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Musica Cthulhiana

The Fourth

Review by Gary Hill

This disc is meant as music for role playing gaming, specifically Lovecraftian. As such, it’s basically spooky ambient sounds that work well for such a purpose. It’s also great background music for Halloween proceedings. It should be mentioned that while this was originally available on CD, it’s out of print in that format and now only available as a digital set.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Unnamable

There is definitely a beauty and elegance to this music, along with a darkness and feeling of fear and dread. It builds gradually with an almost classical texture. A little before the minute and a half mark a saxophone rises up bringing some jazz to the table. The cut wanders between a dark ambience and those jazz-oriented sounds until it eventually ends.

Atmospheres
In keeping with the title, this comes in atmospheric. This grows very gradually, sort of like a dark cloud, shifting through the sky and changing shapes as it does so. Around the five and a half minute mark this drops way down to sound effects and textural elements and grows gradually upward from there.
Eylan Suicide
This rises up from the previous number. It has a symphonic sound to it and feels pretty and sad. There’s a melancholy nature to the music, but it’s also very pretty and prog-like. At times this feels like a Gothic version of the mellow side of Pink Floyd.
CN2542 35 31
Noises and other sound effects start this and the music rises up gradually as it continues. As the music weaves a creepy tale there are sounds like some kind of alien speech. Those elements at times feel like screams and at other points come into the vein of white noise. The keyboards, though, create a dark beauty as the backdrop. Parts of this make me think of the mellower side of Hawkwind’s Hall of the Mountain Grill album. The alien voice type sound ends abruptly and just the keyboards take it out.
In Etis Tuo
Rising up from the previous number, this grows in dark and ominous ways. A drum beat enters later, almost tribal. It really pounds, seemingly without human intervention. Then, though, some weird sound effects take its place as this continues. Washes of synthesizer bring a space rock edge further down the road. The sound gets bent in a cool, but rather creepy way as it slows to eventually end. 
Anywhere
Chiming sounds bring this in from the previous number and the cut builds on that backdrop in a tasty, but creepy, way. As this continues it reminds me a lot of the creepy sounding introduction to Alice Cooper’s Da Da album.
By a Mad Mind
Sound effects segue this in and it rises gradually up with weird music and sounds merged. There is a whispered voice that seems to come in and out at weird angles. It becomes more insistent as it continues. It really feels like a look inside a tortured mind. This resolves out to more musical textures at the end.
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Coming out of the previous piece, this one rises up pretty, dark and sedate. It stays fairly mellow, but works into weird space sounds. Nothing moves quickly here, but it does move.
Die Klänge der Alten
While this is still essentially mellow, it’s more bombastic than a lot of the other music in the set. There’s a percussive element that feels like something between a thunder storm and symphonic percussion. This is pretty, but also menacing. As the arrangement grows, piano is heard weaving some melody across the top. This one definitely rises up much further than anything to this point in terms of volume. It’s also one of the more “musical” pieces on show here.
Secret Diary
There is an almost Native American musical element to this cut. It’s still quite sedate and quite dark and ominous.
Stratospheres
Dark and ambient, everything here moves very slowly. There is definitely a symphonic side to this, but to describe this nine-plus-minute piece in a short phrase would be “dark, creepy space music.” While it’s mellow and pretty, it’s also very ominous.
Brilliant Earth
This seems to continue a lot of the musical themes from the previous piece, but it’s less space oriented, yet still every bit as mysterious. Although dark and menacing, there’s something restful about this. Almost like some sort of dark spell enticing you to drift off to endless sleep.
The Sin
Dark waves of electronic music that almost feel symphonic make up the crux of this number.
The 2nd Hell
Waves of sound lead out and rise up gradually with echoey sound effects all over it. An echoed spoken voice (screaming at times) is heard sort of in the background as the noisy experimentation continues. It works out towards more effects dominated territory as it progresses. In some ways later sections call to mind whale song or even chanting.
Inner Twins
There is a pretty, lullaby like feeling to this. Yet it’s dark. Then it twists even darker with other elements creating creepy sounds as those opening sounds continue and warp. This warps out even further from there. It turns spacey as it progresses and those lullaby bits drop away. This is quite echoey and very weird, but also cool.
 
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