AMN Reviews: Two From Cryo Chamber – Alphaxone and Gdanian

As summer winds down, the Cryo Chamber label has released two new dark ambient / space drone releases. One focuses on historical events while the other is more speculative.

Alphaxone – The Infinite Void (2022)

Alphaxone’s Mehdi Saleh is back with a set of deep, pulsating drones accompanied by mission control recordings from the Apollo 11 launch that resulted in humankind’s first visit to the moon. The former involves dark, airy rumblings, as well as occasional higher-pitched notes or a stray mechanical beep, while the latter is persistent yet often so low in the mix that it is only on the edge of perception. Thus, much of the foreground of The Infinite Void is centered on bassy layers of synth with a somewhat forbidding tone. Sweeping and majestic, these long-held notes and chords evoke the infinite blackness of space as well as the dangers of leaving the pale blue dot we call home. Perhaps unintentionally, the release of this album coincides with the planned first launch of a series of missions that would eventually return U.S. astronauts to the moon.

Gdanian – Induction (2022)

Sergey Gdanian’s latest release is drawn to science fiction rather than pure science. Gdanian invokes a well-traveled trope, that of humans leaving Earth to colonize other celestial bodies and escape their self-inflicted damage to the home planet. These thoughts are characterized by shimmering drones, crackling electroacoustic elements, and brief strains of melody. As Induction progresses, the droning takes on different natures – windswept and slightly distorted with static and whispering, for example. The dynamics increase with quiet passages broken up by turbulent cinematic breaks. The result is a haunting exploration of far-future soundscapes that ask the question of whether we can escape the tribal, emotive facets of our DNA in order to establish a better, exoplanetary society.