Friday, 11 December 2015

Dark Music Review - Earth Songs

Dark Music Review – Earth Songs

Review Written By Casey Douglass


Earth Songs

Dronny Darko and protoU presents us a highly conceptual work in Earth Songs. Starting with the Big Bang, leading us through a path of evolution from the first life below the surface to the connected consciousness of humanity and us finally leaving earth. A dark ambient album of soothing, dreamy atmospheric drones and field recordings.

Earth Songs is a dark ambient album built around an intriguing concept. As the above album description says, each track takes the listener through various time-frames and gives them an aural slice of history and future as the time-line moves forward. It is also, as the description says, very soothing. On my first two listening sessions, which happened back to back, I fell asleep half way through...twice! I think that this is due to a good number of the tracks featuring birdsong and animal calls which I just found innately relaxing. Anyway, on to the tracks!

The Tracks

Explosion [ 13.8 billion years ago ] - A muted explosion starts this track which then peters out into a swirling drone. What sounds like hints of strings and other thuds and bangs grants the soundscape an ominous roiling feeling, energy moving and creating, higher sounds seeming to show electrons and other particles vibrating in an orgy of light.

Life Beneath the Surface [ 3.8 billion years ago ] - An encompassing drone waxes and wanes, possibly hinting at the surface activity of a sea full of arching waves. As the track continues, dripping water and rainfall almost hints at an underwater cave leading out into somewhere above ground, with birdsong and footsteps walking along gravelly pathways. There is also a very pleasing tapping noise that echoes softly beneath the swells of string notes, adding its own feeling of time.

Riparian Forest [ 300 million years ago ] - Chirruping insects, birds and calling monkeys fill a gently noted soundscape that conjures an image of a shady forest floor dappled with sunlight and the scurryings of small creatures. A seemingly simple track that gives the listener ample chance to enjoy and absorb the sounds of the creatures.

Extinction [ 66 million years ago ] - This track comes in with what sounds like harsh wind, rising and fluctuating before begin joined by an airy drone that lends things a rumbling layer of threat. Things get harsher as the track continues, an almost orchestral-sounding held note joined by static clashes and breathy bluster. Lone notes see the track out as things quieten near the end with what seems like a massive exhale.

Primate [ 50 million years ago ] - Bubbling water and insect calls are joined by a resonance that hangs in the air above everything else. This resonance gets harsher just past the midpoint, distortions and higher pitches jarring a little. I like the two aspects of this track: the ever present insects and the jarring noises that hint at something not being right, maybe reflecting the birth of man and his destructive seed.

Singularity [ 2045 AD ] - A low drone builds with high-toned notes around it. The high notes spell a short repeating melody, a little like if you could get an ice-cream truck in heaven, its music might sound like this. Embracing and ominous at the same time, the odd bit of birdsong relaxing, the static dissonance jarring. A track of many faces and feelings.

Leaving Earth [ 2135 AD ] - A low start rumbles into an echoing metallic-sounding motion with fizzing sparks and droning engines. This track put me in mind of a great ark ship taking humanity into the stars. It doesn’t sound like a celebration though as whispered voices and mutterings hint at an unsteady and volatile atmosphere. The tone uplifts a little near the end, maybe offering hope as the ship vanishes into the dark distance of space.


Thoughts

There is a great deal to like about Earth Songs. I love the concept that the album is based on and this, along with the track titles, gives the listener some great guideposts to what might be happening in the soundscapes. The soundscapes themselves are gentle and smooth, and as mentioned at the start of the review, the birdsong and animal calls sits so well with the darker drones and resonances that it is a genuinely relaxing listen, for dark ambient fans anyway.

I found Life Beneath The Surface and Riparian Forest were my favourite tracks, partly because I found them the most relaxing. Saying that, the dual face of some of the later tracks, such as Primate and Singularity had my mind undecided about whether to feel at ease or slightly uneasy, and this was pleasurable in and of itself.

Earth Songs is a tremendous dark ambient album and one that genuinely takes the listener on a journey, even if only mental, through the ages. I give it 4.5/5 and would happily recommend it to any dark ambient fan.

Visit the Earth Songs page on Bandcamp at this link for more information, and feel free to check out Riparian Forest below:



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

Album Title: Earth Songs
Album Artists: Dronny Darko & protoU
Label: Cryo Chamber
Artwork & Mastering: Simon Heath
Release Date : 28 July 2015

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