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MUSIC, AMBIENCE AND SOUND ART => Other Ambient (and related) Music => Topic started by: 9dragons on July 22, 2008, 01:32:07 AM

Title: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on July 22, 2008, 01:32:07 AM
I find this category to be a strange place to dwell. A lot of the super dark ambient is just so stupidly cliche and fake evil, it is sad. I have to admit that I include Lustmord amongst the cheesball dark ambience. I was once a hardcore fan, but the last few albums he did (Metavoid, Carbon Core) were so crappily soundtracky (and not even in a good way) that it made me look askance at all his other work, and ruined it for me.

So what or who is the darkest ambient, but still good, honest, and truly deep instead of just cheesy? Recently, I had the five cd changer going, cycling through all the albums. At a certain point, I forgot what I had in there, and got distracted in some tasks. You know how sometimes you hear some big blasting sound outside, like a deep distant truck, or jet liner, or some other deep bass city sound, and your ambient tuned mind just grapples on to it as sounding really cool? This was happening to me all of a sudden; I was thinking, whatever that sound is, it is cooler than any dark ambient I've heard, that is some deep and insane stuff! I went back into my room, and realized it was Inade's "Aldebaran" playing!

So my estimation of Inade is fairly high. These guys go deep, but they are very thoughtful, and really seem to have a mission, a reason for going deep. Other dark feasts of late include Asmorod's "Hysope", and Necropolis' "Necrosphere"...
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Undershadow on July 22, 2008, 02:14:37 AM

So what or who is the darkest ambient, but still good, honest, and truly deep instead of just cheesy?


I found some of the best Dark stuff (as well as the worst) on the Canadian label, Cyclic Law (http://www.cycliclaw.com (http://www.cycliclaw.com)), when I had a bunch of their releases to do up as a label profile. The profile is here (http://www.ei-mag.com/profile0011.php (http://www.ei-mag.com/profile0011.php)), for those who wish to challenge their attention span, but for those who want to cut to the chase, these four are excellent Dark Ambient works that largely avoid the horror-show soundtrack cartoon doom-mongering that 9dragons refers to:

Kammarheit - Asleep And Well Hidden
(http://www.cycliclaw.com/pict./Kammarheit.jpg)
http://www.cycliclaw.com/3rdcycle.html (http://www.cycliclaw.com/3rdcycle.html)

NorthauntHorizons
(http://www.cycliclaw.com/pict./northaunt-horizons2%27.jpg)
http://www.cycliclaw.com/16thcycle.html (http://www.cycliclaw.com/16thcycle.html)

Gustaf Hildebrand - Primordial Resonance
(http://www.cycliclaw.com/pict./GustafprimordialBig.jpg)
http://www.cycliclaw.com/15thcycle.html (http://www.cycliclaw.com/15thcycle.html)

VisionsLapse
(http://www.cycliclaw.com/pict./Visions-lapse2%27.jpg)
http://www.cycliclaw.com/14thcycle.html (http://www.cycliclaw.com/14thcycle.html)

The other obvious label to mention for purveying euphonious gloom is Cold Meat Industry. I’m not generally a fan of their ethos (for reasons I mention in my profile of Cyclic Law, see link above), but I thought the last Raison d’Etre was very good, avoiding some of those bombastic martial clichés that some CMI acts tend to peddle. The other CMI artist who I find to be a cut above the rest is Desiderii Marginis, though if you can’t take an intense level of solemnity, you’re advised to pass by on the other side of these acts:

Raison d’EtreMetamorphyses
(http://www.coldmeat.se/imgs/%7B42241535-028d-43de-b931-2a66ad6d5e59%7D.jpg)
http://www.coldmeat.se/catalogue/catalogueitem.asp?id=1392
 (http://www.coldmeat.se/catalogue/catalogueitem.asp?id=1392)
Desiderii Marginis - That which is Tragic and Timeless
(http://www.coldmeat.se/imgs/%7Be5d36694-23e1-4daa-b9a5-6d906caba5e4%7D.jpg)
http://www.coldmeat.se/catalogue/catalogueitem.asp?id=1147 (http://www.coldmeat.se/catalogue/catalogueitem.asp?id=1147)


Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: avec on July 22, 2008, 02:45:52 AM
This is a good thread idea.  I'll give that Cyclic Law label a look and am ready to hear more suggestions as well.  I don't believe I have much "dark ambient" as far as I can tell.  Although some of the music I have probably would skirt upon the genre. 

Although I do like Heresy and Stalker by Lustmord.  Would Magnificent Void be considered Dark Ambient? 
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: solyaris on July 22, 2008, 03:52:34 AM
This is a good thread idea. 
.... 

I hate dark ambient, topic abused in this forum :(
Indeed I really loved Windy&Carl "consciousness"  album, you use as your picture here ;)
giorgio
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: DeepR on July 22, 2008, 03:58:01 AM
I think Raison d'Etre - Metamorphyses is fantastic.
Also recommend Troum & Yen Pox - Mnemonic Induction for a very dark gloomy album.

I found Magnificent Void only dark and menacing at first, but when I really got into it I understood it isn't like most dark ambient. It's not sinister or haunting. There isn't the slightest hint of any particular location or event. There's nothing 'earthly' or 'human' about it. It's just 'neutral' and completely out there, in space and beyond. In an infinite and ultimately peaceful void of endless black, grey and purple horizons. Pure bliss. :)
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Undershadow on July 22, 2008, 04:21:34 AM

[...] dark ambient, topic abused in this forum :([...]


I'm not sure what you mean by this phrase. Who has abused this topic? How has it been abused?
What constitutes abuse of a topic? Elucidation, please.



Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: solyaris on July 22, 2008, 04:35:40 AM

[...] dark ambient, topic abused in this forum :([...]


I'm not sure what you mean by this phrase. Who has abused this topic? How has it been abused?
What constitutes abuse of a topic? Elucidation, please.

overindulged


Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Exuviae on July 22, 2008, 05:27:48 AM
Oddly, when I've seen the topic of Dark Ambient come up on message boards, I always seem to be the first to state the obvious, but at any rate: www.darkwinter.com.

Nathan, in my opinion, has done a stellar job at providing the listening audience with a wide array of dark electronic and ambient throughout the years. High quality music, an intelligent aesthetic, and best of all...FREE of charge. No flimsy Halloween albums here and a lot of other elements mixed in as well.

I, also, have begun trying my hand at some darker, and more strange types of material. My recent live performance is quite different from my previous Exuviae efforts and is available for FREE download at: www.exuviaemusic.com/audio.html

Ok-end of shamless self plug...

.b



Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: mgriffin on July 22, 2008, 06:27:30 AM
Good recommendations by Alan, of Cyclic Law releases and select CMI releases.

I would also say that even those who have disliked some of Lustmord's work should still not give up on him until/unless they've heard The Place Where the Black Stars Hang, which would be an ambient music "desert island" selection for me, let alone a "dark" ambient favorite.

I've also really been fond of Svartsinn lately, another Cyclic Law artist not mentioned by Alan above.  For those wishing for a low-risk way to check out this artist, he contributed a track to the upcoming (any day now, I think) Hypnos compilation, Message from a Subatomic World.

As for Roach's Magnificent Void, I'd characterize it as dark-ish but without the overtly spooky elements of many recordings called "dark ambient."  Same goes for Stalker which is among my favorite things with either Robert Rich's or Lustmord's name on it.  The Fathom sub-label of Hearts of Space had a good thing going there for a while.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Bill Binkelman on July 22, 2008, 07:09:25 AM
I think some of Artemiy Artemiev's work on his own Electroshock label is worthy of mention, in particular his solo release Mysticism of Sound, his collaboration with Phillip Klinger, Dreams in Moving Space, and at least parts of Transfiguration which he did with Peter Frohmader. As I've gotten older I find that Stalker is less and less "scary" whereas Rich's overlooked release A Troubled Resting Place has some spooky moments on it. Some of the more abstract music I received from Staalplaat back in the late '90s was, well, disturbing. Scary? Maybe. But it sure weirded me out.

OTOH, one, I'm not a big fan of "dark" ambient anyway, per se. I like it okay but I prefer other subgenres. Plus, I'm easy to scare so what's dark to me is probably lightweight to others.  ;D
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Joe R on July 22, 2008, 12:07:41 PM
I agree with 9 Dragons that Lustmord is just WAY over the top. I have Heresy and The Monstrous Soul, and I find them both a little silly. As Mike mentions, maybe I should try ...Black Stars Hang, but I hate to invest more money on Lustmord at this point.

Monodia, by Austere is a good, ominous, dark ambient feast.

Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on July 22, 2008, 11:54:19 PM
Yes, even the supposed Lustmord "classics" like Heresy and Black Stars are pretty damn formulaic and cheese infested...

As for Magnificent Void, to me it is kind of like the template for what I look for in dark ambient. It is dark because that is where it needs to go, and the darkness is offset and highlighted, so to speak, by a variety of textures and ideas. It is dark as a product of its creation, I don't feel, when I listen to it, that Roach set out to make something intentionally dark or spooky, so the work comes out organic and alive, and much more dark, in my opinion, than when somebody is trying so hard to be dark.

I forgot that Lustmord was in on Stalker, which is one of the best dark ambient works of all, up there with Magnificent Void. So kudos for that. But I always felt that he just supplied Rich with some sound sources and textures and the true meat of the album comes from Rich's ingeniousness. Witness that there is nothing approaching how awesome this album is in Lustmord's catalogue, but in Rich's body of work there is an absolute gold mine of dark ambient mastery. Robert Rich can definitely turn up the scary and unease factor, but not because he is trying to be that way, but that feels truly like his inspiration, where he is following his muse.

I have been impressed with Cyclic Law. Kammarheit is the standout for me. Not sure about Northaunt, kind of a Rich copycat. Hildebrand I found to be quite lame on a second listen.

Alan, you are spot on about Metamorphyses and That Which is Tragic and Timeless. These are great albums. Especially Metamorphyses, which really deserves more recognition as a work of (perhaps) genius. These two are the jewels in the crown of CMI.

Speaking of CMI, are there any fans of Sephiroth, the artist who did Cathedron? This music is actually quite wonderful. Maybe a touch of the dramatic, but the ambient wonder is so well put together. The pounding drums are enjoyable for a different take on dark ambient. And his solo stuff under his own name, Ulf Soderberg, is wordly, ethnic tinged (in a very intelligent way) travelouge dark ambient. Very vivid and magical scenes come to mind when hearing his work.

Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: jim brenholts on July 23, 2008, 06:33:17 AM
there are two artists from pittsburgh performing very dark ambient - powder french and requiem. their music is much more in the experimental arena than most but still very dark and mysterious.
lull is very dark and lustmord is way out there but i love his stuff. rapoon has some great dark ambience. but the best of the lot is laszlo hortobagyi!!!!!!!! his stuff is below hell and darker than extreme black. it makes bach's toccata and fugue seem like a nursery rhyme.
personally, i do not believe it is possible to overindulge our musical preferences. none of my friends are into this music so i can only "discuss" it here.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: jim brenholts on July 23, 2008, 06:37:10 AM
and thanks for the suggestions and links above. there are some new artists for me to check out!
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: jkn on July 23, 2008, 01:45:50 PM
I like Lustmord's Place Where the Dark Stars Hang...

I just listened to the HSS release Darkened Soul - Bathys today for the first time.  I'd characterize it as fairly dark.  If you like deep low drones - it's up your alley.

Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Joe R on July 23, 2008, 07:06:45 PM
I always considered Nocturnes, by Oophoi/Paradin to be incredibly black, although with sharp bursts of light. Great album no matter how it's described.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: darkenedsoul on July 24, 2008, 10:27:12 AM
Hmm, my favorite genre ;-)

Darkened Soul (shameless plug), Nether, Profound as a Thousand Nights (formerly from Nothingness Records), The Victim Shudders, Inade, Troum, Yen Pox (as previously stated), Angel of Decay (jonathan's newer project, he did Hollow Earth - Dog Days of the Holocaust bug AoD is very dark), New Risen Throne I like, very CMI-ish as usual.  But I love a lot of the stuff from CMI (raison d'etre, etc...). And a lot from Cyclic Law's label are quite good as previously mentioned. I really liked the Nord Ambient Alliance (I think that was the title) which inroduced me to those artists on it. I think there may also be another release from Frederic's first ambient project before Visions which I very much look forward to if it ever sees the light of day. I should email him about that as it's been awhile since we conversed. I met him last year at a show in western mass. Nice guy!
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: drone on on July 24, 2008, 12:58:41 PM
A very good dark ambient disc I got recently from the Hypnos store is Andrea Marutti's "Subliminal Relation Between the Planets" on Nextera.  HIs first release under his own name, also records as Amon and Never Known. 
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: SiF on July 24, 2008, 01:13:45 PM
I am not into this whole dark ambient scene. never was and never will be.
But i really like Andrea Marutti's "The Brutality of Misbreathing" because
it avoids those typical dark ambient cliche's. Instead its just incredibly
intense music which really lets you feel why he chooses this Album Title.
Dark and claustrophobic.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on July 24, 2008, 02:47:58 PM
I am not into this whole dark ambient scene. never was and never will be.
But i really like Andrea Marutti's "The Brutality of Misbreathing" because
it avoids those typical dark ambient cliche's. Instead its just incredibly
intense music which really lets you feel why he chooses this Album Title.
Dark and claustrophobic.

Your statement seems a bit contradictory. I can fully understand, and of course agree with, not liking music that is cliche and lame. But if you like the Marutti album, and it is in the genre of Dark Ambient, then perhaps you are getting into this genre. I began this thread by saying there is a lot in Dark Ambient that I dislike. Indeed, it is a very abused genre, with many cheesy hacks trying to be all dark, deep, and evil. But like anything that comes to be defined as a genre, there are a lot of bandwagoners, and then there is the source material.

Joe says it quite well when he mentions Oophoi:
I always considered Nocturnes, by Oophoi/Paradin to be incredibly black, although with sharp bursts of light. Great album no matter how it's described.

I am happy that Oophoi is mentioned in this thread, as I would consider him to be one of the stars of dark ambient music. I feel this, for the very reason that he is not one sided at all, but goes where his imagination and dream takes him. And there is some very dark, remote territory there. But it is offest by underworldly light that he shines. No shadows without light, and the best dark ambient stumbles into passages of aetheric beauty, which become all the more powerful for the darker modes. I guess what I love is the contrast, the depth and the breadth.

So I would have to agree with you that one-sided dark ambient sucks, and I have bought my share of albums that were lame in this genre. But hopefully the whole thing can be defined by what is great about it, instead of the crap. I wonder, though, are there more crappy dark ambient releases these days than good? Personally, I don't think so, but I guess I have learned to avoid the cliche stuff...
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: mgriffin on July 24, 2008, 02:53:54 PM
What most people call "dark ambient" now, didn't really exist when I got into ambient music.  When people talked about "dark ambient" 10 years ago or so, they meant ambient music that was darker, deeper, and slower... stuff like Lustmord, Thomas Koner, or Trances/Drones.  More like what I'd now refer to as "night ambient," not meant to be spooky, just sedate and subdued.  By this definition, stuff like Oophoi or Vidna Obmana or even my own work might be considered "dark ambient."

Then a bunch of black metal crossover artists sort of took the words "dark ambient" and it became sort of industrial-ish, abrasive ambient with overtly "spooky" or aggro elements.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on July 24, 2008, 08:09:52 PM
What most people call "dark ambient" now, didn't really exist when I got into ambient music.  When people talked about "dark ambient" 10 years ago or so, they meant ambient music that was darker, deeper, and slower... stuff like Lustmord, Thomas Koner, or Trances/Drones.  More like what I'd now refer to as "night ambient," not meant to be spooky, just sedate and subdued.  By this definition, stuff like Oophoi or Vidna Obmana or even my own work might be considered "dark ambient."

Then a bunch of black metal crossover artists sort of took the words "dark ambient" and it became sort of industrial-ish, abrasive ambient with overtly "spooky" or aggro elements.


This is interesting. I never really thought about the dichotomy between these two styles or camps of dark ambient. But I find that what I've heard of the doomy dudes doens't usually compare to something like Vidna's "Dante" trilogy in terms of sheer depth and intesnity, and yes, beauty. I was getting into the doom metal ambient for a while, stuff like Nordvargr, but there came a certain point where it just seemed completely shallow and more halloweeny than actually dark. But that doom sense, the way you describe it, could just as well describe Lustmord's first album, so it could be said that this crossover has been in process for a while. But also, bands like Sunn O))) have made it way more common. Sunn O))) are -  if you'll pardon the expression - pussies compared to masters like Oophoi though, when you get down to what is really deep and dark. The term Dark Ambient to me involves deepness, mystery, and a heavy sense of soul; the industrial side is there in Rapoon and Troum, but what I have always loved about it is that in all that bleak expanse of sound, it still manages to be infused with animistic tendencies. I compare it to music like old school blues. One feels (at least I feel) that some of those old Robert Johnson songs, or early Duke Ellington, is so much more "evil" in the sense of ancient and dark, than bands like Slayer or whatever could ever be.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: drone on on July 24, 2008, 11:16:30 PM
Mike makes a good point here.  Actually the Andrea Marutti stuff is perhaps better classified as "ambient drone that happens to be dark." Same with Oophoi, a lot of his music is dark but in the current definition of "dark ambient" his stuff is quite different.  "Dark Ambient" now seems to imply industrial-instrumental-noisy-scary. My local record store (Amoeba in San Francisco) has a whole section titled "dark ambient" and basically what you find is the Cyclic Law/Cold Meat labels and artists. The store would stock Marutti probably under "experimental" (as well as Oophoi), and they have Lustmord stuff in the "Gothic" section, along with Alio Die! So go figure.  Still haven't figured out why they moved Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze out of "New Age" and into "Psychedelic," yet they left Steve Roach discs under "New Age" alongside Yanni, Harold Budd, and Michael Brook.  I don't get it.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: SiF on July 25, 2008, 12:27:04 AM
I am not into this whole dark ambient scene. never was and never will be.
But i really like Andrea Marutti's "The Brutality of Misbreathing" because
it avoids those typical dark ambient cliche's. Instead its just incredibly
intense music which really lets you feel why he chooses this Album Title.
Dark and claustrophobic.

Your statement seems a bit contradictory. I can fully understand, and of course agree with, not liking music that is cliche and lame. But if you like the Marutti album, and it is in the genre of Dark Ambient, then perhaps you are getting into this genre. I began this thread by saying there is a lot in Dark Ambient that I dislike. Indeed, it is a very abused genre, with many cheesy hacks trying to be all dark, deep, and evil. But like anything that comes to be defined as a genre, there are a lot of bandwagoners, and then there is the source material.

Joe says it quite well when he mentions Oophoi:
I always considered Nocturnes, by Oophoi/Paradin to be incredibly black, although with sharp bursts of light. Great album no matter how it's described.

I am happy that Oophoi is mentioned in this thread, as I would consider him to be one of the stars of dark ambient music. I feel this, for the very reason that he is not one sided at all, but goes where his imagination and dream takes him. And there is some very dark, remote territory there. But it is offest by underworldly light that he shines. No shadows without light, and the best dark ambient stumbles into passages of aetheric beauty, which become all the more powerful for the darker modes. I guess what I love is the contrast, the depth and the breadth.

So I would have to agree with you that one-sided dark ambient sucks, and I have bought my share of albums that were lame in this genre. But hopefully the whole thing can be defined by what is great about it, instead of the crap. I wonder, though, are there more crappy dark ambient releases these days than good? Personally, I don't think so, but I guess I have learned to avoid the cliche stuff...

I never said that dark ambient sucks. Or that one-sided dark ambient sucks.
It depends on the person who is listening to this stuff. If he likes it. Great.
If he dislikes it. Also great. And if you are into this cliche stuff, then go
ahead and buy millions of albums. If you don't care then i don't care.

What i wanted to say is, that i rather listen to more "positive" ambient
music such as Growing and this stuff. I just don't like this "dark" and
"misanthropic" kind of noodeling. There is a fine line between what i
call "depressive music" and "melancholic music". I really love SoTL
because there music tends to fall into the last category. Its not just
totally black and you imagine an abyss or something, but its still far
away from being "happy everything is fine and we all jump across a
green field of red flowers while birds are singing our names-music".

But in the end, the line between "normal" ambient music and "dark"
ambient music got washed away during the last years and its hard
to categorize something. thats true.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: drone on on July 25, 2008, 08:07:41 AM
Yeah dark ambient is depressing. I save it for special occasions, otherwise I'd probably walk around in a catatonic state feeling life was one big black abyss of nothingness :-)
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Bill Binkelman on July 25, 2008, 08:11:48 AM
Yeah dark ambient is depressing. I save it for special occasions, otherwise I'd probably walk around in a catatonic state feeling life was one big black abyss of nothingness  :-)

Sounds like a typical day for me! ;D
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on July 25, 2008, 12:59:30 PM
I always take a step back and try to evaluate the music when someone else with a completely different musical history (especially my wife) views it in a way that is totally contradictory to how I feel about it. She is blown away by how evil and murky the dark ambient can sound. I remember her funny reaction to Possible Planet by Roach, and how she commented that this music would screw people's minds up. I thought about it, and really considered it, and came to the conclusion that for me, the opposite was true. I find it quite cathartic. If I am in a depressed mood, some good dark ambient, something like Nebula's "Genesis", takes me to deep reaches of the mind, and puts everything into proper perspective. I think it has a mellowing and grounding effect. But then again, I consider "Possible Planet" and "Genesis" as well as Inade or the CMI stuff to be dark ambient, so my definitions of what I'm listening to may be skewed...

But there doesn't seem to be another category name for different ranges of dark ambient. I think it's ok that way, as a genre should have a wide net in which to play. I like the permutations. An album like "Stalker" could be seen a scary in many parts, and could amp up one's paranoia if one were in the wrong mood, but I think it leads to a cathartic space, it lets us out. I think the best stuff does this, creates a balance. After all, in the deepest reaches of the mind, soul, space, the world, whatever, there are no value judgements in terms of what the human mind can grasp. I think "Magnificent Void" tries to strive for that balance. How can man express the furthest reaches, the void, in art?
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: jkn on July 25, 2008, 01:22:30 PM
Maybe I'm really weird... but "Magnificent Void" I've never thought of as 'dark'.    I like it - I find it relaxing.

As mentioned earlier - it's perspective.    Someone who listens to a lot of a type of music - can discern subtle variations between various artists and music that others don't hear (or care to hear). 

I let my co-workers listen to 'sub.terra' which has music from me, vidna obmana, vir unis, saul stokes, and m bentley...  I didn't really think it was a 'dark' album - it hints at it - but the universal reaction from everyone in accounting was that it sounded like  "horror film soundtrack" and they expected for someone with an ax to jump out and hack someone to bits.   Not the reaction I was really intending... but none of those people listen to ambient... or really even instrumental music.   A couple of country fans, rock fan, pop fan.   It's nice they wanted to hear it and I really don't mind those types of comparisons when I know someone isn't into this type of music at all.

However - if a person who's really into dark stuff listened to the album - they'd probably hear the 'hints' of darkness and not even think it was really a dark album at all.   I find quite a bit of it uplifting.   Then again - I'm biased.

As far as Lustmord goes - I really like 'dark stars' from him (i just wish there were track markers in the darn thing...) - at one point it made me think of some giant beast flying through underground caverns - in a sort of dungeons and dragons - dungeon crawl sort of way... 

I don't listen to enough of the darkest dark ambient music (still haven't heard any CMI artists except in mp3 samples...) - so - I don't have a lot of input on it.   

Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on July 25, 2008, 02:19:03 PM
Could it be this that causes people to feel so uneasy?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritone
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: jdh on July 26, 2008, 01:13:55 AM
My question is;who or perhaps why do you listen to dark ambient.I also listened to this for a bit,many years ago,Lustmord,etc.. nothing ever really black like death metal or some of the artists mentioned here,until I discovered what I was looking for,which was more space or deep space or drone,even drift music,such as SOTL,Vir Unis,Rich,Grassow,some Fax/Hypnos,etc. in the early 1990s
The very nature of dark(ness) to me means nightmares,feeling hopeless,sad,etc..so why would someone want to create this or listen to it.Maybe it is an age thing where you progress from genre to genre.In the early 80s,for a brief time I was into Throbbing Gristle,SPK,etc..then went into other types.The Lustmord phase did not last long though I think it is very well done for what it is.For me,it was a gate to the music above.
But then I have never been attracted to horror films either.
Anyway,that is the question,not a judgement on anyone but curious.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Undershadow on July 26, 2008, 01:30:19 AM
Well, in response, I’ll throw in the conclusion to a profile I wrote last year on the Cyclic Law label (mentioned earlier in this thread). I came to review the label’s output without any prior knowledge of it, and found some of the best and worst of the Dark Stuff:

“[...] Having reached the end of a fantastic voyage, this phonaut is aware of having encountered a dazzling and demonic array of sonic fables, not all of which have been entirely fabulous. It's unclear whether some of the extremely well-realized but occasionally deeply discomfiting music released by Cyclic Law is a serious contribution to a debate about, say, "the prevalent decadence that is around and deep within us" and the "wastefulness" which signifies "the imminent, definitive end of all things" (from New Risen Throne's press releases). The skeptical might see it as merely some kind of pretentious adolescent post-Tolkien Mordor lore-mongering transposed to soundworld. A charitable view would see the music as part of a crusade "to illustrate what dwells within the shadows our consciousness deliberately hides. Facing our most inner fears, hopes, and regrets is a way to get aware of what our environment constantly tries to annihilate and sounds are the most eloquent mean to transcend the rage and the wastefulness. Rumbling machines, deep and mesmerizing soundscapes, distant voices from other eons are our weapons. And they're now loaded..." (from kindred webpage "Archetyp"). But whether Cyclic Law and its like have a genuine Martial Plan or this is merely the new sound of Dungeons and Dragons is a moot point. The depressive nihilism that fuels much of this music would need conversion into galvanic force for good. How does the fantastically well-crafted sound of the hateful, the deathly and the wretched become transformed or is it content to simply wallow in woe worship? Where is the gnostic energy to spin anti- to agonistic? Ultimately this may be just a new breed of Nordic hollow men with money and a genre template to burn on computers and soundtools kidding themselves that a new nasty skin for the the old Aristotelian ceremony of catharsis is something vital and transcendant. It may be, but thinking doesn't make it so.

In sum, this "obscure ambient" occupies both extremes of a spectrum of engagement with the world (some have criticized dark ambient for lack of such engagement, but this is misguided). At one end, it engages with the world's insufficiency by holding a mirror up to its excesses or horrors and amplifying it - a music of plangent protest. At the other end it responds to this world by otherworld-making, through creation of and/or retreat into an entirely different, more elemental universe (space, extreme nature) - a music of reflective retreat. From a purely musical perspective, it's the latter-the likes of Kammarheit and Northaunt, with their Nordic updates of On Land, of Gustaf Hildebrand and Arbour's own Visions, boldly going beyond Magnificent Void and Black Stars - that seem to be of greatest interest to those who are fired by their love of electronic music, rather than by love of death. The music of Eros triumphs over that of Thanatos.”
Excerpt from profile at: http://www.ei-mag.com/profile0011.php (http://www.ei-mag.com/profile0011.php)
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on July 26, 2008, 03:11:33 PM
Maybe I'm really weird... but "Magnificent Void" I've never thought of as 'dark'.    I like it - I find it relaxing.

This sentiment sums up how I feel about dark ambient, or rather what it means to me, what I look for in it. To me, the word 'dark' represents relaxation, escape from the cares of the day, or entry into a world of deeper imagination. I guess the terminology of the word has come to be just an adjective meaning bleak, evil or harsh. I look at it more as music willing to explore stranger and murkier reaches of consciousness. I know the impulse that drives me to this music, at least what drove me in the past. I was living in Beijing some years back, and it is a huge, smoggy, industrial sprawl. Quite an alienating place, but also full of deep delight, in the weird little alleys and remnants of a former age to be found in corners that had not yet been bulldozed. It excited many contradictory feelings in me. At the time I really wanted to hear two types of music: the pastoral, dreaming escape of music like the two Rich/Roach collaborations, Strata and Soma. And on the other hand, shimmering industrial dark ambient like Rapoon's "Fires of the Borderlands". The urge to the former I can see as just an urge to hear magical sounds of water and ancient caverns, a kind of healthy escapism into imagination. The urge to the latter, I think, was to have a music that echoed my environment, that mirrored it and yet took it in to reflect it back in a manageable form. I guess that is what art does, takes things in, our fears, and makes them into something tangible, something able to be enjoyed on an aesthetic level. Those deep, soaring, yet industrially tinged soundtracks spun by Rapoon would cause me to go to the balcony of my room and look out over the expanse of the city, the darkness and the twinkling lights. It somehow made things more bearable, more understandable. Like a world in miniature to be regarded from aspects not normally allowed.

The best dark ambient walks this fine balance between fear and wonder. I would compare it to the feeling of swimming in the deep ocean, and being able to swim near a whale. It wouldn't be threatening, but it would be terrifying in a giddy way, just to be near something so massive, so otherworldly to one's own scale...
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: darkenedsoul on July 26, 2008, 03:32:09 PM
What most people call "dark ambient" now, didn't really exist when I got into ambient music.  When people talked about "dark ambient" 10 years ago or so, they meant ambient music that was darker, deeper, and slower... stuff like Lustmord, Thomas Koner, or Trances/Drones.  More like what I'd now refer to as "night ambient," not meant to be spooky, just sedate and subdued.  By this definition, stuff like Oophoi or Vidna Obmana or even my own work might be considered "dark ambient."

Then a bunch of black metal crossover artists sort of took the words "dark ambient" and it became sort of industrial-ish, abrasive ambient with overtly "spooky" or aggro elements.


I don't know if I'd say it didn't exist 10 yrs or so ago. Think about early(ier) Tangerine Dream stuff, like Green Desert for one. Fabulous album, but fairly dark from what I remember of it. A fair piece of their earlier stuff could be considered dark ambient, even though a lot was/is sequenced.

I played in a doom metal band, I've been into extreme metal now for 18 yrs or so. Prior to that was Trower (still!), Rush, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and the list can go on and on. I still listen to that stuff when I'm in the mood (nostalgia some times, especially for Rush/Trower as they are my two favorite guitarists).  Some of the black metal crossover artists as you pointed our are so-so, some good, some not so.  I like the dark ambient for the mood it tends to bring across, I just let my mind wander/relax listening to it. Same goes for Doom metal (prefer extreme to stoner - I don't even know why it's lumped in with Doom as it has nothing to do with it). Doom doesn't depress me at all, I love the stuff. Same for dark ambient, moving, emotive, scary, pensive, thought provoking. At least that's what I get out of listening to it. Same with most other forms of music.

In a bad mood? Crank up Meshuggah - Rational Gaze (or pissed off at neighbor ;-) ) as that's a killer song and my guitar instructor commented at how they put a lot of effort into that song with regards to structure and vocal delivery. To me, that says a lot coming from him as he's old school/classic rock type....haha, I pummel him with brutal stuff now and then ;-)
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Joe R on July 26, 2008, 05:08:10 PM
To put it in a nutshell, I like dark ambient (The "scary" kind of dark ambient) for the same reason other people like ghost stories, scary movies, or roller coasters. I just like that creeped-out feeling. And in the best dark ambient, there's always something mysterious and unknowable just beyond your grasp...



Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Joe R on July 26, 2008, 05:10:30 PM
For the record, I also love ghost stories and scary music, but I HATE roller coasters!
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: darkenedsoul on July 27, 2008, 03:31:20 PM
For the record, I also love ghost stories and scary music, but I HATE roller coasters!

Come on, take the PLUNGE on the roller coaster!  ;)
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Joe R on July 27, 2008, 05:08:05 PM
For the record, I also love ghost stories and scary music, but I HATE roller coasters!

Come on, take the PLUNGE on the roller coaster!  ;)

Never again!

Last time I was on a coaster was at Cedar Point, many years ago. There was a dark tunnel you go through, while a camera snaps rapid-fire photos of the people in the cars, which are then displayed at the entrance of the ride. My face in the photo was so twisted with horror and agony, that people in the crowd were actually pointing it out and laughing!

I'm a real roller coaster wimp! :-[
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Seren on August 07, 2008, 05:34:45 AM
Lots of great music listed here. I've always loved Irrlicht and Cyborg by Klaus Schulze and Zeit by TD - I consider them dark in tone. I love  Where the Black Stars Hang and Zoetrope by Lustmord, I've picked up the impression that Black Stars was a seminal album, perhaps not so much the cheese as the mold later cheese was made in, but please correct me if I am wrong.

I also Like Mathias Grassows Dissolution - a great slab of very dense dark ambient. Also Refract Nick Parkin - not so much scary but dark and watery (and every sound sourced from metal).

Would the Backward version of TG's Second Annual Report (I think that was the one, I had it many, many years ago) count as darkest ambient - not just in the sound andenergy but also in the subject matter......
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: drone on on August 07, 2008, 10:44:15 PM
Dissolution is a great dark ambient album, I agree.  I should get that one out of my huge pile of Grassow stuff (if I can find it, hah!), I've lost count of how many I have by him.  The Place Where the Black Stars Hang is definitely one of the seminal dark ambient releases.  I think that one is often used as a comparison for so many others that came after it.  The sounds of subatomic particles swelling in a miasma of dark matter in a galaxy far far away......
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on August 08, 2008, 12:24:35 AM
Had a completely awe-inspiring listen to "Greed", the second collaboration between Vidna and Klinik. At the time of its release, I think there were some comments on the forum regarding this one. But it deserves to be mentioned again, in a big way. Maybe some listeners might not groove on the techno/gothic edge to this one, but I personally was blown away by this album. It transcends any notion that it is just techno, and uses the elements of techno to make an utterly masterful slab of dark ambient majesty driven by mighty beats. Very beautiful and affecting, and surprsingly inspirational. The dark flow of Vidna and the beats of Klinik work so well together...

Wait a minute, is dark ambient allowed to have beats? I would think so, much of it does seem to have a rhythmic edge, even if it is rasping metal or dark slammings echoing in the distance.

Also wanted to mention again the Dante Trilogy by Vidna as being one of the most totally realized and immense works of dark ambient out there. Having these three albums in one's collection is truly to have a treasure that can take years to discover fully.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Hypnagogue on August 08, 2008, 08:55:47 AM
I'm late to the party, as usual, but when I saw this topic header the first thing that came to mind was a pretty obscure li'l disk to Joel Hinkle called "Frozen." Essentially a sonic exploration of what it would feel like to freeze to death in a blizzard. I particularly like the parts with muffled vocals samples...  Overall, a gorgeous and dark drone-based work. Not sure where Hinkle's gotten off to...
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: darkenedsoul on August 10, 2008, 04:59:20 PM
For the record, I also love ghost stories and scary music, but I HATE roller coasters!

Come on, take the PLUNGE on the roller coaster!  ;)

Never again!

Last time I was on a coaster was at Cedar Point, many years ago. There was a dark tunnel you go through, while a camera snaps rapid-fire photos of the people in the cars, which are then displayed at the entrance of the ride. My face in the photo was so twisted with horror and agony, that people in the crowd were actually pointing it out and laughing!

I'm a real roller coaster wimp! :-[

Pansy!   ;D  j/k
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: darkenedsoul on August 10, 2008, 05:05:43 PM
For me Dark Ambient doesn't have to come off as scary. To me it makes you think/mind meander to the music and see what it provokes in your head. To see if you get/understand where they are coming from on the songs. I enjoy it, some more than others. I have wanted to go the Raison d'Etre/New Risen Throne route for a long time (and other similar artists) but I just work with what I have for samples and go with the flow when something starts to jell and take form. I've stopped/restarted so many times on some tracks because I wasn't happy with where it was at the time, etc...

I guess it's conveying a message/feeling/thought that goes into this stuff moreover than anything else. I don't look for the creepiness in general, I look at a) who the artist is, b) what I have heard/have of theirs already and maybe c) what I find online for reviews for some of the stuff. Some is hit and miss, I'll agree, even on my stuff!

But what I am finding hard is to find that sound to fit what I have in mind for a track to get the vibe going and build upon that till I am done with the track. Sometimes it's in one sitting, other times I come back to it and scrap it or continue on (usually scrap...lol).

But stuff like Inade, Troum, Desiderii Marghinis, Sephiroth, etc... moves me. Not in a morbid way (maybe!)...I was playing in a doom metal band, I still love the stuff, I find it very beautiful/moving in a lot with regards to the music foremost, lyrics secondary (at least to me).


Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on August 18, 2008, 10:55:28 AM
Had a most pleasing listen last night to the Herbst9 and Z'EV colloaborative album "Through Bleak Landscapes", a relatively recent release on the Loki Foundation label. Really the kind of dark ambient I like; murky and roiling without being overbearing, vaguely mystical and alive, and some exquisitely industrial rhythm work. My feeling is that it is nice and crunchy, or filling, pleasantly miasmal and lulling. It feels well rounded with analog sounds. Many details to be explored and discovered, so worthy for future listenings.

Loki is quite an excellent label, publishing Inade as well, one of the best:

http://www.loki-found.de/
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: DeepR on August 28, 2008, 05:20:05 PM
Place Where the Black Stars Hang is one of ambient's greatest albums IMO.
During a bedtime-headphones session I actually found it incredibly relaxing in a unique way.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: drone on on August 28, 2008, 09:34:13 PM
Ditto Oophoi's "Celestial Geometries," in my book still reigning champ of deep dark space music...
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: deepspace on August 28, 2008, 10:48:51 PM
I really want to hear more Lustmord.  I've only heard Stalker, which I love to bits. 
I had no idea he was such a big-shot, in terms of his associations with movie scores etc. 
Viva dark ambient.  He's takin' it to the masses. ;)
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Joe R on August 29, 2008, 05:08:03 AM
Another deep & dark Oophoi disc is Athlit. Almost black, in fact.
Same with Rapoon's Darker By Light. Although rhythmic, parts of that are as dark as dark gets.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: MPECK on August 29, 2008, 06:39:01 AM
I had recently purchased the Lustmord-Other release and for the life of me didn't see what makes this artist legendary. So, I dug a little deeper and got a copy of his release Juggernaut. This is album "below beneath" and to me, one of the darkest albums I have ever heard. There is a sense of complex morbidity that permeates this release and yes, now I know why he is revered as one of godfathers of dark ambient.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Thaumogenesis on September 02, 2008, 02:22:57 AM
I think OTHER is a great piece of work and the production/sound design is flawless.

As for really dark, and particularly esoteric ambient, I think you'll be hard pushed to beat Halo Manash and Aeoga.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Seren on September 03, 2008, 03:53:34 AM
I agree with Joe's recommendation for Athlit....I had forgotten how dark, deep and good that disc is, it was on my collection for going to sleep when I was working away from home.

I would also add Max Corbacho's Far beyond the immobile point, it was also in that collection with Athlit and The magnificent void

I love Lustmord's Zoetrope. I think it brilliantly crosses the atmosphere of the part in 'Alien' where they are on the planet before finding the eggs and 'Eraserhead'....surreal, wierd unsettling dreaminess and mixing claustrophobia with being completely isolated....................But apart from Stalker and Where the black stars hang I've not enjoyed other releases as much - will need to listen to juggernaut and carbon/core again sometime....

and when I want to really get depressed and scared I listen to girls aloud......... ;D
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on September 13, 2008, 07:06:51 PM
Headphoned Inade's "Samadhi State" last night, and listened to it again this afternoon in a head-cold induced stupor, and I need to write that this album is an amazing work. Inade is in the realm of the masters. Their sound is of the dark ambient nectar via industrial music and futurist ideology, but on this album has reached a serene, magisterial state (as suggested by the title) that even somewhat resembles Steve Roach. But with genius blending of samples and voices.  Fans of the Ghost in the Shell anime will also enjoy some of the sampled voices (so excellently placed into the mix).

Any one else out there checked out this work?
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Thaumogenesis on September 14, 2008, 05:13:16 AM
Yeah, big fan of Inade and the Loki label in general. Aldebaran is their masterpiece, but all of their work is pretty strong. You'll be pelased to know that they have a new album out in December, too.

Speaking of Loki artists, I've just been spinning 'From a dark chasm below' by Herbst9, which is surely one of the classic dark ambient/ritual style albums. The recent collab with Z'ev is great, as well.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Seren on September 15, 2008, 01:04:20 AM
Speaking of Loki artists, I've just been spinning 'From a dark chasm below' by Herbst9, which is surely one of the classic dark ambient/ritual style albums. The recent collab with Z'ev is great, as well.

Does the Z'ev collaberation have a title?
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Undershadow on September 15, 2008, 01:46:08 AM

Not that recent, but I think this might be the one referred to:

(http://www.stigmata.name/images/h9-zev-cover-netz.jpg) 

http://www.discogs.com/release/997320 (http://www.discogs.com/release/997320)


Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Thaumogenesis on September 15, 2008, 04:06:46 PM
That's the one.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on December 14, 2008, 06:09:51 PM
A nice bout of snow has finally hit Seattle and my dark ambient antennae are up. Been enjoying Wolfskin's Hidden Fortress as of late, finely balanced darkening drift, with very well placed elements and vast sense of space. Fans of finely wrought dark ambient might want to snatch up his new album out on Malignant Records, O Ajuntar das Sombras . I know very much looking forward to this one. Speaking of the Malignant label, they have some fine quality ambient longform stuff going on. Phaenon's Submerged and Terra Sancta's Aeon are very fine slabs of dark ambient bliss, like inky dragons lifting through black storm cloud skies with volcanoes roiling below...

Looking forward to a spin of Necropolis' Necrosphere tonight, surprisingly well wrought and drifting magic despite the seemingly cheese suggested by the name.

Anyone checked out the most recent few albums from Cyclic Law? They're not that tempting to me, I must admit...I hope I'm not being unfair.

One other thing: As I read through reviews of dark ambient releases, I keep finding the word "suffocating" used to describe them (as a good thing though). This is kind of an annoying conceit, and just plays up the cheesy side of dark abmient, "like dude, my dark ambient is so suffocating, you better watch out" Let's go ahead and shed the last vestiges of being tough death metal rockers...come on, it is dark ambient. Most of the stuff described in such "scary" terms is bliss to my ears, a complete dark nectar chill zone. I just don't see the scary evil, though maybe I am not into the more goth-black metal side of dark ambient...

But music like Inade chills me out completely, so maybe I am just a strange man...
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on December 14, 2008, 06:29:27 PM
Well here I go, hypocrite that I am, just as I am talking smack about Cyclic Law, I find myself wanting to order this one: http://www.cycliclaw.com/22ndcycle.html

Though I can't say that I like Hildebrand's other work. Little too selfconsciously gothy, or with Cold Meat residue...but the description of this one is nice, and it is a collaboration.

...some mintues later...

no actually forget it, this is lame...
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: judd stephens on December 14, 2008, 09:37:54 PM
Well here I go, hypocrite that I am, just as I am talking smack about Cyclic Law, I find myself wanting to order this one: http://www.cycliclaw.com/22ndcycle.html

Though I can't say that I like Hildebrand's other work. Little too selfconsciously gothy, or with Cold Meat residue...but the description of this one is nice, and it is a collaboration.

...some mintues later...

no actually forget it, this is lame...

I kinda know what you mean.  Some of the music here is a little tempting but doesn't really reel you in... it's like it's heavy on the atmosphere, but lacking in depth if you listen closer.  Maybe one reason why this could be is the sounds aren't sustained for very long.  There's a coming and going of various dark sound effects, that on the surface don't sound bad, but I'd take Oophoi or Robert Rich as darker than this music.  I guess maybe deeper is the right word, but the effect produced is oftentimes darker, but they seem to achieve it without all the pretense.   I don't mean to diss these artists but if I heard some of that Cyclic Law on a soundtrack for a video game or movie, I'd probably be more into it, but if sole attention is on the music, it doesn't hold you, or lose you like you'd like it to.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: drone on on December 14, 2008, 09:39:19 PM
Lame? Def Leppard 30 years later is lame.  I'd hardly use that word to describe anything Cyclic Law puts out.  Time to put away the Mary Poppins soundtrack and get with the program.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: judd stephens on December 14, 2008, 10:01:32 PM
Okay I'm definitely guilty of prejudging the music on 2-minute samples.... but within those 2 minutes the atmosphere seemed to meander a little much for my taste.  The question (and it's highly subjective without a doubt) is are they achieving what they set out to do with the album?   On second thought to my previous one, Robert Rich, along with Steve Roach have frequently had some pretty funny write-ups that accompany the album... you know, "miasmic flow of primordial nothingness"... and stuff that almost makes you laugh.  Maybe those artists live up to it... not the laughing part of course  ;D, but achieve the essence of what is described in the liner notes.  I guess my question is does the Cyclic Law label achieve the "haunting" qualities and similar adjectives that they set out to do?
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on December 14, 2008, 10:34:20 PM
I think I have pretty good ground to call the recent Cyclic Law stuff lame. I've purchased a number of their albums, and still own Northaunt and Kammarheit. But I was disappointed in a few of their other releases and sold them. So I am not approaching it from the outside necessarily. I just think their pretense is wearing a bit thin, without the skill of Northaunt or Kammarheit to back it up. And I've bought and listened to the previous Hildebrand album, and was let down by it. So it may be my opinion, of course, but it is founded on actually owning the music. I guess I am just a little frustrated with the money spent...and I have learned not to completely follow any label without question; every one has duds, and falls into complacent ruts.

Anyway, drone on, I am curious to hear your views of the last few Cyclic Law releases. Seriously... :)
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on December 14, 2008, 10:50:38 PM
Wanted to throw out a couple titles as some great dark ambient for this year, or that I've been listening to lately, and see whay you might think:

Shinkiro The Way of the Gods. Just got this one, and it is sounding quite good. If you are into Shinto/Buddhism (Buddhist dark ambient!) and Japanese Gagaku, melded into well considered and quiet but heavy atmospheres (storms, desterted shrines in the mountains...) then give it a listen. Out from Athanor records.

Senking   List. Good and weird dark electronic. Quite unique sounds and one of the rare examples of vocal samples actually adding to the music in an impactful way. Excellent packaging as well. Raster Noton.

Asva What You Don't Know is Frontier. Stunningly calculated minimal totemic power. Doom metal turned dark ambient done oh so right. This is truly a keeper. Great murky art with 3d raised ink printing effects.

Glider The Sight Below. Well it's got some thumping but submerged techno type beats laid under very fine guitar swoon. Nice and dark and wintery. Bought this one on a whim based on great cover art, and was not let down on the sonic side. Can it be considered dark ambient if it has a beat? It feels like it.

Doublends Vert Cistern. Can it be called dark ambient, or is it avant garde? Whatever it is, it is minimal and weird. This might convince you, from the back of the album: "Cistern was recorded in a two million gallon underground reservoir in Fort Worden, a de-commissioned military base overlooking the entrance to the Puget Sound in Washington state. The space's resonance extended our instruments in a way similar to electronic processing. The acoustic properties of the cistern created new relationships between our sounds to which we applied the group's musical concept. This recordding captures our first experiences in the sound-world of the cistern." Out from 12k LINE






Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Undershadow on December 15, 2008, 06:27:56 AM
Well here I go, hypocrite that I am, just as I am talking smack about Cyclic Law, I find myself wanting to order this one: http://www.cycliclaw.com/22ndcycle.html

Though I can't say that I like Hildebrand's other work. Little too selfconsciously gothy, or with Cold Meat residue...but the description of this one is nice, and it is a collaboration.

...some mintues later...

no actually forget it, this is lame...

9D. I'm not sure which recent CLs you were averse to (you referred to this elsewhere), but I actually thought the recent Tholen and Sinke Dus releases to be decent enough, particularly the first (Sternklang http://www.cycliclaw.com/20thcycle.html (http://www.cycliclaw.com/20thcycle.html)). But I had severe issues with some earlier CL releases, especially those by New Risen Throne and Karjalan Sissit, which I found dreadfully misanthropic/nihilistic - wholly depressing fare.
Earlier stuff by Gustaf Hildebrand (as well as the already lauded Northaunt and Kammarheit) and Svartsinn tweaked my lobes in passages, but I have to say I don’t fancy this Lacus Somniorum gig at all – my chimes not exactly being much rung by the promise/threat of “Airy flutes and choirs...”.
There was also earlier stuff by the likes of Arcana and Sophia that I found pretty grim fare: kind of plumbing the po-faced medievo-goth depths of Dead Can Dance/Black Tape for a Blue Girl at their most miserable and on the downest of downers. All that churchbell tolling overblown solemnity gives me the shits, frankly.
Do give that Tholen disc a chance though. Big Interstellar Drift doings rather than the suffocating Stygian stuff.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on December 15, 2008, 02:44:38 PM
I kinda know what you mean.  Some of the music here is a little tempting but doesn't really reel you in... it's like it's heavy on the atmosphere, but lacking in depth if you listen closer.  Maybe one reason why this could be is the sounds aren't sustained for very long.  There's a coming and going of various dark sound effects, that on the surface don't sound bad, but I'd take Oophoi or Robert Rich as darker than this music.  I guess maybe deeper is the right word, but the effect produced is oftentimes darker, but they seem to achieve it without all the pretense.

Well, this discussion has prompted me to bring out the Northaunt (Horizons), and give it a listen. I guess I had one decent listen to it a while back, and just assumed it was good without having listened to it for a long time. But this listen highlights your point for me, Judd. This stuff is kind of dark, I guess, but there is just no depth to it. It is just a bunch of the requisite sounds, but they don't really go anywhere. Cyclic Law are like a bunch of amateur cooks who are using the right ingredients, but just don't know how to cook them.

As for the Tholen, I listened to the samples, and tried to be open minded, but the first sample has those crackling space transmissions (at least I think that is what they are) I guess to inform us that this is a deep space album. I hate when space ambient has that crap in it. Am I supposed to imagine that I am on a space ship? What the hell...

A lot of this schlock comes out of the Cold Meat label, who are greater purveyors of this criminal pretentiousness than CL. Raison d'Etre created an epic, powerful sound, and has probably given most of the cache that CM has lived off of (in terms of the ambient side of their catalogue) and everyone has tried to imitate him and failed. RdE looked to the source, and notes Robert Rich amongst his major inspirations. RdE, in contrast to the legions of new dark ambient pretenders, actually goes deep into his material, and is an artist who stands beside the masters.

Maybe there should be a new category called Deep Ambient. Could this be similar to the rift between New Age and Ambient, where just too many weak artists were just playing on the surface, playing to the style and not the substance, and ambient masters like Rich and Roach had to break off and sort of create their own category. We saw this with the Fathom label...
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: michael sandler on December 15, 2008, 07:33:29 PM
...On second thought to my previous one, Robert Rich, along with Steve Roach have frequently had some pretty funny write-ups that accompany the album... you know, "miasmic flow of primordial nothingness"... and stuff that almost makes you laugh. 

(Insert album title), the latest release from (insert artist), at once transcends and resettles traditional definitions of space, congruence, and integration. Drawing from his well-honed intuition of the meeting of space and motion, (artist) creates here a collection of soundscapes at once introspective and demanding, unfolding in the geschichte of their own (s)pace while remaining tethered to the eclectica of diverse musical underpinnings. These tracks demonstrate (artist)'s expansive vocabluary of both the mathematical edges of sound and the sonic borders of psychology. Expanding even as they collapse in on themselves, these works reach for a galactic understanding of inner barenness, resulting in a clean, wide messiness that bootstraps itelf into Vastmusic.

Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Phaenon on December 15, 2008, 08:14:16 PM
 ;D :D
Geschichte!!! That's the right word!
Michael, thank you for the hint... I was thinking about Zeitgeist, but it's probably overused.
Vastmusic/Vastmusick could be a great title... ;)
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: judd stephens on December 15, 2008, 08:20:35 PM
Wanted to throw out a couple titles as some great dark ambient for this year, or that I've been listening to lately, and see whay you might think:

Shinkiro The Way of the Gods. Just got this one, and it is sounding quite good. If you are into Shinto/Buddhism (Buddhist dark ambient!) and Japanese Gagaku, melded into well considered and quiet but heavy atmospheres (storms, desterted shrines in the mountains...) then give it a listen. Out from Athanor records.


Thanks for the tip!  Buddhist dark ambient is always a great idea.  I also like it when chanting is infused into the sounds, David Parsons being the prime example.  On a somewhat similar vibe I'd recommend Klaus Wiese's Death of a Samurai It's pretty ominous and thematic... reminds me of a dark Kabuki play or something like that. 
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: judd stephens on December 15, 2008, 08:30:07 PM
...On second thought to my previous one, Robert Rich, along with Steve Roach have frequently had some pretty funny write-ups that accompany the album... you know, "miasmic flow of primordial nothingness"... and stuff that almost makes you laugh. 

(Insert album title), the latest release from (insert artist), at once transcends and resettles traditional definitions of space, congruence, and integration. Drawing from his well-honed intuition of the meeting of space and motion, (artist) creates here a collection of soundscapes at once introspective and demanding, unfolding in the geschichte of their own (s)pace while remaining tethered to the eclectica of diverse musical underpinnings. These tracks demonstrate (artist)'s expansive vocabluary of both the mathematical edges of sound and the sonic borders of psychology. Expanding even as they collapse in on themselves, these works reach for a galactic understanding of inner barenness, resulting in a clean, wide messiness that bootstraps itelf into Vastmusic.

What??  Korn has another album out already?
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Phaenon on December 15, 2008, 09:01:58 PM
Thanks for mentioning my project here.
I would add Yen Pox albums to the pool. Also Italian project Amon comes to mind.
I find Controlled Bleeding "The Poisoner" quite disturbingly dark.
How about Coma Virus "Hidden"?

Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on December 15, 2008, 10:02:20 PM
Amon's Nimh is quite an interesting work...I've been savoring it more and more, though my first reaction was that it was too harsh...

I am enjoying Submerged very much, and am looking forward to the next Phaenon work...
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: SunDummy on December 15, 2008, 10:44:49 PM
Quote
I find Controlled Bleeding "The Poisoner" quite disturbingly dark.

Ooh, I really like that one!
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: drone on on December 15, 2008, 11:54:10 PM
I think it's quite useless to compare Roach/Rich with Cyclic Law's output.  If CL's stuff isn't deep enough, then don't listen to it. :-)

I definitely would not call CL artists "amateurs."  Could you do any better? I doubt it.  I used to be like this, dismissing stuff at the drop of a hat with my nose turned upwards, when oftentimes I never gave anything a chance that "didn't sound like Steve Roach."  Perhaps due to a mellowing with age, I am much more open minded these days and appreciate more diversity.

Anyways, since you asked 9D, recent CL releases I've liked are: Tholen's "Sternklang," Lacus Somniorum (flutes and all, it's great), G. Hildebrand's "Starscape" (technically not new but it was recently re-pressed). 

I think CL artists are cut from a different cloth as far as music influences are concerned, therefore what they create has a different sound than the "space music" artists.  Their impressions of "space" are quite different sonically than someone like, say, Oophoi, Tau Ceti, or Seren Ffordd.  I don't think they'd care too much what others think anyways, this is music appreciated by a very small slice of the music-buying public.  The artists and fans are really into it, and in the end that should be enough. 
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on December 16, 2008, 04:12:28 AM
I think CL artists are cut from a different cloth

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cilice

Is this the cloth to which you refer?

(mournful monk choirs ensue, backed by distraught flutes)
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Brian Bieniowski on December 16, 2008, 10:39:22 AM
I'm not much a fan of Cyclic Law or Cold Meat Industry (I think this latter label has produced some of the silliest music I've ever heard, and I'm a Death in June fan), but reading this topic has been terrifically entertaining!  ;D
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: mgriffin on December 16, 2008, 12:59:46 PM
Aside from the music of Cold Meat Industry, I think that might be one of the most unintentionally funny label names of all time.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on December 16, 2008, 01:25:44 PM
In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I was once (and still am to some extent) a fan of Cold Meat Industry. It was a sensitive time in my life, and I needed some goth melodrama to soothe and comfort. I initially got into the label through Raison d'Etre, whose albums I still own, and who is one of my favorite ambient artists. And labelmate Ulf Soderberg (of Sephiroth and good solo albums such as Vindarnas Hus) is a very talented atmospherist as well. I would also say that I enjoy Desiderii Marginis, especially for the album (wait for it) That Which is Tragic and Timeless...

So Raison d'Etre and the others mentioned is essentially the core of quality that makes the name of Cold Meat. But as for the rest of the label, when you try to foray into most of their vast catalogue, you find overly saturated melodramatic pap, pose, and indefinable sadness...

I am in no way against an evocation of medievalism, monks, or tolling bells. In fact, being a fan of ancient chant (Hillliard Ensemble, Anonymous 4) and medieval music (Sequentia, Ensemble Alcatraz) I was quite thrilled to hear the music of Raison d'Etre evoke an ancient sense in such an effective, seamless way.

For goth/industrial cosmicism done right, I also look to Inade: please play the sample from the track "Genius Loci" from their album Burning Flesh to hear solemn monk processions done right http://www.loki-found.de/releases_loki_page2.html
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Undershadow on December 16, 2008, 05:00:08 PM
[...] some pretty funny write-ups that accompany the album... you know, "miasmic flow of primordial nothingness"...

Incredible coincidence but, blow me down with a Nordic Blast of Thor if Miasmic Flow of Primordial Nothingness is not to be Cyclic Law’s 24th Cycle, in a mysterious sleeve made from air-dried hand-pressed Stygian sludge, in an inexplicable special edition of just enough to create mysterious longings, by shadowy Swedish Black Bombast project, Rectum Dolorii, with a special remix from mysterious Norwegian Doom-oompah band, Venti Percurrentes de Viscera Satanis (“Wafting Winds from Satan’s Guts”) that further fingers wounds opened on Rectum’s shadowy debut album, Intimations of Pseudo-Latinate Insignificance. Writhing with clanking portent and existential bassoon. Worrisome in the extreme!
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: drone on on December 16, 2008, 10:42:45 PM
Wait Alan, I believe you spoke too soon, as the 24th Cycle's original title has been eaten away as if from a cancer and replaced with the following title: "Enthralled by the Stinging Wounds of Despair, into a Stygian Chasm We Escape from the Void of Bleak Truths."  Special packaging contains FREE razor blade.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: SunDummy on December 16, 2008, 11:23:29 PM
(http://jj.am/gallery/d/42538-1/Bravo_clap.gif)
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: petekelly on December 17, 2008, 03:02:04 PM

Quote
(Insert album title), the latest release from (insert artist), at once transcends and resettles traditional definitions of space, congruence, and integration. Drawing from his well-honed intuition of the meeting of space and motion, (artist) creates here a collection of soundscapes at once introspective and demanding, unfolding in the geschichte of their own (s)pace while remaining tethered to the eclectica of diverse musical underpinnings. These tracks demonstrate (artist)'s expansive vocabluary of both the mathematical edges of sound and the sonic borders of psychology. Expanding even as they collapse in on themselves, these works reach for a galactic understanding of inner barenness, resulting in a clean, wide messiness that bootstraps itelf into Vastmusic.

Great 'review' Michael and not too much of a parody in some cases. I used to work in the Arts and used to read a lot of 'clever' hyperbole all the time, I grew immune to it.

I have to say I find a lot of the self-consciously 'pitch-black' dark ambient to be a bit er, 'forced'. I'd much rather hear an element of 'mystery' than eternally damned, angst-ridden sonic groanings.   

cheers
Pete

Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on December 19, 2008, 12:51:24 PM
Shinkiro The Way of the Gods is definitely a winner. This is a unique way of expressing the theme of Shinto belief. Not what you would expect. The elements are minimal and well put together. Athanor Records is quite the interesting label. Their website seems to be down though (www.arsregia.org).
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: jkn on December 22, 2008, 02:51:41 PM
Somehow I missed half of this thread and I just read through a ton of posts and found myself cracking a smile from ear to ear.

...and I'll also admit that some of my descriptions of albums get just as bad (or good?) as some of the long paragraphs mentioned, although I'll give the crown to John (Vir Unis) - he's got a flair for saying something in an interesting way most of the time.   I let him write most of the AtmoWorks descriptions.    I tend to be the one that writes artist descriptions that start out "in the artist own words" - and let them talk about it...   I'd say who better to describe their own albums, but sometimes great musicians are not great writers or self-promoters.   Sometimes they are though.

I'm rambling.

I'm listening to FSOL right now which is anything but dark ambient.    Sample heavy, but not dark.  ;-)   Before that was Mudvayne and Shiny Toy Guns... ummm - neither dark ambient in any way shape or form.   

I did listen to Oophoi's Athlit the other day - which I've never considered dark - but has come up multiple times as being a dark ambient album.

I think my definitions of music are all screwed up.   :-)

Speaking of random tangents... have you voted in the Ambient Survery 2008 yet?    There's a special section for dark ambient just for lovers of this very thread!

Thou shalt click on this link to read all about the survey - and yes, thou shalt vote or be consumed by the lava of the eternal internal earth in a dark ambient haze of blackened glory.  Or publically flogged... your choice.

http://www.hypnos.com/smf/index.php?topic=1335.0




Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Thaumogenesis on December 25, 2008, 06:00:51 AM
Well, this discussion has prompted me to bring out the Northaunt (Horizons), and give it a listen. I guess I had one decent listen to it a while back, and just assumed it was good without having listened to it for a long time. But this listen highlights your point for me, Judd. This stuff is kind of dark, I guess, but there is just no depth to it. It is just a bunch of the requisite sounds, but they don't really go anywhere.

Totally disagreed. That Northaunt album has lots of depth and is a different class to most ambient out there. Plus, it actually sounds organic.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on January 06, 2009, 08:55:42 PM
New Terra Sancta album Disintegration has arrived here at the aerie. It is sounding quite interesting so far, and a nice contrast/companion to the previous, much enjoyed Aeon. Terra Sancta does dark ambient in a very "impressionistic" way, building up layer upon layer that really appeals to my thirst for a visual, tactile sense in music. The texture makes me see things in my inner eye which I nevertheless could not really describe to myself consciously. Special praise must be given to the artwork, even though it is trapped in a jewel case. A nice and heavy, excellently textured card stock foldout is included. The art is beautiful, and works with the theme of the music while becoming its own thing at the same time. Amazing. Malignant is a label worth checking out if you are looking for dark ambient in perhaps a more "undirected" though still visual vein. There's an industrial thrust to its releases, but it is refreshingly untainted by some of the things we have been criticizing in other dark ambient labels.

Curious to know what you think...
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Phaenon on January 06, 2009, 09:23:27 PM
Yes, new album by Terra Sancta! :)
I've enjoyed the previous one and now I need to get this one from Jason ASAP.
Should be a great exprience, judging by listening to sample on Myspaces http://www.myspace.com/sanctaterra (http://www.myspace.com/sanctaterra).
The artwork was designed by Vestigial, another interesting act in dark ambient genre.

P.S. I guess it's time for me to send something to Jason... ;)
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on January 21, 2009, 02:44:09 AM
The Terra Sancta, after a few more listens, is excellent. Also very much enjoying Caul/'kirchenkampf' album Sleep Night Death, from the same label, the wonderful Malignant. Exquisite, very well crafted dark ambient fired by streaks of strange luminosity.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Wanterkeelt on January 22, 2009, 07:09:08 AM
The Terra Sancta, after a few more listens, is excellent. Also very much enjoying Caul/'kirchenkampf' album Sleep Night Death, from the same label, the wonderful Malignant. Exquisite, very well crafted dark ambient fired by streaks of strange luminosity.

I just received my Maligant records page with the new Terra Sancta, Wolfskin "O ajuntar das sombras" and Caul/kirchenkampf split. From the comments made here, the new Terra Sancta could well be at least as good as Aeon, which is one of my favourite ambient albums (with a darker touch). Let's check that ;)

From the Malignant label, I also like Raan (or written R|A|A|N), Phaenon, Blood Box "A world of hurt" and Yen Pox. The 2 latter ones have probably been mentioned already a few times, but anyway. Jason has some really good bands in his roster imo
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on January 24, 2009, 02:23:10 PM
Sleep Research Facility - Nostromo. Just got it, listened last night. Subtle, luminous, dark, an absolutely gorgeous work.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: burning 4 revenge on February 19, 2009, 07:32:36 PM
I love dark ambient if its melodic and sad. Maybe I just like sad ambient

Is that a genre?
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Undershadow on February 20, 2009, 04:30:14 AM
I love dark ambient if its melodic and sad. Maybe I just like sad ambient

Is that a genre?

Yep. It's a sub-genre known as 'Sambient'. A sub-sub-genre actually. The sub-genre is 'Dambient'. There are lots more: http://www.vancooten.com/blog/pivot/entry.php?id=83 (http://www.vancooten.com/blog/pivot/entry.php?id=83)

<grin>
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Seren on February 20, 2009, 06:52:48 AM
Hambient for over the top.

Crambient for short listening times.

Bambient - soundscapes for small deers.

 ;D ;D

Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: drone on on February 21, 2009, 09:59:20 AM
Wham-bam-thankyou-mambient for post-coital interludes...
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: jim brenholts on February 21, 2009, 11:26:15 AM
Hambient for over the top.

Crambient for short listening times.

Bambient - soundscapes for small deers.

 ;D ;D


oh no! not again!
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Seren on February 22, 2009, 04:08:27 AM
I know, I Know - just could not resist it ;D

I wonder if the wordplay works in other languages???
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: cvac on March 02, 2009, 07:58:46 PM
Here are some of my favorites, not necessarily all "dark ambient" but all have at least some elements of ambiance and darkness in them. I guarantee all these blow away any of the current crop of uninspired "dark ambient".

RAFAEL TORAL: violence of discovery
MANDIBLE CHATTER: hair hair locke and lore
ALAN LAMB: night passage; primal image
THOMAS KONER: teimo; permafrost
TANGERINE DREAM: zeit
BRIAN ENO: on land; apollo
JEFF GREINKE: cities in fog
LULL: cold summer
KK NULL & JAMES PLOTKIN: aurora
LUSTMORD: heresy; place where the black stars hang
HARRY BERTOIA: everything
MAEROR TRI: both "meditamentum" compilations
PAUL SCHUTZE: surgery of touch
VOICE OF EYE: transmigration
FINAL: one; two
ROBERT RICH: trances & drones
VLADISLAV DELAY: entain
STARS OF THE LID: music for nitrous oxide
TEAR CEREMONY: resin
TETSU INOUE: organic cloud; slow and low
CRAWL UNIT: vs silence
ULTRA MILKMAIDS: oldies vol.1
PGR: hole of unknown depth
PAULINE OLIVEROS ET AL: deep listening
ZOVIET FRANCE: monomische
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on March 02, 2009, 09:04:42 PM
Some definite heavy hitters in that list. "Organic Cloud" is one that I am hoping will have a reissue. Far as I know it is unavailable.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: cvac on March 02, 2009, 10:26:46 PM
Re: organic cloud, for anyone looking for it, you might want to check with Ear Rational mail order, direct by email.

I don't know if I got the last copy, but I was able to buy a copy from him recently at a "regular" cd price (think it was $17, don't remember) even though it was not listed in his online catalog.

Emusic also has the album.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: cvac on March 02, 2009, 10:42:37 PM
Two more I forgot...well worth tracking down:

ILLUSION OF SAFETY: of & the

ASMUS TIETCHENS: eisgang & dammerattacke

Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: DeepR on March 03, 2009, 10:38:36 AM
Organic Cloud is awesome but the real standout tracks are the 'light' relaxing ones (3 & 4).

I'd like to mention Klaus Schulze - Mirage (1977) for its first track Velvet Voyage in particular (original releases, NOT the 2005 rerelease with a weaker version).
I consider it to be one of the greatest dark atmospheric electronic tracks. A cornerstone track. I don't think there was anything like it before that could be better compared to dark ambient. It's something I always return to eventually. Not 'strictly' dark ambient, but many familiar elements.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on March 03, 2009, 10:10:20 PM
I think I'm going to check out that Klaus Schulze album.

Cyclic Law has a new one out, and it might be a good one, as it is from Par Bostrom, the man behind the excellent Kammarheit.

http://www.cycliclaw.com/21stcycle.html
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: cvac on March 03, 2009, 11:44:16 PM
Well, I just listened to over a dozen samples off the Cylic Law website, from this disc as well as the oft-mentioned Kammerheit and Northaunt. The Northaunt tracks were the best of the bunch, but even those were not that great. Bottom line, this sort of thing was done better years ago. In general, I think dark sounding ambient music pretty much died around the mid to late 90s.


Cyclic Law has a new one out, and it might be a good one, as it is from Par Bostrom, the man behind the excellent Kammarheit.

http://www.cycliclaw.com/21stcycle.html
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: DeepR on March 04, 2009, 10:52:07 AM
I think I'm going to check out that Klaus Schulze album.

You should. :) I forgot to mention track 2 is even greater than 1 (but less dark, more melodic). Mirage is such a classic...a masterpiece that has no equal.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on March 04, 2009, 07:13:39 PM
I would agree with you on Cyclic law, but not about dark ambient in general. A lot of great work has come out in the past few years. Who were your favourites from the period you mention?

Well, I just listened to over a dozen samples off the Cylic Law website, from this disc as well as the oft-mentioned Kammerheit and Northaunt. The Northaunt tracks were the best of the bunch, but even those were not that great. Bottom line, this sort of thing was done better years ago. In general, I think dark sounding ambient music pretty much died around the mid to late 90s.


Cyclic Law has a new one out, and it might be a good one, as it is from Par Bostrom, the man behind the excellent Kammarheit.

http://www.cycliclaw.com/21stcycle.html
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: cvac on March 04, 2009, 08:15:08 PM
See the list I made above, a few posts up of some of my favorites.

In general, I'm not interested in "clones" of old albums or stuff that's contrived in the name of sounding "dark". I don't like crop of stuff because there aren't enough organic bits in the music. I'm not even a musician, but I can tell most of these guys are working with the same equipment/presets/software packed in to a pre-determined template.

I need some originality or at least personality in the music for it to be worth my time and $.

Out of curiosity, what are your favorites from the last few years?

Currently listening to KODA: movements

I would agree with you on Cyclic law, but not about dark ambient in general. A lot of great work has come out in the past few years. Who were your favourites from the period you mention?
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on April 15, 2009, 12:42:49 AM
Wolfskin - O Ajuntar das Sombras
Terra Sancta - Disintegration

Recently gave a late night / hypnagogic headphone listen to Wolfskin's new album (or rather re-release) out on Malignant. It was in my for sale discard pile for a while, but has come back to the main collection big time after this deep listening session. Some amazing work, like an occult version of Robert Rich. Still getting deeper into Terra Sancta, a deep and rewarding experience. Revisitng Rich's Stalker has been quite fun recently, and I've had my eye on Below Zero for a listen of late. It has been a while.

Spring is here. In Seattle that mean chaos, some murky rain weather, and some gorgeous awakening. I find this time quite amiable for dark ambient musical flow.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Brian Bieniowski on April 15, 2009, 12:56:36 PM
I certainly feel as though the high water mark of dark ambient was the mid-nineties, when even alt music magazines were talking about "isolationism" and artists like Lull and James Plotkin were getting unprecedented press.  I personally love a lot of that music, though I can't say I followed it past a certain period ... for me, the few albums I had were enough.

I don't play Robert Rich's Below Zero nearly enough.  What a wonderful collection, though I must admit I never really considered it "dark," just very deep outer space music, kind of like Oöphoi's Athlit.  When I think dark ambient, I think of post-industrial droning, or intentionally scary music like the silly grand guignol of Lustmord's Heresy with the shrieking baby dragon in the cave.  That is awesomely ridiculous music.

For new modern dark ambient I find excellent, I am surprised (or perhaps I missed it) not to see more mention of Deathprod.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on April 16, 2009, 12:32:05 AM
My definition of dark ambient takes in a lot of nuances of the genre. The openly bombastic or dark in obvious ways is what I try to avoid (though I have certainly revelled in my share of it)

I like ambient that reaches down to the deepest levels of consciousness and dream. And sometimes dark things are there. Dark ambient embraces these things when it finds them, and sonically relates them. Robert Rich is an excellent artist who exhibits this trait. His music can be very light and even New Age (not a bad thing) and then he is willing to delve into very deep, dark, and sometimes scary (in a non Halloweeny way) music. An album like Stalker is frightening in a sense because it is so unobvious and willing to go into bizarre zones without restraint. It is ambiguous.

Checking out the Deathprod. The sample I am listening to sounded nice until the vocal sample kicked in. That usually ruins it for me...
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: DeepR on April 17, 2009, 06:10:59 AM
Maybe I'm really weird... but "Magnificent Void" I've never thought of as 'dark'.

That means you understand the album.
You could say it's a balanced play of darker and lighter tones and colors, which makes it sort of 'neutral' if that makes any sense.
But in the end everything we may assiociate with 'darkness' or 'light' doesn't exist in the Void anyway. 8)
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on July 02, 2009, 11:05:08 PM
I've been enjoying Shinkiro's The Way of the Gods very much recently.

Anyone out there finding the spark with some good dark delights?

Also been thinking very highly of Roach's new one, Dynamic Stillness, and how it seems to have a kind of relation to Stalker. Perhaps this is due to the cover art, but it is quite a deep record, fitting to be labelled under this genre.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: doombient on July 05, 2009, 02:55:58 AM
I know it´s a bit blatant tapping one´s own shoulder but I thought you might like to give this a try:

My own "rhizophora" album has been perceived as extremely dark by some people, so you might want to give it a try, too:

http://www.musiczeit.com/album.php?album=846&Stephen+Parsick+Rhizophora

Our "doombient.three -- kalte sterne" album has also been hailed as being extremely cold, aloof, and dark:

http://www.musiczeit.com/album.php?album=996&%5B%27ramp%5D+doombient.three%3A+kalte+sterne

Have a listen and decide for yourselves.

Thanks,

Stpehen.

Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le) on July 05, 2009, 04:51:59 PM
Quote
I like ambient that reaches down to the deepest levels of consciousness and dream. And sometimes dark things are there.

Wow, just saw this what a great quote from 9 Dragons. This really sums up my feelings of ambient and space music.

What I find interesting about the subject of Dark Ambient per say, is the albums that many people find dark...that others do not.  Like I have never found Oophoi's music dark, and with the exception of "Stalker" with Lustmord, I would also not use dark to describe Robert Rich's work either...I have even found some non ambient listeners to find some of Roach's work such as "Magnificent Void" makes them uncomfortable.

So is it personal perception that makes this music dark, or is it intent or both? The old "what is dark to me, may not be dark to you" argument if you will. Now some of the above albums and or musicians above make music that is definitely intense at times, but why the fascination of calling it dark? Maybe I can see Lustmord as purposely crafting dark ambient music.

Is it because when we call the music or mood of the music dark, we flirt with notions of intrigue, mystery, uncertainty, doom and even evil that are in essence romantic? Like reading or watching a good thriller?

It is also interesting to me that if we bring up a notion of "light" ambient music, often we tip toe on the new age fence, although Jeff Pearce would be a great example of light ambient that is still deep and mysterious, but also airy and uplifting if you will.

Back on the subject of intent, while I would not consider my album with Oophoi "Distance To Zero" dark ambient, I have often heard it described as dark and scary. What is interesting to me as a creator and a listener, is that was never my (or even Oophoi's as far as I know) intent. Now the music for me was birthed out of an unrest or discontent for my own view of the world at the time and there may be a cleansing or intensity to the music, but dark and scary was never a conscious intention.

So I guess that is back to what I find interesting, its like two people walking through an art gallery and looking at a painting where one person sees beauty and the other pain. Some of us find comfort in darkness and others are afraid of the dark if you will  ;)

Again this music walks an interesting balance between creator and listener and highlights what happens perceptively when either one brings their own baggage, intentions and tastes to the table, or is it our need to add a label to it which touches a perception and a need to be part of a club like goth music or death metal. In other words on the last statement do some people like or need to call this "Dark Ambient" just to feel edgy and cool? I listened to lots of Black Metal in high school for similar reaons...

I constantly wonder why the music I love to listen to is often moody and emotional VS happy and "peppy" if you will.

Just some of my thoughts,

Paul
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: atchid on July 05, 2009, 08:40:10 PM
Well Said Paul. That's my point of view as well.

So much music I like is classified as dark ambient and that's not at all how I feel
about it. If anything, often mysterious but not necessarily dark.



P.S. First post but I've been lurking for years.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: drone on on July 06, 2009, 12:22:49 AM
Would you accept the tag "creepy ambient" for Distance to Zero? 
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Seren on July 06, 2009, 01:02:11 AM
Perhaps for listeners more used to 'lighter' music the term 'dark' ambient is more about the texture than context, the use of lower frequency sounds and drones etc as opposed to rhythms, pleasant chords and melodies.

I've been surprised how many people, who don't listen to ambient as a rule, have said that my music would be good on a horror film..... :o and I don't like or watch horror films so it's never been my intent to sound like that.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: jkn on July 06, 2009, 07:49:23 AM
Yes - I get the "wow your music sounds like a horror film soundtrack" quite a bit - and frankly - my music really isn't dark or intended to be dark.   I lean towards dark now and then, but as a whole - no.   These comments usually come from co-workers who don't listen to a lot of instrumental music at all - let alone "ambient" or "techno" in any form.   It's interesting to me that the music comes off as dark and scary to them - but I guess compared to the Country Rock stuff that's kind of the norm around here - I suppose it is.   

And just like Seren - I don't like or watch horror films... 
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: drone on on July 06, 2009, 12:12:10 PM
There was some great "dark electronic" music by Wendy Carlos in the 1980 film "The Shining."   :-*
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Seren on July 06, 2009, 12:57:12 PM
And just like Seren - I don't like or watch horror films... 

Maybe we should do a collab - "Music for Horror films?"

we could make it as light as possible, hence the question mark - or really do something scary ;D
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: jim brenholts on July 06, 2009, 05:45:39 PM
There was some great "dark electronic" music by Wendy Carlos in the 1980 film "The Shining."   :-*
really? i did not know that. i do know that she did some deep dark stuff for a clockwork orange.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: doombient on July 07, 2009, 02:02:28 AM
There was some great "dark electronic" music by Wendy Carlos in the 1980 film "The Shining."   :-*
really? i did not know that. i do know that she did some deep dark stuff for a clockwork orange.

In fact, Carlos produced something like 90 minutes of electronic music for the score which Kubrick ultimately rejected so that all that Penderecki and Bartòk stuff ended up in the score. There´s an extensive interview about that issue in an early 1980 Keyboard mag interview with Carlos.

Stephen
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: drone on on July 07, 2009, 12:13:15 PM
Whoa, I definitely did not know that.  That piece that opens the movie is just the most chilling thing I've ever heard.  It was doombient before there was even an "ambient"!  ;D
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: michael sandler on July 07, 2009, 02:14:00 PM
...I have even found some non ambient listeners to find some of Roach's work such as "Magnificent Void" makes them uncomfortable...

Even some ambient listeners (raises hand) find that a difficult piece. I don't think it's dark though. It's nothing. I mean that in a good way.

MikeS
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: headonist on January 17, 2011, 05:01:47 PM
*bump* ;-)


Thomas Köner - everything?
Oöphoi - Athlit
Rapoon - The Fires of the Borderlands
Robert Rich - Illumination ; Below Zero
Steve Roach - The Magnificent Void ; Darkest Before Dawn (Darkest Before Dawn is almost Köner-esque to my ears but with an 'angelic' touch to it)
Robert Henke - Layering Buddha
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Wanterkeelt on January 18, 2011, 07:05:48 AM
*bump* ;-)


Thomas Köner - everything?
Oöphoi - Athlit
Rapoon - The Fires of the Borderlands
Robert Rich - Illumination ; Below Zero
Steve Roach - The Magnificent Void ; Darkest Before Dawn (Darkest Before Dawn is almost Köner-esque to my ears but with an 'angelic' touch to it)
Robert Henke - Layering Buddha

Oöphoi - Athlit contains in my eyes one of the "brightest" ambient pieces I've ever heard : Lord of the Starfields. I've never heard such a "positive", life affirming song in my life. Simply fantastic.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: jkn on January 18, 2011, 07:56:04 AM
Athlit is an awesome album.  I've never thought of it as "dark" - but everyone has different feelings and that's cool with me.

Koner - Permafrost and Teimo  are by far my favorites of his...  again - just not that dark to me.

Maybe I need to sit and ponder what "dark" means?  :-)

Magnificent Void - wow that has some nice low end power to it.   I feel more deep space loneliness on that one than dark. 

Someone's going to toss verbal darts at me soon I think.  :-)

John
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Scott M2 on January 18, 2011, 10:34:24 AM
I'd say that "deep space loneliness" counts as "dark".    

I see/hear dark ambient not just as horror soundtracks or edgy sounds
but as the unseen, the mysterious, the "darkness", unsettling emotions,
uncertainty, lonely spaces, deep space, deep ocean, deep desert,
high mountain, dark forest, strange magics and discoveries, exploration
outside of your realm of safety, the vaguries of the night and of the universe...
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: jkn on January 18, 2011, 02:29:33 PM
"I'd say that "deep space loneliness" counts as "dark".  "

Since you put it *that* way... ummm ... yeah - I think you're right.

 ;D
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Joe R on January 19, 2011, 03:52:03 PM
Seems that everyone's got a different idea of "dark". Athlit to me is dark, almost black. For me, most of Oophoi's music is dark. Permafrost and Teimo are merely gray ;-)...    Magnificent Void is dark, but has vivid splashes of light, like shards of glowing glass. Rapoon's From Shadows Sleep is intensely dark.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: mgriffin on January 19, 2011, 04:03:46 PM
Don't worry, Joe -- I'm used to people disagreeing about whether Athlit is dark, or not. Some people mean "dark" as a synonym for "scary" or "depressing" whereas others might meant "subdued" or "nocturnal." I have no problem considering Athlit "dark" but if someone came to me saying they like "dark ambient," I'd make sure of what they meant by that before I'd recommend Athlit to them (or for that matter, any other Hypnos stuff)
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on January 20, 2011, 01:46:55 AM
I would consider Athlit as dark. But my associations with the word are somewhat positive. Darkness suggest to me immense distance, meditative isolation, safety, warmth, and even a kind of brightness, like stars on a very liquidly clear night. I very much dislike what might be considered the cliche version of dark - trying to be scary and dark. I like the kind of dark that embraces the mystery of existence, where dark is not personified in a limited form. There is a sense of wonder and discovery in dark ambient, Magnificent Void is a good example of this, as is Athlit.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Joe R on January 20, 2011, 04:14:18 PM
Yes, "dark" can be very peaceful and soothing, just as Athlit is.  Lots of people associate "dark" with feelings of fear, unease, forboding, or whatever, but it's never been that way for me, neccessarily.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: DeepR on January 29, 2011, 01:20:02 PM
I think Raison d'Etre - Metamorphyses is fantastic.
Also recommend Troum & Yen Pox - Mnemonic Induction for a very dark gloomy album.

From one of the artists from the duo Yen Pox: Blood Box - The Iron Dream

This may be the best album I've ever heard in this genre. And I know my Lustmord, Raison d'Etre, Herbst9, Inade etc...
Actually it goes beyond genre boundaries. Not your typical dark ambient.

A mindbending album. With so much variation and shifts in sound,  mood, frequency... your ears will almost light up when listening to this... one moment you're in the deepest abyss, the next in a state of heavenly bliss... it's confusing, exciting and fascinating. With some beautiful melodic touches as well.
Listen in bed with headphones. Highly recommended!!
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Wanterkeelt on January 30, 2011, 03:40:50 AM
I think Raison d'Etre - Metamorphyses is fantastic.
Also recommend Troum & Yen Pox - Mnemonic Induction for a very dark gloomy album.

From one of the artists from the duo Yen Pox: Blood Box - The Iron Dream

This may be the best album I've ever heard in this genre. And I know my Lustmord, Raison d'Etre, Herbst9, Inade etc...
Actually it goes beyond genre boundaries. Not your typical dark ambient.

A mindbending album. With so much variation and shifts in sound,  mood, frequency... your ears will almost light up when listening to this... one moment you're in the deepest abyss, the next in a state of heavenly bliss... it's confusing, exciting and fascinating. With some beautiful melodic touches as well.
Listen in bed with headphones. Highly recommended!!

Thumbs Up !
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: 9dragons on February 02, 2011, 11:20:10 PM
Listening to Nanthan Youngblood - Asunder. A wonderful slab of dark ambient beauty that illustrates the points we are talking about. This one seems unsung, not sure how many others out there have it. Put out by Steve Roach's label.
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: richardgurtler on February 03, 2011, 04:21:02 AM
Hi 9dragons, speaking about steveroach.com releases, you should check out also Brian Parnham's "Mantle" CD, full of beautiful darkness too just like "Asunder". About Nathan Youngblood, his collaboration with John Vorus is under way. And when mentioning John Vorus, give a try to his "Transmuting Currents" CD, stunning debut, both sonically and visually.

Richard
Title: Re: Darkest Ambient
Post by: Sievert on May 09, 2011, 08:40:03 PM
I can suggest one project from Russia, named Gasgruel. The works, that I listened to were released on Liminal Recs label, and they turned to be a great example of "darkest ambient". They are mostly devoted to horrors of war. Here are some links for you to explore:
Gasgruel - Nimb (http://www.liminalrecs.com/?q=lr033)
Gasgruel - Inwardness (http://www.liminalrecs.com/?q=lr025)
Gasgruel - Gate Shining Heart (http://www.liminalrecs.com/?q=lr020)
Also I can say, that the music of Gasgruel is as well pre- and postapocalyptic.