Dark Music Review – Monde Obscure
Written By Casey Douglass
Field recording heavy dark ambient from Croatia. This album is an unsettling tale taking us from the abandon dilapidated high rises where the portals from another world cracks open to leak its black ink into our world. Great attention to detail and layers means this album will be replayed many times before it can all be taken in. Not for the faint of heart.
The above album blurb is certainly accurate, the layers found in Aegri Somnia’s Monde Obscure give the ear a great amount of detail to listen to, and do a fantastic job of conjuring up some strange and twisted mental impressions. Monde Obscure will certainly take your mind on a fantastic journey, each track saturated with strange things and sinister sounds.
Naissance – Footsteps and the squawking of birds backed by a series of sinister drones and beats before being joined by lighter notes and swirls of sound. This track very much hangs from the footsteps, a lone explorer walking through an area that they are ill advised to venture into alone. Near the end of the track, a strange chant resonates, as if the denizens of the place have noticed the intruder and are signalling the creatures within to get ready for lunch.
Esoterique – A gentle chiming mingles with a looming drone filled with the hard edge of metal and magic. A deep chant underpins this, hinting at a ritual setting or place of worship. The dark undertones certainly don’t mark this as a white light praising area. The track swells at the midpoint, a harsh thickly-textured sound covered in grain. This gives way to water splashes and the distant vocalisations of the residents of this dark place.
Les Temps Ont Changé – Chimes and chittering begin this track, a wide-open soundscape filled with flight and movement, the creaking and groaning of ancient machinery far out of sight disturbing the vermin that live here. A rustling sound takes over, other things falling more silent, strange speech bouncing from the walls, melodic yet alien. The track is seen out by haunting piano notes and a low drone.
Noir et Blanc – Wind blowing through eerie tubes provides the backing to trickling water and abbreviated coughs, a vibrating drone and wet splats mingling to finish the effect as voices rise in a chant. The whole track puts me in mind of a church surrounded by the gurgling darkness of Satan's masses. The second part of the track is a quieter affair, gurgles and muted rhythms suggesting the church is now totally covered.
Culture Aveugle – A grainy sound begins this track, accompanied by a metallic beat, the atmosphere thickening as a drone seeps in, escalating notes taking on the aspect of cries and calls from strange creatures. Whispers and water join the fray, hinting at a large space full of judgemental and opinionated souls passing verdict as the listener passes through. A lumbering rumbling sound wades in, the opinionated audience falling silent as something more than a match for their bile imposes itself on the place.
Faux Prophete – The sounds at the start of this track give the impression of a large static-filled TV screen struggling to show any strong sense of picture. Tiny figures climb its sides trying to repair it, the clank of their tools and labour echoing around the abyssal space. A beat starts a little later, accompanied by the sound of what could be crunching bones, if your mind is of a particular persuasion. The sounds of more industry ensues, with wolf-like howling beginning in the distance.
Obscurite Totale – Tinkling chimes and guttural noises start this track, the atmosphere darkening as a drone ripens with higher notes and chanting reverberations interplaying with the sound. Most of these fall silent as more furtive scurrying sounds emerge, insectoid and chitinous, a swelling resonance behind it building into a metamorphosing soundscape. As other tracks, this one enjoys a more relaxed second act, soothing breathing intermingled with clattering chimes setting up a great contrast with the first part of the track before it ends with more chanting.
Vitesse D'évasion – Dripping water and reverberating juddering sounds begin, a high pitched screeching melding into a distant drone. Things fade to a squeaking space full of rustling and distant chiming. A more distinct creaking and clattering begins, distant calls jostling with deeper notes that loom over the soundscape of creature noises.
Sortie – A thrumming drone surrounded by the sounds of hissing steam and metallic clanks. This track gives the impression of what it might be like to enter an airlock and have the various decontamination systems kicking in, scanning you, disinfecting you.
Sortie II – Beeps and mechanical sounds ratchet into the ear, shortly followed by a swelling noise that hints at things about to happen. What sounds like a robotic cry for help dopplers away from the listener, a pregnant space full of dead technology.
Portal I – Whispers and a metallic beating with a high-pitched backing drone creates a soundscape that feels claustrophobic, in so far as being surrounded by people can feel claustrophobic. That is, until it all fades and leaves the listener alone with something coming their way through the darkness.
Portal II – Bat-like chittering vies with a rumbling drone, wet impacts and what sounds like distant thunder competing with strange speech and industry. A rumbling and slightly confusing soundscape that leaves the listener curious at which way to mentally turn. Things turn technological towards the midpoint which gives the listener more questions than it answers.
As I said at the start of this review, Monde Obscure will take your mind into dark places, dipping your brain in vats of unspeakable grime before laying it out in the swamp for the carrion birds to pick over. There were a number of tracks that I would happily apply the label of “Favourite” to, each for their own particular charm.
Culture Aveugle I love because to me, it really did sound like a room full of beings who thought they were so strong and mighty being cowed by the appearance of a true power. A bit like the difference between a murderer finding themselves face to face with Hannibal Lecter.
Faux Prophete just conjured such interesting images to me, technology and animal sounds mingling to create something strange and unsettling.
Obscurite Totale I enjoyed for the space that opened up part way through the track, the breathing and chimes tinkling one of the most peaceful and relaxing soundscapes I have heard for quite some time.
I give Monde Obscure 4.5/5 and think you would be well advised to visit the link below and have a listen for yourself.
Have a look at the Monde Obscure page here on Bandcamp to find out more.
I was given a free copy of the album to review.
Album Title: Monde Obscure
Artist: Aegri Somnia
Label: Cryo Chamber
Written, Produced and Performed: Jurica Santek
Mastering - Simon Heath
Artwork - Crossfading
Released : 19 May 2015