Darkened Soul - Bathys
Artist: Darkened Soul
Label: Hypnos Secret Sounds (Ltd CDR)
2008. Hypnos is pleased to announce Bathys, the first appearance on our label (in this case, our Hypnos Secret Sounds imprint) by Darkened Soul. The word "bathys" in Greek translates as "deep," and the rest of the titles here continue the Greek language theme. It's the root of the word "bathyscaph" which is a submersible vessel for deep sea exploration.
"Deep" is relevant here, as this recording collects resonant dark ambient sounds into aural mixtures deep and spacious. This aural journey is evocative of a subterranean trek through wet, metal-walled tunnels, with gritty textures underfoot, and dripping sounds of water. Vague hints of machine-like sounds can be heard churning away in the distance. Bathys by Darkened Soul is an exercise in resonant dark ambient textures.
Darkened Soul is a psydonym under which Mike Soucy records dark ambient soundscapes. His previous releases have been mostly self-released, though Hypnos followers may have seen his release Seasons of Dark and Light on Umbra, the Italian label operated by recording artist Oophoi.
Track listing (with MP3 sample clips):
1 Eis Arthro Michani MP3 clip
2 Ateleiotos Agkareia MP3 clip
3 Mysteriodis MP3 clip
4 Trela MP3 clip
5 Ypexairesi MP3 clip
6 Bathys MP3 clip
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"Mike Soucy, aka Darkened Soul, prefers to dive down 20,000 leagues under the sea in order to float Bathys to the surface. The large-scale impact of his scabrous drones hitting you over the head with blunt force trauma, Soucy designs some inescapably desperate scenarios of quite unsettling natures. Of course, as with most longform musics of such darkly atmospheric stripes, these endlessly shifting tonal wrecks stay for the most part static, which isn’t necessarily irredeemable. Darkened Soul will never be confused with the happy wanderer: the coruscating waves of echo and steel hull collisions of “Ateleiotos Agkareia” has roots sunk in decades-old bastard industrial obfuscants, which supports its clanky sturm und drang with some deeper imagistic heft, and also draws linkage to recent black metal brigadiers who’ve forsaken their guitars for samplers. “Trela” is all about dense vibration, as if a moth’s wings were miked then amplified a hundred-fold, on which caress a storm surge of galvanic rip tides. Things devolve when “Ypexairesi” unfolds its skein of cyclonic noise, oscillating static charges the color and texture of brillo glancing about the surrounding inimical terrain. Soucy doesn’t pull any punches on the closing title track, either; although the previous abrasive gusts are absent, in their stead hammers bang on grimy bulkheads, swap tensile blows with tongs, and occasionally erupt through the relentless and enveloping maelstrom. All told, simple but effective."
--Reviewed by Darren Bergstein, ei-mag.com
"Bathys represents the first appearance on Hypnos Secret Sounds by Darkened Soul (real name Mike Soucy) and, as the moniker obviously implies, Soucy specializes in dark ambient moodscaping. Rather less obvious is the fact that the Greek word “bathys” means “deep” in English, and is the root of “bathyscaph” which is a submersible vessel used for deep sea exploration. Without question, the six pieces comprising Bathys are immersive, and Soucy artfully assembles his sounds into disturbing, dread-filled atmospheres. The powerfully evocative pieces suggest the industrial murmur of a factory at three a.m. that one hears faintly rumbling in the distance, the ghostly night-time fog that shrouds a harbour's gently rocking boats in gloom, and the violent churn of amplified winds roaring through a hollow, chemically rusted-out tunnel. Soucy may admirably opt for understatement in his compositional design but there's ample textural detail—rumbles, soft tinkles, vaporous thrum, etc.—in play throughout a given piece. The ten-minute title piece evokes less a deep sea plunge than torture sounds emanating from a hidden dungeon; the intermittent clanks and strikes are just abstract enough to allow the listener to conjure all sorts of violent scenarios, and the incessant churn that accompanies it only intensifies the disquiet."
--Reviewed by textura.org
"At the other end of the spectrum we find Darkened Soul, which is one Mike Soucy, who has had a couple of self-released CDRs as well as a release on Umbra, the label of Oophoi. 'Bathys' means deep in Greek and throughout the six pieces there is thematic approach of deep sea - a bathyscaph is just a difficult word for submarine. The music is dark, like a deep sea movie sound track of rusty vessels bouncing to eachother, metallic sounds clonck about, set against a dark set of drones played on (soft-)synths. Music that would fit easily on Mystery Sea. More experimental than Borghi and more noisy, if at all that is a word that is appropriate here, than Griffin. Three different angels of ambient music. Maybe to the outsider the margins are small, to the initiated essential."
--Reviewed by Frans DeWaard for Vital Weekly
"Waves of ominous electronic textures surge forth, blotting out the sky and saturating the air until everything seethes with a moody temperament. A haunting demeanor pervades, plunging the mind into a dark abyss where the self no longer has any external referential perceptions.
Auxiliary tones infiltrate these murky soundscapes, enhancing their sense of sensory deprivation and heightening a mental purge on the part of the listener. Stripped of all light, the audience is forced to conjure their own impressions of reality. Some will populate the dark with deadly manifestations, but others will use the dark as a canvas for vibrant renewal, redefining life against a backdrop of dire desperation.
These tunes roil and pulsate with a power that is raw and primal. Periodic crashes of metal scraping against metal punctuate the harmonic flows, implying a distant conflict being enacted deep within the impenetrable murk.
While these compositions display a distinct darkness, their intent is not to instill gloom or despair; they seek to establish a sober vantage from which one can view the world with objectivity. Brooding harmonic expanses spawn introspection on a grand scale."
--Reviewed by Matt Howarth at Sonic Curiosity