Dark and obscure music blog/zine since 2006 [ Post-Industrial / Ambient / IDM ]
contact: woundsoftheearth@gmail.com

| news | reviews | interviews | recommendations | releases | articles | about |

Friday, June 24, 2016

New (free) album from Dead Man's Hill

Belgian dark ambient/martial project Dead Man's Hill has just released a new album (his first since, I believe, a couple of releases on Steinklang Industries in 2010), titled Crossroads, which is up on his bandcamp page and is currently pay-what-you-want. I listened to the first couple tracks and really enjoyed them so I felt it pertinent to spread the word.

[ Listen / Download ]

Monday, June 20, 2016

Returning to digital zine format

After spending quite a bit of time pondering the fate of Wounds of the Earth I have at last decided on a direction. I am going to go back to the digital zine format and release "issues" a few times a year (pdf and/or digital flipbook as in the past). I will now charge a few dollars per issue (as a considerable amount of work has gone into this zine...for the last 10 years), but each one will come with a compilation as well as tons of reviews/interviews/photography, and whatever extra stuff makes sense. In the meantime there will be no more reviews posted here, but there will still be DJ mixes and maybe misc other stuff.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wounds Of The Earth DJ Mix 015 by Michael Barnett

In the midst of summer, Out fellow dark zine Terra Relicta's Michael Barnett immerses us in icy landscapes, frozen during the coldest of winters.

DJ: Michael Barnett
Genre: Dark Ambient, Drone

01. Phonothek - Heavy Thoughts
02. Ugasanie - The Bodies Under The Snow
03. Aythis - Night
04. Apocryphos - Eigengrau
05. Skadi - Crystallized Waters
06. NordLoth - Northern Wind
07. Svartsinn - As A Black Stone Monument
08. Hymnambulae - Polarsidan
09. Aural Whiteout - Over The Frozen Landscape
10. Elador - Into A Mystery Of Frostwind
11. Northumbria - Song For Freyja
12. Cryobiosis - Frigid Silence
13. Northaunt - Northaunt
14. God Body Disconnect - Dreaming Of Glaciers

total time: 62:29

listen @ mixcloud ]

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Another huge Dark Ambient comp from Kalpamantra netlabel

Net label Kalpamantra has once again released one of it's trademark MASSIVE dark ambient compilations. This edition features some truly excellent artists including Kammarheit, Inner Vision Laboratory, Vestigial, Lamia Vox, Arditi, Treha Sektori, Aythis, Aun, Shrine, Gydja, Reutoff, Worms of the Earth, and many more! Absolutely a must have for fans of dark ambient.

[ on bandcamp ]

Kammarheit side-project Cities Last Broadcast returns

Pär Boström (a.k.a. Kammarheit) returns with his side-project Cities Last Broadcast to release the follow up to 2009's The Cancelled Earth. The new album, The Humming Tapes, is being released via Cryo Chamber.  As one of the best dark drone acts out there, it's great to see him return so strongly over the last 2 years. In addition to this he has released a new Kammarheit album as well as a split album with Atrium Carceri and Apocryphos (both the first releases from the project in 10 years!), as well as a few compilation appearances. Fans of Boström's work will want to check this one out.

[ on bandcamp ]

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Atiq - "Sonorous EP"

Artist: Atiq
Album: Sonorous EP
Year: 2016
Label: Onset Audio
Genre: Drum & Bass, Ambient
Website:  onsetaudio.com

After an excellent split album with EnK on Tympanik Audio in 2013, Dutch DNB producer Atiq returns with a solo EP which is a mixture of halftime dnb and ambient atmospheres.

I'm not a huge fan or follower of DNB, but the Atiq & EnK split was incredible; it perfectly utilized the elements of drum and bass that I enjoy and mixed them with plenty of diverse melodic and atmospheric components to craft captivating songs. That said, I had high expectations going into this EP and I feel that they were met. This release opens with the title track "Sonorous" (featuring fellow Tympanik alum Tangent) which gives us a good idea of what we're in for - halftime dnb-style breakbeats and bass bursts mixed with evocative pads and drones. The production is very clean & spacious which bolsters the enthralling quality of the music, and everything sits perfectly in the mix. While it is a bit repetitive (though less so than most dnb), all the elements are interesting enough to overlook that. Definitely something to check out if you're a fan of atmospheric music driven by (slow-ish) breakbeats. The other tracks follow a similar style, but utilize different sounds and some variation on the sad/meditative atmospheres of the opener such that they all sound completely unique. "The Euclidean Perspective" has an even more lofty feel it it; perhaps due to the title and/or the samples from Interstellar. It features some stellar (get it?) pads over a crisp, driving beat and it introduces a great little outer space-y melody towards the end. I don't listen to all that stuff much like this so I'm not sure about references, but it kinds of takes me back to old school LTJ Bukem & the like which had really lush, evocative textures and connected with you on a much deeper level than hard-hitting DNB aimed at clubs/raves. "Hiraeth" and "Real Life (Awaits Us)" are a bit darker; the latter especially, bringing to mind the atmospheres of classic dark jungle, slowed down with the atmosphere really brought to the forefront. This stuff reminds me a bit of guys like Kryptic Minds. The nostaglic nature of it is appealing and the music is plenty interesting on its own.
The album ends with 3 remixes. The first one, a mix of "Sonorous" by Red Army completely harkens back to dark 90s dnb. This is a great sound and definitely takes me back to some of the stuff that got me into this style back in the day. As with the bulk of that stuff, it's pretty repetitive and minimal, but that's par for the course. The second one is by Aeon Waves and it's very happy sounding (in a post rock sort of way), the beat is awkward and I just can't get into it. The final remix, by Dyl, and it has removed nearly all the percussion and is a predominately droning ambient track. Though sparse, it was pretty cool, especially the parts with almost tribal-esque hypnotic percussion and the buried choir pad; certainly a fitting closer for the EP.

A captivating EP and suitable follow up to Fear Of The Unknown. Definitely something that will be appreciated by fans of labels like Tympanik or Atiq's own Mindtrick Records. For beat-driven atmospheric stuff you can't go wrong with this EP.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wounds Of The Earth DJ Mix 014

Last weekend was a holiday here in the US and it also signaled the start of summer. As such, it's been hot and humid and terrible here. In response I made this extra long mix of cold, ancient dark ambient atmospheres to transport us back to more tolerable, isolated climates. There is a ton of great shit in this mix and it showcases a lot of my favorite acts in the genre. Nothing else really needs to be said, listen for some of the best dark ambient ever created.

DJ: Dan Barrett
Genre: Dark Ambient, Drone, Industrial

Visions - Summoning The Void
Vestigial - Last Extinction Prayer
Tholen - Cryogenic Ceremonies
Shrine - Scrinivm
Phelios - Passing The Solar Firestorms
New Risen Throne - Loneliness
Lamia Vox - Lapis Occultus
Inade - The World Behind The World
Herbst9 - Sennacherib, Lugal
Cryobiosis - Into Nothingness
Circular - From A Concealed Awareness
Atrium Carceri - A Curved Blade
Coph Nia - End
Inner Vision Laboratory - Lifethread
Innfallen - Prologue (Inner Locutions)
Paranoia Inducta - Maze Of Death
Raison d'etre - Katharos
Hymnambulae - Ett Ord Fran Oknen

total time: 95:57

listen @ mixcloud ]

Friday, May 27, 2016

Wounds Of The Earth DJ Mix 013

This is a mix of some weird and obscure stuff that I own but don't listen to often. I thought it would be a good excuse to pull these records out again - I'd forgotten how much I like some of this stuff. Lots of cool short lived and/or side projects on display here: Project Arctic (side project of This Morn Omina & Empusae), Konau (side project of New Risen Throne), Evan Bartholomew (dark ambient side project of Bluetech), Squaremeter (dark ambient side project of Panacea) and so forth.

DJ: Dan Barrett
Genre: Dark Ambient, Ritual, Experimental

Caithness - Faces and Shades
Wolfskin - The Yew Column
R|A|A|N - Arrival Of The Sek
Project Arctic - The 88th Parallel
Squaremeter - Acr Flow
Konau - Sadness Embrace
Inade - Genius Loci Pt. IV
Evan Bartholomew - Soft Spots In The Tyranny Of Matter
Roto Visage - Willows Deep
Combative Alignment - Part Two
Endvra - The Left Hand Of The Dead
Profane Grace - Transmutation Of Flesh Into Dream

total time: 55:10

listen @ mixcloud ]

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Phonothek - "Lost In Fog"

Artist: Phonothek
Album: Lost In Fog
Year: 2016
Label: Cryo Chamber
Genre: Dark Ambient, Avant-garde
Website:  cryochamber.bandcamp.com

Cryo Chamber brings us another debut release of an unknown project, this time from Georgian project Phonothek. I don't know anything about this project, but immediately can tell that it's something a bit different for the label. Also, that cover art is amazing.

It's nice to hear Cryo Chamber bring on another project that writes interesting/active ambient. I find it hard to classify Phonothek as their songs contain innumerable varied elements, but to attempt to put it concisely: it's dark ambient with an avant garde slant to it. I saw a post describing this as "ambient / jazz" and I guess that's somewhat fitting - sort of foggy, disembodied jazz-esque bits dot the otherwise snowy, tranquil landscape of this album. Overall, the songs tend to contain beautiful sleepy, droning textures, but they are also chock full of numerous other sounds from piano, to ghostly voices, to sfx, to glitchy textures, to bells, to distant horn-esque sounds, and so on. There is never a dull moment in any of these tracks. For the most part the songs are really good (e.g. "Last Train", "She was in a Dream") - hypnotic ambient textures mixed with a constant barrage of new sounds overlaid, plunging the listener into a weird, but captivating, surrealist dream sequence. Occasionally the songs become a little too jarring or meandering with too many opposing elements (e.g. middle of "Something Happened") or descend too far into art wank (the end section where it sounds like they're playing ping pong in "Heavy Thoughts") but after a bit they usually smooth out and go back to something I enjoy listening to. Although the layers of sounds used here are quite diverse, Phonothek manages to splice them together in such a way that most of the time they mesh together well and feel like a bizarre but cohesive idea. Not sure what I could really compare this to; the best I can do is that if you took one of those Jazz-y IDM acts like Ametsub or Zinovia and removed the beats and put their sounds into an ambient framework than you'd get something vaguely like this.

I like their non-traditional approach to the genre, and I feel that it helps them stand out among contemporary dark ambient producers. Their music is definitely different and interesting, although at times it's a little too disjointed for me. Overall though, with continued listens I find myself liking it more and more. It's a complex gem and it's takes a bit of time to acclimate to, but the payoff is worth it. Lost In Fog is quite a diverse record and is worth checking out for fans of ambient music who want to be challenged and/or are looking for something more on the artsy side of the spectrum.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Atrium Carceri - Archives I-II

Artist: Atrium Carceri
Album: Archives I-II
Year: 2016
Label: Cryo Chamber
Genre: Dark Ambient
Website:  cryochamber.bandcamp.com

Atrium Carceri has released a 2 disc set of archive material dating from 2005-2015; this set consists of material originally written for b-sides, forgotten songs, etc that has been re-worked, re-mastered, and compiled into two long pieces; the first being 43 minutes in length and the second being around 40 minutes.

At this point I feel like it's pointless to review new Atrium Carceri material. It doesn't need it; everything he releases is incredible, never fails to make it on my top 10 of the year list, and should be owned by everyone who reads this blog. You'd be hard pressed to find a more consistently excellent musician out there. It's unbelievable to me that I can own SO MANY albums by one guy and each of them is brilliant.

Anyhow, this is an interesting, if unexpected, release - for whatever reason AC's mastermind Simon Heath has decided to revisit his archives and rework some old material that never saw release. It's presented in 2 longform tracks, although during each there appear to be "breaks" which, at least to me, feel like spots that could have been used to divide this into separate tracks, but whatever. While I love everything AC has released, the first 3 albums are still my favorite. That said, I was excited to hear this material dates back to 2005 (not quite the beginning, but back to Kapnobatai at least). Everything you've loved about AC over the years is here - the trademark bass, sfx, and industrial sounds of the early years; the emotive, forlorn piano melodies; the deep, rumbling chthonic atmospheres of the inner sanctums of the earth; the calm droning soundscapes of the newer material; and the interesting & varied composition he has always been known for. He fuses all of these elements into material that is a perfectly cohesive blend of all of his past styles, while still managing to make it sound like a fresh, brand new album. Of course it's got very polished, modern production so it doesn't have quite the same feel as the old material, but the sentiments are certainly there. Definitely a great and fulfilling release for people like me who have enjoyed the characteristics of each of his albums over the years. In many instances, these "archive" releases result in a bunch of old b-sides which are only interesting for novelty purposes, but aren't particularly good songs you'd listen to often. This is absolutely not the case here and AC has re-assembled his archive material in a way that renders it fully listenable and relevant. You could hand this disc to any fan of dark ambient without them knowing what it was and they'd be like "yeah this is some great contemporary sounding stuff" and not "oh this sounds old/dated/b-side-y/etc".

Even though this release was created from b-sides and unused tracks, the final result is definitely as good as any of his traditional albums. It's very pleasing to see an artist put out something like this and put this much effort into it. If you're a fan of any of Atrium Carceri's work than you will highly enjoy this release as well. With every new release he further solidifies why he is one of the most relevant artists in the history of (dark) ambient music and why he is in the (at least my personal) top 3 dark ambient acts of all time. Definitely a must own for fans of the genre. If you're still new to AC than this would be a solid place to start and get a a glimpse at all the different places he has taken listeners to over the years.