Inade – The Nine Colours of the Threshold

Inade – The Nine Colours of the Threshold CD Loki Foundation 2018

Inade have never been the most prolific of projects, instead opting to seek stunning quality, over potentially mundane quantity. In this content this new album comes nine long years since the last formal full-length, and perhaps it is only a coincidence that the nine gap also reflects the album’s title. But putting such questions aside, The Nine Colours of the Threshold represents only the fourth formal full length issued during Inade’s 27 years of activity, which includes: the debut Alderbaren from 1996; The Crackling of the Annonymous from 2001; and The Incarnation Of The Solar Architects from 2009’s (note: Samadhi State is not a formal full length, nor are any of the live recordings and archive collections).

To speak of the arch of Inade’s evolving compositional approach, over the years it has moved from album length soundscapes (i.e. Alderbaren), to more compact individual tracks and on occasion quite song structured compositions (i.e. The Crackling Of The Annonymous and The Incarnation Of The Solar Architects). The Nine Colours Of The Threshold partially differs, in that it sonically bridges the earlier and later phases of the group, which is predominantly due to a calmer overall mood and slightly more abstract approach to composition than recent material. This means there are no immediate ‘hits’ to be found, such as was represented by earlier vocal led songs such as Chapel Perilious from The Crackling Of The Annonymous; or A Lefthanded Sign from The Incarnation Of The Solar Architects. Thus where vocals are present on this new album, they are used sparingly are spoken in a subdued proclamation style, but not delivered as a a song based lyric. To then clarify their chosen approach, the group themselves elaborated on this in a recent interview where they stated: “The title rises from the cosmos inspired by the visionary literature of the 1920s. There are links to G.Meyrink, H.P. Lovecraft, F. Strobl and P. Shou and many other occult authors of this era. Regarding the sound the album it is more electronic and calm than the precursor but there are always references to older sound resources combined with new technology. We even bought the same synthesizer we used during the recordings of the Aldebaran album and somehow the circle is closing again” (Inade interview published via Noise Receptor Journal – Issue No.5, October 2017).

Sonically speaking The Nine Colours of the Threshold spans 9 tracks and 50 minutes length of refined mystic and ritualized soundscapes of the highest order, where meticulous detail has been paid to every element, no matter how minute. While recent material from the group has focused on a grand galactic scaled and mythologically infused sound sculptures, on this new album the feel is of an earth-bound perspective, seeming to articulate the universal spiritual yearning of the human condition in seeking truth and understanding at the abstract edges and limits of human consciousness. The second track Beyond All Thoughts and Entities arrives as being partially recognizable (as if something akin to a half remembered dream), where it transpires it a new studio version of a live track featured in live sets in recent years and known by its working title of Daahr *. To then reference perhaps the most directly song structured piece of the album, this comes on the form of the slow rhythmic beat driven structure and sub-orchestral drones of The Nethermost Chambers of Night, and and although a stunning track in its own right, without a central vocal line, it stops just short of fulfilling the ‘hit’ song role mentioned above. To also reference the groups comments of ‘closing the circle again’, this comes in the form of some some clear nods to earlier works, where the treated deep chanted vocals and drawling foghorns of The Pinions of the Sacred Time hark back to the use of the same elements during the mid to late 1990 period of composition **. The Lost Homeland is another highlight track located at the back of the album, which perfectly blends the now trademark elements of time stretching textures, slow cataclysmic tribal beats, sub-orchestral drones, monolithic foghorns and ominous treated vocals.

Like any long established group, expectation can weigh heavily on any new release, and particularly so when nearly a decade has passed since of the last full length. Yet at the same time Inade have never faltered, regardless of where they have chosen to push and evolve their sound within a ritual/ dark ambient framework. In this context The Nine Colours Of The Threshold is yet another release which absolutely meets expectations, and while there are not any immediate ‘hits’ which automatically stand out, it is a case where the album as a collective whole is more of a subtle slow burner, which reveals more vivid colours and variations the more it is appreciated. Nine years is a long time to wait, perhaps too long, but Inade have rewarded the faithful with another pinnacle addition to their illustrious canon.

* – as featured on the Live At The Maschinenfest 2014 cassette.

** – as featured on the V.I.T.R.I.O.L. 7”ep from 1999, and on the bonus tracks included on the Burning Flesh CD reissue from 2000.

Phelios – Human Stasis Habitat / Ionosphere – The Stellar Winds

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Phelios – Human Stasis Habitat CD Loki Foundation 2016

Ionosphere – The Stellar Winds CD Loki Foundation 2016

What can be said of cosmic and deep space focused dark ambient music in 2016 that has not been said before?  Clearly such a style and sound has generated a huge volume of material over recent decades and continues to do so given it is now an effective micro–scene within the broader post-industrial underground.  Yet for such music to ultimately work, it is about capturing a particular essence which elevates the music from bland background music to a level which can be fully engaging and hold interest throughout. In this context Loki Foundation have been at the forefront of such a style and sound and continue to release leading examples of galactic soundscapes and droning dark ambience, where the new releases from Phelios and Ionosphere constitutes some of the strongest material of this type.

Up first is the new album ‘Human Stasis Habitat’ from Phelios, which is 3 years on from the ‘Gates of Atlantis’ album on Malignant Records (reviewed here).  With 7 tracks spanning 49 minutes, sonically speaking and despite having a ‘cold deep space void’ focus, this new recording engenders a warmer and enveloping tone overall.   Apart from its slow morphing soundscapes, there are particular movements where buried melodious and rhythmic bass tones surface, such as found on ‘Light Curve Wave’.  Likewise ‘Spectral Momentum’ has a sacral tone generated through its distant like bell toll and sub-bass melodies and choir-esque textures, while the concluding track ‘Eye of Terror’ showcases a slow booming ritual pulse and deep fog horns as a call to oblivion.  The packaging and presentation is also perfectly suited, with images of cosmic clouds and completes geometrical shapes spanning a 6 panel digi-sleeve.

Moving on to ‘The Stellar Winds’ from Ionosphere, this is not a new album, rather a re-release of their second album from 2007, released in a limited run on CDR via Avatar Records.  For this new edition the album has been remastered and includes two additional tracks.  Although being in a similar sonic world, Ionosphere’s sound on this album is a much colder is tone and is mechanically tinged its sound and construction.  Based predominantly on layered loops, the 13 interlinking tracks (45 minute play time), are constructed with elevating intensity, where swelling drones and muted radiating sub-orchestral melodies form the backbone off which a range of atonal minimalist metallic clatter and fragments of mechanical churn are hung.  Vocalisations are also sporadically used, but these are rendered indecipherable as garbled radio chatter.  Noting that the varying sonic elements are drenched in reverb and echo, it facilitates suitable cavernous depth, where although the sound is on first impressions quite minimalist, on closer listening is unassumingly varied and complex.  Whilst not deviating substantially in form one of the additional track on offer ‘The Atom Abundance’ does manage to stand out from the rest due its far more driving and forceful tone.

Although both Phelios and Ionosphere have their basis in the same genre traits, both of these albums carve their own sound and particular niche, and are both masterfully atmospheric in their individualistic sound.  Through these releases Loki Foundation again demonstrate why they are still a leading label for this particular style and sound.

Inade – Audio Mythology One


Inade – Audio Mythology One LP/ CD Loki Foundation 2012

As is the case with the publication of any new release from Inade this is usually reason enough to celebrate, however with reference to the album’s title it is indicative of being the first in a series of archival material.  So given that subsequent releases are slated in the ‘Audio Mythology’ series, clearly this is additional reason to celebrate. Regarding ‘Audio Mythology One’, the album consists of eight tracks derived from 2001-2012, with the liner notes revealing that four tracks were released on various compilations, whilst the remaining four were previously unreleased until now.  It also seems that tracks have been further mixed, edited and in some cases reworked in bringing these tracks to fruition for this release.

Noting the span of years in which these tracks are derived it is appropriate to reflect on Inade’s modus operandi over their 21 year history. Upon such refection an evident characteristic has been Inade’s inclusion on a significant number of compilations, where submitted tracks have formed important parts of their sonic puzzle and vital stepping stones in the evolution of their music.  Ultimately this tells volumes of the commitment of Inade to their craft and is a far cry the attitude of many acts that seem comfortable with using compilations to off load second rate tracks.  Thus based on the above circumstances ‘Audio Mythology One’ contains fantastic material and through the further editing, mixing and mastering comes across as a release that is as strong as any of their main ‘official’ albums.

Referencing its scope and style, the collection of tracks which makes up ‘Audio Mythology One’ are very much rooted in the later era of the group and the sound of what Inade do best.  That is esoteric mysticism set to sound – emanations from the void which intertwine deep space cosmic tones with otherworldly and occasional orchestral elements.  Yet on a more bland descriptive level this can be defined as experimental music which combines aspects of abstract modern classical music with more traditional dark ambient material.  Variously the tracks are meticulously composed with sonic elements including: slow wailing of ceremonial horns, deep ritualistic percussive beats, melancholic orchestral elements (strings/ brass), multi-layered and interweaving drones, echoed and abstract metallic/ crystalline/ shimmering sonic textures, disembodied vocals and well-placed dialogue samples to flesh out thematic context.

Across the span of their career Inade have managed to reach spiralling heights through the refinement of the compositional skills and in the process have created a multi-dimensional aural world.  Their status is clearly evidenced by their ability to effortlessly evoke archaic and universal vistas of a monolithic scale, which effectively elevates the listener out of a limited human scale perspective.  As an overall experience ‘Audio Mythology One’ is exceedingly masterful – transcendent even – and in many ways trying to describe the album merely in context of the sum it its parts does not do it adequate justice.  Ultimately Inade’s ‘sonic sculptures’ need to be experienced via full audio immersion (…noting that ‘Audio Mythology One’ has been released in limited edition of 300 vinyl LP/ CD set and unlimited CD for such purposes). Without a doubt ‘Audio Mythology One’ is far more than a mere stop gap release and is another welcome addition to Inade’s discography.