Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Dark Music Review – Archives I-II


Dark Music Review – Archives I-II

Review Written By Casey Douglass


Archives I-II Artwork

The Archives collection is a look into Atrium Carceri's archived audio files from the last 10 years.

This album was created using audio recorded during 2005-2015 and consists of B-sides, forgotten tapes, tracks that for one reason or the other did not make it onto one of the Atrium Carceri albums, or tracks that were in circulation but needed a remaster.

All material has since been re-edited, reworked, remastered and merged into two seamless tracks. The Scandinavian recordings of cold meets the post apocalyptic undertones of America as it was worked on in Oregon, USA out of the Cryo Chamber Studio, with material from both countries.

Archives I-II is a great introduction to Atrium Carceri for those that might not have heard any of the previous albums. It is also a great re-introduction for long-time listeners that have grown to appreciate Simon Heath’s multi-layered, high quality soundscapes. Archives I-II features many of the things that make Atrium Carceri, well, sound like Atrium Carceri. Field recordings, menacing drones, eerie clanks and rattles, as well as the odd ear-worming melody and inventive beat. Archives I-II serves up a veritable banquet in its two tracks, both in and around forty minutes in length.

It’s usually about this point in a review when I zero in on a few tracks I particularly liked, or talk about the images created in my mind by the dark sounds, but I don’t think long descriptions of extended tracks like these would make for very exciting reading. What I can say is that both tracks have a good variety of soundscapes and tones. As an example, track one gets started with a wind-like noise and some chimes, backed by hollow sounding notes and some staticy grain. There are some distorted tinkling sounds, clanks and rattles, the buzz and hum of radio interference, voices in conversation at a distance, drones, piano, reversed speech and gravelly footsteps, all within the first fifteen minutes! That isn’t even covering everything heard either.

Whether you’ll like the album or not will probably come down to how you feel about experiencing different soundscapes for shortish periods before things move on to the next. The soundscapes all flow very well into each other, the impressions created varying in light and dark, and always seemed to stay interesting. If you like a typical dark ambient track to create a space and evolve or populate it over the next x amount of time before moving on, you may find the variety and pace of Archives I-II a little too fast for your liking. Personally, I enjoyed this kind of “whistle stop” tour of some of the sounds and creations of Atrium Carceri, so it is with this in mind that I give Archives I-II 4.5/5, a worthy addition to any dark ambient library.

You can visit the Archives I-II page on Bandcamp at this link.


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

Album Title: Archives I-II
Artist: Atrium Carceri
Label : Cryo Chamber
Released: March 22, 2016

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