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Maarten van der Vleuten * A True & Faithful Relation Of What Passed For Many Years Between Dr. John Dee And Some Spirits (cdr 2010)

There it is again, John Dee’s beautiful Monas Hieroglyphica. Apparently I am not the only Dutchman inspired by Dee. Van der Vleuten is a musical alchemist whose name sounds familiar, but I do not think I had anything of him. This release appears to be an homage to the English Renaissance esotericist John Dee, but it is a bit strange to use the title or a mockery book for that. However romantic the title sounds, Méric Causabon did not write this book to praise the work of Dee. In any case, the cdr is nicely packed in a cardboard cover with the Monas and some Enochian letters on the cover and the inside contains some more images such as the famous “sigili dei aemeth”, Dee’s “table” that he had his “scrybes” use. Musically what is presented are very tranquil, minimalistic (rhythmical) ambient soundscapes with here and there some rhythm of a sample or a voice. The music is very repetative and not particularly dark or anything. It is not really boring, but neither really my cup of tea. The label is Dutch too by the way, this is only their second release. Besides that the website functions as an online magazine with music reviews, interviews, articles and the like.
Links: Maarten van der Vleuten, Evening Of Light

Machinist * Of What Once Was (cd 2011)

Quite by accident I learned about a new Machinist cd, I missed the previous one. Machinist is a Dutch “drone” outfit that created some pretty dark ambient, but this new album is more ‘soundscapish’. Two long tracks that mostly seem to consist of long strengted guitar sounds (so ‘drone’ as description is not a bad one), but like the first track goes “Mono Tone”, a bit too monotone for me. Nice packaging though and released by a label unknown to me.
Links: Machinist, Moving Furniture Records

v/a * Dark Ambient – volume one (online album 2011)

Dead.Circuit keeps contributing to free download compilations, often enormous files with many hours of music, much of which is not too good. This free ‘2cd’ download is made available through Quartier23. Some projects you may have heard of when you get more of these free releases, but surprisingly there is also a well-known industrial project here: Hybryds, and very recognisable too. However the compilation is called “dark ambient”, a large part of the tracks would not be labeled dark ambient by me. There are atmospheric (and boring) tracks, especially on the first part, strange experimentations and a handfull of darker tracks, sometimes even a little bit noisy. Most of the tracks are not my thing, some are more interesting. Just give it a try when you want to hear a variety of ambient sounds.
Link: Quartier23

Emme Ya * Beyond The Secret Flame (cd 2010)

I got an email of this Colombian project about the debut release on a label that is new to me. Emme Ya created three long soundscapes over readings from Crowley’s Book Of Law. The first track is the most interesting. It is a bit droney dark ambient with tribal drumming. The other two tracks are too minimalistic for me. The readings sound like they were recorded in a toilet and are hardly comprehensible. It is nice to hear that there is also this kind of material from South America and the label has all unknown projects (for me), but the packages look very nice (too bad that I got only a download link). Emme Ya is not entirely my kind of music, but not too bad and something to look into when you are looking for new projects.
Links: Emme Ya, The Mercurius Collective

Jägerblut * Tannöd (cd 2008)

I heard of Jägerblut linked with the so-called “Alpine folk” trend that comes from Steinklang and I did not pay much attention. Then I understood that Jägerblut actually consists of Thorofon members and I listened to their music a bit. Indeed the debut release of this project is a split 7″ with Sturmpercht and the music sounds like Sturmpercht. On the first album Jägerblut made more neofolk-like music, but that is usually not my thing either. Still, on the UMB compilation the second track is more experimental and less typical which is actually what I expected of Courtman and co. “1896-1906” Is not really an interesting album, but more interesting than “Tannöd”. The good thing about “Tannöd” is that Jägerblut hardly looked at their past. There is no “Alpine folk”, almost no neofolk, but a lot of dark ambient and soundscape experiments. It is just that this is mostly quite boring…
Link: Jägerblut / UMB Kollektiv

v/a * Necktar 2017 (online compilation 2010)

Free online compilations can be a nice way to learn about new projects, but I must say the fact that the length is no longer limited by the amount of information that fits on a disc, things become quite absurd. After the 5 hours Emissions compilation that I reviewed recently, here we have a one file, 800MB and 8+ hours compilation with dark ambient, industrial and a lot of experimental electronic music. I have by far not heard the whole thing when I write this, so this is not really a review, rather an announcement. I heard some nice tracks along the way, but also a lot of too vague experimentalism for my taste. When you are interested, get this compilation here.

N.Strahl.N * In Absentia (online album 2008)

There seems to be a whole industrial scene (or several of them) that I don’t really know. A while ago I was contacted by a label called Industrial Culture and today while I was fooling around on the internet I ran into projects and labels that I never heard of. N.Strahl.N appears to be an extremely active German project with a style that varries from soundscapes to power electronics. While looking for more information, I noticed this free-to-download album on their ‘website’. “In Absentia” is about 33 minutes long, has four soundscapes that are not too interesting, but the last track is a very dark and pretty good noisescape. Apparently I will have to look a bit through the band’s discography to see if there is more stuff in it that I would like.
N.Strahl.N has quite a few releases on a label called Tosom which has dark ambient releases, but also a power electronics series and a noise-ambient line. Most mp3s that I heard are just alright, but there is also interesting material there. Some other things that I ran into are the Alampo Records / Malachia label from Italy and a Dutch project called dead.circuit both of whom I hope to have a cdr to review some time soon.
The funny thing is that compilation of such labels also contain industrial acts that I do know, so I suppose it is all a ‘more underground’ side of the industrial scene. Good that we have the internet to run into these kinds of projects by accident!

Karl Runau * Beyond Frequencies (1998/2000 galakthorrö)

This rather old release was the second project on Galakthorrö not being mr. and mrs. Arafna themselves. Galakthorrö seems to use the following terms to describe their releases: “angstpop”, “Kalte Welle” and “Intensiv Elektronik”. About the first term, I recently wrote a few thoughts. The second term is German for “cold wave”, so I guess that makes a Galakthorrö version of that style. I don’t know what is meant with the last term, but who knows it refers to Karl Runau.
Karl Runau goes from minimalistic ambient with some rhythm to bleepy electronics. It surely fits on Galakthorrö and perhaps the sound reminds a bit of some November Növelet tracks here and there. “Beyond Frequencies” is a nice album that could definately appeal to people who listen to minimalistic electronics outside the industrial scene too. The computer sounds have been popular in some techno movements a while ago, so… Anyway, something less noisy than many other Galakthorrö releases but of course very strange.

Jocelyn Montgomery with David Lynch * Lux Vivens (1998 polygram)

David Lynch has made a lot more music than I knew. Yesterday I wrote a little about a new classical soundscape cd and some jazz(rock) releases, later I ran into this album. “Lux Vivens” is the music of the mystic Hildegard von Bingen which Jocelyn Montgomery apparently sings a lot. For this release David Lynch made the background music which in line of most releases that I review I would call “dark ambient” and “soundscapes” and Montgomery’s opera voice would be “heavenly voices”. There is also a little bit of “noise” and here and there a guitar. I am positivily surprised by this album. The “low” (Lynch does not think this album is “dark” since “dark could imply evil”) threatening sound goes wonderfully with the eerie voice of Montgomery. A very enjoyable album!

6 Comm / Freya Aswynn * The Fruits Of Yggdrasil (1987/2008 hau ruck!)

When I ordered this cd I did not realise that it was a rerelease of this classic split project of many years ago. I knew the album, but did not really like it and therefor never bought it, so in the end, I did… The project is interesting. 6 Comm’s ambient soundscapes combined with Aswynn’s recitals of Norse texts, but I happen to not too much like much of the music and also I don’t particularly enjoy Aswynn’s voice and pronounciation. The cd has it’s moments and surely is a classic release for having such a thick layer of paganism so long ago, but in my opinion this rerelease is more for archival reasons than for the quality of the recording.
Links: 6 Comm , Freya Aswynn, Hau Ruck!.