Lighten Up Sounds is a label with a rather diverse catalog, covering many different genres. One of these genres is dungeon synth, for which we at Archaic Triad have a very special love. After previously reviewing Goblintropp’s excellent leather pouch and the tape contained therein, we will now take a look at some slightly more ambient dungeon muzak. Рабор – Голоса... is due for its second printing sometime at the end of this month, so we sat down with the first edition to find out what it’s all about.
The look and feel of the release, with an Eastern European mountain landscape on the cover and a vaguely imperial logo with kyrillic letters, is clearly of the Slavic black metal variety. The look awakens thoughts of Temnozor, or the supremely obscure, excellent and bizarre Yarovit. The first edition of 50 copies, now sold out, featured a two sided photography and a pin, housed in an oversized vinyl clamshell. The next edition is to be in normal tape casing, which obviously has some advantages as well (space wise, at least).
Now for the music. The sound on Голоса... is sort of a mix between dungeon synth, epic ambient of the black metal side project variety and more mainstream, soft ambient music. It is centered around rather distinct, synthesized instruments rather than pads and drones, and occasionally features various wind and water sounds to create additional atmosphere. It all blends together nicely to create a full bodied listening experience. The melodies are sometimes fleeting and epic, sometimes folkish, sometimes (at least in the first part of the final of the three tracks, “Secular Glacier”) droning and pad based after all. There is nothing overly complex going on here, but everything is preformed well enough. The balance between lo-fi and high quality is pretty much spot on.
If you’re into dungeon synth, black metal side project ambient or just simply electronic ambient with a touch of Slavic wilderness, Рабор may be just what the doctor ordered. This tape will make more than one round in my stereo cassette player way after this review has disappeared before the tide of the internet, never to be read again. Additionally, the fact that a first edition of 50 sold out in a few months, and that there is demand for a second printing, should serve as a friendly poke at other labels: dungeon synth releases needn’t be limited to 4 copies, if they are good they will sell. As I said in the beginning, the second edition is due any day now, and you should probably keep an eye on Lighten Up Sounds’ Bandcamp, Storenvy, Blogspot and/or Facebook to catch it before it sells out again.