Published on Friday, 11 December 2015 23:22
Album title: Unearthed: 2000-2002 (75th Cycle)
Release date: 27 March 2015
Label: Cyclic Law
Tracklist: (6 Disc Box Set)
Disc 1: Shockwork
04. Going Sick
05. A Feeling
06. Dear Diary
Disc 2: Among The Ruins
03. Self-Destruction & Isolation
04. Gork Me
07. The Abyss
08. Skavd Moskva
Disc 3: At The Heart Of Destruction
03. Beyond Structures And Time
07. Morning Tower
08. When The Kingdom Fell Asleep
Disc 4: Somewhere Concealed
02. Making The First Flower
03. Underneath The Ravine
05. The Fossilised Structures
06. Back To Where The Trees Spoke
07. In Silence Of The Plague
08. The Renewal
Disc 5: The Downfall And The Rising
01. Bleeding At The Elysian Fields
02. The Downfall
03. Building, Not ONly Within This World
04. A Glimpse Of The New Arising
Disc 6: The Northern Hymn
01. Absconding The Physical
03. Dreaming Of The Forgotten Land
06. Presence Within The Park
In 2015, Kammarheit is synonymous with dark ambient. But back in 2000-2002 Par Bostrom was just beginning to test the waters of this under-the-radar genre. The birth of his project Kammarheit seems like it must have been a true awakening of the senses for Bostrom. After a field-recording session at an abandoned factory he immediately produced his first album Shockwork that very night. What followed was a torrent of albums, six in total, over the two year span from 2000-2002. Yet these albums were not intended for public consumption. A testament to how deeply personal Kammarheit is to Par Bostrom, he produced these albums as a means to help overcome his insomnia. They were only shared with a handful of friends and family at the time.
Mr. Bostrom must have realized at the time that he was on to something special, as he would release his commercial debut Asleep And Well Hidden soon after in 2003. Being only the 3rd Cycle on the then nascent label Cyclic Law, Asleep And Well Hidden would follow in the footsteps of his previously unreleased works, using field recordings and gentle drones to construct a dreamy soundscape that allows the listener to melt into the darkness while listening. The sophmore release, The Starwheel, would catapult Kammarheit into the public eye several years later in 2005 and solidify his place as one of the most influential dark ambient artists to date.
Unearthed 2000-2002 does not sound like the rushed productions of an amateur musician, not intended for public consumption. These albums show case how much potential Kammarheit had from the very beginning. While the overall tone of Bostrom's music caters to the insomniac, begging for respite from the waking world, there are elements of the music that go much deeper into detail than would be necessary for a simple sleep aid ambient composition. His use of field recordings exquisitely captures the feel of abandoned and dilapidated ruins, while the additions of more musical elements truly bring these cold dead places to life for the listener. Each album has its own unique feel.
It doesn't feel like we are listening to the birth of an artist, each of these compositions is an opus magnus in its own right. Shockwork is probably the most lively and eclectic of the albums contained within Unearthed 2000-2002. It features heavy doses of field-recordings which drag the listener deep into this abandoned factory. As his first dark ambient composition it is amazingly well crafted. Yet the following albums in Unearthed 2000-2002 become increasingly refined in their composition. Subtlety and a brooding darkness always take the foreground making albums like Among The Ruins and Somewhere Concealed the perfect additions to anyone's sleep mix. But I must stress, the listener would be doing a disservice to this collection by only using it for a sleep aid. There are some highly memorable tracks contained within and the collection as a whole should find a perfect place in the playlist of any dark ambient fan's daily listening. "Repair", the opening track on Among The Ruins, is one of my favorites in the collection, incorporating a multitude of elements, with a dark horror-inspired synth line taking the foreground blended with the recordings of someone speaking over an intercom or hand-radio transmission, making for an extremely eerie beginning to Among The Ruins. At The Heart Of Destruction seems like the most likely of sleep albums in the collection, with its tracks holding an deep atmosphere that allows the listener to lose themselves in the soundscape, drifting off into darkness. The Northern Hymn is a brilliant addition to any polar ambient lover's collection, with frigid tracks that leave the listener feeling lost in a blizzard, much akin to albums by his label-mate Northaunt.
I am never usually one to be interested in previously unreleased albums. I find that more often than not they were left unreleased for a reason. However, this is the farthest from the truth with Unearthed 2000-2002. Kammarheit's six albums over this two year period are anything but amateur, Par Bostrom hit the ground running with his project, and it is a blessing to dark ambient fans that we are given these albums in a newly remastered and boxed set. Dark ambient fans will find plenty to lover here, and as I've stated, the albums can be used as a sleep-aid or an active listen, preferrably both. A big thank you goes to Cyclic Law for making these previously hard to find and much sought out albums available for everyone after so many years in the shadows. With the recent release of The Nest and the rumors of a follow-up to Mr. Bostrom's side-project Cities Last Broadcast, it seems that we will have plenty more quality music from him in the future. Don't take that as a reason to ignore this collection. This is an amazing addition to Kammarheit's officially released discography, and a reminder that Par Bostrom was a natural from the beginning and in it for the long haul.
Review written by: Michael