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Wednesday 29 May 2013

Alenda - Mermaids

[Click on image for Official Alenda page]
Country - Belgium
Composer - Déhà
Released - January 2013
- Tracklist -
1. Mermaids
- Review -
You may remember back when I reviewed Phaenon's His Master's Voice a little while back, and how I explained that it was quite an endurance test, fours songs for about an hour and fifteen minutes.
This is longer.
One hour, twenty minutes, one second. The length of one song, so if you are really bored and have time to spare, see if you can listen the whole way through (I have thankyou very much). To some, or many, they will find this extremely boring, it is a case of whether you are a fan of Dark Ambient, or a FAN of Dark Ambient. For me there are some parts which seem repetitive, but overall the production keeps my interest piqued throughout the song (it's not often that songs this long are released). The piece includes good whale sampling (you heard me) and piano work, the 24 minute starts off with a deep drum beat, an instrument not often seen in this genre.
So, for what is it worth, it is actually pretty good, due to the length though, deemed to obscurity, which maybe it should stay. Take a listen, go on, i dare you.

Monday 27 May 2013

Parhelion - Midnight Sun

[Click on Image for official Parhelion page]
Country - United Kingdom
Composer - Ihor Dawidiuk
Released - December 2010
- Tracklist -
1. Tunturia (Part II)
2. Midnight Sun
3. Polar Night
4. Echoes From a Restless Sea
5. A Lament for Whales
6. Interlude
7. Meditation Over Open Waters
8. The Transmission
9. Atmospheric Refraction
10. Beneath
11. Forgotten Outpost
12. Solitude
- Review -
The cold, isolated landscapes, the sun shining through freezing winds, giving false warmth. Parhelion's Midnight Sun is a journey to lands unexplored, and the shivering atmosphere of this album take Dark Ambient to a whole new level of professionalism.

Themed around arctic landscapes, the music does not defer from this train of thought, giving the album an almost story-like feel (a concept album of no speech), in which the listener can truly be swept into and lost. And that is this album's drawcard, the atmosphere evolopes so easily, it can be easy to differ between the songs, it streams so smoothly. It relies heavily on distorted sampling (almost identical to Cities Last Broadcast) and, in most cases, keyed work is given a low priority.

Experimentation is what this album is, the use of unusual materials to create elaborate soundscapes is, and I'm sure everyone will agree with me, is the backbone of a good Ambient release, and Midnight Sun has it in spades.

Monday 20 May 2013

Subinterior/Selaxon Lutberg - The Meeting

[Click on image for official Subinterior website]
Country - Italy
Composer - [Unknown]/Selaxon Lutberg
Released - February 2010
- Tracklist -
1. Last Day
2. Prayer Behind the Sun
3. Il Sole Muoree Noi con Lui
4. October
- Review -
A small collaboration between two Italian ambient bands, Subinterior and Selaxon Lutberg, gives us a refreshing look a clichéd genre. Nothing here is new, but all in all this album isn't meant to break boundaries, yet give the listener something familiar to enjoy.

It might be me being too harsh though (only so much can be done in Dark Ambient before it becomes too avant-garde, which may make some musicians uncomfortable), but if your looking for anything exciting, this isn't it. Redeemable only by it's capabilities of sticking to the stereotypical formula of ambient music, which it does well (I'm not saying it's a terrible release). Clean production, sampling, keyed work, even some guitar work thrown in (very similar to Deep-Pression).

If you like your music to stick to 'tried-and-true', than this is it, and, if you're not looking for anything too amazing, you'll be amazed by this album, and enveloped into its atmosphere. Be grateful for simplicity.

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Fredrik Klingwall - Works of Woe

[Click on image for official Fredrik Klingwall website]
Country - Sweden
Composer - Fredrik Klingwall
Released - March 2009
- Tracklist -
1. The Sleeper
2. Alone
3. Spirits of the Dead
4. An Enigma
5. The Conqueror Worm
6. The Valley of Unrest
7. The City in the Sea
8. For Annie
9. A Dream Within a Dream
- Review -
Fredrik Klingwall is well known already as an established metal musician, but his more ambient and classical (which go hand in hand for Fredrik) works seem to go by unnoticed.
Works of Woe is his undoubted compilation of his musical talents, inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Each song is a testament to the legendary poet, and the musicians capability of composing Dark Ambient to create such dark pieces, sounding like they're prepped for a horror movie (Silent Hill anyone?). The simplicity of this album, which is made entirely from one piano, creates soundscapes so similar to more established Ambient projects, so knowing that, all Klingwall has to do is take his music to the masses. All he needs is one instrument to do it.

Monday 13 May 2013

The Parlour Trick - A Blessed Unrest

[Click on image for official The Parlour Trick website]

Country - America
Composers - Dan Cantrell & Meredith Yayanos
Release - December 2012

- Tracklist -
 1. {intro}
2. Half Sick of Shadows
3. The Lady of the House of Love
4. Mare Desiderii
5. Pandora
6. Planchette
7. The Yellow Wallpaper
8. Leafy Sea Dragon Nursery
9. Sheol
10. Scryer
11. Laudanum

- Review -
Every now and then, there is a musical project pushes its genres boundaries, dare say, even the boundaries of music itself. Okay, The Parlour Trick may not push the boundaries of music (per se), but as a dark ambient 'ensemble' (a word I choose wisely) they create an atmosphere often not heard in Dark Ambient, the only other offering coming close to this is Karjalan Sissit (maybe Fredrik Klingwall). They play their own form of ambience interlaced with classical and chamber music influences.

But unlike Karjalan Sissit, this is more brooding than hectic. This solemnly blists as if directly taken from a horror movie. Intersperses of choir-like elements and weird plucked acoustics also poke heads out from among the orchestration, giving the album a much more dimensional sound. But what really gives this album its drive is that amazing orchestration, a mixture of Violin, Piano, Accordion and Harpsichord, just to name a few. This album is, I believe, one of the best examples of just how amazingly complex Dark Ambient can be, and how this genre is, unfortunately, undermined so often. This is a perfect release, trust me, you'll enjoy every bit of it.

Friday 10 May 2013


Well, I've thought out a plan, from Monday to Thursday, I'll post and review albums, on Friday, However, I wish to post something different, but I'll leave that up to you, my Email is, so just drop me a couple of ideas, and I'll take the weekend off blogging. I hope this won't stress too many of you out, I'll be back with some great albums to review on Monday
(p.s. Give me some ideas for what I can do for Fridays)
Keep Listening, James

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Brambles - Perennial Flux Edition One: Half-Gramme Holiday

[Click on Image for official Brambles page]
Country - Australia
Composer - Mark Dawson
Release - March 2013
- Tracklist -
1. Half-Gramme Holiday
- Review -
I love finding little gems like these on my eternal hunt for music, this one surprised me. A short piece comprised mainly of brass and woodwind to an ethereal ambient backdrop, this song is so enjoyable to listen to. Visions of a bustling city come to mind when listening, the composition is quite avant-garde, with odd time signatures all around, giving the sound a hectic-but-somewhat-calming sound.
It may be a short release, but it explains it's purpose better than most full length albums. And by the time you've finished listening, it will have already taken on that journey, to that far away city. Really can't wait for more from this project.

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Forgotten Backyard - Shattered Plastic Angels

[Click on image for official Forgotten Backyard page]
Country - France
Composer - N/A
Release - May 2012

- Tracklist -
1. Portraits of Travma
2. House of Lunatic Silence
3. Lightless Phenomenon in Hallway Darkness
4. Whispers of the Crawling Limbs
5. Anorexic Figures in Dust
6. Shivers of Fading Lights
7. Hum of Torture Contraptions
8. Hot Nyctophobic Drama (Pt 1.)
9. Origin of the Vomit Stench
10. Hanging Plastic Angels
11. Instructions of the Paranoid Minds
12. He Hanged Himself
13. Crying Among the Beheaded Ones
14. Awakening in the Shattered World
15. Moment of Realization
16. Hot Nyctophobic Drama (Pt 2.)
17. Constructions Near Death (Short Version)
18. Untitled
19. Moment of Realization (Remix)
20. House Under Transparent Saucer

- Review -
Song titles like these just scream stereotypical Dark Ambient, and that's what you find on this album. To the likes Atrium Carceri, Forgotten Backyard came from humble beginnings, finding his (composer actually unknown) sound, and slowly evolving to this monstrous album.

The album, like I said, is mainly what you listen to on any Atrium Carceri release. It includes the same amount of sampling, shaping, distortion and keyboard work that you would find on, for example, Ptahil. In terms of musical prowess, this has all been done before. However, it has been done well, the atmosphere is drifting, with a lead weight, it feels deep and industrial, but still has a special sort of flow to it all (thanks to that amazing piano work). Another main element is the amazing dialogue throughout the album (done by Xun's Phil), almost like what The Axis of Perdition did with their Urfe release. An interesting side note, and one that probably helps with the flow, is that this is a concept album, which is what Phil was explaining through his dialogue. But you'll have to check the Bandcamp page to see what this composers on about.


Phaenon - His Master's Voice

[Click on image for official Phaenon page]
Country - America
Composer - Szymon Tankiewicz
Release - July 2010
- Tracklist -
1. His Master's Voice - part 1 - Neutrino Radiation
2. Dark Energy - Silentium Universi
3. Soul Virus - Interstellar Semantics
4. His Master's Voice - part 2 - Ignoramus

- Review -
I love albums like this, still the same length as a full length album, but with less songs. In this case four monolithic pieces of dirty dark ambient, all tracks clocking over ten minutes long (first and last being over 20 minutes). This will be an endurence test.

Now this isn't your dreamy, peaceful ambience, oh no, this is dirty, raw and industrial. It feels like stepping into some wrecked and decayed ship, the creaking and unexplainable noises, the low hum from a machine still switched on. This is professional sample-based ambient, however the only drawback is the length of individual songs, and the lack of exciting elements to keep you interested. But if you can stand the length, you'll love the sounds.

Sunday 5 May 2013

KoldVoid - Roadside Ghosts

[Click on image for official KoldVoid Page]
Country - Romania
Composer - Rob
Released - October 2012
- Tracklist -
1. Start
2. Equilibrium
3. Phantasma
4. Nostalgia
5. Ephmeral
6. Dream
7. Arctic Silence
8. Eyes of the Bottom-People
9. Radiance
10. Sailing Without Sails
11. End

- Review -
Now this isn't a brand new baby project, KoldVoid have been around since 2008, producing some consistently good pieces of music, all which have now culminated into this album, Roadside Ghosts.

The album does include some older writings back from years ago, and the piece Arctic Silence seems to be just a rehash of an older song with a different name (whether this is just a rename or is an evolution of the older song is unclear). But the album flows so seamlessly from Start to End, it feels as if all were written together. The tempo is at a mid to slow pace, which gives the album quite a lush and dreamy atmosphere, It doesn't rely on sampling and when there is some it is generally of a lesser importance to the piano/synth elements. Distorted guitar effects are also used.

This album is such a breath of fresh air, many ambient artist get carried away in the production, adding too many elements to songs and ruining it in the process, they feel rushed. But not this album, this is perfect,  simple synth work from a talented artist, and should be a benchmark for aspiring musicians.

Sundrugs - Hidden Scenes

[Click on image for official Sundrugs Page]
Country - Poland
Composer - Patryk T Kawalarz
Released - April 2013
- Tracklist -
1. Pandora's Box
2. Moving Borders
3. Void's Anatomy
4. Radio Depth
5. If You Call That Living (feat Saåad)
6. Desert Tales
7. Hidden Scenes
8. You Know That Place
9. Euphoria Euthanasia
10. Just Leave Your Backdoor Open
11. Warm Like December's Sun

- Review -
When I first saw this album, floating around on other blogs, the cover immediately caught my eye, I'm sure we've all impulse bought (or downloaded or listened) an album just for the amazing cover. A lady smoking, doesn't seem too much, but the distortion of the picture makes it look very "dark ambient".

Now I shall focus upon the music, because once opened, this album will lead you into a whole new world. The composition is simplistic, but not amateurish, and perfectly suited for those cold, wintery days of easy listening. Some sampling is strewn throughout the album, and while this is effective in adding to the atmosphere, a little bit of extra work distorting and shaping could have helped the production. But this doesn't at all let the music down, gorgeous soundscapes have arisen from that lovely cover, and from an amazing project. And I hope to see more soon from Patryk.

Saturday 4 May 2013

Looking Better

 Looking much better now isn't it? Well this is going to be a professional blog (or as professional as i can get it to be) so I need it to look its best.
If you don't know what this is about, it's about dark ambient, which is such a special form of music. I'll be reviewing albums, taking interviews with musicians, and just general D.A talk. So be on the lookout for great content.
I already have a couple of albums lined up for the blog.
Keep Listening, James

Up and Running

Page up and running, it will take a while to get to the level I want the page to be, but until then this will do. I have some good ideas for posting. but not until  next week.