am the type of person who doesn’t like to do the same thing twice, or at least, not twice in a row so my musical explorations range from light ethereal ambient, to solo piano, cosmic space music, dark ambient, some progressive rock and even a bit of noise music under a different side project that I don’t release too much in these days.

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

Scott: Most of the time, I just sit down at the keyboard, hit record and just start playing.

I used to exclusively use hardware but after hearing about Native Instruments and their Komplete keyboards which have accessible features for the visually impaired, people in the blind community spent literally years trying to convince me to take the plunge into software synthesizers.  I was always nervous about doing this because I thought it would be too complicated and I would rather spend my time creating music then learning about and troubleshooting new technology.

After a while, when I didn’t feel so inspired by the limited number of sounds available on my Roland synth, I decided to just go for it and so within 5 days of getting my new keyboard and all the software I would need, I was up and running and recording.

 

Rich: Do you have a particular personal belief system, and if so how is that reflected in music?

Scott: That’s a complicated question and my answer could probably be a novel on the subject.

I was raised Catholic but went to a southern  Baptist university and discovered that I didn’t fit in very well when it came to trying to talk theology to the fundamentalists.  It was a frustrating experience to try to encourage them to go beyond the literal interpretation of scripture and I remember one short conversation that summarizes the problem quite well.

My friend: “If the bible says that Jonah was swallowed by a Whale, then I believe it.”

Me: “what does that story say about his journey spiritually or psychologically?”

If I could see, I probably would have seen my friend roll her eyes and just walk away.

Then there was the professor who had issues with the notion that Jesus went to hell for 3 days, or so tradition says.  The Baptists at that time just weren’t interested in exploring those kinds of things, so again, I just felt out of place when it came to religion.

After going to a Catholic graduate school, I learned of things like Centering prayer and some of the existentialists like Rollo May, Erik Fromm, Saurian Kierkegaard and the like and I turned to more new-age ideologies but it all morphed, at some point, into deism, you know, the idea that God is the clockmaker who wound up the universe and doesn’t really intervene.

After my brother died in 2017 from an 11 month battle with stage 4 sarcoma, and my music took on a much more personal meaning with a trilogy of albums, some of which were nominated for ambient album of the year, I began to read about and listen to different accounts of people who had near death experiences and how these had profoundly influenced and changed their lives.

I am still fascinated by the topic to this day but I don’t really have any specific spiritual practices like prayer, meditation or going to church.

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

Scott: When I was living in Akron Ohio and the surrounding areas during most of the 1990’s, I performed live at different coffee houses, restaurants, a few malls, and even an outside wedding for a friend.  performing live was okay and at the time, I had an ensoniq sq1 keyboard where I would preprogram a lot of the backing tracks to my music and do improvising over it in a live setting.  On occasion, the system would crash and I’d have to stay up all night to redo everything for the gig the next day.

This was before I discovered ambient music and I was playing more new-age material, inspired by people like Suzanne Ciani, Yanni and artists like that.

Once, a coffee house owner paid me in coffee beans for my performance so I ended up getting 9 pounds of coffee for that gig.  We ambient musicians, we’ll take anything.

 

Rich: 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?

Scott: I’ve always been interested in music from when I was a small boy living in Rhode island from ruining my mother’s Elvis collection by scratching the needle across the albums because I liked the sound, to banging on the piano in my aunt Joanne’s basement at her house at cape cod.

I would create weird collages out of different music using tape recorders and record players and I was listening to the rolling Stones and Pink Floyd from the time I was 5 years old, maybe younger.

It wouldn’t be until around 1997 when someone sent me a cassette recording of a Robert Rich sleep concert that he gave in Cleveland, Ohio that my interest in ambient music would be discovered.  After that, I heard the work of Klaus Schulze, Steve roach and decided myself to give writing ambient music a try.  That’s when I wrote my first ambient album called Times Escape which wouldn’t be released until around 16 years later in 2013 on the weareallghosts internet label.

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

Scott: Yes, many including the aforementioned Robert Rich, Klaus Schulze and Steve roach along with Tangerine Dream, Lucette Bourdin, John Zorn, Merzbow, Lustmord, Kammarheit, SVARTSINN and Harold Budd just to list a small selection.

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

It’s a rather expansive genre with so many people releasing so many albums, yours truly included and the variety of releases out there from artist to artist is pretty amazing.

A lot of people over this last year have commented in general that the limitless options of sonic exploration available to them have provided a lifeline in a world where it feels like almost everything else is spinning out of control.  Music is one of the few grounding therapeutic sources out there and I am humbled and honored to be a part of such a talented community of ambient artists all over the world.

Rich: What are your future musical plans?

Scott: I’ve got a couple of collaborations lined up for 2021, I may still do isolation concerts on YouTube from time to time and I’ve got a sequel to my 2015 album called Journey through the Bootes void that I started working on in 2015 and it’s still not complete.  It’s my longest album to date clocking in at 12 and a half hours.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Not that I can think of.

Rich: Thank you so much for your time, Scott!

 

Scott Lawlor Links

Facebook
Bandcamp
Youtube

Scott Lawlor – Life Passes Slowly Unto Death – Review

Artist: Scott Lawlor
Album: Life Passes Slowly Unto Death
Release date: 18 November 2020
Label: Self-released
Reviewer: Rich Dodgin

Tracklist:
01. Life Passes Slowly Unto Death
02. As the Dying Process Begins, Comprehension of Mortality is Realized
03. Drifting Through Unsequenced Memories
04. Your Worst Fear is Dying Without Being Remembered
05. Whisperings From Beyond The Veil Call You Home
06. The Perfect Darkness of Death
07. The Touching is a Bridge Between the Afterlife and the World Which You Left Behind

Over the last decade, Scott Lawlor has established himself as talented and well-respected member of the ambient community, releasing over 300 albums of first-class ambient, dark ambient, piano, and drone music.

His latest release, Life Passes Slowly Unto Death, is a heartfelt, spiritual dark-ambient album that, as the title suggests, is a reflection upon life and death, and the journey from one to the other.

Opening track Life Passes Slowly Unto Death sets the tone nicely for the whole album – dark, oppressive drones are expertly combined with soaring synth work, perfectly balancing the darkness and the light. The end result is an incredible track that, despite its threatening undertone, leaves the listener feeling introspective yet hopeful.

As the Dying Process Begins, Comprehension of Mortality is Realized is considerably more unsettling. An eerie dark-ambient soundscape is accompanied by what sounds like field-recordings from another planet as we hear the murmuring and chirping of alien lifeforms. Drifting Through Unsequenced Memories continues in a similar vein, but with the otherworldly lifeforms replaced by the sounds of indistinct conversations. And as the track unfolds, soaring synths are added to the mix, adding a lightness to the track and switching things from being uncanny to intriguing.

The piano work on Your Worst Fear is Dying Without Being Remembered is subtle but powerful, creating an almost overwhelming sense of melancholy. Playing this track provides a thought-provoking and rewarding listening experience, and it’s impossible not to find yourself reviewing your life and likely legacy. Whisperings From Beyond The Veil Call You Home is a more minimalist piece, in which a subtle dark-ambient soundscape and an underlying, unintelligible whispering merge together in a haunting yet calming audio hallucination.

The Perfect Darkness of Death is the bleakest and most ‘dark-ambient’ track on the album. Brooding drones and discordant synths are complimented by strange echoes and ethereal sounds. It’s impressive stuff and listening to it, you can almost feel yourself being pulled through the curtain and into the afterlife.

Final track, The Touching is a Bridge Between the Afterlife and the World Which You Left Behind, is an emotional piece, with the melancholic piano and soul-stirring singing producing a perfect ending to the album – leaving the listener feeling touched by something very special.

Life Passes Slowly Unto Death is an incredible album, in which the theme of death is skilfully explored, once again demonstrating just how gifted a musician Scott Lawlor is.

Very highly recommended.

Written by: Rich Dodgin

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