Thursday 5 July 2018

Dark Ambient Review – The Edge of Architecture

Dark Ambient Review – The Edge of Architecture

Review Written By Casey Douglass

The Edge of Architecture Review

From the moment I first heard ProtoU’s own flavour of dark ambient goodness, I’ve come to view Sasha’s work as an almost guaranteed way to relax. Yes, I can easily lose myself in demonic rumblings and sci-fi energy swells, but, as is mentioned in the album description below, the blend of cold and warm, field-recordings and electronic tones, soothes me more than almost any other. Only the mighty Azathoth still takes prime position in being my go to relaxation track. Anyway, on to The Edge of Architecture:
Sasha further explores the themes of her first collaboration album Earth Songs. While her album "Khmaoch" explored the roots of civilization, "The Edge of Architecture" probes into the future of the modern age. Black gigantic buildings loom over our hubris as we reach for the unnatural with each new brick in the wall. The night reeks of dark fluid as flickering neon lights reflect on wet streets. Winds howl over a jungle of steel and shadows of automated builders creak in the distance. Field recordings blend with deep drone and ethereal overlays on this immersive album. For lovers of Sasha's unique style of cold and warm ambient blended together into an emotional ride.

While The Edge of Architecture’s description and album art hints at darkness, concrete and abandonment, I actually felt a number of tracks brought daylight to my mind, dare I say it, even blue skies. Quiet Sky is the opener, and begins with the terse reports of air-traffic controllers merging into relaxed warm tones. There are doses of birdsong and insects later in the track too. For some reason this track just filled my head with the image of a deep blue sky, and not much else. A feeling of deep emptiness, and this is something that I carried on feeling for the duration of the album.

Any other sounds that emerge, even if hinting at civilization, seem ghostly and more echo-like in the context of the tones around them. I don’t mean they literally seem like echoes, but just suggest themselves as such. As an example, Falling Home, after what sounds like a storm, works in the sounds of children at play. Rather than feeling that they are there though, it felt more like hearing the world through closed curtains, all you can see maybe the sunlight through the material.

I think my favourite track was Glass Fractals as it features an audio effect that I’m not sure I’ve heard before. Each tone is accompanied by the tiny crack a bubble might make as it pops. This gave the very pleasing effect of feeling the notes gently popping into my ears, and I found it quite uncanny. I also enjoyed Hidden City as it felt like a track that was built around the clever use of radio static at its center.

The Edge of Architecture is another high quality entry into ProtoU’s portfolio of layered, emotive dark ambient. The field-recordings and clever use of subtle effects, such as the bubble-popping notes, makes each track a dark caress in a world that has gone to shit, but in which someone cares. I was going to say a bit more but I don’t think I can top that last sentence for accurately saying what I feel.

Check out the The Edge of Architecture page on Bandcamp here for more information, and be sure to check out Glass Fractals below:

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

Album Title: The Edge of Architecture
Artist: ProtoU
Label: Cryo Chamber
Released: Feb 06, 2018