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Friday, May 8, 2015

Wounds of the Earth DJ Mix 008 by Swarm Intelligence

Experimental mix through myriad strange and darkened corridors from industrial dubstep producer Swarm Intelligence.

DJ: Swarm Intelligence
Genre: Noise, Industrial, Experimental

Ed Lawes - Aclear
Leyland Kirby - Machete's at The Banshee
Loops Haunt - Exits
Qebrµs - A Rainy Monday
VORRS - Razor Teeth
Untold - Drop It On The One
Swarm Intelligence - Hamburg Harbour
The Haxan Cloak - Miste
Eric Holm - Stave
Bolder - Passive Aggressive
Nolan Dialta - -ment
Sleeping On Lotus Ashes -The Fat Lady Who Became Absorbed
Basic House - Child Confession
Eomac - Spectre
Walter Gross - We Need
Prurient - Back Cuts
ANBU - 005
Oyaarss - trīsvienība
Deadfader - Tenblum
Gajek - Moving Glasses Pt 02
Shapednoise - A Pleasant Euphoria
Clark - Snowbird
Monolog - Fallen Ones
Vessel - Drowned in Water and Light

total time: 63:49

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Lelia Abdul-Rauf - "Insomnia"

Artist: Lelia Abdul-Rauf
Album: Insomnia
Year: 2015
Label: Malignant Antibody
Genre: Ambient, Drone


Malignant records takes a bit of a detour from their "typical" collection of sounds to release Insomnia as part of their Malignant Antibody line.


It's hard to place this record. While it's certainly drone-y, ambient, and beat-less, it's not terribly similar to the usual Malignant brand of dark ambient. I don't know anything about Lelia Abdul-Rauf, but I saw somewhere that she had some affiliation with Amber Asylum and that's actually a fairly useful reference point. Those same kind of dreary, organic atmospheres permeate this record. Some tracks, such as "Pull", utilize intelligible instrumentation (in this case piano) which definitely makes me think of music like Amber Asylum, although the majority of them contort sounds into nebulous masses of indefinable sonic texture which move and shift to tell tales from a realm of ether and dream. Insomina grabbed me immediately from the opener "Midnight" which is a somber piece with beautiful ghostly, indiscernible vocals over minimal blackened ethereal drones. Similarly, the bulk of these tracks conjure a comparative dreamy, floating feel - like drinking opium tea and floating endlessly through a melancholy, but attractive drug haze. Various tracks are accented by additional elements of a more or less defined nature; similar vocals appear here and there throughout the album which fit in perfectly (I actually wish there were more), as well as bits of organic instrumentation as I mentioned above. The entire album follows a single path from start to finish and fully explores this chosen territory/sound.
The only negative thing I can really say is that the album is quite short, not even reaching 40 minutes. Needless to say, that is merely a minor inconvenience.

An unexpected, but quite endearing album. Check it out if you want to float in an abstract opiate haze or drift through fragments of ancient and forgotten memories for while.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Get This Album: Ionosphere - "Nightscape"

Ionosphere is a very mysterious project. There is very little in the way of bio, it doesn't release much, doesn't play out, and as far as I know there is no web presence whatsoever. That said, 2007's The Stellar Winds is one of my favorite dark ambient records of all time. After all these years I had all but given up hope for a follow up release and assumed the project had called it quits. Much to my dismay, however, seemingly out of nowhere a few weeks ago Loki Foundation announced the release of this new album Nightscape. Of course I picked it up as soon as it reached local distro. All that said, Nightscape is a great album and one to check out for sure. Although this album is more terrestrial and perhaps emotive than it's predecessor, Nightscape still carries that extremely "drift-y" and transcendent feel which made The Stellar Winds so great. It's full of languid droning soundscapes which are the amalgam of various subtle, amorphous bits that hook the listen in and bring on a state of hypnosis. Great stuff for meditation, contemplation, etc.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Get This Album: Zyxt - "Method & Shape"

A couple months ago I mentioned this album in a post about a series where musicians were challenged to write an entire album from scratch in one month using no presets whatsoever. At the time I had only heard it briefly and didn't go into detail, however I've since had several hours to delve into it and wanted to bring the spotlight back and illuminate it further. Now, as you can imagine my expectations weren't terribly high for an entire album written in a mere month - that's quite preposterous in fact, considering it typical takes musicians year(s) to craft a suitable full length. So with that considered, Zyxt blew me away with Method & Shape. It got a great classic 90s-IDM feel to it, and many parts quite remind me of Chiastic Slide (and thereabouts)-era Autechre which you really can't go wrong with. And I don't just mean "it's good for something written in a month", I mean it's a legitimately awesome album and could stand up next to anything else that took longer to put together. This is the perfect mix of dreamy ambient atmospheres and subtle-yet-complex percussion sequences, making it a great album to put on and drift off to (though active listening is equally rewarding). So if you are a fan of 90s melodic, emotive IDM than pick this up right now (and hey it's free)!

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Northumbria - "Helluland"

Artist: Northumbria
Album: Helluland
Year: 2015
Label: Cryo Chamber
Genre: Drone

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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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

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.

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.

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

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


total time: 66:24

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