Aegri Somnia – Endtime Psalms

Allow us to confuse you. Aegri Somnia have released a new album, but it is not the brilliant, Spanish metal influenced folk music act Aegri Somnia. Rather, this Aegri Somnia is a one-man dark ambient project from Croatia. With Endtime Psalms the artist behind the project, a mr. Jurica Santek, releases his second physical full length album and his fourth release overall, despite the band being around for about ten years. That’s Croatian efficiency for you! Just kidding. In many ways, it is refreshing to see artists that take their time before putting stuff out, especially in experimental electronic music.

The theme of this album is post-apocalypse and general human misery. Dark, droning synthesizer constructs loom over field recorded, low-key noises to create an overall image of the bombed-out, the abandoned and the decrepit. When talking post-apocalypse, computer role playing games like Fallout and the future depicted in the Terminator series are obvious points of reference today, but there is another movie that fits the general atmosphere of Endtime Psalms much better. If the creator of this album watched just one movie to inspire himself to create this album, it would without a doubt be Richard Stanley’s half-surreal, low-budget masterpiece Hardware from 1990.

This is no homogeneous creation, though, and the compositions differ quite a lot from each other. The title track goes from amorphous plumes of synthesizer smoke, over comparatively clear, dark single keyboard notes, to a vaguely sacral sounding ending. “DNA Cult” is surprisingly peaceful, and accompanied this reviewer on a starry, winter evening walk a few days ago. In general, Endtime Psalms keeps quite close to the fundamentals of dark ambient as far as synthesizer sounds and field recording styles go. It is grittier than the usual Cryo Chamber fare, and at times it feels like the original recording was far rougher, but then underwent a little extra nifty mastering at the Cryo Chamber headquarters to streamline it somewhat to the brand. There is no evidence of this, though, and in the end the result is a production that is as slick as always, but with a dirty, bad-boy edge.

“Puppets” is an instant favorite, featuring what sounds like the classic Yamaha PSR-510 voice utilized by Cernunnos Woods on his early recordings. The album is closed out with the powerful “We Were Stardust” – it sounds like Lustmord on steroids, dancing in a cloud of pixie dust.

The album is released on March 7 2017, and can be aquired in all its digipak + digital download glory on Cryo Chamber’s Bandcamp page.

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