Tuesday 5 January 2021

Dark Ambient Review: Yig

Dark Ambient Review: Yig

Review by Casey Douglass


One of the really nice things about the recent Lovecraft-inspired Cryo Chamber Collaborations is that they are branching out into areas of his writings that I’m not that familiar with. I didn’t really remember much about Hastur when last year’s entry landed, and Yig, the newest release, is another that has sent me off, browsing the internet for more information. Yig is some sort of snake god, and as the album description details, this sets the scene for notions of strange cults, dusty temples and people hallucinating as snake venom flows through their veins.

With this notion in mind, I guess it’s not unreasonable that I thought that I heard the hissing of snakes in so many moments of listening to Yig. I dare say that if I was listening to an album with a different theme, I would have noted some of these sounds down as “static” or “whispers” or something else. But this time, it’s snakes, snakes everywhere. And why not. I’m not phobic about snakes, and I don’t love them either. I think my mind just enjoyed looking for signs of them, therefore finding plenty. There was also at least one instance where I thought I heard a rattlesnake rattling too, and I don’t think that was just wishful thinking.

As with previous Cryo Chamber Collaborations, a number of artists came together to create Yig. Their efforts formed into two, hour long tracks, that take the listener through a variety of experiences and soundscapes, melding and merging into different takes on the theme. For me, the sounds and tones created images of the shimmering sun, grainy desert winds and stone passageways that echoed with the hiss of snakes. There are sounds that I didn’t expect to hear either, ones with a more sci-fi feel. An example occurs around the five minute mark in track two. A dark brooding space seems to be lit by a whirring, spinning effect, the whole soundscape stuttering and distorting before finally smoothing out again. I really enjoyed this, as it confounded my expectations a little.

Around the twenty-third minute of the same track, the soundscape that the listener enters feels like it is full of gelatinous bubbling bubbles. You might even describe it as swampy and wet. There are deep tones that sound like the distant mumblings of a great creature, with insect-like scurrying sounds plucking at the dense atmosphere. Three minutes later, a crisp electronic tone seems to roam the soundscape, the effect it has on the bubbles one of agitation and annoyance. It’s a truly interesting soundscape to experience. As a whole, I felt that most of Yig gave me impressions of being underground, maybe in a sprawling city, or in strange cavernous landscapes. Besides this swamp-like space, at other moments I felt like I was in an underground garden, and of course, in various temples and ritual chambers. In track one, there was even a moment where some of the more gentle tones made me feel like I’d entered an area where sunlight from the surface just about managed to reach down to me, a tiny opening shining with blue sky, offering the prospect of escape, but only if you could somehow fly.

Another fun and unexpected moment, again in track two, happens at around the nineteenth minute. The soundscape is injected with jaunty bursts of tone, warping piano-like notes and the rumbling of a water or sand-fall. I wrote in my notes that it felt a bit “jazzy”, but only the kind of jazz you’d encounter in a bar at the end of the world. Even though I’ve drawn most of my examples from track two, both tracks have plenty to admire and enjoy. There is a variety of chant-like tones, drum beats, voices and plucked notes, alongside breathy tones, drones, rumbles and ghostly sounds. And as I said at the very start: hissing. Think of Yig as a journey from the desert into the depths of the Earth, seeing all kinds of biomes and structures as you travel. That’s how it appeared to me at least.

Yig is another fantastic Cryo Chamber Collaboration, an eldritch dark ambient creation that captures the bleak fatalism of Lovecraft’s horror. It swaddles the listener in darkness, guiding them into dark places and ominous vistas. It lifts up their spirit for brief periods, with hints of light and beauty, and then plunges them back down into the recesses of the Earth once again. If you like your dark ambient eldritch, sandy... and slithering, you’d do well to check out Yig.

Visit the Yig page on Bandcamp for more information. You can also check out the track Yig 2 below:

I was given a review copy of this album.

Album Title: Yig

Album Artist: Cryo Chamber Collaboration : Neizvestija, ProtoU, Dronny Darko, RNGMNN, In Quantum, Dead Melodies, Atrium Carceri, Keosz, Northumbria, Beyond the Ghost, Wordclock, God Body Disconnect, Randal Collier-Ford, Hilyard, Council of Nine, Dahlia's Tear, Lesa Listvy, Creation VI, Aegri Somnia, Ager Sonus, Ruptured World, Alphaxone.

Label: Cryo Chamber

Released: 29 Dec 2020