Dark and obscure music blog/zine since 2006 [ Post-Industrial / Ambient / IDM ]
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sabled Sun - "2145"

Artist: Sabled Sun
Album: 2145
Year: 2012
Label: Cryo Chamber
Genre: Dark Ambient
Website:  cryochamber.bandcamp.com




Sabled Sun (which I guess means something like "darkened sun") is a new futuristic/post-apocalyptic dark ambient project from the highly talented Simon Heath (Atrium Carceri, Za Frumi, Krusseldorf, etc). This release also marks the beginning of his label Cryo Chamber. One thing to note is that 2145 was digitally released in 24bit, uncompressed format (CD audio is 16bit), which allegedly offers a larger dynamic range and consequently fuller sound with more accurate representation of extreme high and low end. Without getting into it too much, on paper this means that the music will offer "more", but there are arguments as to whether (and to what extent) human hearing is able to perceive the extra data. Some further reading on the topic: here. That said, this should certainly please audiophiles and is a step in the right direction from the current status quo which is the "loudness war" and compressing/limiting everything to hell and beyond to get the maximum possible loudness at the expense of dynamic range and "space" in the mix. Anyway, bandcamp offers this release in the lossless format FLAC at no extra cost, which I recommend as it will give you the full range of sound that was intended.

Good stuff:
+ The production is certainly huge. Whether or not the 24bit is significantly noticeable (I don't have the 16bit to compare it with), I can say with complete certainty that Simon Heath knows his shit when it comes to mixing and mastering! This record sounds absolutely massive. It's very wide and enveloping - with little effort you can fall right into these tracks and get swept up in the universe of 2145. As with the newer Atrium stuff, I highly recommend listening with headphones to hear all of the subtleties.
+ The album opens with a minimal track with spoken word, providing a foundation for the theme and what is to come aurally. The first couple tracks are super minimal, in the vein of Kammarheit, and may deceive you into thinking that this will be an overly subdued, drone-y affair; however, this is not so. The record slowly builds until it kicks in during the second half of "Abandoned" with churning bass and mechanical ambiance that really start to move things along. The rest of the record is an interesting combination of Atrium Carceri-esque deep, moving, drones; mechanical sound effects; and the occasional Krusseldorf-esque percussive sound or melodic bit. The record is quite diverse and the mood shifts slightly as it progresses. Some of the tracks like "Signals" are dark and hollow (in a good way) and feel like long, desolate tunnels beneath a dead city; some, like "Shattered", lean more towards psybient with it's ethereal pads and melodies; and others employ a more cinematic, brooding vibe, giving the feeling of impending epic discovery, such as in "The Facility". Overall this makes me think of the atmospheric, "creepy" parts of a sci-fi film set in space, mixed with Metroid or some such alien environment. It closes with another spoken word piece. As with his other projects, he excels are taking the listener to distant worlds (or in this case, just the crumbling ruins of the stark future of our own world). I'm not sure if 2145 necessarily made me think specifically of a post apocalyptic future, but it is rather visionary and each track carries a strong mood that will transport you somewhere other than where you are.
+ As per his usual Atrium packaging, this release comes with a 5 page "booklet" containing a story pertaining to the theme.

Bad stuff:
- Not available in hardcopy 
- Very subtle record - a lot of stuff could be missed by listening at low volume or on non-optimal playback devices.

An interesting and rather diverse ambient record. Heath is one of the few producers who is highly prolific and almost never disappoints - and he delivers quality once again with 2145. If you like complex, active ambient and/or what Heath does in his other projects, than you should absolutely check this out. Not quite as jam packed or in your face as older Atrium albums (kind of hilarious to say that in regards to dark ambient), but much more subdued like the newest Atrium album Reliquiae. Hopefully there will be more to come from this project!

Overall Rating: 9/10

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