Published on Sunday, 08 November 2015 18:16
Band: Flowers For Bodysnatchers
Album title: Aokigahara
Release date: 3 November 2015
Label: Cryo Chamber
01. Prisoners Of Night And Fog
02. And There Is A Darkness
03. Field Of Ink
04. Kuroi Jukai
05. There Will Be Lies
06. Night Heroin
08. A Rope To End It All
09. A Man Metallic
10. The Games Foxes Play
Duncan Ritchie is Flowers For Bodysnatchers, previously of The Rosenshoul. The Rosenshoul was an immensely gifted project showcasing a more drone and industrial side, whereas Flowers For Bodysnatchers seems more of a beauty enshrouded in darkness. The latest album, Aokigahara on Cryo Chamber, is an distrubing yet wildly peaceful and melancholic experience. Cryo Chamber, again, shows their knack for finding artists who have a grander vision in mind when going into a project and bringing it to life as a flawless aural experience.
On Aokigahara, Flowers For Bodysnatchers has captured field recordings from Tokyo to the infamous Aokigahara Forest, a place where a staggering number of people come every year to commit, or at least contemplate, suicide. His addition of piano, flute, vocal, and minimal drone/synth arrangements makes for one of not only the most melancholic but also the most classically arranged albums on Cryo Chamber to date. There is a dark beauty here throughout Aokigahara that is unsettling, especially considering the concept of the album.
As with many Cryo Chamber releases, there is a concept in place yet sometimes it is harder to decipher than others, and you can often never be sure exactly what the artist had in mind, this is one of my many reasons for loving David Lynch's movies and ultimately, finding and loving the dark ambient genre through composers like Angelo Badalamenti, a composer I have to think gave some inspiration to Duncan Ritchie. Before listening to Aokigahara, I watched the Vice News: Suicide Forest In Japan, a documentary about the bleak situation at the base of Mt. Fuji where there are 50-100 deaths a year. Flowers For Bodysnatchers masterfully takes us on a journey from the city of Tokyo into the heart of Aokigahara Forest, fighting inner demons and reflecting on the beauty and ugliness of our modern world as the trip progresses.
"Prisoners Of Night And Fog", "And There Is A Darkness" and "Aokigahara" all showcase the brilliant classically oriented thinking of Flowers For Bodysnatchers, while tracks like "Field Of Ink" and "Night Heroin" show his masterful technique at bringing these two, often clashing in many other artist, genres of music together and blending them for an ebb and flow that engulfs Aokigahara as if the person making his potentially final journey is reflecting on the positives and negatives of life, sometime elated other times brooding and ominous.
Flowers For Bodysnatchers looks to be a welcome addition to the Cryo Chamber roster with Aokigahara. As with many fellow artists on the label Flowers For Bodysnatchers shows his ability to tell a story, stick to the dark ambient format, and yet push the boundaries just enough to keep each track, as well as the entirety of the album, new and refreshing. I would highly recommend Aokigahara to ambient or classical fans looking to test the waters of dark ambient, there is a fine portion of both here. With that said, the theme of the album really shines through and one can't help but feel overtaken with darkness while experiencing Aokigahara.
Review written by: Michael