God Body Disconnect - "Dredge Portals"
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"
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.