Reviews: ambient

(ambient / soundscapes / ritual / drones)

Aidan Baker – Traumerei

Records of Aidan Baker are always welcome in my collection. Baker has established a reputation as a very prolific composer of all kinds of soundscapes. ‘Traumerei’ is party a lush and ethnic ambient album, partly a ambient-pop album.

Sadkarma – Solis (EP)

‘Solis’ is an EP release through Onyxia Records. ‘Solis’ is mostly atmospherics and ambience, but also features piano, guitar other electronic instruments.

Jarl – Fragile Confrontation

Having listened to my fair share of ambient over the years, I can say with some certainty that ‘Fragile Confrontation’ is well done.

Rondel Kilgore & Heath Yonaites – Damaged Lethal Harmonies

On this release, Rondel Kilgore and Heath Yonaites are supported by The Melbourne Subterrenean Childrens Choir (on a picture on the back sleeve they are shown temporarily above ground).

Ovro – Gegendurchgangenzeit

An album that was never planned, but has been released nonetheless. This surely must have a story to it, and that’s correct.

Desiderii Marginis – That which is tragic and timeless

The dark sound sculptures of Desiderii Marginis can at times be compared with those of Raison D’Être. This new album consist of nine long moody tracks. The sounds take you deep under ground. Machine noises with lots of echoes make you think you are in a deserted secret place.

Tzesne – Huffduff

Drone Records has accomplished over 70 releases, each by different artists. Established ambient/drone acts are alternated by interesting newcomers. An example of the latter category is Tsezne, a for me completely unknown project from Spain. Apparently Tsezne has created two cd-r’s before.

Kattoo – Megrim

I was not familiar with the project Kattoo. Kattoo is Volker Kahl from Beefcake and Megrim is the second album. With this record Hymen has released a gem. Megrim is one long trip consisting of great sounds and beautiful moments. The record opens with an orchestral piece with some industrial sounds in the background. This might make you think of Raison d’Être…

Visions – Lapse

Visions is a new creative outlet for Frédéric Arbour, founder of the Cyclic Law label. Earlier he released a fine album as Instincts, and he also plays in a doom metal band called Longing For Dawn. This album by Visions is a fine collection of ‘classical’ dark soundscapes, like we’re used of from Cyclic Law…

Kammarheit – The Starwheel

Two years after “Asleep And Well Hidden”, Kammarheit from Sweden is back with a new dark ambient cd on Cyclic Law. An album with a evocative and melancholic style. It contains over three quarters of an hour of accessible dark soundscapes, with not too heavy drones and melodic layers of sound washing over you…

Tennant/Lowe – Battleship Potemkin

Almost without noticing I seem to possess the near complete works of the Pet Shop Boys. I’m not an enormous fan, but I do have a weak spot for the cynical disco-pop of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. Therefore a new album is always interesting. ‘Battleship Potemkin’ is no regular Pet Shop Boys album though…

:Golgotha: – Waste Land

This is without a doubt the most ritual release I heard this year. This album is entitled “Waste Land”; the title couldn’t be better to describe the musical contents. This is no uplifting energetic song-oriented music, no…this is oppressing cinematographic ritual music! Although it’s easy to compare this project with diverse Cold Meat bands, there’s a difference in instrumentation…

Antimatter – Planetary Confinement

After two records with electronic elements Planetary Confinement by Antimatter is a sort of unplugged album. Following an acoustic tour this album will be no surprise to the fans of the band. An acoustic guitar, subtle drums, nice violin and dreamy vocals are the building stones of the dark but beautiful music on this record. Planetary Confinement has elegance…

Dream System – Traveling after Midnight

The additional info states that ‘Dream system is probably the best embodiment of Foreshadow’s [the label’s] slogan: dark, bleak, emotional.’ I would say this isn’t completely true. The music is definitely dark, but when I think of bleak and emotional music I think of acts such as Raison d’Etre, Land, Cold Meat acts for example and slow doom or slow post-rock…

Baker, Aidan – Figures

I knew Aidan Baker as the composer of high quality ambient structures, such as his split ‘Undercurrents’ with Matt Borghi. His twentieth solo release ‘Figures’ is no exception when speaking of quality, although it’s somewhat different than ‘ordinary’ ambient…

V/A – Another Gizya

‘Eleven artists colonize the liquid sphere’s Gizya.’ What meant is: at the end of 2003 and the beginning of 2004, ten artists were sent a copy of Liquid Sphere’s ‘Gizya’ and/or the sounds and field recordings used in the creation of that album…

No Xivic – Uneksija

In a digipack with rather curious painted artwork comes this dark ambient creation by no Xivic. This is a project by Henkka Kyllönen from Finland, who released some cd-r’s and EP’s before. On this 70+ minute album a really desolate atmosphere is created, where humans are largely absent…

SALA – En-trance

Autarkeia, an industrial label/mailorder from Lithuania, firstly deserves praise for its consistent quality of artwork. They started with cd-r’s, but now they have released their first ‘real cd’s’, one by Ahnenerbe and two by a project called SALA. There are also plans for releases by the likes of Negru Voda and Fire in the Head…

Atrabilis Sunrise – Altered alternative (boredom level)

I like gritty ambience. When ambience is too smooth and produced like a pop record, in many cases the mood is destroyed. I would not consider Atrabilis Sunrise (continuation of dark-industrial act Catharsis) to be ambient. It definitely has ambient and dark-industrial influences, but it’s more varied, harsh and complex in structure…

V/A – Sonic Visions of Middle-earth

A CD in a luxury package that tries to bring to mind different locations and happenings in the well-known epic fantasy-novel ”The Lord of the Rings’ by Tolkien. Several well-known and lesser known acts bring together 75 minutes of soundscapes. The disc starts with “Fog On The Barrow-Downs” by Leviathan…