“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 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
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
I did not really know B.S.E., but I have known them by name a long time. This is their seventh album, so that is not so strange. “Modern Day Diabolists” opens with a trance-ambient track, but that is not how the entire album sounds, “soundscapes” is a good description of the sound of the larger part of this album. Stretched sounds, vocal samples and here and there a more industrial-like rhythm (the very nice title track is even somewhat noisy) makes “Modern Day Diabolists” a varried ambient album. Unfortunately much of the music are somewhat soft ambient and not entirely my thing.
Links: Beyond Sensory Experience, Cyclic Law
Shrine is a new name to me. This project comes from Bulgaria, has been around for a decade and “Somnia” is the third album. The album contains dark ambient. Stretched sounds, deep drones, eerie melodies, you know the deal. Some tracks are darker than others, but mostly what “Somnia” concerns is the more monotous kind of not too dark ambient. If that is what you like, you might want to listen to this album.
Links: Shrine, Cyclic Law
Desiderii Marginis joined the ranks of Cold Meat when the label had already become a hype. To me, they have never been able to catch up with the projects of old when dark ambient was still new and exiting. The 2001 album “Deadbeat” was somewhat interesting since Desiderii Marginis experimented a bit with beats. I have lost sight of the project for the most part since. Apparently they still released a couple of things and ended up on Cyclic Law together with other former label mates. “Procession” does not bring much new. The dark ambient is a bit softer and certainly more minimalistic, perhaps even soundscapish and somewhat monotone for my ears. A new element are soft melodies that may come from real instruments such as flutes and violins and these are the things that makes this album more interesting. When you like your ambient not too dark and with some melody as well, “Procession” may be an album you want to try.
Links: Desiderii Marginis, Cyclic Law
Other than I expected, Gustaf Hildebrand makes dark ambient soundscapes. “Heliopause” opens nicely dark, but starting with track 2 this could have been one of the softer releases of Jérôme Nougaillon. Very dark ambient with a similar use of echoing samples and a little bit of noise here and there. Waiting for new releases of Jérôme, highly welcomed!
Links: Gustaf Hildebrand, Cyclic Law
The Floating World is a new name to me. A girl making dark ambient, that is not too common, but it works in the case of Allseits. So far Amanda Votta released three cdr’s under this name and she has or used to have a project with Gustaf Hildebrand. “The Apparation” contains very soft and monotous soundscapes, sometimes with a flute or vocals, a sample or a deep drone on the background. I am not too fond of the ‘lighter’ tracks, the darker tracks in the beginning are more of my taste. Overall the stretched-sounds soundscapes are too monotous for me. The cd has it moments though.
Links: The Floating World, Cyclic Law
In the early days (1996) I loved Arcana, as everybody seemed to do. Then after a few releases everything kept sounding the same and especially when the vocals became ‘lyricless’ I lost interest. I heard a release every now and then and this time it is this 3 track, 13 minutes mini-cd that reached me. In the opening track Peter does not use his usual way of singing and the track is very nice. Then in the second track we are still presented soothing orchestrations and the vocals of the Bjärgö’s and it still sounds nice, but it just does not work for me. In track three, Cecilia tries a more operatic approach over a piano and soft orchestrations. Again, not for me… I am sure that people who do like Arcana (still) will also love this new mcd, but for me the magic has gone a long time ago. Oh well, what can one say about musical taste?
Links: Arcana, Cyclic Law
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