AMN Reviews: Dronny Darko – Black Hive (2018; Cryo Chamber)

Black Hive is the third album of a trilogy from Dronny Darko (the moniker of Ukrainian sound artist Oleg Puzan) that includes previous releases Outer Tehom and Spira Igneus. His material seems to have slipped under the radar, or at least under my radar, as this 2018 release just came to my attention. Mea culpas apply.

Still, it is all too easy for an effort such as this to become buried under the endless supply of dark ambient music that is rearing its menacing head these days. But Puzan is one of the few that is going beyond just sinister synth work and drones. He incorporates effects, voices, clattering, and manipulated sounds in a fashion that has as much in common with GRM-oriented electronic and acousmatic composers as with Lustmord, Steve Roach, or the Berlin School.

There are oscillating drones, to be sure – Numinous is a prime example thereof with its deep rumblings and walls of sound, though these are punctuated by scattered percussive elements. In contrast, Devourer begins with sculpted noise and distant hammering, which slowly transforms into a combination of subtle synth layers, distorted waves, and breathy scraping. The Knot of Time includes tuned percussion, static moving from channel to channel, and giant, pulsing waves coupled with unstructured crackling.

There is a gritty, cinematic terror evoked by these pieces. Indiscernible voices and animal noises haunt dark forests and ruined buildings. Wandering through an abandoned city brings for unknowable horrors. If this sounds like your cup of dissonance, do not hesitate.