Saturday 28 September 2019

Dark Ambient Review: Beringia

Dark Ambient Review: Beringia

Review by Casey Douglass


I’m often up for music that takes me on a bit of a journey. Whether explicitly with characters actually delivering dialogue, or more subtly, it’s a nice feeling to open your eyes again and feel you’ve gone from “there” to “here” in the hour or so you’ve been listening. Creation VI’s Beringia is a dark ambient album that falls into the latter category, a shamanic-styled journey of drones, rattles and drumbeats, that lull the mind and lead it into potent spaces.

The soundscapes on Beringia are textured and often rhythmic, with piping and clacking going hand in hand with anything from field-recordings of water to the twang of a jaw harp. That’s not even mentioning the drones and didgeridoo. The tracks carry themselves along in their own rhythm, the main drone or beat gaining flourishes or extra detail sounds around it but largely following a rhythmic, trance-like predictability.

I think my favourite track is Haunted Shore, a soundscape that really brought to mind a dripping, misty shore, with the sound of muted things knocking in the distance and a strange little repeating tone that seemed to hint at the unease of the location. It also features a sound that I liken to “insect gloop” and the kind of rain that sounds like it is hitting a plastic bag. A drone rises at the midpoint that lends the whole thing an added feeling of menace or threat, a bassy beat fleshing out the edges.

I did really enjoy the final track, Conversation of Elements too, another track that opens with the sound of water, but languidly builds up to feed the listener gusts of wind and later, the crackle of fire. There are rattling wooden wind chimes, exhalations and sounds of snuffly activity, that might just hint at being underground at one point. I guess that’s all of the usual elements covered, earth, wind, fire, air and water. If you include spirit in the mix, that would be the people making the journey, in my humble opinion. Or the listener, if you want to get a bit meta about it.

In Beringia, Creation VI has made another fine album, one that uses rhythm and shamanic/tribal sounds to create a space that is a refuge from the mundane world. Gone are the annoying chimes of social media notifications and outrage-fueled news. They get smothered and muffled by the warming drones, energised drum rhythms and insect-like buzzes that remind the listener of the more primal parts of the human psyche.

Visit the Beringia page on Bandcamp, and check out the track Haunted Shore below:

I was given a review copy of this album.

Album Title: Beringia
Album Artist: Creation VI
Label: Cryo Chamber
Released: September 17, 2019

Thursday 12 September 2019

Bloody Red Nose: Fifteen Fears of a Clown Out Friday 13th

Bloody Red Nose: Fifteen Fears of a Clown Out Friday 13th

Bloody Red Nose: Fifteen Fears of a Clown

Bloody Red Nose: Fifteen Fears of a Clown is a new anthology of dark tales, tales in which the clown is the victim or hero, rather than the gurning evil-grin wearing psychopath. This particular anthology contains one of my own dark tales too.

The blurb: In a world filled with menace, dare to paint on a grin. The world is full of images of scary clowns: packs of grinning figures with knives plaguing towns; pom-pom clad serial killers; loners who like children in the wrong way. But clowns can be a force for good: it takes a kind heart to put other people’s joy first; keeping children entertained is honest work; what better disguise than one that makes the villains laugh? 
What if, rather than being childhood-spoiling serial killers, clowns were the victims or heroes of the story? When all the children at a party are poisoned, an entertainer’s profession and past both make him a prime suspect. An anti-corporate prankster discovers his guru might be just as callous as the capitalist world-view he claims to reject. A clown attempts to redeem the image of his profession by saving a group of teenagers from a serial killer. And twelve more stories of clowns facing humanity’s baser natures.
Bloody Red Nose: Fifteen Fears of a Clown releases tomorrow, Friday the 13th September 2019, and is available from the following retailers, among others, with the paperback costing £7.99 and the eBook version coming in at £3.99.





Monday 2 September 2019

GAME REVIEW: Flowscape

Flowscape is a kind of meditative creativity tool, the soothing music and gentle animation helping the player to create scenes and views that they might want to escape to. It also has a map-making feature for any DnD'ers out there. You can read my full review over on Geek Syndicate.