Dark Music Review – Liminality
Review Written by Casey Douglass
This is my third album, sort of an conceptual album. I tried to give a sense of place to places you might never visit or scenarios you might never want to go through. I appreciate all of your support. Please enjoy!
As the album description above says, Liminality is the third album that I've reviewed from dark ambient artist Ager Sonus, following on the heels of the excellent Shortwave and Interdimensional, my reviews of both you can read by clicking the album titles. I did hear a snatch of the Metro track from Liminality when it was posted on Twitter so I am pleased to see that it made it onto this album, as I thought it was very good indeed. It seems I have strayed into reviewing the tracks before I even meant to so I guess I should just get on with it!
The Monastery – The first track on the album gets things off to an atmospheric start. It begins with the sound of wind and rain but with an underlying vibration that is soon joined by swells of notes and chimes. Chanting comes later and later still, rasping sighs and cries. The Monastery is a great example of a potentially peaceful soundscape being the false face of something far more sinister.
Lunar Outpost – This next track begins very softly, wafting tones and water droplets creating a lovely spacious soundscape for the listener’s mind to decompress inside. I felt the the voice-like sounds, drones and echoes all served a great purpose and created a real sense of being on some kind of lunar outpost, far away from help, with only ghosts and memories as your friends.
Foggy Resort Town – A deep watery drone gurgles up into the listener’s ear, a breathy exhalation joining it that moves from ear to ear. If you have ever walked in a fog and had the impression that someone was nearby, but you just couldn’t see them, this track will conjure that feeling quite nicely. Things turn decidedly metallic as the track progresses, giving more the impression of a foggy junk-yard than a seaside town.
Metro – Now we get to the aforementioned Metro and I will say right now that I think it is my favourite track on the album. What begins with the listener surrounded by the babbling voices of a crowd, the clanks and rattles of turnstiles and clinking of coins, soon turns into a tunnel exploration nightmare of echoes and strange noises. I half wondered if the protagonist of the track might be someone suddenly taken over by an external influence and only awakening when it is too late, already lost in the dark of the eerie tunnels. I think I also clicked with Metro as it triggered some pleasing memories of playing the video-game Metro 2033, it and its sequel being two of my favourite games in recent years.
Capsized – This track gave me the impression of a hapless soul coming up for air in an underwater cave, complete with slithering things and ominous distant sounds. It certainly felt like somewhere that you wouldn’t want to hang around in too long.
Pripyat – Titled after the ghost town of Pripyat, of Chernobyl disaster fame, this track is full of grain and shuffling, electrical notes and tinkling clatterings. It is a very atmospheric and eerie place to mentally roam, distant cries and slams, crying babies and sirens going off. Echoing metal bangings carve out a beat in the desolation as the main melody begins too. A great track.
Cave Of Crystals – An ominous wind seems to blow outside, a resonance hanging in the air as water drips in the recesses of a dark space. A quiet melody begins, simple but growing more complex as the air currents swirl and taste the listener. The wind noise fades and a looming bass note pulses beneath everything. The melody stops and gives way to a more furious swirl of wind, a sinister banging and resonance rises, hinting at energies awakened. Harsher electronic notes stretch from ear to ear as the track enters its last third or so, soon joined by human cries of alarm. This cave begins to seem like the last place anyone would want to stay.
Meadow – Gentle evening sounds start this track, crickets and wind setting the scene. The wind begins to seem a little strong after a few moments, giving a sense of threat to the soundscape. An ethereal sound swells up and down, bringing to mind what it might be like to be sat near a meadow that an alien craft decides to land in. The rest of the track builds on this impression, the wet plopping sounds and creature calls sound stranger and stranger as a thrumming hum vibrates the scene, piano notes joining shortly thereafter.
Extra Tracks if bought through Baboom:
If you purchase Liminality on music site Baboom, you will get two bonus tracks to add to the already generous eight on the regular album. I give my thoughts on these below:
Unearthed – An undulating sound is soon joined by a kind of bell-tolling, the sounds pulsing in a pleasing fashion. A deeper noise joins them as things swell into what sounds like a string-based ominous soundscape, the odd scraping and footfall joined by insect-like chitterings. The strings come out very strongly as the track approaches the midpoint, their notes hanging in the air as other movements happen around them. The last third of the track falls quiet to plucked strings and a deep drone before reaching a haunting choral crescendo.
Beyond – A busy, insect-like noise looms near at the start of this track, a little like the listener pushing through some kind of bead curtain and emerging somewhere new. A ringing note oscillates around everything, a light hearted soundscape that isn’t as dark as the tracks that preceded it. Until something sputters into life, a thing that sounds like a Transformer trying to emerge from a dark cave. Things go quiet with a dark and brooding beat, swirls of activity dancing around the echoes. This is joined by strings later in an echoing electrical melody. A bit of a mixed feel to this track, unless it was just me and how I listened to it, a good listen none the less.
Liminality is another fine dark ambient album from Ager Sonus. In a broader sense, it’s great to see how his sound has progressed from his earlier compositions, the crisp sounding Interdimensional, moving on to the intriguing Shortwave and now onto Liminality.
In Liminality, we have a collection of tracks that for the most part, all start out in a disarmingly pleasant way and yet by the end, most of them have twisted into something a great deal darker and more grimy. Each track is also a great piece of audio tourism, whisking the listener from one location to another after the dying notes of each track have faded.
I give Liminality 4.5/5.
I was given a free copy of the album to review.
Album Title: Liminality
Album Artist: Ager Sonus
Release Date: 30 September 2015