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Peter Bjärgö & Gustaf Hildebrand * Out Of The Darkling Light, Into The Bright Shadow (cd 2012)

I do not think that I ever heard the music of Gustaf Hildebrand. For some reason I had the idea that he was a contemporary composer, such as Vladimír Hirsch. Not that this would be a reason to not listen to his music, but I guess I just never got to it. “Out Of The Darkling Light…” is nothing like a neoclassical cd, rather it contains soft dark ambient soundscapes with rhythms, ‘trance ambient’ perhaps, but more industrial in sound. The music is not particularly dark most of the time, more relaxing, but a few tracks remind of Bjärgö’s darker approach and these tracks have no rhythm either. “Out Of The Darkling Light…” is at least something else for a change. Not brilliant, but very interesting at times.
Links: Peter Bjärgö, Gustaf Hildebrand, Cyclic Law

Ultraspießer * Tight Fisted Bastard (2011)

A rather ‘mysterious’ Dark Matters release. However this project seems to have more material available, I cannot find it on Discogs. The Dark Matters list on Discogs seems rather complete, but no Ultraspießer. “Tight Fisted Bastard” is a weird release. Weird soundscapes, slightly noisy, sometimes a bit ritualistic, hard to describe actually. There are guitars in it, drumming, distorted sounds, so in a way it is one kind of drone (contrary to the low frequency dark ambient explanation of that term). The release is somewhat interesting, but not really my thing. It is nice to hear what weird music there is out there though.
Link: Radical Matters

Hoarfrost * Puppets Of The Divine Coroner (cd 2011)

This is already the third album of Hoarfrost, all are released on Zoharum. It is the first time that I hear this project. “Puppets…” opens with an experimental dark ambient sound, quite dark and quite interesting. As the album continues the sound becomes more minimalistic, soundscapish and less interesting. A promising start, but overall a not too good album in my opinion.
Links: Hoarfrost, Zoharum

Maciek Szymczuk & Slowtion * Ways (cd 2011)

I must say that both artists are new to me. “Ways” contains weird and experimental soundscapes with singing and instruments. This is definately not your average dark ambient release, but more meant for people who like a more experimental sound. There are more ambient parts, then the sound is more trance-ambient and some parts are even IDM. Not all that dark and not always great, but something different for sure.
Links: Maciek Szymczuk, Slowtion, Zoharum

Hybryds * Soundtrack For The Antwerp Zoo Aquarium (cd 2011)

It looks like that this is the third time these recordings are released. Discogs has a 1993 cd releasec by the Antwerp Zoo and listed as “Vidna Obmana / Hybryds * Soundtrack Voor Het Aquarium”. Two years later there is a release on Daft called “Soundtrack For The Aquarium – Antwerp Zoo”. I used to have that cd. It probably did not make it in times when I was getting rid off ‘overstock’. 16 Years later the Polish label Zoharum releases the cd anew and describes it as music of Ah-Cama Sotz with dolphin and whale samples. The music is very minimalistic and soundscapish and indeed, the animals swiming in the aquarium are also present. Towards the end there is a saxophone, but this does not break the ambient sound. The music is interesting and the album is long sold out, so this may be a way of you getting to hear this music of almost two decades ago. Personally I find it a bit too monotous.
Links: Hybryds, Zoharum

v/a * From Earth To Sirius (2cd 2011)

This compilation has an interesting line-up, going from well-known projects such as Hybryds, Ah Cama-Sotz, Nordvargr and Atomine Elektrine to names that I never heard of, such as Kia Karma, Unknown Caller and Electric Uranus. The line-up also suggests a variety of music. The latter is not really true though. All tracks were recorded exclusively for this compilation and apparently the label requested soundscapes inspired by Aleister Crowley or something (strange that Coph Nia is not present therefor). All tracks are (relatively) tranquil and not all are all that interesting. Some are nice, others less so. One reason to buy this compilation was that I am interested to hear something of Ouroboros (a Zoharum project), but since the projects that I did know, do not necessarily sound ‘like themselves’, I do not know how representative the Ouroboros track really is.
Link: Zoharum

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

Triangular Ascension * Leviathan Device (cd 2011)

The debut release of this Venezualian project is based on Thomas Hobbe’s “Leviathan”. It opens as a typical dark ambient soundscapes album. The second track is a nice dark one with deep beats and industrial sounds. Then comes more soft soundscapish material with a little bit of melody, quite typical dark ambient actually, but the fifth track is again very interesting with a slightly tribal-like rhythm and a great atmosphere. After this follow some more soundscapish tracks, some nicely dark, others less dark with here and there you will hear a flinch of noise. The last track is more melodious. “Leviathan Device” is a varried album. The dark ambient tracks are alright to nice, the darker tracks much more interesting. Overall not a bad debut, so if you like to listen to dark ambient, you might want to give this album a try.
Link: Cyclic Law

Parhelion * Midnight Sun (cd 2010)

“Midnight Sun” is a 60-minute album with 12 tracks of soundscapes and drones. The music sometimes gets a noisy edge, is sometimes rather dark, but remains ‘soundscapish’. The tracks have a variety of atmospheres which makes that I like some tracks, but others not at all. The overall style seems to be “drones”, not necessarily because of low frequency drones, but also because the music seems to be created with guitars and effects rather than just electronics.
Link: Cyclic Law

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