Tuesday 27 July 2021

Dark Ambient Review: Journey of a Dying Girl

Dark Ambient Review: Journey of a Dying Girl

Review By Casey Douglass

Journey of a Dying Girl Album Cover
Album Cover

Death, or brushes with death, are probably the ultimate contact with reality. They offer a fresh perspective on how you view yourself and the world, and cut through so much of the fluff of life. Scott Lawlor’s Journey of a Dying Girl is a dark ambient album themed around one such experience: an attack, a floating between worlds, and a person returning to life utterly changed by the event.

Journey of a Dying Girl achieves the depiction of its theme by creating soundscapes infused with duality. The light tones and vocals nestle on a sea of low drones and rumblings, and this creates a feeling of the ethereal and the mundane brushing up against each other. There are piano and string notes, and a pleasing hint of the breeze that for me, firmly cemented the soundscapes as happening outside. These are tracks that flow and ebb as they play, each swell and fall of tone carrying the listener along.

My favourite track was Covered in Darkness. It opens with a low pulsing and a high distant whistling tone. A gentle drone sits in the background, a perpetual “ahhhh” populated with small chiming notes. As the track intensifies, there is a whistle like a metal kettle coming to the boil, a pleasing shimmering, and later, crackling, shuffling movements, along with what sounds like dripping leaves. This track made me think of a person walking through a black fog during the day time, tiny glinting pixie lights flaring and sputtering in the thick air particles around them.

Exit this Dimension is another track that I really enjoyed. It starts with a climbing and echoey female vocal sitting in a droning, breath-like space. The drone grows and a pulsing ringing tone emerges. Some time around the midpoint, the female vocal begins to create the impression of falling, with what I thought were the hisses of whispering at the fringes. Like Covered in Darkness, this felt like one of the darker tracks on the album, a meeting of one world with another.

Finally, the last track, In the Middle of a Garden, You Will See a Rose, is a great track for the album to end with. The album description describes the dying girl as coming back to life, and this track seems a great accompaniment to that. It begins with echoing piano notes and an insect-like buzz. There are the sounds of wind and leaves, with smooth high tones joining piano notes. There are bird-call-like electronic tones that seem to fall, a gentle drone and a pulsing feeling. This is a gentle track to end the album with, its darker tones and mood merging with a feeling of overcoming something, even if the act of overcoming has a high price.

Journey of a Dying Girl is the sound of a peaceful dalliance between the worlds of the living and the dying. While many dark ambient albums achieve their darker elements by more explicit means, this album creates a more subtle, smooth, depiction of the dark. It’s a chill and relaxing listen, and one that I believe is well worth your time to check out.

Visit the Journey of a Dying Girl page on Bandcamp for more information.

I was given a review copy of this album.

Album Title: Journey of a Dying Girl

Album Artist: Scott Lawlor

Released: 16 July 2021