Tuesday 1 August 2023

Dark Ambient Review: Lost Loops Collection

Dark Ambient Review: Lost Loops Collection

Review By Casey Douglass

Lost Loops Collection Art

Mount Shrine was a dark ambient artist who was known for his soothing rainy dreamy droning creations. Sadly, Cesar passed away from Covid in the Spring of 2021, a fact that still makes me feel sad. Lost Loops Collection is a compilation of all of his currently known underground albums, EPs and singles, and was put out by the Cryo Chamber label earlier this year.

If you’ve yet to listen to Mount Shrine, I’ve always felt that the best way to describe his music is as a cosy “sitting by a rain speckled window, hearing the muted sounds of the surrounding environment” type experience. The sounds of the raindrops hits the ear like soft static, and the distant sounds of thunder, nature or civilization, are far enough away to feel safe yet interesting. Lulling might be another word that could aptly be thrown into the mix. Lost Loops Collection is FULL of this sentiment, with four hours of relaxing cosiness.

That being said, I'll be a bit perverse and say that my favourite track is something a little bit different: Grey Witch. This track is a dark, brooding track, one that feels ripe with occult energies and malignant presences. It opens with howling wind and low, smooth swells of drone. A vibratory edge swells and roams, with juddering pulses creating a kind of pressure wave feeling. There is a crumping, rasping atmosphere, and a general feeling of awakened evil seeping through a woodland at night. This is probably the darkest that I’ve heard Mount Shrine delve, and I love it.

Ghostly is another ominous track, but one that is lighter than Grey Witch. It opens with popping crackling static and swells of drone. What sounds like cars passing on a rain-drenched street splashes by as the pattering of rain on a glass window pane crystallises. Higher tones seem to roam from ear to ear as the track continues, with odd scraping sounds grabbing the attention at times. For me, this track brought to mind a haunted room overlooking a normal busy street, the objects being nudged by the poltergeist moving around unobserved by the modern world.

Staying with the theme of the otherworldly nestling against the normal world, the final track that I wanted to mention also fits this mould. The After Glow begins with a soothing downpour accompanied by thunder and an ethereal drone. As the track progresses, the drips and drops of rain begin to sound like they are hitting something metallic, and there is the sound of distant cars passing, wrapped up or muffled in the wind and rain. What this track suggested to me was a landed UFO squatting near a fairly busy road, but masked from view by a thin woodland. I don’t know why my mind went to this imagery but there is something in the music that hinted at the fortean again with me.

The tracks contained on Lost Loops Collection are all well worth listening to, and they all embody Mount Shrine’s way of creating beautiful soundscapes. If you enjoy relaxing rain and soothing atmospheres, you really can’t go wrong with four hours of Mount Shrine. Visit the link to Bandcamp below for more info. You might also like to read my interview with Cesar if you’d like to learn a little more about him. 

Visit the Lost Loops Collection page on Bandcamp for more information. You can also check out the Ghostly track below:

I was given a review copy of this album.

Album Title: Lost Loops Collection

Album Artist: Mount Shrine

Label: Cryo Chamber

Released: May 30, 2023