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Danica Swanson

  1. Portland, Oregon
  2. Ambient
  1. collection 133
  2. wishlist 94
  3. followers 72
  4. following 103
  1. Eliwagar
    by Skadi
    Terra Innocentia Terra Innocentia
    When I bought the original version of this incredible album on CD in 2006 (in which the tracks all blend together, with no pauses between them), it completely blew me away and became my all-time favourite album in the genre. I'm thrilled to see a redux version on Bandcamp, where it can finally find the appreciation it deserves! It's evocative, reverent, rapturous. It's my soundtrack for Skadi's shrine room, accompaniment for ritual dance, and beloved companion. My highest recommendation!
  2. Norrland
    by Skadi
    Skadi & Njörd Skadi & Njörd
    Sacral, otherworldly atmospheres paint an aural portrait of the mountainous Northern dwelling lands of the huntress Skadi, the project's namesake goddess of Norse myth. Introspective and mystical, like all his best work, with percussive elements from martial industrial. The stormy and dramatic "Inget Ljus av Hopp" (No Light of Hope) descends into bleakness, disturbing yet tranquil at the same time. Not to be missed!
  3. Love and Sorrow
    by Skadi
    Respectus Respectus
    The dreamlike and hypnotic "Remembrance" draws me in, the intricate percussive elements of "Dreamcatcher" inspire me to dance…then the melancholia of "Infinite Sorrow" followed by the deep and cavernous "Respectus" take me on an extended journey through the emotional terrain of loss, grief, and the shadow self. And that dramatic, unnerving sudden shift near the 4-minute mark in "Lost" is stunning. Never fails to give me chills.
  4. ... and nothing remains
    by Skadi
    Gone in Silence Gone in Silence
    Amazing work from a criminally underrated project. The whole album is fantastic, but I particularly recommend "Gone in Silence," a masterful juxtaposition of anguish and beauty that still brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it, even after hundreds of listens over many years. Not only is it one of my favourite Skadi tracks - it's one of my favourite tracks in the entire dark ambient genre.
  5. Retrospective I
    by Skadi
    The Huntress The Huntress
    Stunningly beautiful and evocative collection from the early years of one of my all-time favourite musicians. With the heart-rending "Sadness of Love" and the rapturous "Awakening of Skadi" with its bells and choral elements, you may find yourself transported to another dimension.
  6. Retrospective II
    by Skadi
    My Cold Heart My Cold Heart
    At long last, this inspiring collection from the early years of the Skadi project (2002-2005) finally sees the light of day! Take a sonic journey into shimmering glacier-ridden landscapes with the reflective, synth-driven Winter Solstice-themed tracks, let the majestic notes of "My Cold Heart" (one of my all-time favourites!) move you to dance, then surrender to the bittersweet melancholy of "Post Mortem" and "Forgiven Souls."
  7. Enemy Within
    by Skadi
    Path of the Abandoned Path of the Abandoned
    More meandering and slightly harsher than the project's early releases. An introspective sense of melancholy drifts through these ominous drones and layered metallic textures. A refined inner journey through the landscape of despair and loss, with a sampling of the project's signature choral elements that should please longtime fans as well as newer ones.
  8. Consuetudines
    by Hyios
    Aquila Aquila
    Shrouded in mystery – no information is available about the musicians behind this project, aside from the mention of its home in Leipzig, Germany - this album is intense and otherworldly, yet every bit as earthy and terrestrial as if it had been forged in a series of field recordings in labyrinthine underground passageways. Chthonic and primordial dark ritual ambient, with bonus points for originality: I’ve heard nothing else in the genre that I’d say is truly comparable to this. Outstanding!
  9. Orgelhuset
    by Hymnambulae
    Polarsidan Polarsidan
    Lush, contemplative atmospheres, seasoned with just the right touch of melancholy. Do I detect a note of innocence - even playful, childlike whimsy - amidst these plaintive vocals, lingering organ notes, and wistful, hypnotic drones? Rarely do rigor of form and boundless creativity intersect so exquisitely. Let Pär and Åsa's mystical musical sanctuary enfold you, and transport you into liminal spaces on gossamer wings of mythic imagination.
    Ritual Over Ruin Ritual Over Ruin
    Cavernous, deep chthonic ritual doom ambient. Hypnotic echoed voices, a descent into the abyss, a soundtrack for funereal rites, or an unsettling occult journey through forlorn and desolate landscapes: Stielh is a true master of all of these and more. Bleak and beautifully wrought. Don't miss "Vision of Scourge" and "Rex Verminorum." My highest and most enthusiastic recommendation!
  11. The Nest
    by Kammarheit
    Sung In Secret Sung In Secret
    The Nest, I like to imagine, is a restful, restorative place of refuge and serenity that dwells within the heart and soul of each listener; these meditative, moody swaths of drone will carry us there. This eagerly-awaited album holds an understated but potent radiance that shines through even its coldest and most mournful moments, hinting at stories untold and mysteries to ponder. "Unsealed" is particularly stirring, and "Sung in Secret" may just leave you breathless - in the best possible way.
  12. Asleep And Well Hidden
    by Kammarheit
    The Ruins And The Serene The Ruins And The Serene
    Languid, drifting dronescapes - composed with impressive patience and masterful precision - that are equally capable of provoking deep insights or lulling me gently into a blissful sleep. This album is the quintessential example of "pure" dark ambient; it's a classic for excellent reason. I've learned to appreciate this album more deeply as my tastes have matured. I'm also partial to the "literary" vibe - only a fellow word nerd would use words like "epitome" and "poignant" in track titles!
  13. Deadbeat
    by Desiderii Marginis
    Deadbeat I Deadbeat I
    A classic album from the glory days of Cold Meat Industry, featuring the work of Johan Levin, an enduring talent whose brilliance never fails to impress me. There will always be a special place in my heart for this album, as "Deadbeat I" was the first track that ever inspired me to choreograph a dance piece to dark ambient music. I love this album so much that I re-purchased it here on Bandcamp, even though I already own it on CD. It deserves a place in every dark ambient fan's collection!
  14. Umbilicus Maris
    by Gydja
    Beyond the Earth's Edge Beyond the Earth's Edge
    Abby Helasdottir delivers dreamlike, mesmerising dark atmospheres of sonic ebb and flow where acquatic themes abound. Dense soundscapes billow forth, offering a paean to the elemental spirits and mysterious creatures of the deep earth and waters. My favourite Gydja album! Listen, and immerse yourself.
  15. HEL
    Modgudr Modgudr
    Nina Kernicke, a veritable powerhouse of the German dark drone ambient scene, takes us on an allegorical journey through the netherworlds of the North. Saturated with elemental drones, bone-chilling reverb, and heavy textures, Hel is a tribute to some of the darker and lesser-known figures in Norse mythology. A phenomenal album, and one of my all-time favourites – not to be missed!
  16. The Cancelled Earth
    by Cities Last Broadcast
    Cella Cella
    Forlorn, desolate, and infused with dark grandeur, these eerie drones build into a hypnotic crescendo that peaks in the last and most grandiose track, "Architectôn." Even after thousands (yes, thousands!) of listens, this exquisite album still gives me chills. Like many dark ambient fans, I consider it among the best-of-the-best in the genre. I often point neophytes to it, with the caveat that it may spoil you: not many albums ever reach this kind of pinnacle!
  17. Herbst9 - Consolamentum
    by Herbst9
    Bloodmoon Ritual Bloodmoon Ritual
    Fans of ritual dark ambient will love this dramatic EP, skillfully sculpted with warm resonant tones and a strong sense of looming otherworldly presence and mysticism. Beautifully paced, with the trancelike percussive elements building momentum and intrigue. Dance around the fire pit, howl at the moon, raise energy, and fall into trance with this evocative audio magic!
  18. Doorway to the Numinous
    by Holotrop
    Last Dimension Last Dimension
    As someone with finicky musical tastes, it's rare that I buy an artist's entire catalogue of releases within mere hours of discovering their work. I did that with Holotrop. Glad this sold-out limited edition is available on Bandcamp. It's brilliant! Top-notch quality that reminds me of the best releases on the Aural Hypnox label. Trancelike and earthy. Erotic, too. In the midst of coldness, it builds up a visceral heat perfect for carnal pleasures. Listen on headphones for full effect.
  19. Transpersonal Musick
    by Holotrop
    Vision II (Galium odoratum) Vision II (Galium odoratum)
    Like an obsidian scrying stone, bringing forth mystical visions of the hidden, this stirring collection of telluric drones, chimes, and trancelike entheogen-induced soundscapes can melt open the way for realms of earthy splendour to reveal themselves through dreams and altered states of consciousness. The ritualistic percussive element introduced at 2:52 in the second track is especially enchanting. More of this, please!
  20. Invocation of the Unthinkable
    by Holotrop
    Above the Ruins of Humanity Above the Ruins of Humanity
    Holotrop has quickly earned a place on the short list of artists whose every release I will seek out without hesitation. If this lush tapestry of carefully woven dark ambient layers is truly the soundtrack for "the end of human existence," then count me in. Can't think of any way I'd rather go.
  21. Tomb of Empires
    by Foundation Hope / Council of Nine / Alphaxone / Coph`antae Tryr
    Blood Lit Skies Blood Lit Skies
    I was sold on this album within mere seconds of hearing the opening track, "Chimes of the Unfortunate." That one, along with the divine "Blood Lit Skies," another favourite from this compilation, made for quite a bit of eager anticipation for me while I awaited the full-length release from Council of Nine. Foundation Hope's "The Beacon" is another favourite. A solid release from the ever-reliable Cryo Chamber label.
  22. Brouillard
    by Foetusdreams
    Winter Light Winter Light
    Fans of dark drone ambient: this introspective (and criminally underrated!) album is possessed of a depth and refinement that belies its understated presentation, and if you haven't heard it yet, you are missing out on a first-class act in the genre. Striking the perfect balance between tranquility and expansiveness, the talented Frank Stevenaar ventures into nebulous realms and delivers a work of disarming beauty with "Brouillard." Let the fog descend and envelop you.
  23. Revealed behind the Gates
    by Foetusdreams
    Revealed behind the Gates Revealed behind the Gates
    Definitely a hidden gem of dark drone ambient here. The title track is breathtakingly beautiful, intimate, and vulnerable, pouring forth a torrent of emotion into sonic form. "Reclusion" is another favourite - perfect for introverts like me who find their lifeline in solitude. The whole album deserves rapt attention. I'd rank it right up there with the dark ambient classics. Can't figure out why it's still so overlooked!
  24. Rising
    by Lustmord
    Congregants Requests 1 Congregants Requests 1
    Incredible work from the virtuoso who is most often cited as the originator of the dark ambient genre, and whose album "Heresy" was my first exposure to dark ambient back in 1992. This material is from his high-profile performance on 6/6/2006. Whenever I need to test the capacity of my subwoofer, "Congregants Requests 1" serves me well. And have I mentioned that it's brilliant?
  25. Brenna Alheiminn
    by Þurseitr
    True to its intent, this is perfect music for dark Germanic ritual purposes. Made in Scotland at the Winter Solstice, this coldly primal piece channels emanations from ancestral spirits and the void, expertly weaving a tapestry of ominous drones together with haunting guttural cries welling up from the chthonic depths.
  26. Þurseitr - Undir Planétum
    by Illuminated Death Mound Productions
    Þurseitr - Undir Planétum Þurseitr - Undir Planétum
    If, like me, you tend to prefer the chthonic to the celestial in dark ambient, this brilliant piece should satisfy even the deepest of those cravings. Tap into the power of telluric currents and listen for the voices of the spirits of the stones with these dark musical emanations from the Germanic underworlds as your guide. If you listen deeply, you may find that echoes of ancient prophecies lurk in the earthy low bass and resonant drones...
    by Veil of Secrecy
    Throne To The Dogs Throne To The Dogs
    A truly marvelous but sadly overlooked 2001 release from the talented Steven Hall. Moody and breathtaking in its sophistication and range, the emotional landscape of this release speaks in many tongues. This is enormously underrated! It should be at least as well known as Blood Box and Yen Pox, yet for reasons I don't understand, it received barely a whisper. Glad it's now on Bandcamp, where it will hopefully attract the appreciation and support it deserves!
  28. Three Days of Darkness
    by Innfallen
    Epilogue (Scattered Remains) Epilogue (Scattered Remains)
    Nightmarish and haunting, yet without ever wallowing in the grotesque or slipping into dystopian cliché territory, this album treads in ghostly and morbid realms, and leaves in its wake a distinct taste for more.

    “Epilogue (Scattered Remains)” is the most menacing and outstanding track, weaving a tale of dread and destruction in slow motion; I’ve often recommended it for Halloween haunted houses.
  29. Teorema
    by Abandoned Shelter
    IV IV
    Delighted that this long-dormant Bulgarian project has been brought to life again, with a great new album. Long-time fans will remember outstanding tracks like "Chant of Death" and "Suprema" from his 2006-2007 releases. His work has matured beautifully, delivering industrial ambient with lavish attention to detail and just the right level of creepiness to inspire visions of shadowy netherworlds.
  30. Dakhma
    by Council of Nine
    The Magi The Magi
    Can't even remember the last time I anticipated a debut release this keenly. The two outstanding Council of Nine tracks on the Tomb of Empires compilation piqued my interest in this artist, and I was not disappointed. Grim, murky drones abound, with esoteric themes and a winsome blend of well-crafted dreamlike soundscapes. I cannot seem to get enough of "The Magi." Mark my words: here is evidence that this talented newcomer will make a big impression on the dark ambient scene of the future.
  31. Homo Homini Lvpvs
    by Phragments
    Fury Fury
    The musical genre now called dark ambient was originally called "industrial ambient," and this invigorating collection of apocalyptic, orchestral anthems - the work of a great Slovakian duo - is one of my favourite blends of elements from both genres (and beyond). From the rousing theatrical drama of "Community-Identity-Stability" to the more controlled passion of "Fury," there's something here for even the most highly discerning of rivetheads.
  32. New Kings And New Queens
    by Phragments
    New Kings New Kings
    If you prefer the drama and bombastic industrial splendour of Phragments' other albums, it's possible that the subdued charms of this one may elude you at first. But don't let the understated ominous atmospheres fool you. In the hands of a master like this, 30 minutes of dark ambient packs a punch that sneaks up on you in the best possible way. Best when played all the way through, as one long uninterrupted track.
  33. All Towers Must Fall
    by Phragments
    Withdrawal Withdrawal
    The aura of foreboding and apprehension is near-palpable in these richly layered orchestral dark ambient soundscapes...yet somehow, underneath the surface tumult and the ominous drones, an expansive quality makes itself known. It makes sense: there is comfort and hope in the fact that towers fall and empires crumble, after all. Polished to perfection, with great care and attention to detail, this is Phragments at their finest.
  34. Ice Cold
    by Daina Dieva
    52 enchanting minutes of deep murky drones and lush cavernous echoes. I thought I wasn't much of a fan of guitars in dark ambient, but Daina Dieva has proven me wrong. I'll take more of this anytime.
  35. Spring Equinox Tokyo 2006
    by INADE
    Centuries Passed Centuries Passed
    First-rate, bold, and brilliantly executed dark ambient from well-known masters of the form. Enticing waves of thick, luxurious drones are punctuated with a few surprising turns, as we are taken on an occult journey over yawning chasms and through twilit realms steeped in mysticism. "Centuries Passed" is particularly majestic and evocative; I've played it on repeat for hours on end, and somehow I hear something new in it every time. Immersive and inspiring!
  36. The Fifth State Of Grief
    by Letum
    The Mourning Ritual The Mourning Ritual
    Letum's trademark bleak atmospheres mix beautifully here with the more bombastic passages he's also known for. I own the CD as well as the digital version of this long-awaited release, and I must say that the gloomy funereal art on the CD - which is also the work of the multi-talented Mathias Henriksson - is gorgeous. Can't decide if my favourite track is "The Mourning Ritual," "Cast Me Into the Depth," or "Let Go," but in any case, I'm impressed.
  37. Broken
    by Letum
    Tears Tears
    Take Letum's signature choral elements and dark ambient soundscapes, throw in thick layers of aggressive, snarling industrial distortion, and this album is what you get. Much harsher and grittier than his other two releases. Embrace the chaos!
  38. The Entrance to Salvation
    by Letum
    The Inner Salvation The Inner Salvation
    Gothic choral voices, neoclassical sounds, and industrial elements are all put to beautiful effect here; the signature Cold Meat Industry sound that made the label a cult favourite is evident from start to finish. Intricate, meticulously crafted soundscapes - eerie, sorrowful, and overflowing with emotion. A wonderful and highly recommended album!
  39. Sama Sadja
    Seimbang Seimbang
    An intense and introspective audio travelogue incorporating original field recordings from trips to Indonesia, featuring many samples employed to hypnotic effect: a traditional Gamelan orchestra, xylophone bells, and theatrical performance snippets layered with tribal rhythms and guttural chanting. “One can almost feel Indonesia’s famous ‘Stille Kracht’ (quiet/unseen force),” claims one reviewer, and I’m inclined to agree.
  40. the nacrasti
    by r | a | a | n
    The Ativvi Culmination The Ativvi Culmination
    This lush, masterful audio travelogue through bleak desert landscapes is listed as "required listening" in many best-of-dark-ambient lists, and for good reason. Subdued but densely and alluringly layered, Stig Berg's work is in peak form here. Standout tracks include "Passage Nacrastan," "Lilin," and "Arrival of the Sek."

    Headphones recommended to pick up the subtleties of the really faint sections.
  41. Be Left to Oneself
    by Keosz
    Clearance Clearance
    Gorgeous deep drones and bone-thrumming low bass from Slovakia that fuels my creative process beautifully - I've filed this one under "deep writing music." Love the way the distortion in the final track gradually builds and reaches a crescendo. It's tough to pick a favourite track, because they're all outstanding - best to just listen all the way through and let yourself be carried away. Great find, Cryo Chamber. More, please!
  42. Markland
    by Northumbria
    Wonderstrands Wonderstrands
    "...there's a sense of vast space in their performances, an echoing into an unknown beyond," writes Ned Raggett about this album. An apt description indeed. That masterful, mesmerizing acoustic spaciousness somehow wraps itself around me as I listen, beckoning toward vast landscapes, both literal and metaphorical. This music inspires wonder. Awe, even. Let it carry you beyond the veil into otherworldly expanses, and savor every detail and texture to the fullest.
  43. Chronostatic Scenes
    by False Mirror
    The Subterranean Border The Subterranean Border
    Tobias Hornberger, master of the immersive deep listening journey, is in top-notch form here. False Mirror is still greatly underrated - this is truly wondrous and soulful work, and should appeal to those who appreciate the lighter side of dark ambient. Slip on your headphones and delve deep within as you float adrift a sea of drones and enjoy this expansive, mystical, hypnotic masterpiece.
  44. Fragmentary
    by Herbst9
    Napissunu Mutumma Napissunu Mutumma
    Genre masters Herbst9 deliver substantially reworked versions of several of their classics, paired with several new and notable tracks. The reworked "Napissunu Mutumma" is given a seductive groove that had me dancing on the first listen; I like it even better than the original. The introspective "Mimer II" stands out among the new tracks. Recommended for long-time and new fans alike.
  45. Cycle Of Rebirth
    by Shinkiro
    3rd Cycle 3rd Cycle
    This unique and meticulously crafted album from Manabu Hiramoto is a conceptual work centered around desire in Buddhist philosophy. A strong sense of mystery - low-key, but immersive nonetheless - sinks in as the album progresses; its reflective mix of soothing drones tempered with restless but restrained unease is quite alluring.

    My favourite track by far is "4th Cycle," one of the hidden tracks. Too bad there's no way to select a hidden track on Bandcamp!