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!