Dark and obscure music blog/zine since 2006 [ Post-Industrial / Ambient / IDM ]
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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Quick Looks - 12/30/15

Council of Nine - "Diagnosis"
[Cryo Chamber]

The second album from Council of Nine fits perfectly into the sort of standard Cryo Chamber minimal-droning-ambient sound. Like I mention in practically every single review I do, I'm not a particularly avid fan of this real minimal stuff. That said, Council of Nine makes it known that he can pull off this sound. His work has noticably matured since his debut, despite this being released less than a year later. Diagnosis is full of ghostly, incredibly spacious atmospheres that take the listener through seemingly endless amorphous, darkened realms. Tenebrous droning swells mix and wash over each other, occasionally co-mingling with more melodic droning to create contemplative aural environments. With this kind of minimal music there is truly a fine art to crafting subtle brilliance vs. boring shit, and Council of Nine is well on his way. While this doesn't quite achieve the profundity of something like Kammarheit, it is certainly getting there. For me, the best track is absolutely "Void Of Regret" which succeeds at being brilliantly hypnotic and capturing the boundless depths of unseen/inner worlds. Judging by the improvement from debut to second album, I am eagerly awaiting what Council of Nine will put together in the future.

Wordclock - "Self Destruction Themes"
[Cryo Chamber]

Similarly, here was have the second album from fellow Cryo Chamber project Wordclock. To be honest, I never listened to the debut; it was one of those records I put on once and wasn't captivated within the first 12 seconds so I turned it off and then never had the time to go back to. However, this one has quite a lot of hype behind it so I figured it was worth a more in-depth listen. And its got collabs with the always-excellent Apocryphos and Simon Heath (Atrium Carceri/Sabled Sun) so it must be good. Unfortunately for me, it's of the minimal drone variety, and like all that stuff each track is basically a couple of drones and little else. However, Wordclock succeeds in cultivating all the appropriate characteristics of that style - hypnotic, captivating, etc. While this style isn't my favorite, I cannot deny that these songs are richly textured, well crafted, and engaging. Even though some pieces could, I suppose, be labelled as "dark ambient", this record reaches way beyond that into much more accessible realms of ambient and drone music. While many of tracks, such as "When Indecision Strikes" are charmingly meditative pieces that feel like slowly floating through the nebulous astral realm, Wordclock explores several moods and environments on this record. For example: "It May Come" is a beautifully sombre and highly cinematic piece which would fit perfectly into a moody film noir, "Something Else" has something of an eastern/desert current running through it, and the closer "Lack Of Language" explores churning, post-rock vibes. You really cannot go wrong with this album if you are looking for something minimal yet inexpressibly deep and wonderfully evocative. Even though I'm not a huge fan of this minimal sound, this record won me over and I feel like I could listen to this for days on repeat. I think this will prove to be quite a hit with fans of the label and ambient music in general.

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