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Ugasanie’s “Border of Worlds”: Sounds of the Frozen North

Ugasanie has always had a deep love and respect for the frozen north. Since the inception of his project around 2011, Pavel Malyshkin has been giving listeners a front-row seat to the sounds and emotions of the far north. The revitalization of the dungeon synth genre along with the popularity of artists like Northaunt and labels like Glacial Movements on the dark ambient front means that there is a continuous release of all things polar ambient. Enter Ugasanie…

Much like Northaunt, Vitsyebsk, Belarus’s Ugasanie is completely dedicated to the polar ambient sound. With around a dozen releases over the last few years, Ugasanie stays busy. The beauty, however, is that Ugasanie manages to give each album its own unique tone, setting, and emotional output. While we are always surrounded by the winds of the frigid north, we rarely witness the same scenery twice.

Ugasanie was one of the first artists to release an album on the nascent Cryo Chamber dark ambient label. On his label debut, White Silence, Ugasanie gave us the first taste of sounds from the magical combination of his polar ambient style, matched with the brilliant mastering skills of label owner Simon Heath. Now, releasing his fourth album on Cryo Chamber, Ugasanie takes us once again into the deep, frigid expanses of the far north.

In a land inhabited by few, where some see nothing, Ugasanie sees a brilliantly magical world. It is a place where humanity is humbled; where we are no longer safely nestled at the top of the food chain; where temperatures plummet so low that being unprotected in the elements for five minutes could end one’s life right then and there. Border of Worlds hones in on this remoteness: the disconnect from the modern world. In the frigid north, the gods themselves are the makers and destroyers.

Pavel Malyshkin

Traversing a blisteringly cold mountain pass, each breath freezing your nostrils, Ugasanie puts the listener right into the center of the story. We can feel, hear, and almost visualize the world which Ugasanie paints for the listener. On tracks like “Over the Tundra,” we hear some lonely protagonist as he fights his way through subzero winds, icy flecks tearing at his cheeks. Each step brings a new challenge.

Yet, while one may feel alone in this bleak and barely habitable expanse, the gods are ever present. Indeed, they force themselves upon the fabrics of reality. As the protagonist becomes delirious, the gods are able to show their faces ever more freely. Tracks like “Obfuscation” and “Initiation” give witness to the tearing of the fabrics—the acceptance of and communication with the divine.

Cryo Chamber has been expanding its horizons throughout 2016. From its birth, Cryo Chamber was a cinematic dark ambient label. Recently, however, we have seen albums like Be Left to Oneself by Keosz and Genesis by Paleowolf which definitely push beyond the confines of strictly cinematic dark ambient. Yet, Border of Worlds proves that the foundations of the label have certainly not been shaken, and there is always plenty of room for the brilliant frozen wanderings of Ugasanie. If you love subtle drones, surprisingly unique field recordings, and a large dose of subzero soundscape, Border of Worlds should be a highlight among this year’s dark ambient offerings.

Track List:

01) White Death
02) Over the Tundra
03) Obfuscation
04) My Mother-Beast
05) On the Branches of the Sacred Larch
06) Initiation
07) North Breath
08) Way of Amanita
09) In Cold Arctic Winds
10) Endless Winter

Written by: Michael Barnett
Label: Cryo Chamber (United States) / None / CD, Digital
Dark Ambient / Drone

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