AMN Reviews: Various Artists – Cryo Chamber Collaboration – Dagon (2021; Cryo Chamber)

Every year for the last eight, the Cryo Chamber label has worked with a slew of dark ambient artists on an extensive collaboration inspired by the horror works of H.P. Lovecraft. The difference between such a collaboration and a compilation is that this album consists of two very long tracks that were co-authored by all participants, whereas a collaboration is a grouping of individually composed and recorded material. As a result, Dagon offers up a sonically consistent set of drones, melodies, and effects that slowly explore a multi-dimensional musical space.

Indeed, these pieces are often as ambient as they are dark, with windswept features and plenty of softly-lulling synth waves. A more ominous mood creeps in from time to time with pulsing rhythms, bassy oscillations, voicelike constructs, and electroacoustic crackles. Some of this takes the form of quiet drones with the details hidden unless the volume is increased appropriately. Toward the end of the set, one of these more hushed passages morphs into the sounds of chanting and percussive elements folded upon one another before introducing the calls of seabirds to complement a haunted oceanscape.

Contributors include many names that might be familiar to those who read our reviews: Tineidae, Shrine, Dead Melodies, Darkrad, Northumbria, Dronny Darko, ProtoU, Council of Nine, RNGMNN, Wordclock, Randal Collier-Ford, Neiszvestija, Phonothek, Atrium Carceri, Alphaxone, Apocryphos, Gydja, God Body Disconnect, Flowers for Bodysnatchers, Beyond the Ghost, and In Quantum. These artists have created nearly two hours of music that makes for a satisfying experience whether one is engaged in active or passive listening.

For a review of last year’s Lovecraft collaboration from Cryo Chamber (as well as my take on the general wretch that was H.P. Lovercraft the man), click here.

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