dark ambient

Michael Idehall ‎* Deep Code Sol (cd 2015)

All material has been reviewed before, but this of Idehall is so good that I want to bring it under your attention again now that Ant-Zen put both Beläten tapes on one very nicely packaged cd.

The “Sol” tape has been rereleased before with two extra tracks. These are (unfortunately) not included on this Ant-Zen release. The cd starts with the 2014 tape “Deep Code” and then follows the 2012 tape “Sol”. Idehall also makes ritualistic soundscapes which are too minimalistic for my taste, but the music he recorded for Beläten is about the best music I have heard in quite a while. The sound is somewhere between the “angstpop” sound of other Beläten releases and more ritualistic music. Idehall uses his voice a lot, making an impression like that of the earlier material of Coph Nia; dark, chanting, haunting: brilliant!

Should you have missed the Beläten tapes, the Bandcamp versions or the “Sol” rerelease on cd, make sure to get this beautiful version of Ant-Zen.

Links: Michael Idehall, Ant-Zen

Resgestae ‎* État D’Urgence (cd 2015)

A release on a sublabel of the not too active Nuit et Brouillard label of Jérôme “Propergol” Nougaillon. The Cold Spring newsletter compares this release to the sound of the label owner and indeed the album contains dark, “filmographic” ambient noise. Sometimes the atmosphere comes close to Hermétique projects with many film samples and well placed drones. Other tracks are less strong and more ‘general dark ambient’. Overall the album is very enjoyable and since there have not been too many releases in this ‘style’, “État d’Urgence” is a welcome release.

Should you want to know, Resgestae is the continuation of the Greek project [distopia], but to me, this name does not ring a bell. There have been several releases under this name though.

Links: Resgestae, Force Majeure

Tehôm ‎* Lacrimae Mundi (cd 2014)

15 Years ago Douglas P. posthumously released Siniša Očuršćaks second album. Now the project is revived (or continued) by Miljenko Rajaković, who produced the previous album.

“Lacrimae Mundi” sounds pretty much like “Theriomorphic Spirits”. The music is really slow, minimalistic and very dark ambient. There are deep drones, slow and heavy beats (sometimes becoming rhythmic), a little bit of melody and here and there a voice. Some tracks the music are more ‘trance-like’ and lighter of tone with drumming and slow melodies.

For the lovers of dark ambient.

Links: Tehôm, Cyclic Law

Michael Idehall * Sol (extended) (cd 2014)

The first version of this album was a tape on Beläten. Two years after the initial release the album is slightly extended and rereleased by a sublabel of Cat’s Heaven / VUZ Records. The package is not great. A photocopied A5 booklet with the cd pasted in.

The extension are two tracks put before the original release. The opening track now is a slightly monotous, ritualistic soundscape of 9:29 minutes. The other new tracks is a great and dark piece of noisy ritual music. Then follow the tracks of the wonderfull debut of Idehall. Sometimes somewhat ambient, at other times more industrial or angstpop and always nicely dark. Idehall’s voice definately sets the sound of this project.

Truely a great release. The second release is even better, but when you, like me, missed the physical debut, here is your chance to get it on cd. Be quick though, there are only 111 copies.

Links: Michael Idehall, Bastet Recordings

Den Arkaiska Rösten * ◯▲ (mc 2014)

Who remembers the 1994 album “Dreams Of Dark Waters” by Endvra? Now that was a dark piece of ritualistic ambient, was it not? Sure, ritualistic ambient is quite a hip genre nowadays, but when does it sound as dark as Endvra, Hexentanz, Equimanthorn or Funerary Call? Here we have a release that makes a good aim, even though the approach is much different from the projects that I named. The project’s name means “the archaic voices”. This is a fitting name, because besides some drones and effects, the music mostly consists of vocal experiments of Per Åhlund and Girilal Baars. The result is haunting and especially in the first track (the circle), it came out very good.
Interesting! Available as Bandcamp download and tape (with free download).
Link: Beläten

Theologian & Bain Wolfkind * Noir (cd 2013)

Not the most obvious combination, do you think? When I noticed this release I got very curious what this would be like. Theologian’s wall-of-sound type noise with Wolfkind’s vocals or bluesy guitar perhaps, or more Wolfkind’s Novo Homo sound? Well, none of these actually. “Noir” is a four track, 37 minutes, album with soundscapes; stretched sounds, samples, soft rhythm, that sort of stuff. Not really recognisable as Theologian, however there are softer sides to this project too, not as Bain Wolfkind. The sound is fairly dark and ‘cinematographic’. Perhaps a bit like the softer side of Propergol with a little bit of noise towards the end.
A nice piece of background music.
Links: Theologian / Annihilvs, Bain Wolfkind

Alone In The Hollow Garden‎ * L . V . X . (mc 2014)

However I ordered this exquisitly packaged tape from Beläten, it was released by Red Cavity Records who also released the Tanz Ohne Musik tape that I reviewed a while back.
The music starts with soundscapes, analogue according to the description. Here and there the sound is quite ritualistic, not entirely unlike Zero Karma or Chöd. Halfway the sound becomes a lot darker with an excellent “Self Eating Serpent”. The last tracks are nicely dark too.
Links: Alone In The Hollow Garden, Red Cavity Records

Rasthof Dachau‎ * … Das Andere Licht (cd 2012)

Rasthof Dachau, I have known the name for decades, but I never really listened to them. This is partly because of the project’s name. I am not much interested in WWII but I do know tht Dachau was one of the two German extermination camps (the other one was Auswitz) and to call it a ‘resting place’ (Rasthof) gives me a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Perhaps it was not meant to refer to the camp or it did and the shock value works too well for me, but that is why it took a couple of decades to try out the music. Later I heard music of this project without knowing what it was. Great, dark ‘ambient noise’ with aggressive vocals, so in the end I decided to set out and investigate the project. You cannot listen to extreme music without extreme humour, right?
It proves not too easy to find Dachau material. Most of it has long been sold out. In the Cold Spring mail order I found this limited compilation (350 copies) with material from 1999 to 2002. Unfortunately there is not too much of the noise side of this project. Some tracks are more dark ambient, other tracks old style industrial. There are a couple of very good tracks to be found, especially the great dark noise opening track called “Exitus”.
Rasthof Dachau is a project for people who like noise music, but not of the unstructured, chaotic type. People like me! But you might have to live with the fact that some people have an even harscher sense of humour as yourself!
Link: Steinklang

v/a * Revenge?! Yes! Nordic Audio Modern 2012 (cd 2012)

Yes this compilation is a couple of years old and yes it was released in a limited edition of 500 copies, but my eye fell on it in the Cold Spring mailorder and the line-up looked interesting enough to get it. That was a good guess! Not that this is a superb compilation, but there is an alternative version of Ex.Order’s “Shuchu Ryoku Pt.03” (a more dark ambient track by the way), a wonderfull collaboration of Deutsch Nepal and Trepereringsritualen (the two are apparently working on more material) and the track of Deutsch Nepal alone is good too. Moreover it was nice to hear In Slaughter Natives in the old style again, there are two new names for me (Maldur Atai and oro!oro!) and the rest of the projects included include Land:Fire, Inade and Trepaneringsritualen.
It looks like it that this compilation accompanied some Lithuanian festival. It makes a nice compilation with more dark ambient and a little bit of noise so certainly not such a bad buy.
Link: Autarkeia

Æther & Trepaneringsritualen‎ * Edifice Of Nine Sauvastikas (mc 2012)

Beläten also released a tape of Æther in 2013, but I found that (on quick hearing) a bit too soundscapishly monotous. Since I need to collect Trepaneringsritualen material anyway, I opted for this split. One 10 minute track of each project.
The Æther is indeed a quite monotous soundscape, just a little bit noisy, apparently formed of field recordings. It is not bad, but not entirely my cup of tea.
Also Trepaneringsritualen presents a sort of soundscape, but much darker, more threatening and more industrial in sound. The vocals are left out for this sonic ritual, but Ekelund certainly set a pretty damn dark atmosphere again.
Links: Trepaneringsritualen, Beläten