Sunday 27 June 2021

Dark Ambient Review: Dark & Light

Dark Ambient Review: Dark & Light

Review By Casey Douglass

Dark & Light - Modern Music for Funerals

Dark & Light is a dark ambient playlist from Modern Music For Funerals. As the title might suggest, it features ten tracks that fall into various places on the mood spectrum. In my opinion, the balance tips closer to the dark side of the equation, which is just fine by me.

The tracks that seemed to speak to me the most come from the PLATFORM album. Dark Summer is the first of these in the playlist. It begins with the echoes of distant voices, possibly children at play. A low tone swells and rolls, a shimmering soon joins it in the air. As the track progresses, various sounds also join the tableau, from piano notes and the sound of what might be exhalation, to the sound of waves and the glugging of water. What this track made me think of, is how it feels to lay in a dark, hot room during the day. This room has thick curtains that block out most of the light, save for the small gaps where they meet or where they hang away from the wall. The window is open, and the sounds of life going on outside seem more distant than purely physical distance can account for. This is the mood that I felt this track encapsulated.

Another track that comes from PLATFORM is Jettisoned. Jettisoned starts with a buzzing pulsing tone, and a tinny series of electronic Morse code-like beeps. A distant alarm seems to blare, and then we hear the sound of servos moving and whining, with new status beeps along for the ride. There are radio crackles, the hissing of air and later, a kind of fizzing muted beat. The second part of the track seems to have a more urgent feel to things, whatever is going on having reached a different phase or level of danger. For me, this was a fun, sci-fi track, that popped me into a gloomy, drifting spaceship, with red emergency lighting bathing the metal of the corridors in a premonition-baiting coating of blood. A nice dose of perilous sci-fi soundscaping to escape from the shitstorm of modern life.

A third track from PLATFORM is Alone, an almost twenty minute rumbling, ominous track, with more sci-fi atmosphere and technological threat. Buzz-saw shimmering, bass that seethes and agitates the soundscape, beeps, fizzes and static, they all play their part. Things feel like they are whizzing past your head as others judder and knock, along with what sounds like something winding down. The drone lulls and soothes, and later, there are moments of a distorted computer voice, maybe trying to tell the listener how wrong things have truly gone. Around a third of the way in, the soundscape breaks into a period of gentle peace, lighter tones emerging, the harsher rumbles and beeps fading awhile. Maybe this is the period where, when someone is alone for long enough, they experience their first moment of finding the bliss in this situation. Like so many things though, it doesn’t last long, and the track soon returns to the brooding buzzing space of before.

The last playlist track that I will mention is from a different album to the ones mentioned so far. I know... On a scale of one to ten, how shocked are you? A Transmutation of Friendship is a lighter track than the others, and features a pulsing sub tone and a relaxed kinetic feeling. There is the kind of feeling you might get as a passenger on a train in motion, as telephone or power poles seemingly make a whup-whupping sound as their shadows slide along the sunlit carriage. There are hints of light tones at the edge, a jittery electronic buzz, and a gentle scuffing beat. It’s a very pleasant track, and one suited to a quiet weekend.

The Dark & Light playlist has other tracks, with other sounds and moods, but these were the ones that spoke to my own dark taste. Head over to the SoundCloud link to check out the full list and have a listen. You might also like to visit and join The IDM Production Bureau, the online community created by the album artist, for lovers and producers of IDM. 

Playlist Title: Dark & Light

Music Artist: Modern Music For Funerals