Dark and obscure music blog/zine since 2006 [ Post-Industrial / Ambient / IDM ]
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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Quick Looks 3/22/16

God Body Disconnect - "Dredge Portals"
[Cryo Chamber]

Despite this being the first album from the project, it displays a high level of maturity so I'm guessing the guy behind it has been writing music for quite a while. After a few listens, Dredge Portals is shaping up to be one of my favorite releases from the label. Of course the album is full of the typical foggy, darkened droning atmospheres that one would expect from this label, but it's also got quite a bit more going on which sets it apart from its contemporaries. God Body Disconnect expertly mixes in additional sounds (field recordings, pads, even some post-rock textures here and there) while utilizing ebb and flow to craft epic, captivating aural landscapes with plenty of dynamics. Each song explores similar territory, but all are different and fully have their own sound and characteristics. The cover art is a perfect representation of the sound here - walking in the rain through an abandoned city or ancient ruins in a barren field that are shrouded in a dense fog. Even the color scheme of bluish grey is extremely fitting. God Body Disconnect excels at creating sweeping environments which are quite dark yet extremely beautiful and above all, immersive. Additionally, with songs like "The Reflection Tower" and "Lost In The Astral World" he shows that he is capable of crafting some of the most intensely meditative dark ambient out there. It's hard to articulate these sorts of things accurately, but just know that if you are looking for some enthralling ambient with a strong mystical undercurrent than you need to get this. My only complaint is that a lot of the tracks take a while to get started and the intros can be a little bland, but that's a small drop in an ocean of great attributes. Definitely a must pick up from this label, especially if you like more active elements with your drone! In my opinion, I feel this is the best non Simon Heath related thing the label has released since Aegri Somnia. I hope there is much more to come for this project!

ProtoU - "Lost Here"
[Cryo Chamber]

After a split with Dronny Darko, ProtoU delivers her first full length with Lost Here. The album opens with the title track, which is the best one on the album. Beautiful sweeping drones merge with pulsing ocean/water sounds and melancholic pads, accented with the occasional distant clang. Really deep and captivating stuff which vaguely reminds me of fellow Cryo Chamber act Halgrath and/or old CMI (as does the artwork). The second track "Static Memories" is quite similar, although more celestial sounding and less water-y. These two tracks should definitely be heard by fans of this label/style. Unfortunately, the album drops off from there and the rest of the tracks don't live up to the heights reached by the openers. Furthermore, just about every track on the album sounds the same - the same droning sounds, the same sweeping textures doing more or less the same thing over and over for 5 tracks. Not to say the sounds are bad, but with each subsequent track I found myself thinking "hey didn't I just hear this song?" It's not until the final track "Believe" where some truly new territory is explored. Unfortunately, this track is super minimal and didn't grab my interest either. All that said, this album is pretty standard issue Cyro Chamber material - minimal and droning. While not terrible, it doesn't rise above similar acts. However, songs like "Lost Here" prove that there is some real ability here to craft meaningful and deep music, so I'm curious to see where ProtoU goes from here. If she can work on writing more dynamic material with the refined & mature sound of the opening track than I very much look forward to future material.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Wounds Of The Earth DJ Mix 010 By C.Z. Robertson

C.Z. Robertson (also known as the excellent martial industrial project Hands Of Ruin) brings us 46 minutes of obscure, darkened soundscapes taking the listener between ancient, war torn realms and the bleak darkness of the far cosmos.

DJ: C.Z. Robertson
Genre: Dark Ambient, Martial Industrial

00:00 - Phelios - Temple of Yith
04:07 - Des Esseintes - Requiem for My Green Fairy
09:02 - Cold Fusion - Iunge
13:24 - Atomtrakt - Heimkehr der Verwundeten
18:37 - Wappenbund - fremde Fahnen Part II
24:08 - Der Feuerkreiner - Unsere Zeit
28:24 - Kazeria - Liber Corvus
31:18 - In Slaughter Natives - Definition of Being Alive
35:25 - Desiderii Marginis - From Glory to Where
39:00 - Sophia - Unperturbed
41:10 - Stratvm Terror - Unveiled Is My Skin

total time: 46:00

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Get This Album: In Slaughter Natives - "Mort Aux Vaches" re-issue

While the world is apparently doomed to never get another new full length ISN release (I thought Cannula Como Legio was supposed to be a teaser to a new release...?), at least Infinite Fog has the courtesy to re-release older material. This month they've given vinyl treatment to this material which was originally released in 1994 on a split with Deutsch Nepal. I guess this was originally a radio broadcast? I'm not sure, I haven't heard it nor the original but hey its a bunch of awesome ISN songs together so I can't imagine it not being good. The artwork looks fucking amazing and of course has that quintessential ISN/Cold Meat feel.

[ Infinite Fog Productions ]

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Get This Album: Velvet Acid Christ - "Greatest Hits"

Since I already brought up dark electro this week, we might as well continue on with that theme. While I haven't been much of a fan of VAC's last few albums, I was a huge fan of VAC back in the day and his material really helped me get into electro-industrial. Therefore I'm posting about this Greatest Hits album he is preparing to release via Metropolis Records of remastered and re-worked tracks. While I'm not sure if I agree that some of these were "hits" per say, others may see if differently. Either way, there are some great VAC tracks to be had here (Slut, Fun With Drugs, Phucking Phreak, Futile, Lysergia - what, no Dial8?? etc.) if your collection is lacking. Comes on CD or double vinyl.

[ check it out ]

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Get This Album: Headdreamer - "Lost In Space EP"

Another offering from Aliens Production, this is a new 5 track EP from IDM/Ambient act Headdreamer (solo project of one of the guys from Disharmony). A few months ago I brought up this project as one of my favorite new-ish IDM acts and this new release doesn't disappoint. The Lost In Space EP pretty much continues on exactly where the most recent album left off and, while not breaking any new ground, it provides 5 excellent cuts of emotive & beautifully atmospheric IDM with a slight industrial tinge. Definitely something for fans of the label and similar ones like Tympanik, and (older) N5MD. It's been hard for me to get excited about new IDM acts after Tympanik really slowed down, but Headdreamer absolutely delivers.

[ on bandcamp ]
[ Aliens Productions ]

Monday, March 7, 2016

Get This Album: Jega - "1995"

While, unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be any new Jega albums on the horizon (sadly, after 2009's Variance took 9 years to manifest), there is a slight sign of life from the classic IDM producer's camp. Jega was always one of my favorite classic IDM acts so it's great to see anything "new" from the project. For whatever reason, the label Skam (who released the first two Jega vinyls in the mid-90s) has decided to release this 15 track collection of old, previously unreleased Jega songs dating back to, presumably, 1995 which were all recorded straight to tape at the time. Check this out for a flashback to the mid 90s acid-infused IDM scene.

[ Skam Records ]

Get This Album: The Opposer Divine - Reverse Human

We don't cover dark electro music too much on this blog unless it's particularly notable; as is the case with Slovakian act The Opposer Divine. He recently released his second full length Reverse Human via Aliens Production and it struck me as one of the best new dark electro projects I've heard in a while. I've had the disc on repeat since I bought it the other week. A lot of the Aliens material treads the line between Industrial, IDM, and ambient so naturally this is a pretty good fit. It's got dark atmospheres and nonlinear structures similar to yelworc, mentallo & the fixer, individual totem, etc but with modern production and sounds. Not that it sounds particularly like yelworc, but the use of cinematic elements along with a proclivity towards ambient textures make that seem one of the more apt comparisons. The excellent sounds, convincing moods, and challenging compositions set it far from the simplistic dance side of modern industrial. Definitely something that must be heard by fans of retro old school electro-industrial (acts like Object, Pyrroline, Terminal State, etc) and of course the classic 90s stuff! Perfect for those who, like me, are into dark ambient and prefer their industrial music with a strong focus on atmosphere.

[ on bandcamp ]
[ Aliens Production ]

Friday, February 19, 2016

Get This Album: Roto Visage - "Out Of Print"

After a 6 year hiatus, experimental dark ambient producer Roto Visage finally resurfaces to deliver his new full length album Out Of Print. This album commemorates "10 years of audio sodomy"; over those ten years he has put out 14 releases on various labels including Autumn Wind Productions and Beast Of Prey, several of these being collaborative albums with acts such as Atum, Inner Vision Laboratory, Mystified, and Worms of the Earth. As with his previous work, Out Of Print is distinctly grounded in a dark ambient foundation, but utilizes various harsh, psychedelic, and enigmatic textures that veer out of the sphere of traditional ambient music. Each song has a strange & shifting path; one that winds as it works its way through its duration. As far as I know this is the first Roto Visage album to work with beats/percussion and the results are quite good. For example, "Mycelium" has an excellent psychedelic passage with dreamy atmospherics and a plodding rhythm which meshes brilliantly with his dark atmospherics, and "Network" is a bizarre amalgam of mutilated 80s industrial, ambient, and witch house-esque elements. Overall, the music is full of tangible darkened moods, while also being unpredictable and abstract (yet controlled and not chaotic). This is something to check out for those who are looking for the overall characteristics and mood(s) of dark & ritual ambient music, but want something with more excitement, volatility and capriciousness than your standard fare. It will certainly take you to places you don't see coming. While I liked his previous full length Where The Mandrakes Grow quite a bit, I think that this album is his best and most refined work for sure. For fans of Aural Hypnox, Handmade Birds, all the Coil type bands, and so forth.

[ check it out ]
[ official website ]

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Quick Looks - 2/17/16

Leidungr - De Nio Kraftsångerna
[Equilibrium Music]

For all those people who are like "Man, I really like Arditi but I wish they were somehow also a neofolk band" - Leidungr has heard your call and answered. Leidungr is the "nordic ritual folk" project of  Henry Möller (of Arditi - hey, that's convenient! and Puissance), Michayah Belfagor (of black metal bands Nefandus and Ofermod) and P. Ståhl. It's got that same dismal, ancient world vibe that Arditi's work carries along with some of the martial components (chants/choirs, percussion - though in much smaller doses), but with more neofolk elements such as guitar, spoken neofolk-y vocals, etc. Some of the songs are a bit too minimal and sparse for me to get into, but I did enjoy the ones with more elements (most notably: "Vindålder" and "De Nio Kraftsångerna"). Check this out if you want dark, raw medieval sounding neofolk created in the most murky, darkened nordic forest you can imagine. Also definitely for people who can appreciate lo-fi, primitive black metal atmospheres.

Synapscape - Rhythm Age
[Ant Zen]

Rhythm Age is a kind of back-to-basics album from rhythmic noise veterans Synapscape, and I mean that in the best way possible. I haven't followed Synapscape all that much in recent years (ever since they became cowboys with Imminent) as I'm not much of a fan of their more experimental stuff; however, on this record they go for a pretty straight forward rhythmic technoid/industrial sound which takes me back to the days of Positive Pop and thereabouts, and it works brilliantly. Every track is pretty much a combination of crunchy rhythms, beeping synths, cold atmospheric pads and sometimes their trademark distorted vocals (which I love)...and they pull of this style / sound expertly. While every song can sort of be described in a similar way, they manage to keep each song sounding unique & fresh, and the album only feels monotonous in a good way (in that hypnotic boom boom boom Orphx techno way). It's very groovy and quite accessible while still containing crunch, distortion, solid atmospheres and interesting sounds. If you're looking for cold, calculated rhythmic industrial than you need to give this one a listen. Definitely a very "Ant Zen" record and my favorite thing they've put out in years.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Quick Looks 1/14/16

Chihei Hatakeyama & Dirk Serries - "The Storm of Silence"
[Glacial Movements]

Newest release from icy drone label Glacial Movements. GM and a project involving Dirk Serries (vidnaObmana)...I bet you can guess how it sounds. As expected, this album delivers 4 fairly long tracks (mostly 10-12 minutes) of hypnotic, arctic tundra-evoking drone with no surprises. While the sound and aural textures are undoubtedly compelling and professional, if you listen to this type of music than I'm sure you already own 50 records that sound exactly like this. That said, this is certainly a suitable musical accompaniment to exploring arctic, sky, inner, or astral regions. It's highly visionary and perfectly captures the sound & mood of overcast, wintry places such as what is shown in the cover art. This isn't my first choice of ambient music styles, but on those cold mornings when I come into work and I'm yearning for something minimal, beautiful, and atmospheric than I could absolutely see myself reaching for this album. Ultimately, this is super minimal drone but it nails all the qualities people are looking for in that style. Fans of the Glacial Movements sound should enjoy it.

Swarm Intelligence - "Rust"
[Ad Noiseam]

Rust is the follow up to Swam Intelligence's crushing, doomy, industrial-tinged juggernaut Faction. This album is pretty much more of the same, although this time with a bit less of the everpresent crushing, doomy atmosphere. Many of the trademarks remain, however: the slow tempos, the noisy, growling basslines; the crunchy industrial percussion; the mechanical, austere synth bits. This is music for the the darkened, emotionless dystopian future and the battalions of robotic soldiers whom march within it. Similarly to his last album, I find Rust to be cool for a few tracks before it starts to feel homogenous and repetitive. Probably would have been solid as a 4 track LP, but 10 tracks is a little long. However, I do like that he mixes it up with more atmospheric ambient passages ("Courtyard", "Chamber" and "Theirbach Demoish" are all straight ambient tracks with no beats) as it adds variety and helps to flesh out the dystopian narrative filled with decaying future cities, forlorn sewer systems, giant compactors, etc. Honestly, I quite enjoyed the ambient tracks and I'd like to hear him do an entire release of ambient music. Check this album out if you want to hear bass music forged in the furnace of industrial doom.