Friday 29 April 2022

Dark Ambient Review: Dionysius Supernova

Dark Ambient Review: Dionysius Supernova

Review By Casey Douglass

Dionysius Supernova Cover Art

Whether you believe in some all supreme being or not, the universe is already an awe inspiring place, with vast distances to which we can put numbers but can barely visualize, to energy and crushing forces that create and destroy beyond anything that us humans can experience. I’ve always appreciated dark ambient / space ambient that manages to impart some small element of this immensity, and Orphiká’s Dionysius Supernova is the most recent that has crossed my mental space.

The album description describes Dionysius Supernova as conceiving “the cosmic forces of the Universe as a Dionysian blast as well as a context of an inner travel into the Sun,” so you can make of that what you will. As is often the case, my mind took things in its own direction, but the sounds themselves do fit the theme of vast energies being expended or experienced. The sounds are big, and vary in texture, from fizzing, sometimes screechy energy bursts, to deep, smooth down-swells, like a giant finger pushing down on reality. They also felt to me, like a knife-edge type sensation, the balance between creation and destruction being decided by the thinnest of borders.

Opening track Universe Metanoia is a fine introduction to the album, the audio equivalent of a beautiful sunrise, yet one in which you feel like you are merely inches from the star itself. The sustained tones and drone are joined by higher notes that sweep and flow and judder, always reminding you that no matter how much light is before you, there is unending darkness behind. The soundscape feels immense, energetic and worshipful, cresting in shimmery waves. It feels like a variety of forces, both physical and metaphysical, are converging for your own enjoyment.

If the first track felt like “light”, the second track, Dionysius Supernova, felt like a heavy encounter between light and dark. It begins with deep, slow tones and a drone, soon joined by fizzing bursts of buzzing energy. A higher tone crests and climbs, but it seems like it’s struggling to break through, maybe due to distance. The fizzing discharges and pulses, and a higher piping tone joins. Things escalate as the midpoint approaches, and the track edges closer to a noise-based experience. Things distort and crackle at their limits. The high tones almost become uncomfortable and the fizzing discharges continue to boom in the low end. This track felt like one of struggle and strain, but also of majesty, and things being just as they need to be.

Blackened Stars is probably my favourite track though, and I think it is in the way that it presents the cold, deathly aspect of darkness. It opens with flares of static and a low, distant tone that seems to menace as it roams nearer and shrinks further. After listening to the first two tracks and feeling pleasantly drowsy, my mind took the sounds of this track and had me thinking about some kind of gigantic fortress floating in space, a strange purple light occasionally revealing strange markings on its walls. I might possibly have been reading too much Warhammer 40K. This construction sat in black space with no other stars, just the light that it emitted as it throbbed its way across the endless expanse. There are higher sustained tones, almost alarm-like, which further reinforced my sense of foreboding. I really liked this track!

Dionysius Supernova is, for me, an album that stays just the right side of “harsh”. It’s noisy and droning enough to fill my ears and mind with tones that give me a break from the perpetual anxiety and depression cycle that seems to live there. I’ve only described the first three tracks; there are eight in total, and they are all excellent. If you want to float on a comfy bed of droning galactic-noise, to have your mind blasted (in a nice way) by distortions and rumbles and climbing tones, you should check out Dionysius Supernova.

Visit the Dionysius Supernova page on Bandcamp for more information. You can also check out the track Constant Horizons below:

I was given a review copy of this album.

Album Title: Dionysius Supernova

Album Artist: Orphiká

Label: Noctivagant

Released: 20 March 2022