Greetings from beyond the pale, fellow denizens of HomeTown Buffet. This week, Connor and I attempt to rationalize the mystifying timbres radiating from Cities Last Broadcast’s sophomore Cryo Chamber LP, The Umbra Report. Cities Last Broadcast is one of many projects helmed by the prolific dark ambient producer Pär Boström. Toward the beginning of 2021, we dissected Thronal, the fourth record from Pär’s long-established (est. 2000) post-apocalyptic endeavor known as Kammarheit. And although this review is only our second podcast delving into Pär’s ever-growing body of work, we found ourselves wholly ensnared by the ghastly textures harbored within The Umbra Report‘s runtime.
There’s a distinctive quality about Pär’s compositions that persistently elude me. The production of his frequencies is replete with warm and sizzling tape noise; however, the odd chitter from tongues of apparitions burrow under my skin and slither through my cerebrum like a parasite. Moreover, the density of his onyx-laced drones instills dread while simultaneously suspending me in a stasis of introspection.
While the conceptual throughline of The Umbra Report is decidedly vague, it did not halt our smooth brains from rampantly striding from one idea to the next. The album poses the question: is it depression, a séance, or an exorcism? Although we toyed with these thoughts in our review, we somehow landed on the former lead singer of Hinder using his velociraptor arms to coax unsuspecting victims into a derelict HomeTown Buffet to convert them to a post-grunge cult. It makes no sense, but here we are.
Cities Last Broadcast was originally founded as an archive project of after-dark sounds Pär recorded while wandering city streets in the late 90’s. Over the course of about a decade, his archiving culminated into The Cancelled Earth, the debut Cities Last Broadcast record published by Cyclic Law in 2009. Since then, Pär has released two solo records under Cryo Chamber’s banner—The Humming Tapes (2016) being his inaugural work—and has contributed to several collaborative works including Black Corner Den (2017), Miles to Midnight (2018), and Black Stage of Night (2019). The Umbra Report was officially released on June 1, 2021.
We want to thank you all for your continued support and tuning in to this episode. It gets quite unhinged in parts, but it was a most sincere pleasure probing the eerie frequencies disembodied in this record. If you are keen on this album, Pär has a litany of other sonic endeavors to explore. We’ve bulleted them below in case you may be interested in journeying through other amorphous realms of his own construction and those created with other artists.
- Andulmedir: The Lunar Lexicon (2019) | The Winter Scriptures (2021)
- Altarmang: Void (2016) | Moth Star (2020)
- Bonini Bulga: Sealed (2017) | Blood Name (2020)
- Hymnambulae: Orgelhuset (2016) | Nausikaa (2019) | Andarlīh (2020)
- Kammarheit: Asleep and Well Hidden (2003) | The Starwheel (2005) | The Nest (2015) | Onyx (2015) | Echo (2017) | Thronal (2020)
- Teahouse Radio: Her Quiet Garden (2018)
- Underwater Sleep Orchestra: The Night and Other Sunken Dreams (2021)
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You can obtain a physical (CD, Vinyl) or digital copy of The Umbra Report via Cryo Chamber’s Bandcamp page. To stay up-to-date on new developments from Cities Last Broadcast, you can follow the project on Facebook.
If you’d like to support us beyond listening to our podcast, you can do so by becoming a patron on our Patreon page where you can read all of the notes we typed in preparation for album reviews and gain early access to upcoming episodes before their official release. If Patreon isn’t your jam, we recently set up an FCU Venmo account (@From-Corners-Unknown) and a Ko-Fi account in case you want to support us via other channels.
Up next on the docket is a review of Degenerations, the latest opus from the eccentric Norwegian death metal trio known as Diskord. It will drop in two weeks; take care until then!