Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Dark Music Review – The Infinity Coordinates

Dark Music Review – The Infinity Coordinates

Review Written By Casey Douglass


The Infinity Coordinates

Pavel Malyshkin ( Ugasanie ) presents us with his dark space project Silent Universe. Explore the anomalies that lurk in the infinite dark. Listen to magnetic readings of dark space as you probe the unexplored. This album brings dark rumbling sounds in the raw isolated style that is Pavel's expertise. Recommended for fans of space ambient.

There’s something seductive about the harsh, empty vastness of space. One of my favourite meditative practices is to imagine myself resting on some kind of spacecraft as it journeys from one galaxy to the next, the light of a million stars glinting on its hull. When a dark ambient album comes along that fits that theme, I take to my bed and indulge those images with eyes closed and blanket warm. The Infinity Coordinates is the latest that has accompanied me, and it did its job wonderfully.

The soundscapes created are smooth and expansive, the tempo fitting the shape of a universe in no hurry to provide entertainment for a puny human on an intergalactic jaunt. That being said, there are quirks and interesting events that you almost feel lucky to have witnessed, rather than them being orchestrated just for you. One example is opening track Spiral Space, a composition that creates a soundscape of flaring sounds; a shimmering environment in which you wouldn't be surprised to meet your own self coming towards you from the other direction. Things seem to move on later in the track, giving the listener the feeling of being left behind, much like seeing a jump-ship speed away from the vantage point of a desolate moon.

The idea of desolation brings me onto another track that I wanted to mention by name: Emptiness of Other Worlds. The deep drone and what appear to be robotic sobs meld with the other sounds to create the impression of a space traveller finding a deserted city on some backwater planet, but one that is millions of years unoccupied. The music gave me the impression of harsh shadows picking out the remains of architecture as the nearby star casts its rays over the lifeless dust. A melancholy soundscape but one well worth spending time inside.

Pulsar is another great track, one that builds into an electromagnetic soundscape that tunes the listener into the sounds of a pulsar. Other elements in this track create a pulsing momentum, and I half got the impression of the beam of the star, when it came my way, resembling a giant eye staring at me. And no, I’ve not just watched too much Lord of the Rings.

The Infinity Coordinates is a very fine album, one that leads the listener through a space that, at times, seems impartial, and at others, seems to be half aware of being visited, even if millions of years too late. If you enjoy the setting of space, The Infinity Coordinates is an album to pick up when you can.

Visit the The Infinity Coordinates page on Bandcamp here for more information, and be sure to check out Pulsar below:



I was given a free copy of this album to review.

Album Title: The Infinity Coordinates
Artists: Silent Universe
Label: Cryo Chamber
Released: Dec 26, 2017


Tuesday, 2 January 2018

On American Truck Simulator & Death: Who Wants to Live Forever?

Another installment of my Connection Lost series is now up on New Normative, called: On American Truck Simulator & Death: Who Wants to Live Forever? This time, I ponder how games that don't really feature death make me feel, and how the prospect of living forever can be just as scary as dying. Click here to read the full thing.




Friday, 22 December 2017

Dark Fiction - Burrow

Burrow

By Casey Douglass




International Space Station Log Entry #82256 : 27-12-17:

This is Commander Mills, one year into what should have been a six month stint on the I.S.S. I am writing this so that there is some record of what has happened, in case there is no-one left to tell the tale. I will be ejecting the log cluster before the station’s orbit degrades enough to drag it down with us. Hopefully the cluster will stay in orbit indefinitely for future generations to find, if there are any that is. With this in mind, I will give a brief recap of events.

A nuclear power station in Asia went into meltdown eight months ago. As it was later discovered, this power station was particularly near a fault in the Earth’s crust. Once the radiation levels spiked sufficiently to penetrate this area, Burrowing Syndrome began to manifest in the human population nearby. This then gradually spread until it was global, a pandemic that brought about the downfall of humanity.

Someone afflicted with Burrowing Syndrome would, without a moment’s hesitation, drop to their knees and begin to claw at the ground. It didn’t matter what type of ground or surface, when it struck someone, they fell to their knees and began to dig. People in cities and towns fared the worst, scraping at the ground until finger nails broke, fingers cracked and flesh began to be grated away by the friction. Early victims were restrained for their own good, but as the outbreak hit critical mass, there was nothing that could be done. The souls who were lucky enough to find themselves on soil or soft ground would dig and dig until they burrowed out of site, reacting violently if anyone tried to drag them from their hole. It took only a few weeks for the world below to fall silent, leaving us adrift and staring open-mouthed at the blue planet in our view ports.

We watched on from up here waiting for fresh news, monitoring ourselves for the syndrome in case someone got it into their head to puncture the station in some misguided frenzy to get out. I am happy to report that all crew seemed to be unaffected by the condition, which was about the only good thing we held onto as we rationed ourselves and floated around in a state of zombie-like starvation. Marlow died just over a month ago, his body seeming to shut down due to malnutrition. I thought we were all going to slowly follow suit, until the quiet planet below started to broadcast again.

We were orbiting above the Himalayas when the weak signal reached us. It was fuzzy and racked with interference, but we were able to clean things up. It was them, the people who had burrowed. We weren’t sure whether to believe them or not but they were people, which was enough for us at the time. They explained that they had been drawn to an inner zone of the planet, some oasis of advanced technology, the biome from which humanity literally sprouted. They sent us co-ordinates and invited us to join them. They chose a landing spot that the station would pass over, the ground there soft and easy to push through. Yes, apparently when we are nearer the surface, we will be afflicted with B.S too. Ha! B.S! It sounds it doesn’t it. They told us to keep our spacesuits on as it would stop us suffocating in the ground, a fate that apparently claimed 95% of all those who did burrow into softer stuff. We tried to ask questions, such as what had caused all of this, but beyond confirmation that the nuclear meltdown triggered it, they would say little else. Apparently they were using the mountain range below as a giant antenna, and we would be leaving it’s range in mere minutes. It sounds incredibly fanciful but what else could we do but take the chance.

Here we are, out of options. The station is decaying as much as the crew. We took the decision to degrade its orbit, using the one capsule we have to try to achieve the landing area our ‘friends’ below have chosen. I’ve never been more scared in my life, but I’d rather die doing something than waste away floating in a tin can so close to home. The I.S.S just shuddered so I am guessing we are beginning to hit the atmosphere. I need to get this finished and ejected. If you read this, whoever you are, I hope history will show what happened to us, and if it all ends now, in this way, who’d have seen that coming!


Commander Mills. Crew Number #15-653

THE END


Thursday, 21 December 2017

Metal Bands That Have Done It For Me This Year

Although this year has been full of big metal releases, I can't say that many have actually stuck with me. I find myself returning to albums a few years old rather than the newer stuff, although there have been some exceptions. Zeal & Ardor's Devil is Fine probably sticks in my mind the most as it really is a fusion of musical genres that you'd never imagine putting together, that of chain-gang spirituals and Norwegian black metal. I did review it here if you fancy a more in-depth read. Below are some embedded YouTube vids of the bands that are on my permanent rotation.

Oh, and being metal vids, there is probably gore/self-harm, nudity, the usual stuff, so if you don't like seeing that kind of thing, best not watch them.

Zeal & Ardor



Slipknot



Korn


The Cumshots

The lyrics and music of this band probably best express my feelings 90% of the time. I'd love to see them live one day.

Ghost B.C

Dagoba


I'm wracking my brain for more but I keep coming up empty. I couldn't get into Mastodon's new album, which is a shame as I loved Once More 'Round The Sun. I've also not been able to get connected to other new albums this year, for whatever reason. Not a very musical year for me, in any genre particularly. It's probably just something with me that is different at the moment. Oh well. Happy holidays/ Merry New Year.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Urban Sounds and Skies of Autumnal Norwich


I made a few short clips when in Norwich a few months ago, as it was such a pleasant day. Here are the best ones, merged together and slung on to the YouTube.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Game Review: American Truck Simulator New Mexico and Heavy Cargo DLCs

SCS Software’s American Truck Simulator has long been a relaxation game for me. Taking to the open highways and byways of California, Nevada and Arizona in my pimped out (snakeskin decal and buffed engine) truck, taking in the views… and the idiocy of rush hour traffic. Recently, I got the chance to take a look at the two latest DLC releases for the game: New Mexico and Heavy Cargo. Click here to read my full review on Geek Syndicate.



Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Connection Lost: Play It One More Time

My next entry in the Connection Lost series is now up on New Normative. This one, Play It One More Time, looks at the use of time-bending mechanics in games, how they can create feelings of loss, and how they go hand in hand with death. Click here to read the full article.