Tag: Review (Page 1 of 17)

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – June 2022

Here are the dark ambient albums that we at This is Darkness have been listening to this month – some are new releases, but a few are older gems we’ve just (re)discovered. Please check these out by clicking on the Bandcamp links, and consider supporting the artists. Enjoy!


Mila Drone and Dragon & Jettenbach – Split [IND106]

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


Fani Konstantinidou – Bacterial Dance

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


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

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


Dragon & Jettenbach – Retrocede

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


Hiemal – Cascapedia

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


Scott Lawlor – A Halo of Dark Icy Worlds

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


 

A°🄳+S/P°₂₃ – Monolith II

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


Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – April 2022

Here are the dark ambient albums that we at This is Darkness have been listening to this month – some are new releases, but a few are older gems we’ve just (re)discovered. Please check these out by clicking on the Bandcamp links, and consider supporting the artists. Enjoy!


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

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


SONOLOGYST – Interdimensional

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


Earthen Sea – Ghost Poems

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


Bill Seaman & Stephen Spera – Architectures Of Light

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


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

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


Im Traum – Friedhof (EP)

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


Beyond the Ghost – Sundown

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


Jason Sharp – The Turning Centre Of A Still World

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

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


Riley Le Tocq – A not admitting of the wound

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


Garazi Gorostiaga – SUTAN

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


Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – March 2022

Here are the dark ambient albums that we at This is Darkness have been listening to this month – some are new releases, but a few are older gems we’ve just (re)discovered. Please check these out by clicking on the Bandcamp links, and consider supporting the artists. Enjoy!


Gaze Into The Void – After The End

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


Shadow Echo Canyon – an endless grey remembrance

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


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

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


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

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


Dead Melodies – Memento

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


 

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – February 2022

Here are the dark ambient albums that we at This is Darkness have been listening to this month – some are new releases, but a few are older gems we’ve just (re)discovered. Please check these out by clicking on the Bandcamp links, and consider supporting the artists. Enjoy!


Ruins of Xibalba – Gobeklitepe

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


Sangam – Hope You Don’t Leave

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


PATASONUS – TEXTURA

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


Kaptep – The enemy in me

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


The Silent Treatment – I

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


Tineidae – Mothership

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


Atrium Carceri & Kammarheit – Colossus

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

 

Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – January 2022

Here are the dark ambient albums that we at This is Darkness have been listening to this month – some are new releases, but a few are older gems we’ve just (re)discovered. Please check these out by clicking on the Bandcamp links, and consider supporting the artists. Enjoy!


Esmam La Crowned – Coup De Grace EP

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


Dragon & Jettenbach – Tales from the Algorithm

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


Various Artists – Hauntology In UK

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


Heldentenor – Blood Moons and Black Lakes: Chapter One

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


White Sleep – Everything Is Lucid

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


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

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


Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – November 2021

Here are the dark ambient albums that we at This is Darkness have been listening to this month – some are new releases, but a few are older gems we’ve just (re)discovered. Please check these out by clicking on the Bandcamp links, and consider supporting the artists. Enjoy!


Fionnlagh – What Came Before

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


Mantis and Shadow – The Rites of Eleusis

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


Phoan – Ursa Major II

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


Ryan Gregory Tallman – Tryst

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


Peur du noir – NVU

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


 

Spacelab – Dead Dimension

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


Frozen In Time: This is Darkness playlist – August 2021

Here are the dark ambient albums that we at This is Darkness have been listening to this month – some are new releases, but a few are older gems we’ve just (re)discovered. Please check these out by clicking on the Bandcamp links, and consider supporting the artists. Enjoy!


Ov Pain – The Churning Blue of Noon

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


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

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


Equal Stones – Wretched Human Mirror

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


Equal Stones – April Ethereal

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


A Most Accursed – Synaesthetic Dialogue

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


Grist – Another Year

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


Facetoucher – The Plaguetime Blues

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


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!

La Delaïssádo – New Printed Fanzine Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by: Michael Barnett

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