Seetyca - Trances
Rngmnn – Arctic Interference
Kloob - Unpredictable Signs
Atomine Elektrine - The Antikythera Mechanism
Winter-Light is a Dutch label specialized in ambient, experimental and drone soundscapes. During the year 2019 the label released a number of high quality productions like Rapoon, Sysselmann, NIMH and Abbildung. We took with pleasure the time to listen further and deeper in their beautiful catalogue of 2019.
Seetyca - Trances
drone / dark ambient
Trances is the sequel to the album Zwischenwelten of the German drone artist Seetyca. The album was conceived and recorded during several summers. No warm seasonal tunes appeared, on the contrary, deep and dark signals of winter spheres are introduced on this mysterious album. The drones and soundscapes shiver like sharp ice rain slicing away the last pieces of the so hopeful winter light. Trances is a hypnotic piece of work with a lot of hidden layers like piano sounds, distorted humming and floating soundscapes, proving that Seetyca is a sound wizard like no other. We were very pleased with the mental climate change this album induced. Trances is a detailed beauty on ice.
Rngmnn – Arctic Interference
With chiming bells on a bed of dark drones presented on the first track, Rngmnn introduces his new work. RNGMNN aka Ronny Engmann from Germany, previously released albums on Noctivagant and Reverse Alignment, as well as a collaborative release on Cryo Chamber with Dronny Darko. Arctic Interference contains eight tracks with polar ambiance ranging from drifting pieces to tight, rhythmic and dark pulsating soundscapes. The industrial moods lurk behind the corner of this sharp edged electronic release. The tracks were recorded in the month of December, over a period of five years. RNGMNN uses field recordings, elements of percussion, samples and darkened electronic paths creating a desolated world where the only orientation point is the silence behind the ocean of sound structures RNGMNN produced. An awesome album for the darker parts of life.
Kloob - Unpredictable Signs
The music of Kloob beholds profundity. Barcelona based Dani Kloob focuses his creativity in deep ambient music since 2010. Unpredictable Signs is a fascinating descent into a maze of cryptic caves. The ambient soundscapes howl like eroding winds against the damp walls. Kloob uses all kinds of manipulated voices and field recordings to detail his compositions. Perplexing sound structures amplify the feeling of never coming back to the surface. This recording feels like entering a bottomless chasm without beginning or end. Kloob created an irresistible mesmerizing world filled with soft drones and refined electronic tunes. We are obligated to say that this ravishing album is very addictive.
Atomine Elektrine - The Antikythera Mechanism
ambient / experimental
Atomine Elektrine is a project of Peter Andersson, the artist behind the Swedish dark ambient project raison d’être. Inspired by the discovery of a mysterious analogue computer, Peter Andersson bundles his experiences as a sound creator in a new project. The enormous variety in approach and experiment with electronic based sounds makes this album not that easy to absorb. The Antikythera Mechanism sounds like cosmic clock, not only questioning time with creative squeaking and ticking of sprockets, but also using soundscapes, exploratory accents, glitch and sequencing. The result is a unique multidimensional melting of enigmatic sounds with a slight dark and edgy punk attitude. The Antikythera Mechanism is also available on vinyl and CD.
drone / ambient
Sietse Van Erve is already more twenty years active as Orphax and runs the Moving Furniture Records label that is specialized in experimental and electronic music. Circles, his last drone recording, was played live for several years in various forms and growing into a new direction. Van Erve’s found his biggest inspiration in the drone and minimalist work of Eliane Radigue.
Life Circles has no beginning and no end. This thirty-six minute drone can be played endlessly and dislocating the receiver’s grip of time awareness. Orphax whirring drone patterns have a property to liquefy the surrounding world and intensify the listening experience. The recordings were made in London and Birmingham, the first one in a relaxing state, the second with uprising tensions. Both registrations were melted together into a strange emotional journey.
To drone or not to drone? Well, at the first listening adventure of Life Circles, the humming sounds had a lack of depth. Once we used our headphones, the strange world of Orphax was audible and the obvious purpose of the artist was in reach. Life Circles demands a certain input and an open minded view from the listener.
This sonic adventure will be candy for the ears of the drone lovers, to others this will be only sound. By all means we favorite this recording and enjoyed the sonication of our brain cells. Let us drone again on the endless circles of life. This recording is available on cd and digital formats on the Moving Furniture Records Bandcamp page.
drone / ambient / post rock / shoegaze
The Dutch Norwegianism Records label was founded and shaped by Dead Neanderthals duo René Aquarius and Otto Kokke. Both artists couldn’t find the time to continue with the label (lots of music projects). New owner Hans van der Velden is now taking care of the label that is specialized in releasing noise, free- jazz, drone, grindcore, power-electronics and other weird stuff for the masses. Hans van der Velde is also the initiator behind the alternative music event Hans Festival taking place in Diepenheim Holland.
In fact thisquitearmy needs hardly an introduction. Canadian experimental guitarist Eric Quach (thisquietarmy) and Belgian drummer Tom Malmendier joined forces. Both musicians met at Beauté Soniques festival in Namur (Belgium) for a Hypnodrone Ensemble gig in the fall of 2016. They got fueled by continental travel stories and meetings through the underground scene. Tom Malmendier is a self-taught drummer who is interested in the sound, more than in the pure technique of the instrument. Playing with sounds and to improvise became a great part of his work as a musician.
Steppe is a collaboration of two artists melting their talents and improvisations into a mix of guitar drones and soundscapes submerged with enormous variations of drumming and percussion. Tom Malmendier ‘s work on this recording shows not only intensive pieces. His percussion also flirts lightly on the surface between the deep drones and effects of wizard Eric Quach. The varied atmospheres combined with the intense drumming make Steppe an interesting and worth listening piece of work. Guitarist Eric Quach shows again that he is a master in creating drones from another dimension.
Tom Malmendier rattles like a carpenter the guitar drones of Eric Quach into a solid and strong sound construction. The frenzied walls of sound have depth and are filled with the dynamic input of the Belgian drummer. Steppe is a vigorous and unpredictable release with surprising atmospheric vibes. We consider Steppe one of the better co-operations thisquietarmy already did.
post rock / post metal / drone
I've often wondered how bands name themselves, do they put lots of cool sounding words into a hat and pick them out and see what happens? (I'm looking at you, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard) or do they think long and hard about what type of music the band play and take it from there? Today’s album band falls very much in the later category and may well be one of the most apt band names I've ever heard.
The Boston natives return with their second full length following their well received previous album 'Though Your Sins Be As Scarlet, They Shall Be White as Snow; Though They be Red Like Crimson, They Shall Be As Wool' Yeah, these guys have a way with words all right. They play an instrumental style of post-whatever that takes it's time and sounds like an unrelenting force of nature (hence the apt band name).
Lead off single 'O World! I Remain No Longer Here' starts off with an ominous sounding drone and slowly ratchets up the tension until just the right moment and a torrent of exciting sludge is released. It takes a long time to unfurl it's full might but once it get there the fury is exhilarating. There is an unusual amount of thought which seems to have gone into this record, each note sounds like it was put there on purpose with no excess whatsoever.
Next up we have the brilliantly titled song (In truth, all the songs are magnificently named) 'The Bugles Blow Fanned by Hysteria' which starts of with a gentle drum beat, before adding textures of guitar, bass and atmospherics until the song dissolves into a gorgeous bass refrain and picks up once again. Once more, this song takes it's time to unwind and once more, the explosion of force when it finally arrives is impressively powerful. This clearly is an album that is in no hurry to get where it wants to go, and it's all the better for it as the heavier sections hit that much harder.
Third song 'We Glut Our Souls On The Accursed' Is a curious beast, it's practically one giant build up with various instruments and textures being layered on top of one another until the whole thing sounds like an out of control freight train, it's quite a left turn after the first couple of songs.
Last song 'And we Are Damned Amid Noble Sound' starts off with a cacophony of drums and guitars which sounds like being chased by a swarm of angry bees, it's quite unsettling which I think is the point. It takes some getting used to and rather outstays it's welcome in my opinion. It's a shame as the rest of the song is a fantastic doom laden grungy swamp of drudgery with plenty of low end goodness.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this album and although I personally loved the first 2 songs more than the last 2, there is a lot to like here and I would not hesitate to recommend this album.
ambient / drone
Anarchist Mountain is a mountain in British Columbia, Canada, near the United States border with Washington state. On the other hand, Anarchist Mountains is Jordan Christoff and Stefan Christoff. The two brothers are originally from Macedonia but living in Canada. Glad the internet exists because gathering info about these two ambient artists was not an easy job. The modest duo is also involved with several other music projects and visual artists.
Macedonians starts with Organ, a twenty-five minute long ambient soundscape based on looping organ-like sounds. The sound waves take you away from civilization into the wild with its filmic mood. Tension is slowly built up together with the looping speed in this prolonged creation. Noisy field recordings and effects were added in the background. The artists prefer to use only synthesizers, organ, various hardware effects and field recordings.
The second track Mountains At Night is a more mysterious trip. Drones are mixed with field recordings, meditative synths and ambient guitar vibes. A beautiful pallet of sounds causes a tranquilizing atmosphere which continues on 30 05 2016. This piece is based on guitar loops with a ritual touch and experimental effects. The buoyant soundscapes on Three end this remarkable piece of work.
Our research told us that Stefan Christoff collaborated on releases with various artists from the Montreal improvisation scene, like Sam Shalabi, Peter Burton and the multi-instrumentalist Brahja Waldman from New York. Jordan Christoff is active as the second half of the ambient duo PJS (with Patrick Dique) and creating calm ambient and live-improvised organic drones with Michelle Mostacci in the project Saturn's Daughter.
Anarchist Mountains is an experienced duo that made us listen to a fine and well balanced recording of ambient music with experimental inputs. Headphones are required to have this deep listening trip. Macedonians is also available on a limited edition CD on the label’s Bandcamp page.
Maximilian Latva - Nekyia
noise / dark ambient / experimental
HIN - Warmer Weather
Winterblind - Effigy
progressive / metal / black metal
Plague 9 - Mr. Ass
heavy metal / thrash metal
Things That Aren’t There - Vicious Cycles
downtempo / electronic / post rock / shoegaze
Wykan - Brigid - Of The Night
psychedelic / doom
Radien - Aste
sludge / black metal
Peter Jørgensen - Alt i Stykker
ambient / modern classical / experimental
Boobs Of Doom - Sorcerer
drone / doom / noise / experimental
Temple Music - The Unquiet Mind
ambient / electronic
Lunden - Lunden
Jimbo - Where The Vultures Gather
stoner rock / grunge / alternative rock
drone / ambient
After the critically acclaimed 'Collaborations I' album, Belgian guitar ambient act Stratosphere returns with a five-track EP. Aptly titled 'Repository', this EP delves into Ronald's archives and compiles five tracks written for an equal amount of special occasions. Although this EP is not as varied as 'Collaborations I', it is a perfect overview of the immersive, multi-layered ambient sound that pleasantly surprises ambient aficionados everywhere.
The EP opens with 'Hear', a slowly lingering ambient piece composed for the HEAR-festival, curated by Mike Kramer. In a way, this is a traditional Stratosphere track, with a neat blend of gloomy drones and meandering soundscapes. 'Anticipation', composed for Serge Timmers' debut novel 'Cecilia's World', is a sweet and almost classic drone ambient piece, all in perfect Stratosphere tradition and perfectly fitting with the calm atmosphere of the book itself.
'Essence' is an exception. This is the most "acoustic" that Stratosphere has ever been before. Pure, almost stripped down of any effects, but still the typical Stratosphere atmosphere is present.
And then, there is the intense and dark 'God Was Nowhere To Be Found'. This track was inspired by the opening scene for Serge Timmers' second novel, a superhuman thriller titled 'I Do Not Want This'. This track is a short but an exhilarating and suspenseful tune. Again, perfectly suited for its purpose. So is the magnificent closer 'Tides' by the way, composed to play live at Ashtoreth's Palazzo sessions. I was there, shaking my head in disbelief and mumbling "this guy is a genius". I was not this only one thinking that.
In all, this is simply a must-have for Stratosphere fans and a perfect start for those who want to get acquainted with his sound. The tunes on 'Repository' are baffling examples of Stratosphere's musical abilities. They certainly raise the bar in the drone-ambient scene. So, do yourself a favor and dive into the dreamy universe of Stratosphere. Get the EP, relax and let your mind wander off. It rarely gets better than this.
There is something inherently exciting in listening to an album and artist about which you have no preconceptions. Will I like it, will I not like it and what musical style will my ears be treated to are all things yet to be discovered.
So, in this weeks installment of a musical Pandora’s box we have an album by German composer Oliver Haas who goes by the moniker of Aporie and his new album Temporary Meaning. Bandcamp tags the album as ambient, post rock, drone, experimental and kraut-rock, quite a stew for me to experience, lets get started shall we.
Album opener The Foundation of Being starts with a droning note which morphs and ebbs and flows around delicately picked guitar notes, it's quite beguiling and already I'm pleased with what I'm hearing. Next track An Inevitable End follows a similar template but introduces heavily distorted guitar tones towards the end of the track which adds another dimension to the drone like nature of the record. Following track The Weight of an Idea feels like a de-constructed kraut-Rock tune with everything which makes a bombastic record stripped out, then only the very basic building blocks delicately built back up again made out of nothing more than wisps of sounds.
The next few songs continue the ambient theme and I keep drifting away, thinking of sitting in a church with the worlds quietest choir singing just for me in the background, it's all very mesmeric. That is until The End of a Legacy hits with some spacey tones and shake me out of my introspection, it sounds like someone is chasing me down a corridor on an intergalactic spaceship, either that or I'm in a futuristic space buggy hurtling towards an unexplored space station, I haven't quite decided yet.
The Universe Collapsing showcases more ambient textures with an ominous base throbbing which is quite unnerving and strangely hypnotic. Buried in Time ups the tempo slightly and introduces some very relaxing piano styling to proceedings and I'm very thankful for the variety. When next track Meaning in a Meaningless World starts, I imagine the swirly 60's special effects of space films for some reason, not sure why. Final track Echo Into Void brings back the delicate guitar notes and in a very nice way brings the album back round full circle to the first song.
So, to sum up, whilst not my usual musical preference (I usually prefer things on the heavier side), I've heard enough that I like what I hear and if you like your drone and ambient music, give this a listen, you will not be disappointed.
avant-garde / drone / experimental
Not that long ago, I was at Dunk Festival, reminiscing about the origin of their much loved forest stage. Along with a few festival buddies, I remembered the very first gig in that forest, even before it became a real stage. It was Canadian drone/ambient powerhouse Thisquietarmy and his massive soundscapes. It was pretty amazing, too.
Years have gone by and Eric Quach has not been at Dunk ever since. So I guess it's time to give him another shot next year. After all, he's got plenty of stuff in his repertoire. He can come alone, or with a full band or in the company of Aidan Girt (Godspeed You! Black Emperor). The latter would be simply baffling.
Some Became Hollow Tubes is the name of their mutual project. Eric on guitars and synths. Aidan blasting away on the drums. With 'Keep It In The Ground', they delivered a stunning piece of work, one that you will have to listen to several times and at several different volumes. The album contains six tracks, opening a bit hesitant with 'Red Eyes or Bleeding from the Nose or Mouth'. This track gradually evolves and somewhere in the middle of the thirteen minutes lasting sonic assault, the music has slowly put its droning tentacles in your brain. By the end, this is no longer Eric and Aidan, but a well-attuned act and a force to be reckoned with.
There is one act that often comes to mind when I listen to most of these tracks: Yodok III, or maybe better, The Void Of Expansion. Track two, 'Do Not Run Away or Hide Sick People' could be a track from one of Eric's other projects: Hypnodrone Ensemble. Further down the road, Aidan Baker and his Caudal trio come to mind and - obviously - here and there elements from Godspeed You! Black Emperor come shining through. But, I don't feel like Some Became Hollow Tubes is a band influenced by all these, I think it's pretty much the other way around. Let's just call it an amalgamation of two exceptional talents.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this album is the sheer amount of variation. I mentioned a few different acts, and when I did that, 'Another Bad Subplot About a Boy's Search for his Father' was just starting. With this tune, I'm even being reminded of Ashtoreth for a little while, before the drums come out and turn the whole thing into a jazzy drone tune. My favorite track is 'Dog Faced Propulsion', perhaps the most dramatic and pulsating track on this brilliant album. I think the message is clear here. If you're into drones & drums, kraut & psychedelic, ambient & percussion, you need this album. You'll need to pre-order quickly, too. These will sell quickly...
black metal / drone / doom
An album to be released on June 7th by Tartarus Records, Steel Casket, forty-five minutes long, is the work of black metal experimental group Primitive Man. With only two tracks – Fear, that lasts almost twenty-five minutes, and A Life of Turmoil, that lasts almost twenty-two – this is a very solid, cohesive and meticulous work of art, much more inclined to minimalist and sinister tendencies, than to aggressiveness in general. With a style that is very distant of conventional and traditional black metal, Steel Casket is a record basically made of two lugubrious and frivolous anthems of darkness and despair, that reveals immediately a very authorial and genuine band with an enormous creative potential, that has no fear at all in being audacious, imaginative, inventive and overtly sinister, without any concern for formalities or common ground signatures.
With rude and abrasive guitar lines that definitely conceives, revolves and duplicates a chaotic atmosphere of anguish and demise – using moderately some drone, dark ambient and experimental elements to create its nefarious and mordacious universe of desolate darkness and disturbed noise –, Primitive Man reveals itself a very technical and meticulous musical act, that combines perfectly the more atrocious aspects of their art with the creative methods of diligent experimentation and sordid minimalism.
Producing a very intense sound that can be exceedingly dreadful and saturated with a dying level of expectation, Steel Casket sounds as a perfect soundtrack for an horror movie; the perennial atmosphere of its disturbing darkness is a constant feature that resonates impeccably throughout the record, and its dreadful overtones surpasses the boundaries of all abominations conceived by the human sensibilities. Being basically a dark ambient record made on guitars, this is a very instigating and conspicuous work of macabre art, that will really make you feel as if you’re inside an horror movie, trapped in a dark cathedral at midnight, with a horrendous doom about to befall over you, with a fatal overcome.
An exceedingly impeccable record, that captures with perfection exactly what the band proposes musically – to produce a sinister, lugubrious and exceedingly horrendous sound, that resonates the nefarious expectation of something terrible – you can really describe Steel Casket as a very competent and audacious state of the art work, that achieves its frightening purpose with an astounding degree of lucidity and professionalism. Never being repetitive nor monotonous, Primitive Man achieves with this album a formidable result, that will certainly please all enthusiasts of exotic, tempestuous, afflictive and dense dark experimental music, showcasing a level of proficiency and originality that only a handful of other bands are capable to replicate.