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Breinskam - Dead Feelings (2016) - Review

Band: Breinskam
Album title: Dead Feelings
Release date: 18 July 2016
Label: Kalpamantra

01. Alone Emptiness
02. Darkness Covers The Earth
03. Disturbing Vision
04. Enter The Forest
05. Hidden In The Mist
06. Misery And Life
07. Paranormal Existence
08. Memories Of A Lost Dream
09. The Mystery Of Nature

Breinskam is one of the newest dark ambient musicians to enter the genre. His first full length album Dead Feelings gives listeners a bleak and minimal soundscape to delve into during the late hours of night. Kalpamantra net-label has released the album, and seems to be a fitting organization for showcasing the Breinskam style. Kalpamantra, sister-company to Malignant Records, has been delivering a plethora of amazing new projects over the last few years. One need only look at some of the musicians from the early roster, including: Alphaxone, Randal Collier-Ford, SiJ and Ajna, to see how Kalpamantra has had a brilliant ability to scout out musical talent and give them a jump-off platform, before many move on to other labels who deliver physical releases and spend a bit more time and effort on promotion. Dead Feelings by Breinskam will likely be one of these albums that we can look back on in a few years and see where this highly talented artist began.

Dead Feelings is not a particularly eventful album. You will not find the cinematics, vocals, violins, and other mechanics which are often incorporated into the dark ambient sound these days. Instead, what Breinskam delivers is something more akin to a sinister yet meditative soundscape. The darkness is always present throughout Dead Feelings but it takes a subtle form, creeping out of the shadows, as opposed to encompassing the planet. The album title is very fitting in this aspect, as it seems we are delving into the tortured soul of some unknown entity, or maybe it is the thoughts of Breinskam himself which are being translated to music for us. Either way, the album is a deeply personal and contemplative experience, which is also reflected in the dark foggy scene on the album art, with one lone man wandering into the void.

"Alone Emptiness" opens the album with gentle, almost serene, drone work which slowly evolves over five minutes. "Darkness Covers The Earth" gives us the first real glimpse of darkness on the album. There are deep reverberations almost like feedback which hover over a quiet gentle rumble that then begins to morph into some sounds which seem to depict a sinister presence. These sounds seem to portray some dark recess of the mind, where a deep entrenched phobia is slowly boiling to the surface. On "Disturbing Vision" we encounter a truly mind-altering experience. Metallic drones oscillate between speakers as some industrial field recordings fill out the foreground. Other sounds can be heard which almost seem like the muffled bellows of some under-worldly being. All this comes together in an intricate and well crafted mix which digs deep into the psyche. "Enter The Forest" has a feel which reminds me of the styles of polar ambient type musicians like Apocryphos, Svartsinn and Kammarheit. There is a white noise type sound which comes and goes while synths bring a meditative and isolated feeling. "Hidden In The Mist" expands on this polar type sound, reminding me of something I would hear on an Ugasanie album. "Misery And Life" is one of the few tracks on the album where nature-oriented field recordings really seem to take center stage. This track is extremely minimal for the majority of its playtime, with nothing more than a gentle rain. As the track progresses a lonely synth line cuts through the rain, bringing forth strong feelings of loneliness and a sense of isolation from the rest of humanity. "Paranormal Existence" is reminiscent of Yen Pox in its textural execution, starting with a subtle yet slightly harsh drone, which is slowly layered with more sounds, including a voice chanting in solitude. Just as the track reaches its aural climax the energy immediately begins to recede, ending with nothing but that lonely chant. "Memories Of A Lost Dream" is another deeply meditative track, with a strong wind in the foreground, which seems like it is being heard from inside some small inadequate shelter. Again the melancholic synth returns, with similar effect to its use on "Misery And Life". The album closes with "The Mystery Of Nature" which incorporates deep hollow rumblings and treated field recordings which fill out the background.

Dead Feelings is an all-around solid release by Breinskam, which succeeds in its goal of gripping the mind and emotions of its listeners. While it won't likely stand out as a masterpiece or genre-changer, it is, in fact, quite good. Taking the subtle route with a debut album can be tricky, all the minute details are out there in the open to be judged accordingly. Yet, Breinskam shows us that he is perfectly capable of constructing a well balanced and contemplative experience, through the lens of a minimal dark ambient style. Dead Feelings doesn't seem to showcase any particular progression of a story as we would find on the cinematic side of the genre, Breinskam instead focuses on the inner workings of the mind, relying on emotionally charged content, instead of a more overtly dark topic. With Dead Feelings, Breinskam has proven that they are to be recognized within the genre, and it will be interesting to see which direction he takes the project in the future.

Review written by: Michael
Rating: 7.5/10