Friday 23 April 2021

Dark Ambient Review: glass fawn

Dark Ambient Review: glass fawn

Review By Casey Douglass

glass fawn

During one of my many perusings of Bandcamp, I discovered glass fawn, a dark ambient album from uncertain, a music project from artist Florian-Ayala Fauna. As I previewed the tracks of glass fawn, I was particularly taken with the feeling of bleak melancholy that seemed to manifest in them. It’s for this reason that I decided to write this review.

The opening track is “from falling waters” and it certainly sets a mood and the scene. It begins with a warm, low and pulsing drone, a drone that soon mingles with the sound of sea waves. The waves feel like they are chopped or foreshortened after awhile, and then a juddering, screechy sound joins them. There are other sounds that emerge too, rasping sighs and exhalations at the edge of things, creating a maelstrom of pressure. For me, this whole track created the mental image of a sea of lost soils boiling, not in hell, but in a roiling sea, beneath a black sky, with no land in sight.

“teeth, water and soil” is another track that gripped me. It starts with the strange string notes from the end of the track before, but itself blooms with bat-like chitterings, the muted sound of cascading rocks and an airy drone. The drone has a sacral chant aesthetic, peaceful yet at odds with the sea-sawing string-notes that dance above things. After the midpoint, a buzzing, warbling noise begins, one that put me in mind of the sound sea-birds sometimes make. Not a call but a chuntering. This track furthered my impressions gleaned in “from falling waters”, but this time the waves and wind brush against an island of black rock, a cacophony of seabirds mocking in the sky as oily waves lick the edges.

A lighter track (in comparison to the darkness of the previous ones at least) is “the white stag”. It starts with a high, sparkling tone, and a distant animal call and a rumbling. There is a rustling, and what sounds like fluttering paper, along with a resonant tone that hangs in the air like a snow flake. Slow string-notes weave through the soundscape, and the track, though dark still, feels peaceful. Maybe the white stag of the track title is slowly walking through a snow-dusted woodland, the mist between the trees making everything shimmer. A grinding, rougher quality emerges after the midpoint, a different, gentle tone accompanying it. A lovely track.

The last track that I wanted to write about is “pilgrimage”. If the previous track felt like it was set in nature, this one feels more urban. It features a chimey, droning space, a strange crying call, and has possible “city” sounds in the mix. I thought I heard what could have been the drone of cars passing on a wet road, and after the midpoint, a “garage door” maelstrom begins. If you have ever been near a metal garage door that someone has kicked hard, you might be able to guess what I mean when I describe the vibrating sound in this way. Maybe the stag of the previous track finds itself lost and alone in a hostile city. It seems possible.

As dark ambient albums go, glass fawn is certainly up there with some of the darkest I’ve heard. It doesn’t achieve this darkness by sinister chanting or some of the more “horror” styled tones that you might be used to. The darkness on glass fawn, to me at least, felt more subtle. I also really enjoyed how pretty much every track dove-tailed nicely with the one before and after, the tones at the end of one encroaching into the beginning of the next, sometimes soon to fade, but at other times, to stay a little longer. A fantastic album that is well worth the attention of your ears.

Visit the glass fawn page on Bandcamp for more information.

Album Title: glass fawn

Album Artist: uncertain

Released: 11 Jan 2010