It’s been almost three and a half years since I last wrote about Perturbator’s EP release, New Model. Since then we didn’t hear too much about what he was working on, but now we know. Lustful Sacraments is not your synthwave Perturbator. The largest leap and growth since even New Model, this album has integrated darkwave and goth rock, but there is still that “French synth” signature that still helps the music stand out. More of the tracks feature vocals, and it’s a mixed success to my ears. The track Excess has some of the best music on the album, but the vocals did nothing for me. My favorite track is still Death of the Soul, and wish it was a minute or two longer.
Not only is the album overall far different from previous releases but each song has quite a variety, and many seem to strain from really fitting in with the others as a cohesive album. So, was this album worth the wait? Is Perturbator still the “king” of synthwave/outrun, the genres he dominated early on? I think if asked, he would likely answer it doesn’t matter. Starting out playing guitar in a metal band, his music seems to have made a full circle, integrating more instruments and vocals to zero in on perhaps the kind of music he’s always wanted to make. For me, while this album isn’t quite what I expected or wanted, I will continue to periodically check in on his Bandcamp and Twitter pages and see what comes next.
Landsraad – The Golden Path
While recently browsing the ambient releases on the main Bandcamp page, the album artwork for Landsraad’s The Golden Path immediately caught my eye. It wasn’t until I was on the album’s page and began listening that I realized it was a tribute album for Frank Herbert’s Dune. This is astonishing work, and I want more! Their Bandcamp’s Instagram link points to ORCUS, so I’m not sure if it’s the same people or not; the latter is also interesting but I haven’t listened to it enough to include on one of these posts.
TOWERS – TOWERS
I first came upon TOWERS quite awhile ago while browsing ambient releases on Bandcamp. While only comprising of four tracks, each one is between 12 and 16 minutes, so each really takes its time and draws the listener in. It’s an interesting mix of ambient and vaporwave; I’d love to find more like this.
Umbría – The Sleeping Wizard
In my hunt for more dungeon synth, it was a good day when I discovered Umbría’s The Sleeping Wizard. First, it was absolutely the artwork that caught my attention, mainly because it reminded me of the illustrations in the original release of OSRIC. The music itself I noticed right away was quite unique, even though I could pinpoint it as dungeon synth. The instrumentation and melodies are unlike any I’ve heard in the genre or anything else, and that’s a rare distinction for any musician. Luckily this album is just one of many releases from Umbría, so if this album catches your ear I highly encourage you take the time to listen to everything else.
While browsing /r/lotr I saw the image above, and was immediately taken by its style. Painted by Ted Nasmith, I really like the little details and the lighting. It reminds me of old-school illustrations, and it could partly be because he does seem to use traditional materials rather than digital. Browsing his site I see a wide range of work, not just for fantasy. His architectural renderings are another favorite of mine, and can provide lots of inspiration for both writing stories and RPG campaigns.
This is a new series in similar vein to my “Bandcamp find” posts. There are a LOT of great games (free and paid) on itch.io, and I’ll be highlighting my finds as time goes on.
One of the most popular free games available on the site is Doki Doki Literature Club. Created with the free Ren’Py visual novel engine, this game is FAR different than what it appears to be on the surface. It’s pretty hard to describe much more without spoilers, so I’ll simply leave it there. Note that this game does tackle some potentially sensitive and emotional issues.
At work I prefer to listen to soundtracks and ambient music. For the latter, I’ve been leaning toward the dark ambient sub-genre. On Bandcamp there is of course a wide variety of work in this field, involving any amount of synthesizers, samples, field recordings, etc. I’ve only just begun to familiarize myself with this music, and I wanted to highlight an early discovery that has really impressed me: Josh Sager. Of course while I always listen to the full album, from the front Bandcamp page it linked the 6th track on his latest album “interlopers”: auger spires. Turning up the speakers and enlarging the album artwork, this does the job any ambient work (dark or not) should do: envelope and allow the listener to truly immerse in the atmosphere! It will take me awhile to really get acquainted with this album and the others he has online. Along with that, he also has a few other great recommendations I’ve already added to my to-listen list: loscil and BLAKMOTH.