Tuesday 22 March 2016

Dark Music Review – Lost Here

Dark Music Review – Lost Here

Review Written By Casey Douglass

Lost Here Album Art

After her split debut Earth Songs with Dronny Darko in 2015, protoU now returns with her solo debut album Lost Here. An album that takes place in realms beyond reality, deep dreams of fragmented visions tied together with a sonic backdrop full of low key drone work and accentuated with field recordings.
When I saw that protoU was releasing another album, I was instantly interested as I very much enjoyed her split album Earth Songs (I still listen to it regularly too). Listening to Lost Here, the elements of protoU in Earth Songs became that little bit clearer: the relaxed, gentle quality of many of the sounds used and the use of field recordings with the harsh edges given the audio equivalent of a “good sand papering”, so that there are less sharp edges for the listener to prick themselves on. Having found Earth Songs to be one of the most relaxing dark ambient albums I’ve listened to so far, I am quite happy to report that Lost Here is another soothing listening experience.

Lost Here is a dark ambient album that revels in putting the listener into soundscapes that both lull and instill an element of risk. The very first track: Lost Here, is one such example. It opens with the sound of the wind alongside a low-key drone, but soon sees a swelling resonance emerge that dances around at the higher end of the sound scale. The sound of running water and bird calls can then be heard, and a little later, the sound of what seem to be clattering pebbles, but muted, not harsh at all. The track sees the wind sound grow progressively stronger and move from ear to ear, the relatively peaceful beginning becoming lost in the stormy conditions as it progresses. Listening to this track gave me the impression of someone enjoying a nice long twilight hike, enjoying nature in almost every way, but upon discovering that they are lost, finding those same sights and sounds more threatening and chilling without that mental safety net of knowing where they are. A very good track indeed.

The Map is the next track that I wanted to mention, in part because I felt it offered a change of soundscape that departed from the natural, as far as I could tell at least. It begins with a resonant, strong high note that swirls in a dark space. Sounds of movement/rustling echo, along with a juddery drone, giving the impression of the listener being in an abandoned building, maybe an old factory or meeting hall. There is also an excellent sound of what could quite possibly be teeth or bones being slowly stirred around in a ceramic bowl. That might just be my horror brain working overtime though. The titular map also might be in the track, what sounds like rustling paper crops up here and there, so keep an ear out for that. While the first track showcased the movement in nature, The Map seemed to bring a more man-made soundscape to the table, to deposit the listener in an empty dark space.

The final track that I wanted to mention specifically is Believe. It gets going with a deep throbbing opening, soon joined by bubble-like lighter notes and a shimmering distortion, maybe like sun-rays dancing through water. This distortion rattles the ears as it turns to warbley electronic spikes and echoes. There are other deeper sounds too, dripping water and a strange detuned radio effect, snatches of voices and the squeal of transmission a very interesting thing to rest the mind on. After this, a proper clear voice does speak too. A very cool track with some great sounding and interesting effects. Maybe the subject of the album has collapsed and keeps passing in and out of consciousness, a nearby radio fuelling the feverish visions as nature claims them? Just one of the few scenarios that occurred to me.

Lost Here is a fantastic listen, and one that mixes the lulling properties of sounds that should be relaxing with a certain cold chilliness that keeps things interesting. I could prattle on for longer but I don’t think there is any real need. I give it 4.5/5 and can certainly imagine it entering my repeat listening playlist.

Check out Lost Here on bandcamp at this link.

You can listen to “The Map” below:

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

Album Title: Lost Here
Artist: protoU
Label : Cryo Chamber
Released: March 8, 2016