In the annals of dark ambient, there is a certain prescence within the lower levels of darkness. It’s oftentimes overlooked, which is quite a shame. I’m talking about the Tribal/Ritual artists. Though there are quite a few (Akoustik Timbre Frekuency, Druhá Smrt, Emma Ya, Desiderii Marginis, Ouroboros, Viginti Tres Saecula, The Temple of Algolagnia, Alchemist, Temple Music, etc) that operate on this basic premise, there certainly is no “standard” when dealing with this sub-genre of the ambient collective.
Ritual ambient has had a long an impressive history, as the collection of similar artists above can attest to. Works such as Bathory Legion‘s “Bukkake S.T.N.”, ATF’s “Ritualistik Kuttings“, and Natural Faith Project‘s “Erinnerung” provide a wide palette of samples regarding what diversity one may experience within this world. It’s one of the things I like so much about music like this, if that be the appropriate definition. Indeed, these sounds encompass a wide range of definitions to each listener. Some call it “music”, some “sound alchemy”, and yet others classify it as a form of “noise”.
This release, in my estimation, is more of an aural field trip than a tight collection of structured music. Dan and Nicki perform each work as an independent thought, it would seem. Each has it’s own structure, it’s own feel, it’s own story. For those fortunate enough to have the physical manifestation of this album (limited to 120 copies only), each track comes with a short, honest description of the meaning and essence behind the sounds. This is surely helpful, as in this genre, descriptions can be vague at best, completely and purposefully hidden at worst.
The tracks, as stated above, involve the listener on a meditative and dark journey through the paces set forth in the tracklisting. One thing I noticed was the absence of any one “standout” track. All maintained equal pace, depth, and surety. Multiple instruments are used here, including, but not limited to: violin, guitars, drums, steel grates, chimes, rain-sticks, horns, Pan’s flute, and rusty saws. This creates a more organic, natural (if not unnatural) element and sound endgame. I mentioned the term “aural field trip” earlier, and I’ll explain that terminology now. I suppose there is always meditation that occurs when hearing music, especially for the first time.
This album, this collection of emotions, sounds, and feelings, creates the pathway on which the mind can travel freely and without interruption. That is certainly a good thing, especially for folks like myself who appreciate a good space-out every once in a while. The sounds certainly allow you entry to that “next level” of consciousness, as long as you are willing to invest the appropriate attitude, mind, and soul energy to do so. I find this the best part of this music, this force. To allow the listener that chance, that moment when all can be balanced, far from the outside world and it’s stupidity, is certainly a welcome gift.
As said, the album either stands as one collective, or not at all. Each track binds together the collective, as one breathing, living entity, as opposed to a more typical album, in which individualized tracks are just as necessary. In this case, surely the collective is the article of importance, continuity being it’s bride. The ebb and flow of the intertwining works can be intoxicating, especially in the correct environment.
Noctivagant does a good job of finding interesting and committed projects for it’s roster. If you can find this in it’s physical format, I think you’ll find something you’ll cherish for those moments when you, too, need to have that mental field trip.
03) Village Of Widows
05) Wailing Forest
06) The Brook
Dark Ambient / Tribal