Kammarheit: The Starwheel (Cyclic Law, 2005)

by Jason

kammarheit - the starwheel-500x500Hailing from Sweden, Kammarheit is a dark ambient artist that paints lush soundscapes that are both ominous, beautiful, and breathtaking. The Starwheel is a brilliantly moving album that has a depth to it that is meditative in quality. The album begins with the apropos “Hypnagoga,” a track that starts off with what sounds like winds and the eruptions of volcanoes mixed with a beautiful drone. The mood is more of resplendent marvel than one of ominous foreboding. The track is deeply layered and complex with keyboard type voices coming up through the mix at regular intervals. This is followed by the windy distortion of “Spatium.” Space like elements float along upon a breeze of thick ambient textures and rumbles. This track has a much darker tone than the previous track, making the mood of the album eerier as it progresses.

“The Starwheel [Clockwise]” begins with some klanky, reverberating sound on top of a flowing drone. Reverb and loud sound move in and out of the mix as a dark soundscape develops. The drones hum in the speakers while ominous sounds move across the treacherous soundscape. “Klockstapeln” is an eerie and perhaps darker than the prior track. The sounds remind me of flocks of carnivorous birds flying amidst the haze and smoke of a volcanic landscape. Ok, so the visions I see through the music probably aren’t the artists, but they certainly prove that the music evokes very strong images. “The Starwheel [Counterclockwise]” begins with the sounds of what might be giant cogs churning. The drones are still dark, but they resume their spacey feel. Bangs, pops and clicks work their through the drifting soundscape. This track almost reminds me of breathing as it pulses and drones throughout its 4:46 time. “A Room Between the Rooms” is a quieter track with brief moments of elevated volume. There are what seems to be distorted water dribbles in the mix and dark drones flowing throughout the track. The mood continues the surreal dream that is soundtracked by Kammarheit.

“Sleep After Toyle, Part After Stormy Seas” begins with a more subtle and hopeful tone.
Eventually, very cool melodic samples echo midst the drones. This is joined by a loud drone that comes into the mix and develops as the track progresses. As the soundscape builds throughout the album as a whole, you really get a sense of change throughout, as if the theme of an altered landscape permeates the album. “All Quiet in the Land of Frozen Scenes” finishes the album with a soft drone, feedback, and underlying rumbles. The wind once again blows over the soundscape and ends the disc on a peaceful and beautifully dark note.

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