Dark Music Review – Transmissions In Extremis
Written By Casey Douglass
‘Transmissions In Extremis’ uses only samples of shortwave transmissions/static/noise as its source sounds. The results I hope are eerie and unsettling.
Transmissions In Extremis is a dark ambient album from Birmingham based Dona Nobis Pacem and came to my attention awhile ago after I reviewed Metadronus and Ager Sonus’ great album Shortwave. I was particularly impressed with that album’s use of transmission noises and signals and was put onto D.N.P’s Transmissions In Extremis for the same reason.
The ten tracks that make up Transmissions In Extremis do all indeed contain these same kinds of audio sources, but it is a credit to D.N.P that each track has its own feel and sound that doesn’t make the whole thing sound boring to the ear.
Some of the tracks, like the first, might feature a strong drone and little else for the first segment but then expand to include whooshing static and beeps that make you think of hulking machines and their operators. The beeps evoke images of deep space satellites bouncing their signals from the planetary bodies of far distant star systems, and at times make the listener ponder what eyes or equipment may be watching our own as it floats past their planet.
A particularly nice effect is the distorted vocalisations that emerge in more than a few of the tracks, some sounding a little demonic, as if travelling from a long way only to fall at the last hurdle when they hit whatever equipment recorded them. There are also instances of voices more audible, such as female voices in track 4 listing lots of numbers.
At least one track seemed to feature some kind of morse code in the body of the sound which, in the spirit of full disclosure, I will admit made me entertain the notion of learning morse code to see what the message might be. I also got lost in the fantasy of how cool it might be to know morse code. Not that it would change my life or anything, or help me pull women, although you never know. Anyway, moving on.
Transmissions In Extremis has a very dark feel to it, but I found most of the tracks to be quite relaxing to listen to. The mixture of transmission noises, human vocals and drones creates a real sense of listening in to distant communication, and takes the mind out into space on eerie flights of dark fantasy. Maybe it speaks to my love of codes, encryption and the transfer of information, or maybe it just tickles my dark sci-fi loving gland. Either way, Transmissions In Extremis is a great dark ambient album that I highly recommend for anyone that might have a taste for dark things and technology. For this reason, I give it 4.5/5.
Visit D.N.P’s website here for more information about his work. Much of it is available for free download via Archive.org (which is how I picked up this album), or as Name Your Price purchases on Bandcamp so you have no reason not to check out D.N.P’s dark creations.
Album Title: Transmissions In Extremis
Released: February 2015