Tag: Retro-review (Page 1 of 2)

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!


Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – March 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!


Ruptured World – Shore Rituals

I am a huge fan of Ruptured World, with each album combining haunting soundscapes with immersive story telling in a manner that is simply break taking. In this, Alistair Rennie‘s latest release, we take a break from his Planetary series and instead explore the enigmas of the sea and the eldritch legions of the deep. Dark and edgy drones are complimented by eerie and disturbing field recordings, resulting in a goose bump inducing masterpiece of dark ambient. If you’re a fan of the Archeoplanetary album, or any dark ambient with an undercurrent of existential horror, then you will really enjoy this. Fantastic!


Sanatana – Sanatana

Sanatana‘s impressive debut album of experimental / avantgarde music uses electro-acoustic processing techniques to fuse dark ambient, drones and noise elements together to create something rather special. In places the music here is soothing and life affirming, in others it is harsher and more challenging, but it’s all so beautifully done that the audio experience is rewarding throughout. This is one of those multi-layered albums that provides you with something new each time you listen to it, and is perfect for exploring your sense of self and your place within the eternal cycle of life. Wonderful.


DEN SORTE DØD – Den Sorte Død

The latest full length release from Offermose and Angst melds Berlin School ambience with dungeon synth soundscapes, resulting in an album that is comforting and sinister in equal measure. The here is music is lush and deep, pulling the listener under its spell with its gentle pace and emotive tones. Highly recommended for those looking for something with melancholic undertones and an introspective vibe!


58918012 – Signals

Ukranian dark ambient musician 58918012‘s latest release is an album of gorgeously warm lo-fi mixture of electronica, dub techno, dark ambient, and noise, and featuring heavy use of tape loops. Listening to the album provides a wonderfully relaxing dream-like audio experience, as strange electronic glitches and patterns work their hypnotic magic on you. In places the music reminds me of Boards of Canada (no bad thing!) and fans of soft, experimental electronica will absolutely adore this. Fantastic stuff!


Tir – Persepolis

Tir‘s latest album, a “redux” re-release of his 2019 album, The Vanished Civilization of Xattoth, is a neo-classical masterpiece. Dark ambient soundscapes blended with field recordings and multi-textured layers of classical music, create an awe-inspiring audio journey through the wonders of ancient times. This expanded re-release has added fresh orchestrations to the original, and many of the compositions have been extended to uncover a much darker side of the “Persepolis” narrative, and the end result is simply stunning. Highly recommended!


Die Toten Mäuse – Die Toten Mäuse

Die Toten Mäuse is the first release from German micro-label, Zustandsaufnahmen, and is an intriguing experimental album of dark ambient electronica. With additional audio elements from viola, loops, and samples, Marco Pascarelli and Fausto Caricato have created something unique and rather special. Each listen reveals something new, and I found myself revisiting the album again and again, each time excited at what I would discover. Incredible!


Tarme Til Alle – Penitentes

Tarme Til Alle‘s latest release is an album of dark and edgy synth-laced dark ambient. There are moments of calm and introspection, but the overall vibe is one of darkness and threatening undercurrents. This is the perfect soundtrack to the dystopian movie we’re now all living in – bleak, unforgiven… but tinged with hope. With this release, Roberto Quezada has demonstrated again what a talented musician and producer he is – and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for what he does next!


INSEON – ESPR

David Henriques is a Portuguese artist and musician based in Lisbon, and this – his first release under the moniker Inseon – is an impressive album of downtempo ambient / electronica, with subtly blended elements of piano, dark ambient soundscapes and field recordings added to the mix. This album is clearly a work of love, with the music providing a rewarding and intimate, heartfelt audio experience for the listener. It’s beautifully done, and well worth checking out if you’re looking for something life affirming. Wonderful.

 

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – February 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!


Eppu Kaipainen & Embry お兄ちゃん – Ainoa Suunta Pohjalla On Eteenpäin

Several months ago, we reviewed the impressive compilation album from the Decaying Spheres label, which included the stunning My House is Torn Down Every Evening by Eppu Kaipainen feat Embry お兄ちゃん. Now, these two artists have collaborated on their first full length release together, and it’s as good, if not better. This is an experimental / noise album, full of unsettling tape loops, drones, and field recordings that work together to create an edgy and otherworldly album. The end result is an audio experience that is both soothing and sinister. Very highly recommended!


Weird Gentleman – City Spleen

Dark ambient? Dark jazz? Doom jazz? I’m not sure what to call the music on this four-track EP from Milan, but whatever it is, I love it! It’s relaxing and comforting, but with a dark and brooding undercurrent. This is perfect music for night-time walks through the city… as you lose yourself in your thoughts, and try and ignore the approaching apocalypse. I will be definitely be keeping an eye out for future releases by Weird Gentleman!


Sabled Sun – 2149

Simon Heath‘s Sabled Suns 21xx series (about a man in hibernation waking up to a world in ruins) never disappoints, but with 2149 he’s taken things to the next level. Dark ambient / drone soundscapes are combined with cyberpunk electronica, to create a masterpiece of cinematic story telling, full of emotive melodies and heart-breaking beauty. In places, as we’re pulled down into the depths of Sector 33, it’s bleak and almost suffocating… but then, just when it feels like it might be too much, the mood lifts and there is hope. Outstanding!


Scott Lawlor – Quiet Winter

Scott Lawlor is fast becoming one of my favourite artists, creating dark ambient / drone albums of a consistently high standard. The music on Quiet Winter is one of his more minimalistic releases, combining subtle drones with haunting winter soundscapes, to perfectly capture the cold of the long winter nights. This is music for relaxing to, to listen to as you sit wrapped in a thick blanket in front of the fire, as the winter storm rages outside. Wonderful.


Sonologyst – Dust Of Human Race

With his latest release, Sonologyst (Raffaele Pezzella) continues with his reflection “… about life as a death spell… exploring various philosophies and traditions, from Buddhism to the old funeral rituals of Sardinia…”. To achieve this, dark ambient, drone, and industrial elements are expertly blended together – at times the end result is harsh and unyielding, in others it is more soothing and reassuring in nature. What this means for the listener is a rewarding sonic journey through the detriment and memories of human existence itself. Another impressive release from this skilful and talented musician!


Beyond the Ghost – The Last Resort

I’m a huge fan of Beyond the Ghost (Pierre Laplace), so I was thrilled when I heard about his new release – his first album in the Europa Series, “… a futuristic, bleak and moving sound voyage that merges electronics and acoustics…”. Dark ambient soundscapes with a dark jazz edge are complimented by subtle field recordings, resulting in a fantastical audio canvas of tones and textures, immersing us fully in the sorrowful and  suspended world of Berlin, 2060. This is ambient noir of the highest order, and if you’re a fan of dark ambient music that isn’t afraid to try something a little different, then you simply have to buy yourself a copy of this. Magnificent!


Hilyard – Division Cycle

The strange and otherworldly nature of the Division Cycle is evident within the first 2 minutes of this latest release from Hilyard, as unsettling field recordings play over an eerie ambient soundscape. This is the soundtrack to that strange nightmare that you can’t shake loose, even after you’ve sat up, switched the light on, and caught your breath. Here, there are things that shouldn’t be, lurking in the shadows, waiting to pull you down into the bowels of the earth “… where the roots of its ancient trees pull the flesh from the ramparts of civilization and giants move as clouds of remnant dust above the lungs of the Internal Forest….”. Absolutely incredible.

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – January 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!


Sonologyst – Ancient Death Cults and Beliefs

The latest release from Sonologyst is a ritual ambient exploration of the veneration of the dead in ancient cults and religions. With this album, Raffaele Pezzella has once again demonstrated his skilful ability to combine dark ambient / drone with field recordings – the end result is music that manages to be dark and unsettling in places, while primeval and soothing in others. This is deep, powerful music that you can lose yourself in – highly recommended!


Various Artists – Music For Abandoned Cold War Places

I’ve had this impressive album of dark ambient / drone / post-industrial soundscapes on repeat play since I first heard it. Over the course of an hour we are treated to twelve tracks that each encapsulate the atmosphere and feeling of abandoned cold war places in some way – some are abrasive and hard-edged, some rhythmically hypnotic, others eerie and haunting. Every track on here is exceptional, and massive credit to label ZeroK for assembling such a strong collection of material. Not only that, but while each of the contributions on this album offers something unique,  they all fit together perfectly to create an incredible listening experience. Outstanding!


Various Artists – Demonology In Dante’s Inferno

For this breath-taking release of dark ambient / drone / noise, Eighth Tower Records invited a group of musicians to create tracks inspired by the series of demonic figures that Dante and Virgil met as they travelled through the nine circle of Hell. The resulting album is a rewarding audio nightmare of echoing passages, otherworldly encounters, and disturbing sonic soundscapes. If you’re looking for something dark and unnerving then this is definitely worth checking out!


Scott Lawlor – New Beginnings and Reflections, Volume 2

To see in 2021, Scott Lawlor has released this second in his annual series of reflective ethereal long-form drone albums. It’s a delightfully minimalist seventy-two minute track that beautifully balances the darkness and the light – meaning the listener is able to find their own meaning within the unfolding meditative soundscape. This is the perfect soundtrack for some relaxation or introspection, to review the year that has been, and to look forward to the year that will be. Wonderful.


HLER – LGM-1

Created from the bursts of radio waves originating from space, this stunning album of dark ambient / drone / post-industrial is one of those which rewards the listener with something new to experience each time it’s played. The music here is mysterious, hypnotic and alien… and yet the audio journey we are taken on has a comforting aspect underlying it all. With LGM-1, Finnish duo Heikki Lindgren & Esa Ruoho have created something truly unique, and this is very much worth checking out.


Hiemal – Shishaldin

Hiemal’s latest release is another wonderfully dreamy drone album, clocking in at over an hour in length. Gradually evolving drones are complimented by subtly used field recordings, creating an audio journey that is perfect for de-stressing and forgetting all of your lockdown blues.

 

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – December 2020

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 – Selected Ambient Works From Italy

The debut album from Italian label, Tiny Drones For Lovers, is an impressive 18 track compilation of ambient-space-drone from the Italian underground scene, featuring a range of ambient-drone that will have something for everyone – from relaxing music to chill-out to, to darker more unnerving stuff that will set your teeth on edge. I’ve come across some of the artists before, but many are wonderful new discoveries for me that I will be exploring further. Definitely a label to keep an eye on!


Grande Loge – Mantras

The first full length release from France’s enigmatic Grande Loge, this is an album of ritual ambient excellence, perfectly fusing together elements of folk, transcendental chanting, and a host of traditional instruments to create something very special indeed. The end result is a timeless album of mystical and spiritual music that is highly recommended!


Scott Lawlor – Rex Gentium

The latest album from Scott Lawlor features three tracks that “…are intended to help with your wait, help you take your foot off the accelerator and just be…“. These are subtle, leisurely pieces, perfect for listening to as you lie back on the sofa, get in tune with yourself, and let the pressure and worries of every day life slip away. Simply wonderful.


Randal Collier-Ford – Advent

Randal Collier-Ford‘s latest album is a dark industrial ambient album of discordant, brooding tones and otherworldly, Lovecraftian sounds. It’s an impressively bleak and unsettling soundscape album guaranteed to give you nightmares. Definitely an album to check out if you’re a fan of Cryo Chamber‘s heavier releases!


Ruptured World – Interplanetary

With Interplanetary, Ruptured World takes us back to Proxima Centauri b, to continue the story from Exoplanetary as “… a follow up mission of search and recovery is now underway, led by Dr Phoenix Macrae, son of the Chief Science Officer of the previous mission, Dr Hector Macrae…“. This is another spectacular album of dark space ambient, with Alistair Rennie once again demonstrating his incredible ability to combine haunting soundscapes with immersive and gripping story telling. Wow!


Xerxes The Dark – X​-​Theory (Best Of 2005​-​2020)

With over 4 hours of music, this 40 track compilation showcases some of the best of Xerxes The Dark‘s solo work from the past 15 years. With a range of musical styles (from drone to ambient to industrial, and more), this is a great introduction to this talented musician’s work if you’re not sure where to start with his other albums. Recommended!


Altarmang – Mothstar

Moth Star is the second album by Altarmang. An intuitive sonic exploration of planetary and abysmal constellations captured on reel-to-reel tape. A documentation from beyond the waking sleep.


Imprisoner – How the End Might Roar

Imprisoner returns with a second album, ‘How the End Might Roar’. What was first intended as a black metal album turned into a strange hybrid of black, ritualistic ambience, with songs being passed back and forth between Flavius Ion and Par Bostrom (who is a guest on all seven tracks on the album), for several months. While the previous release had a more poignant feel, ‘How the End Might Roar’ is centered around themes both musicians love very much: winter nights and their ethereal uncertainty.


Caleb R.K. Williams – Skies

Caleb R.K. Williams, head of the French acousto-drone ambient label Eagle Stone Collective, is back with another solo work. This improvisation is one of my favorites in his recent releases, a thick foreboding envelops us as we stride across sandy dunes, toward a future unknown.

 

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – September 2020

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!


Grove of Whispers – Shovelful of Silt

Grove of Whispers continues to release amazing music at pace – each month releasing at least one full album of mesmerising low-tempo drone / dark ambient that I end up with on repeat play. Shovelful of Silt is one of his more unsettling and eerie releases, but as always the overall listening experience is a deeply relaxing and rewarding one.


NYVVA – Gypsy

I fell in love with the music of NYVVA the very first time I heard the wonderful blend of electronic ambient tones and natural sitar drones on his Aether EP – so I was absolutely delighted when I learned that a full album was being released. Gypsy continues in the same vein as the EP, with subtle electronic rhythms and gorgeous sitar sounds combining to produce something very special indeed. Yes, this is more ambient than dark ambient, but this is a wonderful album, and well worth checking out if you’re looking for something a little different.


Bonzaii – Death in the Cities / Tempus Fugit

Death in the Cities, The first half of this latest release from Bonzaii, is dark, twisted and heavy as hell – discordant drones and pulverising synth tones are layered together  and the end result is a goosebump-inducing nightmarish soundtrack from hell. Tempus Fugit is a lighter, more poignant track, but no less impressive, and the contrast between the two pieces works wonderfully.


Various Artists – Dark Ambient Vol. 20

The Sombre Soniks dark ambient label specialises in music of a “… ritual or ethnomuzikologikal nature…” and this latest album, a compilation of twenty-three tracks from forty-six artists (collaborating in pairs), is another high quality release. This album is a little “harsher” in overall sound than some of their previous releases, but that’s no bad thing, and each track offers something different so is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for something from a number of up-and-coming dark ambient musicians.
Full disclaimer – the album features a track that our very own Rich Dodgin (using his moniker Hellschreiber) collaborated on.


H

Hymnambulae – Andarlīh

I’ve been really looking forward to this release! Andarlīh shows a new and darker side of the Hymnambulae project, which consists of siblings Åsa & Pär Boström (Kammarheit, Cities Last Broadcast). Andarlīh is a ritualistic electro-acoustic ambient album, which was recorded in the northern city of Umeå, but also in the subterranean church of Saint Anna, which resides a cool 90 meters below the surface of Lapland, Sweden. This album is the perfect accompaniment to your spiritual practices, or equally suiting as the background atmosphere to your casual daily activities.


Phonothek – Styx

 

Since their debut, I’ve been a huge fan of the dark jazz stylings of Phonothek.  Their form of dark ambient takes on that smokey club vibe more often than not, feeling like the dark ambient answer to a band like Bohren und der Club of Gore. While the overtly jazzy sections are kept to a minimum on this release, the cinematics and atmosphere are at an all-time brooding high.  For we are indeed being escorted through the underworld, witnessing macabre sites and sounds along the way that will leave the listener with a lingering sense of dread.


Mount Shrine & alphaXone – Dream Chambers

 

This was an album destined to be a classic. Mount Shrine is known for his ASMR-ready dark ambient albums, which tend to be perfect for sleep assistance. His combination of cold/polar sensibilities with crisp field recordings are the perfect balance to the exquisite otherworldly drone-work of alphaXone. We are left with an album that has carefully crafted, pulsing drones over a plethora of intricate tiny sounds. Whether falling asleep or just looking for some relaxation, Dream Chambers will certainly help connect listeners to a deeply rewarding liminal space.


Yen Pox – Between the Horizon and the Abyss

 

For a throw-back album, this month I picked the most recent full-length by dark ambient masters Yen Pox. I picked this one up on double-vinyl back when it released on Malignant, and I find that it is always one of my favorites to return to over the years. The sounds are brooding and massive. Waves of drone crash through the speaker system as the wails of dying are drowned out by out-of-control industrial machinery. A glimpse into an apocalyptic future, which seems to be inching ever closer.


 

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – July 2020

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!


Mortemhize – Herald of Doom

I’ve been a huge fan of Russian neoclassical ambient artist, Mortemhize, for some time now, so I was thrilled when I learned he was releasing this new 6 track album. This is hauntingly sad music, played beautifully on piano and stringed instruments, complimented by subtly blended ambient soundscapes. The end result is music that evokes strong feelings of melancholy and despair – yet provides a wonderful listening experience.


Teeth Engraved With the Names of the Dead – It Will Be Dark Soon

This is one of those albums that just blew me away on the first listen – with its dark ambient, drone, and industrial elements coalescing to create the definitive soundtrack to the apocalypse. No, it’s not an easy listen, but that’s the point. If you’re looking for something on the noisier side of the dark ambient genre, then this album is definitely worth checking out.


Extinct Anatomies – Above The Wandering Land

I’ve had this album from Chilean dark ambient musician Extinct Anatomies on repeat play for the last couple of weeks – its blending of dark ambient and down-tempo industrial elements hitting a sweet spot that I’ve been drawn to again and again. I can’t wait to see what this artist releases next.


Desiderii Marginis – Departed

I’ve been eagerly awaiting for this album to be released ever since Johan Levin mentioned it in an interview last year. It was worth the wait. This is an incredible album of atmospheric dark ambient soundscapes – powerful and emotive music that draws you in and takes you to another world. The inclusion of reworks of 3 classic Desiderii Marginis pieces – Deadbeat, Worlds Apart, and I Am Without Rule (Sum Sine Regno) – is an added bonus. Once again, Johan Levin has shown why he is considered one of the masters of the genre.


Grove of Whispers – Borderland

Grove of Whispers is fast becoming a favourite of mine – his drone-ambient albums always striking the perfect balance between the darkness and the light. Borderland is an album of unsettling drones and eerie dark ambient soundscapes… but its subtle layers and underlying gentle vibe provide the perfect soundtrack to relax, reflect, and lose yourself to.


Keosz – Vigor

The latest album from Slovakian ambient / electronic musician Keosz is actually the soundtrack to Vigor – a “…free-to-play shoot ‘n’ loot game where you build the Shelter in post-war Norway…”. And, as a soundtrack album, some of the music here is a little more uplifting or hard hitting than your typical dark ambient. But because it all flows together so well, I found myself drawn in and enjoying the whole album experience – regardless of whether certain parts of it were dark ambient or not.


Various Artists – +​+​Transcend Transmute Kreate​+​+

The Sombre Soniks dark ambient label specialises in music of a “… ritual or ethnomuzikologikal nature…” and this latest album, a compilation of tracks from twenty-seven artists, is the perfect showcase for the consistently high quality output the label releases. Each track offers something different, yet the pieces all fit together to create a wonderfully unified audio experience that leaves the listener feeling touched by something special.


Mørket – Shadows of Existence

This impressive dark ambient release from Greece, is described by its creator, Mørket, as “… a journey to the subconscious and the hidden, darker aspects of the mind, the moments that are stored within the memory…”. It sums up this album perfectly – where evolving drones and repeating electronica combine together to create a sublime dream-like soundtrack. I will definitely be checking out more from this artist.


Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – June 2020

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!


Beyond The Ghost – Eternal Drift

I’m a big fan of Beyond The Ghost‘s previous offering, You Disappeared, so I was thrilled when I heard he was releasing another album on the Cryo Chamber label. Eternal Drift is a dark, brooding album, of cinematic soundscapes that provides the listener with an audio experience that manages to be both melancholic and disturbing. The unsettling drone sounds are complimented by haunting piano and cello work, resulting in music that is sad and despairing, but has an underlying human warmth to it. This is an incredible album, and with it, Pierre Laplace has firmly established himself as one of the masters of the genre.


Bonzaii – A Person / Life on a Blade

These two tracks from German artist, Bonzaii, have been stuck in my head for the last week, in a wonderfully endless loop of wistful poignancy. Discordant drones and low tempo synth patterns are expertly blended together to create something very special. This music provides the perfect soundtrack for reminiscing over days long past and remembering old friends… and maybe a spot of soul-searching. I can’t wait to see what Bonzaii releases next.


Paul Vinsonhaler – Antigonish

Strictly speaking, this isn’t dark ambient – not in the purist sense – but, this electronic / industrial / soundtrack album definitely includes a number of dark ambient elements. This is dark and edgy music, the kind that grabs you by the throat right from the off and doesn’t let go until the album has finished. As a result, Antigonish may not be for everyone – but I was completely blown away the first time I played the album… and I’ve had it on repeat play ever since.


Equal Stones – Catharsis

Ambient producer, Amandus Schaap, describes his latest release as “… a very personal record, mostly functioning as a form of therapy and to release long emotional blockage…” which gives you a good idea of what to expect of Catharsis. This is heartfelt, powerful music – sad, moving and almost overwhelming at times. It’s beautiful, yet bleak stuff, and if you’re in the mood for something on the downhearted side, this album is perfect.


Anne Sulikowski – Bedroom Drone

This impressive collection of drone and lo-fi electronic music is the latest release from Canadian composer, Anne Sulikowski, who uses guitar, loops, synths and pedals to create unique sonic landscapes. This is a laid back, chilled out album of experimental electronic and ambient music that is soothing and cinematic in equal measure. I will definitely be checking out more of Anne’s music, and with with an extensive back catalogue of 73 (!) releases, I know there will be plenty to keep me entertained for a long time to come.


Mind over MIDI – Skuddår

Mind over MIDI‘s latest release is an album of arctic inspired drone ambient. Helge Tømmervåg has done an amazing job of combining natural field recordings with subtle synth work and drone sounds, to create beautiful meditative polar soundscapes. This album transports the listener to the far, wild reaches of Norway, away from all the every day stresses of modern life. Wonderful.


 

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

%d bloggers like this: