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Friday, August 14, 2015

Aegri Somnia - "Monde Obscure"

Artist: Aegri Somnia
Album: Monde Obscure
Year: 2015
Label: Cryo Chamber
Genre: Dark Ambient
Website: www.cryochamber.com

First release on Cryo Chamber for Aegri Somnia. I'm not familiar with this project, but it seems as though he has released two prior digital albums: one on Kaos Ex Machina and one on Dark Winter - both reputable dark ambient netlabels. After the seemingly endless wave of minimal drone releases that we have received in the recent past, I was incredibly relieved to once again get some interesting dark ambient. While this record certainly fits the typical Cryo Chamber creed of subtle ambient, it is also chock full of things happening, not terribly unlike the past albums of the label's head, Atrium Carceri.

Monde Obscure grabbed me immediately. The first two tracks, "Naissance" and "Esoterique" are both excellent. Aegri Somnia masterfully crafts dreary, dreamlike atmospheres through layers of beautiful drones and a horde of found sounds & sfx. I absolutely love ambient that heavily uses found sounds - I feel this is the best way to create an atmosphere that is both deep and engaging. Even though the overall feeling is one of subdued tranquility, there is a constant cycling of new sounds to keep your ears attentive. The third song, "Les Temps Ont Change" utilizes excellent ghostly melodies to drag you into the foggy nether realm inhabited by veiled spirits. He channels the old CMI sound on "Noir et Blanc" with the use of sampled choirs (this will always score points with me). "Culture Aveugle" conjures the ambiance of a watery grave, or perhaps the distant churning of a subterranean maelstrom that you hear from within a darkened cave far below the earth's surface. There is even some tribal-esque percussion which brings to mind Herbst9. I see further Loki Foundation influence on subsequent tracks "Faux Prophete" with its strange textures molded into an almost percussive backdrop, and "Obscurite Totale" whose analog squelches bring to mind Circular, among others. But I only bring these up for reference, Aegri Somnia's compositions can fully stand on their own and do not sound like copies of any other. The truth is that I could write an entire page worth of description for each of these tracks, but suffice to say that this short review absolutely does not to justice to these works and I highly encourage you to experience them for yourself. Each piece is deeply introspective and alluring.

I feel that this is one of the best things that Cryo Chamber has released thus far, and this is exactly the type of dark ambient that I love. Exceptionally dark, visionary atmospheres created through active song composition and layers of field recordings that channel the great acts of old like Raison d'etre, Herbst9, and so forth. Each song succeeds in cultivating it's own identity while working in tandem with the other tracks to flesh out a cohesive story. Somewhat comparable to labelmates Cryobiosis and Halgrath. Definitely a must own!

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