Review: Abandoned Asylum – Derelicts Of Distant Hope (CD)

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Yet another review coming from Malignant Records, in the form av Abandoned Asylum, which is the solo-project of Lukasz “Dani” Czajka, the polish native that was newly signed. In case you didn’t know, his release “Derelicts Of Distant Hope” is his first full-length album. Having released two digital EP’s on the much revered Kalpamantra Records, earlier. Whereas his mantra is dark ambient with a touch of industrial, there might be more to it. The project itself was founded in 2004 and has had a long time to get crafted. So, it’s time to deliver a review of this release here on Invisible Guy, so scroll down and view it as a whole. It will be yet another track-by-track review, just so everything is covered within this release as the review progresses. Once again, thanks to the postal service of the US, I get no other impression than the front-cover and the music at hand.

In the first continuum, you encounter the first track “Interstellar Transmissions“. Everything is glaringly applied to your senses, as the spark of a thrown away signal lights your darker spheres of the mind. Not immediately, but after a gradual shifting in the core landscape of the song itself. It might have actually been revealed by the name itself, but the transmissions are clouded in darker ambient that travels around your circle that you are encircled in. Everything you’d know that was and still is, shall be obliterated at once. But in the slowest pace possible. Chasms of deepened thought-processes begin to spin around from your brain, through the rest of your body. A continually dampened synthesizer moves along with scissor-sharp buzz-saws, that feel like they’re striking metal. It communicates with your ears, in an orthodox rhythm and manner that seems uncommon. An atonal noise is covering the underscores of what can be heard, as you’d have to search it through, at the same time as you’re trying to focus on your mission at hand. If a space-mission quickly descended into a stand-off between man and alien, this would be the soundtrack for it. The planets can represent your body, as you move around the system, in the interstellar fashion you’d originally intend to barge into. Earth seems so far away, as you adrift into an even darkener cat and mouse chase through overlying mats of outdrawn noisiness, and the sampling of a supposed transmission into space. Gradually you charge into the nothingness of the infinite galaxies, and then you quickly fall from grace, as the dampened spheres of maniacal delight are running rampant outside the cosiness windows of the shuttle. When you’re two worlds apart, you’re also succumbing to the vastness of arms that are pointed at your direction. The supernatural thoughts and intentions of other species never seemed to be so near. In the end, the interesting thing is how it fades out, but gradually – as the song faded into your mind in the first place, by leaving with the repetitious sampling that recants whatever could’ve happened up there. It leaves you disturbed, thinking about whatever can be out there, as you shut your eyes and imagine what it would be like. Colossal asteroids floating in space, industrialized patterns on the way to repetitious forgery. Everything seems just to be like that, an illusion, something you can feel, sense, hear, see – but isn’t real. However, it becomes more real by the minute and strikes you in the fast motion of the cobra. You were never prepared, and you’ll never be. The vulnerability that this song throws at you is stunningly beautiful in the atmospheric sense, but it makes you feel like nothing – compared to what might be lurking out there, in the galaxy.

Ah, the fresh smell of lunar dust. With the track “Shades Of Nebular Images“, it feels like you’ve landed. Soaring through your ears are echoes of the magnificent, for those past memories of how it actually works, you know – space and time. Shackles will be surrounding your wrists, you’ve never felt so imprisoned by the bars of the landscape around you. As you take a peek out in the distant, blackened reality that you now are a part of, you hear distant atmospheric groans as heavy synthesizers lay a perfectly figured out sequence, which will make your skin crawl. It tears through your visually impaired memory, it reminds you of something unnecessary evil. It’s not a downtrodden landscape of any sort, as the heavy emphasis isn’t really forthcoming from the dark ambient, but also the industrial realm. Clearly, it is not an overt emphasis on disturbing your positive emotions, because it reverts back to a bombastic scenery which conjures imagery that is both beautiful but at the same time loosely confined with a negative grip. Each time a chain is rattling, or when an arpeggio sound is pierced through by a re-occurring string of attached knives, your carefully managed and sorted impression are those of delight for the puppet-master Lukasz Czajka, as he comes forth every once in a while, to guide you to the most fruitful sounds of sullen splendor. Sometimes, it feels like it is a challenge that has been accepted by the listener, because the sounds might actually be that of another world. You carefully try to trust yourself with the task of revealing that which needs to be revealed, as heavy dabs through fluorescent trips in your mind, become carefully calculated rhythms that unlock a new secret. Decrypt this, if you can, you monstrous earth-living creature. It is mocking, but at the same time, what can one expect? It’s carefully laden, wired up with mines, increasingly up-tempo whenever you feel at ease. Your colorful palette might just incorporate the more mulen colors, a black, white and gray endeavor. But oh, how we like it to be that way. Two worlds are clashing, because the more industrialized sense is partaking in the underlying unease that strips you of your dignity. It entraps you, focuses on you and never lets you go. Your eyes are charred by the disdained images of abandoned environments, hardships, decadent control and a sense of times that have past. Metallic, asbestos, raging metal machinery – is at the top of their game in this track. Even though the ambiance is an ambivalent truth put through the both outlets, combined with dark ambient, there’s a weird sense of how those gargantuan beasts rival each other as they overlap, strike each other down and howl in a supernatural manner that simply stuns you and shakes you off your own boots. Therefore, it is not an easy path to walk on, as the wolves assortment of a wide-array of equipment – make you turn the other way around, just to be faced with something similar, if not – even more atrocious than an earthly creature fixated into an abomination. Stay at home, because if you wander outside of your limits, they might strike you at any moment. It’s an utterly fascinating combination, that can be frightening at worst, but marvelous at best.

Once again, delving deep into the shaft. Together with the track “Drifting In Constant Eclipse“, as the journey is more spiritual than not, in regards to the other tracks. First, a lowly sounding baseline that churns out the filthy undertones of what is yet to come. Shortly, it moves even closer, indulging in a constant flow of noisy undertones. Those undertones themselves sound like a volcano churning out burning residue, as the lava flows down from the mountain. In a sense, this track is even more down-tempo and insists on having a harder edge towards the listener. When you’re delving deeper into the sound-scape with all its wondrous mechanics and overlaying textures of sound, you get to a point where the more spiritually endowed can get their tribal kicks. This reminds you of older days, or a ritualistic approach with the dark ambient sword, as the monks chant in their sacred haven, overlooked by god. In contrast to the occult landscape, there’s much that can be said about them both. However, it feels fulfilling to listen to them both go into a joint venture of totality. As the angel meets the devil, in one sense or another, at least. When two forces conjoint into a single one, forming an unorthodox chasm of both belief and chants. You might actually be hearing this after the volcano ruined the entire village, but the church stood firm, but nobody is there to participate. That is how it feels, like it is but a distant memory, as it fades away into oblivion. It touches your heart in many ways possible, but leaves more questions rather than answers. Speculations can be churned out against both the above statements, but also the sound-scape as a whole. The more noisy apparitions dissolve without a trace, as they braced to conquer the “light“. Somehow, they failed, and left you hanging in the cold. As they flushed you out with sound. This cathartic endeavor is an enduring escapade in which total precision is awarded, as the industrialized traces vanish within the landscape of common sound. A journey, if you wish, or no – maybe even an adventure to be experienced. Within the gates of this otherwise expansive genre, in which everything seems to be allowed. He’s made it so that only some thing are constantly evolving within the barriers of the sound, whereas others decay and fall into forgetfulness. But it is by no means a forgettable piece, and must be the strongest track so far. It helped greatly to sample the monks that chanted in the mass, because that gave it another layer of perfectly challenging dark ambient, as more seen in martial industrial or the likes of it.

Whilst it might be compromised by other influences, the industrialized warmongering makes a come-back. With the track “Among Shapes Unknown To Man“. Bubbling up a cocktail of differentiated spacey sounds that congregate with a distant roar of thunderous might. Bolts of spontaneous sound evolve through the downtrodden landscape. Noisy, almost electrical bursts, sprout out into the open. As they spiral downwards into the underground, together with the whole ambivalent destruction. The fluidity of the noisiness, the malevolent predators that can be hinted in the nearby area, and the alarming sounds of bleeping and turning ambient – is surely something that will stick to your brain, etching itself there for a while. Every time things change in the sound-scape, you’re in for a ride. Whether it will be outwards towards another facility, or inwards to yourself. It might actually be a crime-ridden futuristic neighborhood, or a vigilante crew set out along the darkened corners of the city, planning their revenge on some totalitarian lunatic. There’s a looming sense of insecurity that’s always present, as the clinging sounds of bottles against each other make a turn for the worse. Nothing can be less cheerful as the full-out bombardment of chaotic sounds fill up everything to the brink of blowing up. Your brain must work twice as hard to pick out the different nuances, the different sounds and the atmosphere as a whole. In general, not much changes, but the underlying noises, cavalcades of banged up synthesizers, and lingering sounds are all part of the underlying change. The overtone basically stays the same, which provide some security in this stricken world. Also, like the heatwave that is upon us, there’s a certain grade of fluctuation. The temperature can go from hot to cold in any minute, as the slowly-paced behemoth moves in a forward motion. Slow, because what we need to take in, takes a little time to process. Because we’re all a part of a process, when this beast covers up the definitive crossover of industrial and dark ambient. You simply cannot listen to it too many times, because each time you listen, you hear something you’ve missed. Something that was in need of pinpointing. Which makes it interesting to covering the “landing” noise that could very well be that of a rocket, or an elevator, in some kind of city. As you hear the supercharged heat between luxury and misery. These different characters and textures lays a different dimension upon another one, creating a black hole that suddenly erupts into a vicious cycle of re-charging, taking everything with it as it slowly fades out. From everything to nothing, in six minutes notice, but it feels like twelve minutes or more. Brace yourself, because it will surely be a memorable ride. Don’t forget to take precautions, and don’t forget to put on some gear. Head into this with open eyes, an open-minded approach, and see for yourself as it swallows you whole and maybe spits you out afterwards. There’s no way to be sure.

Now, things get a little bit different. Through the track “Pathway Through Nothingness“, there’s a hint more minimalism thrown into the mix. Once again, the name reveals a little more then it should. Maybe that is the point, because surely, the “nothingness” can be felt. Atmosphere is the key answer to this, and here is nothing to gather more than utterly atmospheric dark ambient. From cringing sounds that elevate into a heightened sound-barrier that jumping into, and from, your territory – whilst turning into a dawdling cascade of brutalized ambient that makes a wearisome turn for the worse. Forget everything that once was learned throughout the listening experience, because here everything is erased. A minimalistic touch grasps the maximalist by the boots and drags him down with it. Shaking the habitual for each turn, as a horrid sound is crossing the borders between your left and right, making the experience, for once – a truly frightening endeavor, masked by the intent to drag you along the lines, trying to hint that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Mind you, this is the longest track on this record, which clocks in at seven minutes. Even though the grace of minimalism can be haunting, there’s a certain boring feeling to it, before you reach the line after three minutes in. Then things become more interesting. But, in all honesty, this is probably the best atmosphere as of yet. A carefully selected three-story level that packs some heat beneath the closed curtains. It isn’t hard to imagine things while listening to it, especially not in the middle of the night. Every creepy thing you could ever think of suddenly appears in the corner of your eyes. When you stare back, nothing is there. That’s a nice overlapping sense that “Nothingness” and the virtual landscape of the musical content of this track, does really good. It is pretty certain that he means it. I wouldn’t want to be standing at the edge of a platform on a train-station when this is playing, because it feels like someone would be glaring at me from the dark. Yes, it induces paranoia, as if that wasn’t a bad enough feeling you get on occasions. Now, it is totally amplified by the grim aspects of this multilayer phantasm. When you finally get to the end, it fades out like every other track, but you’re left with a laugh that got stuck in your throat. Bad, mean, vicious – it might not have those three words, but it certainly has the other palette of negative emotions. You wouldn’t want to listen to this after dark, but you really have to, because it certainly enhances the experience. In every intimidating way possible.

Getting this far might’ve seem easy enough, but you ain’t heard nothing yet. Channeling the pathways of scrambled industries, forfeiting dark ambient, and making way for a chocking stab in the gut. With the track “Echoes Of Forgotten Origins“, we might be in an abandoned forest. Or we might be high up on a cliff, when its about to turn cold and dark. Imagine a wasteland of factories, strewn equipment and dead bodies. Together with a hewed noise, echoes in the distant, forlorn spirits that haven’t been pleased with an offering for long. You’re up for a nightmarish experience. As a lone wanderer, you braze yourself, as you set up camp. Civilization isn’t down yet, but the cries of it can be heard through boats ashore, as they make for their escape. You’re reminded of history, as you turn the pages in your book, while reading it in front of the camp fire. Stories that were told, stories that haven’t been told, and the cold grasp beneath the mountain. The cold dead hands that you can feel coming closer and closer. Nothing will be left untouched, as the savages pillage your miniature village. Forgetfulness, miasma, embrace your hidden primal animal. As the sound of a U-boat radar can be heard, something is indeed too near. You see every face imaginable, from animal, to man. Something is about to happen, as the suspense from the overtly atmospheric and ambiance-ridden sound-scape make a turn for the worse. It took a while, but it was gathering this, just to delve out from it and disappear – like they normally do when these tracks become obsolete in the ears of the listener. Just in time, when things get a little bit too rough. When you simply want to turn it off, but you can’t, because you have a duty to fulfill. You must listen to it all. Hence why the length is so amplified by the sound, as if it was much longer than it should’ve been, but then you realize that five minutes, maybe six – ain’t that long after all. He doesn’t need it, because he is dutiful, he’s crafted this for along time. It is noticeable, as he can transform most things and turn them into something else. This carcass of a metamorphosis from dark ambient to industrial and back again, is standing tall once more. Don’t be forgetful, because you’ll have your memory intact. As the naturalistic noises head closer to camp. You’re not home, because you don’t know where your heart is. In this primal state, heartlessness means nothing, but so does not having a heart.

Finally, you’ve made it to the end, which is the last track. It’s titled “Storms In The Endless Void”. It can’t be felt, but a storm is brewing. Something is cooking, as the noisy sparks light a fluttering wave of discordant industrial, coping with the overtly atmospheric floatation that needs to hold everything together. As it bursts within, it also bursts outwards. The seams are cracking up and need to be sewn again. But there’s no worry about that anymore, as everything brews to ecstatic lengths. A tinkling edge is scratching the surface, trying to get into the barrier where the landscape of different sounds are contained. As the edges are rugged from the storm of sounds, you get more rugged with it. You try to follow it with your ears, as it swirls upwards, together with the rainy dropping of cold water. Dust seems to join, as the rain increases intensity, as everything is as bombastic as it could be. It feels like a sonata, despite not being classical. Challenging your ears with this searing noise is something only daredevils should attempt. Whirling into the abominable abyss, is the sounds that are mush-mashed together, creating an electrocuting current of volatile and organically sounding tempest. Instead of using the same formula, where it sometimes bursts out into craziness, this one starts with a keen eye for calmness. As it, in the end, downright abolish the standards set in the previous tracks – and virtually misfire everything in the arsenal, in a callous and calculated manner. Charging into you like a raging bull, with blood-lust in its eyes. What can be said about this record are many things, but one of them is that it is pretty fantastic. Lukasz “Dani” Czajka, or Abandoned Asylum as he is called, have mastered the art of atmospheres. It seems like he can create it from anything, even from scratch, in the oddest of places. To combine this atmosphere with every texture is simply stunning. At times it might get a little bit repetitive, but most of the tracks are nowhere near to being boring. Once again, Malignant Records have chosen their cards wisely, as they played this one out. Since this is his debut full-length, it is interesting how he’s (since 2004) almost mastered the crafting of industrial and dark ambient together, but mostly the latter, into a magnificent concoction. I would recommend this album for anyone interested in tight, but wide-spread and ambitiously crafted atmospheres in the vein of dark ambient. But also for those that would like a hint of industrial in the mix. You can order it from Malignant Records, over here.

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