CD, Malignant Records, 2010
“Derelict World” is the newest album from dark ambient artist False Mirror, released via stalwart label Malignant. Firstly, I must ask your forgiveness for being a bit long winded here, but there is much to say about this release. The major thing I want to emphasize is that it is truly an album, a coherent and calculated whole. It is much more than simply a collection of songs. In terms of the music: this falls into the droning side of dark ambient, similar in vein to Cyclic Law or Drone Records. Despite (or possibly because of) being comprised of nothing but shifting, droning textures, “Derelict World” is a very deep and tranquil album, full of highly visionary soundscapes.
It’s been a while since I have heard a good water-themed dark ambient album, and this delivers. It has an atmosphere very similar to Lacus Somniorum; that is to say, these tracks make you feel as if you were stranded alone on a foggy shore, with nothing but the waves and the darkness of night around you. At times this shifts slightly into feeling like you are riding an old boat alone through the choppy waves of an infinite expanse of cold, empty sea; seeking shelter but finding only the sad, lonely beauty of the abyssal deep. Apparently, False Mirror uses a number of custom applications and processes to turn common, everyday sounds into complex, evolving drones, and these are the basis for most of his tracks. In this respect, it is interesting to know that he is using sounds of the sea, yet the product does not sound specifically water-based. The production on the record is absolutely precise and magnificent. Everything has a crystal clear, sharp, digital sound, yet still manages to bear an organic feeling. The only negative critique about the music is that it may prove to be a bit boring for those who are not fans of droning music. As per my usual critique of drone music, I think additional sound effects or melodies or vocals (chants or hums) could really enhance this. I guess there are no melodies left at the end of the world.
Now, as I mentioned, “Derelict World” is a full package deal. This is an album you absolutely must buy in hard copy. It comes with a 20-page(!) booklet which contains additional somber artwork, and a decent short story to put the music into a bit of context (after reading the story you won’t be able to equate the sounds on this album to anything but what I described above). The last few pages detail the ideas behind each track, as well as what was used in their construction (equipment, experimental sound processes, sampling locations, etc.). I feel that this adds an entirely new level to these compositions, and it will certainly interest fellow producers. Furthermore, the album also contains a few secret messages which lead on a quest for bonus material. Additional material no doubt bolsters the waning appeal of a physical album, and this goes beyond a simple link to free content. I was very pleased to see a dark ambient album incorporate some ‘occult’ practices. I went to the trouble to solve the puzzle, and although I won’t give anything away, I will say that it took some work but was absolutely worth it.
While the music here is quite good on its own, the entire package is what makes this a must-have album for dark ambient fans.
— Dan Barrett