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Dronny Darko - Neuroplasticity (2016) - Review

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Band: Dronny Darko
Album title: Neuroplasticity
Release date: 26 January 2016
Label: Cryo Chamber

01. Mirror Neurons
02. Circuits
03. Plazma Lake
04. Electrical Membrane
05. Ion Voltage

Dronny Darko returns for his second full length album on Cryo Chamber, Neuroplasticity. Where his debut release, Outer Tehom, tapped into an extremely dark, almost evil, drone heavy album with demonic vocal samples, Neuroplasticity takes a turn in a wholly different direction. Neuroplasticity, while still heavily drone oriented, has a deep space theme, giving the listener the sensation of experiencing another planet far away from our galaxy. Neuroplasticity is equally creepy in its delivery yet not in the human sense, this album seems to take us inside the inner workings of an alien race. Nothing here is familiar, the soundscapes are electrifying and far from the inhabitable planet we occupy.

"Mirror Neurons" sets the stage, a 15 minute long introduction to this alien realm immediately douses the listener in strange foreign sounds, something like water dropping or bells chiming, but decidedly neither. As a hollow and suffocating drone envelopes us we are bombarded with an extraterrestrial presence. The question is whether we are experiencing this from inside the mind of this foreign being or witnessing it from a distance. As the track closes, light pings of electrical currents seem to be dancing across the soundscape, leaving the listener at full attention and ready for the journey ahead. "Circuits" attacks the senses with a plethora of deep sonic drones and white noises which seem to be laying the landscape out in this distant realm. Over top of these seems to be a set of lifeforms, some alien species communicating with one another in a way that humanity could never comprehend. "Plazma Lake" dives down to the blistering hot surface of an alien planet. The heat can almost be felt by the listener as we follow these strange noises, again seeming to be a communication between lifeforms, toward this body of molten liquid. As we approach the sound shifts from eerie bubbling noises to a persistent and devouringly deep roar. One can't help but picture a sea of molten lava stretching out as far as the eye can see before us, yet it is clear that no human could ever hope to survive while witnessing this environment. "Electrical Membrane" moves into the core of the planet, to the den of this alien race. Upon entry, there are strange and terrifying sounds, giving the sensation of slowly creeping past these wicked alien creatures as they are chattering among each other. As the track closes the listener seems to have come to the center of this place, a hollow and dark abyss from which the life-forces emanate. "Ion Voltage" acts as a tour-guide, bringing the whole together, while simultaneously ripping apart what little sanity and sense of direction is left in the listener.

Neuroplasticity is not like any other dark ambient release I've come across. The sound palette is totally foreign, electrical, yet still seeming to hold an organic tone throughout. The soundscapes are harsh, yet captured with a pristine production value, frequently touching on deep hollow drones and various white noises. This gives the listener ample opportunity to let their imagination run wild, as I have with my interpretation of this release. It is a brave and pioneering escape from what is usually expected of the genre, taking the listener on a dark and unfamiliar sonic adventure. This is not the type of album to put on in the background and ignore, it stands tall, begging the attention of the listener. You can close your eyes and all sorts of feelings and visuals are sure to come to mind, quite possibly contradicting each other as the monumentally unique experience is undertaken on repeat listening sessions. Neuroplasticity is a treat to the open minded listener, who doesn't expect a certain set of rules to apply to each album in their collection. Dronny Darko has surely stepped outside his comfort zone with this release, building a soundscape that is vastly unique and rewarding with each repeated play-through. Not for the faint of heart, Neuroplasticity is a sonic feast for the adventurous listener who appreciates deep drones and utterly foreign soundscapes.

Review written by: Michael
Rating: 7.5/10