Category: Frozen In Time: Weekly News (Page 1 of 6)

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: Top Music and Books of 2021

It’s been another turbulent year for humanity. Yet, luckily art perseveres and even flourishes in the most trying of times. Here is a list, in no particular order, of my favorite musical releases of 2021, with an obvious focus on dark ambient. There were many other great releases, so if an album you were hoping to see doesn’t fall on this list, don’t take it too hard. I also included a shorter list of my favorite books from the year. Rich Dodgin has been sharing his favorite releases throughout the year in our monthly Frozen in Time posts, so to find a whole plethora of other recommendations, I encourage you to look back through those posts! Also expect another similar list from other writers in the days following this article. I already have one to publish from Dorian Williamson of Northumbria, and maybe there will be more! (Reach out if you’d like me to include yours!) Also, I would like to ask that you stop by our new YouTube and Twitch channels and give them a follow, as I’ve been incredibly active in those two places this year! If you like what we’ve been doing this year, you can help support the cause at this link. Without further ado, here’s my top 21 albums of 2021 and a few excellent books!

P.S. Some of the below images, videos, and links are NSFW, proceed with caution!


Top 21 albums of 2021

1. AindulmedirThe Winter Scriptures

Aindulmedir is a winter-synth project by Pär Boström, which was released through the label Hypnagoga Press, which he runs along with his sister, Åsa Boström. Aindulmedir always transports me to a cold winter castle, in the far north of Sweden. A crackling fire warming the cold stone floor, as wind whistles in the windowpanes. One might feel lonely in a place like this, without a wall of ancient tomes, at least enough to last through the dark winter…

The Winter Scriptures is the second album by Aindulmedir. A collection of melodic improvisations and night-time recordings, intended as winter music for bibliophiles and hermits.

2. UndirheimarAngrboda

Undirheimar has made quite an impact these last 2 years, with major releases on Zazen Sounds, Black Mara, and Cyclic Law. He has also had his artwork included in several books on Anathema Publishing, and his meditative Rune Cards are close to selling out. While all his releases have a true ritualistic magic to them, this one resonated with me the most in 2021.

Angrboda is a devotional, chanted sonic-talisman in honour of the thrice burnt and thrice risen. Consort of Loki and dark mother of the Thursian death trinity. She who’s terrible shadow walks behind the trees in the billowing myst of Jarnvidr. Most ancient and powerful crone who’s magic and wisdom was envied by the gods. The oldest manifestation of the dark feminine principle.

3. Cave MouthDaughters of the North

Cave Mouth is a musical project one as haunting as it is beautiful, minimalist as it is epic. Where literary musings meet a visceral soundscape invoking mythic visions and heartfelt fables. Cave Mouth is a transatlantic band and is the brainchild of Meghan Wood (Crown of Asteria) and writer Katie Metcalfe (whose writings will be featured later in this article).

Meghan first came to my attention as half of the project Sun Through Eyelids along with Tom Necklan, while Katie has been making waves with her poetry and incredible photography. Meghan tends to most of the dark/ritual ambient elements, while Katie uses a combination of singing/spoken-word to convey often nightmarish narratives, with a distinctly northern-vibe.

Daughters of the North is a homage to and a celebration of some of the most formidable and feared, revered and respected darkly inclined female figures within the mythologies, folklore and legends of the Far North.

4. HimukaltDreaming of a Dead Girl

I hereby dub Himukalt the ‘Queen of Death Industrial’. With a taste for the perverse and a catalog of albums which are transgressive to say the least, she stands alongside her male counterparts with album after album to prove that she is not to be taken lightly. As with an increasing number of her releases ‘Dreaming of a Dead Girl’ was released on vinyl and quickly sold-out, which isn’t surprising considering the aural assault she consistently delivers.

Himukalt was born from the obsession, addiction, and the impure thoughts of American noise artist Ester Kärkkäinen. Her impulse for self-destruction, co-mingles with self-discovery, as she confesses broken tales about sex work, manic-depression, social anxiety, dysphoria and psychic parasites. All finally leaving us to languor in her suicidal ideation and conflicted desire to be very, very alone. She swaddles those appropriations from her life and those around her in the aestheticized violence of power electronics and a death-industrial negativity, similar to that of Lille Roger, Atrax Morgue, and master/slave relationship.

5. Ajna & OnasanderCanidia

The Netherlands-based Winter-Light label has been firmly on my radar throughout the year. They have been pushing themselves ever closer to the forefront of the dark ambient genre for the last few years, and 2021 seems to have solidified their position as one of the top-tier dark ambient labels in the world. The choices of artists to grace their roster is only matched by the consistency of their cover-art and physical editions. This Ajna & Onasander album is brand new, as I type this, but I’ve already listened to it numerous times since its arrival at TiD HQ. The subject matter of ancient Roman witchcraft is also right up my alley!

Canidia is considered Rome’s first witch and had perpetrated acts of grave desecration, kidnapping, murder, black magic, and poisoning to name but a few. She is most known for being mentioned in the poems of Horace, where she has a prominent role of a demon-like figure. There is much mystery and speculation as to whether Canidia may be a myth or an actual historical figure.

6. UngaikyōOld Tale

This release really caught me off guard. Something totally unexpected to the dark ambient scene, and a welcome reason to return my attention to the oft-overlooked, yet consistently solid label Noctivagant. This is some strange amalgamation of traditional Japanese music with dark ambient. It caught my attention and over the weeks after its release, kept drawing me back to it. Thankfully the creator of the album took the momentum of this release to start a label of the same name as the project, Ungaikyō Productions, which has been releasing a handful of solid releases in a similar vein throughout 2021. While this is the only related release in my list, I highly recommend following the above link to Ungaikyō Productions and checking out their catalog!

7. raison d’êtreDaemonum + Daemoniacum

Any time a new raison d’être album releases, is always a time to rejoice. However, this year’s release seems like one of his best in years. While the main album Daemonum is truly spectacular, things really seem to become even darker and more brooding on the special edition extra release Daemoniacum. Even if the special editions are sold out, make sure to at least grab a digital copy of this second disc, you won’t regret it! The splendid cover-art by NIHIL doesn’t hurt either…

Daemonum marks the 30-years anniversary of raison d’être. With Daemonum raison d’être scrutinizes the secrets of the Shadow; the Anima/Animus archetypes and the manifestation of them as a Soul image. By learning to listen for the voice of our subconscious self, we can call that voice our Daemon, our internal genius that provide guidance, we can find hidden potential within ourselves. Daemonum is the album of the daemons.

Hunting in the shadows, for the hidden and the opposite, Daemonum is another crossing, deep down to the shaded domains of the inner world. Struggling in blindness and oblivion, guidance and protectors are needed to unfold the obscure matters of our unconsciousness.

8. Pierre-Yves MartelWeird Studies: Music from the Podcast Vol.1

Weird Studies is a podcast in which Professor Phil Ford and writer/filmmaker J. F. Martel host a series of conversations on art, philosophy and the weird, dwelling on ideas that are hard to think and art that opens up rifts in what we are pleased to call “reality.” This soundtrack was created by J.F. Martel’s sibbling Pierre-Yves. It really caught me off guard. An absolutely incredible work of noir/dark jazz, a delight from beginning to end. I highly recommend getting it on vinyl, as there is just something about dark jazz which begs to be played on a turntable. I also recommend browsing the rest of his discography on Bandcamp as there are many great releases there!

9. Gydja – Ár var alda (In ancient times)

Gydja has been a top dark ambient artist of mine since I first encountered her music on the very early Cryo Chamber compilation ‘Behind the Canvas of Time’. She collaborated with Svartsinn on the track “Terrenum Corpus” and since then her music has been in constant rotation here. Yet, this is without a doubt her best album yet, for me. I have listened to it innumerable times this year; during waking-hours, sleep, reading, meditation and ritual, it fits perfectly to all these activities. A truly versatile and detailed release. Thick, expansive drones, woven through with intricate percussive elements, unearthly vocals and atmospheric field recordings. An album of deep, primordial dark ambient comprising of 9 tracks, across four movements.

10. Charles MansonAKA Abraxas

While Charlie recorded these tracks all the way back in the early ’80s, this year is actually the first time they’ve been properly presented to the public. These tracks were part of the legendary lost Vacaville tape sessions, which Charlie recorded at the peak of his musical talent, at least during the years of his incarceration. As Nikolas Schreck explained in my recent interview with him (embeded below), Charlie was actually encouraged to create music during his years at the Vacaville Mental Hospital, which would never be the case again, after he was transferred to other higher security facilities for the final three decades of his life. His work on AKA Abraxas (released by ATWAR) and The Lost Vacaville Tapes (released by Ben Gurecki’s Manson Underworld Productions) are two of my very favorite releases of his lifetime, rivalling the original sessions we all know from the period of ’67-’69.

11. Mother of SighsMother of Sighs

If I were to give an ‘album-cover of the year award’ it would go to Mother of Sighs. I really love this release, and its exquisite cover-art is just the icing on the skeleton, …I mean cake… Mother of Sighs is the musical project of Terrence Hannum of Locrian fame, along with his wife Erica. It has a strong John Carpeneter-esque horror soundtrack vibe (but possibly even better…), of which I can’t get enough. The digital release is available at the above Bandcamp from Deathbomb Arc, while you can grab a copy of the beautifully manufactured cassette from Hannum’s own Anathemata Editions. I also had to grab a t-shirt with the cover-art which also comes from Deathbomb Arc and can be purchased here.

12. Væv – Drømmenes Spejl

Winter-Light graces the list for the third time with Drømmenes Spejl by Væv. Væv is a brilliant new dark ambient project with elusive dark-jazz sensibilities. As with the aforementioned Winter-Light release by Gydja, Drømmenes Spejl is an incredibly versatile release, which I’ve listened to on repeat many nights in the second half of 2021.

Væv, which means “web” in Danish, explores the interconnectedness in our lives, perhaps chief among them the connection between our day to day reality and our spiritual development. These threads were woven before we entered this world; they are our world.

Drømmenes Spejl was produced during a very turbulent time in my life. It reflects my personal journey through a depression which culminated in my family falling apart. But crisis is the mother of change. From the ashes of the World Tree, new seeds can grow.” – Væv

13. WordclockA Greater Bliss

“Religious visions and apparitions form some of the most universal and striking stories and myths. The desire for breakthrough and grasp of bliss through direct experiences has given way to incredibly imaginative visual and intellectual descriptions of sights of gods in both blissful and hellish states . A Greater Bliss draws upon these stories and writings to create a world of sounds that seeks to mimic the various facets of these myths, from the heaviest and most desperate to the blissful and dreamlike.

The album brought together an international collaboration of musicians during its development time. Portuguese composer and project lead Pedro Pimentel on electronics, synths and various traditional instruments of European and Middle Eastern origin, American saxophonist Travis Laplante, Norwegian cellist Amund Ulvestad also on voice, Portuguese percussionist Luis Neto and Georgian trumpeter George Shamanauri (Phonotek).

The resulting album breaks apart and merges together a diverse amount of genres and musical backgrounds in wide swelling motions and dreamlike musical fragments in both free form and mantra like compositions, crashing acoustic instrumentation with tape fragments and digital spectral synthesis. From contemporary and dark jazz to traditional music, neoclassical, ambient, ritual religious music and electronic experimental. Spiritual and Touching.”

14. Underwater Sleep OrchestraThe Night and Other Sunken Dreams

“Underwater Sleep Orchestra is a new project by Pär Boström of Cities Last Broadcast/Kammarheit, and Bruce Moallem of God Body Disconnect. Music for lost dreamers and admirers of solemn underwater music, previously only heard in dreams.

The album is presented as two different dreams from the same night. One a nightmarish trip within blurry worlds and one a nostalgic journey about things real and unreal, both carefully expressed through synthesizers and pedals, cassette experiments and field recordings. All music finally processed through VHS tape.”

15. Cities Last BroadcastThe Umbra Report

Is it a depression, a séance, or an exorcism? Whatever it is, every nuance of it is thoroughly recorded and the result is terrifying yet oddly soothing. The tape machine is constantly hissing, every piece of machinery is making ominous noises, and something sings along. Pär Boström shows us again that he is a unique creator of sound design and paranormal electronics.

This is the third Cities Last Broadcast album, what started as a side-project of Pär Boström’s, but it’s debut The Cancelled Earth is oft-considered one of the best albums in the genre; proving once and for all that Pär Boström can’t have any “side-projects”, each project is a tour-de-force in its own right! A lovely vinyl edition seals the deal on this beautiful yet terrifying release.

16. Sabled Sun2149

The 5th album from the Sabled Suns 21xx series, about a man in Hibernation waking up to a world in ruins, takes us through the fifth year 2149.

On this album we gain access to one of the autonomous underground cities in Sector 33. A dark electronic ambient album ripe with robotics, quarantine zones, and the endless chasms underneath the surface.

Sabled Sun is one of the very best in cinematic dark ambient. Few other projects build such a rich and vibrant world, using only soundscapes. Sabled Sun along with Atrium Carceri, proves Simon Heath to be one of the most gifted and revolutionary artists in the dark ambient genre, and the absolute king of cinematic soundscapes.

17. TheologianNonextant

Theologian has been one of my favorite artists, blurring the boundaries between dark ambient and death industrial, since I got into this scene. Once again, he delivers an immaculate work, setting the standard for his peers. The above video is linked to his Annihilvs Power Electronix page, where you can find the original version, here is a link to the new cassette edition (or click the cassette), which is released through Danvers State Recordings by Andy Grant (The Vomit Arsonist).

We recently premiered the music video, which was released on the same day as this extended-edition of Nonextant. The video is for the track Tears “Dada Drum Mix” by MUDO (Iggor Cavalera).

18. Desiderii MarginisBathe in Black Light

An ode to the night, the darkness that is not blindness, the intense tranquility and boundless inner wilderness. Watch the sparkles glisten in the night, bathe in black light.

Desiderii Marginis has been at the forefront of the dark ambient genre since the early days of Cold Meat Industry. Johan of DM and Peter of raison d’etre helped shape the face of what we think of as dark ambient to this day. Years later, his new releases are still top-notch and innovative. This one is one of my favorites yet! Still awaiting an official release on Cyclic Law, this is currently available as digital-only through Johan’s Bandcamp.

19. Alone in the Hollow GardenDesert of Set

Released at the Magick Portal of the Winter Solstice, the 21st of December MMXXI, Desert of Set is the newest album by the ritual ambient project Alone in the Hollow Garden. While they often fly under the radar with their impressive collection of self-released albums, one should not assume that this has anything to say about the level of quality in their project. A.I.T.H.G. is one of my very favorite ritual ambient projects out there right now, each album bringing something new and unique into the fold. Desert of Set is incredibly dynamic in its presetation, moving through three long-form tracks which take us into the depths of Sethian religious devotion. The final track, Aeon of Set (which was first featured on our friend Przemyslaw Murzyn’s compilation album Blissful Nightmares & Mechanical Dreams) is an aural feast, including lyrics from “The Hymn to Set” (Eternal Egypt: Ancient Rituals for the Modern World by Richard J. Reidy).

20. Nikolas SchreckO, A Weird Flower

Nikolas Schreck, one of the founding members of Radio Werewolf and a household name for those interested in the Charles Manson case, has been releasing a number of outstanding new albums over the last several years. All should be seeing proper physical releases in the coming year. But, for now, you can enjoy his latest O, A Weird Flower, on Bandcamp.

I also urge you to give my interview with him, from earlier this week, a listen. We discuss all sorts of incredibly interesting topics. Nikolas is one of my favorite people to just sit back and listen to what they have to say, and it was an ABSOLUTE HONOR to have the opportunity to interview him for This Is Darkness. Dare I say, this was my ‘interview of the year’.

21. Corona BarathriLapis Sacrificialis

2021 has been a year of extreme highs and lows for Corona Barathri… Unfortunately, earlier this year, one of their core members Andrey Kein passed away, leaving Ilya Affectvs as the sole core member, once again. This crushing blow to the project was somewhat offset by the massive achievement of releasing their latest album Lapis Sacrificialis by one of the top labels in the dark/ritual ambient scene, Cyclic Law. This album includes daemonic collaborations with Martyria and Nam-khar, as well as haunting vocal sections by Chthonia, Darkarma, and Hekte Zaren. While Andrey Kein will be sorely missed in the ritual ambient scene, there are no signs of Corona Barathri slowing down, they are poised to be one of the top names in ritual ambient, if they haven’t already achieved that feat.

Top Books of 2021

For those closely following This Is Darkness, you will know that I (Michael) have been getting much more active in coverage of books in 2021. This element is certain to become even more crucial to me in 2022. I had the pleasure of discovering the titan of a book publisher, Anathema Publishing, in 2021. Since then, I have been ravenously reading through their catalog, finding treasure upon treasure along the way. Yet, there have also been some other books this year, by authors which should be familiar to our readers/viewers by now, which have impressed me beyond words. So here is a list of my favorite reads of the year. Why they are organized by publisher for the sake of organization, they are not ranked. I give the highest recommendation to everything included in today’s article!

Katie MetcalfePeople of the Sea Ice: Poetic Reflections

Katie Metcalfe is a multi-medium artist, focusing her works on peoples, cultures, landscapes, religions and sounds of the far north. She is part of the ritual-ambient project Cave Mouth, which was featured in my favorite albums above. She creates evocative and often provocative photography, of which she is often the model, photographer, and editor. And she writes books of poetry of the highest order.

In this latest book People of the Sea Ice: Poetic Reflections, Katie delivers some pieces which are beautiful, some which are horrifying, and some which oscillate between both extremes. The works within the book are her own words, yet they are informed by a high degree of research on her topic, which is made obvious by the extensive source-list at the conclusion of the book. People of the Sea Ice can be purchased through her Etsy page for an incredibly reasonable $14 USD, so I highly recommend grabbing a copy for yourself, and maybe a few more for loved-ones, while they are still available! AWyrdOfHerOwn | Etsy

Anathema Publishing

As mentioned above I have spent the second half of 2021 reading as many Anathema books as I can get my hands on. I even had an interview with their founder, Gabriel McCaughry, which I’ll start this section off by including. After our interview, Gabriel sent me a list of his favorite dark-ambient-related albums, and I put that together in an article which you can read at this link.

Craig WilliamsTantric Physics

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Craig Williams was the first author I read on Anathema Publishing. His book Entering the Desert blew my mind, and I eagerly continued with the follow-ups Cult of Golgotha and Tantric Physics. Since then I’ve done three Twitch streams with him: one interview and two Bhagavad Gita discussions. I highly recommend all of his books as well as viewing these three streams, Craig is a wealth of knowledge and an absolute pleasure to interview.

Veronica RivasKurukulla: Goddess of Bewitchment

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Kurukulla: Goddess of Bewitchment takes us through the history of this fascinating deity, through the context of Buddhism as well as Hinduism. Then we are given a section of practical everyday ways of connecting to this goddess. The now sold-out collector’s edition was absolutely gorgeous, and I was lucky to get my hands on a copy while they were still available. But there are still copies of the standard edition, which does not appear to be lacking in beauty, in its own right! While their store is currently closed for the holidays, check back for this and many other amazing books in the coming weeks! Anathema Publishing Ltd. | Quality Occult Books & Contemporary Esoterica

Audrey SzaszTears of a Komsomol Girl

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This year brings us, once again, a number of incredibly well-crafted texts from Infinity Land Press. As usual, they push the boundaries of what is acceptable, reaching deeper into the depths of extremity and depravity with each book that is conceived. Audrey Szasz is quickly becoming one of my favorite fiction authors. Her tales are twisted delights of the highest quality. In Tears of a Komsomol Girl, she delivers a disturbing account of the murders of the infamous Russian serial-killer Andrei Chikatilo, through the eyes of one of his victims. The book moves between writing styles which are everything from whimsical to almost incoherent ramblings to top-tier historical prose fiction. It is an experience better felt than described, and if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of delving into one of Audrey’s books, you should remedy that asap! Tears of a Komsomol Girl | Infinity Land Press

Martin BladhBraquemard: The Clavicle of Gilles de Rais

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Martin Bladh’s latest release comes to us through his U.S. friends at Amphetamine Sulphate. Braquemard: The Clavicle of Gilles de Rais is an incredibly interesting new piece which seems to fit Bladh’s stylistic sentiments perfectly. We are given a blurred narrative, coming in different writing styles from different places and times, which all tell tales of magick, trials, tortures, and debauchery during the witch trials of medieval France. To add to the horror of this already extreme book, Bladh has opted to don the pages with illustrations created using his own blood as ink. A must-read, or must-avoid (much like the above book by Audrey Szasz), depending on the strength of your stomach for the extreme! <b>Braquemard: The Clavicle of Gilles de Rais</b><br>Martin Bladh | Amphetamine Sulphate (

Kristina FeldhammerWerden

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I’m so excited that I received my copy of Werden in time for this article! I immediately pre-ordered this beautiful book directly from Kristina Feldhammer on her Etsy page. But the book was released by none other than Cyclic Law Press! Long time followers of Cyclic Law will be aware of her previous books released through their publishing wing, under the moniker of Krist Mort. Now older and wiser, Kristina Feldhammer has opted to use her birth name for future projects, however the beauty of her work has not diminished in any way. This book is a feast for the eyes. Filled to the brim with her gorgeous photo-manipulations. In Werden, Kristina is the judge, jury and executioner of her works (in other words she is the model, photographer, and editor). Unlike most modern photo-manipulations. Kristina doesn’t use a digital image for her manipulations. She works directly with the physical film itself, cutting, burning and defacing the film in order to create these otherworldly works we have come to know and love. To have such a huge number of her pieces in such a large format is worth far more than the price of this volume. So, grab a copy before they are gone! I’m sure they will sell-out in no time! Cyclic Law


David Chaim SmithFountain of Wisdom

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David Chaim Smith is an author and esoteric cartographer. He has an enigmatic personality and his views on the truths of reality itself are mind-expanding to say the least. Fountain of Wisdom is one of his latest releases in his gorgeously crafted and brilliantly realized series ‘Lightning Flash of Alef’. In a nutshell he looks at the laws of reality through the lense of Kabbalah. However, he is a devout atheist! I highly recommend his books to anyone willing to second guess everything they think they know. His works are not an easy read, but they are highly rewarding, if one takes the time to properly absorb them. And his esoteric cartography (illustrative mapping of his ideas) is a feast for the eyes, regardless of your religious leanings or level of understanding of his words. DAVID CHAIM SMITH

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 – October 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!

A°🄳+S/P°₂₃ – Monolith I

This new release on the ever excellent Sombre Soniks label is a new collaboration between A Demon Sheen (Grist) and P23 (Akoustik Timbre Frekuency) featuring an incredible two hour drone / processed guitar soundscape to die for. It’s wonderfully done – the 2 hour audio journey is perfect for losing yourself in, with the music aggressive and challenging in places, gentler and more welcoming in others. Very highly recommended for fans of drone. Fantastic!

Shadow Echo Canyon – Walking alone – tundra at night

The latest dark ambient / drone release from Luca Tommasini (the man behind the awesome Tiny Drones for Lovers label) is described as “… a one track album suite about cold winter, loneliness, near silence moment, heart & pain, wind, empty landscape and creepy daymare…”. It’s the perfect description, because listening to this really does make you feel as if you’re walking across a desolate icy tundra as thoughts of despair, hurt and frustration race through your mind. It’s an incredible listening experience and well worth checking out. Awe-inspiring!

Akoustik Timbre Frekuency – Metamorphosis

The latest release from Akoustik Timbre Frekuency (his first since 2018) is “… an introspektive look through thee tekniques and praktices of thee Projekt over thee years…”. Dark ambient / drone is expertly blended together with elements of ritual ambient, shamanic and occult soundscapes, and electroacoustic rhythms, resulting in something very special indeed. This is a great place to start if you are looking to check out some of Akoustik Timbre Frekuency‘s amazing releases, or to discover the ritual ambient sub-genre. Amazing!

Taphephobia & IDFT – Kandu

This collaborative release from Taphephobia (the main project of Ketil Søraker) and IDFT (the main project of the Iranian musician Behnoud (Thecimal)) is an emotionally charged album of melancholic dark ambient soundscapes and haunting analogue accompaniment. This is one of those beautiful albums that lingers with you long after it’s finished, and calls you back to it for repeated listens. Wonderful!

Jarl – Spectrum Confusion

This is another cracking release from the awesome Reverse Alignment label, featuring the hypnotic electronic experimentation that we’ve come to expect from Jarl. Here, his otherworldly mosaics of sound take the listener on a journey into the realms of psychedelic electronica, while staying close to the underlying dark ambient / drone ambient influences and elements. With each play rewarding the listener with something new to uncover in the unfolding audio soundscape, this is simply outstanding!

Bretwalda – Cammock Tongue

Now this is an intriguing concept – an album of dark ambient / experimental electronica, focusing on the English language, specifically Middle (i.e. medieval) English, and the ordinary people who spoke it. Eerie, ritual ambient sounds and soaring drones are complemented by atmospheric field recordings which include readings spoken Middle English. The end result is a fascinating album of haunting, and dreamlike music that really does offer something unique. Awesome!

Frozen in Time: Playlist and News – September 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. This month, we are also including some extra news from Anathema Publishing, among other things! Enjoy!

Melophobia: burned island

the sound of destruction
slow breaths
inhale fire
exhale ash

A composition crafted during the fires that destroyed the island of Evia in Central Greece in the first week of August, 2021. Melophobia (μελωφοβία) is an experimental project by Dimitris Tsironis, started in Greece in 2001. Melophobia’s main interest in electro-acoustic / improv / experimental music is crafted and assembled through various analogue sources. The abstract manipulations of sound are alternately ambient and aggressive.

The Crypt of Memories – At war with reason

Crypt of Memories is an orchestral dungeon synth project from Greece created in 2020 by Groeg Zfardasi, known to This Is Darkness readers for his work in Martyria. This roughly thirty minute album delivers some epic dungeon synth which moves with grandeur through the first two tracks, before slowing and descending into a much darker and more subdued place on the third track “Grimoire”.

The Lovecraft Sextet – In Memoriam
Jason Köhnen (Mansur / The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble / The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation) returns to his experimentations within the realms of Darkjazz. The Lovecraft Sextet is his new creative outlet regarding further explorations into cinematic jazz orientated compositions. ‘In Memoriam’ is a debut inspired by death, release and rebirth. Jason Köhnen has chosen to incorporate funereal aspects of classical, operatic and Gregorian music for this debut release.
The song ‘De Mysteriis’ is inspired by Mayhem’s ‘De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas’. The music is also linked to his first short-story which was written to accentuate the music (and vice-versa) and will be part of the ‘In Memoriam’ release.

Beyond the Ghost – The Desolation Age
Beyond the Ghost presents his second album in the Europa Series, a futuristic, bleak and moving sound voyage that merges electronics and acoustics.

London, the year is 2061. War is raging across Europe. Ultra-nationalist powers are fighting against each other, trying to conquer more territory and assert their supremacy. In London, enemy armies of cyborg soldiers and drones are taking over the city. The capital is quickly falling into ruins, the dust from the rubble is still suspended in the air. Survivors gather in damp cellars, crouching in fear, swapping stories about how life used to be before authoritarian governments started playing their evil power games. Meanwhile, the soldiers of the Alliance, brainwashed and merciless, wreak havoc in the streets of London, a city now void of life and light. Retaliation is long overdue, but for now all hope has been annihilated and the fear has taken over. Europe has become a vestige of the past, torn to pieces and trampled upon. This is the Desolation Age.

Alone in the Hollow Garden – 156
Alone in the Hollow Garden has been one of my favorite ritual ambient projects for quite some time. However, I have only recently been digging deep into their back-catalog of releases in a more focused manner. (More to come from those endeavors in an upcoming Twitch stream sometime in the next month or two!) So, it is with great pleasure that I have been able to enjoy this brilliant new release by them, to coincide with my re-ignited love for their ritualistic soundscapes. Highly recommended works here, along with many of their previous albums!

“Released at the Magick Portal of the Autumn Equinox, the 22nd of September MMXXI. Lyrical parts on ‘156’ were stolen with love from Aleister Crowley’s ‘Waratah Blossoms’. Text fragments from ‘Azoëtia’ by Andrew D. Chumbley are also featured on ‘The Twin Serpents of Life and Death'”

Juuyokka –  十四日

Juuyokka has delivered a brilliant new traditional Japanese music inspired dark ambient / dungeon synth-esque release, which has just the right blend of elements that will intrigue the discerning This Is Darkness reader!
“Nature calms my conscience. I am old and past battles are only a distant memory. I remember those dark days when everything was chaos, war, disease, death. I had to struggle deep within my soul to retain the creative energy that educates my students and uplifts my spirit every day.”

Cave Mouth – Mare
“Mare” is a track from the upcoming Cave Mouth album Daughters of the North. Cave Mouth is the project of wyrd writer and photographer Katie Metcalfe, along with Meghan Wood, also known for her brilliant work as Crown of Asteria.
Even if you count all the stars
In the sky I’ll come

Even if you close the door tight
As you can I’ll come

And I’ll ride you I’ll ride you
In the dark pressing and crushing
While you sleep and you’ll feel
Every part of me

Mardröm mardröm mardröm mardröm
I bring nightmares exhaustion unease
A feeling of paralysis from which you can’t break free
Mardröm mardröm mardröm mardröm

When I’m done with you
I might journey fast with your horse
Through the dead of night
Through the dead of night
And in the morning
Its hair will be braided with knots
Impossible to comb impossible to comb

Mardröm mardröm mardröm mardröm

To ease my birth my mother used the black arts
Through the amniotic sack from foal she crawled

Oh she cursed me she cursed me
My mother she cursed me
She changed the order of nature
And that’s why I ride you
That’s why I ride you

Mardröm mardröm mardröm mardröm
I bring nightmares exhaustion unsease
A feeling of paralysis from which you can’t break free
Mardröm mardröm mardröm mardröm

raison d’être – Daemonum & Daemoniacum
“Daemonum marks the 30-years anniversary of raison d’être. With Daemonum raison d’être scrutinizes the secrets of the Shadow; the Anima/Animus archetypes and the manifestation of them as a Soul image. By learning to listen for the voice of our subconscious self, we can call that voice our Daemon, our internal genius that provide guidance, we can find hidden potential within ourselves. Daemonum is the album of the daemons.

Hunting in the shadows, for the hidden and the opposite, Daemonum is another crossing, deep down to the shaded domains of the inner world. Struggling in blindness and oblivion, guidance and protectors are needed to unfold the obscure matters of our unconsciousness.

And to mark this 30th anniversary release, we’re offering an exclusive and limited special edition of Daemonum, a double CD or triple LP which includes a bonus album, “Daemoniacum”. Think of Daemoniacum as some sort of anti-polarized version of Daemonum, as if Daemonum was haunted and possessed by a demon. As if the daemon inside is turned into a demonic creature because the host becomes obsessed by the demon. As if the Anima/Animus was intruded and molested or rejected and deformed, infecting the host, causing a different and repressed output. Daemoniacum is the album manifested by the demons. Artwork by Nihil.”

Wordclock – A Greater Bliss

Check out Wordclock’s recent interview from This Is Darkness’ Twitch Channel, uploaded on YouTube!

Wordclock presents us his 4th album on Cryo Chamber

Religious visions and apparitions form some of the most universal and striking stories and myths. The desire for breakthrough and grasp of bliss through direct experiences has given way to incredibly imaginative visual and intelectual descriptions of sights of gods in both blissful and hellish states . A Greater Bliss draws upon these stories and writings to create a world of sounds that seeks to mimic the various facets of these myths, from the heaviest and most desperate to the blissful and dreamlike.

The album brought together an international collaboration of musicians during its development time. Portuguese composer and project lead Pedro Pimentel on electronics, synths and various traditional instruments of European and Middle Eastern origin, American saxophonist Travis Laplante, Norwegian cellist Amund Ulvestad also on voice, Portuguese percussionist Luis Neto and Georgian trumpeter George Shamanauri (Phonotek).

The resulting album breaks apart and merges together a diverse amount of genres and musical backgrounds in wide swelling motions and dreamlike musical fragments in both free form and mantra like compositions, crashing acoustic instrumentation with tape fragments and digital spectral synthesis. From contemporary and dark jazz to traditional music, neoclassical, ambient, ritual religious music and electronic experimental. Spiritual and Touching.

Pierre-Yves Martel – Weird Studies: Music from the Podcast vol​.​1
This beautiful vinyl release by Martel is a companion album to the Weird Studies podcast, which was created by his brother, writer/filmmaker J.F. Martel and Professor Phil Ford. The album is a brilliant take on ‘dark jazz’, filled with numerous instruments which fill out this project into a proper experience, which at times is subdued and almost dark-ambient-esque, and at other times blooms into a full-band climax. Highly recommended!

Mother of Sighs by Mother of Sighs
Terrence Hannum (Locrian) and his significant other, Erica Burgner-Hannum, best known for working together as 2/3 of The Holy Circle, have returned with my personal favorite project by either/both of them to-date, Mother of Sighs. This album is perfect for the coming Halloween season, with it’s brilliantly spooky atmosphere. The album would fit perfectly into a late 70s or early 80s Dario Argento film, if that is any indication of what is to be expected here. Must be heard to be understood. Terrifying and brilliant. Highly recommended! (They also have a t-shirt of this awesome cover-art available, which I am wearing constantly!)

G. McCaughry Interview with Michael of This is Darkness

Michael recently spoke with Anathema Publishing’s founder Gabriel McCaughry on This is Darkness’ Twitch channel about the ethos of Anathema, their latest releases, and their new venture into dark ambient music distribution through their webstore. Check out our conversation on YouTube, and also subscribe to our Twitch channel to see these interviews live!

Greg Kaminsky – Celestial Intelligences

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Angelology, Cabala, and Gnosis: Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s Quest for the Perennial Philosophy

By Greg Kaminsky (Occult of Personality podcast host, author of Pronaos).

¶ ILLUSTRATIONS & TYPESET by: Joseph Uccello (Viatorium Press, Occlith books series, etc.).

This is the latest from Anathema Publishing, now available for pre-orders in several hardbound editions. Greg Kaminsky focuses on the works of Renaissance philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola and their influences on Kabbalah and the rebirth of Western esoteric traditions.

Christ in Hell [Triptych]


“The following triptych explores the narration of Christ’s descent into Hell, according to the Gospel of Nicodemus.

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Stylistically the aim has been to achieve the sensation of a floating world, purposefully seeking for mannerism in several figures, it seeks to draw without restrictions of space or gravity. This follows the descriptions of Tartarus or Gehenna as a bottomless pit.

(…) But why did Christ descend to Hell during the day in which he was dead? Redeeming the ancients seems to be the answer of the Apocryphal Gospel. But if so, why were they in Hell without a fair judgement? Were they not righteous men? Or is it perhaps that the Gnostic interpretation comes into play after all, and their sin was not of a moral kind, but ignorance, ignorance from a Revelation that they could not have achieved before? And so, the light of the sun would play a double symbolism in this narrative, as the light of knowledge. But how could this be consistent with the history of salvation as preconceived by a just God? How could the later notion of Purgatory be developed if so? Perhaps the impossibility of answering such questions is what led this to be an apocryphal piece, that could not fit any consistent doctrine of salvation. Therefore, the descent into Hell remains as a mystery. But a fascinating one.”

~Excerpt from a lengthier essay by José Gabriel Alegría entitled: “Christ in Hell”.

Anathema Publishing Ltd. | Store

Anathema Publishing now distributes various ambient/dark-ambient/ritual-ambient projects here in North America. Cyclic Law, Hypnagoga Press, Zazen Sounds albums, among others, are now able to be purchased here, for a greatly reduced shipping cost!

Anathema Publishing Ltd. | Music Distro

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!

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – July 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!

Various Artists – New State of Flux

The Reverse Alignment label returns with this wonderful compilation of minimal and experimental drone / ambient music, featuring 20 tracks from an impressive rota of talented musicians which includes Sonologyst, SITKAJarl, and Taphephobia to name just a few. Raffaele Pezzella has done an amazing job of curating this album – each track offers something different, and yet it all hangs together perfectly, providing an incredible listening experience when played in its entirety. This is one of those sublime albums that provides you with something different each and every time you listen to it. Highly recommended!

These Liminal Days – Empty Spaces 1

Empty Spaces 1, the latest release from These Liminal Days, is a four track album “…exploring some dark and empty spaces…”. The music here is minimalist soundscape with elements of drone and dark ambient added to the mix, resulting in an album that is both comforting and unsettling in equal measure – it provides a relaxing listening experience, but one with an underlying sense of foreboding and emptiness. This is billed as the first in a series, and on the strength of this album I will definitely be checking out later installments. Absolutely wonderful !

Spacelab – Knell

The latest release from Hreám Recordings is this impressive album of experimental electronic / drone from Spacelab. Each of the six tracks here offer something a little different and range from pure drone through to full on experimental. It’s breathtaking stuff that rewards multiple listens and seeps its way into your subconscious when you least expect it. With Knell, Spacelab have created an album that is refreshingly different, and if you’re  fan of drone and experimental ambient then this is very much worth checking out!

Scott Lawlor – Journey of a Dying Girl

Scott Lawlor creates some of the most beautiful and deep dark ambient / drone that I’ve ever heard, and his latest release – Journey of a Dying Girl – is another wonderful example of just how talented he is. This is a concept album that tells the story of a girl who is brutally attacked, has a near death experience, and then struggles to accept she is still alive. It’s powerful stuff, all told through the multi-layered dark ambient / drone music – in places dark and foreboding, in others light and relaxing. Very highly recommended!

Lisa Bella Donna – Mourning Light

Lisa Bella Donna‘s latest album, Mourning Light, is a gorgeous 4 track album that is over 90 minutes long and features some of the most wonderful, soothing music I’ve heard in a long time. This is minimalist electro-ambient music with subtle dark ambient elements added to the mix -absolutely perfect for chilling out to as you lie on the sofa on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I’ve fallen in love with this album, and have already started to check out some of Lisa Bella Donna‘s previous releases. If you’re a fan of mellow ambient then you simply have to check out this album. Gorgeous!

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – June 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!

Stephen Spera – D​.​A. #013 – A​.​D. 2021

The Dust Archive label publishes music “… found inside mysterious boxes…”, which is a very cool concept that has resulted in some incredibly innovative releases. D​.​A. #013 – A​.​D. 2021 by Stephen Spera is the perfect example, with 9 tracks of gorgeously melancholic dark ambient / experimental electronica infused with atmospheric field recordings. Listening to this, it really does feel like you are getting a momentary insight into the lives of other(s) through these found artefacts. This is strange, yet comforting music, easy to lose yourself in and perfect for chilling out to. Very highly recommended.

Peur du noir – Empire

Peur du noir‘s latest release, Empire, features two dark tracks of brooding dark ambient / drone, with haunting otherworldly vocals and an added layer of electronica that combine together to create goosebump inducing, atmospheric music that is – quite frankly – jaw droppingly good. This is powerful stuff and is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for something dark and edgy. Wonderful!

Theatre Of Delays – Betelgeuse Boogaloo

The latest album from Theatre of Delays is this impressive 8 track collection of cinematic dark ambient / drone / experimental music. It’s all beautifully done, but as if that wasn’t enough, there is also an associated video (the link for which can be found on the Bandcamp page) that adds a whole dimension to the listening experience. Steve Bolch has created an incredible album / audiovisual project here, and on the basis of Betelgeuse Boogaloo I will definitely be watching to see what he does next. Fantastic stuff!

Blanket Swimming – Arioso

Decaying Spheres are fast becoming one of my favourite labels, consistently releasing high quality music from some very talented musicians. Their latest release, Arioso by Blanket Swimming is no exception – with beautiful, melancholic soundscapes that repeat and grow as the tracks unwind. Listening to this album is almost hypnotic, with the music washing over you in breath-like waves that leave you feeling relaxed and renewed. This album is – in a word – wonderful, and I will be listening to it for a long time to come.

New Leaders Of The Eldritch Cult – The Thing In The Basement

Another of my favourite labels is Sombre Soniks, who specialise in dark and ritual ambient releases. The Thing In The Basement is a compilation album, released in collaboration with Will Connor (Seesar) and featuring artists from his ‘New Leaders Of The Eldritch Cult‘ collective. There are 14 tracks, and every single one of them provides something different, while also fitting into the over-arching feel of the album. If Lovecraftian soundtracks and soundscapes are your thing, then you will love this album – it’s dark and eerie, with plenty to keep you entertained… and give you nightmares!

Shadow Echo Canyon – Shiver

Now this is very cool. The latest dark ambient / drone release from Luca Tommasini (the man behind the awesome Tiny Drones for Lovers label) features two tracks of disturbing, brooding darkness that sound like something from the soundtrack to a journey into the depths of Hell. I’ve had this on repeat play since I first heard it, and I’ve already started to check out earlier Shadow Echo Canyon releases because I’m enjoying this so much. Check it out!

Akoustik Timbre Frekuency – Kompilation Kompendium Vol IV

Akoustik Timbre Frekuency has released lots of amazing dark ambient / ritual ambient music over the last few years, sometimes as part of compilation albums featuring a host of different artists. It’s therefore great to have those tracks pulled together into one single place in his own compilation album, Kompilation Kompendium Vol IV. Each of the 8 tracks here provides the listener with an audio journey into the dark unknown, with otherworldly soundscapes and ritual field recordings expertly combined together to produce something very special indeed. This is the perfect starting point for delving into the wonderful music of this talented artist.

Drifting In Silence – False Awakening

The latest release from Drifting In Silence is one of those wonderful albums that straddles both the ambient and dark ambient genres. In places, it is light, soothing and gentle… and in others, it is dark and unnerving. Listening to this album, I found myself fully drawn in, away from everything else around me – pulled under the spell of the music as time itself seemed to stop. This is an album for surrendering yourself too, for listening to at high volume on headphones, as you lie in the dark. Absolutely magnificent.

Bonzaii – Seagull / Dive

Regular readers will know that I’m a huge fan of Bonzaii, and that I’m always thrilled when he releases new material. Seagull / Dive features another couple of fantastic tracks – both dark and trippy, with looping drone melodies that build and grow as they unfold. This is melancholic music, perfect for self-reflection and thinking back to years gone by. Gorgeous as always.

Neon Noodle – Machine Aerier

With Machine Aerier, Neon Noodle has combined 20 year old tape recordings with new guitarwork and samples. The end result is a delightful collection of experimental lo-fi, with elements of drone and dark ambient to spice things up. This is one of those rewarding releases that provides the listener with something new each and every time they listen to it – the music is deep and multi-layered, and the different sounds and styles have been so expertly blended together that exploring this album is a total joy from start to finish. Very highly recommended.

Spettro Records – Spettro Audio Collectif

The latest release from Spettro RecordsSpettro Audio Collectif, isn’t pure dark ambient – indeed, many of the tracks included in this compilation are distinctly not dark ambient. But, each of the 10 tracks here has something of real value to offer the listener, and those looking for something a little bit different from standard dark ambient / drone will be find this album of experimental / electronica / ambient / post-rock an absolute delight. Fabulous!

Altars – Altars

Now this is the perfect album for blowing away those hangover cobwebs – brooding guitar-based dark ambient, with elements of doom metal added to the mix! Those looking for subtle soundscapes and gently developing drones should look elsewhere, because this latest release from Altars is heavy as hell! It’s incredibly powerful stuff and the first time I played this album it took my breath away. I have been listening to this almost non-stop since I first heard it, and I still absolutely love it. If you’re looking for something on the heavier side of the dark ambient genre then I cannot recommend this album enough – it is simply amazing!

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – May 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!

Matthew Mercer – Nocturnalism

I’m a big fan of music that is experimental or tries to do something a little different, so Matthew Mercer‘s latest release, Nocturnalism, really struck a chord with me. Gritty industrial textures, disembodied voices and instruments, and eerie drones all combine together to create a wonderfully dark sonic soundscape that invokes feelings of isolation and starkness. This is the perfect soundtrack for late night urban exploration and self-reflection. Very highly recommended.

Peter Bjärgö – The Translucency of Mind’s Decay

The latest album from Peter Bjärgö is a masterpiece of neoclassical / dark ambient, combined with elements of ritual ambient and folk music. It is, in a word, gorgeous – with rich multi-layered textures that pull you in under its spell, and provide something new on each and every listen. The album has a melancholic ambiance to it, that is both soothing and thought provoking. With The Translucency of Mind’s Decay, Peter has created something very special, and I will definitely be checking out his other work on the strength of this breath-taking release.

Brunstein – Not Doing Something

Not Doing Something by Brunstein is an experimental album of beautifully crafted drones and harsh, electronic tones. At first, it doesn’t feel like an easy listen, but as I played the album I soon found myself drawn in and really enjoying the resulting audio experience. This is an album that rewards careful listening and is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for something a little different.

Alphaxone & ProtoU – Back to Beyond

The Cryo Chamber label is releasing a lot of high quality content just now, and Back to Beyond, the latest album from Alphaxone and ProtoU, is a perfect example of that. Dark ambient soundscapes are blended with subtle field recordings and elegant harmonic drones, producing an album of atmospheric space ambient that is – pun intended – out of this world. Unlike some space-themed dark ambient releases that can be quite ‘cold’ sounding, this is an album of warm, smooth tones that provides a comforting yet exhilarating listen. Wonderful.

Peur du noir – Calling the Ancients

Calling the Ancients, the debut release from French musician Peur du noir, is an intriguing gem of an EP. Electronic tones and liminal drone sounds have been perfectly combined together to create two wonderful tracks, and the end result is a rewarding listening experience. On the strength of this initial EP, I will definitely be following to see what Peur du noir releases next.

Narconia – Exit Wounds

Exit Wounds, the debut release from Narconia is an impressive album combining elements of dark ambient, electronica, ritual ambient, and drone. Each track here offers something different, and yet the album has a cohesive feel to it – meaning that the listener it taken on a rewarding audio journey as the album unfolds. With this debut solo release, Ian White has shown what a talented musician he is, and if you’re a fan of the more adventurous side of dark ambient then this is definitely worth checking out.

Long the Night – Illusion

Illusion is the debut release from Long The Night, the dark ambient side project by multi-instrumentalist / composer Derrick Stembridge known for his longstanding Drifting in Silence body of ambient work. Drones and dark ambient soundscapes have been beautifully melded together to create an album that is hypnotically deep and multi-layered, with an underlying feeling of melancholy and despair. Highly recommended.

In the Absence of Words – A Collection I

As the title suggests, A Collection I is a compilation of dark ambient works by In The Absence of Words – each track having originally been released individually between 2017 and 2019. The music here is dark / glacial ambient, with elements of evolving long form drones, providing a meditative, almost hypnotic, listening experience. This is the perfect music for unwinding to at the end of a stressful day, or for a spot of relaxing and self-reflection. Lovely.

Schloss Tegal – Musick from Madness

Now this is very cool – a classic dark ambient / industrial / drone album, recorded way back in the late eighties, and only ever previously released on cassette in 1991! That is reason enough to get yourself a copy of this masterpiece, but in case you had any doubt – the music here is simply incredible, especially considering it’s over 30 years old (!) and hasn’t dated at all. This is dark and edgy stuff, where the dark ambient and industrial genres collide and cross over, taking the listener on an extraordinary sonic journey deep into the depths of despair and insanity. An absolute must have.

Memory Of Sho – Life at the seaside

Tiny Drones For Lovers is one of my favourite labels, and this delightful 4 track EP by Memory Of Sho is another excellent release. Ambient soundscapes, warm drones, and haunting vocals & field recordings are layered together to create a mesmerising, dreamlike ambiance. It’s beautifully done, and I found myself losing track of time as I listened to this wonderful, unfolding music. Very highly recommended.

Peur du noir – Pontii Heremitae

As you’ll have read above, I really liked Peur du noir‘s debut EP, so I was thrilled when I discovered he had already released this follow-up. The music here is just as wonderful, but this time there is a darker, more melancholic edge to it, with elements of noise added to the mix. This is perfect for listening to on headphones, as you lie back on the sofa in the dark. Highly recommended.

Death Star – Obsidian

Obsidian is the second release from Death Star (the dark ambient side project of Equal Stones), and is an impressive album of dark, brooding dark ambient, with subtle industrial and noise elements added to the mix. In places the album is bleak and challenging, and in others it is lighter and more reflective – but talented musician Amandus Schaap has done an amazing job of ensuring the album has a single cohesive feel to it, with each track naturally leading into the next. Wonderful.

Equal Stones – Liberation

Liberation, the latest release from Equal Stones, is a deep, multi-layered album of dark ambient soundscapes and evolving long form drones. An underlying feeling of melancholy runs through the heart of this album, and it’s all so beautifully done that the music transports the listener away on an audio journey into the depths of darkness. This is one of those albums that you keep returning to, to listen to – and experience- again and again. Fantastic.

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – April 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!

Bonzaii – Death In The Cities

I’m a huge fan of Bonzaii – his melancholic, dream-like audio creations have a cinematic undertone, and I can easily lose myself in his music for hours at a time. This latest 5 track EP consists of music created solely from the manipulation of samples and field recordings – where bass-heavy tones are combined with discordant patterns and eerie soundscapes, resulting in music that is quite simply breath-taking. Very highly recommended!

Various Artists – Drone Islands – Stellar

Drone Islands is the latest release in Eighth Tower Records’ impressive Drone Islands series, and features twelve tracks of drone excellence from a number of talented musicians. Each track has something different to offer, with a variety of musical approaches being utilised, yet the album holds together perfectly, with a coherent sci-fi theme and ambiance running through it all. This album is definitely worth checking out if you’re wanting to explore drone music in general, or are looking to discover some new musicians to follow. Wonderful stuff!

Neon Noodle – Hunting For The Silence

For his fourth studio album, Neon Noodle has merged haunting dark ambient soundscapes with New Orleans jazz melodies, to create a wonderful audio experience that pulls the listener into a world of ghostly vintage jazz noir. This is an album that rewards an attentive listen, and is ideal for listening to in bed with the lights out. This is unlike anything else I’ve listened to in recent months, and I find myself drawn to it again and again. Incredible!

SiJ & Textere Oris – Reflections at the Sea

I love Reflections under the Sky, the previous atmospheric dark ambient album from SiJ & Textere Oris, so I was thrilled when I learned they were releasing a follow-up. It’s been 5 years, but totally worth the wait – because this is another exceptional album of emotive ambient soundscapes, subtle but powerful field recordings, and multi-layered soul-stirring music. This is the perfect soundtrack for taking time out from everyday life, for a spot of introspection and rebalancing of one’s self. An absolute must-buy for fans of deep drone and dark ambient!

Melanohelios – The Durance Machine

The latest release from Canadian musician Melanohelios is a wonderfully dark EP of cosmic dark ambient, with elements of drone and noise added to the mix. In places it’s harsh, aggressive and challenging, and in others it’s soft, light and reassuring. The music here is complex and multi-layered, and this is one of those incredibly rewarding albums where the listener discovers something new on each and every play. Fantastic!

NATURA EST – Real Seasons

This album of brooding dark ambient / drone is the third release from British electronic producer Tony Young and German industrial/noise musician Andreas Davids, and “… taps into the old ways; a time in which nature and the cycles of the Earth was to be worshipped and revered …”. Long form drones are beautifully combined with haunting vocals and unnerving soundscapes, resulting an album that manages to be both unsettling and soothing. On the strength of this album, I will definitely be checking out their earlier releases. Impressive!

Hiemal – Lands of Yore

Hiemal‘s latest album is a little darker sounding than some of his other recent releases – but ‘darker ‘ is a relative term, as this still has all the wonderful hallmarks of his music: long form drones with subtle field recordings and underlying themes of winter that provides an almost hypnotic experience. Fabulous!

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