A friend recently commented that Archaic Triad had basically become a dark ambient webzine. While this isn’t exactly true, if it were it would be because of labels like Cryo Chamber. The combination of prolificacy, professionalism and general badassery means that it’s always a joy to have a look at what Simon & Co finds to put out there. It also means that almost every review of their stuff contains plenty of musings on the label itself. Not to go overboard with all that, we can state that their latest release is an album with Creation VI – a Ukranian dark ambient/drone artist. Deus Sive Natura is his 10th full length recording since founding the project back in 2006.
To the extent that dark ambient bands have gimmicks, the gimmick here is a heavy focus on voices and acoustic instruments as sound sources. These are certainly manipulated using less acoustic means, but not so much so as to make the actual sources irrelevant. Quite the opposite – while there is a certain electronic sound to some aspects of this album, the use of real-life sonic fountainheads are obvious from the first drones of “Ancestral Voice” to the extended, ominous fade-out that ends “Natura Renovatur”.
The keyword here is “organic”, and the only dark ambient related project I can think of that might be more efficient in creating an authentic physicality in its music is Phurpa. There are also some minor similarities, but Creation VI relies far more on traditional ambient/drone elements such as pad-like sounds and, of course, drones. Even so, there is an aura of ritualism and musicianship here that can really only be explained by the hands-on and, once again, organic means of music creation being used. There are muted mystical chimes and strange little melodies vying with deep, manipulated singing by voices, reeking of incense and violence, for attention. The tribal percussion and throaty singing of “Cycles of Life” evokes images of an ancient starets, deep in hesychasm, praying in an isolated monastery cell, as does the even more driven ritualistic track “Divine Intervention”.
Deus Sive Natura is, in a certain sense, progressive dark ambient. It certainly retains almost all lovable features of the genre, with deep droning and everything else that needs to be there, but the journey as well as the exact point of arrival is really unique. Distinctly Slavic and diffusely spiritual in an Eastern way, this is a soundtrack for travel, ritual and prayer far out on the East Siberian taiga (or, perhaps rather, Polissia). Or for wine at home, whatever you prefer.
The album is released by Cryo Chamber on the 13th of June. and is available for pre-order right now.