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DAR Compilation Vol. 3
Listen to some soundbites

Review auf Medienkonverter
Review auf Kulturterrorismus
Review on Winter Light blog
Review on Synth&Sequences
Recension sur Guts of Darkness
Review on Damned by Light
Review on Chain D.L.K.

Dark Ambient Radio Vol. 3

Available at your favorite regional mailorder:

Order at Minor Minor
(Germany)
Order at Winter Light Winter Light (NL)
DAR Compilation Vol. 2
Sound samples on MySpace

Review auf Kulturterrorismus
Review auf Necroweb
Reseña de Mentenebre
Review auf Medienkonverter
Review on Gothtronic
Review auf Club Debil

Dark Ambient Radio Vol. 2

Available at your favorite regional mailorder:

Order at Minor Minor
(Germany)
Order at Winter Light Winter Light (NL)
DAR Compilation Vol. 1
Sound samples on MySpace

Review auf Kulturterrorismus
Review auf Medienkonverter
Review on gothtronic.com
Review auf necroweb.de
Review auf Club Debil
Reseña de Mentenebre

Compilation includes tracks by Ah Cama-Soz & All Sides, Dark Muse & Nihil Communication, Evoke Scurvee, False Mirror, Megatone, Mytrip, Nagual Art, Phelios, Phobos, Stephen Parsick, and Svartsinn

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Dark Ambient Radio | Talk | Dark Ambient Neuerscheinungen / DA New Releases
Autor V.A. "Secret Assembly" DVD-9 Review by DarkAmbient
DarkAmbient
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Eingetragen auf 14-05-2010 08:22
Whenever a DVD is released touching dark ambient style of music, it might be worth a note here, not only because it's a rare occasion but also because DAR might give you a first-hand experience of the actual music, but not the video content. This is particulary true for a DVD like Secret Assembly, which focuses very much on the visual impression of the performing artists at the Ukrainian city Zhytomyr that took place one year ago. Olegh of First Human Ferro was so kind to help me out with some questions and I found me doing the first interview on Dark Ambient Radio! smiley

DAR: How did the assembly constitute? Who had the idea and who selected the projects (I suppose OMS) or did they find together on their own? How do you relate to the other projects?

Olegh: The idea of "secret assemblies" belongs to Igog from Noises of Russia project. Two years ago when they performed in Kyyiv together with Deutsch Nepal we (me and Sergey (OMS owner)) got aquainted with them all and he (Sergey) invited the two to our native city, Zhytomyr, to have a concert in a year. That's the way it happened. The projects are quite common imho anyway even if in some, noise prevails over ambience, and vice versa.

DAR: Was producing the DVD planned before the event took place? I was a bit disappointed about the surround mix on the DVD. It's totally flat, only silence on the LFE channel. Sounds like a cheap stereo extend to me rather than capturing the acoustic characteristics of the locations with a real 5 channel microphone setup. Were there any special technical precautions with regard to the DVD production?

Olegh: The production, as far as I know, was planned before, though I'm not sure Sergey had a clear idea how to execute that, hence the very production lacks something, most accents were shifted onto careful shooting from different angles rather then mics real-time recording. This is the first experience I suppose but he worked with some profi video engineeres too. Though again the sound is flat, true but that's what he could afford I guess.

DAR: And here is one concerning your set: The spacey visualization that you used contained very plain statements that illuminate your opinion about such ideas as nationalism. It seemed to me not fitting together very well. I understand east european nationalism plays a role against western influence as a defensive identity after the post sovjet aera. But why do you think wrapping these messages in a dark ambient / industrial (quite an international scene after all) performance is really adequate?

Olegh: Well, I was given a floor to represent my music and my set included some 10 tracks from the period between 1998-2008. I had an opportunity to expose the ideas I'm interested in and to forward them towards the Ukrainian audience gathered. Since Ukraine has been suffering from kind of inferiority in comparison to Russia and its citizens (at least half of them) are indifferent to dependence on Russia I thought it would be quite adequate to evoke a feeling of patriotism towards the country they life in. The messages are simple, in the face, and that's the way I really feel. I also wanted people worldwide wouldn't think most Ukrainians are nation-blind, - they do care. Many have to prove that everyday, and still many have to be reminded about that too, that they are Ukrainians and have to be proud of that. I do.
That was my first live set and probably nowadays I would change some aspects but generally I feel I'm ok with worldwide establishing of my political and social views. Though don't get me wrong pls, I'm not a russophob but I'd like more people in Ukraine were patriots of the land they life in. Moreover I do not think dark ambient should be exceptionally about some abstrach things, low-key emotions and unknown galaxies...We are surrounded by real things, here and now, and they influnce us one way or the other. Still I like space exploration themes too surely, and devote some time on this matter.

DAR: Ok, so I was wrong about these messages being directed against western influence. This is getting quite political now... but anyhow: Recent events in the Ukrainian parliament show how feelings run high on this topic. From the outside it seems like there are just two alternatives: pro russia vs. pro western/USA. But isn't the post-industrial scene more about transcending those identities that lead to all these ideological aberrations in the world? And why would you want a "worldwide establishing" of your ideas when it only concerns Ukrainian people? What would you tell a Swiss citizen why language determines her national identity? And above all: in Ukraine, russian, as a language, is prevailing as far as I know. Wouldn't this mean to unite all russian speaking people of the Ukraine with all else in east Europe and Asia to form some kind of Russian union, resulting in displacement, assimilation, or extinction of all non-russian speaking people? I thought you opted for all those nations, suffering from 'inferiority'. I'm a bit confused now... Isn't Russia suffering from inferiority to the USA as well?

Olegh: Feelings are indeed high, but still I try not to get that involved into the subject matter - my civil job is far from that and it saves me from blindfoldness. Sure, many follow the alternative you have just mentioned but if you asked me whether I back any I would definitely say "no". I just question everything I see, I doubt everything I'm told via mass media and trust my senses and my reason - otherwise one is a whitewashed canon meat to serve somebody's ambitions.
Worldwide establishing is absolutely crucial. When you have a look at the world and the countries, and the languages in particular you'll be surprised to realize how many lack and have been looking for national identities via languages. The examples are too dramatic: Belgium is sharply separated between Dutch and French speakers, the Flemings and Walloons are still almost exactly where Julius Caesar left them after De Bello Gallico; Canada faces a severe problem in defining its national identity, increasingly divided between English-speakers and French-speakers; the sense of Catalan identity is linked closely to possession of the Catalan language and has been recognised by the autonomous status conceded to Catalonia by Spain; Switzerland is linguistically divided with French, Italian and German and some other languages, Swiss do not and cannot define their national culture by language though Swiss-German, which is incomprehensible outside Switzerland, is something by which the German-Swiss are satisfied to distinguish themselves from 'other' Germans; the Celtic peoples of Europe defined by language constitute six separate nations; in Eastern Europe there is a strong correlation between religion, ethnicity, language and nationality: there are unsettled problems in Bulgaria, the question of the Turkish minority could return, there are difficulties relating to language-based minorities in Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Serbia, in Slovakia the Slovak majority has been imposing increasingly stringent language restrictions on the ethnic Hungarian minority. I mean this language problem is close to everyone. I felt I need to send a message, I mean if it is a live set - it shouldn't be taken for granted, there should be an idea to convey, hence I chose the one we are discussing. Though when I simply listen to any music I like I prefer to get involved emotionally only, music should evoke emotions - I belive that's its only purpose which is shifted when visualized.
Russia is in search of a "national idea" that can define its essence and inspire its citizens in the struggle for a post-Soviet identity. Religion and ethnicity are not a sufficient foundation because Russia has 20 ethnic republics dominated by Tartars, Muslims and others. The process of state building in post-Soviet Russia takes the form of an attempt to create new "national identities" in Russia's regions, involving education and language policy, cultural policy and the politics of symbols. But it fails. Russian is generally the language of administration and 'modern' activities and also a lingua franca of communication between local ethnicities. Resident Russians perceive the post-Soviet elevation of local vernaculars to 'state languages' as a threat. Minorities have the same rights and they claim for them.
Historically, given the dominance of English, language has not been a major theme in American life. Recently concern about the growth in the use of other languages, notably Spanish, has led to 20 states or more prescribing English as their official language. Traditionally American national feeling has not been ethnic but based on a sense of shared belonging and social identity which has meant that at least in theory anybody could become an American citizen but this required a commitment to English as the common language. So you see I do not differentiate any other problem in-between Russia and the USA (I don't really care about their problems) and do not sense inferiority there save some high officials maybe who stress one's superiority now and then.

DAR: Thank you for explaining yourself. I will stress the music more in my summary...


... which might not produce a good image of the release as -- I mentioned it before -- the DVD itself stresses on the visual aspects. The audio is rather bootleg quality. Even if you switch off the poor dolby digital audio track that can hardly be described as mastered (max level at -20dB, no LFE channel, zero spacial effect), the stereo track is still far away from what you could call a professional live recording.

The performance I liked most was Filivs Macrocosmi with an alternative Stalker soundtrack, which obviously was taken from the OMS CD release by the same name. A 46 minutes journey of the spiritual kind with visualizations that are coherent to the music, e.g. the "tak tak" of the track motor car on it's way into "the zone". I only wished there was an alternative digital track taken straight away from the CD rather than the poor sounding live track.

Then comes First Human Ferro's gig with a mix of ambient and industrial episodes and the striking lesson in nation-building mentioned above, a bit too short though.

Third one is Noises of Russia with a more experimental twist. This leaves my musical paths a bit too far for me to feel comfortable writing about it.

At last, Deutsch Nepal... I'm hesitating to judge the music because the sound quality is so poor, and maybe it affected the overall judgement and the live sound got through much better. But the last live performance of Peter Andersson (not to be confused with the Peter Andersson of Raison d'Être) was disappointing in a similar manner: After good releases in the early nineties, I think I lost interest in the project as he started singing. Sitting on a chair, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes, it reminded me a bit of a karaoke performance, to say it blunt. Even as he jumped on the floor at the end, joining the audience, it didn't help it: The singing attempts spoiled every chance of figuring out and enjoying interesting sound textures. No delay or reverb is able to mask the incapability of Peter's voice, and sadly he's not able to handle the fact in an adequate manner, e.g. like Trisomie 21 does. A minimum sense of irony was maintained though, wishing the audience "peace" the hippie style, while using the most matial war scenes for visualization.

To summarize it: the DVD can be understood as a marketing attempt for some OMS projects or supplement for hardcore fans of the four projects. It's surely admirable to try to release a DVD for such a small scene, but rather than investing money in some fancy visual effects (including some kitsch montages for the Deutsch Nepal gig) a bit more work could have been put into the audio mastering -- even if it means to omit a 'surround' track' (in the current form clearly a deception towards the customer) and to focus on having an enjoyable stereo track. I wouldn't mind if most of the audio track was a digital copy because microphones and mixing were crap at the site. To deliberately record the (rare) audience responses and mix them into the digital source at choosen points would have been the better choice here. The quality of the copy seemed poor too. I just found one drive that was abel to read the DVD and made a copy of it.

My reaction on the DVD was to order the Stalker CD (and maybe I will glue it to the video footage of the DVD) and to consider asking Olegh to contribute selected tracks here.
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Autor RE: V.A. "Secret Assembly" DVD-9 Review by DarkAmbient
gorgoroth
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Eingetragen auf 14-05-2010 18:11
... which might not produce a good image of the release as -- I mentioned it before -- the DVD itself stresses on the visual aspects. The audio is rather bootleg quality. Even if you switch off the poor dolby digital audio track that can hardly be described as mastered (max level at -20dB, no LFE channel, zero spacial effect), the stereo track is still far away from what you could call a professional live recording.

In the press-release for DVD and on disc box clearly stated "dolby digital stereo", so why look for something that is not, and while frankly surprised at this?

The performance I liked most was Filivs Macrocosmi with an alternative Stalker soundtrack, which obviously was taken from the OMS CD release by the same name. A 46 minutes journey of the spiritual kind with visualizations that are coherent to the music, e.g. the "tak tak" of the track motor car on it's way into "the zone". I only wished there was an alternative digital track taken straight away from the CD rather than the poor sounding live track.

Personally I love this "like-live" sound. Use headphones to get a more detailed perception of this set....


The quality of the copy seemed poor too. I just found one drive that was abel to read the DVD and made a copy of it.

DVD need to play on a DVD-players, rather than look for PC-driver to copy it....

My reaction on the DVD was to order the Stalker CD (and maybe I will glue it to the video footage of the DVD)

I do not think that on the CD you will find specific differences from the concert sound that much richer because of the additional audio realtime manipulations by 1g0g of Noises of Russia and the subsequent audio-processing, details of which I do not want to reveal....

Bearbeitet von gorgoroth auf 15-05-2010 10:28
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Autor RE: V.A. "Secret Assembly" DVD-9 Review by DarkAmbient
vile
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Eingetragen auf 14-05-2010 22:50
DarkAmbient schrieb:
I wouldn't mind if most of the audio track was a digital copy because microphones and mixing were crap at the site. To deliberately record the (rare) audience responses and mix them into the digital source at choosen points would have been the better choice here.


You hardly record a decent live performance through microphones even if the music is loud and simple as hell, and for such a precise and delicate piece of sound art as ambient music is I think recording live only through microphones at the place is quite, quite inappropriate. I mean you MUST have a decent audio track recorder directly from a mixer output as a main basis and everything else that captures the ambience of the performance (incl. audience and all micro and macro sounds which may appear) will be a tool to enrich the music and not what will present it all... Hmm this release seemed interesting, now that you reviewed it it looks like another nail in the coffin of DVD releases, which I'll never get used to smiley


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Autor RE: V.A. "Secret Assembly" DVD-9 Review by DarkAmbient
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Eingetragen auf 18-05-2010 10:18
In the press-release for DVD and on disc box clearly stated "dolby digital stereo", so why look for something that is not, and while frankly surprised at this?


There is no such thing as dolby digital stereo. Either it's dolby digital (which is 5.1 surround) or dolby stereo (which is an early analog surround technique).


DVD need to play on a DVD-players, rather than look for PC-driver to copy it....


I tried with my DVD player first, of course.

I do not think that on the CD you will find specific differences from the concert sound that much richer because of the additional audio realtime manipulations by 1g0g of Noises of Russia and the subsequent audio-processing, details of which I do not want to reveal....


... why won't you?

Sure, he improvised a bit and that's cool. But I don't like the bootleg sound at all and that's why I prefer a nice studio version of the Stalker track.
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Autor RE: V.A. "Secret Assembly" DVD-9 Review by DarkAmbient
gorgoroth
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Eingetragen auf 20-05-2010 09:59
DarkAmbient schrieb:
There is no such thing as dolby digital stereo. Either it's dolby digital (which is 5.1 surround) or dolby stereo (which is an early analog surround technique).

I do not see reason to record music material in 5.1. Who is listen music in 5.1.? I'm not....

I tried with my DVD player first, of course.

It's very weird! I've check disks on a lots of players. And without any problems. Even my 7-old years AKAI plays DVD without problems and do it right!


Sure, he improvised a bit and that's cool. But I don't like the bootleg sound at all and that's why I prefer a nice studio version of the Stalker track.

It's not bootleg sound, it's real live sound... with some post audio processing... and can't count it as a MINUS!
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Eingetragen auf 20-05-2010 11:45
vile schrieb:

You hardly record a decent live performance through microphones even if the music is loud and simple as hell, and for such a precise and delicate piece of sound art as ambient music is I think recording live only through microphones at the place is quite, quite inappropriate.


I have to object here, I´m afraid. The art of proper miking allows you to make decent acoustic live recordings. Of course, decent microphones can´t be had for cheap, but seriously, you can create great results even with some more affordable gear. I used a Jecklin disc with two omnidirectional microphones and an old dummy-head microphone to record a Phelios gig inside a church, and had I had better mic reamps the sound would have been even better.

Of course you can´t iron out a bad performance this way, and quite obviously a shitty sound will remain a shitty sound, no matter if it´s been recorded straight from the desk or through room microphones.

Stephen


"Wer sich am kommerziellen Musikgeschmack orientiert, dient der Reaktion." (Einstürzende Neubauten, 1981)
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Autor RE: V.A. "Secret Assembly" DVD-9 Review by DarkAmbient
vile
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Eingetragen auf 20-05-2010 14:58
Yeah, it is possible but considering the whole DIY idea and in general the nature of the release we've been discussing I assumed the miking was not of a higher quality in terms of best possible microphones and precise positioning and etc. Of course I'm based thoroughly on what Thomas wrote about the sound and I am not judging as I haven't heard the recording myself.

Plus I suppose the acoustics of a church are far better and surely more correctly designed than every shitty club created only with the purpose of gathering people and accumulating cash from alcohol. At least in Bulgaria, acoustics and perfect sound are the last concerns for club owners hah...




Bearbeitet von vile auf 20-05-2010 14:59
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Autor RE: V.A. "Secret Assembly" DVD-9 Review by DarkAmbient
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Eingetragen auf 22-05-2010 20:54
Hi all!
First I want to say that I wasn't on a concert, but I really wanted to watch this DVD!
Because such concerts are "rareness" for ukrainian underground. (or the band-list of early "Secret Assemblies" was usually not so interest for me)

The sound of the album has given me the 100% satisfaction! And the another thing brings me satisfaction too - in the soundtrack were used recovered stereo tracks, which were recorded with a using of two microphones in mix with studio recordings, but not 5.1 microphones recordings as proposed in posts before. Because I want to hear music instead of drunk people voices. Sound source was a stereo... so what should be into the others channels?... noise?
Present music is not a rock-n-roll or metal, where the live sound playing/tuning is simpler. And this is not the experimental electronics where the chaotic sound is a normal practice. This is the "oldschool post-industrial" where bands can't get the fully certain music, considered before the playing, as it is mostly improvisation.
If you want to dive into a club atmosphere just turn off the light, to blow smoke in your room and use headphones

Enjoy!

PS Sorry for my english BTW smiley

Bearbeitet von Sirozha auf 22-05-2010 21:43
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Eingetragen auf 25-05-2010 17:28
I do not see reason to record music material in 5.1. Who is listen music in 5.1.? I'm not....


So why is there a 5.1 track on the DVD then? The built-in upmix of the player would sound much better than this cheap one with the deal LFO .

I enjoy listening to 5.1 mixes very much!

It's not bootleg sound, it's real live sound... with some post audio processing... and can't count it as a MINUS!


I will give the DVD another try with headphones then, but it really would surprise me, if it satisfies me.
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Autor RE: V.A. "Secret Assembly" DVD-9 Review by DarkAmbient
gorgoroth
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Eingetragen auf 25-05-2010 20:02
DarkAmbient schrieb:
So why is there a 5.1 track on the DVD then?


There is no 5.1. All sounds in stereo (dolby digital 2.0, 448 kbps). I do not know what equipment presets do you use for watching of this DVD. ANY PRESENTS etc., only killing the original sound... I know it as try list sound of DVD on different modern equipment.... and only real stereo with no EQ and presets give the real good results....

Bearbeitet von gorgoroth auf 25-05-2010 20:05
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I'm sorry, you are right: it's stereo. I just saw AC3 displayed for the audio track. Didn't know that with dolby digital it was even possible to use it just for a 2-channel track. I used an old WinDVD 4 with no special presets, which obviously had problems decoding AC3-stereo correctly. It served me well in the past.

Bearbeitet von DarkAmbient auf 25-05-2010 22:58
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gorgoroth
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Eingetragen auf 26-05-2010 08:19
DarkAmbient schrieb:
I'm sorry, you are right: it's stereo. I just saw AC3 displayed for the audio track. Didn't know that with dolby digital it was even possible to use it just for a 2-channel track. I used an old WinDVD 4 with no special presets, which obviously had problems decoding AC3-stereo correctly. It served me well in the past.


I agree, AC3 with max bitrate of 448 kbps is not very good format for sound (it is the same MP3), but it is a European standard for PAL DVD (in comparison, NTSC widely uses absolutely uncompressed LPCM), and yes, at compressing to AC3, sound down on about 4 dB from original level....

Bearbeitet von gorgoroth auf 26-05-2010 08:27
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