Author Topic: Darkest Ambient  (Read 54358 times)

9dragons

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Darkest Ambient
« 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"...

Undershadow

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #1 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), 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), 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/3rdcycle.html

NorthauntHorizons

http://www.cycliclaw.com/16thcycle.html

Gustaf Hildebrand - Primordial Resonance

http://www.cycliclaw.com/15thcycle.html

VisionsLapse

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/catalogue/catalogueitem.asp?id=1392

Desiderii Marginis - That which is Tragic and Timeless

http://www.coldmeat.se/catalogue/catalogueitem.asp?id=1147



avec

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #2 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? 
« Last Edit: July 22, 2008, 02:58:13 AM by avec »

solyaris

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #3 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
« Last Edit: July 22, 2008, 03:54:38 AM by solyaris »

DeepR

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #4 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. :)
« Last Edit: July 22, 2008, 04:03:12 AM by DeepR »

Undershadow

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #5 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.




solyaris

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #6 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



Exuviae

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #7 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




mgriffin

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #8 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.
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Bill Binkelman

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #9 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

Joe R

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #10 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.


9dragons

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #11 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.

« Last Edit: July 22, 2008, 11:59:37 PM by 9dragons »

jim brenholts

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #12 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.
all the best and God bless
jim
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jim brenholts

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #13 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!
all the best and God bless
jim
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jkn

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #14 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.

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Joe R

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #15 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.

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #16 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!

drone on

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #17 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. 

SiF

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #18 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.

9dragons

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Re: Darkest Ambient
« Reply #19 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...
« Last Edit: July 24, 2008, 02:50:03 PM by 9dragons »