VA – Subterranean Ways of Thinking

This compilation on Avatar Records (a German cult label related to Combative Alignment) brings together some of the finest names in the ambient/drone scene. It was released in 2004, but only recently made it to my collection. Desiderii Marginis, Troum, Inade, Schloss Tegal… I could think of a worse line-up for this type of music.

The packaging is relatively simple, but the slice of vinyl feels like good quality. Each side of the record contains four tracks lasting 4-5 minutes, and as far as I know most material is exclusive to this LP, inclduing some remixes. The music on the album is ‘based on subterranean thoughts’.

Side A contains solid dark ambient with industrial elements created by Desiderii Marginis and Combative Alignment and an elegant atmospheric drone structure by Troum. A nice surprise is ‘Golden Elipse’ by the for me unknown Irem Of Pillars, which has fine ritual percussion and other ‘ethnic’ touches.

The other side continues in the same high quality. Inade perfectly builds up the tension with a multilayered piece full of rhythms and rusty machine samples. Cycle Zero is another newcomer, with an interesting composition with detailed elements like nice crackling sounds against a minimal droning background. The two heaviest and most oppressive tracks are saved till the end with with Ionosphere and Schloss Tegal, of which especially the latter one makes you feel exhausted.

An essential album for lovers of well-crafted dark soundscapes. The LP is limited to less than 300 copies, so don’t hesitate when you encounter it.

label: Avatar Records
details: LP, 8 tracks, 2004 [AVATAR 08]