New from Antigonish Records: Dungeon Pipes & Dead as Dreams

Not long ago, Antigonish Records made contact with me and provided a link to their bandcamp page. This young label already has a growing catalog and a unique approach. Each donation made through bandcamp goes to the eventual creation of physical releases. While I’m certain some labels and artists take donations into account for such things, I’m intrigued to see how this will work out for these releases, as I imagine there won’t be a physical album available for many of these until donations reach a sufficient amount.  This seems to be a slightly more immediately satisfying version of crowdfunding, and while it may be a bit uncommon, I like it. Today we’re going to look at two of this label’s earliest albums.

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First up is the minimalist ambient work of Dungeon Pipes, an artist whose name conjures equal parts Mortiis and Super Mario. Instead of the medieval synth spookiness I’d initially anticipated from the artist’s name, Dungeon Pipes’ music is cold and sparse. The droning nature of the music places it on a slightly darker path, yet this isn’t particularly unwelcoming music. If anything, the icy textures conjured by sole member Ryan S. Welfle are akin to the slow shutting down of the mind as one prepares for a night’s sleep in the dead of winter, equally comforting and chilly. Sometimes the music is incredibly quiet, but I feel that making the extra effort to really listen thoroughly for each and every sound often yields a more fulfilling experience anyway. If you want an ambient album that you can listen to with only fifteen minutes to spare, check this out and support with a donation if you’ve got a few bucks.

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Next we’re examining Australian depressive black metal group Dead as Dreams, with its debut EP There is Nothing Left HereThis album’s two tracks are the work of one individual from Melbourne. While the project’s title may conjure thoughts of the legendary USBM project Weakling, this is more pensive and somber blackened music that favors vocal reverb and repetition as a means of driving home a true sadness. At times the music touches on elements of shoegaze or post-rock, but mercifully never enters the already overdone “blackgaze” territory that only a select few artists can actually do well. While there is nothing groundbreaking here, this is a very promising start for this project, with just enough variety here to keep things interesting. Dead as Dreams clearly knows its own strengths, but it will be nice to see how things grow from here, as it’s only a matter of time before this act truly comes into its own. In the meantime, this is still more enjoyable than most bands’ first demos, proving a noteworthy potential.

With these two acts already joined by a handful of others, it’s safe to say that Antigonish is worth keeping an eye on. They’re starting small but one can hope that it won’t be long before we start seeing these albums entering the physical domain.

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