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.
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.
When I reviewed Monochrome, I wasn’t exactly enthused with the sophomore release from Scandroid, whose debut album set an extremely high bar to clear. At the end of my review, I wished for the next album to “take a little longer” as well as “we get something just a little more evolved”.
Well, I’m very happy to say that was mostly accomplished with the long-awaited release of The Darkness and the Light! While it was always his plan to release this album, there were two previous releases: The Darkness, and The Light. Both have original tracks as well as remixes and instrumentals. While I really enjoyed listening to those original songs, I was holding out for the full third album that would combine them.
Along with those thirteen previously-released tracks, there are an additional six on this album, making for an incredible amount of music. As mentioned above, I wanted a Scandroid album that took its influence and development in synth-/retrowave and go further with it. It’s very clear Klayton has indeed dug deeper and worked more on this material, with so many standout tracks (I have to mention I Remember You and Purified) so unique to show for it. There’s also some tracks that are closer to classic synth-/retrowave, such as The End of Time and Onyx.
One of Scandroid’s unique features when the first album came out was putting vocals to these kind of tracks, and I honestly can’t think of a single song that would have worked better without vocals. His singing voice is unique, along with guest singers as well as any additional processed vocals he puts into the songs. While there may be a few artists where I enjoy just listening to the music, when I put on Scandroid it’s as much about the words he sings along with the glorious synths and booming 80s drums backing them.
If it already wasn’t clear, I am very happy with this album! I am very curious to see where Klayton goes from here, whether he continues to evolve, tries for something really out there, or possibly reigns it back in to get closer to what the debut album had, as different as it was from other releases at its time. I have a pretty good feeling that no matter where the music of Scandroid goes from here, I will be glad to hear it and will be in my regular rotation for a very long time.
Browsing Bandcamp for new dungeon synth and ambient music, as I do quite often these days, I came across Delmak-O’s Cerulean Tomb. First off, if I’ve ever judged an album by a cover, this is perfect! It fits the music perfectly, lending to an atmosphere that is dark, vast, and solitary. Delmak-O has crafted an album that is easy to play in the background, even at a louder volume, as it envelopes the listener, each time discovering something new in the layers of sounds that will wash over you.