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Friday, April 17, 2015

Northumbria - "Helluland"

Artist: Northumbria
Album: Helluland
Year: 2015
Label: Cryo Chamber
Genre: Drone
Website:  cryochamber.bandcamp.com















Basics:
I don't really know anything about this project other than: they are Canadian, and they recently did a collab with Famine which was neat. The only thing I have to go on going into this review is that they do guitar drone and have a sweet black metal style logo; so with that said let's see how Helluland stacks up.

Stuff:
To be honest, this minimal guitar drone stuff typically isn't my thing. That said, I left this one in the background for a while and found myself getting pulled into it. Right from the opener, "Because I Am Flawed I Forgive You", this album strongly gives off that whole 'isolated ship sailing through thick, grey fog towards nowhere in particular' vibe. It's super emotive and extremely melancholy. It reminds me of The Human Voice sideproject of Northaunt. While many of the tracks carry a similar feel to the opening piece, others such as "Sacred Ground" give off more of an 'icy tundra under a muted, failing sun' feel. This track does a good job of being active as it moves between deep, low rumbling segments and more ascended guitar swells amidst rolling waves of droning isolation. Despite their minimalist composition, "A Door Made of Light I " & ".. II" conjure excellent hypnotic, sacral moods not unlike a stripped down Raison d'etre. "Catch a Falling Knife I" is one of my favorites here as it expertly mixes ghostly, distant melodic notes with equally ethereal drones. Part II is similar, though it has more of a build up and gets quite intense towards the end. A fitting closer for the album.

Overall: 
While Helluland could accurately be described as quite minimal, Northumbria conjures up a variety of excellent and convincing moods and sonic landscapes. Even though I mentioned above that this style of ambient probably wouldn't be my go to, this album won me over and I will definitely be putting it into rotation. This is absolutely something that fans of drone ambient need to hear. If you're looking for something that sounds like an isolated voyage across a murky sea, an endless frozen landscape, a tranquil meditation on nature, and/or being bathed in white light within the ruins of an ancient temple, than this will deliver.

Sabled Sun - "2147"

Artist: Sabled Sun
Album: 2147
Year: 2015
Label: Cryo Chamber
Genre: Dark Ambient
Website:  cryochamber.bandcamp.com















Basics:
I'm already a big fan of all of Simon Heath's work, including the previous two Sabled Sun albums (which were excellent I might add). With that said, I feel that 2147 may actually be the strongest Sabled Sun album yet! While the previous releases focused extensively on found sounds, sound effects, and brilliant, subtle programming, 2147 is composed predominantly of vast sweeping, droning soundscapes.

Stuff:
With drone ambient and similar types of minimal music the artist is working with a very limited sound palette, so it's crucial that every sound be taken to it's full potential and meticulously crafted such as to fully convey a particular feeling or mood. Many musicians fall short of this because there is such a fine line between subtle brilliance and boring. Simon Heath showcases his expertise once again and absolutely nails the fundamental qualities of droning ambient. It's a bit difficult to articulate exactly what makes this notably great and better than other drone albums because the core components are all generally the same (sweeping drones, a few subtle sfx, haunting melodic accents, etc.), but suffice to say that every single sound here has been crafted in a way to maximize it's energy and effectiveness. Every drone is thick with emotion and visionary potential; each sound effect and bit of melody is perfectly placed in order to maximize both it's own tone and that of the surrounding sounds. Because of this, each one of these tracks sounds so incredibly spacious and deep; powerful enough to trigger your brain to craft all sorts of visionary landscapes. 2146 had a more mechanical and active sound as if chronicling the main character of the Sabled Sun storyline walking through ruins of a futuristic city, whereas 2147 is a more meditative piece. While there are times that still feel like an active journey through desolate future wastelands, I feel like a main focal point of the album is: now the hero has explored his world and seen the surrounding destruction, and consequently we are given an aural reflection of his isolated being and state of mind. Kind of like a philosophical exposé on this world and a reflection of the innards of the hero's consciousness. I can't pick out any particular song that stands above any others; this is one of those albums that I can easily play through in it's entirety. Each piece is equally necessary to the whole story. Strangely, this isn't my favorite style that he does - personally I prefer, stylistically, the old Atrium Carceri albums - however, there at they are many times on 2147 where I find myself shaking my head and saying "goddamn this is so good" that it feels like maybe this should be my favorite variant of the Simon Heath sound. So I'll end there and say that this album, plain and simple, is goddamn good.

Overall: 
Not much else needs to be said. This is hands down one of the best "drone" albums I have ever heard, alongside the recent Skorneg project, and easily one of the best dark ambient albums in recent years. 2147 is a must own for fans of Cyclic Law, Cryo Chamber, and so forth.  Just get it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wounds of the Earth Mix 007 - Atrium Carceri



Excellent mix of deep, dark ambient and droning soundscapes from the legendary Atrium Carceri. Features new material from his Cryo Chamber label, including an\ unreleased Atrium Carceri song.

DJ: Atrium Carceri
Genre: Dark Ambient, Drone

tracklist. 
00:01 Atrium Carceri - 200 Days
05:14 Svartsinn - As a Black Stone Monument
09:12 Council of Nine - Chimes of the Unfortunate
18:14 TeHÔM - Abyss
25:36 Randal Collier-Ford - Hellgate
31:40 Dronny Darko - Arcane Shrine
43:53 The Rosenshoul - The Burning Room
65:25 Northumbria - Catch a Falling Knife I

total time: 71:52

[ listen ]
[ download ]



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Atrium Carceri - "The Old City OST"

Artist: Atrium Carceri
Album: The Old City (OST)
Year: 2015
Label: Cryo Chamber
Genre: Dark Ambient
Website:  cryochamber.bandcamp.com













Basics:
2015 brings us a new Atrium Carceri album and what appears to be his first foray into creating an official soundtrack. The Old City is the soundtrack to the video game The Old City - Leviathan. Beyond the description saying that it's an experimental first person exploration game, I don't know anything else about it so I can't speak on that front; but it must be one hell of a game if this is the audio accompaniment.

Stuff:
I knew this album would be fantastic from the opening moments; the introductory track, conveniently titled "Intro / Menu", is absolutely beautiful; the juxtaposition of soft, melodic piano and deep drones coupled with the accompanying lush female vocals is exceptional. Much of the album gives off a contemplative, subterranean vibe which is not surprising with titles like "Leviathan", "Underground", "Old Tunnels", "Endless Halls", and so forth. Despite being created for a game, the OST works equally well as an album you can actively listen to and rivals any other Atrium album in depth and scope. One thing I noticed is that these songs are more minimal with a cleaner sound than his prior works (the industrial influence from the early material is all but gone), and is actually most similar to his recent Sabled Sun album 2147.  Many tracks, such as "Leviathan" and "Worship", utilize underworldly drones mixed with unsettling, manipulated choirs, creepy Resident Evil-ish pads, and subtle sound effects or bits of percussion (typically a low, hypnotic kick drum). Other tracks, like "Childhood I" and "Childhood II", focus more on haunting, ancient melodies which evoke a dark, forbidden nostalgia - definitely like something you would hear in Silent Hill or your surrealist survival horror of choice. Most of the tracks have a pretty "Atrium Carceri"-ish feel to them, although I definitely feel that he explores new territory here and there are many moments that I would not equate with "typical AC work". This is a great album if you want something minimal to put on in the background that will conjure up the creepy vibes of unused sewers and corridors beneath a sleeping city, or if you have played out your Akira Yamaoka records and want something with a similar feel.

Overall: 
While more minimal and certainly less harsh / industrial-influenced than previous work, The Lost City OST is no doubt a well-crafted album, full of dark, evocative passages; hauntingly nostalgic melodies; and ancient, esoteric soundscapes. Will definitely please fans of Cryo Chamber material; especially those looking for more subtle ambient.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Wounds of the Earth DJ Mix 006 - Miljenko Rajakovic







A mix of crushing industrial darkness that expertly blends old school and new school soundcapes from Miljekno Rajakovic (aka DJ Mary) of dark ambient act TeHÔM.

DJ: Miljenko Rajakovic
Mix Title: Industrial Landscapes
Genre: Industrial, Dark Ambient, Experimental

tracklist. 
01 SPK - In Flagrante Delicto
02 Lustmord - Beckoning
03 TeHÔM - Darkness Cosmogony Of Myths
04 T.A.G.C. - Magnesia
05 Predominance - Lakehurst A Tragic Moment Frozen In Time
06 Test Dept. - Corridor of Cells
07 SPK - In The Dying Moments
08 Coil - The Golden Section
09 Lustmord vs. Metal Beast - Transmission Fades
10 Clock DVA - Sonology Of Sex 1
11 S.E.T.I. - Mare Crisum
12 Atrium Carceri - Reborn
13 Geomatic - Holographic Messiah
14 Sephiroth - The Clock Of Distant Realms
15 Test Dept. - Yn Nyyd Cadiawr

total time: 71:38

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Wounds of the Earth DJ mix 005 - Theologian Prime



Promotional mix for Apex Fest VI in New York City June 5-7 2015 (facebook event). Set by Theologian Prime (aka Theologian).

Help out: Indiegogo for Apex Fest

DJ: Theologian Prime
Mix Title: Apex Fest VI Preview Mix
Genre: Dark Ambient, Death Industrial, Noise, Doom

tracklist. 
1. VISIONS - LIGHTLESS
2. OMEI - SEIKATAI
3. JARL - FRAGILE CONFRONTATION II
4. MENACE RUINE - ONE TOO MANY
5. KARJALAN SISSIT - PIG SOCIETY
6. SUTEKH HEXEN - LEAD US IN WARFARE
7. TREPANERINGSRITUALEN - CASTRATE CHRIST
8. SLAVERNIJ - DENY YOUR SELF WORTH
9. KINTAAN - GRETCHEN (LIVE 12/14/14)
10. SVARTSINN - OF DARKNESS AND RE-CREATION
11. THE ASSEMBLY OF LIGHT CHOIR W/ THE BODY - TRANSITION
12. GNAW THEIR TONGUES - LE CHANT DE LA MORT
13. BURIAL HEX - FINAL LOVE (FERAL LOVE DUB)
14. SOPHIA - PRIDE
15. NORTHAUNT - BARREN LAND
16. BARREN HARVEST - IN GOLDEN DARK
17. FUNERARY CALL - THEE I INVOKE
18. IRM - CLOSURE V
19. RECTRIX - HATH ANY LOVED YOU WELL DOWN THERE

total time: 66:24

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Wounds of the Earth DJ mix 004 - Manabu Hiramoto


Very diverse and interesting mix  from Manabu Hiramoto (a.k.a. Shinkiro, also part of the ritual ambient group Bashin along with Bardoseneticcube) that takes the listener on a journey through dark and surrealist realms; beginning with cinematic industrial tribal soundscapes, then taking the listener deeper into darkened ritualistic inner catacombs, and coming to a close with weird jazzy darkwave that nods to the cinematic.

DJ: Manabu Hiramoto
Mix Title: Into The Darkness
Genre: Industrial, Dark Ambient, Darkwave

tracklist. 
1. Eld-Omala - The Halidom / Oh My God
2. Decree - Talons Grasp
3. Trance to the Sun - Modus Opera
4. Bardoseneticcube & Shinkiro - Bashin II (unreleased)
5. Mz.412 - Lord, Make Me An Instrument Of Your Wrath
6. In Slaughter Natives - Anger Are You With Me, Follow My Steps
7. Bad Sector - Ampos
8. Empusae - Knowledge
9. AUN - 2095
10. Adrian H and the Wounds - Memory
11. Nao - …the Dirt

total time: 57:59

[ listen ]
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mytrip - "Empty"

Artist: Mytrip
Album: Empty (7")
Year: 2015
Label: Amek
Genre: Dark Ambient, Drone
Website: mytrip.bandcamp.com













Basics:
It's been about 3 years since I last heard from Bulgarian dark ambient producer Mytrip. I recall his previous efforts to have been lo-fi, gritty explorations of darkened sewers and claustrophobic catacombs. I liked these, but there was certainly room for growth. Now in 2015 he has released his first vinyl, Empty, courtesy of the Amek label.

Stuff:
There are only 2 tracks here, so:

"Wait For Me" - the first thing I noticed was that his production has made a colossal leap since his previous cassette releases! This track is incredibly spacious, deep, and everything sounds very clean. I really like this new hi-fi sound. The song has a very low, deep droning that makes up its foundation and serves to move it along, while over top play a variety of other sounds. The controlled, heavy low-end makes it feel as if you are descending deeper into a long forgotten cave system. The real beauty in this pieces lies in the somewhat amorphous sounds that meander above the drone. They have a distinctly melodic, yet nebulously un-graspable nature which gives them a tantalizing, highly sacral / divine quality. The combination of these bits and various sound effects is incredibly visionary and evocative. Towards the middle of the track it feels as if you have discovered a subterranean temple, long ago lost within this underworld, filled with relics of high magic still radiating white light. Overall this is an exceptional track and perfectly showcases how to evoke visionary spaces from a fairly minimal composition.

"Wherever You Are" - this song reminds me more of the previous Mytrip material. It is darker and more densely confined, focusing on lo-fi sounds and gritty textures. This one is not as interesting to me, but it does convey a darkened, claustrophobic sense of being trapped in a cave and losing your source of light. Again, he does a good job with keeping the tone minimal and giving different elements room to breathe. This track goes through several movements as it ebbs and flows for it's six minute duration. Overall, I would have liked more of the melodic elements from the first piece, but I suppose this offers a good "darker", unsettling balance to "Wait For Me"'s more ascended sound.

Overall: 
A couple of solid tracks for fans of dark ambient, both of the spacious, hi-fi, and the danker, more gritty varieties. It's good to hear Mytrip progressing and evolving his sound and I am interested in seeing what else he comes up with in the future. This is easily the best stuff he has ever created and if you are a fan than it is a must hear.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Wounds of the Earth DJ Mix 003 - DJ Seraphim



"Industrial soundscapes paint vivid pictures of the world in which we live, soundtracking its very movement. Seraphim, also known as Chris Halstead, is a DJ from Seattle, Washington who got his start in the Los Angeles subculture club scene. His sonic aesthetic is rooted in industrial-scapes, minimalist atmospherics and experimentalism. His influences can be heard throughout his mixes, where heavy industrial beats and the experimentalism of IDM meet EBM rawness or the more atmospheric forms of ambient. DJ Seraphim pieces these harsh electronic beats together, making a more cohesive chaos for the modern day dance floor."

DJ: DJ Seraphim
Mix Title: Damaged Human Component
Genre: Post-Industrial, IDM, Ambient

tracklist. 
01 Tineidae - Damaged Datastream
02 SubtractiveLAD - New World, Old Wound
03 S Cage - Gone (Undone)
04 Nullgrad - Departure
05 Haujobb - Dead Market (Engineers Dub)
06 Erode - Detect
07 Known Rebel - Mogarakom
08 Tineidae - Paper Birds
09 Atiq & EnK - Moonlit Tea Party (Atiq`s Cup Of Tea Remix)
10 Architect - St. Vodka (Mother Russia)

total time: 49:45




download mix (192kbps)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Albums made from scratch in one month

Apparently Keef Baker issued a challenge asking people to write a full album in 1 month (January 2015) entirely from scratch using no presets or samples whatsoever. So far here are some of the (excellent & free) results I have seen:

Zxyt - "Method & Shape"

Some great atmospheric IDM from Zxyt (previously known as n5md's Portland).

Download






Michael A. Morton - "Nine Syllables"

Excellent groovy, atmospheric, nostalgic electronica from the man behind Displacer.

Download