There are many bands that draw inspiration from the mysterious, dreamlike, simply weird world of the American novelist H. P.Lovecraft. One such band can be found also on the Czech scene, though you would look for it in vein within the metal genre. What we refer to is POSTCARDS FROM ARKHAM, a post-rock project, whose mastermind is Marek “Frodys” Pytlik, who arose from the iconic North Moravian doom act DISSOLVING OF PRODIGY, as well as from the melodic death metal band AWRIZIS. Now PFA return with their second studio album with a cryptic fateful title “ÆØN5” that will take you to the world of lucid dreaming beyond angled space, where a different music of the spheres reigns supreme.
Already the first album of POSTCARDS FROM ARKHAM, entitled “Oceanize”, was a breath of fresh air on the Czech not only metal scene. “ÆØN5” goes way further. Once again, maestro Frodys took care of all music and instrumentation and conjured up a unique mix of nostalgic and poetic post-rock sound combined with a horror narrative. Here and there even an isolated black metal scream appears, more often however a splendidly sounding spoken word, uttered for example by the diva Lenka Machová from ADOR DORATH, who besides that participated on the visual and lyrical side of the album. State-of-the-art production was brought in by Libor Kukula from MetalGate
Howard Philips Lovecraft and his “weird fiction” is one those instances that show how whimsical fate can be. Neglected in life and delegated to the margins of pulp literature, today a literary icon, whose work serves as an inspiration to countless other artists across the cultural spectrum. The Czech scene is not an exception. Take POSTCARDS FROM ARKHAM for example, a post-rock/metal project by Marek Frodys Pytlik that translates Lovecraft’s legacy into its music, and that is now releasing under MetalGate Records its already third studio album entitled “MANTA”. Those who are familiar with PFA, may be surprised that the new album is somewhat darker and rawer than its predecessors. It is so because the intent was to create a counterpoint to the previous piece “ÆØN5”, both music-wise and theme-wise. While “ÆØN5” built on Lovecraft’s so-called “dream cycle”, which are stories having as their common denominator phantasmal dreamscapes that make them in a way lighter and more colorful compared to the rest of his works, “MANTA” heads into the utterly nonhuman and unfathomable cosmic voids of Lovecraftian cosmology – that is, into vistas ruled by the Demonic Sultan Azathoth, Lord of All, and to which to gain entrance entails transgressing the boundaries of the angled space, which is to say to leave behind that which we perceive as reality. Hence the contrast.
Slowrun is a Finnish band that presents variety of sounds and musical styles that flow from instrumental rock to ambient soundscapes
The band has a history of two full-length albums, Prologue, and Resonance. Now they have a smaller release at hand - it is a two track EP titled as Passage. It's a digital only release available for streaming & download for free.
"Nothing Needs to Be Right", a track from Grey Fields' forthcoming debut album, chugs on a carnival-like feel with haunting vocals, showing both atmosphere and entrancing melodies.
Midwestern act Grey Fields officially formed in 2016, but their origin goes back much further. Alex (vocals/guitar/keys) first started playing music with John (drums) when they were sophomores in high school in the mid '90s. An immediate chemistry was created over their love for bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, Pavement, and other like-minded bands of that era. Years would pass as their parents begrudgingly accepted them playing way too loud in basements, a garage, and even a living room. At the turn of the century they got the opportunity to play a show, but there was a problem — they needed a bassist. Somehow, someway, they convinced Adam (bass/vocals) to learn the set in 24 hours. They pulled it off, then they parted ways to pursue college.
Alex would go on to study composition, theory, and eventually become obsessed with production and engineering. Meanwhile, Alex and John would continue to sporadically play whenever they had the opportunity — even forming a novel two-piece band that was meant for wine and dinner parties. It was around fifteen years later when John and Alex both found themselves playing at a rehearsal studio in Chicago and got an itch to make an album. After a quick recommendation from John to reach out to Adam on social media, the old one-time band was back together and ready to hit the studio.
All three members were born in the early '80s, and grew up on '90s rock. The influence is apparent, acting as the foundation for the music, but hardly the only noticeable factor when considering the structure and atmospheric elements to the songs. In college, Alex started to appreciate orchestral/ambient and experimental composers. Years later his discovery of contemporary composers like Ben Lukas Boysen, Jon Hopkins, Max Richter, Brian Eno, Fennesz and Keith Fullerton Whitman would have just as much influence in the presentation of the songs as the '90s bands which initiated the spark to write music in the first place.
The band's new album focuses on a person’s drive to create change (spiritual, financial, familial, romantic, etc.) while battling myriad obstacles that can come from within. Throughout the album there are questions presented which in some way revolve around the ability to change and the struggles that follow.
On “Transitions of The Truth,” the central question is How did I wander so far away, while “Empty Eyes” asks Will I know when I’m there? “Miracle” and “Nothing Needs to be Right” even repeat the same question: Do you want to leave? These somewhat basic, yet vital existential questions are scattered throughout the songs which are connected to other concepts such as loss, salvation, surrender, escape, and hope.
Dan Caine is ambient/post-rock musician from Merseyside, England. A pioneer in the movement, Caine uses powerful, layered guitar melodies to create an atmosphere of an intense range of thought and emotion as he explores the depths of the human psyche. His music is a free-flow of subconscious urge and instinct; a deep dive into the unhindered world of the Id. Much like a fine wine, these meditative works expose more and more of their depth with each listen, and like a mood ring, they morph and change to reflect the state of the listener perceiving them. Caine’s music is also richly melodic and is layered with vibrant textures, created primarily from his collection of guitars, producing brooding atmospheres and serene sonic landscapes.
The Jackson Pollock of ambient post-rock, Caine is a master of breaking music down to its most basic elements and arranging them in a work of abstract purity. This enables the listener to explore their own connections to the sound and engage with the piece less as a listener, and more as an observer of aural art. His music is broad and guiding, yet flexible and undemanding, allowing the observer space with which to process their own humanity within it.
Dan Caine, born in 1988 in Wirral, England, first picked up the guitar at age 15, inspired by a lot of alternative music, as well as his own father who played the classical guitar. He has had no formal musical training or tutoring, save for being taught a few basic chords from his father. He realized early on that making music was a great way of expressing himself and began recording his experimentations as a hobby. Eventually, in 2013, he published his first album, “Ephemeris”, which was a collection of some of his best ambient pieces that he had made of over the previous years. Since then, his music has evolved and has primarily drawn on influences from ambient, post-rock and new-age music.
There is music that can make you want to dance. There is music that can make you happy or emotional, and sometimes even sad. But in a very niche corner of the musical spectrum dwells a type of music that can make you visualize your own story while listening to it. “Soundtrack To Your Own Fantasy,” a split album by Indian music producer Arka Sengupta aka Mixtaped Monk and British ambient music legend Cousin Silas, is a record that falls into that very musical spectrum.
Bordering around ambient, post-rock and experimental music, the album blends ambient and cinematic music sensibilities of Cousin Silas with the experimental-minded post-rock sensibilities of Mixtaped Monk. The cinematic nature of the album, when listened to as a whole, can trigger your mind to imagine your own fantasy world and play out a story in it while the album acts as its soundtrack.
Ali Murray is an ethereal folk songwriter/musician from the cold isle of Lewis in the north of Scotland. He writes dark atmospheric folk music with lush sweeping dreamy soundscapes and Celtic-twinged instrumentation. His new album LAND OF EVERGONE strikes a balance that is intimate and soaring, peaceful and haunting, sad and quietly joyful, delicately reverberating with Murray's dreamy voice and guitar playing.
Orellana is a neo-classical/post-rock collective hailing from Bristol, UK. Their new album “52”, released in late December, brought in the new year with it’s explosive and intricate sound. The project’s music transcends genre definitions in order to focus on a broad, diverse concept that is more emotional than tangible. This particular release is full of rich and diverse arrangements, but it is also a powerful exercise in minimalism, one that showcases the strength of very few notes placed in the right spots. The simplicity of the arrangement is actually one of the strongest aspects of this entire release: there’s a palpable stillness created by the long, drone notes in the background, which almost makes you feel like the world is happening in slow motion. When the chords and notes change, it feels quite monumental due to the beautiful contrast between the stillness of the background textures and the expressive sound of the guitar-based melodies.