Saturday 23 January 2021

Dark Ambient Review: The Black Stone – Music For Lovecraftian Summonings

Dark Ambient Review: The Black Stone – Music For Lovecraftian Summonings

Review by Casey Douglass

The Black Stone – Music For Lovecraftian Summonings

The fiction of H.P Lovecraft has inspired so many other creative projects, that if you are a fan, and I am, you will probably never be short of some kind of Lovecraftian entertainment. The Black Stone – Music For Lovecraftian Summonings is a dark ambient album that has collected together 14 tracks from a number of dark composers, wrapping them up in one 80 minute long (approx) eldritch package.

Before I get to the tracks themselves, I want to say that I enjoyed the album description. It ponders the notion of whether H.P Lovecraft liked music himself, and looks at the role music often plays in certain of his dark stories, such as in the story of The Music of Erich Zann, and also in how the mad god Azathoth is often mentioned with regard to his “monotonous lullaby of cursed flutes”. The album description did a great job of framing this album, priming my mind to wander down certain pathways, with the track titles themselves finishing the effort.

I think that my favourite track has to be Dead Space Chamber Music’s Nocturne For Erich Zann. Lovecraft’s story: The Music of Erich Zann, is one of my favourites, and one of the most memorable for me. Hearing a track like Nocturne For Erich Zann, a track that really captures the events of the story, was a genuine pleasure. It opens with a creaking, squeaking space, tortured strings groaning and drumsticks knocking. It all feels a bit discordant, but doesn’t take long to build a pregnant atmosphere, one where the music starts to come together, and you get the impression that a sinister audience is beginning to gather outside Zann’s window. There is a ghostly sighing, a high pitched twisting to the soundscape, and things feel like some kind of cosmic intelligence is paying far too much attention to the unfortunate musician. A brilliant track.

As much as I enjoyed the previous track for its uncanny impression of the events of a story, I loved Lars Bröndum’s The Legend of Dagon for the way that it didn’t. For me, the sounds on this track placed Dagon in a very strange setting, that of a glass of beer in a sleepy pub. This is very much a track full of electronic buzzes and reverberating tones, it feels a bit lo-fi, if that’s the right word. A short time in, a plinking bubbling sound begins, which to me, sounded like ice rattling against the side of a glass. I bet you can see where my imagination got “pub” from. Things deepen and get more rumbly, and I was struck by the notion of Dagon manifesting in some tiny way in this abandoned glass of beer. I bet the pub lights even flickered and the wind howled outside too. I really enjoyed how this track led me to think about Dagon in a novel way, and in tones and notes that wouldn’t have first come to mind when I think “Lovecraftian”. A lovely surprise.

Another track that I really enjoyed was New Risen Thrones’ The Whisperer in Darkness. A low, subdued opening gives way to the sound of lapping water and insidious whispers. There are occasional water splashes, like something cresting and sinking once more below the surface. A drone grows with shuddering high tones and string notes for company. The second half of the track sees the soundscape become steeped in vibration, with squelchy, uncanny echoes, a feeling of something surging and infesting the air. For me, this track gave me the mental image of an abandoned jetty jutting out into the sea, the moonlight playing off the midnight mist as things creep toward the shore. Very atmospheric and well done.

The final track that I'll mention is Mario Lino Stancati’s The Color Out Of Space. A prolonged tone opens the track, a pulsing puttering tone joins, and things begin to whine and shudder. Some of the sounds made me think of how teleporters sound in certain sci-fi films, like something was coming. After roiling awhile, the tones merge and blare, announcing something. Things turn harsher and the second half of the track sounded a little like a 10ft bee buzzing around inside a 30ft glass jar. This track also led me to remember how much I enjoyed the Nick Cage Color Out of Space film, and Mario’s track would’ve sat very nicely in that film’s score, in my opinion.

The Black Stone – Music For Lovecraftian Summonings contains a brilliant dose of Lovecraftian music. I enjoyed the diversity of sounds and the way that some of the tracks came at the subject matter from perspectives that certainly didn’t fit my preconceptions coming into the album. If you love Lovecraftian things, or even just dark things in general, you should take a listen to The Black Stone – Music For Lovecraftian Summonings.

Visit the The Black Stone – Music For Lovecraftian Summonings page on Bandcamp for more information.

I was given a review copy of this album.

Album Title: The Black Stone – Music For Lovecraftian Summonings

Album Artists: Mombi Yuleman, Martyria, Lars Bröndum, Solatipour Reza, Dead Space Chamber Music, Alphaxone, Mario Lino Stancati, M. Cosottini, C. Bocci & D. Barbiero, Kloob, Ashtoreth, New Risen Throne, Moloch Conspiracy, Dēofol, SÍLENÍ.

Curated and Mastered: Sonologyst

Released by: Eighth Tower Records

Released: 8 Jan 2021