It’s arguably been a bit too long since we’ve sat down to discuss some dark ambient here, particularly from the Cryo Chamber label. Back in March, I sat down with my good friend Eric to chat about Hastur, the sixth rotation in the label’s annual Lovecraft cycle; and before that, Connor and I basked in the Silent Hill-steeped melancholy permeating Beyond the Ghost’s debut, You Disappeared. That was back in December 2019. Between then and now, Cryo Chamber has published a wealth of dystopian conceptual pieces from the mesmerizing drones of Apocryphos (Against Civilization) and the sax-laden milieu of Dead Melodies & Zenjungle (Anthropocene), to the science-fiction wayfaring harnessed by Ruptured World (Interplanetary). If time permitted, we would have loved to ramble about each of these, but given that there are so many superb records trickling into the ether of extreme metal and other noisy genres at present, we, unfortunately, have had to be quite selective with our dark ambient reviews (though this may shift in the coming months). While each of the aforementioned records deserves deep dissections in their own right, we could not pass up the warm tonal qualities of the Russian drone ambient quartet Lesa Listvy as their latest effort, Unheard Of, graced a nerve most enrapturing for Connor and myself.
Lesa Listvy (or, Forests of Foliage) emerged in the digital Bandcamp space in August 2017 with their independently released debut album, Птицы листают страницы, which roughly translates to Birds Flipping Pages. Not even a year later did they release their sophomore effort, Way Home. This time, however, their analog tapestries were published amidst the ever-unfurling cinematic dark ambient catalog of Cryo Chamber. And now they return to the label’s fray nearly two years post-Way Home with a steampunk-steeped sojourn through polluted skies.
Enchanting is a decent word to crystallize the atmosphere permeating Unheard Of, though the record and its sundry tones ascend considerably beyond its definition. Every track harbors baritone bass drones that whir like the rusty engine room of a copper sky vessel. These undulating frequencies imbue compositions with purposeful momentum, porting us across awe-striking expanses intermittently pocked by umbral chasms and long-forgotten cities entombed in maroon sand. Much of Unheard Of is pastoral, however. Minutes melt into a fleeting ecstasy that manages to sustain throughout its duration. Electronic rhythms, melodic flourishes, and sublime beats protrude from the shadow-cast dunes, often tickling our sense of wonder and engulfing us in a limbo stasis most surreal. We had a lot to hash out during our discussion of this record and we sincerely hope you enjoy the journey as this is toward the top of our favorite Cryo Chamber releases. Thank you so much for tuning in!
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