Atrium Carceri & Cities Last Broadcast – “Black Corner Den” CD/LP Album Review

Black Corner Den

The immediacy and intimacy of singular atmospheres as created by Cryo-Chamber artists are such that you often forget the artists are separated by oceans and thousands of miles. Such is the case again today as we give you Cryo-Chamber’s Black Corner Den; a collaboration between Atrium Carceri and Cities Last Broadcast.  Black Corner Den is in fact Cryo-Chamber’s first vinyl LP release though also available as ltd. ed. CD and digital.

From Cryo-Chamber;

“Exploring the opium dens at the end of the 19th century this album takes you deep into the soothing dreams of dead poets.  Sweet smoke lingers in here where gentlemen gather to dream about the black sea. Your booth at the far end stands prepared. A pipe, tinderbox and purple pillow for a tired head. You have a friend tonight and it calls itself the Black Corner Den.”

Black Corner Den is one of those cases where we have created an almost synesthetic-like effect.  Atrium Carceri and Cities Last Broadcast have managed to create rich warm tones that evoke a color palate of browns, grays and foggy blacks.  The music is almost reminiscent of a somewhat somber old-school Vangelis.  While indeed this release is successful in creating a soundtrack tribute to the opium dens of old.  In fact it goes deeper than that.  The combination of slow-moving synth waves, both highs and lows tend to evoke images of the psyche of the opium-den patrons; the lonliness and regret of addiction and the comfort within discomfort, the fall into opium-induced dreams and the waking up to reality.

Tracks like “Wind-Up Orchestra” tend to be more pulsating and akin to a new-school Gary Numan instrumental at half-speed with deep, soundscapes in the background.  Then other tracks like, “House of Tinctures” present dense textures with different planes moving at different paces, there-by exhibiting the magic that can happen when two artists collaborate from other sides of the planet to create such rich environments.  “End of the Century,” the final track on the album presents not just the end of the opium den era but a lifting of the smoke-filled room, the light coming in and the end of the visit for the patron.  Interesting how a deep drone and high-end synth waves can create such the effect, but yet they do.

I’d also like to point out one more thing… Yes, I believe that Cryo Chamber can do no wrong and I do rave about them all the time.  But it is important to note not simply the quality but also the diversity in their releases.  Where as some Cryo releases tend to focus on more vast environments with field recordings or a more cinematic effect, releases like Black Corner Den are focused on creating more of an intimate and immediate scenery.

But yet another fantastic release from the almighty Cryo Chamber.


L – R: Atrium Carceri + Cities Last Broadcast

Black Corner Den is available now on limited ed. LP vinyl, limited ed. CD and digital album.  This is Cryo-Chamber’s first vinyl release.  At only 245 copies, it is sure to go fairly quickly.

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