dark ambient

Parhelion & Zac Keiller * Farthest North (cd 2013)

Of Parhelion I reviewed an album before. Zac Keiller does not ring a bell, but he also seems to have some material available. When reading back my review of Parhelion’s “Midnight Sun” (2010) I could write about the same again. “Farthest North” is an album with dark ambient soundscapes with often very low frequencies or drones and on a few occasions a flinch of noise. This time the atmosphere remains that of a dark ambient album, gloomy, so however the sound is a bit too monotous or ‘soundscapish’ for my taste, I kind of enjoy this album. “Dark ambient” is a very fitting way to describe this album, but do not expect the Cold Meat sound.
Links: Parhelion, Zac Keiller, Cyclic Law

Mary X * An Industrial Tribute To Eraserhead (cd 2013)

So I fell for the title. Actually I thought this would be a compilation, but it is an album of a project of which I cannot find a whole lot of information. Discogs has a project with the same name, but I am not sure it is the same and the Discogs list of the label does not list this album. By exception I have linked the cover of the album to the label instead of to Discogs. In any case, as you can expect with an Eraserhead tribute, this album contains rumbling industrial ambient quite in the vein of the original soundtrack. Furtheron the sound gets more industrial with here and there a touch of noise. It is all slightly monotous, but not boring. Save the artwork I do not find a whole lot of references to the film.

Aquavoice * Grey (cd 2013)

This is a very cool album! “Grey” opens with some pretty dark ambient and immediately goes over into something rhythmical (no, no ‘trance ambient’) and gradually grows into a weird sound collage (with ‘trance ambient’ elements), not as minimalistic as Zenial, but “musique concrete” also applies to parts of this album.
I had never heard of Aquavoice, but there have been three previous releases in the past decade. My first encounter is a positive surprise for sure. The album goes from dark to atmospheric and from minimalistic soundscapes to trance ambient, it is all well executed and sounds interesting.
Links: Aquavoice, Zoharum

Vortex * Kali Yuga (cd 2013)

This is certainly the most interesting of the three recent Cyclic Law releases. The previous album of Vortex contained an interesting blend of dark ambient and tribal drummings and other experimentations, “Kali Yuga” is a nice and somewhat dirty industrial ambient release. Industrial rhythms, a little bit of noise, yep, like the previous album something somewhat out of the ordinary. Well done.
Links: Vortex, Cyclic Law

Taphephobia * Escape From The Mundane Self (cd 2013)

The name does not ring a bell. This could be because Ketil Søraker also plays in Mulm and used to play in Northaunt both projects are too ambient for me. Taphephobia is also quite a monotous dark ambient / soundscapes project, at least, on this album. The label describes the sound as “drone ambient” which is a way of describing the sound. There are indeed the low frequencies (drones) which makes this album more interesting than the album of The Floating World, but I guess I like my ambient darker and with a little more variation.
Should you enjoy the Cyclic Law roster, I suppose that Taphephobia is an album to try.
Links: Taphephobia, Cyclic Law

Triangular Ascension * The Chronos Anomaly (cd 2013)

Just as the 2011 debut “Leviathan Device”, “The Chronos Anomaly” is quite a typical dark ambient album. The sound is often soundscapish as contemporary dark ambient seems to sound. Also like the debut there is variety in the music though. Some tracks just babble forth, while others are pretty dark. There is less rhythm on this new album, but the deep drones are still present. This is good, because however there does not seem to be much novelty in the sound, especially the darker compositions are interesting, particularly because Triangular Ascension seems to have given his sound more depth. There are more details, much things happening in the background and even the monotous parts keep my attention trying to keep up with everything that is going on. Yep, this is a nice example of well thought-through and well-executed dark ambient. If you like the genre and you liked the debut, you should certainly get your hands on the second album of this Venuzualian project.
Links: Triangular Ascension, Cyclic Law

Lamia Vox * Sigillum Diaboli (cd 2013)

“Sigullum Diaboli” is not a very original album. The title is weary, the sound reminds of early CMI releases and the samples that are used have been used countless times. That is not to say that this is a bad album. Dark ambient tends to become more soundscapish recently and here we have something that might appeal to people who loved the CMI-craze a decade ago. There are slow dark ambient tracks with the typical vocal samples and tracks with drumming and vocals bringing memories of Coph Nia. Nice are the whispered female vocals. Often the sound becomes slightly pompous, not as much as Sephiroth in his days, but to give you an idea. Lamia Vox seems to be doing well and she is touring too.
Links: Lamia Vox, Cyclic Law

Havan * Yajna (cd 2013)

Havan is a new project of Fredrik Arbour (of Cyclic Law) and for this first release he collaborated with Harlow MacFarlane (Sistrenatus/Funerary Call) and Sarah Rosalina Brady (Amber Asylum). This half hour soundscape has been recorded live. It is slow, minimalistic, dark and alright.
Link: Cyclic Law

v/a * Cyclic Law’s 10th Year Anniversary Label Sampler (2cd 2012)

Cyclic Law has also been around for ten years and to celebrate they looked up unreleased material of their projects. Knowing the “roster” of Cyclic Law, you will not be surprised that the larger part of this compilation is formed by dark ambient soundscapes. There are but a few exceptions and they are Karjalan Sissit, the surprisingly noisy track of Therradaemon and a great track of Sophia. Bringing 2,5 hours of music, this is a must-buy for people who like the ambient sound of Cyclic Law.
Link: Cyclic Law

Propergol * Paradise Land (cd 2012)

Six years after “Ground Proximity Warning System” first a live performance was announced for the 25th aniversary of Tesco and then a new album to be released at that very festival. Jérôme’s Tesco show started off very ambient, a recognisable Propergol sound with stretched sounds, samples and low frequencies. This was nice, but instead of having a show with tracks running over in eachother, there were pauses between the tracks and only after a “come on” from the audience, the sound got dirty. There is close to nothing of the dirty sound on “Paradise Land”. Like the last album, the new one is mostly dark ambient, but in the Propergol way. Carefully built up tracks, making a great, dark atmosphere. No outburst, like I said. I would not mind if those came back, but “Paradise Land” is a bit more of ‘Propergol light’ for people who are not too good with extreme electronics. If you are one of those, try this album first and work your way back in the catalogue of this great, French project. To old fans I will say that in the lengthy last track, some unexpected elements appear. Propergol does not stand still.
Links: Propergol, Tesco