Hypnagoga Press is a label and fledgling publishing house of sorts, run by none other than Pär Boström. This is a man you’re probably aware of if you bother reading dark ambient reviews, him being the brain and sole member of Kammarheit and Cities Last Broadcast. If you haven’t stalked him online, though, Hypnagoga Press may have passed you by, as it did me until recently. Apart from a number of releases of dark ambient and occult music the label, which Boström runs with his sister Åsa, has published three issues of The Solar Zine, the third issue of which is shipping out around the 28th of June. Along with the zine comes a tape with Boström’s latest musical project Bonini Bulga, called Sealed, and we’ll begin with a few words about that.
For anyone who has spent time listening to Kammarheit and Cities Last Broadcast, there are some preconceived notions and expectations here. And, sure enough, there is a basic dark ambient vibe resting over the recording from the second “Each Named” carefully manifests itself in the speakers (in my case headphones). Even so, this is a wholly different animal from Boström’s other projects. Certainly, the attack on some notes are slow, and the mood is equally certainly somber, if not ominous. But unlike Kammarheit, there is no massive wall of drones and pads absorbing you into a sonic womb, and unlike CLB this isn’t really cinematic. Aforementioned “Each Named” is rather minimal, at times bordering on lo-fi, with very organic synth sounds and samples repeating themselves time and time again in various more or less complex combinations.
As we move into “By A Higher Thought”, we also move into slightly more formless territory. The almost industrial, looping feel of the opener is replaced by something a bit more fleeting. Still, the basic point of borderline lo-fi, analog sound and living electronics with no obvious computer magic going on remains, and does so for the entirety of Sealed. The dark crackles of “Each With Six Wings” bear certain resemblances to Michael Ford’s Darkness Enshroud at its best (though without vocals), while “Becoming” is perhaps the most traditional dark ambient track of the lot – not a bad thing, by the way. The final track, “Sealed As One” is a more soft spoken, almost positive piece of music, during which the darkness of the preceding tracks is combined with melancholic but quite beautiful fragments of high pitched melodies. To sum up, this is very different from Boström’s other projects as far as the style goes, but the atmosphere is similar and, more importantly, extremely appealing.
The fanzine that accompanies the recording is an interesting piece of literature. Promising to constitute “a first version” of a map, mapping “the inner worlds” that Hypnagoga Press intend to manifest, it contains various lyrical fragments and studio notes. The latter are not, suffice it to say, of a very technical nature, but rather random (?) reflections and observations. Some of them are, if not profound, then at least very pretty. That is also something which could be said of The Solar Zine #3 as a whole, which is full of very well composed photos and graphics, in addition to a great looking layout.
The Solar Zine #3 and the accompanying Bonini Bulga cassette are limited to 50 copies, and therefore bound to be sold at inflated prices by any number of discogs peddlers in the very near future. If you are a previous fan of Boström’s music and aesthetic style, or just a fan of dark ambient and/or strange diaries reflecting on the mind, memories, music and and summer house life, this is pretty much a must-buy. The whole package is, of course, available from Hypnagoga Press.