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Doombience by Stephen Parsick & ['Ramp]

"Doombience" is a term that describes electronic music that applies a devotion to oblivion to ambient sensibilities. Stephen Parsick (and his band ['Ramp]) are the exclusive purveyors of this brand of dark tuneage.

Here we have a pair of releases exploring that dark ambience.

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STEPHEN PARSICK: Cambrium (Music for Protozoa) (CD on Parsick Music)

This CD from 2009 offers 68 minutes of dark ambient electronic music.

Parsick's goal with this music is to approximate a soundtrack for a primeval environment in which protozoa evolve into more complex lifeforms, exemplified by the manner in which the auralscape progresses from minimal to substantial. In this regard, the result is highly engaging.

Ethereal textures rise into play, already tinged with haunting timbre that evokes a prehistoric landscape. Auxiliary tones flitter through the mix, embellishing the auralscape into an environmental scope. The wind cascading through volcanic rock formations. Pools of slimy water shimmering under moonlight. A paranormal drone wafting on the breeze, conveying the presence of evolutionary impetus waiting to occur.

Blooping electronics lend agitation to the flow, introducing hints of rhythmic pittering to the sonic environs. Tonal winds creep through these tempos, generating a sense of movement, as if the rhythms are a palpable cloud traveling across the wasteland. Gradually, a melodic demeanor emerges from the harmonic climate, but its duration is fleeting, eventually swallowed by the electronic tempest until it surfaces again later on. This surge and recession plays a crucial role in the music's overall structure.

As much as an evolutionary process is approximated by this tuneage, the music also achieves a distinct semblance of spatial motion. The listener is carried along for the growth and change, not just as a witness but becoming a participant, although this participation occurs purely on a psychic level.

Shorn of all these scientific metaphors, the music is darkly ambient but with a seething understated intensity that threatens to burst forth at every second. Tones and waves mesh to establish a streaming tension that is enhanced by the blooping tempos. Moody passages escalate into pulsating pinnacles of sober delight.

The music on this release (performed live on May 29, 2009, during the annual "nacht der klange" at Bielefeld University in Germany) is a revised version of music found on the Cambrium download-only release from 2008. The differences are multifold, running the gamut from a different performance to the inclusion of an EMS VCS-3 mk.1 synthesizer (aka "the putney") for the 2009 concert. Interested parties can read the review of the previous release here.

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['RAMP]: Debris (CD on Parsick Music)

This release from 2009 offers 76 minutes of dense electronic music.

A wondrous fusion of ambient and industrial sensibilities, resulting in tuneage of deeply contagious resonance, not just blending the genres of Berlin School and dark ambience but actually generating an entirely new type of contemporary electronics: doombience.

Moody tones vie for dominance, only to be jostled aside by more demonstrative electronics that command the playing field and strive to push the envelope. Dense texturals and deep notes achieve a subterranean resonance that stirs the listener by reaching into their anatomy and contaminating every cell with an affinity for this new level of stimulation.

The electronics flourish with emotional impact crafted to plunge everything into shadow. This murkiness is hardly depressing or gloomy, however; instead it thrives with a vibrancy normally found in chord basked in illumination. Parsick's skill with this sonic contradiction results in highly evocative music that uses darkness to captivate and uplift the audience. Although a lot of the notes belong to the bass range, their expressed sound reaches beyond that bottom to kindle higher responses. The addition of naturally higher notes produces a well-rounded palette, resulting in tuneage that glistens with an oily charm.

E-perc plays a role here, contributing crisply haunting tempos that punctuate the seething flow with a sprightly animation. The beats are crafted to possess an unearthly timbre that goes far beyond any conventional mechanical or computerized character.

These compositions are empowered with a vitality that breathes zest into brooding auralscapes with glorious results. The melodies are engaging, rousing and stimulating.

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