Alphaxone and Dronny Darko are two central players in the Cryo Chamber stable, and in many ways representative of the label’s typical sound and highest aspirations. Hailing from Iran and the Ukraine respectively, both of these projects have a rather impressive back catalog of albums, each furthering the cause of rainy nights in droning musical form. On Forsaken, they have joined forces to create a collaboration bringing the shadows out of the shadows. And into the shadows.
From the first track – cleverly entitled “Beginning” – Forsaken makes clear what this is about. While the first minute or so leaves the listener hanging in a cloud of uncertainty, with a peculiar soundscape that could just as easily be the first, subdued noises of some post mortem industrial or even a mounting Merzbow track, it is not long before beautiful drones and pads remind us of why we’re here. We’ve come for no bullshit, richly layered, well-composed dark ambient, and that’s what we’re getting a-plenty.
Everything takes place in massive, empty halls – often in the form of whispering or atonal drones. There are melodies to be found here, but they echo endlessly in abandoned churches and giant cisterns long out of use. The rolling waves can be sensed, though seldom actually heard, and the air is cold and moist. The album concept seems vaguely inspired by Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth, though not in an all-too direct manner. However one chooses to interpret the drones, sounds and pads which make up tracks like “Dissolution of Thought” and the threatening, rumbling “Approaching”, there is a clear sense of seaside village here, and as the album moves towards completion we sense that all is not quite right.
To which degree one wishes to engage with the “cinematic” concept is, of course, up to the listener. Like the vast majority of Cryo Chamber releases, Forsaken is as relaxing as it is potentially menacing, and whatever chills may be sent up your spine by Alphaxone and Dronny Darko, they won’t take away the bliss produced by listening to this. In other words: it is difficult to do anything other than what we almost always do when Simon and the lads release something: recommend it intensely. The album is released on the 22nd of August, but is of course already available for pre-order.