AMN Reviews: Randal Collier-Ford – Advent (2020; Cryo Chamber)

Just when you think that you have a grasp on the expanse of dark ambient music, another artist comes to your attention. Such an artist might not only have a new album out, but also a long discography built up over the years. With 30-plus albums from the last decade, Seattle-based Randal Collier-Ford fits this description.

Advent, nonetheless, goes beyond the standard fare. Not only does it feature the expected ominous drones and waves, but also strings, vocalizations, and clever use of percussion across its three long tracks. The combination of these elements is not only spacious but also post-industrial. Further, there are numerous clear themes that repeat enough to recognizable without becoming tedious.

The strings are textural and the voices chant rather than sing. Indeed, the album is intended to tell a science-fiction story, with echoing mechanical processes hosting weird organic life forms. These sounds get increasingly haunting, as the final track, The Second Wound, includes a plaintive and forbidding piano theme that evolves into martial drumming before fading to silence.

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