Dark Ambient Music, Art, and Culture

[If you’re a follower of the Facebook page associated with this blog, my next few posts may look familiar since some of the material has been posted to that page before.  I decided to preserve some of that material here, since Facebook posts are so ephemeral – material posted on Facebook usually fades into oblivion within a few days after it’s posted, whereas blog posts tend to draw more views over time.  It’s also more convenient to have all of the online material associated with the Hermitage in one easily searchable place.]

Front row, L to R:

1. Arcana – Inner Pale Sun
2. Allseits – Hel
3. Andréa Nebel – The Dark Side of Dreaming: Spoken Words
4. Cities Last Broadcast – The Cancelled Earth
5. Desiderii Marginis – Deadbeat
6. Skadi – Eliwagar
7. Sephiroth – Draconian Poetry
8. Apoptose – Nordland

Back row, L to R:

1. H.R. Giger – Taschen poster art book
2. The Prisons/Le Carceri – Art by Giovanni Battista Piranesi
3. Dense Vision Shrine – A Voyage of Imagination
4. Arcana – The New Light


Much of my work at the Hermitage – including my ritual dance choreography – is inspired by my passion for dark ambient music.  As a longtime fan of the genre, I have plans in the works to write a book about the culture of dark ambient music and its relevance for dark Pagans with solitary and monastic inclinations.  So I’m delighted to see this interview from Heathen Harvest with Cyclic Law founder Frédéric Arbour in recognition of the label’s recent tenth anniversary.  As a huge fan of Zdzisław Beksiński, I especially appreciate the links made in the interview between dark ambient music and visual art.  I also like the mention of autumn and winter as the seasons which express “the essence of dark ambient” – this matches my own experience as a listener.

How exciting to hear that a printed media branch called Cyclic Press is in the works, focusing on art books and esoteric-spiritual writings.  I think this is an excellent move for a music label with such a strong reputation for consistently putting out quality material, and perhaps this move will eventually draw more attention to a musical genre that deserves to be more widely appreciated.

As you can see from the photo above, I have arranged some of my favourite dark ambient CDs as a shelf display at the Hermitage, because I appreciate the artwork on the covers just as much as I appreciate the music.  In the future, I plan to design the space more consciously and intentionally, and expand this mini-shrine to dark ambient music, culture, and art.  Looking forward to updates on Cyclic Press releases!

[Side note: It seems a good number of people are finding this blog by searching on the phrase “dark ambient blog.”  Judging by the contents of my inbox lately (three e-mails from new/unknown dark ambient musicians in the space of a single week), I should mention once again that I am not a music reviewer, journalist, or promoter.  I am a non-fiction and personal essay writer, a dark fusion dancer, and a temple keeper.

My book manuscript will be focused on the culture of dark ambient music – its connection to the occult, ritual, dark arts, performance, etc.  My interest in the genre is driven by not just by my musical tastes, but also by my esoteric and artistic pursuits, particularly dark fusion bellydance.  I don’t write or publish music reviews at  this time, so please don’t ask.

If you’re a dark ambient musician who wants exposure for your music, a better use of your time would be to contact Heathen Harvest, Cryo Chamber (run by Simon Heath of Atrium Carceri), or one of the other publications or labels listed in my post Dark Ambient Music: A Primer for the Dark Pagan.  Also, adding me to e-mail update lists without my explicit permission – or any expression of interest from me whatsoever – is a good way to ensure that I will not listen to your music at all.]

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