V/A – Nord Ambient Alliance

The new Canadian label Cyclic Law (“providers of dark soundscapes”) has not made a modest start. After an album by Instincts/Bustum, this compilation is their second release. And again it is a remarkable item. The music is of very high quality, delivered by five promising acts in the dark ambient field. This ‘ 5-way split’ contains exclusive tracks from these northern creaters of dark soundscapes; Northaunt (Norway), Predominance (Germany), Instincts (Canada), Kammarheit (Sweden) and Svartsinn (Norway). The packaging also is very special. “Nord Ambient Alliance” comes in a luxurious A5 sleeve, which contains, apart from the cd, some splendid looking A5 cards, one for each act involved.

The music on this compilation has a lot of atmosphere. Northaunt brings us two very calm soundscapes, with a very cold mood, which make you think of a desolate place in Scandinavia, during bad weather. Their second track holds your attention, because their are many indefinable sounds in the background. Predominance, which I know from the Saturn Gnosis compilation amongst others, creates a more ritual, doom-ridden atmosphere, with mysterious whispered vocals and slowly pulsating rhythms. Their second contribution, ‘Dust of lost paradise’, sounds a little more threatening. It is a rather minimal, industrial soundscape, reminding of older Lustmord material.

Perhaps my favourite pieces on this sampler come from Instincts. Highly atmospheric, combining ambient with neo-classical. The speech samples and the sounds of storm fit in very well with the melancholic background. The second track from Instincts is a little slower, but very solemn and majestic, with church bells and some desparate voices adorning the music. Next is Kammarheit, a name I knew through mp3.com. This new Swedish act already sounds experienced. Their two tracks are very bleak soundscapes, especially the second one is very nice. I imagine it being used as a soundtrack for an apocalyptic movie, in which the earth has collapsed and you are watching shots of dust and debris. A whole Kammarheit album will appear on Cyclic Law later this year. The last act on the cd is Svartsinn, just like Northaunt from Norway. Deep drones and scary sounds arising from the shadows, but combined with more melodic, atmospheric elements, makes this interesting listening material. A very dark sound, with some extreme frequencies. Earliert his year Svartsinn released its debut album on Eibon Records.

This compilation brings togerther some very talented dark ambient artists, and gives you a splendid dark trip for over an hour!

artist: V/A
label: Cyclic Law
details: 10 tracks, 64 minutes. releasedate: July 4, 2002