Ambient

Leila Abdul-Rauf – Phantasiai Review

Leila Abdul-Rauf – Phantasiai Review

“Can you hear that distant noise? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No. It’s… a modulated trumpet. Wow. Why did you think that was a bird? To be fair, “modulated trumpet” isn’t exactly a phrase I – or anyone around here, for that matter – use often, so I can see why it wasn’t your first guess. But it’s nevertheless the shining star of Phantasiai, the fourth full-length release of ambient music from California’s Leila Abdul-Rauf. Armed with little more than vocal melodies, a glockenspiel, and the aforementioned trumpet, Abdul-Rauf is primed to create unsettling atmospheres and cryptic journeys. How well does the listener fare in these hazy crossroads?” Modulated expectations.

Neptunian Maximalism – Solar Drone Ceremony Review

Neptunian Maximalism – Solar Drone Ceremony Review

Neptunian Maximalism took the metal world by storm last year. Éons was an absolute monument of an album, fusing drone, jazz, and psychedelia into one of the most evocative listens in recent memory. It spoke to something primal, something ancient that lived at the bottom of a listener’s subconscious, and snuck its way into my year-end list at number 2. Conjuring the likes of Sunn O))), Sun Ra, Swans, and Miles Davis, it was a concept album regarding the fate of Earth and its inhabitants, resulting in mass extinction and planetary destruction. Only nine months later, we’re treated with a new offering; can Solar Drone Ceremony continue where its predecessor left off?” Maximal effort.

Schemer Heer – The Dragon, His Angels and the Exaltation of Death Review

Schemer Heer – The Dragon, His Angels and the Exaltation of Death Review

“Imagine, if you will, a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed black metal enthusiast hopping out of bed one bright January morning excited to rake the promo bin for some lovely blasphemous soundtracks for cursing dead gods above with outstretched fist. He sees Schemer Heer, scanning the promo: “Schemer Heer… brings bombastic, black metal and horror…” and he hungrily snatches it up. It certainly looks icy and blasphemous, and he gets all tingly inside, the way others might feel about that special someone or a hug from their favorite teddy bear. He presses play and…Dungeon synth.” Dungeon punked.

Golden Ashes – In the Lugubrious Silence of Eternal Night Review

Golden Ashes – In the Lugubrious Silence of Eternal Night Review

“Black metal is great at it, as its entire purpose is to conjure blasphemous and decrepit images of icy forests and iconoclastic rituals, but there are twists to your snow-crusted Norwegian fjords and the sounds of Hail Satans: Austere‘s desolate Australian deserts, Blut Aus Nord‘s hellish industrial landscapes, and Saor‘s Scottish highlands, to name a few. While images painted are up for grabs, the general consensus is one of darkness, bleakness, and spiritual desolation. But what happens when the black metal is, ya know, not that?” Bright darkness.

Crowhurst and Gavin Bryars – Incoherent American Narrative Review

Crowhurst and Gavin Bryars – Incoherent American Narrative Review

“Not knowing what to expect from Crowhurst and Gavin Bryars‘s new album Incoherent American Narrative, I snuggled into a corner of my couch with a piping hot mug of mint tea at my side and put on my Sennheisers. Now that I have experienced the album more than a handful of times, the idea that keeps coming to mind is that of a sound collage. Sound collages, like their visual counterparts, are compositions created from “gluing” together various, oftentimes disparate, sound pieces. Incoherent American Narrative fits that description to a T.” Art and crafts.

Abyssal – A Beacon in the Husk [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Abyssal – A Beacon in the Husk [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

“Dissonant death metal is a polarizing style, one whose purposes are often unclear. While it encompasses a variety of interpretations, its beginnings in Immolation and Demilich can be summed up in its attempted balance of malice and menace. British death metal act Abyssal‘s fourth full-length A Beacon in the Husk is the perfection of this balance: a sunless journey into the depths of the abyss, guided by its philosophical lyricism and patient dynamics.” Void tunes.