Aegri Somnia: Monde Obscure
Cryo Chamber

Monde Obscure features sixty-three unsettling minutes of pitch-black soundscaping from Aegri Somnia (real name Jurica Santek). Though the dark ambient project was active between 2007 and 2008, the Croatia-based Santek stepped away from it for six years before resurrecting it in 2014. If there's one thing that separates his recording from others in the genre, it's Santek's extensive incorporation of field recordings into his experimental set-pieces. Sounds of crows, industrial and city noises, and human activity surface throughout the album's twelve settings and lend each piece a strong sense of place. Attending to the details of a given track, one begins to feel transported into its nightmarish world, and it's easy to make that transition when the details Santek works into a piece are so plentiful.

Monde Obscure isn't field recordings only, however. Musical materials are as prominent, resulting in tracks that achieve a satisfying balance between instrument-generated and real-world sounds. Over the course of its seven eerie minutes, “Obscurite Totale” presents a shape-shifting collage of tinklings, phantom exhalations, clicks, scrapes, and bodily writhings. With tribal percussive patterns added to “Culture Aveugle,” the setting shifts to a more remote and mysterious locale, one perhaps derailed by violent rituals and madness. With the focus so heavily on the atmospheric, the brief appearance of a regulated beat pattern within “Faux Prophete” proves momentarily disarming. Tinkling bells, ominous creaks, and rustlings of indeterminate origin appear alongside synthetic rumblings and ghostly choirs in Aegri Somnia's reverb-heavy soundscapes, and dread and disease fill the air at every turn. As a result, describing Monde Obscure as evocative hardly does the material justice.

July-August 2015