Review: Caldon Glover – ‘Death Mycelium’ (dark ambient)

Dark ambient/drone fans prepare yourselves for a journey both sonically and emotionally subterranean as US-based artist Caldon Glover takes us through his new album, Death Mycelium. Caldon gives us five tracks within length of eight minutes, thirty seconds to fourteen minutes, thirty seconds.

Now…I used the word “subterranean” before I even read the description for this album on Bandcamp.  In that description, the artist states, “I’m entering my subterranean phase.”  So, it’s confirmed immediately that his goal is reached, at least from my perspective.  And I think you’ll agree as well.

For the most part, the album stays within a certain tonal range.  Instead of venturing off piling on ambient plane after ambient plane and so on… I think what he’s going for here is to really paint the picture of a bleak, desperate and very mysterious atmosphere.  He does so by focusing on ultra-low drone levels as the base and some processed field recordings with various lower-end sonic pathways.  The end result is a journey of twists and turns of aimlessness, loss, wonder and dread.  Some of the higher tonal planes paint sort of a picture of potential light through the dark clouds.  But then the listener is again drawn back into the sonic, subterranean pit. 

I felt like the most effective track on the album was “Broadcasting Calls Through Strange Winds.”  The vibe is almost like a slow-motion, death industrial bedrock with incredibly eerie drones that come and go fairly quickly from the background to the front. It’s as though the listener is kept in somewhat of a centrifugal force gazing at the bleak surroundings that offer no forward path.  This is sonic desperation, a subterranean nightmare until the recording ends. 

It’s also noted on Bandcamp that the point of this album is to “illustrate a journey through grief and denial, and ultimately towards the realization that acceptance isn’t a singular moment but rather an ongoing state that requires constant actualization.” If the listener envelops themselves in this album from front to back, I feel like this description will come as no surprise.  And THAT is why this journey of Death Mycelium is so effective. Is the sense of hopelessness and the hole that shows up in your heart every time the curse of memory reminds you.

Available on cassette and digital formats.

https://caldonglover.bandcamp.com/album/death-mycelium

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