Atrium Carceri & Kammarheit (2022; Cryo Chamber)
Colossus, which hits the shelves on February 15, is core dark ambient from the pairing of Atrium Carceri (Simon Heath) and Kammarheit (Pär Boström). Rhythmic pulses underlie ponderous layers of brooding synth as well as analog hiss and static. The former provides deep, dark soundscapes, while the latter includes a gritty noir feel. The percussive elements resemble attenuated mechanical pounding that originates from deep underground, while the synths are dense and claustrophobic. The title track puts these features together in a compelling fashion with percussion that slowly thumps, metallic tapping at higher pitches, and at least three layers of synth including one that resembles human chanting.
Tineidae – Mothership (2022; Cryo Chamber)
A follow-up to 2020’s Exo, Mothership is the latest effort from Tineidae (Pavlo Storonskyi). While squarely in the dark ambient camp with its multitude of synths, sequenced rhythms, and processed mechanical noises, this effort has an emphasis on the majestic. Vast, sweeping tones etch out abbreviated melodic structures that suggest (as does the title) the sighting, landing, and/or abduction by an alien spacecraft. But rather than giving rise to terror, these events are represented by a mood of mystery and curiosity. The use of analog equipment and sequencers gives the album a retro feel, harkening to mid-70’s Tangerine Dream or mid-80’s Steve Roach. But these aspects are brought up to date with modern sampling and processing. The result is cinematic and strangely uplifting (no pun intended).
Llyn Y Cwn – Du Y Moroedd (2022; Cold Spring Records)
Du Y Moroedd is a haunting set of deep, rumbling soundscapes with significant elements recorded near, upon, or under the sea. Llyn Y Cwn (Benjamin Ian Powell) put these pieces together while on a sonar-enabled research ship searching for World War I wreckage. He included underwater sounds from the seabeds underneath ice fields near Greenland, as well as those of an old lighthouse bell in Wales. These field recordings are combined with windswept and ominous drones across ten tracks, most of which are in the 3-7 minute range. The final piece, Stratigraphy, is over 31 minutes long, and will likely sound more familiar to dark ambient listeners, with baleful textured waves that move in and out of focus joined by austere percussion. The album releases on February 25.